The development of a strong and clear systematic True North is fundamental to a company’s success, and yet this topic is not discussed nearly enough in business circles – in fact, many may not even know what this entails.
What is a ‘True North’?
In the most basic terms, a business’ True North is a key set of goals and values that dictates all business operations. Most importantly, a True North is a tool that a company can use to guide decision-making. By setting up a clear objective and systematically integrating it into all aspects of the company, your business will become united, making the path to success clear and conquerable.
How do You Develop a True North?
Success looks different for each business, and it is essential to determine exactly what your company values most, and where you want to end up. For some, success might be a particular profit margin or maximum efficiency, for others, it could mean an increased customer base or a reputation as being the best of the best.
The trick is figuring out what your company hopes to achieve and determining the values that inform those goals.
ASSESS YOUR AMBITIONS
The first step in figuring out how to get where you’re going is to determine EXACTLY where that is. What were the company’s initial goals? Have they changed at all? Sit down with your team and ask everyone to write out what they believe the business should be aiming towards and, using these, draw up a list of key ambitions that everyone can get behind. Next, work together to draw up an honest review of the company’s performance in the pursuit of these goals – how has it operated in terms of profit, efficiency, reputation, and unity? Take a look at what areas need improvement, and what factors could be holding you back. Is it poor communication, or low employee motivation? Perhaps your production costs are too high, or your marketing needs work.
In order to accurately assess your company, it’s essential to have the necessary skills and knowledge of business theory. Before you begin this process, consider registering your management team for one or more of our online courses in management, finance, marketing, strategizing, and business analysis.
After you have determined your business’ weaknesses, you will be able to see more clearly how it can be strengthened. You will probably end up with heaps of ideas for how you can improve, and it’s important to narrow these down to just a few key concepts. The trick here is to determine what values will support the business’ growth and success and to place these at the core of the company. It is also essential to ensure that these values are aligned with each other. Once you have established these core values, discuss potential strategies for how you can implement these into business procedures.
Knowledge of business management, risk assessment, marketing management, and customer-centric management strategies will really come in handy here, so consider educating yourself and your team in these areas.
COMMUNICATE AND CONSOLIDATE
Once you have determined your goals, values, and strategies (i.e. your True North), make sure to communicate these clearly across all departments and sectors. It is essential that the entire company is united in understanding where the business is heading, and what needs to be done to get there.
To help your employees fully understand and internalise this True North, send out an email that explains the concept of a True North and informs them of the process that management has undertaken. Better yet, have each head of the department draw up a list of goals and strategies that their department should be focusing on. As a final step, ask each employee to respond with a shortlist of ways that they will be able to contribute to the overall success of the company, along with one short- and one long-term professional goal.
By following these easy steps, you will be able to determine where your company needs to be headed, and what steps can be taken to ensure that you get there. But there is one special ingredient that is essential to success – leadership. You have to set the example for your colleagues and prove that you are dedicated to implementing values, being guided by goals, and doing your part to take the business towards success.
If you are aligned with your True North, your team will follow suit, and you will find success together.