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6 Steps To Business Success By Being 'Awesomely Simple'

Who would ever suggest doing business today is simple? Everything is faster, more complex and brutally competitive – but simple? Uh, not a word that comes to my mind.

Executives face loads of problems – most of them crucial – BUT one business consultant says while those problems may be crucial, they are not complex.

John Spence the author of AWESOMELY SIMPLE: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Actionsays his book can help make those crucial problems easy ones that are quickly solved.

Spence makes his case here is his posting for Bullish.

Awesomely Simple
Awesomely Simple
Awesomely Simple

Awesomely Simple: Why Running a Successful Business Doesn’t Have to Be So Complicated by John Spence.

Running a highly successful and profitable business can be incredibly challenging, especially in economic times like these, but why in the world make it more difficult than it needs to be?

The key to success in business today is making the very complex....Awesomely Simple.

For the past 14 years I have traveled worldwide helping businesses of every imaginable size and in dozens of different industries focus on the most important factors for business success. What I have discovered along the way is that business is much less complex than I thought it was.

My experience with varied companies of every shape and size across a myriad of industries brought me to this realization: There are really only six essential core strategies that form the foundation for building a strong and sustainable business.

Unfortunately, most business owners and managers are so busy putting out fires and trying to keep up with the overwhelming pace of business today, that they don't have time to step back and look at the big picture of what it takes to keep their company on track and moving forward in a positive direction. I’ve worked in organization after organization where employees are under tremendous stress and pressure to make their numbers and gain market share, yet I have been constantly puzzled as to why they seem to be spending so much time and energy on things that won’t lead to marketplace success.

Based on intensive research and more than a decade of working shoulder to shoulder with some of the top business leaders in the best companies around the globe (including Microsoft, Genentech, G.E. Capital, Verizon, and State Farm, among others), a distinct pattern emerged of six fundamental areas of focus to build a strong foundation for business success.

The six areas are:

  • A vivid, compelling and extremely well communicated vision/mission/values.
  • An intense commitment to find, hire, grow and retain the very best people.
  • High levels of transparent, honest and courageous communication across the entire organization.
  • A strong sense of urgency to get the most important things done... now!
  • A culture of disciplined execution that flawlessly delivers the value proposition.
  • Extreme customer focus -- truly owning the “voice of the customer.”

I challenge you to rate your organization on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being horrific and 10 being world-class) on how well you and your co-workers actually do these six things every single day. How your scores look on these items should mirror how well your organization is doing overall.

What I found is that most people know that these ideas are vitally important to business success; they just don't focus on them in a consistent and effective way.

For example, for the past five years I have been a guest lecturer on strategic thinking during a special conference at the Wharton School of Business. Each year I always ask the 100 senior executives in my workshop this question: “What percentage of time do companies with a solid strategic plan and the know-how to be successful in the marketplace spend to effectively execute their plan?” I clarify the question by adding that they should consider all of the companies they have ever worked for, and to include any intelligence gleaned from friends and business associates about their organization.

Taking all of that into account, the answer has been very consistent year-to-year. According to these seasoned professionals only 10 to 15% of businesses are actually executing successfully on their key objectives. Think of the wasted time, talent and especially money that this number represents!

The goal then is to simplify.

Remove the clutter, extraneous information and noise and teach your team to get down to the basics of business success. Instead of spending endless hours in meetings debating issues that add no real value to the customer, or trying to answer 300 e-mails a day, the key is to create a culture of continuous innovation and extreme customer focus that relentlessly drives to deliver more and more real value to the marketplace.

Too many businesses today are all sizzle and no steak. They focus their attention on the new social media frontier, advanced strategic theory, ever-changing IT advancements, off-shoring, globalization… these are all nice and interesting, but you must have the fundamentals absolutely nailed before you can master these topics as an organization.

There is a recipe for business success, six essential strategies that when taken from “idea” and turned into “action” make running a strong and profitable company awesomely simple.

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John Spence
John Spence
John Spence

John Spence is the author of AWESOMELY SIMPLE: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action and “Excellence by Design: Leadership.”

He has served as Managing Partner of a highly respected business improvement consultancy that delivers strategic branding, design, advertising and employee development services to clients worldwide.

He has presented workshops, speeches and management consulting to more than 300 organizations and is a senior instructor at the Cornell University Leadership Development School.

Do you have a book suggestion, Question, comment? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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