Are You Delivering Winning Performance?

11 03 2014

With the award season in full flow, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on what makes organisations large and small successful. The formula for a winning performance is understood, but why do so many leaders get it wrong?

Research suggests that success comes from working harder and smarter than your competitors. For me, it is also about living up to your promises. If you are a progressive organisation, you need to ensure targets for development and income are being met – so as many businesses prepare for the new financial year, there is no better time to start planning for success.

Business presentation

Delivery of Successful Project Opportunities: The best place to start planning is with a ‘blank sheet of paper’…and some coffee. Gather your strategy team together and agree the end destination.   Also decide what type of journey you are going to take (perhaps collaborative?). Obviously, boil down the facts to exactly ‘what’ your customers value your organisation for first. Creativity and Value Management come to life when you start to examine the supply chain.

The essence of collaboration in the UK rail industry is not new, but the new era of ‘pure alliance’ contracting is.  Simon Kirby (Managing Director, Network Rail Infrastructure Projects) warned its major suppliers that some of them will have to rebuild their businesses as subcontractors as it slashes the number of main contractors it works with. Overall, 87% of the CP5 work will be done by firms working in long term frameworks or alliances with just 13% competitively tendered.

BS11000 key beliefs are built upon common principles, shared values and behaviours, which will help deliver programme efficiencies, whilst leaving a positive lasting legacy.  

Having a clear vision, mission and valid objectives that are understood by all will improve the flow of information. Not only from the top down, but also from the bottom up! Building an organisation without borders, end-to-end of the supply chain will challenge key beliefs.  You may choose to collaborate or not.  This depends on where you are in the supply chain.  Remember, you can collaborate in 4 ways (top to bottom, and side to side!).

So What Does Good Look Like?
Some good examples in the Rail Infrastructure Sector include, The Stafford Area Improvements Programme, Hitchin Alliance, and The Borough Viaduct project.  All of which are on course to deliver major cost savings and value through Collaborative Business Relationships (BS 11000).  Across the rail industry organisations such as; the Institute of Collaborative Working, Institute of Value Management and _Innovate UK looked at how different company’s can fit seamlessly together to accomplish a common objective. There is compelling evidence that information flow from the bottom-up is yielding significant results.

Key questions to ask: “What does your customer actually think about your organisation? How does your business gets referrals? Do you consistently deliver on your promises? Are you adding value, or reliant on a relationship built on high risk, or transactional business?”

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Shape and Close New Opportunities
Entrepreneurs will tell you their number one priority is helping their customers become more successful! Remember,  people buy from people, not from a faceless organisation. Trust is also a big factor in building strong partnership. True alliance partnering is evident only when the going gets tough, when blame culture surfaces. In today’s world, you work together to resolve a crisis or learn from mistakes.  Walk side-by-side with the customer!

Focus on the Important!
Recently we helped the Managing Director of a large Tier 1 Contractor develop their organisations vision, mission and policy documents. After several workshops with their leadership team, we agreed a cohesive vision statement “to shape the future of our industry by preserving its heritage, keeping everyone safe, and share our resources”.  With a firm grip on daily tasks and by empowering people to make critical decisions based upon facts, we created a cadence of trust and cohesion to the mission.   Only the ‘valuable information’ that was a need by the business and their customer was shared… productivity rose, staff engagement increased, and there was a ‘dramatic’ improvement in client engagement.

It is essential to differentiate your organisation from your closest rival. Keep track of your key performance indicators, this will help prove your strategy is working.  Always remember to check the trajectory of your journey regularly, develop a deep understanding of your customers’ key goals and add value at every opportunity.

Competitive advantage is all about what makes your company unique. Every member of staff should know why, but also their role and contribute to make your organisation a success story too.  Encourage your leaders to promote decision-making that supports sustainable change. This is healthy will provide proof of alignment to your strategy – both inside and outside of the company.

Become an Expert Story Teller! 
Communication is a big part of Sales and Marketing. Become an ‘expert storyteller’. Your own experiences make your stories come alive. Keep it relevant and don’t be boring. If you prefer, use some mentors to sharpen your skills and try out your pitch on willing family members or colleagues.   Try to understand your customers motivations to use your company. Use their language, listen to their concerns and offer a fair and measured response. When you do engage with prospects, you will skilfully deliver powerful messages that illuminate your sales conversations. Close, by offering a call to action or agreeing next steps!

With this new mindset, you can influence people by your industry knowledge, demonstration of intent and your ability to communicate a winning strategy effectively. It’s also time to stop thinking and start doing!

Communication is a big part of Sales and Marketing.  Your own experiences make your stories come alive. Keep it relevant and don’t be boring. If you prefer, use some mentors to sharpen your skills and try to be relaxed. Engage prospects with powerful messages that illuminate your conversations or sales conversations. Paint a picture for your client and try to understand their motivations to use your company. Use their language, listen to their concerns and offer a fair and measured response. This can be your best opportunity to offer a call to action!

If your end goal is business transformation, you have got to be clear on your central message. Make your strategy fly by valuing what’s most important. How can your idea be applied to business today? What are the benefits for your employees, suppliers or indeed customers? After all, they pay the wages!

Download a sample : Rail Champions BS11000 Roadmap

Winning performance is about shining a spotlight on your business, your people and your results. Practice telling stories and don’t rely too heavily on PowerPoint. The new era of Social Media has arrived.  Make the overarching message of your vision simple. Your strategy and its application should be anchored in the real world, quickly establishing fresh thinking which will become your teams agenda for success! Follow this advice and you will inspire your employees to deliver far more than turnover.  A can do attitude, supporting your customers and delivering real value for money.

Why not attend our next Essential Strategy Planning Workshop.  Full details here.

Please contact chris@rail-champions.com 

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