At the end of every year, we hear people talk about their New Year’s resolution(s) – whether it works or not, or is just a fad, it still consumes many conversations and sometimes leaves people in despair when they cannot keep them.
New Year’s resolutions for companies may yet be a good thing. I’ve often wondered how companies could benefit, if employees who are empowered to spend company money made a conscious decision to review spending habits, looking for greater returns and benefits for their companies. Imagine if these employees exercised the same (or greater) caution and demanded similar or greater value for money, as they do when spending their own wages/salaries – could it make companies more profitable and less vulnerable to cash flow issues?
It would require complete transparency and willingness to celebrate successes (note I used the plural here as I’m hoping there is more than 1 of these), admit failures or shortcomings and to objectively look at spending patterns and habits. What would they do differently, having the benefit of the 2016 learnings? Should they stick with existing relationships or forge new ones? Should they seek a better return on investment (ROI) or accept the returns of 2016 whether good or bad? Would they be bold and brave enough to admit that some spends did not realise the expected ROI.
Now I’m not expecting employees to eagerly put their hands up and say that they ‘wasted’ or ‘badly used’ company money (I do not doubt there are many honest employees). 2016 saw many failed projects, many projects overrunning budgets and some projects even being cancelled or restarted. I know of many companies that were brave enough to suspend projects and write off their ‘investments’ in favour of a replacement project that was delivered quicker and for less money than the cancelled project.
Company money is like any other asset, when it’s used wisely it brings benefits, but when it’s not, it can be regarded as negligence. So, while 2016 may have raised many conversations between interacting parties (suppliers, companies, employees), will companies settle for ’same old same old’ or will they actively look to increase profitability via change? The old adage ‘Better the Devil you know’ comes to mind – but who wants to work with the devil? I know there are ‘angels’ out there that just have to be found. My consulting colleagues’ talk of projects that required clean-up or rescuing and we have done a few of these activities in 2016. This ultimately costs companies more – and not just financially.
So as you start 2017, maybe this IS a good time to:
- Review past business relationships and their ROI
- Consider changing relationships for better ROI
- Look at future spend and decide to go wider in sourcing
- Seek advice from peers and competitors (if they will share it)
- Read more informative material to help make the right decisions
- Look at engaging ‘help/advisory’ services to ensure projects are delivered well
Whatever 2017 holds, every employee has a moral obligation to treat company assets as their own and to aggressively seek the best ROI on spend. As I reflect on 2016, I can certainly see areas where I can do things differently.
Question is: Am I going to act on them sooner rather than later or not at all?