Judging from the response I’ve been getting, especially at the last webinars I did on how to create a business strategy, I think that a lot of businesses are really planning to end this year strong and to enter 2020 even stronger.
So this week, let’s talk about strategic execution. This is really a discussion about time management more than anything else, because to really get all the benefits from strategic planning, you have to spend the time to get your strategic execution in place.
I’ve read just about every book on business that’s been published in the last thirty years, and I’ve read many of them more than once. All of them, and I mean this literally, every single one of them points out the same exact problem that causes a business to have low-performance. They all highlight the same exact management style that leads a business directly to the middle or back of the pack. They tell us exactly what causes most businesses to fail.
And I start with the negative because it’s so easy to just read this insight and say, “oh yeah, I’ve heard that before,” without really stopping to think about what it means to you, personally, right now, before the end of this year.
Here’s what kills you: Fighting fires. Managers running around keeping everyone “busy.” Managers obsessed with their “authority.” Managers “protecting their turf.” A culture that grinds out “business as usual.”
I know from personal experience that is it so easy, so incredibly easy, to look around at exactly that situation and to lie to yourself that it’s not happening.
It is so incredibly easy to think, “well, obviously, we have to put out that particular fire, or the business will burn down.” And to think, “well, obviously, management has to have things under control.” And, “obviously, if we don’t finish all this work, our revenue will vanish.”
The business-as-usual grinders have a lot of long meetings. They spend time complaining about employees and customers. They spend the time complaining that they don’t have the resources they need. They convince each other that it’s impossible for them to complete a project or hit a goal until after something else has happened first. They end the meeting—every meeting, every day—frustrated, bored, and in a holding pattern.
I can assure you, we’ve all been in this situation. Organizations tend to fall into ruts. I talk to a lot of CEOs who come to us because are looking for a way to get out of this rut. They can tell that they’re dying, and they’re starting to panic.
So let me run you through a time-management thought-experiment that will give you an idea of how to stop lying to yourself and start doing something to transform your business. I’m going to go into a lot more detail about this at my next webinar as well.
Imagine this: Your managers are not obsessed with their authority and they are not protecting their turf and they are not running around putting out fires. They’ve each inspired their crews with a clear vision about what makes your company unique today. They’ve each inspired their crews with an understanding of what’s going to happen in the market and in their job over the course of the next several years. They’ve inspired their crews with an understanding of how their company will continue to be unique and successful as those changes unfold.
There are no fires. No matter what goes wrong, everyone understands the big picture, and so rather than snipe at each other and argue about job descriptions and responsibility, they just handle the situation with the big picture in mind.
Your managers spend their time thanking people for a job well done and reinforcing the big picture understanding of what ‘s going on and why.
Your managers can do this because you—yes, you—spend most of your time reinforcing the big picture for them. The books have all the numbers, but I can tell you that high-performing teams spend a great deal more time talking to each other about the big picture.
They keep the strategic vision in sight at all times. They choose “key performance metrics” or “objectives and key results’ or “the metrics that matter” or whatever you want to call them with the strategic vision front-and-center.
They look at those numbers, they look at the processes in place, they look at the people doing the work, and the strategic vision guides their thoughts about all of that. Managers aren’t wasting their time in little ego-oriented games. They’re figuring out how to execute your strategy.
And the main reason they’re doing that is because you’re doing that. You can run your organization this way. You can have a work environment like this, with your current employees. Come to my webinars and I’ll give you a solid roadmap of how to get there.