Recently here in middle Tennessee, we have had a tremendous amount of cold weather that has been accompanied by icy conditions. Those who have moved here from the north, where they are used to these type of conditions in winter, are often taken back by the traffic problems created by this severe weather. Drivers appear out of control as they attempt to navigate the streets resulting in a multitude of traffic accidents. Losing control of one’s car on a sheet of ice is a terrible feeling because you are not in charge of the direction of your vehicle. Outside forces have taken control and the eventual destination is not up to you. Webster defines control as, “to direct the actions or function of (something): to cause (something) to act or function in a certain way (Merriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary).”
In the beginning stages of my work with business owners, I have seen companies that were in control and those who were out of control. Those companies who are operating out of control are not in charge of their destiny and if control is not restored can end up in a terrible situation. It is impressive to observe a company that is in control. These controlled companies generally have the following characteristics.
- External Order– By this I mean the physical appearance of their facility is one of order. Their reception area is clean and well organized. If they have a shop or plant, the area is free of obstructions, everything is well maintained, and the floor is clean and orderly. I believe you get the picture. Appearance matters! Generally when there is orderliness on the exterior, there is orderliness and control on the interior which bring me to point number two.
- Internal Order– Companies that are in control of their destiny have a well defined strategy. Proceeding out of this strategy are specific goals in each key area of the company. The team knows these goals and their performance is measured on a timely and continual basis. Regular monthly meetings are conducted and the financial results are analyzed versus the goal. Variances from the goal are corrected, adjustments are made for the future projections and the company forges ahead.
It is truly a beautiful sight to observe a company in control. The employees are confident, well informed, and treat one another and their customers with courtesy and respect. The leader is focused on the future and strategy execution of the business. A company in control is a company building value.