For our inaugural Ask An Entrepreneur, I spoke to my good friend Shannon Gail Clemonds owner/operator of Shannon Gail. Shannon Gail is a Chicago-based event planning firm producing 90+ weddings and events per year locally and across the United States. The team is comprised of a unique blend of business and event professionals with backgrounds in finance, marketing, design, venue management, hospitality, and catering and prides itself on being the go-to expert in all areas of event production. In its 10 years of business, the company has continued to set the bar for event management standards and has built an impressive resume of corporate and social clientele.
You don’t need to go full hierarchy but adding a level of middle management will acknowledge the dynamics that are already present and make your organization more efficient. You can hold onto your principles and organizational culture while still providing a framework that adequately specifies delegated decision making throughout the organization.
What are your strengths? What do you need to work on? What is the next pitch (opportunity) for your business? Will you be ready to knock it out of the park or will you foul it off? Do you know the answers to these questions or are you swinging blindly at whatever the pitcher throws? Competitive strategy is too important to leave to gut feeling, guess work, or good luck.
Efficiency is only part of the equation when determining the effectiveness of a process. In fact, I submit, efficiency is the least important part of this equation. The ultimate determination of the effectiveness of a process improvement is how that improvement affects the competitive position of the firm.
If you want to be the next Amazon, Apple, Intel, or Google the first thing you should do is disregard everything Amazon, Apple, Intel, and Uber except the fact that they followed no one. Throw out the mold. Break the barriers. Disregard the benchmarks. Ignore what you have read in every blog including this one. Forge a new path like the successful entrepreneurs before you. You can be the next great success story but only if you blaze your own trail.
Simply put, companies evolve or die. If GE had maintained the same product line it started with when the company was known as Edison General Electric (i.e. Edison bulbs and direct current), the company would never have grown to become the multibillion-dollar multinational conglomerate it is now. However, like New Coke and Crystal Clear Pepsi, some changes are just not warranted.
Management does not equal leadership and leadership does not equal management. These two skills are as disparate as apples and oranges. Managing leaders must strive valiantly to maintain separation between the two and whenever possible, err on the side leadership.
We have all been put in situations beyond our control. We have all experienced a time where our fate or the fate of our organization rested squarely in the hands of someone or something over which we had no influence or authority. However, in my experience, there is always something you can do to improve the situation for customers.