Resolution – Intent and Action

As the New Year begins (and flies by), it seems an appropriate time to reflect on “resolutions”.  Webster’s Dictionary provides five definitions of the word “resolution.”  The two which most interest me are number three – “something that is resolved” and number four – “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent…”

With each new year most of us make resolutions – personal, professional, and business – of one type or another.  We express our intent to change something (our weight and our exercise habits, for example), accomplish something (achieve $1 million in sales), or complete something (write the “Great American Novel”).  When each New Year which rolls around, we make our resolutions then get back to life as usual.  We may make stick to our “resolve” for a few days or a few weeks, but we tend to fall back into our regular patterns – because our resolution was a practice, not a process!

In order for our intent to transform into resolution, we must (again as Webster defines), be able to find the answer – go through a process of analysis of where we are, decide where we want to go identify the path to get between these points, AND be vigilant in keeping on track with milestones, objectives, and timelines which enable us to succeed.  We cannot change or improve or achieve without a process which recognizes the steps we need to take and the motivation to take those steps.

Are you resolved to find a resolution?  Do you have intent and an answer?  One without the other is an annual ritual, both together are the power to grow and succeed!

What Needs to be Resolved?

Today, at this very moment, what is the top issue for you and your business?  What needs to be “fixed”?  What isn’t working well or not at all?  What things have generated results but not the full measure you wanted?

If you can’t quite put your finger on what needs to change to make your organization better, then it is time to develop the fortitude to invest the time, effort, and resources needed to analyze your organization – its operations, people, successes, failures, hits, and misses – from products and services to customers and prospects – to determine what is and isn’t happening in your organization.  Sometimes (often) the biggest obstacle to success is the organization’s lack of commitment to doing the “internal” processes (everything from accounting to customer service and administrative tasks) well.

Don’t Let “Business as Usual” be the Constraint on Your Success

Take a moment and either find or visualize a beverage bottle.  See how the bottle tapers from bottom to top.  The substance of the beverage is contained in the larger base; whether you drink from the bottle or pour out the beverage, the liquid goes through the narrower part of the bottle to prevent everything coming out all at once…as a control mechanism for delivery.  A bottleneck is meant to hold back the progress of the liquid.  In business, bottlenecks hold back progress and results.  Where are your bottlenecks?

Lack of Investment in Business Systems

In analyzing business operations in manufacturing and service companies of all sizes, the most difficult bottlenecks to break have been in administrative and business processes.  The lack of recognition of the constraints which can be placed on an organization that cannot get things done efficiently usually results in an inability to see a “return on investment” from developing and deploying resources into the organizations infrastructure.  Unfortunately, these business systems constraints can actually create a stranglehold on the financial results of the business.  How?  By limiting the ability of the organization to attach financial measures and perform analysis on the results being generated.

If your business doesn’t develop cost and reporting structures on lines of business, projects, products, and customers, how do you know where your profits and cash flow are coming from?  Recently one company which had been performing on millions of dollars of fixed price government acquisition contracts over the past 10 years finally invested resources in restructuring its accounting system and financial reporting.  The 100% success rate in receiving government contracts didn’t seem quite so wonderful when the analysis of those projects was complete, because not one of the projects had generated profits or positive cash flows.  In fact, every project had been quoted at a price below cost and when, executed, was staffed and sourced at levels even higher than planned costs.  The business found that there would have been more cash, less borrowing, and higher profits if they had never received a single government contract!

Resolution

For businesses it isn’t just important, it is critical that the financial results are associated with the projects, customers, lines of business, products and services being offered.  It isn’t enough to look at the growth in revenues and jump to the bottom-line to see if there are profits.  In order to succeed, a business must have the resolve to invest a fair share of its capital and resources in doing “business” well.  If not, then more and more resolutions will be needed to fix problems created by a lack of information, by the constraints of inefficient internal processes, and by resolving that this year things will be different without doing anything to make lasting, meaningful changes.

Copyright ©2007 F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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