“How much longer will I have to wait in this line?”
It is a question people ask themselves daily as they wait in line for food service, airport security clearance, making a purchase, or sending a package. Even in online business, customers who purchase are asking, “How long do I have to wait?”
In a society of instantaneous expectations, a delay of even five minutes can feel like “forever.”
Agility, rapid response, and instant fulfillment compete daily for the more concrete characteristics of legality, quality, and safety. And in most instances, today’s consumers demand both.
How can you as a business leader facilitate the speed and quality of delivery in response to such expectations?
There are three parts of business that must work together like clockwork: products, processes, and people.
Here are some ways you can maximize agility while also maintaining quality in your business.
Stop for a moment, and quickly think of a successful business.
What is the first one that comes to mind?
Now, consider this:
What is that business best known for?
Chances are, you named one thing – one flagship product or service that essentially represents the vision, mission, and focus of the company.
This definition of that “one thing” is key to creating speed and efficiency. This doesn’t mean a company can have only one product or service; it does mean that its products and services tie to a central core – the vision, mission, and focus of the business.
When businesses hit that “clicking point,” where they are known for something very specific, they can begin to grow.
Zig Ziglar said it well: “Don’t become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.”
If you have ever known a company, respected and recognized in a specific niche, that decided to grow in an entirely different direction, you know the consequences that can come of becoming a “wandering generality.”
Those companies essentially lose their business identity, and along with it, their customer base. They become so diverse, that creating efficiency becomes nearly impossible.
With a tight focus, you can begin to create highly efficient processes. You can replicate patterns, create automations, divide and delegate, mass produce, and get consistent results. Trying to be or deliver “all things to all people” creates a nearly impossible scenario, where every product or service must be customized.
While there is a place for customization, it is usually in a very niche type of market, where speed is neither expected nor delivered. Prices will be reflective of that customization.
But for most businesses, speed and agility require defined products and dynamic processes.
How and where you place your people in business can have great impact on outcomes and results. If there is a lengthy wait, it is either a process issue, a people issue, or a combination of the two.
You have seen this at fast food restaurants. One day, you go there, and receive prompt service. Another day, there are long lines, and the wait is so lengthy that you pull out of line.
This indicates there is either a process issue or a people issue. In the case of fast food restaurants, where processes are often franchised, it is usually the latter.
The functionality of the crew is key.
This is true in any business. If you sell a product or service, and there is a lag in delivery, check the line. If customers are waiting to purchase, check the line. And especially if customers are starting to turn away, check the line.
Do you have your fastest team members at the front of the line?
These are generally the positions of marketing, sales, customer service, and fulfillment.
But not all employees are fast movers and thinkers. Does this mean they have no place in today’s business?
In fact, they, too, are key players. They should be placed in the foundational areas of a business: design, legal, accounting, compliance, technology, and remediation.
As a leader, knowing each member of your team and their specific strengths is key to correctly assigning them to the positions that best use those strengths. And correct assignment creates high performing teams and, consequently, high performing businesses.
Correct placement not only creates a highly efficient and high-quality process, it also alleviates a great deal of stress on your customers and team.
Customers will either be saying “How long do I have to wait?” or “Wow! Great service!”
As the leader, you have the power to determine the outcome.
Learn how you can create a team that delivers the “wow” to your clients and customers. Click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.