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Which Business Strategy Is Best For My Company?

by Lois R. Earles
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Every manager is unique and will have different ways of leading teams, interacting with peers and making decisions. The decisions they make and their approach toward work may be influenced by their management strategy and philosophy. Having a business strategy in place can help guide your efforts toward a specific goal.

Business strategies can impact every area of the business. It can help you achieve business goals, retain employees and address problems when they arise. It can also help you to develop a plan to improve customer relations.

Understanding management philosophies

Management philosophies affect how a manager makes decisions and leads a team. These philosophies are designed to provide clarity and structure, so you know how to approach problems and create effective business plans. There are several different types of management philosophies that are used by businesses, based on behaviors, beliefs, principles, attitudes and theories.

Companies may also opt to create their own philosophy based on the unique needs of their business. As a manager, there are many types of philosophies you can turn to for inspiration, such as:

• Autocratic: Decisions are made by the manager and executed by the team without any feedback or thought sharing.

• Democratic: Team members provide feedback which managers use to make decisions.

• Laissez-faire: Leaders and managers share power and responsibilities. Managers are able to empower team members to handle tasks.

• Strategic: Every team member has specific responsibilities and roles. This allows managers to focus on matters that are more important.

• Transformational: Managers focus on learning new practices and skills so they can create more effective strategies and goals for growth.

• Transactional: Team members are motivated through rewards and incentives to achieve their goals.

Understanding business improvement models and methodologies

The three leading business improvement models used today are Kaizen, Six Sigma and Lean. These methodologies were first introduced in the 20th century by manufacturing industries. Each of these methodologies has similarities and a few differences.

Most students who enrolled in MBA programs such as the one provided by Spring Arbor University will learn about Six Sigma vs Kaizen and how these models are applied in a variety of industries such as manufacturing, automotive and healthcare. When evaluating these improvement methods, it is important to find one that fits best with your goals.

Kaizen

Kaizen is more of a philosophy rather than a tool. The Japanese word Kaizen means “continuous improvement”. It is a belief that everything can be changed to improve its efficiency. Adopting a Kaizen philosophy in your business means ensuring that you continually identify problems and solve them to improve efficiency. This strategy involves collecting information from employees on a regular basis so you can create a plan for continual improvements.

The collective effort of everyone in the organization leads to greater results. The main principles of Kaizen involve working as a team, addressing the root cause of issues and improving processes to provide better results.

Another important principle associated with Kaizen is cutting waste. Kaizen guides businesses to improve quality, reduce overproduction and reduce waste so businesses can save time and money. The core philosophy of Kaizen encourages managers to involve the entire organization in making decisions that will improve processes and facilitate innovation. This can be a very powerful philosophy for continuous improvement.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma’s origins can be traced back to the 1980s when Bill Smith created a set of strategies and tools to improve quality at Motorola. These strategies are used even today to limit variability and defects. The main objective is to implement processes that will eliminate defects and reduce inefficiency.

Six Sigma makes use of quality management strategies and statistical data to create an infrastructure of experts within an organization. These techniques allow organizations to reach value targets. Six Sigma focuses on customers since its main objective is to provide reliability, high performance and value to customers through products and services.

Lean

Lean first originated at the Ford Motor Company. Over the years, it has continued to evolve to identify wasteful activities, the ways they affect efficiency and methods to eliminate this waste.

According to Lean, anything that does not directly provide value to a customer is defined as waste. This methodology focuses on cutting waste so businesses can continually improve. Lean revolves around eliminating defects, overprocessing, overproduction, waiting, motion, inventory and transport since they all reduce business efficiency.

Benefits of having a business strategy in place

For any business to be successful, it is important to have a clear philosophy, plan, core values and strategies in place. There are many benefits to doing this, as discussed below.

Hiring better employees

Having a clear strategy will allow you to understand what type of team will best support your overall business goals. You will know what types of skills you will need the most and make hiring decisions based on that.

Clear roles and responsibilities

A management strategy and philosophy will allow you to provide your employees with clear expectations. When employees know their roles and responsibilities, it will create consistency. Everyone will be working towards the same goals and generating better results.

Better performance

When employees have clarity about expectations and their responsibilities, they can utilize their skills to perform better. When employees can meet their goals, it also improves their motivation to continue to do better.

Better team morale

The right business strategy can improve the morale of the team. It improves team engagement and connection. Employees that are more engaged and motivated are more likely to be motivated to improve their performance and work hard.

Higher employee retention

When employees are happy and satisfied with the work they do, they are likely to remain with the company for a long time. Employee retention has tangible benefits for the company because it helps reduce onboarding and hiring expenses.

Improved profitability

Business philosophies and improvement models are based on the principles of eliminating waste and improving efficiency. This allows businesses to cut down on unnecessary expenses and improves their profitability.

Better leaders

Management philosophies are guidelines on which managers can base their decisions. It can help leaders be consistent and reliable. They can make crucial decisions confidently and quickly. It also helps leaders win the confidence and trust of employees.

How to select the right management strategy

Choosing a management strategy and philosophy for your business will depend on a lot of factors. Your individual needs, the needs of your team, goals and experience will all affect which strategy will work in your favor. Here are a few simple tips you can follow to find a management strategy that will be suitable for your business:

• Read about the different management philosophies and strategies. Think about the ones that resonate with you as a leader and with the kind of team your business would like to create. You can also combine elements to create a philosophy that is more suitable.

• Think about your management style because it will reflect how you lead, influence and interact with others. Your experience and personality will also affect your leadership style.

• The management philosophy you choose should also depend on your overall goals as a manager. What type of manager would you like to become? What behaviors would you like to exhibit to your employees and what are your goals? You should also think about whether you would like to invite feedback from your team members for making decisions or if you prefer autonomy.

• Think about what inspires and motivates you. If there are any role models, managers or leaders that inspire you, think about the qualities that make them good managers. These are the qualities you should focus on when you select a management philosophy to follow. You should also think about how you would prefer to be treated by your own manager. Consider all these ideas and combine them with your personal habits and personality to guide your own actions as a manager. This will allow you to create your own unique leadership style.

• Management philosophies provide you with a set of core principles and values to guide your actions. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to develop or select a philosophy that aligns with your personal beliefs and values. A good management philosophy should help you become a better manager and leader, not conflict with your personal values.

• Create a list of ideas, values and principles based on these reflections and thinking points. Ensure that each item you write down aligns with your goals, personality and leadership style. This can be the foundation for your personal guiding principles.

As a manager and leader, you will need to continue to develop your philosophy and business strategy based on the evolving needs of your business. It is recommended that you set aside time to periodically review and reflect on the lessons you may have learned and the experiences that have turned out to be positive for you. This will help you focus on future improvements so you can solve problems and create a positive environment for your employees.

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