How to determine what your priorities are, and how to execute with excellence using a simple tool.
Not only are our organizations undergoing an accelerating of change, but so are our customers. In this increasingly competitive environment we have to be more relevant, and provide greater value, if we are to retain these customers. In short, we have to help them meet the changes they are experiencing whilst being able to meet the changes we are experiencing. This compounds the effect of change and challenges us in determining what our priorities are and how we need to act on them.
As Professor Gary Hamel, the leading management guru, said: “Today, the most important question for any organisation is this: are we changing as fast as the world around us?”
The Three Questions To Meet Change
In answering Gary Hamel’s question for both us and our customers we need to consider three things
- What are our priorities? – what are the most important and the most urgent things we need to address (not just those things which are urgent)
- What is the impact for us and our customers if we execute well on these priorities?
- What resources do we need to execute well?
Assessing Your Business Metabolism
The modern English word “metabolism” comes from the Greek noun metabole, meaning “change”, and the Greek verb metaballein, meaning “to change”. This is very appropriate as business is about change, and even more so today. Your business metabolism consists of those transformations which keep your business alive and healthy. This includes providing the resources (the food) which it can breakdown and rebuild and, in doing so, release energy (profit) which can be used to keep the business going and allow it to go. However, like people, not all resources are equal, how they are used is not always productive or beneficial, and the results can vary. So what can you do to ensure you use your ‘business metabolism’ effectively (doing the right things) and efficiently (doing things right).
Three Factors to Assess How to Use Your Business Metabolism
To use your business metabolism effectively there are three factors you need to consider: time, impact and resources
- Time – how long will it take to execute a task or project until it has the desired impact.
- Impact – business is about profit. To improve profit you need to increase your revenue and/or reduce your costs. How will the task or project contribute to achieving this?
- Resources – what resources are required? For example, people, cash, management attention, capital equipment, space etcetera. How much of them? Do you have enough resource in-house to execute well on this, or do you need to acquire more or look to partner with other organizations to source the necessary resources?
Use the attached template to assess all the tasks and project you need to do. Score each factor (Time, Impact and Resources) on a scale from 1 to 10 where 1 is low and 10 is high.
Use these three factors to determine your priorities, and to assess how you can manage change for yourself and your customers!
Using the Business Metabolism Template
- List all your current tasks and projects in the first column
- For all the current tasks and projects in turn score them for Time, Impact & Resources (don’t do each task/project in turn, this is less effective)
- Having completed the scores then calculate the score. The highest score is 1000 (10 x 10 x 10).
- Look at the scores and prioritize those to do first which have the highest score.
- Review this list. You may have tasks/projects which have scored poorly but which are still important to you. Look at their scores and ascertain what you would have to do to improve their scoring.
For example, to raise the Resources score from 3 to a 7 might require you to partner with a supplier to access the necessary resources. Think also how this will affect the Impact score – for example, you may only slightly increase the profitability (Impact) of the project as you have to share some of the upside with the supplier. Impactmight go from a 4 to a 6. Time may be better as you can now do it more quickly and improve from a 5 to an 8.
Original Score: R x I x T : 3 x 4 x 5 = 60/1000 or 6%
Revised Score: R x I x T : 7 x 6 x 8 – 336/1000 or 33.6%
Business Metabolism Template
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