Your delivery model affects every part of your business and is its lifeline: having a healthy market to work in; the profit margins; each touchpoint from beginning to end; what happens between sales … the list goes on. In the timeless article 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Profit Margins, Devid Finkle writes about turnaround time.
The better you know each step from “yes” to delivery, the more resilient your company will be. Processes can get heavy with time. Knowing what to keep and what to let go, as well as what works and what doesn’t, helps us make the right decision. Every process has a starting point – a need for that measure to be created. A common practice I see is to keep and force that process to fit new situations that come up without even evaluating if the existing way is the right way.
In times when we feel pressure to perform, deliver, get something done … decisions may be hasty. They may get the job done in the moment. But are the resulting actions the right ones to turn into part of the delivery process?
The reason behind each step of your delivery process has value. Or, had value when it was created.
What do you do to evaluate each step of your delivery process?
As things change … so must we. Maintaining and renovating a delivery process is an important part of business. Delivery is half of the business model (revenue is the other).
As John Wooden said: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
This is critical in basketball, which was his expertise, as well as in business. There is “right…”:
- Right. Recognizing the path that keeps you in integrity and harmonizes with the mission and values.
- Right now. Making the best decision you can with the information you have to move forward effectively.
- Right next. Anticipating that the way each part of deliver fits together differently in the future than it does now.
Play in the field you’ve chosen.
Whichever part of the cost versus value grid your business falls into informs the decisions you will make.
All of us feel pressure to make change. It’s during those times that the decisions we make dilute our clarity about where our products fall on the cost / value grid.
Your company’s SWOT analysis will also provide important information for how to stay in the lane that’s best for your business and be able to filter out what will weigh down or muck up your delivery process. Matt Sweetwood, CEO of LUXNOW, shared with me that, “You have to be studying your own company, know your own market, understand the nature of the business, and look for opportunity.”
It’s this attention and focus that builds organizational resilience and develops each person within your organization.
The effectiveness of your business is about the prudent use of all resources.
What is prioritized is what is valued – i.e. the willingness to:
- State clearly what an effective delivery model is.
- Accept that what is prioritized is part of studying your own company.
- Commit to knowing the weak and threatened parts of your delivery process.
- Consider the best way to respond to unexpected situations that impact delivery.
There is a dynamic interplay between automation and people.
Every automated system has a people-element. Set-it-and-forget-it is nice, yet the “forget it” part puts your company at risk. The way people use a process and interact with their part of an effective delivery model comes down to how well understood the reasons are for each step of the process.
Improving gross margins and efficient delivery is measured through your financial reports. The story past performance tells can provide indicators of where the delivery model is weak or threatened.
Overlapping the past performance information with a dynamic company SWOT – and then adding in product market fit – informs the critical points of product delivery in addition to the sales process. Laura Wight, CEO and Executive Sales Consultant for Epic At Sales, told me: “Sales is the thing that lets you know what works and what doesn’t work inside of your business.”
We can rely upon both client acquisition and retention to be the pulse of the business. Each person in the company who doesn’t fully understand, or buy into, the product and interfaces with clients erode relationships … and, such individuals decrease efficiency. Understanding each step, what is possible, how you solve problems, what authority people have to act – all are a risk to give. Yet, that risk is where a different kind of efficiency develops: your company culture.
What a business communicates out to clients sets the expectation.
Inconsistency in what is said to what is experienced wears on client relationships. The metrics you set to look at both client acquisition and retention will add to the information needed to ensure early detection of any trend changes. Trends from your metrics also help you anticipate what is to come and how you will respond.
Intrinsic product market fit can be hard to find … and hard to keep.
More than any other place, if the market fit is not good enough there will be struggle no matter how well the delivery model works. The people who buy, the people who stay, and the people who eventually leave for another product can show you how effective you are at meeting their needs, meeting their expectations, and providing value to keep buying from you.
Effective delivery models are part of everyday business.
I remember one of the companies I worked with, Prudential Northwest Realty (Now Berkshire Hathaway Home Services) in Seattle and Portland. Chairman Mike Gain spent part of every week looking at processes. How customers interacted with the company; where were they confused; what clients experience and see. He set priorities from his findings.
The example Mike set for the leadership team and Office Managers demonstrated that customer experience is core to the company’s success. And, over time, his modeling become something that more of the leadership team started to pick up. It was a way they worked together, an expectation to the type of experience customers would have. Those who adopted that focus saw different results because their offices had someone modeling the necessary behaviors to actively assess what was happening at critical points of connection with clients.
His consistency resulted in a more effective delivery model.
During a conversation, Ian Peterman, CEO of Peterman Design Firm, shared, “Having an effective delivery model requires that your team is effective.” Effectiveness also is defined as successful and productive. Results. Getting the results or, even better, repeatable results, utilizes several soft skills. These skills / core competencies for effectiveness include listening, responsibility, courage, and decision-making.
These core skills are necessary and we’ve created resources – articles and the podcast – to help you exactly where you are right now. You have strengths and areas of your leadership to strengthen. The more you develop both, the more you will be able to fortify and grow your company.
Not having all the answers is hard. Not having the answers is a distraction that undermines others and product delivery. When we find comfort in certainty, we keep what we know because it is more certain than what we don’t know.
We rely more and more on technology to streamline, to reduce time and cost, and for competitive advantage. Deloitte conducted a survey about this dynamic and published Save-to-Transform. Companies are recognizing the need to transform when they save in addition to just cutting costs. Putting your attention on what is and what can be mitigates risk and identifies the right opportunities to achieve effectiveness.
You decide what to bring, what to leave, and what to look for.
Business resilience comes from the incorporation of core values and communicating a clear direction.
Your direction, your true north, is defined by the resources you have and how they are used, reflecting on past results, evaluating current / future opportunity, and knowing your decisions make the map you use to lead your company.
For more tips on growth, leadership, and business strategy check out our previous articles.
Still feel like you need a bit of help with some business direction on this topic? Then ACT to Plan by contacting me for a 30-Minute Unstuck Quick Consult. We’ll discuss your aims, where you are, and where you should be to move deliberately toward your team-building goals!