In the Star Wars saga created by George Lucas, there is reference to the “Force.” Lucas defined this “force” as, “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds and permeates us. It can be good or evil.”
There is an “energy” that surrounds and permeates every corner of our business. It has a crucial impact all aspects of our business, affecting our morale, motivation, finances, quality, service and long term viability. As with any force, there needs to be positive discipline, direction and focus across all levels of the organization so that the energy moves us in the right direction. Therefore, finding and channeling this “force” within our business now becomes a major imperative to determine to what degree our business is driving towards success or towards failure.”
This business imperative requires, what we 720thinkers like to call, a key business strategy called Mining Your Business. This process is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it a quick fix. Instead, this is a dynamic process that requires an extensive commitment of analysis, critical thinking, objectivity and ultimately positive focused action.
Although there are many layers to this process, I would like to share with you two things that will help you to find and channel “positive” forces within your business.
1. An external organizational 360 degree audit. This audit needs to include customers, vendors, stakeholders and strategic partners. The purpose of this evaluation is to help your company take a step back and determine the issues that can serve as threats to your brand while simultaneously identifying those opportunities can help you stabilize and grow future business. To follow are some sample questions that can help in your audit process.
- What is one word or phrase that you would use to describe our business?
- On a scale of 1 (the lowest score) to 10 (the highest score), how easy is our company to do business with?
- What do you think is the biggest value we bring to doing business or working with our company?
- What do you think is the biggest obstacle that you have when doing business with our company?
- How often would you be willing to refer our company to others?
- Who would you define as our greatest competitor?
- What might you say about our company, if asked to give a testimonial?
2. An internal organizational 360 degree audit. This audit needs to include a comprehensive cross section of your organization. If you are the owner or CEO, use the board or investors, to serve as your boss, ask peers or colleagues, ask direct reports and other levels deeper and further away in the organization to give you honest and as often as possible, anonymous feedback. The purpose of this internal diagnostic is to take the organization’s internal “temperature” to determine how hot (fully engaged, passionate team players) or cold (disengage, indifferent hostages) is your culture. To follow are some sample questions that can help in your internal evaluation process.
- What is a word or phrase that you can use to describe your organization?
- On a scale of 1 (the lowest score) to 10 (the highest score), how valued do you believe you are as an employee ?
- What do you think is the biggest asset that your company possesses?
- What do you think is your company’s biggest challenge?
- What is a word or phrase that you can use to describe the leadership in your organization?
- On a scale of 1% (the lowest score) to 100 (the highest score), how often are you willing to offer positive endorsements to the family, friends and the community at large ?
As you probably have guessed, these are just two small step in doing some serious evaluation of the “force” within your business. The truly successful organizations make this an annual process. We are almost at the midpoint of the final quarter for this calendar year. If you don’t want to see money, talent, customers and resources go down the drain, consider investing some quality time and energy in determining if the energy that “permeates and surrounds” your organization is the positive force you want and need to drive your company to success in 2014.
And, “May the force be with you!”