From our Chairman
Inflation or deflation? The opinions are mixed in terms of what we are actually facing in the medium term. With debates ongoing about interest rate increases and public sector cuts, it’s hard to stay focused on what's really important to our organisations.
But stay focused we must; especially as the uncertainty continues. The IoD has taken a lead in identifying ways in which the Westminster Government can make a positive impact on the current deficit, and in supporting the business community, without having to find significant investment to fund these ideas. While not everyone will agree with every proposal made, the principle here is a smart one.
Every business should follow this example and take the time to look across all areas of your organisation. Doing this will allow you to identify key actions which will cost little or nothing to make happen, but which will have a potentially significant impact either in terms of cost reduction, efficiency, productivity or staff morale. Any improvement to any one of these areas means a positive impact on the bottom line. Can any of us afford not to do this?
Working with one of my own clients at present, we have been pleasantly surprised at how, by persuading the executive team to step back from the business for a whole day (which is a very difficult thing for any SME to do), we have managed to identify realistic new revenue streams, which has allowed us to re-prioritise what we are doing with our resources.
There is always the temptation in a business to keep doing the same things (the if it's not broken, don't try to fix it approach). The truth is, we are often guilty of using our scarce resources on less profitable, lower impact products and services than we need to. It requires bravery and strong leadership, but an executive team or board should be capable of questioning even the most long-standing of processes and behaviours, to establish whether there is a better way of doing it, or an alternative business or approach we should be focusing on.
Of course, we cannot stop existing revenue and profit streams, but we can make conscious decisions to look again at what we spend our time, money and resources on, to drive better business returns and staff performance.
Remember this: there is no business or leadership manual which gives us a step-by-step guide to delivering this kind of change. Instead we must lead by example, and ensure that our executive teams and boards use their mix of skills and experience to identify new opportunities for business and organisational growth and development.