Your Business Needs a Trip to the “ER”
Yes, no matter what the state of your business—growing like mad, falling precipitously, or mired in the mud—you need a trip to the “ER.” The doctor is in and can help you to lose weight, improve your BP, and help you to be healthier, happier, and live longer. Where is this magical business hospital located?
From my experience, every Board Member, CEO, President, and Owner is a self-diagnosing doctor of business health. When necessary or advisable, they might ask for a second opinion from another general practitioner. This could be a business advisor, a business broker, their CPA, a lawyer, another CEO they know through a trade association, or, in olden days, their chauffeur or butler. Maybe they think they know what the problem is and will immediately go to a specialist in supply chain, or sales, or innovation, or process. Often, the gut and experience take precedence over using data to inform a good decision.
I’ve begun describing myself as a business doctor, much like your PCP, Primary Care Physician. 90% of the time I can provide the diagnosis and the recommended plan of action to improve the business. The other 10% of the time a specialist is needed to work on a specific area. Of course, the specialist costs more than a bit more. In healthcare, many people are working to control the costs and to improve the outcomes. After all, it is a business, not just a social enterprise. I won’t argue with anyone regarding how successful anyone has been at improving health care. The approach, however, is worth putting on the examining table for your business.
Every business needs to have some sort of measures of success. I, and many others, call these Key Performance Indicators. In sports and games, we call it keeping score. Since we are approaching the end of the basketball and hockey seasons, I took a quick look at the arbiter of knowledge (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball_statistics) and came up with these basketball statistics:
- GM, GP; GS: games played; games started
- PTS: points
- FGM, FGA, FG%: field goals made, attempted and percentage
- FTM, FTA, FT%: free throws made, attempted and percentage
- 3FGM, 3FGA, 3FG%: three-point field goals made, attempted and percentage
- REB, OREB, DREB: rebounds, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds
- AST: assists
- STL: steals
- BLK: blocks
- TO: turnovers
- EFF: efficiency: NBA’s efficiency rating: (PTS + REB + AST + STL + BLK − ((FGA − FGM) + (FTA − FTM) + TO))
- PF: personal fouls
- MIN: minutes
- AST/TO: assist to turnover ratio
- PER: Player Efficiency Rating: John Hollinger‘s Player Efficiency Rating
- PIR: Performance Index Rating: Euroleague‘s and Eurocup‘s Performance Index Rating: (Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks + Fouls Drawn) − (Missed Field Goals + Missed Free Throws + Turnovers + Shots Rejected + Fouls Committed)
Games are much more fun to many than business. When I was younger, I chafed at people standing around the water cooler or the vending machine talking about the game last night. It took me years to understand how necessary some of that conversation is to develop relationships and trust among employees. Games are fun and interesting. I now have a grandchild that will turn 1-year old in less than two weeks. Simple games like peek-a-boo and getting the parents to pick up something are immensely fun from the very earliest age. That’s why I think we should use a different acronym or concept than KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the success of our companies. I’m now using GAME to mean Grow And Make Earnings.
Time for a commercial break. I use the GAME term in my just-published book Accelerating Start to Finish: Align 7 Forces for Business Success. It’s available now on Amazon. If you don’t have Amazon PRIME, may I suggest you order from the Kitsap Publishing option? They are they publisher I worked with here in the Pacific Northwest. Or you can support local business and visit your local bookstore to have them order a copy for you (and your employees). We had many discussions regarding the title. Where is the finish? I decided to use the “start to finish” term because every game or sports contest has a start and a finish. But, there is always another game or competition. Using baseball as the example, there are 162 games in a season. Each game has a start and a finish. Even a season is not the end, as we count how many seasons a player has played, or a coach has lead a team. We, as humans, need a short period of time to take a break, celebrate or commiserate, then get back in the game. The bible said to work hard for 6 days, then rest on the 7th. Everyone needs a short break. It finishes one week or one endeavor, then starts all over again.
Back to the show. Now, where does the “ER” fit into the GAME plan? Doctors take measurements of your vitals before trying to diagnose what is wrong with you as an individual. Leaders should do the same with their business. For the doctor, BP or Blood Pressure is one of those essential vital statistics. For business, I’d suggest that BP stands for Best Practices. How do you measure up against the best practices in your area and your industry? Some of those Best Practices should be among the Business Statistics (no, not BS) you keep. Chances are good that a trade association you belong to has some measures to track.
The “ER” comes from the fact that, as a leader, you must be working to improve your company, your people, your processes, your customers, and more. To do so, you must look at doing things “More or Less,” or more accurately, “More and Less.” That’s where the magical business hospital “ER” comes in. You need to look at applying some “ERs” to your business statistics such as:
biggER, fastER, lowER, bettER, customER, pERson, doER, usER, offER
Don’t waste another minute. Check your business into the ER and figure out what needs to improve
More AND Less!!!