The Five P’s of a Manager’s Portfolio Allow Right Building
Assessing a business operation takes scrutiny of the right five P’s. Get it wrong and you can find yourself damaging more than building. Get it right and the right stuff comes together. Look to the heart not the surface. Uncover riches.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln
First Things: Begin with the end in mind. This is another article, but you need to be reminded before you look into the P’s. Every operation includes an objective to be measured and met. Don’t look too deeply into the organization before you determine this item. Otherwise, the P’s, which may be out of position, can lead you to wrong places. If they were perfect, why would anyone need you? They must continually be adjusted to measureable objectives.
People: Take time to review the people set. Are the right passions, personalities, and portions (skills sets) on the team? Is this set to succeed or set to fail? Has this team been intentionally built and honed or sporadically pieced together? What will it take to realign and make productive? What is missing? What is unbalanced?
Props (Tools and Technologies): Examine the tools and technologies in the operation. Are they current? Are you trying to hit a big hairy audacious goal with skinny, smooth banana peels? Has the shop been kept upgraded or held back with cost cutting for years? What will be the investment? Is the team “too techy” and loaded up with an oversupply so that no tool is really mastered?
Processes: If you can’t document the processes clearly, you don’t know what you are doing. Deming said something similar to that. He’s right. In one shop, it took two years to get process documentation settled. Development teams kept changing the underlying processes without ever settling on the existing. No one really knew what a good result at the end of the day looked like. After documentation was settled, the team performed smoothly and on time every day according to company needs. This is a touchy and tough area to address. Don’t avoid it.
Projects: Projects in motion reveal major needs if they are rightly designed. The lack of defined projects is a sure sign of a disparate, disorderly, and dying operation. Are capital improvements in motion? What services are being designed for future delivery? Is there a training program? Crosstraining?
Products and Services: Well, why do you exist without these? Service catalogue? Do the focused customer groups know how to get great service and what service is available? What of these are core critical to the overall organization? Why?
Summary: If you take these five P’s and write down three notes, you have the beginning of a great business plan. 1. What is the inventory or status of the P? Make a list of the items and critical criteria, benefits, advantages, and demographics. Assess alignment to objective and need. 2. What needs changed? 3. What is the impact on the other four P’s when I change it?
That’s enough for now. Business is building. Never stop building.