All perfect on paper but… do you run into dramas in the execution stage?
Process execution is a key focus area to help scale your business, and can make your life extremely easy, or absolute hell! And no matter how big or small your “execution disasters” may be, they are avoidable.
So, how to go about making life easier for yourself? First of all, identify the problem. Here are three warning signs for you to watch out for:
1. There is needless drama in the organization (e.g., an incorrect invoice; someone missed a meeting; etc.);
2. Everyone seems to be working more hours, spending too much time fixing things that should have been done right in the first place.
3. Most important, the company is generating less than three times industry average profitability.
It’s more than likely that businesses carry on using sketchy execution models, with people prepared to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, to compensate for the sloppiness.
But you’ll agree with me that it makes no sense: a lot of time, energy, and potential revenue get wasted!
Who, What, When (WWW): improve the impact of your weekly meetings by taking a few minutes at the end, and summarizing Who said they are going to do What, and When. This has nothing to do with micro-management, it has to do with management excellence, and making things clear when it comes to communication, as well as to accountability, and assigning responsibilities.
The key is setting a “when” that is no longer than the time between weekly (or monthly) meetings. And if you have a more substantial initiative, the key is breaking it into pieces that can be accomplished within a few weeks. In other words, eat the elephant one bite at a time!
There are 10 routines you can implement to achieve an excellent execution of your strategy. These routines dramatically increase productivity, and reduce the time necessary to run the business.
Think about airlines’ checklist requirements for making sure that planes stay in the air: now, think of these 10 routines as a “pre-flight” checklist to help your business grow and scale up, without having it crash and burn.
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The 10 routines
1. Your executive team is healthy and aligned. Basically, it needs to have a level of trust that permits true debate and constructive conflict to occur.
2. Everyone is aligned with the main quarterly goal to move the company forward to the next level. Setting quarterly goals allows the business to take baby steps, inspect data, and make adjustments accordingly. But it also gives the opportunity to celebrate (or mope) over achievements, and have fun in the process.
3. Communication rhythm is established, and information moves through the organization accurately and quickly. The #1 challenge faced when two or more people work together is communication (case in point: love life!). The key is an effective daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual meeting rhythm, which, when executed properly, actually saves everyone a tremendous amount of time. It is counterproductive to spend time to save more time, I know, but that’s the way it is.
4. Every facet of the organization has a person assigned with accountability for ensuring goals are met. If communication is the #1 challenge, assigning accountability within the company comes in second. This issue requires clarity, so as to tackle the confusion that arises, especially when the organization operates through discrete business units.
5. Ongoing employee input is collected to identify obstacles and opportunities. A key component of the weekly quality data you need to run the business is in fact insights from your employees, especially from your sales department and front office, as they are in the trenches. Make sure that your senior leaders ask them, “What should the company stop, start, or keep doing?” Pay particular attention to the “stops:” these are most likely the roadblocks you need to eliminate to keep people motivated.
6. Reporting and analysis of customer feedback data is as frequent and accurate as financial data. The second key component of the weekly quality data you need to run your business has to be insight from your customers. In this case, too, then, you’ll have to ask them directly, posing questions about the market, about competitors, and figuring out together whether they like a particular product or service.
7. The core values and the business mission are “alive” in the organization. Guided by this principle, you will run the entire system related to human resources: hiring, feedback, awards and commendations. The mission will be the stepping stone for the “why” behind everything you do (what difference is your company making in the world?)
8. Employees’ actions are aligned with the company’s strategy. To do so, they need to know and understand the company’s 10- to 25-year goal, who the core customers are, the three brand promises everyone need to keep, and what the company really does (they must be able to explain it when asked!)
9. All employees can answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week. Does each employee, or team, have a clear understanding of weekly priorities and KPIs? Do they know whether they were productive during the course of a given week? People love checking out scores; that is why they like video games, sports, and races.
10. The company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone. Picture something like a huge scoreboard to put up, and put this concept to work: sharing results and images about the company’s growth is an incentive, and an example, for productivity.
Now, beware though: you run the risk of driving your employees nuts if you were to implement these routines in one fell swoop. The key is focusing on one or two each quarter, giving everyone roughly 24 to 36 months to implement these simple, yet powerful routines, which will set you free.
Here’s to your financial independence!