Several mid-sized companies freeze when they discover that they are a £100 million corporation trapped in a £30 million company’s body. Picture a teenage boy putting on his father’s suit; they are yet to grow into the size of their achievement. Why? These companies have confused growth for scaling. Growth is simply adding revenue at the same rate at which you’re adding resources whereas scaling has to do with adding revenue at a higher rate than cost.

For the most part, management writing pays more attention to start-ups or large companies, but if we are to judge by current performance, the medium-sized companies actually drive the economy. According to new figures that were made public on 30 January 2017 in the UK, the mid-sized businesses recorded faster growth and made more profit growth in addition to creating more jobs in the last twelve months compared to the country’s small and large companies.

Recent research indicates that mid-sized businesses produced 780,000 new jobs last year, more than the combination of smaller businesses (135,000 new jobs) and FTSE 350 companies (320,000 new jobs). The listed 100 fastest-growing mid-sized companies recorded cumulative proceeds of over £6.5 billion in their last filings, averaging £65 million for each business.

‘The average growth in revenue has increased from 38% to almost 60%. These are precisely the kind of innovative and fast-growing companies needed for the continuous expansion of the economy while the Brexit negotiations continue.’ – says Ed Cottrell, Investec’s head of corporate lending.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way these mid-sized company leaders execute their job functions. Rather than work in their company, they should focus on working on their company. The following are five things business leaders can do to ensure their mid-sized companies continue to record scalable growth.

  1. Standardization:

I’ll give you several reasons businesses must standardise their operations. Operational effectiveness, reduced deviations, and capability of scaling are the very obvious ones while the value of the brand and learning speed are the not too obvious reasons.

When processes are broken down into clearly defined tasks, reliability, consistency, increased productivity and OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) can be achieved ensuring workers carry out their duties the same way and on same quality. A few of the advantages of standardising work process to an organisation are:

  • It reduces the rate at which work is redone because of errors during the process of production/service, or inconsistencies between operators.
  • Time spent searching for documents, tools or necessary inputs to finish tasks is highly reduced.
  • It provides a more effective and comprehensive training procedures for new employees as well as re-training of existing workers
  • When implemented all through the production or service processes, the quality of output is improved.

You may not necessarily experience these benefits immediately, however, it’ll create a process that is better organised, efficient, skilled and dependable which will in turn, produce top quality products and services. In addition, waste will be eliminated because it ensures operational efficiency and trains staff to perform value-adding tasks in a manner that is consistent and structured at all times.

  1. Empower staff to solve problems and improve the process on their level.

It can be very frustrating when you have a complaint with a product or service and the person behind the counter steps out to go get a manager before the issue is resolved.

It is impossible for organisations to improve if they don’t consistently try to find and resolve their problems. This simply means inspiring a deep cultural change that must start from the very top.  When a company empowers its people to solve problems that arise as part of their daily routine, they become more inspired, perform better at their jobs, the overall productivity of the organisation increases and a laudable cycle begins to turn.

How?

  1. People are more open to discuss issues
  2. They get to understand that little problems matter
  3. They are committed to approaching challenges logically.

In the early stages of an organisation’s lean transformation*, executives are often amazed at the huge number of problems they are able to discover and resolve.

Creating a long-lasting problem-solving culture isn’t just about solving specific problems but more about consistently making efforts to do things better. Getting rid of long-standing grumbles and initiating better ways of carrying out tasks aren’t the only gains; companies with a deep-rooted problem-solving culture also profit from the strength of the capabilities people develop and the engagement and enthusiasm they bring to their work. These provide organisations with the momentum and the means to continue performing in the future.

  1. Focus on cross-functional collaboration:

A common mentality in business is Silo Mentality which is thought to be an essential problem of human nature and therefore seen as yet an additional element that must be managed by leaders.

When individuals are encouraged to concentrate on solving their own part of the problem, it could lead to loss of silos. Common goals for the entire organisation and key methods for measuring business performance, collating the needed data and examining it with the use of key variables helps in overcoming the risks that people will be functioning at cross-purposes within the organisation.

  1. Prioritise process performance measurements over the people performance metrics:

When process flows are being chopped up, there is a tendency for organisations to focus the enhancements on individual activities and lessen the consumption of the related resource. Is it possible to get individual personnel to work more efficiently? While full of good intentions of minimising costs, this will bring about suboptimal decisions. The organisation will have little or no chance to spot the root cause of the cost or value creation of serving the customers. When trying to measure the end to end efficiency, lead time is very vital. When lead time is reduced, it will unavoidably drive competence because you’ll begin to see the disappearance of “in-between” waste-related tasks such as information gathering, recapping lost files, moving material etc.

  1. Communicate purpose and people will perform better.

When people have a purpose, they perform better, especially when they understand what they ought to do as well as why it is imperative.

Policy deployment (Hoshin Kanri) is a strategic planning process designed to ensure that the mission, vision, goals, and annual objectives are communicated throughout an organization, and implemented by everyone from top management to the shop floor (frontline) level.  This is to ensure that the strategic goals of an organisation encourage growth and action at each level within that organisation. This gets rid of the waste that emanates from conflicting direction and lack of proper communication. A major advantage of Hoshin Kanri is that it helps to design that purpose; making sure that everyone is focused and moving towards achieving specific and important goals.

 

As business leaders, maturing with the discipline to build an organisation that can grow and scale, enable you to enjoy the benefits of leading a growth company that is capable of going all the way.

 

If you would be interested in understanding how your organization set for scaling and growing profitability and what can be improved, please contact us at info@succence.com or book a FREE 30 minutes consultation with our experts.

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