What is this thing called 9Stucks?
9Stucks is a dynamic business diagnostic tool. It identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform.

CEOs: How To Deconstruct A Stuck Company Stew

Is your company’s value ebbing or declining?

Do you know ALL the reasons why your company is underperforming, or can you only pull apart some of the reasons?

Figuring out why shareholder value is deteriorating can be easy if the issues are really obvious. It can be hard and confusing if the overall situation is a quagmire.

The 9Stucks collection identifies the most common causes of why a company isn’t meeting shareholder expectations. For those of you who have looked at the 9Stucks, each standalone Stuck is straightforward and uncomplicated. Most of the significant, contributing issues that cause a company to be stuck are not hard to uncover if you know where to look.

However, the 9Stucks are usually not limited to just one or two. A stuck company always has A COLLECTION of the 9Stucks. The breadth of the collection determines the overall organizational ‘stickyness’.

This tangled, unique mix of the 9Stucks acts as a significant impediment to figuring out the real, challenging issues in the organization because it is often difficult to extricate and isolate the individual components of the mix, let alone fix them.

I call the mix Stuck Salmagundi.

Salmagundi…?

[Read more…]

What is this thing called 9Stucks?
9Stucks is a dynamic business diagnostic tool. It identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform.

CEO: Does Your Team Have Control of the Ball?

The team watching the ball slip away...

“The only players who survive in the pros are the ones able to manage all their responsibilities.” – Tom Brady, Quarterback of the New England Patriots

Football, rugby, or any other sport organized around a finely-tuned playbook, requires players to understand roles and execute plays in both familiar or unplanned situations. Each player has defined roles and responsibilities based on his skills; that player is fully aware of his role, the roles of others and has studied the plays. A solid playbook enables a cohesive team to maintain control of the ball and win.

Does your company’s playbook have:

This all too common, weak people/process combination creates lots of broken plays. Basic things like roles, skills, processes really should be a given in any organization.

But if that’s what’s ‘supposed to be’, then why have I regularly seen many corporate fumbles, pigpiles, tangled situations and outright conflict over ‘who does what and how’?

[Read more…]

What is this thing called 9Stucks?
9Stucks is a dynamic business diagnostic tool. It identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform.

Emotional Venting in a Stuck Company. Episode 2: External Forces

 

CEOs and employees of stuck companies reveal three recurring themes when I interview them during coaching sessions. These themes launched a series of three blog posts about ‘Emotional Venting in a Stuck Company’.

Episode 1 illustrated the importance of listening to the emotional reactions of a stuck company’s key people about LEADERSHIP – the unfiltered, raw, spill your guts variety. Their voices express what they live everyday. Episode 3 will cover internal confusion about OPERATIONS.

This second Episode documents the wide range of emotion about a company’s EXTERNAL FORCES. External forces have a decided influence on your corporate strategy.  The key external forces that impact your organization are:

  • economic
  • political, governmental
  • social, cultural, demographic
  • technological
  • industry specific
  • customer behavior
  • competitive pressures

The external forces can be an impending threat or they may present strategic opportunities for your business. Your interpretation of and reaction to these external forces directly impact the strategic decisions you make. 

The 9Stucks that relate to external forces are Another World, Rut and Traffic. The comments I hear from leadership teams about these stucks reveal a wide range of emotion: angst, indifference, measured confidence, or arrogance.  Their typical hot buttons topics are concentrated around:

  1. industries in flux
  2. unpredictable customer behavior
  3. constant competitive pressure.

From Angst to Arrogance

[Read more…]

What is this thing called 9Stucks?
9Stucks is a dynamic business diagnostic tool. It identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform.

Stuck in a Rut: Is It Time to Fire Your Customers?

“You want me to fire some customers and give up hard-earned revenue!

What kind of advice is that?”

That’s what Steve, the CEO of one of my ‘stuck’ client companies said to me when I urged them to get rid of some long-time customers.

Less can be more. Don’t be Stuck in a Rut.

A company should ‘fire’ individual customers, groups of customers or entire product lines when the customers:

  1. have become marginally profitable or are in negative profit territory
  2. cause support costs to spike
  3. inflict a never ending sales cycle on your people
  4. unleash unreasonable demands (pricing, process, delivery) on the business
  5. have become entrenched in a dying segment of the industry

Why not fire them and give these ‘bad’ customers to your competitors?

[Read more…]

What is this thing called 9Stucks?
9Stucks is a dynamic business diagnostic tool. It identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform.

Customer Satisfaction: Can I Take Your Order Please?

There should be no confusion about what a customer expects from the business relationship with a supplier.  A critical aspect of a company’s go-to-market tactics is having clear processes and effective systems that create strong connection points to the customer.

What are you most critical business processes?  How are these related to customer satisfaction?

Who owns these processes?

These four successful companies who used the 9Stucks approach have radically different business models:

  • Manufacturer of large, custom test equipment
  • Engineering services consulting firm
  • Printer of trade magazines
  • Manufacturer of precision electronic assemblies

Even though they are very different businesses, there is ONE critical thing they all had in common:

They all had one customer-centric, internal process that had no clear ownership.  

Each one of them lacked distinct accountability and ownership by ONE person over ONE important process linked directly to their customers. [Read more…]