Business development in 2011/2012

Greetings for the season!

Setting up the bquest learning-at-work system for dynamic businesses has taken up a lot of time over the last nine months. This blog is about what we have achieved in 2011 and what we plan to do in 2012.

In April 2011, we launched the website http://www.bquested.com. It now appears on page 1 of Google when you search for “employee development and business growth” and “employee development and small businesses“.

With our clients in the first nine months, we have seen a wide range of priority business and personal development needs being addressed. Here are just a a few of them to give you a flavour:

Sales Director - Sales team development: defining key performance indicators and setting up a two-way communications and reporting system with head office that enables the sales team to self manage more effectively.

Production Manager - Operations benchmarking: doing the  groundwork and data collection in preparation for introducing lean manufacturing and continuous improvement methods.

Administration manager - Internal communications and cross-functional working: improving the flow of work and data through the entire production process.

Production Assistant: Energy efficiency: piloting a project of electricity savings in a production shop as the first step towards introducing a company-wide energy efficiency programme.

Production Supervisor - Operator training to standards: defining the competencies required by operators, setting performance standards and developing a results oriented training and assessment system for new recruits.

Key Account Sales Manager - Presenting the company in a new way to a client: using the threat of a competitor taking away business as an opportunity to re-present the company to the client, and to get more business from them!

Quality Co-ordinator - Root problem solving method: getting significant problems solved once and for all.

The bquest system is proving to be very flexible in terms of level of learning, focus, and time allocated. It can address all aspects of personal, professional and business development, and  it allows for participants having big differences in level and learning style preferences. bquest also fits well with the variable work demands found in smaller businesses.

We have a couple of observations from the first nine months. Firstly, some clients, even in the current economic climate, are not just surviving but thriving. Managing the chaos that comes with rapid growth is their priority. On a negative note though, it is disappointing how few businesses have made plans in case the current crisis hits them more than it has so far.

If we are going to have a ‘lost decade’ as many economists are now predicting, owners and managers will have to be both very creative and disciplined when leading their business. Having worked with several clients two years ago early in the current crisis, I have developed a simple 1-2-3 framework of: 1 Crisis Prevention/Reduction; 2 Crisis Management should things get really bad; 3 Exploiting problems and the upturn when it comes. If you want to know more, let me know.

For 2012 – the ‘New Manager’ program.

We will be developing in 2012 the New Manager program for all people appointed for the first time as ‘managers’ (first-line supervisors, team leaders, project leaders). It will have online materials that will provide the core knowledge and skills. It will suggest key performance indicators. This will be supported by a simple form of the bquest system of action learning projects and individual coaching that will equip quickly all new managers with the essential knowledge and skills they need in the  first few weeks of starting their new job as manager.

The New Manager program will focus on 5 key topics:

  1. Delivering the results expected of my team by all my customers (internal and external) and managing relationships with them.
  2. Managing and improving my team and myself to deliver the results required of us.
  3. Managing budgets and resources.
  4. Managing company policies and procedures on reporting, quality, H and S, personnel, finances, and environment.
  5. Managing projects and step-change improvements.

I hope you have a great 2012! Let me know if we can help in any way.

Kind regards, David Thompson

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