Compusearch (now Unison) was a visionary company with visionary goals. But, as often happens with visionary companies, focus on a long-term strategy to revolutionize a market can mean that near-term execution and operationalization can suffer, creating barriers to growth.
From its founding in 1983, the company used state-of-the-art software design and development to provide solutions that streamlined and automated key steps in government procurement, purchasing, and contract management.
In 2005, the company arrived at a strategic decision point. The company’s team of owner-operators decided to sell the company and retire. The new owner, private equity firm The Carlyle Group (Carlyle), saw immense potential in the company and its pedigree of quality innovation.
But Carlyle also saw that the change in ownership was an ideal time to assess how the organization operated and to upgrade to more effective strategy execution and operations maturity. Maturing operations turned out to be essential to achieving the goal to double revenue and increase margins to realize a 4X return on invested capital within five years.
After reviewing the draft news release announcing my latest promotion (many years back) and offering her congratulations, our press agent exclaimed with some dismay that: “…now you’ll have even LESS time than ever!”
I remember remarking smartly in reply that she was wrong,and that I still had just as much time as I’d always had. In fact, I had the same amount of time each day that both Da Vinci and Einstein had, and that my job, same as ever, was to make the most of it!Continue reading How Top CEOs Manage Their Time→
You have a vision of what you want your organization to be but you do not know how to make it happen. The problem may be lack of capital, or you are consumed with the “every day”, or your team is not stepping up. The challenge is to find your organization’s constraint to growth and then to relieve that constraint.
Sometimes the solution is right in front of you but you need a fresh perspective from an experienced hand to see it, just as did Professor Nash in this scene from A Beautiful Mind:
An organization is a system of systems: the system of doing what it does (DO), the system of creating demand for what it does (SELL), and the system to get big (GROW). Odds are that one of these three systems holds your organization back from achieving its potential to perform and grow. Which system constrains your organization?
IntelliVen can help. We work best with organizations who sell products or services into the enterprise and government markets. You should be bigger than a startup and a small fraction of the size you will be when you get to the goal you are after.
When it is time to start planning but the top team is maxed-out just keeping up with operations, outside help may be just the thing. But what kind of help is best to get?
Keep in mind that there are four types of help. Here is a guide you can use to decide which is right for you and your team.
About consultants…what is the difference between them?
1. Strategy Consultants
WHAT THE LEADER WANTS: Strategy consultants compare organization performance with others in similar and different industries to recommend what is possible in light of advances in technology and trends.
THE REALITY: The challenge is for leaders to internalize and adopt new ideas as their own, especially in light of what it will take to implement them. Strategy consultants are known for good ideas and not for helping clients follow their advice.
Business school students have to decide their course of study from day-1 … and the choice makes all the difference. The first decision almost always comes down to: operations vs finance:
The allure of finance is working with money to buy and sell companies. Success is when a small stake in a large transaction generates a healthy payday in a short time.
The attraction of operations is working with people to build and run something of value that is eventually realized through a sale, financing, or public offering.
Finance looks like the fast track to great wealth and has attracted top MBA students students for decades. Operations looks like a long, hard road with a massive payday only for the few with enough dedication, talent, time, and luck to pull off a successful start-up from scratch.
While the economy needs both financiers and operators, the promise of quick and large returns has left the world short of the talent it needs to drive growth and scale of quality organizations.