Posted: Thu 18th Mar 2021
Having a successful year in business is simply a series of successful weeks. In this blog, I discuss four easy steps, based on my consulting/coaching work with business owners, that - if you execute consistently - put you on a trajectory to achieve your objectives.
1. Get clear on what success means
Most people tend toward ambiguity, in thought and action. As a result, even in business, we are often not clear on the specific outcomes we desire. Karen Martin, in her book Clarity First, states lack of clarity as a major hindrance to corporate performance, employee engagement and more.
So what does this mean for your organisation on a weekly basis? Define exactly what success means for the week. In sales, success might mean 50 widgets sold by the end of the week.
2. Identify the actions that drive results
Now that you know what you want, what specific action will drive that outcome? I once ran a food company that needed to build its supermarket coverage. We had a weekly target of the number of stores that we had to recruit, as we tracked toward a total number of stores we expected to cover in the year.
We identified two actions: 1) recruit new stores into our network and 2) retain existing customers.
This provided our sales manager with clear KPIs to manage our sales team and drive sales on a weekly basis.
3. Identify the optimal relationship between KPI and desired result
The next step is to identify the relationship between the KPI and the desired result. For example, it takes reaching out to five customers to sell one widget and this immediately shows that the business will have to make 250 customer contacts in a week to give it a high chance of selling 50 widgets.
In the company I ran, we calculated that we had to visit 150 locations per week, 80% of which were existing customers, to give us a decent chance of achieving our objectives.
As you can imagine, this allowed us to be able to plan effectively and also ensure we had the right number of people on the sales team.
4. Build a learning organisation
One of the many things I come across as I support businesses, both small and large, is that they often make the same mistakes over and over again.
Conducting a weekly 'After Action Review,' or AAR, to assess how well you performed each of the three preceding steps will help you to arrive at the following decisions:
What you should keep doing
What you should stop doing
What you should start doing
With these conclusions, you can update your plan for the next week, then build on them to attain your yearly objectives.
_I hope these four steps will turn your business into a continuously improving execution machine. For more detail, find out more about my mini course, where you can learn how to apply these lessons directly to your business.