Recently the Strategy House team attended the Manufacturing Matters! Conference to connect with others in the industry and discuss the evolving dynamics of the manufacturing workforce. Keynote speaker Dr. Bill Mitchell, CEO of Aguila, a Foxconn company inspired this collection of valuable takeaways on remaining flexible and creating strategic growth as a modern manufacturing organization to help further your success in 2019.
Remaining flexible as an organization is usually easier said than done. It requires close examination as to what’s being done as a company and what needs to be done to reach the goals you’ve set. The truth is, many manufacturers believe they are flexible in their operations but are in fact still operating in the mindset of, “This is the way we’ve always done things.” Otherwise known as the quickest way to stunt company growth.
The first step to flexibility is figuring out what that means for your organization. Think about the changes you’ve made in the last six months. Speak with your customers, key leaders and outside partnerships to gather their insights on your flexibility and adaptiveness to industry needs. Be honest about where your company is succeeding and where there’s room for improvement to open the door to change.
The best way to commit to whatever these changes require of your organization is a long-term strategic plan that allows for flexibility and growth. As Dr. Mitchell put it, “Being strategic means getting up to the top [of the mountain] and looking down at where you’ve been, where you’re going and what’s going on around you.” A strong strategy allows your organization to never to tied down to a process, program or plan, which can restrict growth.
Part of strategic flexibility looks like recognizing what you’re doing well but also being able to say, “This is where I need help.” This could mean enlisting the help of strategic partnerships that will help achieve your growth goals — even if that partnership is with someone you may consider a competitor.
The biggest mistake many people make is thinking they can do it all— and the same goes for businesses undergoing a transformation. You can’t go at it alone. Find people who are already where you want to be and, as Dr. Mitchell so eloquently put it, create an ecosystem of strategic partnerships.
Dr. Mitchell said it best: “What you know and what you do has gotten you where you are, but the things you don’t know will keep you from being effective.” Luckily, just as the leaders of your organization have spent years cultivating their knowledge and expertise, there is more often than not someone in your network that has the expertise you’re now seeking.
Developing strategic partnerships allows your organization to borrow from others’ knowledge and apply those skill sets and perspectives to where your organization is lacking. Often, all it takes is a new way of doing something or a new way of thinking to set the wheels of change in motion.
In fact, it’s how the Strategy House team operates as a business. By providing our marketing expertise to manufacturers wanting to transform their business with the digital age, we help businesses set and reach their strategic growth goals faster than if they continued with their current processes.
Whether you’re in need of software solutions, strategic direction, or stronger expertise in a specific technology, that ecosystem of vendors will provide the solutions you need to grow quickly. Don’t wait or spend more time trying to figure it all out on your own when there are people who already have it figured out.
The notion of borrowing from other’s influence, intellect, and expertise extends beyond outside partnerships and into internal talent. In addition to leveraging your network and partnerships, hiring the right people who will help your organization grow is a must.
Before you can attract the right talent, it’s important to have a strong understanding of who your company is. Again, this takes a level of high-level company introspection. Take time to evaluate your company’s core values and how you’re living them — or if you even are. What makes your company what it is? What makes you unique from the shop down the street? The answers to these types of questions provide insight as to who you are as a company and not just what you do which is what the talent of today is interested in.
Tap into your existing talent as well and determine what types of skill sets and qualities are already prevalent that you want to see more of. Don’t just leave it at hard skills, identify who these candidates are and what motivates them. Understand exactly the type of person that needs to be on your team and what skills they’ll need to possess to help achieve your strategic growth goals.
As Dr. Mitchell said, “If you can’t think of any area of your organization is lacking in then you’re stagnant.” Curating a team of employees who share your company vision and are able to fill that missing skills gap is crucial in creating strategic growth of any sort.
Towards the end of his presentation, Dr. Mitchell told the audience, “The things I look back and regret the most are the choices I did not make because I was afraid.” As much of his speech focused on the question, “What do you need to do differently?” he was addressing the fact that often change never occurs due to fear.
So, how can we move forward without being afraid? We all have a comfort zone but the greatest opportunities live outside of that zone. While doing things differently can certainly be scary it can also bring a new level of success and growth that previously wasn’t achievable. Often that is as simple as letting go of fears and assumptions about trying new things and instead of looking at things logically. Figure out whether the changes will be manageable and if they’ll bring ROI — if so, it’s time to move forward.
As you start to make changes in your business remember to remain flexible by continually reviewing your core values, strengths, and weaknesses. Then when the gaps are identified, look to your ecosystem of strategic partners and network of talent and allow them to help you reach your next level of success.
If your organization needs help creating a strategic growth plan, contact the Strategy House team.