Get on the same PAGE for results

Many business owners run good businesses and generate some good results.  But do they ever wonder how much better the results could be if the company was headed in a clearer direction and the effort of all employees supported that direction?

The direction of a privately owned company needs to be determined by the owner.  Setting and managing strategic direction requires leadership.  However, it’s not uncommon that the idea of strategic leadership is a bit fuzzy or vague to a practically minded business owner.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Strategy can be led in a practical manner by the business owner.

A simple and basic framework for the strategic leadership role for a business owner can be found in the PAGE process that has been created by Vector 17.  The PAGE process has the following elements:

  1. P – Purpose of the company
  2. A – Analysis of the business
  3. G – Goals for the business
  4. E – Energy to achieve the goals

The owner has a critical role in determining the purpose of the company.  An owner should consider what the business activities are now, what they could become in the future and some more philosophical questions such as why does the company exist / matter and what difference does the company make in the world.  The purpose is the starting point for everything the business should do.

Once the purpose is determined then the owner can turn his / her attention to setting a realistic plan for what to accomplish.  This should involve some time spent on some analysis to identify the strengths of the organization, the key success factors in the industry segment and the best opportunities for the business.  It helps to be realistic about what resources are available, obstacles that exist and the real impact of competitors, customers and industry factors.

With a purpose and some business analysis done, it’s not that difficult to then set some achievable goals for the business.  It’s often best to first set some general long term goals which would create a focus based on the essential success factors for the business.  Then it is possible to set some specific short term goals which would move the company the next step toward the long term priorities.

Lastly, the goals have to be pursued and that depends on the efforts and efficiency of the employees.  If they know the priorities and are committed to achieving the short term goals then the chances of business success improve.  Involving key staff in the planning process helps but it’s usually necessary to have a good communication plan to get everyone working together.  Energizing the whole team to be focused and coordinated is how teams get to the top of their field.

So, once you have followed the PAGE process you should find that your people generally make better and more informed decisions and use resources more wisely.  However, it is necessary to keep in mind that periodically you need to refresh your PAGE.  Things change.

Competitors, customers and industries don’t stand still.  Things evolve and shift.  Leaders need to adapt to the realities of what is going on.  As a result, although your company purpose stays relevant for a considerable time, you should review your business analysis and goals from time to time on a frequency that you think suits the change rate of your industry.  If your industry evolves slowly then a semi-annual or annual review may be adequate to keep pace.

Maximize the results of your business by leading a basic process to set the direction for your organization and get your team on the same PAGE.  It’s a critical leadership role for any business owner and the PAGE process can help generate the consistent long term results that you need.