This past week I spent some time with my family camping, cherishing the final few days of summer before cold weather begins (at least in Ontario). As the evening set in, my wife asked me to start a fire and my sons gathered around us. They were curious as to how I was able to turn firewood into flames and heat!
As I set up the fire, I explained to my oldest son Matthew that building a fire is quite systematic in nature. It only takes some wood, paper and a match to light a fire, but to build a fire that is self-sustaining requires the right conditions (dry with low wind), the right ignition source and constant attention.
It struck me following our discussions that how one might build a fire that sustains is quite similar to how one might build a self-sustainable organization. The ingredients might seem simple on the surface (people, equipment, a building), but in order to build the business successfully (i.e. make a profit), there is so much more required.
How to Build a Self-Sustainable Organization
This time of year it’s not uncommon to find most CEOs and Executives focused on gearing up their strategy in support of growth. If this is you, consider the following as a means to building your business successfully (i.e. make a profit!):
1. Do you have the right conditions? Are managers the right fit based on the direction of the organization? Are your processes and facilities equipped to support employees in being productive versus hindering their efforts? Do you recognize the individuality and experience of employees, engaging them in business challenges?
2. Is your ignition source correct? How do you motivate employees today? Are you providing them a reason to show up for work, to contribute? Do you recognize employee efforts and contributions? Are you sparking innovation in your employees by soliciting their ideas and creating an environment where they can be creative?
3. Do you pay attention? What happens when an employee provides feedback or makes a suggestion? Where does this information go? How do you ensure feedback is addressed quickly? What are your employees saying about your customers? Are you listening and responding?
It’s not enough to focus on the fundamentals of building a profitable business in order to be successful. CEOs and Executives must systematize their agility, adapting and flexing their application of the fundamentals in order to nurture sustainable growth over the long term.
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What else contributes to a self-sustaining organization? Share your best tips in the comments.
Are you looking for more strategies to build a more profitable business? You can order my book from McGraw Hill “Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition” here.
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.
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