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Strategic Discipline Blog

The BIG Question – Problem Most Small to Mid-Size Business Face

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Jul 10, 2017

Joe Polish - Biggest Question or Challenge Prospects Face.jpgIn our previous blog Write Yourself a Swimming Pool – Joe Polish, Dean Graziosi – San Antonio ScaleUp Summit, we shared a formula to help you improve your marketing efforts and return.

To review these steps:

  1. Joe Polish - Big Question or Problem.jpgWhat’s a question or problem your prospects already are asking themselves: Start your Marketing Message with a Big Question, One that your prospects are already asking themselves; or start by sharing a problem your prospect is more than likely already facing.
  2. Joe Polish - Promise Answers-Solve Question or Problem.jpgAnswer the question or solve the problem: Make the promise you will answer the question, or solve the problem in a video/creative (Create the Mystery)
  3. Summary: What’s the One Thing you provide that could Answer Their Big Question or Provide A Solution to their Challenge.

Joe Polish - One Thing You Provide to Answer Biggest Question o.jpgThroughout Polish and Graziosi’s presentation I asked and answered these questions for my business.  Let me share what I feel most small to mid-size businesses Big Problem is.

Decisions Equal SuccessDecision [analysis-paralysis].jpg

There are Four Decisions, in growing your business, you must get right or risk leaving significant revenues, profits, and time on the table.  These four decisions are: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. 

Most small to mid-size growth-oriented businesses face continual challenges in all four areas.  At any one time, the challenges in one of these areas overshadows the rest.  Your first decision is to choose which one of the four to focus on.  Each time you achieve Your One Thing, you move on to the next challenge in whichever Four Decision is then challenging you most.

Which of the Four Decisions results are most challenging to you?

What’s the One Thing you can do / such that by doing it / everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

Each decision provides a different outcome.  Knowing the outcome each decision produces helps to understand where your business needs to focus to grow.

Check the table below for the Decision and Outcome.  To learn more about each result/outcome, click on the link.












People: Culture of Accountability, Strategy: Top Line Revenue Growth, Execution: Profit, Cash: Oxygen and Options.


The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney,  Sean Covey, Jim Huling shares principles strikingly similar to Verne Harnish’s Scaling Up and the Execution Decision, Positioning Systems call Strategic Discipline.

whirlwind_-_four_executions_of_discipline-resized-600.jpgIf you’ve not read the book, please read Without Top Priority “Whirlwind” Wins to understand the challenge every business faces achieving its priorities.  Navigating through the whirlwind of every business “day job” is frequently the most significant challenge any business faces to realizing more critical and strategic endeavors.  This blog offers staggering statistics on front line employees awareness of company goals and their accountabilities.

Here are some of the numbers:

  • 87 percent had no clear idea what they should be doing to achieve the goal.
  • 15 percent could not name even one of the top three goals their leaders had identified.
  • The other 85 percent named what they thought was the goal, but it often didn’t remotely resemble what their leaders had said. The further from the top of the organization, the lower the clarity
  • 81 percent of the people surveyed said they were not held accountable for regular progress on the organization’s goals.

The Four Disciplines of Execution defines the Whirlwind. “It’s the massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your operation going on a day-to-day basis; and, ironically, it’s also the thing that makes it so hard to execute anything new. The whirlwind robs from you the focus required to move your team forward. Leaders seldom differentiate between the whirlwind and strategic goals because both are necessary to the survival of the organization.”


70 of Falure Due to Poor-execution.pngMy coaching with Gazelles customers has revealed most often the biggest issue small to mid-size businesses need to overcome is this challenge of the Whirlwind.

Finding time to invest in strategic endeavors, people, cash, and execution, too frequently fall invisible due to the pressures of the Whirlwind.  I have customer right now who decided documenting and systemizing their hiring process should be a high priority for 2017.  After two quarters of little to no progress, we removed it from third quarter objectives, planning to attack it in the fourth quarter.

The good news? Despite this being an important objective, other objectives, including this business’ first and second quarter priority, have been achieved. The business has made significant progress and is ahead of revenue and profit forecast for the year.

Without the Strategic Discipline focus on Priority, Metrics, and Meeting Rhythms they would have been swallowed up by the Whirlwind.

W. Edwards Deming, the father of the quality movement, taught that any time most of the people behave a particular way the majority of the time, the people are not the problem. The problem is inherent in the system.

In a key study on organizational change, the global management-consulting firm Bain & Company reports these findings: “About 65 percent of initiatives required significant behavioral change on the part of front-line employees—something that managers often fail to consider or plan for in advance.”

Whirlwind vs WIGS 4-disciplines-of-execution.jpgIf you ignore the important, it can kill you tomorrow. In other words, if you and your team operate solely from within the whirlwind, you won’t progress—all your energy is spent just trying to stay upright in the wind. The challenge is executing your most important goals in the midst of the urgent!

To achieve results, get your arms around these two ideas:

  1. If you are going to create significant results you will eventually have to execute a behavioral-change strategy. Stroke-of-the-pen moves will only take you so far. Strategic Discipline is absolutely a behavioral change strategy. See why and how it guarantees success.
  2. When you undertake a behavioral-change strategy you will be battling the whirlwind—and it is a very worthy adversary, undefeated in many organizations.

The problem your business needs to solve is how to get beyond the urgent, the Whirlwind that engulfs your business every day.  The solution is to develop Strategic Discipline, a bulldog approach to focus and achieving your Priority (each quarter & year), Metrics (consistent measurement of progress toward your priority), and Meeting Rhythms (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual meetings to assess, grow and solve problems toward your strategic priority).

If agree and believe this is your problem, contact for a free needs assessment and a solution to grow your business.

BUILD A WINNING HABIT – Next BlogV Lombardi Winning-Is-a-Habit.jpg

You may have noticed some teams, businesses and individuals have created a habit for winning. A formula they follow consistently produces results.  New England Patriots in football, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple.  Creating a winning habit in business requires something extraordinary.  It’s no small accomplishment.  We share a foundational practice to build a winning habit, Strategic Discipline, next blog.

Topics: Strategic Discipline, Four Disciplines of Execution, Execution, Decisions Equal Success, Big Question

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Positioning Systems Brand Promise

1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

(BRAND PROMISE GUARANTEE): We will refund all compensation if our disciplined coaching and proprietary tools fail to meet your expectations.

Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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