Business is business, so the saying goes yet not all businesses are the same. This may seem an obvious thing to say, running a sweet shop is very different from running an airline for example, yet it is a common held belief that principles apply across all business. Indeed there are some that do, the need to bring in cash for example, but that does not mean that you can simply pick up what happens in one business and apply it to others.
In truth all businesses are different, even where they look similar. Each has its own feel and way of doing things brought about by the infinite variety that dealing with people brings. Each has different employees, different customers, different processes and procedures, different markets, different aims and objectives. Each of these components will be similar if not the same as many other businesses yet it is the combination that makes them unique. Even branches or departments of the same business can feel and be very different from each other.
A key to the success of any business lies therefore in the understanding of its differences, not just the application of sound principles. It is a subject that I keep coming back to yet one that is overlooked by many within a company. What is the purpose of the business? What do we do that sets us apart from all of the other similar looking businesses? What is my role in realising this purpose and how can be build upon these differences to create the differentiator that will allow us to prosper?
Too much time is spent by businesses trying to apply other organisation’s solutions to its own problems. By all means observe what others are doing and look to learn from, copy or steal any good ideas but remember that, to be successful, any solution needs to solve your own businesses issues.
You can only do this if you understand what these issues are and you can only do this by understanding the purpose of your organisation. Do you?