Jim Collins book Good to Great is filled with success ideas on what made good companies become great. In in he suggests that a great company requires disciplined People, disciplined Thought, and disciplined Action. Collins provides the blueprint without an action plan to achieve it. At Positioning Systems, and Gazelles (Rockefeller Habits) we’ve developed the action plan to help you plan your path to a great company. Our resources and tools produce great companies when accompanied with our outstanding coaching. In today’s newsletter I walk you through how the process works to develop the end result of Discipline People, Discipline Thought and Discipline Action:
The most important ingredient in any business is People. Yet before you start building a business at all it begins a leader, the owner, entrepreneur and/or CEO who envision the business that will reach for a higher standard to serve customers. If the person starting the company is unwilling or unable to realize how important creating an environment where discipline is key the process of building the business in a pattern that will resemble a Good to Great company, the potential for greatness will never emerge.
Disciplined People begins with a thorough and disciplined approach to the people you hire. In many cases business starts with people you are familiar with. You have a history and pattern of performance with people at the various businesses you’ve worked at or started and you immediately know who you’d like to join your team. If unable to acquire these people and settle for less capable individuals the business is doomed from the start.
Once the people with your personal experience with candidate’s runs out, the need for a disciplined approach to hiring is critical.
This is where Topgrading serves an essential role in getting the right people on the bus. If you’re using Topgrading already you know the vital role it provides in acquiring the right talent for your company.
Let’s assume you’re using Topgrading and started with A Players to begin with. Please don’t assume you can shortcut this step. It’s absolutely the most critical. As Jim Collins points out in Good to Great, “First who, than what.” Everything you do beyond getting this right will most likely fail or take longer until you make sure you have DISCIPLINED PEOPLE!
How do you get your business to have disciplined thought?
Well you’ve already made sure that you have the right foundation by hiring the right people.
Still you need to install a disciplined approach to igniting the disciplined thought. Here’s where the Rockefeller Habits Three Disciplines, or what at Positioning Systems we call “Strategic Discipline” comes in.
The Three Essential Disciplines are Priorities, Metrics, and Meetings.
Priorities include determining your One Thing for the year and each quarter. It should also include determining the One Thing for each position. Everyone in your organization should know what their position is accountable to produce. If you’re Topgrading, the Job Summary Scorecard will not only set the stage for identifying their top 5-7 accountabilities (with metrics) but can also serve as an annual or even monthly report card to evaluate each position’s progress.
One Thing each year and quarter should require top focus from everyone in the business. You will have additional priorities, and it’s good to limit these to no more than a total of five, which includes your # 1. Remember less is more. What we’ve discovered is that by focusing on One Thing that will impact your business the most, the journey to accomplish this naturally pulls with it many of your other priorities as well.
Choosing your priorities is a good start. You’ll need to align everyone in your organization with these (A tool like the One Page Strategic Plan helps with this), yet you must measure them as well to ensure you are making consistent progress toward them. This requires building a dashboard. Start with the company and then for each contributing department and where possible for each contributing member. Creating a success criteria that provides colors to identify progress (Red, Yellow, Green, Super Green), will ensure that it’s clear where your winning and losing. When dashboards are displayed in the meeting rhythms we’ll talk about next, everyone knows where attention needs to be placed.
Often times it can take a business that’s not used to either measuring success or focusing on metrics a couple of weeks and sometimes months to get this right. Once in place everyone follows this habit and it gives instant feedback on how everyone is doing and contributing to the success of the enterprise.
The last part of Disciplined Thought into Disciplined Action is Meeting Rhythms. A well-orchestrated series of meetings puts Disciplined Thought into Action. Each week team leaders report their progress in weekly executive meetings. This discipline should be cascaded down to their meetings with their direct reports so that everyone is reporting weekly on the progress of their individual and company dashboards. Action is then dictated by how well the dashboards success criteria look. All green; continue to do what you’ve been doing. Some greens and yellows; dedicate extra time to the yellows to get them in line with their targets. Yellows and reds dictate immediate concern and higher investment in time and energy or risk not reaching your targets for the month and quarter. All red is possibly a good indication that either the goal was set too high or that you may have the wrong people on the bus.
Of course there’s a lot more to building a Good to Great business. Strategy is critical to keeping the right people focused on the right things. All this is included in the disciplined approach we take to helping you grow your business. Four Decisions, Three Disciplines, Two Drivers and One Catalyst are part of the 4-3-2-1 formula that has helped thousands of Rockefeller Habits coached businesses move the needle on growth and profitability while building a culture that delivers consistency year after year.
Are you eager to achieve success with your business? A Disciplined Approach often requires the steady, disciplined and questioning hand of an outside observer. Someone to steer you in the right direction and keep you focused on Disciplined People, Disciplined Thought and Disciplined Action.
Is it time to consider adding a catalyst who knows how to implement an action plan to keep you on track? Contact Positioning Systems or a Gazelles coach in your area. We can help.