“… and the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” – Habukkah 2:2
The reduction of the failure rate, which bedevils the global startup business sector, is a challenge for the leadership and management of many businesses.
In recent columns we have suggested leadership solutions to put “the ladder against the right wall”. We continue with a series of suggested management solutions under, The Shepherding ModelTM, to “climb the ladder efficiently”.
This evolving Model is inspired by interaction with dozens of startups which I have been privileged to shepherd (life coaching and business mentoring) throughout the Caribbean over the last 20 years.
The composition of the Model is (1) Governance – establish the framework for the operations of a business; (2) Investment Finance – mount a quick response seed/equity/working capital growth fund; (3) Marketing – massage the business concept for global market penetration, pitch the innovation to Caribbean leaders, and provide marketing advice to brand the startup; (4) Operations – assign a Shepherd to the startup business; (5) People Development – train project managers, entrepreneurs, shepherds, fund managers, and the members of the Diaspora.
We start this series with the topic “Shepherding and Startup Governance”, which will address (1) the stakeholder environment; (2) value proposition; (3) dialogue culture; (4) meetings cycle; and (5) agenda and minutes. Hopefully, this new series will gain traction and lead us towards the promised land.
The internal stakeholder environment consists of the entrepreneur, business partners, shepherds, team members and advisers; and the external stakeholder environment includes government, investors, NGOs, service providers, and customers.
The first task is to establish the operating rules, the information flow, and communications protocol between pairs of stakeholders. Out of this evolves the internal organizational structure.
The value proposition states the value of your product or service in satisfying customer needs and how it is differentiated from that of your competitors.
The Vision for the business idea results from a visioning retreat between the entrepreneur and the shepherd.
The mission (maximum 30 words) states the type of business that you are in, the products and services produced, the targeted customers, and the geographical distribution domain. The mission then becomes the beacon which guides the team on a daily basis.
The business values are the principles that the entrepreneur stands for personally.
My first bit of advice to an entrepreneur is to set the date for the first board meeting to which will be invited the entrepreneur, other selected board members, if any, and the shepherd, by invitation.
When the entrepreneurs get immersed in the comprehensive agenda of that first meeting and subsequently confirm the minutes, they are convinced that they are on the right track and develop a dialogue culture involving management and staff.
The role of the board is to (1) support the entrepreneur’s vision; (2) set action plans with monthly targets; (3) monitor the dashboard to determine actual performance against targets; (4) take corrective action where necessary; and (5) repeat the cyclical monthly process.
An innovative standard agenda and minutes format is proposed to facilitate the development of a journal to record the company’s development.
The end of June 2021 concludes the 28th year of writing this weekly column without missing a beat. Many thanks for your continual feedback which has inspired me to continue.
Now, let’s write the vision and make it plain, so he or she who reads it, shall run with it.
Have a productive week!