Paul Raggio | What is a successful business?

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“Brilliant! Just brilliant in its simplicity and clarity.” This was my response to Monte Wyatt, CEO of Adding Zeros, when asked about the five exponential growth disciplines. Monte is the co-author of the best-selling book listed in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, “Pulling Profits Out of a Hat.” I was very fortunate to graduate from his executive coaching clinic on Adding Zeros, a unique and consequential brand, and certification to drive profitable, corporate citizenship.   

I’m a student of leadership and management. I have 40-plus years of experience leading and managing organizations, some with thousands of people. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in business-related disciplines, read hundreds of books on the same subject, and even written several articles on leadership, management and best business practices.  However, I have never come across a construct so impactful on mid-size company organizations. The five exponential growth disciplines and the constituencies they affect are brilliant in their simplicity and clarity. 

Let’s start with the definition of a successful business. Over time, it’s sustainable, predictable, stable, consistent and emotionally connected. Imagine you defining your business success in these terms. Furthermore, just picture if you could clearly describe your business’s impact on the various constituencies it serves. This construct is where Monte’s brilliance comes in. For your business to be successful, it must master five disciplines: STRATEGY, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, PEOPLE, EXECUTION and MISSION. Once you master these disciplines, your organization optimally serves five constituencies: the COMPANY, CUSTOMER, TEAM, STAKEHOLDER and COMMUNITY.  

You want your business to be sustainable, work on STRATEGY. By mastering strategy, you impact the COMPANY and COMMUNITY constituencies. Strategic thinking and execution planning replace the old strategic planning concept. The organization embraces opportunities when they appear; can leverage existing capacity, processes, technology, capital, customers and brand recognition; has the power to scale and duplicate operations demographically and geographically; and, with relative ease, can enter, get in front of and engage the marketplace by knowing the customers’ needs. 

For your business to be predictable, master BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. When you do, you impact the COMPANY and the CUSTOMER constituencies and create sustainable cash flow.  Your team focuses on marketing, sales and customer service. Marketing addresses how you intend on attracting prospects to your products and services. Sales mean converting interested prospects to customers. And customer service means retaining past buyers and converting them to raving fans of your business, thus extending your business development team. Importantly, every member of the organization, from top to bottom, recognizes they are ambassadors, spreading the organization’s value to its constituencies.  

Do you want stability in your business? Master the PEOPLE discipline. When you do, you impact the CUSTOMER and the TEAM constituencies. Hire extraordinary leaders, emplace a rock-solid talent development program, and recruit the right people to fill the right seats on the right bus, going in the right direction. Do this, and you have a dynamite organizational culture with team members who have a can-do attitude wanting to grow the business. 

The EXECUTION discipline creates consistency and stems from skilled managers mastering the processes internal to your organization. Processes equate to consistency and productivity. If the actions are repeatable and impact the organization, productivity is enhanced when a process is defined, emplaced, managed, reviewed and championed by an owner.  Processes are as simple as a department morning huddle, structured to disseminate critical information required to optimize the day’s work activities. Or it can be as complicated as a multi-dimensional and sequence-stepped manufacturing line with several employee interventions. Tied to this is knowing your numbers and having financial controls that focus the organization on revenue and profit drivers. Master the execution discipline, create consistency, and significantly impact the team and stakeholder constituencies. 

Finally, there is the MISSION discipline. The word mission is not meant in the traditional sense where the organization writes a mission statement. Mission in this context is much broader. It expresses the actionable behaviors you want your organization to replicate and codifies them as core values. Furthermore, it defines your purpose, the “WHY” you’re in business, and creates the powerful emotional connection so lacking in most organizations.     Master the mission discipline, and your constituents understand the impact your organization has not only on them but also the community at large. 

Time for accountability and action. Do you want a business that is sustainable, predictable, stable, consistent and emotionally connected? Master the five exponential growth disciplines and create a resilient, growth-oriented, dynamic, profitable successful business. If you’re a CEO, are you adding zeros or zero to your company? I’m confident you, too, will conclude, Monte’s construct is brilliant in the simplicity and clarity it provides CEOs and their executive teams leading and managing organizations. This is how you lead, think, plan and act.  Now let’s get after it! 

Paul A. Raggio is co-owner, with his sister Lisa, of One True North INC Leadership and Business Coaching Solutions.

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