Want progress? Then make way for new things to happen in 2015!

Are you a fill-er-up-er or are you a replacer? A fill-er-up-er is someone who tops up on the oil every time there is a need to go further. There is no looking under the hood for further tune-ups. A replacer, on the other hand, is someone who would look at what’s not working, take those out, perhaps clean them up and put them back in, or, if the part is really damaged, to replace it with a new one. He then fills the engine up with new oil, ready to take on the next challenge. Well, if you were a fill-er-up-er, you will quickly find that your vehicle will not go the full distance, and you would either have to top it up again, or worse still, to do a complete engine overhaul when it seizes. If you want progress in your business, then you might like to look at the replacer model than the top-up model. So in this article, I share about the 4 important things to remember when embarking on the replacer strategy.

What the replacer strategy is all about

Just like in vehicle maintenance, you can embark on it on an as-needed basis, or on a planned basis. The as-needed basis usually reacts to situations that happen, and you will top-up the motor oil when you find that it is depleted, sometimes refreshing it. The planned model, by contrast, replaces the motor oil and the related parts like the oil filter and spark plugs, on a planned schedule. These will be replaced when the time comes with no compromises. Using this analogy, we will talk about your corporate strategy, and see how you can adopt the replacer model for building in progress!

1. Embark on a periodic checkup

To keep your car running at tip-top condition, you need to have periodic checkups. By periodic we mean that it has to be a fixed time intervals, with a set of protocols to follow. Similarly, if you want to have a well-tuned business, you too need to do periodic checkups. You will require a set of performance metrics. I wrote about this in a previous post, so I shall not belabour the point here.

Related: Why good success metrics make all the difference

2. Use quality inputs

Just as the vehicle will perform better with better oil and higher spec petrol, your business will do better with quality inputs. What are these inputs? Well, if you take a leaf out of balanced scorecard, then it would be your customer management protocol, your operational excellence, your training and your financial strength. You can read more about the balanced scorecard in this related article:

Related: Use this framework to monitor your business growth

Replace, even if it doesn’t seem to be broken

As mentioned earlier, this is the tenet of the replacer model. Even if your vehicle was running smoothly, when the time came for parts to be replaced, they should be; even when there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. In a business, this applies to your business model, your products, even your people. Sometimes, there is a need to move people around even when they are doing a good job. They have to be promoted into a bigger role, and new people put into theirs. Without this movement of staff, there is no refreshment, and without that, complacency, or even resentment, sets in. So even if you were totally satisfied with how people are working, shake them up by moving them. Put them into new roles that would stretch them. This will enlarge their mind, their performance, and ultimately, lead to the growth that you want.

There are always spares

Sometimes, people are afraid to change things because of a lack of spares. When this happens, they push the vehicle until it breaks down, before they start looking for spares. This will then cause the vehicle to be laid up, perhaps up to 2-3 months before spares come in from overseas. The inability to use the vehicle puts extra stress on the system, making the solution even more expensive! Well, the same applies when it comes to your business. No one is indispensible. It is better to look for replacements for people when they are still marginally contributing, than to try to find a replacement when the person completely breaks down. When someone is already struggling in the role after all the support and training is given, it is time to look for replacements. Don’t wait for either the time he quits or the time you fire him. That would be too late!

So there you are. Four key areas to look into to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape to deliver progress for you in 2015!

Wishing you all the best!

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