The Power of Assessment Tools: Take Your Business to the Next Level

July 01, 2014

by Mark Paggioli

improve business performance

As an Owner looking to reorganize, transfer leadership or ownership, or otherwise take your business to the next level, your success is directly tied to whether you have a clear understanding of what is needed to move forward.

Determining what that path forward will be requires a thorough grasp of the current state of your organization and how well key aspects are functioning. It is only when you are armed with this knowledge that you can develop a targeted plan to drive your bottom line and fortify your organization for future success. 

According to CONNSTEP Business Growth Consultant John McCarroll, “If an Owner is beginning to think about strategies for moving forward, assessment tools are a great way to focus on what those strategies should be.” CONNSTEP’s Manager of Growth & Innovation Services, Mark Paggioli, adds,  “We see a lot of Owners in a ‘doing’ mode and not focused on the leadership and strategic development aspect of taking business to the next level. Alternately, we see people focused on too many short-term things that aren’t ultimately moving the needle.”

Business assessment tools can help you quickly:

  • identify vulnerabilities
  • prioritize actions
  • make the best use of limited resources
  • and much more

– so that you can make focused improvements that take your business to new heights, increase business valuation, or attract buyers – whatever your need may be. 

Assess Your Business’s Sustainability

At CONNSTEP, we rely on benchmarking tools like PROBE and Core Value to provide owners with an objective and complete reading of a company’s health, based on several key indicators. Benchmarking tools paint a clear picture of:

  • how well your organization is performing
  • the processes you currently have in place and how well they are functioning together
  • which processes need improvement
  • how your organization compares to others in yours space

The end result: an ultimate measure of your organization’s current rate of sustainability.

Neil Cambridge, President of PROBE (Promoting Business Excellence) – a sophisticated assessment for businesses reviewing their present state – sees “Organizations rarely stop and look inwardly at themselves comprehensively. Business assessment tools can offer a pragmatic and productive start, uncovering the next steps of action needed, and taking you on a journey that matches excellence to rise above the pack.”

Paggioli adds, “When all the parts are running well, they’re contributing toward preserving money or helping you put more money toward the bottom line.”

Get an Accurate Frame of Reference

The beauty of using assessment tools like these is that they involve a broad spectrum of your organization’s people in the process, obtaining feedback and perspective on a large number of open-ended questions. Cambridge comments, “An assessment tool like PROBE is intended to facilitate a discussion across a diagonal cross-functional team. No one person in the organization has all the answers. Through discussion, we calibrate knowledge in the organization and get a more accurate baseline of where the organization is right now.”

Finds John McCarroll, a CONNSTEP Business Growth Consultant who guides clients through the self-assessment process, “It’s an interesting and informative process, and often not something many organizations have done together as a team. You can understand better where your company is in a group atmosphere, than you can on your own.”

Once answers are discussed and agreed upon, the collected data is entered into a neutral software tool. The organization then receives a current and accurate comparative analysis against other organizations and recommendations on specific areas to focus improvements efforts.

Quickly Identify & Tackle the True Areas of Vulnerability

By painting a holistic picture of the organization, assessment tools can quickly uncover the real areas responsible for organizational dysfunction or underperformance. This information enables businesses to better prioritize next actions, make the best use of often limited resources, and pinpoint a specific action that will deliver the best “bang for their buck” so-to-speak.

Noting the disparity he often sees between what people perceive to be their most urgent business challenges and those that actually need addressing, McCarroll comments: “We’ll often see people focused on a certain pet peeve, which really isn’t the issue at all. These tools get to the real root cause, quickly.”
Learn About Assessment Tools

Benefit from Team Consensus on Tactical Objectives

Using assessment tools to help develop a plan for your organization can do wonders for boosting company morale by aligning key people on common goals. Since these exercises require a collective response from the group to open-ended questions relating to the principle aspects of their business, they compel the group to reach a unanimous decision on important issues. Hope and optimism often ensue when it becomes clear to the group exactly what areas have been holding them back.

Paggioli observes the power assessment tools can have on employee morale, “There is huge value when the team feels like they’re no longer pulling in opposite directions. Executing continuous improvement efforts becomes very easy when you get people lined up in the same direction toward a common goal.”

Consider the Value of Third-Party Facilitation

“You can’t participate and facilitate at the same time,” warns Cambridge. “It’s extremely important for the team members involved in an organization’s assessment to be highly focused on thinking about and responding to key questions as accurately and objectively as possible—this is how you get the most informed answers. This can be incredibly difficult for companies to do without the help of a trained outside expert.”

Cambridge goes on to mention the additional value and insight facilitators can offer: “Businesses at times tend to be unnecessarily hard on themselves, and sometimes facilitators can help them bring their score up to where it should be as well.” In these scenarios, CONNSTEP facilitators guide the discussion among team members, providing examples, metaphors, and experience when there is confusion, and bringing subject-matter expertise to the table.

Paggioli observes, “Third-party involvement in the self-assessment process is invaluable, as it obtains everyone’s input in a way that’s not easy to ignore. It gets people out of their silos and involved in a team dialogue.”

We’ll Guide the Way

McCaroll asserts, “Companies need to frequently ask themselves – am I spending the right amount of time working on the business, not just in the business, to drive my bottom line?”

Business Assessment tools like PROBE and Core Value give you the most accurate answer. Get to work on the right areas that will have the greatest and fastest impact on your business by starting with a free consultation.
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