|Identifying Your Best Areas for Rapid Business Progress|
Do you want to develop your business and career much more profitably, rapidly, easily, and with less strain? Read on.
Did you know that the same amount of power that it takes to light a refrigerator bulb can be used by a laser to punch a hole through solid metal? Or to send a beam of light to the Moon that can be reflected back to Earth? With more focus on the right areas, we can do anything.
When I was a corporate executive, I always had 188 things on my agenda and only had time to work on 5 or 6. Which ones should I choose? Stephen Covey tells a wonderful story. A man comes across a woodsman laboriously cutting a tree by hand. The woodsman is totally exhausted and at his wit's end. The man suggests that the woodsman stop for a moment to sharpen the saw so that he can go faster. The woodsman replies angrily that he is much too busy sawing to spend time sharpening the saw.
If you have some goal in mind for which the path is unclear, or filled with threats, let me share with you some proven ways to arrive there along a better route.
The Making of a Billionaire
When I was little, I read the biographies of many successful industrialists like Nobel, Sloan, and Ford to try to understand how they had built their companies. I came away very impressed that they had concentrated their focus on highly productive areas. I always wondered how they had happened to pick the right areas, and how mere mortals like me could successfully emulate them.
An amazing insight about this hit me recently while I was watching a golf tournament on television that was being held at a fabulous new resort in the California desert. Imagine my surprise when the announcer described the most fabulous home at the resort, near the green at one of the finishing holes, and identified the owner of this vacation getaway place (worth over $40 million) as one of our clients. This man is now listed high in the Forbes 400, yet he had little money when we first met in 1979.
This individual has always been one of our most ambitious clients. We began working together when he gave us an assignment to help his newly-purchased public company grow their earnings, market share, and stock price much faster. Our introduction to the company came in the form of a 12 page memorandum outlining what he wanted to accomplish. He also told us the actions he wanted to take in order to meet his objectives.
Had they pursued those actions first, my guess is that his company would never have come close to the objectives. While his ideas had some validity, none were among the 100 most important things they needed to do at the time. (Implementing two of the three proposed actions did turn out to be important to do about six years later.)
The reason that they had missed the 100 more important actions is that they possessed neither the information nor the decision-making process to identify and act upon them, in spite of being richer in information and decision-making savvy than over 90% of the companies we see. Our consulting project provided both the information and decision-making process they were missing. Our process made this result possible because it sifted through thousands of options to identify the few which had very high positive effects on the company. Previously, they had considered very few choices because they had not had any efficient way to identify and evaluate them.
Over the next seven years, this company cumulatively grew earnings by over 1200 percent, market share by 100 percent, and stock price by over 1700 percent (after deducting for increases in the level of the Standard and Poor's 500) despite being in a capital-intensive, low-growth industry. Interestingly, these results were far in excess of the original objectives they had shared with us. In fact, the combined benefits exceeded the cost of the information and work by a factor of more than 5,000 times. These results formed the basis of the fortune that paid for that fabulous desert retreat that I saw on television.
The insight that I suddenly had was that it was possible to use information and management decision processes to focus any organization to create the kinds of success that I had read about as a youth. I now knew that because I had helped create one such success.
Becoming a Mogul Now
You might be wondering what all this has to do with you. The answer is that I want to repeat the experience of seeing clients succeed mightily with you as the star this time. I have since acted on the insight that came during the golf tournament in order to help you. We have created the most astonishingly powerful and easy-to-use process ever to help you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
Many people know our work only through stock-price improvement, financial management, or corporate or business-line strategy. They are surprised to learn that we have developed parallel management technologies in many different areas. All of these technologies have the same overall framework:
1. Understand the importance of measuring performance
2. Focus on a particularly important process within a company or organization and determine what it is about this that we want to measure in order to make more rapid progress
3. Identify the best practice and measure it
4. Find ways to bring everybody else up to the best practice
5. Identify the theoretical best practice (the best anyone will ever be able to do)
6. Try to bring the best practice much closer to the theoretical best practice
7. Create a match of incentives, appropriate people, and education to pursue implementation and
8. Keep repeating the process.
Naturally, the exact details of how to do this vary from organization to organization, and from process to process. It is, however, this general problem-solving process that Peter Drucker has identified as capable of being applied successfully to more than 85% of business issues. As you know, he has encouraged us to spread its application into as many areas as possible to help our clients make enormous progress, easily and effortlessly in a short amount of time.
This new management process is the finest service that Mitchell and Company has ever had the pleasure to offer. Seven of our best information and decision-making processes are combined (including the latest version of the one that our client began using in 1979) for the first time. Six of these processes have been used routinely by clients for more than 14 years with outstanding results. When combined for the first time, these processes will work much better together than they do alone, by sharpening focus, attention, and reducing errors. As a result, we expect that you will become our next self-made client mogul.
Benefits for You and Your Organization
Quite simply, you will earn the highest return on an investment in information and knowledge that you have ever made. If you are like most companies, you want to make high return investments. That is what you are rewarded for doing. Our expectation is that every company will receive cumulative benefits beyond what would otherwise have occurred of over 10,000 times the cost of the project over 10 years. This expectation is based on the track record of the technologies, as used by our clients in the past.
You will have many more options identified than have been considered before by your organization. As a result, you will have a context for understanding what you are looking at now and for comparing these directions with newly-identified choices. You will be able to proceed with more assurance, and with more support from others who appreciate your thoroughness.
You will have a much better idea of how likely you are to succeed, and how rapidly, with each option. We will help you give these choices a more thorough testing than usually occurs. For example, you will know the track record of those who have tried to do the same things in situations like yours.
Your work level will be reduced. By having better information and decision-making processes, you will be able to expand your personal productivity enormously in this area. You will be able to work less, by working smarter . . . something many talk about, but few achieve. If you are like most clients, much of what you are responding to are fires that would eventually put themselves out. Now you will know which ones need to be fought and why, so there is less to do. Opportunities that provide the greatest rewards with the least effort also reduce your load and stress.
You will take less risk in your career. These processes allow you to locate the risks that are not worth taking, so you can avoid them. Other stakeholders can have the risks you decide to take explained to them so they can be more appropriately supportive as the inevitable minor delays and setbacks occur, because they know what is reasonable to expect and when.
You will have a faster and easier time communicating what you want to do and why, so implementation will be better and easier. You will be able to explain your new direction to more people, more rapidly and effectively, and in more ways because you will better understand why you want to go in the new direction. In fact, you will be able to tie the new direction to the most cherished desires of those who will make it succeed.
How to Get Started
I want to help you personally now, as your lead consultant on a project to focus you and your organization on finding the highest potential areas and getting the most results from them.
We should begin by discussing this on the telephone, and developing a joint plan of how you and your company should evaluate and design a process to use these technologies.
You can speed up by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org just as soon as you finish reading this. We look forward to hearing from you.
© 1998 Mitchell and Company
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