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How to assess your company strengths and weaknesses

Let's look at some ideas for assessing your company strengths and weakness.

1. First of all, you might want to consider calling a company meeting. By company meeting, we mean everyone significantly involved in the company, from the lowest to the highest. Who knows, even the custodians might have some pretty keen things to say. Use common sense, of course, but when assessing your company strengths and weaknesses, you'll want to put all the company heads together. By company heads, here, of course, we don't mean heads of the company; we mean everyone in the company who possesses a head on top of a neck, and we assume that means just about everyone! Except for Headless Pete McCormick.

2. Once you get the company together, announce your general purpose: to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your company. Now, it just may be that everyone will start talking at once. This means you'll have to take charge. (Perhaps everyone talking at once is one of the weaknesses of your company.) You'll need to make sure that people speak one at a time.

3. One of the cold, hard facts about meetings such as these is that you'll get more bad answers than good answers. That is, you'll get more answer such as: "New pencil sharpener"; "More choices in vending machine," than you'll care to hear. Fact is, though, that if pencils aren't being sharpened and hungry employees are limited to wrinkled apples and seventeen-year-old yogurt, your company definitely isn't thriving as well as it should be. The point of all this? To keep order, you'll have to write things down. Otherwise, you'll have people repeating things, whether that means repeating them literally or simply rewording them or whatever. You'll want to make a numbered list of your company strengths and weaknesses as your employees see them.

4. Once you think you've got as far as you're going to get with the whole company assembled, dismiss the majority to get back to their jobs and thank them for their time and effort. Assure them that their points about company strengths and weaknesses were both noted and appreciated. Then get them out of there! It's time to focus on company leadership, including yourself. From an above view, so to speak, what are your company strengths and weaknesses? These views should not be seen as more important than the views of lower-end employees. To really assess the strengths and weaknesses of your company, you'll need to work as a team from top to bottom.

5. After you've gotten the views of the company about company strengths and weaknesses, how about trying the customers? That's right, many companies have discovered that their customers were a very key factor in assessing company strengths and weaknesses? Who better, really, than a customer to assess company strengths and weaknesses?

6. Now, obviously you're not going to get all your customers crowded into a room with a whiteboard and 1-2-3 go. It's going to take a little more time, effort, money, and sophistication to get customer feedback about company strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, you've got some great options for doing so. Your company most likely has a website (if not, that's a definite weakness); create a page on which your customers can speak frankly and assess your company strengths and weakness. Try phone surveys; customers are much more likely to answer the phone if they think they're actually going to be giving feedback to the companies they frequent. Email surveys, direct mail surveys-these tools are also good. Really, a combination of such tools is the best way to get customer feedback on company strengths and weaknesses.

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