Imagine if you were a judge in a business competition that measures your business across dimensions such as financial results, people, processes, technology, innovation, leadership and overcoming obstacles. Detach yourself from your business physically, intellectually and emotionally and view your business as a judge would do when comparing your business to others. I know how hard this is as I am both a business judge and a business owner.
Being a business judge has been responsible for some of the most powerful insights and learning in how to improve my own business. As a judge I also know how difficult it is to detach yourself from your business to gain a clear view of what is looks like to others, be they judges or customers. Despite the difficulty, detachment is absolutely necessary to gain a fresh perspective to inspire new ideas and the motivation to change. Without detachment you can often be defensive and prone to rationalize your status quo.
There are a few ways to make this process effective. If you are a sole operator you probably have the toughest challenge but you can do your research and analysis yourself or get help from a consultant, business coach or fellow business owner.
- Establish your judging parameters. It is hard to benchmark your financial performance against competitors but can base your judging on the health of your finances and rate of growth.
- Do your research on competitors and similar organizations. You can do this online and in person by visiting their premises. In my judging we look at the office layout, cleanliness, ease of access, and other elements. You can visit websites, visit forums, look through social media (Linked In, Facebook, Twitter) for insights into the profiles of your competitors and feedback from customers.
- Set up a scoring scale and use it. For each judging parameter use a scale and score each company you research as well as your own. I suggest you score your own business first and last.
- Judge the business and not the product or service. There is an inclination to rate businesses that are engaged in exciting and/or interesting products and services higher. I remember an instance of this with a comparison between and event management firm and a robotics firm. Many judges could not comprehend how the event management firm scored higher. The robotics firm was not as well managed, had immature processes, could demonstrate no focus on people development among other factors that were attributes of a model business.
When you have performed your research and filled in your score cards, it is time to go and spend some time thinking and planning. You do this part of the process away from your business and distractions. I cannot help but give a tip that describes all the contestants in the contest that I judge, ‘focus on the basics and the detail.’
In our next blog we will explain how to convert your business judging to creating better results in your business.