Welcome to 2021! After a year like last year it couldn’t come soon enough. In spite of the lingering COVID crisis, we are in (or close to) a time of renewal and we should be hopeful. Take some time to get quiet and think about what you really want. If you have already started a business, what are the outcomes you want to achieve? How do those outcomes dovetail with the rest of your life? We ask, because there needs to be agreement and synergy between your work and everything else you do.
As we have written about in previous articles in this space, Passion & Provision must go together. Their interaction causes the sum of the parts to be greater than the whole—and you want that synergy. To get there, you need a holistic model that can address multiple facets of your business at once. Our framework provides a “big picture” reference point, containing the fundamental areas of running a business.
The holistic model we recommend is like the top picture on the box of a jigsaw puzzle. Using this framework, you’re going to be able to figure out the edge pieces, and the sky pieces, and the barn pieces, and assemble them in a way that collectively works to aid the whole picture coming together.
Business leaders can easily get so distracted by working “in” their business, they forget to work “on” their business. They’re so deep down in the weeds of their daily operations or product development, that they forget to be strategic. Essentially, they’re only staring at the little puzzle pieces, and they never understand how all those pieces relate to the others.
By working within a holistic framework, you’re able to work not just in your business, but also on it. You’re empowered to work strategically. And, by building up your minimum competency in each core area, you’re not limited in your scope. You can freely engage with the different areas of your business because you know what questions to ask, or where to go to learn more. When you have a working knowledge of each core area, and understand how they work in connection to each other, you’re empowered as a leader. You’ll become capable of propelling your business forward in ways you haven’t been able to before.
So, let’s take a quick look at the six pieces of the holistic puzzle.
The Six Core Competencies of a Holistic Approach
Vision is at the center of the wheel because it holds everything else together. Vision requires that you know who you are, what you do, why you do it, and where you want to take your business in the future. It’s critical to have a compelling Vision to help guide today’s decisions and future decisions; if you don’t know where you’re going, then you risk never getting there.
Your Vision as a leader will determine how you motivate your employees—your “non-negotiable” values, your style of management—and will help you focus your operations. The Vision will inform your marketing, focus your financial decisions, and directly impact your culture. It’s the hub of your wheel and the very first thing you need to accomplish as a leader.
Leadership springs directly out of Vision; it’s about doing the right things, at the right time, in the right way. A company cannot grow beyond its leader, which means the strength of your leadership will ultimately determine the success of your company.
Good leaders must have a strong “inner and outer game.” Your “inner game” relates to your own integrity and motivations; leaders with a strong inner game are able to empower their employees from a position of creativity, not reactive anxiety or fear. Your “outer game” refers to your ability to relate and communicate effectively, as well as get the tasks of your business accomplished.
As a leader, you must know the Vision for where your company is going. You need minimum competency in the areas of running a business and cultivating healthy relationships. Good leaders inspire their employees, protect them, and hold them accountable. That, in turn, leads to thriving employees in every area of business.
3. MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS
Management and Operations relate to getting the right people in place, and getting the right things actually done. You must help your business effectively and efficiently deal with the detailed, day-to-day operations of getting work accomplished. These are the processes that go into producing your product and delivering it to customers. Your style of management will be informed by your effectiveness as a leader and by the vision-oriented direction you give your employees. Your employees’ response to your management—their morale and goal achievement—will significantly impact the efficacy of your operations, and therefore your bottom line. See how everything is connected?
4. MARKETING AND SALES
Marketing and sales touch every part of your business. Marketing is not just about finding customers; it is about everything that happens once they become a customer. Every interaction with every employee is part of your marketing. It’s about making sure that your company can keep the promises it is making in your marketing.
In a Passion & Provision company, your goal is to solve the real needs of real people. You must help people who are unaware of you become aware of you, then get them to purchase your product, then convert them into a regular customer, and ultimately turn them into raving fans.
When you market and sell your product, you’re helping take people from the “before” state of their challenges in life, and showing them that your product and service will lead them to a gratifying “after.” You’re helping solve their problems so that you can take them from being the victim in their story, to being the hero.
Your marketing and sales will be a huge generator of income and customer allegiance. Good marketing requires a clear vision for what your company is all about, and there needs to be solid systems in place to capitalize on effective marketing.
Money is the lifeblood that enables a company to survive. You need to be able to make revenue, turn a profit, and create steady cash flow in order to thrive. When you’re not managing your money well, your expenses are higher than they need to be and your profit is less than it could be. Failure to pay attention to your financial health could result in bankruptcy creeping up on you like a giant monster; you could be taken out, without ever knowing that you had a problem. You must not only understand the fundamentals of finance, but also know how to strategically manipulate different levers of finance so that they work to your advantage.
Culture is about creating an environment that nurtures and reinforces the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that will lead to the fulfillment of your company’s Vision. It’s about cultivating creativity and positivity. It’s about honoring your employees’ dignity and contribution. It’s about making work an enjoyable place to be.
Your company’s culture will impact your employees’ motivation and output. It will help you, as a business leader, remain focused on what really matters, according to your Vision and values. In our part of the world, where farming and agriculture abound, we think of cultivating your culture as a kind of fertilizer to the soil. Imagine bigger vegetables and multiple harvests a year, compared to smaller vegetables and one harvest a year. Good culture is going to make everything grow better.
Next time we will take a deeper dive into each of these aspects of your business. Until then, stay encouraged.