“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know you’ve arrived?” It’s a vintage saying that’s still true in business. Knowing precisely what your organization exists to reach is called business focus. If your organization lacks clear focus you diminish your chance of success. Insufficient focus creates many problems. In particular, it causes it to be virtually impossible for the employees to execute well.
Importance of Focus
Without clear focus you can’t clearly determine your target market. Which means you can’t have clear, precise performance objectives. Insufficient such objectives results in unclear and fuzzy performance standards. That results in sloppy systems. On and onto it goes. You scratch your mind and worry why your staff seem unable to “put their finest foot forward “.
What Business Are You In?
Only you can answer that. But when you’re uncertain, how in the world can you expect your staff to understand? “But Leon,” you could be saying, “we realize we’re retailers… have already been retailers for 65 years since granddad opened the first store after World War II. We sell shoes in eight stores in three cities. And we’re good at it.”
Try answering these questions. Who can you sell to? What type of shoes? In what cost range? Who’s your “ideal” customer? What are your most profitable lines? Who are your major competitors? Are you a market leader nationally, regionally or locally? Who else, outside shoe retailers, competes for the same consumer dollar as you do? What distinguishes your organization from those of your competitors in the eyes of your prospects and clients?
Connection With Employees
You see, really successful businesses can answer each one of these questions precisely. When we see their staff in action we’re impressed. We wish we had staff like them. Small Medium Business UK What we don’t realize is that the degree of proficiency doesn’t focus on outstanding training and development. It doesn’t focus on excellent performance standards and simple, effective systems. It starts with clear business focus.
What Symptoms Tell Us
When training is poor, standards are fuzzy and systems are sloppy we say that management includes a problem. The same applies in reverse. When a company functions well and customer support is outstanding we should give management much of the credit. Employees may provide outstanding service and display excellent technical competence. They deserve credit for that. But it is a clear sighted management that produces the surroundings that permits good quality staff performance.
Focus And Consequences
The fundamental point I’m trying to produce is that while poor employee performance is just a major issue, it’s more often than not a consequence of something else. Unless we fix the “something different”, the performance problem will continue. And I’m suggesting that the “something different” is usually insufficient clear business focus.
Where To Look First
When you rush off to improve employee performance, expand your product line, streamline your systems or review your organization plan, consider your organization focus. Answer the question “What business are we in?” It will answer the questions under “Who Says?” too.
Narrow Your Focus
You can’t be all things to any or all people. A thin focus beats a broad focus almost every time. Since the old saying goes, “Do only those things to that you simply bring an original perspective. Buy anything else around the corner.” It’s in an easier way to produce and manage a small business with a slender focus then it is to juggle the competing demands of a broad focus. A broad focus stretches and thins your resources. A thin focus is a lot better to manage. In addition, it allows you to position your organization clearly in the minds of staff, customers and prospects. That’s a huge business advantage.
Managing a small-medium business is demanding. I know. I’ve run such a business for over 30 years. Managing employee performance is just a major management responsibility. It’s a lot easier with a crystal clear business focus.