Khonology: Making things happen on Mondays


#TT100 Winner of the 2016 Eskom Award for Excellence in the Management of Systems

Category for small enterprises

Making things happen on Mondays

Many people like to ease slowly and gently into the working week on Monday mornings. Not Khonology. Every Monday is “admin day” – time to take a fine toothcomb to the company’s finances, operations and sales figures. This weekly exercise might take up the whole morning but every minute spent keeping Khonology running like clockwork is worth it, says Michael Roberts, CEO of Khonology, an African business services company skilled in sourcing and building African talent and technology.

“From day one, we’ve managed our processes, systems and procedures really well, including our cash flow, so that there are no unpleasant surprises down the line. We’re very disciplined and we’re always looking forward: we do weekly, monthly and 90-day forecasts, and also have a five-year view.”

Roberts knows only too well how important it is for a small company to plan properly, be proactive and pay meticulous attention to risk management and mitigation. He’s previously been part of businesses that didn’t worry so much about these things.

“If you don’t plan, you spend all your time firefighting,” says Roberts, who has “been there, done that” and has the t-shirt to prove it. “But failure isn’t bad. It’s one more step closer to being successful – as long as you learn your lessons and don’t repeat your mistakes.”

So Monday’s admin sessions at Khonology are non-negotiable, as is the daily check-in process for its management team, ensuring they approach each new day with a clear focus and plan of action.

Systems support success

Turning to the company’s management of systems, which so impressed the TT100 adjudicators, Khonology has three main systems and all of them are put through their paces once a week at those famous Monday morning meetings.

“For finances, we’ve built a dashboard and procedures for checking inflows and outflows and doing forecasting and modelling,” says Roberts. “The second system is for our operations – people, headcount, compliance, risk and issues – and is very outcomes based so that we know how and where to focus. Thirdly, we have a sales system for understanding the sales pipeline, from leads to opportunities to real pieces of work to our current run rate.”

Another indispensable tool is Khonology’s ACI framework, standing for “Achievements, Challenges, Insights”, enabling the team to understand where they’re doing well, what obstacles need to be ironed out and what lessons they should be learning so as not to repeat mistakes.

Talking of lessons, one of the most valuable lessons Khonology has learnt is: Don’t sit and wait for something to happen, or hope that a problem will go away. Take action – informed action. “We’re constantly looking around and making sure we’re aware of what’s happening around us, and we’re proactive, especially with client engagement. The minute there’s an issue, we’re on-site, turning it around.  We won’t sit and wait for issues to become risks.”