Built Intelligence

Are legacy issues harming your business’s future? By Terry O'Mahony

Are legacy issues harming your business’s future? By Terry O'Mahony

When did you last do an overhaul of your business?

Can you remember when you last spent time on really understanding how your business has evolved?  Did you start the business yourself or were you part of a buy-out?  Whether it was a fledgling or established business, over time it evolves and, with that, so should the way it operates.

Like many of us, my wife has worked for a variety of organisations and, as part of her settling in, she often asks the question “Why do we do it that way?”, normally to gain a better understanding of a process.  The answer, more often than than not, is “Because we’ve always done it that way.”  Sound familiar?  This could be a good thing.  On the other hand, as we grow, employ new people and get to grips with new technologies, systems and processes, we should also be considering what is also holding us back.  When people ask this type of question, it’s usually because they are observing something that could be improved upon.

Often,  when new people come into a business and ask questions such as this, it’s helpful to remain curious and dig deeper to understand why they are asking the question … it may be that they can see something that you can’t, because you’re so ingrained in its fabric.

So why is the PAST such a great place to start and why is it an important ingredient in any forward planning process?

Analysing the past provides an opportunity for you and your team to review:

  • how your business came into existence:
  • how it has developed and grown over time; and
  • how it currently supports your business.

Is there a culture, or ways of working and thinking that negatively impact the business?  And, if left unchecked, will it continue to be disruptive and / or disadvantageous?

So, your firm’s PAST is truly important.

The PAST of your business is usually something to be proud of, because when we are reminded of it, we’re reminded of our sense of pride, our purpose and the reason we belong.  But ensuring that your business is successful and fit-for-the-future, is essential in attracting, recruiting and retaining people who truly want to work with you and will help you to achieve even greater success.

It’s important to be curious …

When we are in the mellay of leading and managing a business, we can often ‘get stuck’ with the ‘doing.  Why not take the Christmas period to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why did I start or get involved with the business?
  • Who started it?
  • What were the primary motives for starting it?
  • What were the true passions that propelled it forward?
  • What overt benefits did the business offer its client and do they still exist?
  • Why did your early clients believe in the business and what benefits it offered them?
  • Why was the business different from its competitors? etc.
  • What ways of working and thinking stem from the past that are no longer relevant?

Reviewing and understanding the PAST is an essential step in forward planning.

Wanting to run before you can walk

We know exactly where you’re coming from.  It’s natural to want to move forward quickly, but if you don’t get the foundations right, we all know what can happen.

When people think about business planning, they normally start with their goals, desires, and dreams, in other words what we want!  However, in order to really achieve this, we need to identify what legacy issues we need to leave behind.  This will be liberating and free-us up so that we can embrace change to support our future growth.

About the author

Terry O’Mahony, M.Sc, MCIOB, Construction Leaders Club

Terry has significant leadership and business management experience within the construction, property and investment industry. He graduated with an MSc in Construction Project Management and has been a member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) for several decades. Having started his career with a national building contractor, he went on to hold several senior management positions in the industry in a career that spans over four decades. During the past forty years Terry has been engaged in the strategic growth, marketing and selling of goods and services within the construction industry. He has worked in a variety of businesses including small, medium and large national construction businesses, managing business and teams to deliver multi-million pound projects.

Terry is a highly experienced and respected ‘Business Growth Coach, having been the principal Midlands-based construction growth coach and consultant on the government’s accredited ‘Growth Accelerator’ programme.

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