In the first part of this series, I wrote about the advantages of looking to players in another industry for inspiration on how to grow your business and outperform your competitors. I mentioned complexity as one of the two strongest drivers of performance. How to learn from another industry Part 1. Complexity drives costs up and threatens productivity and performance if not well-managed. As it is such a strong performance driver, it needs to be taken into account when looking for innovative ways to jump ahead of your industry competitors. The other performance driver that should drive costs down is scale. Larger scale businesses justify investment in automation and technology. Scale invites discounts when dealing with suppliers but can also impact pricing with potential customers. If you are looking for ideas on marketing, supply, manufacturing, resourcing, customer service or any other function or process of your business, you need to look for businesses with similar volumes. Look to another industry and see how a company deals with high volumes of products, services, customers etc. The business may not be large but do they have similar volumes in the area/function/process you are focusing upon. For example high volumes of applicants for jobs. So, the steps are similar to those outlined in Part 1.
1. Look and assess the size of your business. Not just in turnover, number of employees but every area that may have an impact on how you run your business. For example, number of transactions, value of transactions.
2. Look for the impact of that scale. For example, a small company in an attractive market may well have a high volume of job applicants. The impact of this on HR is the volume of work in sifting, interviewing, responding etc. The quality of potential talent is likely to be higher, however the volume drives the costs of HR resourcing up.
3. Search for businesses with scales similar to your own in the area you are focusing on. Looking at a previous client, their value of purchases were considerable, however they only bought in their main supplies on a quarterly basis. The number of transactions was low, however the value gave them buyer power that they were not exercising. Looking to another industry and how companies used their buying power gave provided innovative ideas.
The Week: On Tuesday I visited the Business East Exhibition in Colchester. This was part of a series of shows being held in regions of the UK and was useful just to see what is available locally. I then attended a Women-in-Technology event hosted by BP in London. Greg Whyte and Hugh Williams Preece gave a talk that demonstrated how “success is not a chance event”. Some wonderful quotes were given, two of my favourites being “Failure is a tool for development” and “If you haven’t failed, then you haven’t stretched yourself and you are living in your comfort zone”. Then further development for my new Masterclass Programme on the Art of Chairing which I am delivering in April!
Last week this book was recommended during a seminar. “Start with why” by Simon Sinek. It is based on the theory that people don’t buy what you do, they buy what you believe in. Your “why” you are doing what you do.
Lighter Reflections: We were sitting indoors in the early evening talking about the heavy rain outside. I looked outside and said to James – “Wow, it’s turned to sleet”. He looked and said, “Yes, wow, and look at our poor drenched cat slinking along the garden path!”. I then remembered that she had snuck out when I let the dog back in and I had forgotten to open the back door so that she could return. James let her in and there followed the sounds of the cat wailing, the dog whining as he tried to get close to wash her, and James oohing and cooing about the poor little mite. I kept my head down and then slunk off out the room to do some very important paperwork in my office.
Future Forum Dates:
Leadership Forum, Maldon, 27th March – Motivating People & Teams