Problem Solving in Branch Organizations: Driving Growth

200526566-001How do you make microwave popcorn pop in 12 seconds instead of 2 minutes? How do you get 300 mpg out of a Corvette? How do you make an energy-efficient light bulb turn on fast enough to actually use? I don’t know.

How do you deliver productivity growth at 10 to 30 times the national average? There, I have a few ideas.

Here’s the situation: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Feb. 7 that average annual productivity grew 1 percent from 2011 to 2012. Wow, that’s a snooze. No one leading a staffing enterprise could get by with promising just 1 percent growth – it’s not enough. 

PREMIUM RESEARCH: 2012 Staffing Company Survey: Planned Service Expansions

Problem #4 in this Problem-Solving Series: Driving Growth in a Flat Environment

In branch or franchise operations, there are three best practices for driving growth when your job security requires that you far exceed the norm. My team applied these ideas to fuel a 26 percent compound annual growth rate over four years of a flat staffing sector:

  1. “Flat is not flat.” Even when overall indicators are neutral, there are whirlpools of deep decline and tornadoes of real growth. Use a sales analysis process to determine the areas of greatest dynamic change within your customer base – not just who is growing or shrinking, but how fast and how long. Find your whirlpools, find your tornadoes, and apply that information in the back half of this year – this is a great exercise for your next quarterly leadership meeting.
  2. “Your branch model can be a strategic source of innovation.” Have you ever heard, “It’s different here…” when visiting a field operation? Of course! Well, leverage those differences by establishing laboratories of local innovation: it’s no coincidence that the Egg McMuffin was invented by a southern California franchisee not the HQ at McDonald’s Corp. By the way, that franchisee didn’t stop running his operation during his “lab time” – he continued to be a top operational performer before/during/after.
  3. “Make flat your friend.” There is one good thing about a flat economy: it rips the disguise of headwind/tailwind off of performance. Simply stated, there is no better time to benchmark performance – both internally and against competitors – than right now. We are in the weakest recovery in U.S. history so now is the time to do your benchmarking.

I returned recently from a global sales conference where we examined Miller Heiman’s 10th Annual Sales Best Practices Study. Two interesting takeaways that will fit here in this blog: (A) the gap between “World Class Selling Organizations” and “The Rest” got bigger in 2012 at the same time (B) the percentage of selling organizations qualifying as “World Class” got smaller. For up-to-the-minute benchmarking data on “World Class” leave a comment below or find me on LinkedIn.

MORE: No. 3 in this Problem-Solving Series: It’s All About Me

Frank Troppe

Frank Troppe
Frank Troppe analyzes trends in sales strategy and field operations. He is the author of three books and 40 articles on Branch Operations.

Frank Troppe

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2 Responses to “Problem Solving in Branch Organizations: Driving Growth”

  1. […] easily innovate themselves out of the recession resulting in a better resurgent productivity growth.Productivity, defined as a measure of the amount of output per hour of work, is shown to be typicall…that labor and capital inputs are worked harder during boom times than in busts. Another observation […]

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