Service businesses are different than manufactures, universities and different than other not-for-profits, and not-for-profits are different from for-profits. Even within the same industry there are broad variations in culture, strategy and circumstances.
However, all successful organizations have underlying similarities. They all:
- Agree on a shared purpose
- Decide what they want to be great at
- Set goals
- Manage projects
- Communicate, collaborate, cooperate
- Market and “sell” something (attract resources)
- Build and deliver a product or service
- Take care of customers
- Help team members learn, grow and take responsibility
- Allocate limited resources
- Leverage technology
- Prove their worth and be accountable to stakeholders
- Respond to the unexpected
- Manage change proactively or die
While the terminology and strategies vary wildly, the processes for helping people decide where to go and how to get there are very similar. In fact, a strategy execution process that is practiced across multiple industries makes the process more robust. It helps organizations of one type apply the best practices of another. For example, universities focus on processes for education, and those practices can be applied to organizations that have to educate their workforce or clients. On the flip side, every successful university must learn to target their market carefully and develop strategies to sell to that market.
After many years of experience, we have found that it is more useful to think of our mission not as building better businesses, but helping groups of people (organizations) decide where they want to go and become good at getting there (execution).