“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”, said Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Success is not the result of luck or a matter of chance. It is a lot of hard work and harmonious functioning of many things that lead to success.
English Rock Group, The Beatles was undoubtedly a great success for the work they did in the 1960s and 70s. Their influence on the socio-cultural fabric of the world has been phenomenal. Was there just one factor behind their success? The members of the group complemented one another very well, they had a nice concept that the audience loved and they worked hard to execute the concept well.
In the current times, a business needs to be extremely agile in responding to the needs of their customers, expectations of their employees and partners and deliver results quickly to their shareholders. The CEO has an enviable job at hand to deliver a holistic solution aimed at the good of all stakeholders in the business – customers, employees, business partners, suppliers, government bodies, society and of course, the shareholders.
This is true for all organisations irrespective of their sizes, industry sectors and ownership structures. Focusing on just one of the dimensions or prioritising one over the other is not going to help. We need a holistic approach to deliver results on all 7 counts! How does the top team of an enterprise work on all aspects of the business at the same time?
An edifice survives the quakes and storms only if the engineers, architects and builders worked in harmony while it was constructed. It is very difficult to harness a building at its foundation. One can make minor changes to its facade, doors and windows or its heating, ventilation and lighting systems so that the structure remains aligned with the contemporary demands from time to time.
Similarly, an organisation’s foundation is its values and beliefs, mission and the problem it solves. There are iconic organisations that have survived for more than 100 years and transformed themselves along the way. They have shut businesses and started new lines of business; merged and acquired other organisations; invested in new ideas and divested some. Sometimes, they have transformed their existing lines of business to address the changes in the market dynamics. They have shifted their headquarters, changed their organisation structure and revamped their business models. In all these examples of transformation, they have kept their core values and beliefs intact. Though they have changed the statements over time to describe the values and beliefs of new people, the essence remains unchanged. The core values and the foundation remain as the guiding principles for the journey ahead!
In the current times, we need this more than ever before because organisations have to deal with many uncertainties and frequent volatilities forcing them to make changes often in their approach. Hence, tomorrow’s organisation has to put a lot of focus on defining the values, the mission and the problems it solves. From time to time, the leadership team across the levels needs to come together to review the alignment or the lack of it during the process of execution.
Need hard work and smart work
Having a strong foundation is not enough; we need the activities to run in harmony. The Beatles were successful not just due to their concept, collaboration, and creation but also due to many other execution factors. They worked hard to practice as a group, played on many concerts in the UK before they played on the big stages, kept on improving continually, planned their expansion in phases. They focused on building popularity in the UK before they ventured out to the US. These steps might have fallen in place for them as coincidences, however, these reflect careful execution that any organisation would dream of.
We have to put the right structure in place, build appropriate systems to facilitate delivery of the products and services our focus customer group is looking for, define the right work processes and execute them rigorously. Given the hyper-competitive world, a business has to succeed in, no amount of slackness in execution can be ignored. We need perfect execution on all aspects – from finance, sales, marketing, design, production, quality, supply chain and human resources to technology. We have to win!