Many entrepreneurs struggle to find a reliable way to measure how strong their organizations are and identify the best solutions for strengthening their weak areas. I have found a great way to test your company’s strength and health by answering “yes” or “no” to only six simple questions.
1. Are you getting everything you want from your employees?
“No” is the most common answer to this question. Most companies have at least a few employees who just don’t fit the organization, and it’s hard to pin down why. Or they fit alright, but they don’t perform consistently.
A “yes” means you have all the right people in your company. It means all your employees are perfect fits for the culture, are top performers ideally suited for their jobs, and they see, believe, and want to achieve the company’s vision. They are self-disciplined to do well and have healthy, cohesive, and team-focused relationships with their co-workers.
2. Is there a culture of accountability in your organization?
“Yes” means everyone knows what his/her tasks are and carries them out to completion in the promised time. It means that you know exactly whose eyes to look into when results disappoint, and they are receptive to coaching to get back on track.
If you have people pointing back and forth at one another and everyone is saying, “It’s not my fault,” then your answer to this questions is “no”.
3. Are you satisfied with your rate of growth and profits, and can you sustain them?
Few entrepreneurs can say they are perfectly happy with their growth and profits, and even those who can usually don’t know how to sustain them over the long term; they find themselves in a “two steps forward, one step back” pattern.
If you are prepared to scale your company up while balancing top line growth, geometric bottom line growth, increasing margins, controlling costs, growing cash flow, and consistently exceeding customer expectations, you can answer “yes” to this question. This is a tall order, but these are the things that must be managed to enjoy sustainable growth, and strong companies are able to achieve them.
4. Are you happy with the number of hours you spend working?
We all have to invest a great deal of time in our businesses to get them going, but we can’t keep working overtime forever. Life is short, and your businesses should serve your life, not consume it. If you are pouring your heart and soul into your business, but can’t imagine a time when there will be balance and you’ll have time for your other passions, then it’s time to do a “checkup from the neck up”.
5. Do you have a solid exit strategy?
We’ll all exit our businesses; it is just a question of when. Without an exit strategy, you will eventually face the default “death exit”; you’ll exit when either your business dies or when you do. That may sound brutal, but no one can afford to answer “no” to this question. If you’re not developing succession plans, and eventually a plan to sell or transfer your interest to someone else, you’re kidding yourself. And it won’t just be your own family whose lives are affected, but the lives of your employees and their families, as well.
6. Are your meetings highly productive?
This may seem anti-climactic after the first five questions, but it is one of the keys to pulling it all together. You can answer “yes” to this question if you have what we call in EOS a “Meeting Pulse”. This means you stick to a regular schedule which includes:
- a two-day annual planning session at the beginning of the year to nail down your 1-year plan,
- regular quarterly planning sessions to make sure you hit the targets that will help you realize the annual plan, and
- weekly Level 10 Meetings with your senior leadership team and at the departmental level led by your Sales, Operations, and Finance leaders. (Download the Level 10 Meeting agenda here.)
If you answered “yes” to all these questions, congratulations! You have a rock-solid company.
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, it’s time to do a checkup to identify your problem areas and determine how to get on track to building a stronger company. If you need help, take five minutes to answer this 20-question Organizational Checkup. It’s free, and you’ll receive immediate feedback on your problem areas and what you can do to address them. If you have any questions, post them below. I’d love to answer them!