By Jeff Walsh
We are faced with lower growth in Oil Sands than previous years and with that more cutthroat competition and tighter pockets that keep clients searching for the best deal. Let's face it business is cold, and there will be losers. We all know it's time to dig in and get lean but how well is your business positioned to survive? And more importantly to thrive? Survival is not good enough, because if your plan is survival, you are already dead.
As a business in Fort McMurray, it is not good enough to lower our price and hope for the best, we need to beat the other guys by having the superior product or service. To deliver on quality it is not just strong brand power (although that helps), it is having quality people and processes to deliver the products and services consistently and with minimal waste.
1: Set Clear Goals: You must start by setting clear goals for your team so they understand what success looks like. Quality people are developed by creating an environment that values respect, knowledge and innovation. This will allow you to build an organization of leaders and retain the top talent. It is important to look at both short term and long term goals, and to involve the whole team in establishing the goals and continually measuring progress. Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound).
"If at first your goal cannot be reached, do not change the goal, change the action steps."
2. Raise your Standards: We are in an environment that will surely produce lower margins so we need to keep our finger on the pulse of day to day operations. Actively maintaining budgets, KPIs, controls for reducing overtime and maximizing billable hours, as well as performance management techniques such as 360 degree evaluations. Lead by example and raise your standards, for yourself and your people.
"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment."
3. Create Synergy: Stay agile (highly flexible and interactive) to provide solutions that work for customers and use validated learning to optimize current products or pivot to new products and services that will better serve clients. Instead of embracing fear, increase your energy by innovating, networking and creating synergies with employees, managers, clients, and other organizations with common goals.
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."