How many times have you heard the phrase “make sure you are working on your business, not your business working on you”?

As a former CEO, I am well aware of all the reporting responsibilities your company has to focus on. You have a Board of Directors that needs information, you have financial institutions looking for debt covenant reporting, you have investors looking for financial statements, you have this obscure governmental agency called the Internal Revenue Service looking for tax compliance filings, your outside CPA firm needs information.

What almost all these reporting requirements have in common is that they are all historical in nature and really do very little to increase the value proposition of your business.

Historical information is important and plays a very critical role in the life of your business.

Work on your business, not in your business

However, you and your team should be focused almost entirely on the following areas:

  1. Revenue generation: without sales a terrible thing happens, nothing!
  2. Elevating the customer experience.
  3. Expanding new client relationships.
  4. Quality and efficiency of your service\product; and
  5. Employee satisfaction.

This is the exact dilemma I faced as CEO of the businesses for which I was responsible. I sat down with every non-customer facing department and asked all our associates what they could do to bring more value to our organization. Value being defined as at least one of the five enumerated areas supra. The recommendations were innovative, creative
and clearly deserving of implementation. When I asked why we were not focusing in these areas the common theme on all responses was that they were just consumed with preparing reports that all looked in our rear-view mirror.

We decided to experiment, nothing ventured nothing gained. We had about 45 associates in this department. We identified the 4 best recommendations, then reassigned those 4 associates to work in the areas of value they identified and reassigned their reporting (rear-view) responsibilities to a remote talent center.

The results were so successful that we expanded this initiative to additional associates, all of whom again “won” this opportunity with their recommendations.

You will notice that we did not begin this process with a large change management project such as implementing a remote talent center for the entire department of 45 associates. We started slowly until we were sure the remote talent center strategy would work for us.

Regardless, the remote talent center solution was the right path for us but it really helped when we demonstrated to our non-client facing associates, they would have an opportunity to contribute value in accordance the five tenets above.

Are you up for the challenge to take your business to the next level of value-add? So, what may we do differently this time to find solutions for this challenge?