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What are Your Pillars? Tap into Your Internal Talent

By Joane Ramsey

We are in restructure mode! Most businesses are in a place in need of re-evaluating how they go to market, what their customer base will demand of them, what their structure may look like once we open up again, and how they will move forward.

I like to think in terms of the glass half-full, so even though this has been difficult for all of us, we can’t just wait and see what will happen. We have to be proactive, adaptive and evolve as a result of it. Thinking of this being an opportunity, leaders can tap into the talent within their organizations in order to evolve.

As a leader, it is important to remember that you are not alone. The weight of it all is not solely yours to bear! Yes, you have been tasked with big responsibilities, but you are not alone!

Who is better than your employees, who have worked for you and with you for many years, to help you evolve in a direction that will benefit all? This is the time to tap into the collective collaborative mind share. If you provide employees with clear guidelines on what the situation is, they may come up with ideas that could surprise you. As a leader, you have to choose to believe in the good of your people.

Right now, we are both ending and beginning, while transitioning into something that is not really clear to anyone, so the best we can do is look at what we have to offer and decide how to best re-arrange it in a way that makes sense for everyone involved in your organization. Here is a blueprint on how to navigate thru this transition:

Communicate: Be clear on what your company’s situation is. Transparency right now is your best ally.

Define the pillars of your business: What currently holds the business together, what are those areas of your business that are critical for survival and for moving forward. I like to refer to those as the pillars of your organization. They are the areas that hold it all together. For some, their pillars may look like this:

  1. Employees – This is the time to motivate and inspire your employees. Tap into their talents to help you navigate these uncharted waters.
  2. Customers – Who are they and how should we be speaking to them right now? What do we need to do to help our employees help our customers?
  3. Suppliers – What needs to be negotiated, how can they help us and we help them? What does a win/win situation looks like?
  4. Finances – This is the time to be transparent with your employees and shareholders. What is our financial situation? What needs to be done to ensure our finances can withstand this period?
  5. Vision and Mission – Do our vision and mission still hold true to our values and how we need to move the business forward? How do we align everything to maintain it, or do we need to evolve?
  6. Culture – Evaluate the culture of your organization and how that is impacting everyone right now. The world as we know it is changing, and the culture of your organization may have to change too. Take a closer look and evaluate the culture of your organization.
  7. Innovation – Do we need to innovate in order to stay in business? What does that look like? What steps need to be taken? How fast do we need to innovate?

One way to gain clarity around how to gain perspective from each of your pillars is to conduct what is called a SWOT analysis. There has never been a better time than the present moment to look closely at your business. If you’ve never done one, here are the things to look into it:

  1. Strengths – What are we good at it? Where do we shine?
  2. Weaknesses – What are our current weaknesses? How is that affecting us right now? How can we change?
  3. Opportunities – Where can we find opportunities? Where is our room for innovation, improvements, new conversations, new providers, etc.?
  4. Threats – What are our current threats besides this pandemic? What do we need to evaluate in order to ensure we will not be in this position again?

Take each of your pillars and put them through this SWOT analysis; this will provide you with a very clear picture on how you need to approach the business moving forward. Then determine your next steps and how fast can you adapt.

An example of adapting fast after looking at the company’s pillars and conducting a SWOT analysis is a fashion manufacturer in Brazil, who after evaluating their business, realized they had a large inventory of unused textiles that were left overs from previous collections. Instead of purchasing new fabric, they are re-purposing their current inventory to create a collection that is innovative and one of a kind. This allows the company to continue its business, while diminishing their inventory and supply costs. Their employees are motivated and excited to be creating something new, and to be holding on to their jobs.

This was not the original plan they had set out for the year, and the drawings for the upcoming collection had to be re-worked, but with a bit of creativity, innovation, flexibility, and innovation, they are working on an amazing new collection for winter.

Transparency has also been key to their success, not only have they been transparent with their employees, but they have also taken to social media and are being transparent with their customers. As a result of this approach, they are already taking orders for the collection that has not even launched. Customers are reaching out and paying in advance to ensure the company will stay open. This is something that the owners were not expecting.

At Strategic Enhancement Group, we are committed to helping our clients succeed no matter the challenge. This is the time to tap into our collective experience and mindshare. Please contact us if you would like to brainstorm ideas on how we can help you transform your business.

Published: May 13, 2020

MEET THE AUTHOR

Joane Ramsey

Senior Performance Improvement Consultant

A native of Brazil, Joane first came to the U.S. as a foreign exchange student with AFS. She returned to Brazil where she successfully ran and sold two different businesses. Returning to the US in 1992, Joane put her business ownership experience to work with a small manufacturing company running the day-to-day operations and facilitating sales with South American companies. She joined SEG in 1999, where her experience has helped her clients get the results they desired. Joane has a B.S. degree in business management from North Central College, where she majored in international business and Spanish.

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