5 minute read
Quite often a ‘good’ company is perceived as being average. In the 1990s, well-known management books such as “Good to Great” and “In Search of Excellence”, further re-enforced this view. ‘Great’ or ‘excellent’ is the mantra and ‘good’ is not sufficient. This is a shame, as it can result in CEOs and teams being demoralised when they are running very able businesses.
Okay – they may not be fast-tracking, but they are steadily growing, or at least holding their own against a headwind, be it Covid, supply chain issues, or changing markets. A ‘Good’ company may also have the context of being an ethical business, those that choose purpose and values to help society – whether it’s better employees, employee ownership, a positive environmental stance or simply supporting charities. We think ‘good’ is, well, good.
The Government’s latest “levelling-up” theme also got us thinking. SME’s or emerging mid-enterprise (EME) that we specialise in (20 employees plus) are a major force for ‘good’ in helping to level-up, both on a regional and demographic basis and yet business gets limited thanks and rare encouragement. ‘Good’ SMEs companies, and perhaps more so, ‘good’ EME companies are the backbone of the country and if you own one or work with one, then your team has performed miracles in the last 18 months of Covid disruption. We should stand to applause you, as we did for our amazing NHS teams.
So, to the point of this article – we want you to congratulate yourselves for being quite simply a good company. We think strategic success starts with recognising where you are, then quietly, step-by-step driving change to stay ahead, whether through efficiency, M&A, new products, or strategic alliances.
Jeff Bezos said “The only sustainable advantage you can have over others is agility, that’s it because nothing else is sustainable. Everything else you create somebody else will replicate.” On the surface, this quote seems a fair comment, but we find agility is used as an excuse not to plan, and to be ad-hoc too often. This can lead to a lack of clarity and then confusion on the future direction of the business. We think that what Jeff alludes to here is to plan and then be agile in your implementation and constantly evolve.
A good company will do this intuitively, but the commercial world is accelerating and therefore more effort may be required in anticipating what customers need and what the pressures are on your business model to navigate the rivers of cash long-term and in a ‘good’, ethical way.
Continuing to be a good company also requires some honesty. Typically, organisations excel where the leadership and team enjoy an open and honest working relationship and are poor where this is avoided. Being honest about what you like and dislike can provide the opportunity to build advantage, so if you are looking for inspiration to grow and develop your company, it can often start with a truly deep and honest conversation with your team, leadership, and customers. Put aside all beliefs so that you can be objective and open, listen and then plan for change.
Let’s be frank – it is highly unlikely that you can be honest as then you are not objective. You have preconceptions and long-held industry beliefs and, yes, you have a strong personality and almost certainly, strong opinions and this may mean that you cannot easily be objective in seeing what needs to change.
If you want to continue to be a good company, ethically or commercially and to grow, develop and improve, objective help is critical. Our strategy team is ‘good company’ but is also packed with experience and ideas that can help you successfully achieve your goals and objective targets. We have the resources and objectivity to review all aspects of the business and identify where your ‘day job’ is stopping or getting in the way of unbiased analysis.
What should I do next?
If you have a strategy requirement or simply want a fresh perspective, please call us on +44(0)20 7788 8250, or email https://avondale.co.uk/contact-avondale/ for further information. Alternatively, you are invited to join our next discussion by registering for our webinar “Private Equity Demystified” on 4th November 2021 https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/8016113173704/WN_CfccWT0BS1WNEuMQ7YWMwQ