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This post is an update to an article originally shared by Escalate Solutions in 2017. 

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office reports that nearly 2,000 businesses were launched in my home state every week throughout 2019. Nationally, according to the Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov), there were approximately 30.2 million small and emerging businesses (defined as having less than 500 employees) in the U.S. as of November 2019, representing approximately 99% of all American businesses.  

Notably, only two-thirds of emerging business entities survive beyond the benchmark of 2 years, only half of all businesses survive 5 years, and only one-third will survive the measure of “sustainability” – 10 years of operations.

Cash flow and lack of earnings are typical reasons for business failures, but research (and personal experience) also indicates that organizations increasingly crumble due to internal issues such as culture and leadership. If you are among the many business owners or leaders collecting articles on prominent business publications that attempt to summarize 2-3 elements of organizational culture that will help determine your long-term success, I am afraid I may the bearer of more sobering news. The truth is that there are dozens of considerations that entrepreneurs, managers, and members of the c-suite need to prioritize if they want their organization to join the exclusive “10 year survival” segment.

The list is lengthy, but can be summarized in the following 14 categories: Purpose, Framework, Reliability, Guidance, Engagement, Permanency, Measures, People, Acknowledgement, Advancement, Evolution, Personalization, Impact and Digital Transformation (yes…Digital Transformation MUST be a prioritized element of your culture).

Reality dictates that every entity will always have issues to overcome, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still aim for perfection in the areas that matter most to our perpetuity as a business. When it comes to corporate culture, the first step is summarizing the priorities; the second is to implement solutions where there are gaps.

You are growing in leaps in bounds. Congratulations.  Now your goal is still be in business and growth mode a decade from now.  As you embark on your 2020 fiscal year, utilize the following talking points from Escalate Solutions to advance your internal discussion.  Share a link to this post with your colleagues, division/department heads, and launch the critical conversation about what your organization needs to do in the upcoming year to evolve through the life cycles of growth, scaling and long-term viability. 

What topics below need to be included as priorities for your organization to survive and thrive in Industry 4.0?

Purpose Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs, Goals, Inspiration, “Why”, Futurist Aims
Framework Strategy, Practices, Processes, Procedures, Alignment, Governance, Objectives, Outputs, Tactics, Methodologies, Automation
Reliability Timeliness, Efficiency, Productivity, Customer Satisfaction, Security, Privacy
Guidance Leadership, Delegation, Accountability, Responsiveness, Ownership
Engagement Relationships, Communication, Human Connection, Teamwork, Fit, Fun, Comaraderie, Interaction, Honesty, Pride, Enthusiasm
Permanency Branding, Consistency, Stability, Efficiency, Productivity, Dependability
Measures Success, Quality, Value Proposition, Customer Satisfaction (CX/UX)
People Resources, Mentoring, Training, Advancement, Diversity, Hiring, Retention, Edge Empowerment
Acknowledgment Recognition, Respect, Trust, Rewards, Fulfillment
Advancement Education, Learning, Ongoing Improvement, Maximizing Potential
Evolution Agility, Innovation, Creativity, Change, Passion, Disruption
Personalization Legacy, Story, Narrative, Differentiators, Reputation, Convenience
Impact Community, Caring, Ecosystem, Social Good, Philanthropy, Corporate Citizenship

Digital Transformation

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, 5G, IoT