Metabolism is nothing if not systematic. I’m no Organic Chemistry major, but I do know that all living things have a detailed process by which they break down the food that they eat into the energy they need. Plants break down sunlight and oxygen to produce energy. Humans break down breakfast cereal into a range of different nutrients that our bodies need to function. The systems and processes of that transformation are incredibly detailed and complex. And we all know, me best of all, what happens when that doesn’t happen properly; if you put too much of the wrong type of fuel into the system it stores up as useless insulation, typically around the waistline. Take in something bad for you and your body is going to violently reject it and the whole system is going to be out of service for a couple of days. Don’t take in enough and the body begins to break down essential systems just to stay alive. We’ve all seen these scenarios play out in our own bodies, and in business.
For fuel, organizations are constantly ingesting three things: people, ideas and revenue. These are the three key components that provide our organizations with the energy they need to not only function but thrive in the market. The question is, do our organizations have the processes in place to properly metabolize all three? For the rest of the week, I’m going to take you through each one and look at what systems and processes need to be in place in order for our organizations to go from raw materials to thriving in the market.
As our organizations grow and mature, these systems will become more and more complex. When I started Hölmetrics we had three employees, no revenue and more ideas than were realistically executable. For the first four months, I wasn’t working full-time for the company. We had no processes for people. I barely knew how to actually hire someone other than set up an email address for them. I had no concept of human resource regulations, policies, procedures, paperwork or payment systems. It’s a miracle that anybody got paid on time with correct amounts. As we grew, I knew that if we didn’t put the correct systems in place we’d be in big trouble, especially at tax time. But systems for hiring and paying people are just the apex of the iceberg.
Attracting great talent is one thing, creating a system to predictably capture the full potential of that talent is a completely other thing. Every year every major professional sports league in North America has a draft where teams sequentially choose the topmost elite athletes from collegiate programs. Every single year, in every single league, there is a #1 overall draft pick. It is rare for the person to actually live up to that opportunity. Months of scrutiny and media hype build-up to the big day when the commissioner of the league steps up to the microphone and announces, “With the #1 pick in this year’s draft, the worst team in the league selects…” Fast forward 12 months and it is the exception to the rule if that player is making a substantial contribution to the team that selected them. One big reason is that, often, that player is going to a pretty bad club, and the reason that they are bad is not that they don’t have a roster full of world-class athletes, every team has that. The reason they are bad is that they lack the system that the team needs to take that talent and empower that talent to reach its full potential.
The same can be said for ideas and revenue – intake is the easy part. For any leader, what you do with them once you have them is the difference between changing the world and changing your resume.
– Chad Verity, CEO