Friday, April 5, 2013

Building a Foundation - Part One

Any business, to have a high level of stability, of staff retention, experiencing expansion and stable growth must be built on a solid foundation.

This foundation must be very well understood, agreed upon and communicated to everyone involved.

In my experience working as a Certified Executive Coach and an Efficiency Expert, this foundation consists of
a. identifying the Core Values for the business (and best the personal Core Values, too) and
b. establishing and formulating the Basic Purpose for the business.

Let’s take up Core Values first! This takes some time and its time well spend. The better this is done, the more grounded the business and the people working in it are and that’s the major prerequisite for being and staying focused.

I found a very good description of Core Values on the National Park Services website at and am repeating it (with minor changes) here:

“The core values of an organization are those values which form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct ourselves. We have an entire universe of values, but some of them are so primary, so important to us that throughout the changes in society, government, politics, and technology they are STILL the core values we will abide by. In an ever-changing world, core values are constant. Core values are not descriptions of the work we do or the strategies we employ to accomplish our mission. These values underlie our work, how we interact with each other, and which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission. The core values are the basic elements of how we go about our work. They are the practices we use (or should be using) every day in everything we do.”

Govern personal relationships
Guide business processes
Clarify who we are
Articulate what we stand for
Help explain why we do business the way we do
Guide us on how to teach
Inform us on how to reward
Guide us in making decisions
Underpin the whole organization
Require no external justification
Essential tenets
Operating practices
Business strategies
Cultural norms
Changed in response to market/ administration changes
Used individually"

I have found this to be a very workable definition and have used this successfully in helping businesses/organizations to work out not only their business/organizational Core Values, but their personal ones, too.

Identifying the top 3 – 5 Core Values and being specific in describing them for your business/organization AND getting everyone one involved in the process of doing so establishes maximum agreement and willingness to contribute to it!

A big positive shift in attitude, cohesiveness, focus and cooperation took place every time in the corporate culture which resulted in immediate growth, etc.

This is not something to brush over or do it over a lunch break, but requires the time needed and knowledgeable, focused and positive supervision to accomplish the desired results.

It is definitely worth doing.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Efficiency - What is that?

Efficiency – What is that?

Here I am writing blogs about Efficiency and talking about it without taking into account the fact that people have all kinds of different ideas about Efficiency and do not necessarily know which definition of Efficiency I use.

So, let’s clarify this first:

An engineer or someone in a related field looks at efficiency as the ratio between input and output/return. The less electricity or fuel you need (input) and the higher the heat, cooling, mileage, etc. (output/return) is, the more efficient the machinery, car or system and so on.

A factory operator or anyone designing any kind of an assembly line looks mostly at it from a time / motion proposition.

All of these are valid definitions and have their uses and workability.

Now, let’s take a more expanded look at it (this is the definition I use):

“Efficiency is defined as being able to do any kind of task or action to completion and good result. This is done without wasting time, money, materials and resources!”

Since completion and good results are part of this, “Effectiveness” is actually part of the definition of “Efficiency”!

That is an important point since I have observed numerous times that someone would complete a task with good results, but the amount of time needed or the amount of money, materials or resources used was way too much!

Therefore, when you hear me talking about “Efficiency”, know that I use it as the more senior concept / definition and that “Effectiveness” is just a part of that.