What is the crucial ingredient that makes business run successfully? I love reading all the answers provided by business writers and consultants. Each one sounds a little different from the rest. I suppose that’s just good marketing.
Some experts like to start at the beginning. Where is the beginning anyway? Have you ever met someone who is at the beginning? Can you remember a time in your own life when nothing proceeded that moment? I guess you can draw a line in the sand and call that a beginning if you’d like.
Some experts like to start at the top. After all, that’s where the power is. Nothing happens without direction from leaders, right? As I see it, a lot happens without direction, or even acknowledgement, or knowledge from the top. If it didn’t, I can’t think of a single business that would still be around.
Some experts like to start with the clients. Remember them? If we just provide them what they say they want, when they say they want it, and deliver it to their doorstep at a price they’re delighted to pay, we can’t help but succeed! Ha!
And then there are those experts who like to begin with the vision and mission. If we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll get anywhere, they say. It’s hard to argue that. Unless you’ve ever read some vision and mission statements and compared them to what’s actually happening in the business. Or asked workers about them.
So, you’re probably expecting me to give you the answer about now. Rog will probably say that business begins with joy – that’s his answer to almost every question.
Well, I don’t think so. Business is a system – a complicated system that involves a tremendous number of pieces and variables. No one piece serves as a beginning, or a controller, or even a direction. They all work – or don’t work – together.
So, even though there are levers – places in the system where small actions lead to disproportionately large changes – beware of the quick fix. Don’t be suckered by the seven steps to this or the five stages of that.
Defining visions and missions is a process that can help clarify business. It’s nice to know where you’re going. But maybe all that’s possible is to think you know where you imagine you’d like to be. And that’s a lot!