I have uncovered a proven system for building and maintaining successful organizations: the “7-T Success System.” The process starts with a comprehensive gap analysis of seven critical components of the business, comparing current versus desired state. Once the gap analysis is complete, leaders prioritize next steps and actions using the “Priority Matrix,” which ranks tasks based on impact and urgency. By focusing on these seven areas, a team or business leader can ensure all critical components of the organization are addressed and resources are targeted on the most important projects.
The 7-Ts (from which the name will become obvious) include: Targets, Talent, Techniques, Training, Tools, Temperament and Tracking. I will delve into each one.
Targets: The first thing a leader must understand and communicate are the goals (or targets) of the organization. For a sports team, that may involve winning every game, making the playoffs, winning more games than last year, etc. A company’s targets may be to turn a profit for the first time, beat last year’s revenue by X percent, or develop five new products. Perhaps it’s all three. Clarity of goals will ensure alignment and the most efficient use of human and capital resources.
Techniques: Organizations utilize many techniques to reach their targets. Sports teams have a playbook, and for every play, each team member executes on those trained techniques whether it’s passing, blocking, catching or running defense. Businesses utilize trained techniques as well. They are marketing, branding, sales, customer service, budgeting, disaster recovery, testing, etc. By continually analyzing and improving all techniques within the organization, the organization gives itself the best chance to “win.”
Talent: Organizations must ensure they have the right people in the right positions, and that those people have the skills and experience necessary to execute the techniques. One example of a talent “best practice” is establishing a succession plan for each key position. Too many organizations are caught off-guard when key personnel leave the organization, and waste months and even years filling the talent gap.
Structure around the talent component of the 7-T System is critical to its success, and involves:
- Organizational composition (how many employees are needed at each position)
- Recruiting, screening and hiring
- Key staffing ratio management (CSR to Supervisor, CSR to QA, etc.)
- Succession planning
- Exit interviews (given by a third party and reviewed internally)
Teaching: Once the right talent is in place, then the organization must train each individual and work group on the techniques identified for success. And teaching goes deep in the bench. Champion sports teams ensure that not only are the players trained throughout the year, but so are the coaches, front office personnel, support staff, etc. Business enterprises should also commit to a training schedule that teaches each person the proper techniques.
Tools: Tools are the physical things that employees use to execute many of these techniques. For sports teams, it takes the form of equipment, training facilities, stadium, etc. In business, think of the facilities and offices, computers, phones, printers, delivery trucks, packaging materials, etc. The best companies, like the best sports teams, invest in state-of-art equipment and facilities.
Tone: Every winning team and organization has a very distinct, positive and reinforced culture. Characteristics of “winning” tone include high expectations, trust, participation, accountability, ownership, dedication and hard work. Winning organizations go to great lengths to form, define, communicate and reinforce their desired culture in every interaction with internal and external stakeholders.
Tracking: The last component of the 7-T Success System ensures each of the other “Ts” is being executed as desired. To stay on course, it’s important to track the collective performance of the organization versus each separate component (or “T”). Successful sports teams have learned that tracking and analysis are necessary for peak performance. The movie, “Moneyball,” made that point.
Tracking within the 7-T Success System involves these three steps for each area:
- Identify all the components that make up that area. For example, if you’re working on Tools, make a list of the tools your organization has currently. This may include: office parking, office security system and/or personnel, telephone system, agent computers, training facilities, break room and restrooms.
- Conduct a gap analysis for each “T” area using a chart that includes Component (e.g., agent computers), Current State (outdated, slow), Desired State (current tech, speed), Actions to Bridge Gap (purchase new), and Cost to Bridge Gap ($1,200/agent).
- Assemble your 7-T Success System project team and prioritize the action items in the chart, based on the highest impact and urgency.
Tom Peters said, “Excellent companies don’t focus on excellence – only constant improvement and change,” and that is particularly relevant here. By identifying the composition of each of these seven areas of business, companies can build from a common understanding and end goal in mind. Perhaps the greatest positive impact on an organization using the 7-T process is the heightened level of focus, awareness and engagement that the process inherently creates in everyone involved. Want to discuss this further? I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on LinkedIn here.