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  • Writer's pictureTerry Dockery

Strategic Focus & Your Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Wow, there's a lot to know in scaling up a business, eh? The media is full of experts telling you what you need to learn and what you need to do in order to succeed. It can feel overwhelming. 

In engineering the signal-to-noise ratio describes the level of a desired signal compared to the level of background noise; e.g., being able to hear a speaker clearly on a podcast or video presentation. 

There's a lot of good information out there, but how do you know what's really important (signal) and what is only ancillary (noise) in getting the job done? For example, what if (god forbid) consultants and other experts can be tempted to overcomplicate things to increase the likelihood that you feel the need for their services? 

I have often worked with leaders who are drowning in data but starving for useful information on which to base important strategic decisions. My goal has always been to study all the complexities of my field, and then distill these down into simple and usable techniques that can be easily understood and implemented. 

The greater the complexity of a plan, the less likely that anything of importance is going to get done. The human brain can only hold around 7 pieces of information in consciousness at any one time, so let's use that to our advantage. 

Here's are the 3 main "signals" I've found to be important in scaling up a business: 

  1. Right Business Plan/Strategy

  2. Right Team

  3. Right Teamwork

Of course there are lots of details that come into play under each of the factors, but it's important to know that these are the signals to pay attention to in achieiving your vision for your business. 

For example while financial measures are absolutely essential to your business, many leaders don't understand that for SMBs they are most important as lagging indicators of success that are created by the leading indicator signals listed above. Financial measures easily can become "noise" if a leader puts too much emphasis on them to the detriment of the 3 signals (e.g., an overemphasis on cost control leading to hiring "cheap" employees can lead to a weak team). 

Once your company is a certain size, moving your money around in clever ways can greatly contribute to further success, but even then it can never replace a strong focus on the fundamental signals that got you there in the first place. 

So, how is your strategic focus on your signal-to-noise ratio in your business? 

Don't be a stranger: (770) 993-1129,

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