For Corporations To Succeed They Better Emulate The Approach Of VCs
Successful companies are constantly working diligently and assiduously. They are continually looking to improve their products, their services, their customer satisfaction levels, their sales numbers, their profit margins and their return on investment. In reality, companies really have a complex number of mission-critical objectives that they must successfully juggle in order to succeed.
For many companies, as part of their path to success they have adopted a lean approach to their operations-a wise and savvy decision.
Lean thinking and lean methodologies have proven their effectiveness and, as such, companies have adopted the lean approach. In doing so they are following in the steps of some of the largest and most successful global companies.
The lean methodology, it is good to remember, involves a number business-focused goals and actions that are intended to improve the operations and the financial results of an organization. Contained within the lean methodology is a focus on a continuous effort to improve, innovate and overcome challenges. This lean method has been so successful that many successful corporations have adopted this approach in at least part of their organizations.
To be sure, the lean approach has yielded many outstanding results for the organizations that have implemented it. Many corporations that have adopted the lean methodology can point to achieving better outcomes, on various fronts, using these proven techniques. Successful companies have to trim costs, improve quality, reduce waste, speed up their time to market and improve their return on investments while also adding to their profits.
However, when it comes to innovation and to business growth, the results have not been anywhere near as successful. Why so? Well, it turns out that the lean methodology is better suited to organizational improvements but not as effective when it comes to being more entrepreneurial or inventive.
An important facet for successful companies involved identifying opportunities and correctly acting on those in a timely manner so as to successfully grow. On that front, many companies have not been as successful and the reasons may be manifold. However, a principal cause has been shown to be the fact that these companies are not as innovative as they should be. They are not as venture-minded as they aught to be. Identifying what opportunities to pursue and which ones to fund are critical decisions for business growth.
An interesting saying points out that the difference between try and triumph is the "umph". At Bouchard Fintech, we realize that this means applying the right effort, by the right people at the right time.
The effort needed by companies that want to achieve greater success has much to do with adopting the mentality and outlook of entities that are more entrepreneurial, more innovative and yes, more venture-minded. It is worth noting that growth-focused companies have set aside resources and experienced team members that are focused on identifying new opportunities and ways to capitalize on those opportunities. In some instances, a group is formed within senior management that is focused on seeking innovative ideas, new products, new services and new business opportunities. Some organizations have opted to create a growth group, a project-focused team or even a growth board. Their focus is on growth and their techniques involve being more innovative and more entrepreneurial in their approach.
The big innovation here is actually quite simple. To innovate more, bring your thinking in line with organizations that are more business-hungry, more innovative and more willing to take risks. What organizations do that well? The answer is venture capital organizations. They actively seek out business opportunities and evaluate them. When an idea or business is attractive, they carefully examine those and decide on whether to move forward or not.
Similarly, companies would do well to emulate that approach. They can then act and comport themselves in a more innovative and entrepreneurial way. When this approach is combined with the lean methodology, the results can be enhanced on multiple fronts.
At Bouchard Fintech, we realize that it is one thing to set up a team that will focus on growth but quite another to make that team successful. After all, any team is made up of individuals with their own shortcomings and foibles. Still, there are some steps that should be taken in order to improve the performance of a growth team.
Listen and have an open mind. Let members of the growth team speak freely and share their thoughts and ideas. Ask the other team members to listen carefully and keep an open mind. At times, the best of ideas come about by combining thoughts and ideas from more than one person and discussing their benefits and drawbacks.
Meet and discuss frequently and routinely. It is not sufficient to meet once a year and think that this is sufficient. Good, even great ideas and good opportunities need to be considered, researched, explored and discussed frequently and in a timely manner. As such, meetings for the growth team should be held more frequently. Ideally, the meetings would need to be scheduled well in advance so that the team members can block that time off in their calendars and actually attend these meetings in person.
Consider many different opportunities. To improve the chances of success it would be better to look at many opportunities and not restrict the team to only two or three options. It has been shown that a larger number of opportunities can be more productive. The exact number of opportunities to be discussed will depend on the business and the team. However, consider looking at a dozen or more possible growth opportunities at a time. When some of those opportunities look promising those can be set aside and considered in greater depth.
Discuss, explore and ask questions. Growth teams do well to discuss the opportunities carefully and to explore the options and possibilities. They would also do well to ask probing and inquisitive questions in order to deepen their understanding and improve their selection process.
Do not fear failure but learn from it. A highly successful international furniture company actually encourages its team members to present and discuss their failures. They correctly identified the fact that we learn not only from success but also from past failures. The situations should be similar with growth teams. Let them consider options and even if the ideas or business projects do not succeed, let them learn from those mistakes rather than stifle their initiatives.
Know when to look at the big picture and when to consider the details. At the initial stages, the growth team would look at the big picture. Not every idea or project can be looked at in great depth or details. When a project has been identified and there is keen interest to proceed, then a more detailed approach can be had.
Chose the people not just the project. Even the best of ideas and projects need the right people and the right team to make them a reality. That is why it would be wise to select not just a winning idea or project, but also the right team that can successfully implement those projects.
Act promptly and judiciously. Even the finest of business ideas and opportunities need to be acted upon at the right time. Therefore, once a project has been selected, have the growth team move on it promptly. Wasting time and needlessly delaying the necessary actions invites unwanted problems. Opportunities and market conditions can and do change and hence the need for prompt but judicious action.
Correct, adjust and improve. Growth teams would do well to learn from their past achievements, challenges and even failures. They can then correct their actions, adjust their approach and improve their processes and procedures. As the team members learn to work better with each other they can greatly improve their performance and increase their chances for success.
Growth teams have an important role to play in helping their organization to reach higher levels of growth and success. Bouchard Fintech points out that for corporations to succeed they better emulate the approach of venture capital.
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