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StrategyDriven Trusted Service Partner

Marathon Consulting Group, Inc. Listed as a StrategyDriven Trusted Services Partner

StrategyDriven Trusted Service PartnerStrategyDriven is proud to introduce Marathon Consulting Group as our newest Trusted Services Partner!

Having completed our rigorous certification process, we found Marathon Consulting Group to be a market leading service provider with proven client results.

Troubled organizations going through a regulatory recovery typically have longstanding performance issues driven by a number of factors. Recoveries led by Marathon have resulted in improved regulatory margin, equipment reliability, organizational alignment and safety culture, as well as 18% reduction in production costs and 60% fewer consequential events achieved within 1-2 years and sustained performance at that level.

Marathon Consulting Group provides services in the following areas:

  • Monitoring: Business Performance Assessment Program, Corrective Action Program, Management Observation Program
  • Management: Risk Management, Standards & Expectations
  • Values: Corporate Cultures

About Marathon Consulting Group

Led by richly experienced leaders and executives from the power industry, Marathon Consulting Group approaches regulatory recovery and other engineering, technology, and management challenges from a strategic and 100% solutions-focused perspective.

Learn more about Marathon Consulting Group at: marathoninc.com

About StrategyDriven

StrategyDriven provides executives and managers with the planning and execution advice, tools, and practices needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior bottom line results. At StrategyDriven, our seasoned business leader experts deliver real-world strategic business planning and tactical execution best practice advice – a blending of workplace experience with sound research and academic principles – to tens of thousands of business leaders worldwide.

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StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program Article

Steps For Optimizing Your Company’s Processes

Whether your business or company venture is new or just in need of being redesigned, then keeping on top of rules for optimization is crucial to effective business management and room for growth. In business, time is money, so, in order to maximize sales, longwinded and time consuming processes and procedures must be avoided.

Processing documents digitally can save you a significant amount of time, providing the software you’re using is running as efficiently as it can and you’re utilizing your business’s capabilities for success. Optimizing how your business runs concerns more than simply improving software; however, having said that, it does a long way in helping your business succeed. Over the course of this article you will learn how best to optimize your company’s business processes.

Healthcare Processes

Make tired processes an act of the past and ensure that your staff can do their job to the best of the abilities and giving them the adequate tools to do so. If you work in healthcare or any medical practice, then you’ll know the importance of having efficient coding and billing processes. As complex as the procedure of billing can be, once you know the best medical billing features to look for in software, then you can save yourself time and resources. Open Practice Solutions offer fully integrated revenue cycle management to help your company succeed, which can be found at www.openpracticesolutions.com. You want your software to be doing the very best it can to take some of the pressure of you and any other the billing and administrative staff.

Optimizing business management wherever possible will give rise to easier processes, and ones that once fully understood by those using them, will speed up time it takes for a claim to be paid.

Identification

Once you’re aware of which business processes need attention, then you can get the overhaul underway. Figure out what the desired goal from changing processes needs to be, and make firm steps to getting these changes made. Identify which of the processes is most important and change that first, even if getting this altered is the most challenging business process to oversee the change of, do it with speed and accuracy. Throughout the time it takes you to implement change, always have the desired outcome at the forefront of your mind, address potential areas of improvement by brainstorming with those on your team and if a general consensus is that a qualified candidate needs to be hired, then prioritize this and begin the process of finding the candidate by conducting application reviews and interviews.

Process Mapping

Map your processes as you go. You can list the procedures you’re going to undertake by categorizing them into a list of importance, relevance to finished and completed outcome, and how they stand by way of priority. Start with the processes that needs the most immediate attention and work through the process map. By effectively mapping, you can visually keep track of what is being taken care of and which processes still need to be finished. Understand who is a part of the process and what their specific role and feature is in the redesign process.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Why Your Business Should Become More Like Orwell’s Big Brother

Monitoring your business, whether you’re a sole trader, entrepreneur or small business owner is essential. It’s often the difference between turning a profit and failing to break even.

But what does “monitoring your business” mean in practice?

In general, when gurus talk about monitoring, they’re referring to the ability of your firm to optimize its workload and achieve greater productivity simply by analyzing and refining its processes. It means going over your processes with a fine tooth comb and trying to find whether there is anything that you can improve using the data available to you. Here’s how to make your business more like Orwell’s Big Brother.

Analyze How You Spend Your Time

The biggest problem most businesses face isn’t their toxic workplace “culture” or their lack of skilled staff: it’s how they’re spending their time. Most managers just assume that their employees are working for the entire 7 – 9 hours they’re in the office every day. But when you actually look at how they are spending their time, you’re lucky if you even get 6 hours out of them.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The reasons for this are twofold. The first is that employees spend a lot of time doing unproductive things in the office, like walking from their desks to the water dispenser or yawning during in meetings. Most of this can’t be helped, so it’s not an obvious target for monitoring.

The second reason is that employees are wasting a lot of time performing tasks that could be done more quickly and efficiently by either another team member, software or a different department. Sometimes, the issue is training – for instance, employees not knowing how to save time filling out cells on spreadsheets. These are the types of activities for which it is worth collecting data because it can result in a substantial uplift in productivity.

Monitor Your Accounts

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Getting paid is another major headache for businesses. Clients often pay late or not at all. Monitoring and managing accounts receivable, therefore, is essential. The problem for most small businesses, however, is that they are still relying on old-fashioned methods which make it difficult to keep track of clients. With monitoring, however, you’re immediately able to view client payment histories and get alerts if a customer is late with a payment. By monitoring your accounts, you’re able to identify patterns in high-risk customers and alter your premiums accordingly.

Monitor Staff Performance

With more and more work being completed online, it’s getting easier for companies to monitor staff performance. Monitoring workers is key to ensuring that you get maximum performance out of them every day, not just when they know you’re watching.

But it’s not all about Orwellian monitoring of their daily activities: it’s also about finding strategies to boost their productivity and waiting to see whether they have any effect in the real world. Something as simple as having a policy of saying “please” and “thank you” to workers could have a measurable effect. Find ways to keep your team feeling valued and help new recruits slot into the organization. Track the effects of guidance and training and find out whether it has any positive effect on your bottom line.

Rhian Silvestro

Surf your data!

Is your strategy built on received wisdom or analysis of performance data? – management rhetoric or business reality?

Are you building your business strategy on received wisdom or real data? Corporate strategies are often based on assumptions about what drives business performance rather than data from the company itself. J.W. Marriott (founder of Marriott Hotels) is famous for saying “You’ve got to make your employees happy. If the employees are happy, they are going to make the customers happy”. TNT Express promotes the slogan “Take care of your people, let them take care of your customers and the rest will take care of itself”. The implication is that happy employees make happy customers, which drive profits. But does this really happen in your organisation?

The problem is that often some drivers of performance aren’t measured at all; let alone the correlations between them. For example, you may believe that loyal employees create satisfied, loyal customers, but do you have data which demonstrates that your longest serving staff create the highest levels of customer loyalty? Another assumption is that loyal customers are the most profitable; we’re often told ‘it is five times more profitable to serve existing customers than loyal customers’. It makes sense. The better we know our customers the better we are likely to serve them. And because customer spend tends to increase over time, it may well be cheaper to serve long-term customers than keep attracting new ones. But, can you prove this is the case in your organisation?

Performance topology mapping is a tool that can help with this analysis. The first step is making sure that you’re measuring the right thing. So if your business is built on the assumption that employee loyalty is necessary to create loyal customers, collect loyalty data. Identify your key performance indicators, and then measure the correlations between them in order to build a map of business drivers.

The findings can be astonishing. For example, the link between customer loyalty and financial performance is often regarded as a basic principle of retail management. However when they came to explore the data in their own organisation, the management of one home improvement retail chain discovered that there was no such correlation. They could not prove that the stores with the most loyal customers were the most profitable.

Analysis of the performance topology map of one of the UK’s big four grocery superstore chains also revealed counter-intuitive results. Its management bought into the idea that satisfied employees created customer satisfaction which drove store profitability. But the data revealed negative correlations! In fact the stores with the highest levels of employee satisfaction were the least profitable. The explanation for this lay in the value proposition: customers in these stores did not value contact with staff so much as product availability, price and checkout speed. Therefore their shopping experience did not hinge on the quality of their interaction with employees.

In other businesses, of course, the interactions between staff and customers are likely to be much more critical. Take, for example, the professional services of clinicians or lawyers. Their services are based on more sophisticated interactions between staff and clients, and long-term business relationships may well be an essential part of the value proposition. Therefore employee engagement is likely to be a more important driver of profitability in professional services.

Understanding the performance drivers is crucial. Because failing to understand what drives profitability is to fail to understand why your company has succeeded… or indeed failed. The reality is that your business strategy is based on all sorts of assumptions about what investments will yield increased market share, revenue growth or profitability. To get the strategy right, better start testing those assumptions… surf the data wave!

About the Author

Dr. Rhian SilvestroDr. Rhian Silvestro is Associate Professor of Operations Management at Warwick Business School. Rhian has conducted service management research in a number of large, leading edge organisations including retail companies, banks, transport companies, health services and call centres. She has publications in over ten international journals in the fields of service design, performance improvement and supply chain integration.

StrategyDriven Management Observation Program Best Practice Article

Management Observation Program Best Practice 18 – Observation Transparency

StrategyDriven Management Observation Program Best Practice ArticleIndividuals naturally become edgy when monitored at work. Observation programs shrouded in secrecy further contribute to this sense of anxiety as observed subjects remain unaware of what is being documented and how it might affect their career. Consequently, observers can significantly reduce the observed subjects’ anxiety by making the observation, including observation documentation, as transparent as possible.


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About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

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