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Great Business Performance

The Road to Excellence Requires Vision, Time, and Fortitude

“Generally the fire, ready aim methodology does not work well however, there are areas to start that don’t take much decision making” – FitzGerald

The incredibly insightful authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma performed an analysis of business and were able to group business strategies into three primary areas. These business strategies are designed to lift a business above the competitors. They found that the strategies were:

They determined that very good companies focus on one of those three areas and become excellent in that area. Truly great companies do the same thing except that they also become exceptional performers in the remaining two areas.

Operational Excellence

This requires a maniacal focus on decreasing operational costs and thereby increasing the profit margin.

Example: Toyota can deliver a custom configured car to a customer within three weeks. Their nearest competitor takes three months. As you drive around and look at dealerships, look at all the cars on the lot that are inventory. This inventory ages, is fried in the sun, and takes up real estate. Inventory has a quantifiable cost to business. If you can deliver a car in three weeks, where most of the cars in that three-week inventory are already sold, your inventory costs plummet and you are operationally efficient.

Customer Intimacy

This strategic focus is about creating sticky customers and customers that find that you deliver exceptional value.

Example: This is an example of a moderate sized town that cares for its citizens. Ft. Wayne, Indiana repairs a pothole within 24 hours of notification and has an online building permit request system. Both of these things strengthen the connection between the citizen and the city provided services.

Innovation or Product Leadership

Innovative focused companies can garner customer loyalty by making sure their customers have the newest, coolest products.

Example: Apple’s innovation Siri allows you to query phone applications for information. Competitors have not caught up to this innovation yet.

The business strategic plan will dictate where to start. Depending on resource availability, work could be performed in multiple areas at once.

Operational Excellence

Customer Intimacy



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