A New Year’s Resolve-lution

As business owners we problem-solve for a living. A form of problem-solving is to mediate resolution for customers, staff, and any other stakeholder. Being able to spot conflict, have robust conversations and negotiate win-wins then start to become second nature as a mode of survival.

When the word “Resolution” is Googled you will be presented with information relating to “New Year’s Resolutions”. It is really a different take on the idea of finding resolution in a business or team context.

But this got me thinking – what needs to resolved in the new financial year? And how do we do this?

Keep it simple, stupid

The late Kelly Johnson (lead engineer of US fighter planes during WW2 and beyond), is attributed with coining the phrase “keep it simple, stupid”. To keep it simple for yourself, maximise the list of things to resolve to three. This tends to be a manageable number. If one gets done – you win. If all three get done in the first few months of the new year – you also win.

But what three things should be tackled?

Be like Jack Welch

John Francis “Jack” Welch Jr was the CEO of General Electric (GE) from 1981 to 2001. During this period the company’s value rose by 4000 per cent. Welch drove excellence by focusing on simplification and consolidation. One of the key principals he used was a classic Six Stigma Model – Product, People, and Process. We can use this to figure out what needs to be resolved.

Pick one thing to resolve in each of these three areas. Here are some areas you could consider targeting:

1. Product

  • Existing products and services: what are the opportunities for improvement to increase efficacy or value for the customer?
  • Competitive products: go and try them, interact with them – what can you learn about your own products that can be resolved?
  • Rip it apart: take the emotion out of it and dismantle your product – listen deeply to feedback from customers and staff, what can be improved?

2. People

  • Conflict: it is common, and sometimes necessary, to drive excellence – resolution is critical to keep the business on track. What is unresolved between people in your team? Taking action on this could propel the business forward.
  • Listen to your gut: what does you instinct say?
  • What is the one conversation you can have to tackle something that is unresolved? Identify it and have that conversation asap. If you don’t know how to, then seek help.

3. Process

  • There are three areas of the business to target – choose one that you feel will have the biggest impact.
  • Back of house. Where is the biggest friction point in getting the product ready to sell or to deliver the product? Identify it, fact find around it, research the fixes, and resolve it.
  • Front of house. Where is the biggest friction point that the customer experiences when accessing your product? Gain feedback from staff and customers. Canvas for ideas and solutions and take action on the most appropriate.
  • Administration. What process is antiquated and time consuming? A good starting point is to identify the one thing that is done most often, that needs fixing.

Kick off the new financial year with your three resolve-lutions. This has the potential to be the cornerstone for making your whole business more stable and profitable in the coming year.

Paul Farina, Team Performance Specialist, Fresh Eye Solutions

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