Develop an operating system to help your team with implementation of ideas from seminars and conferences.
Have you ever attended a seminar or conference, took several pages of notes with great ideas and had good intentions of coming back to your business and making big changes — changes that will impact your life and your business forever — only to have nothing happen? I have.
Have you ever sent one of your managers to a training seminar and saw no improvement, no changes and no shift in strategy? Me too.
Have you ever discussed great ideas in your weekly team meetings and none of those ideas ever seems to be implemented? Have you ever felt like signing someone up for successful training was the end of the task on your part? Me too.
Sending your team to training is only the beginning. If you don’t have an implementation process, nothing will change.
I’ve become good at goal setting, staying focused and achieving what I set my mind to. Many of you can relate to that. I bet you’re all are pretty good at getting “your individual goal” achieved. Over the years, I learned how to change my own behavior to meet a goal. The challenge, for me, was to have the ability to change behaviors in other people. Often, in many other people. This is difficult, and there didn’t seem to be much help.
It’s not an information problem — it’s an implementation problem. I had lunch with a colleague and told him I was in the process of putting together a presentation on implementation. He said, “that’s just what everyone needs. They don’t know how to start the process. The implementation or execution is where we need help.”
Recently, I watched a video that was supposed to be a lesson on execution. Unfortunately, the whole video was on why it’s important, but it never mentioned a word about how to do it.
If you and your team can become great at implementation, you’re going to achieve your goals, have happier employees, be less stressed and you’re going to have an operating system for your business. Yes, an operating system that will have your team engaged at the highest level and say, “Game on; let’s do this!”
For the past five years I’ve been studying implementation. I’ve worked with dozens of companies to help them create a process for implementation and accountability. Here is a four-step process to get your team engaged and achieve the most important goals in your company.
Focus on Goals, Objectives
Sean Covey in “Four Disciplines of Execution” calls them your Wildly Important Goal (WIG). In Jim Collins book, “Good to Great” they call it a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). Regardless of what you call it, focusing on the goal is key.
You must focus on less to do more. Steve Jobs said the hardest thing to do in business is to simplify and focus.
Gino Wickman, the creator of entrepreneurial operating system (EOS), conducted a recent survey that found:
- If you have 1-3 goals, then only two are completed;
- If you have 4-9 goals, then only one is completed;
- And if have 10 or more goals, then zero are completed.
This is difficult. Most business leaders are smart, motivated individuals and they want to manage all aspects of their business well. I don’t want to suggest that you ignore important parts of your business. If I could make an analogy, it would be this: Air traffic controllers have many priorities and they must pay attention to a lot of moving parts/planes — but they focus on the ones landing.
Meet with your team and discuss ideas and how to set the goals and the milestones to meet them. Get their feedback. Get their buy in. They will appreciate that and the chances of success are much better when everyone agrees on the goal.
I worked with an owner on reviewing goals and the strategy he had in place to achieve them. I asked, “How does the team feel about that?” He looked at me like a light just turned on. He said, “I’m ashamed to admit I have no clue how they feel about the goal.”
If you’re a small company and don’t have a lot of experience with a process for implementation, then just set one or two goals. If you’re a larger company and have some experience in this area, I suggest doing one or two by department. When setting goals, fewer is better.
Once you have set the goal, share it with the whole company.
In a recent survey, 95 percent of employees could not name even one of the company’s WIG.
Focus on Leading Indicators
Leading indicators predict the outcome of the lagging indicators. An example of a leading indicator is what you’re going to eat today. A lagging indicator is what you weigh at the end of the week.
A business example is having your sales department hit $4 million in yearly sales. You know the average ticket and closing rate, so at this point it’s all about the number of leads.
The leading indicator is sales leads — did you get enough this week? The goal was $4 million in the sales department. You know the average ticket is $10K and you average a 50 percent close rate. The math says you must sell 400 jobs. That means you need 800 leads.
You have eight technicians at two per week, so 100 times eight technicians equals 800 leads. Now, integrate your CSRs into the goal. They must set 20 calls a week per technician.
Keep a Scorecard
What gets measured, gets done. The highest level of engagement comes when people know the score. When you know the score, your behavior and activities change.
In a football game, your strategy is much different if you’re up by seven points with two minutes to go compared to if you’re down by seven points with less than two minutes to go.
If you’ve ever wondered if a scorecard really makes that much of a difference, simply watch any sports team. There is a huge difference between when they’re warming up and when the game starts.
Hold Weekly Review Meetings
The book, “Traction,” by Gino Wickman, calls these Level 10 meetings or L-10. These meetings must be on the same day and time each week and never last longer than 45 minutes. If the meeting is going to have other topics, make sure you go over the scorecard first — this is the most important goal of the quarter, right? It must be completed.
Go around the room and ask each person if they’re on track to hit the goal. All you need is a simple yes or no. Share the scorecard with them and if they’re not on track, find out what issues are preventing them from achieving the goal. If there are legitimate problems, identify what they are and discuss how to solve them. If you cannot solve them within a prescribed timeframe, record the issue and keep working on it until it is solved.
Accountability is the key here. Having the weekly check-ins lets people know the goal(s) are important and they’re expected to achieve them. It will also quickly identify issues that need to be addressed to reach the objective. You’re building a culture of getting things done.
When the goal is achieved, celebrate! Wins are great. Wins are what keep people engaged at work. Share the scorecard with everyone in the company. Get it done!
Set and focus on a few goals and share them with your entire team. Decide how to measure them. And, most importantly, measure everyone involved — they should all have a number or milestone to reach. Lastly, don’t forget to share the scorecard with everyone. Meet weekly to review and hold everyone accountable.