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To succeed in tough times leaders need to make sure their companies are aligned around strategic, long-term goals that balance the voice of the customer and the voice of the business, says Lisa Hershman, co-author of Faster, Cheaper, Better.
The first step in achieving that alignment is communicating the company's strategic plan as often as possible and in simple terms that communicate to employees how they are contributing to the end goal, Hershman says.
Using metrics that are related to customer needs is another key element, she says. "Most organizations do a good job with financial metrics but these need to be balanced with metrics that are focused on customer satisfaction," she says. "The challenge for organizations is to look at what they are measuring and ask if it truly impacts end results," she adds. If a business uses departmental metrics, it is in danger of sub-optimizing, or having silos that do well without achieving optimal results for the enterprise as a whole.
An environment that fosters innovation also is crucial to long-term success, says Hershman. "Now is the time for companies to really think differently about how they service their customers," she says. "Most organizations make the mistake of assuming that innovation comes only through products, but companies also can innovate in the way they deliver products or services. Leaders have a very distinct responsibility to make sure that employees are supported in trying new things."
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