Renovation – Home Improvement vs Business Improvement

As managers, when you are head-down, working in the business, day in, day out, it’s hard to step back and evaluate what’s needed to improve the performance of the business. It’s also easy to take the view that because you know your business better than anyone else, that you are also the best person to evaluate what’s best for your business.

I refer to this as “renovation blinker syndrome”. Business owners and management teams often look at their business the same way and with the same bias as someone looking at their own house renovation project. You know what looks and works best, and where and in what order, to satisfy that mindset you’ve cultivated over many years. You may have tried different colour schemes, furniture layouts, etc. Often there are perfectly valid and practical reasons why one layout works better than another. But it takes a certain amount of daring, evaluation, expertise and external influence to achieve the best solution. What we think might work in our mind’s eye is limited by the blinkers we wear.

Think about all those specialty trades people who you work with on a renovation. They review your ideas, advise you of options, massage you ideas, maybe even enhance them, then turn them into reality. Although some of us may try, we don’t tell them how to do their job, instead we seek their advice and discuss the options. For most of us we just want the job done, but leaning on the expertise and resources of specialists and working with them to understand what’s involved and any potential implications, will typically lead us to a better solution and a much greater appreciation of the end result.

When it comes to thinking about improvements and changes within the business, it’s not so different. We may have an idea about a change or improvement, but we don’t always have the the time or the experience or resources to take a step back and impartially evaluate the best options and implement a solution. It’s easy to underestimate the inertia and conservatism that can exist within a company. Specific changes may have been tried before and failed. So why should you even consider those changes again?

I often meet with companies that have a perception that there’s a need for improvement of a specific KPI or business process. Something in their business is not working and needs to change. But often they have a blinkered approach as to what specific change is required and how it needs to be implemented. That’s not to say that it’s all bad, given that the first step towards change is in recognising the need exists in the first place.

Business consultants are specialists whose assets are the depth of our experience and the number of specialty tools in our toolkits. We have the capacity to see beyond what you’ve always seen, using a fresh set of eyes with an independent, outside perspective.

A good renovation adds value, often improving the functionality of specific areas and the capacity for all areas to work well together. It does take time. It also takes effort and commitment. But we also recognise that it’s worth some short term pain to achieve a better outcome.

This year, while you may be spending time renovating your house, how about renovating your business?

If you are not sure where to start, contact us today.

What are you biggest challenges in business improvement? Leave your comments below.

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