We are busier than ever. Long lead times, limited access to transportation and supplies, and a dearth of available plant labor are combining to impact our ability to do what we do best: service our customers. These challenges only heighten the need to provide clear direction to our teams, our customers, and our stakeholders. Strategic frameworks help organizations ask themselves the tough questions to bring clarity to their vision, crystallizing it so it becomes more than a poster on the wall or a quippy phrase on the back of your business card—it becomes a way of doing business. Mugs and T-shirts don’t align a company’s core purpose and core focus— leadership does. Core purpose and core focus represent your “walk-the-talk” approach to doing business.
As the leader of your organization, you must ask yourself the key questions that will help to define your vision. The Entrepreneurial Operating System®, or EOS, for example, recommends that the leadership team come together to answer eight questions about the business, encompassing themes around why we are great, what we provide, and who we serve. The purpose of this exercise is less about penning a document for documentation’s sake and more about alignment and clarity. It is precisely this clarity that allows your team to work within a defined framework, day in and day out, to realize short- and long-term goals for the business. This clarity also helps avoid those ever-present conundrums such as, “Why is this running in the plant? We don’t do this type of work,” and “Why are we quoting this piece of business?” and “Why are they even a customer?”
Once key questions surrounding your purpose and focus are clearly defined, they serve as the foundation for communication by the leadership team on a regular and recurring basis. Leading a monthly conversation with your people that highlights where the company is, where it’s been, and where it’s going serves as your alignment tool and a way to keep everyone focused on the path forward. Too often, we assume that everyone “gets it,” but the message is typically neither obvious nor clearly communicated. Remember, the view changes based on your seat. You cannot assume everyone sees things the way you do. Recall the telephone game we played as kids. That’s the same thing that happens when the leader does not own and communicate the message behind the company vision, even when it is clearly defined.
Not only does this issue of BoxScore happen to be one of my favorites, but it also ties nicely into our own membership focus! This issue highlights the value each Associate member brings to the membership and perhaps where they may potentially support our organization’s core purpose and focus. We all excel and improve because of our key stakeholders—vendors that are loyal, hardworking, and invaluable to the success of our business—and AICC is no different. I would like to personally thank each AICC Associate for your unwavering support and for providing constant innovation for the improvement and sustainability of our operations.
Executive Vice President, Akers Packaging Service Group