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Operating Rhythm – Your Business’ Key to Consistency
As a business owner, you’ll know better than anyone that in a complex and ever-changing world, it can be difficult to keep on top of everything.
Keeping your customers happy, motivating & retaining staff, generating leads, monitoring the business performance, paying bills, taking care of your bookkeeping and compliance requirements – all of these tend to take up most of our capacity when running a business. What is often overlooked or neglected as a result of being time-poor is the consistent and considered management of the framework that guides your business as a whole in the form of a Strategic Plan. This includes everything from your vision & mission, strategic priorities, goals, KPIs, coaching, and everything in between. This is where an Operating Rhythm comes in, an end-to-end system that is key in implementing the overall Strategic Plan for your business.
What is an Operating Rhythm?
An “Operating Rhythm” refers to the codified structure that outlines the very purpose of your business, what you want to achieve, and how you’ll get there. Think of it like a roadmap for your business. It comprises a broad range of factors that contribute to the success of your business, looking beyond just the financials and day-to-day operations. The following are included in a comprehensive Operating Rhythm: values, vision, mission, strategic priorities, goals, and coaching.
The deliverables of an operating rhythm often include handouts to the management team and staff outlining the items listed above, a performance management framework, engagement surveys, NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys, organisational charts, and more.
What Can an Operating Rhythm do for Your Business?
The primary objective of implementing an operating rhythm is to give you clarity in the direction of your business, improve the engagement of your team, provide you with tangible, up-to-date data that can help you make more effective strategic decisions moving forward, and improve the overall performance of your team.
Clarity: You may already have a decent idea of where you want to take your business, the goals you want to achieve, and a rough timeline for everything to happen. The difference between having a few ideas in your head, and having it down on paper in the form of an Operating Rhythm, is clarity. It becomes a reference point for decision making – for instance when a business opportunity comes along and you’re considering how it fits in with your overall strategic direction, the Operating Rhythm is something you can refer back to for guidance.
Engagement: When you develop and share your Operating Rhythm with your team, you are giving them a number of important things. The first is an inside look at the direction of the business as a whole. Rather than being left in the dark, your team will know what the overall plan is, why certain decisions are made, and what the overall business goals and priorities are. The next is an indication of how they fit into the bigger picture. This improves buy-in from the team, by giving them confidence and clarity in how their role impacts the bigger picture and ‘what’s in it for them.’ The Operating Rhythm also improves engagement by giving the team an opportunity to give feedback and share their own ideas for improvement, and gives you a platform to share with your team what you are doing to act upon their feedback. More on that as follows.
Data: One of the most difficult things to measure is employee satisfaction. A comprehensive Operating Rhythm should include some form of Engagement Survey, where your team is given the opportunity to rate their satisfaction at work, offer ideas for improvement, and speak up about any issues they’re having. Implementing this survey regularly gives you benchmarking data that you can compare with previous results. From here, you can see if you’re moving in the right direction and make real, impactful change in the business for the benefit of your team.
Performance: An effective Strategic Plan and Operating Rhythm will help improve the performance of the business and allow you to effectively monitor its performance to foresee any adverse circumstances and rectify any issues or concerns early before they become a real problem. Its strength is that it is not a ‘set and forget’ system which allows the business to pivot should the need arise – if the last 2 years are anything to go by it’s critical to have a system in place to navigate the various challenges!
An Operating Rhythm assists in implementing an effective strategy by aligning your staff’s (including owners) performance with the goals and values of the business. That way, everyone has a role to play in the success of the business.
How MP+ Can Help
Moving forward with an Operating Rhythm is a significant step in improving staff engagement, adding value to your business, and making effective decisions. However, doing it alone can be challenging, especially when you have plenty of other things on your plate. If you’d like to know more about how McKinley Plowman’s Business Improvement team can assist you in implementing your very own Operating Rhythm, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 08 9301 2200 or via our website.
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