Current attitudes aren’t too kind towards the old American way of doing business. In recent strategies, companies have been more involved with taking actionable approaches to the outward functions of their business and not so much the inward audits of how their company works. If you’re looking to create a brand that runs productively and effectively, most experts would agree that you must turn your attention inward.
When it comes to these inward audits, Walid Halty, co-founder of Dvinci Energy, may be constructing the best sustainable business model of the 21st century. It is an approach built on the enduring strength of an inward business culture. Businesses all around the world, old and new, are creating entire departments around innovation and the “next big idea” as a way of being ahead on cutting-edge ideas. However, have you considered dissecting your business as a means to producing a more effective business model?
If you are part of a larger process that includes creative thinking and out-of-the-box results for your brand, you will get some great tips from Dvinci Energy. They have modeled and learned from the greatest businesses of our generation; Apple, Amazon, and Google are among their inspirations, and they have packaged those lessons into principals that anyone can learn from.
I had the opportunity to examine their business model closely and extract the best tidbits you can mimic to stay ahead of the rush and stand out with your business model. Here is what’s working for Walid Halty and Dvinci Energy today.
#1 – Focus on creating an impeccable experience
Halty is adamant in pointing out that if a business is going to stand out in the current economic atmosphere, it needs to pinpoint an impeccable experience for its customers. As Chris Haroun says in his recent Inc. article, “I have never heard of anyone who has had a bad customer experience with Amazon, Apple, Costco, or Salesforce. The aforementioned companies are incredibly successful due, in large part, to a material focus on the customer experience. Not surprisingly, the stock market has handsomely rewarded these four companies over the past decade.”
However, your customers don’t only include people who enter your establishment or place orders by telephone or the Internet. Customers also include those who work every day to make your operation a success: your employees, internal customers, representatives, partners, and the executive team. While external and internal customers may fulfill different roles, both are critical to the viability of your business according to Halty.
As a business owner, you may have the tendency to create relationships with external customers who are looking in at your brand, because they are the ones who need your product. However, don’t discount the effect your employees, reps, and/or partners have on your business model as well.
By dedicating your time to your internal customers first, you guarantee a work environment where everyone is happy, efficient, and completely aware of the mission at hand. Internal relation management comes in many forms, including comprehensive training, appreciation and recognition for jobs well done, and listening to what your internal customers have to say by encouraging tight feedback loops.
Google, a company that continues to remain one of the most dominant and innovative companies in the world, has tight feedback loops integrated into its process. Google has its researchers, engineers, and product managers all work together throughout projects, which creates the perfect space for feedback for Google’s projects. This feedback allows its internal customers to remain creative, empowered, and happy.
“At Dvinci, we consistently ask our people, after a one-on-one, monthly calls, daily interactions, what can WE be doing better? How can WE better serve you? How do WE make doing your job easier? This highlights valuable aspects of creating a successful business model in today’s job market,” Halty says.
Not only will your business become how you think it should be, it will also be how your team members need it to be. Give them an opportunity for ownership, and listen to their ideas, plans, and thoughts on every little detail. The reality is that while it is important as a business owner to stay above the weeds with a bird’s-eye view, your internal customers’ experience in the “trenches” usually provides the best feedback for your company’s growth. You might be surprised at how it can launch your brand even further into success.
#2 – Develop an internal employee retention program
In order to focus on the external customer who will automatically think of your brand, you must first focus on capturing the experience internally. The functionality of a business is for it to serve its people, not the other way around.
The experience of the job itself goes a long way in creating those internal ambassadors your business can thrive on. Ultimately, you want your internal customers to be your biggest fans, because the explosive growth of your company depends on it. For many Apple fans, there’s a hypnotic allure to the idea of working for their favorite tech company, even if it’s just a job at the Genius Bar at their local Apple Store.
Halty suggests there are a couple of ways you can make sure the perfect scenario is always experienced with your employees. First, make sure communication is always established. No idea is too small, and there are no dumb questions. One of the commonalities of failing corporations is that their employees have become muted and silent because they’re afraid of voicing something no one will like. Establish an open line of communication from the beginning.
Another great way to retain your employees is to create a work-life balance, which ensures the employees’ mental and physical wellness. The Harvard Business Review says that, “when you can manage your work, you can manage your life, and all is good.” Give your internal team the leeway and encouragement to have a life outside of work. Focus on creating a program that promotes healthy living, going to the gym, and spending time with family.
Happy workers who love their job will stake their claim with your company forever.
Mesa Petroleum, a company founded by energy trailblazer T. Boone Pickens, was known for its health and wellness program that served as a model for corporations. According to Pickens’ website, Mesa earned the title “The Most Physically Fit Company in America” in 1985. It significantly reduced the company’s healthcare costs and reduced employee absentee rates.
During a period when escalating healthcare costs threatened America’s business competitiveness, Mesa began showing healthcare savings of about $1.6 million a year. The company’s healthcare cost per employee dropped almost 60 percent lower than the national average (68 percent below the energy sector average).
Halty, speaking of taking care of employees, says that “flexible programs like remote work and adjustable schedules go a long way in helping employees achieve their personal, as well as professional goals.” In fact, Lisa Butler, Chief Talent & Diversity Officer at Manulife, has invested in technologies that enable collaboration and facilitate instant communication no matter where their employee chooses to work.
Structures like these can give your employees the freedom to do what makes them happy and productive; when they realize you are okay with loosening the grip on their lives, you will have developed a retention program that guarantees employee satisfaction.
#3 – Decentralize and empower
There will always be structure, rules, and a way of doing things within each organization, as there should be. What’s important, though, is that people are given the feeling and the opportunity to make decisions that make their lives better, based on the structure and order your company creates.
With this model, you are giving your employees the opportunity to empower themselves within your company. As a manager or leader, it’s important to allow your team members to assume responsibility when you feel they are ready for it. Don’t make the mistake of constantly chaining someone to a single person’s ideas or opinions. Allow employees to make decisions based on their knowledge and experience of the problem or task.
The NAVY Seals are the world’s most elite military group. They achieve this status through their rigorous training, and obsessive focus on leadership and communication. On the battlefield, decisions must be made instantaneously by an individual, all the while maintaining the integrity of the entire task force; this is a decentralized command in action.
Former Seal Jocko Willink, now a leadership consultant for major corporations across the world, teaches how decentralized command allows you to maintain focus on the bigger picture and that getting lost in the details of tactical problems takes you away from managing the overall strategic mission of your company. Jocko teaches that, if everyone understands the overall intent of the mission, every leader can lead separately and junior leaders can make decisions based on commanders’ guidelines.
Halty understands his employees have a solid grasp on what their job is. They know their tasks, roles, and functions within the organization, and it’s time for him to let them do what they need to do to get the job done. But there is a critical point that is often missed: It isn’t possible for a leader to “empower” someone to be accountable and make good decisions. People have to take responsibility themselves; it has to be a part of the culture that this type of mentality is expected.
Your role is to encourage and support the decision-making environment, and to give your employees the tools and knowledge they need to make and act upon their own decisions. By doing this, you help your employees reach an empowered state.
Productive structure can be provided through a standardized checklist and workflow: a checklist that creates more fluid productivity and then a workflow that allows them to make their own decisions, but gives the opportunity to pass through quality control to maintain company standards.
It can be difficult to take an inward look at your business. Most entrepreneurs and strategic planners focus on the external customer or consumer and how they can make a change to their strategy based on external results.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple tweak to the internal gears of your employees and team members to get the ball rolling again with your business model.
Looking at strategic planning outside the lines of your business is easy. But if you’re a business owner who is truly looking for a model to mimic, it starts from within and these are some of the best tips you can have. Take care of your own and success will follow.