InFlight Checks - a benchmarking tool for scaling a business
Posted on 1st June 2022 at 12:32
How do you identify if you are on the right track to scale your business? How do you identify where to improve and develop your business that will allow it to scale?
Edwards Deming the quality guru quoted ‘we are inextricably caught up in the issues of the day to think about the issues of tomorrow’.
What does this mean? As we grow and develop our business we are constantly experimenting with the way that it works, however this way is created based on our knowledge, experience, and generally what we feel is right and is working. Often however we get caught up in the activity of getting work done, because we need the income rather than designing and developing the business that will create the income that is required.
The scale up journey is not linear and businesses become stuck. This is not caused by outside influences like the marketplace or the customers requirements changing, but because the business is not designed to cope with: the increased complexity that comes with growing number of teams; planning for the the time it will take; planning for the cost it will take to transition to the next staging post will take.
So how do we design our business so that we we can step through the staging posts of the scale of journey successfully?
This is where a benchmarking tool can give us ideas of what we need to focus on next. The purpose of the benchmarking tool is to show us where we are against some sort of standard or besting in class. The aim of it is to give us an idea of where we might wish to focus next. It is not to say this is exactly how we should do something, it's aim is to challenge us to think more, to experiment more and to design our business more.
At BizSmart we have turned to the Industry where they use checklists very successfully to ensure the preparation, the flight readiness, the ongoing flight, and the landing of the aircraft. These checklists ensure that the best practice that is defined is carried out in each situation regardless of who is doing it.
Also in his book the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, the surgeon took the idea of the in-flight checklist and took it into the surgery to ensure a huge success in pre-and post operation activities resulting in such an improvement that he challenged the rest of the medical industry to follow suit to reduce errors during operations. The Inflight checklist is a set of questions based around the key pillars to successfully scale a business. These pillars from Vern Verne Harnish book Scaling Up, mastering the Rockefeller habits are:
Over the past 10 years BizSmart has developed these questions that allow you to ask how good is my business against a benchmark. Each question is scored 1 to 5. The real power of asking questions comes from when you ask your whole management team to score themselves independently against each of the questions and by looking at the differences you can identify where the opportunities to develop your business even further is to allow it to scale successfully.
Examples of questions are below:
Core Ideology (Values and Purpose) are defined, known and made role relevant by all employees.
All teams (including the Leadership Team) have a weekly meeting that includes progress against ‘Rocks’ (or you if you are on your own!)
We have the right people in the right roles with clear roles and accountabilities.
We have budgets and cashflow forecasts for the overall business and for key profit and cost centres.
I Encourage each of you to look at these and to really think about the capability that is in your business and think about how you could improve any one of these questions that will allow you to scale your business successfully.
These questions are a subset of the total questions that we have developed, and if you would like a full set of these we are happy for you to make contact with us set up a call and we can review your whole business against the whole set of questions.
Share this post: