Guest writer Floyd Jerkins writes this week about the ins and outs of Holistic Management, and all the ways it sets a company apart from others.
Holistic Management: Who Are the Real Kings of the Business?
We’ve all gone into a business to buy something and experienced the sales staff that was energetic and full of promises, only to find what happens after the sale isn’t quite the same. One department blames the other, and there’s confusion about exactly what to do. We’ve all been there. The question I have is, who are the real kings of the business?
Holistic management practices set a company apart from those who are not managing this way. Fundamentally, how do you get all the departments to work in unison for a common goal? How can we align these departments and divisions to create peak financial and operating performance while also generating high levels of customer satisfaction and repeat and referral business?
What’s So Unique About You?
Organizational development takes on many shapes based on the business model or industry. Each industry has unique characteristics with how they sell their products to generate revenue. There are thousands of family-owned multi-generational businesses driving our economy. Many times, industries’ overlap and have common organizational traits despite the notion that they are unique. They share so many of these traits that it creates a pathway of learning.
Startups and small, closely-held companies create policies, procedures, and methods of operations differently from companies with fifty or more employees. Typically, in smaller companies, the owner or founder is actively involved. Their knowledge and experience are put to the test every day as they attempt to scale their business. If they come from a sales background, the business takes on a sales mindset, although other structural components are needed for the whole company to thrive.
Nothing Happens Until Something Sells
If you don’t sell something, no one has a job, right? I’m sure you’ve heard that before. I contend that salespeople who are allowed unique privileges to make a sale can easily cause havoc in other departments. I’ve been in hundreds of businesses over my years. Too often, an owner supported a salesperson telling the customer something to make the sale even though they have no clue how they will honor that commitment and keep everyone in the chain happy. There are hundreds of examples, but let me get back to my points.
Many “chronic” organizational illnesses are associated with a front-end business regardless of what market segment you’re in. Each business model has specific characteristics that help it grow or die.
With owners or executives coming from sales, other departments often suffer by not getting the proper attention to invest in people and resources. Too many times, sales meetings don’t include leaders from other departments. Policies are made without consideration of the impact through the entire company.
Executives who create a holistic culture know that everything in the day-to-day flow of operations is hinged together. Instead of fixing one problem and making five others, they think and plan with an overall company’s view.
Are the sins of the sales department masking the ability of other departments to be successful?
Are Salespeople Really the Kings of the Business?
You would think with so many sales-driven leaders that the sales departments would perform perfectly. Leaders who come from the sales side of the business many times will struggle to influence other departments. If you ask many, they will say they have a great sales department, just look at my volume and margins. However, as I address in other articles, these are not the only predictors of success and often are put in front of a conversation to mask a sales department’s real sins.
Executives and leaders have to be bought-in to improve overall operations. If they aren’t, then the fish can rot at the head first because you can’t get to peak profits by a pen stroke.
For an organization to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, they require knowledge-based workers. Through these people, you earn the right to have a repeat and referral business that sustains your organization through a cyclical market’s ups and downs.
You can easily win a customer through the sales department, but where you keep and then retain the customer is through all the other touches and servicing points your business offers.
If a business owner tells me they are selling a boatload of their product but are losing money in another department, it is a sure sign they are probably not leading with a holistic mindset. They are headed towards the business of the past.