8 Steps to Creating a High Performance Professional Services Company
By: Mark Hordes, Principal/Senior Consultant
Mark Hordes Management Consultants, LLC
Houston, Texas 77006
713 416 1781 0ffice
Today’s Services and Solutions Reality
The High Performance Organization Defined.
“A high performance organization is an organization that is highly energized on multiple fronts: staff is highly focused, everyone understands the vision and strategy, overall performance is on the rise, market share is growing, the workforce is motivated, and teams function collaboratively and are innovative.”
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
“We have great services people but with the price of oil dropping, we need to let 1,000 engineers go.” Let me know from HR what the best process is to maintain services star performers and also to identify how to handle the transition.”
“Our teams seem to be working hard but are having difficulty getting organized and performing at a high level.” With some many managed services teams coming on board from across the globe it’s difficult to get them all aligned and pulling in the right direction.”
“There at least 200 company service improvement initiatives going on now and I’m not that confident we know how to effectively managing these changes.”
There is a lot occurring with services companies today as the industry is constantly changing; challenges between functions, people and partners, technical and professionals, new leadership, swift cuts in costs, short term boosts in revenue, better systems, challenging accountability, partner tensions and complex communications, make working in an services and support company an interesting experience.
Many organizational dynamics and circumstances can create what is perceived to be difficult barriers on the path to high performance. The following 6 Steps outline a process to manage this transition with less risk and a stronger path forward to ultimate success.
These Eight Steps create a path forward to high performance:
· Assess and Validate your Professional Services Organizations Strategy, Culture and Effectiveness. Most everyone would not take medication without a diagnostic profile. Assessing multiple areas of your culture, leadership, performance management, communications, involvement and processes can present a clear and compelling picture of what is working and not working in the company.
The gap between the “As Is and your To Be” future profile can shed light on sometimes dark, undiscovered parts of the organization, that once revealed, shine a bright light on what needs to change and be accomplished.
· Align Your Services Leadership Talent. When everyone on the Leadership Team is working together they are highly focused on strategic priorities, and their actions are anchored in behavior-based values and assumptions and alignments. When these characteristics are not present, the culture of the company suffers as does the ability to increase the teams’ overall performance.
· Increase Human Capital and Field Staff Investments. Like any financial investment, there are risks and rewards. When risks are out of control, high turnover is the result. Rewards can be tangible/financial and emotional. Being part of a company that has a high performance work culture is empowering, and draws others to it.
Having a people strategy that is aligned to the company’s vision, strategy and operating model, creates a strong foundation for the people side of the equation to prosper and grow.
· Re-vitalization Services Proposal, Operational and Delivery Processes. Inefficient processes burn time, increases costs and foster duplication and lessened productivity. Process management may seem like Management 101, but for many companies it’s a lost art. Step back and conduct a “clean sheet” analysis of your critical dozen key processes. You will be amazed as to how you can be more streamlined, lean, more productive and efficient by thinking, if this was “day one of the company” and we were creating new processes, what would that look like?
The answer always lies in the discovery, and it’s a journey worth travelling.
· Design Your Services Structure for High Performance. If form follows function, your high performance organizational model should reflect clarity which is supported by organizational design model that aligns increased information sharing, aligned strategic imperatives, cross-functional collaboration, lean, and internal value chains where everyone is a highly valued customer, inside and external to the organization.
· Understand and Manage Change. The only thing in life that stays constant is change. To manage change effectively a compelling vision for why the change is necessary, which is impacted, what will and will not change, creating clarity and understanding about the change, as well as the benefits and actions that can reduce resistance and increase the probability of success, all need to be part of the change strategy and plan.
· Train your Products People to Sell Services. Selling services is way different than selling professional services, in services you are positioning an “intangible” versus “product” orientation with size, price specification and weights and measures. When you train sales people to sell service there is a completely different mind shift more to relationship selling, behavior focus and creating a “trusted advisor” relationship that is strategic not tactical.
· Top Into Your Field Services Staff to Help Sell Services and Solutions. Your field services groups is a highly motivated group of technical professionals who are eager to learn the basics of effective relationship client building skills.
This are not your normal sales people, who push a product, but they can be trained as your “Hidden Sales Force Within” a group of subject matter experts who know the right open-ended questions to ask, can look for customer areas of risk and are well versed in the various service models and price point to highlight. They also need to be incented to take the extra steps in making this a reality. Incentives help. The journey for training them is not hard, but worth the time and effort to connect the dots for them between field inspections, services calls and upselling to better serve their customers.
The Effective Services and Solutions Road Ahead
High Performance organizations have a shared set of assumptions, beliefs, values, ways of working leadership practices, communications styles and specific competencies that will guide perceptions, judgments, and behaviors (actions) that are coded in everything that defines the organization.
High performance service organization can weather many different “waves of change” that challenge your adaptability, competitiveness, team effectiveness and overall performance. Set a course for high performance and success will follow.
Mark is the co-author of the best –selling services book, “S-Business: Reinventing the Services Organization” which outlines a no-fail model and blueprint for creating a total solution, high performance organization that is change ready.
Mark has worked with over 100 services companies who are making the transition from product to services selling. His workshop, his professional selling workshops have been delivered to over 50 countries and are considered one of the most powerful sales courses operating today for professional services and sales development. Mr. Hordes is a former partner with Accenture and has help senior level consulting executive roles with The Sinclair Group, Molten, Dillingham and Spherion Group.