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The Race is One Fourth Over - Execute #115 3-29-11

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Tue, Mar 29, 2011

Question:  The first quarter is over.  I don’t feel my team and business is gaining traction or momentum.  What can I do to build momentum and still make progress this year?

Answer:  You can gain traction and momentum in a quarter, however, the challenge is to realize the result on the bottom line or against the priority you established for that time frame. 

The key question is, what’s your priority?  Did you decide on priorities for the year?  Did you narrow those down to what you need to prioritize for the quarter?  Did you communicate it to your team?  Did you get everyone to agree and commit to it?  What are you doing to measure progress?  Did you create a dashboard and accountabilities and require everyone contributing to your priorities to report on their progress, daily, weekly and monthly? 

Too many times we have too many priorities.  Verne Harnish reminds us that, “A company with too many priorities has no priorities.”

It’s essential to determine what your One Thing is for your 3-5 year plan, the year, and for the quarter.  Your quarter One Thing should tie to the Annual Priorities so you are moving in the same direction. 

Identifying your One Thing and priorities for the year should be the function of an annual strategy and planning session. [Note I mention strategy and planning since the two are distinctly different.  See Strategy or Plan for more.] 

Quarterly your team should meet to review your annual plan and determine whether you’re on course to meet your annual priorities or if there is a need to adjust or change course.  [See Without A Plan: Expect 40% Less for how critical this is.]

Once you’ve determined your priorities then your strategy and plan come down to execution. 

Execution is methodical, disciplined, and routine.  It requires meeting rhythms that continually orchestrate your team around the metrics and priorities you decided to achieve.  Methodical means it’s systematic.  Positioning Systems and Gazelles meeting rhythms mean every meeting has a specific agenda, purpose and time frame to keep your team focused on results.  Disciplined means these meetings include metrics.  They have rules and require strict enforcement of consequences.  Failure is not an option.  Obedience to these policies is a commitment that each team member agrees and adheres to because they recognize the contribution it makes to the good of the organization.

Routine in this sense is simply the habit of being on time, following the agenda, and coming to the meetings prepared to provide your input, feedback on employee and customers and results your team is contributing to the quarterly priorities.  Routine in a growing organization provides the stability that is necessary to balance a fast growing environment. 

To gain traction and momentum for the remainder of the year requires getting your management team to agree on your priorities for the remainder of the year and then set a routine of meeting rhythms to keep everyone accountable.   It may even require developing themes and incentives to present the priorities in a fashion that will help them to stick and get everyone on board and contributing. 

At Positioning Systems our focus on Strategic Discipline through our partnership with Gazelles and formerly with the E-Myth puts us in a unique position to help you establish these execution disciplines in your business.

If you’re interested in learning more on how to accomplish this consider attending the One Day Four Decisions Executive Workshop on April 19th in Cedar Rapids.  Taking time to learn, step back and be more objective with your business is how the best companies continue to outperform their competitors.  They understand that learning, growing and keeping their people smart is the key to competitive advantage. 

“A company’s goals and priorities won’t be successful in driving the organization if they’re easily forgotten or ignored. Once you’ve established what’s important for your workforce to accomplish in the next quarter or year, you’ve got to do something to help your associates make the necessary emotional connection that generates commitment.”

-- Verne Harnish, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.

"I learned that we can do anything, but we can't do everything.. at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything."

-- Dan Millman, Author

"Careful planning helps us maintain a sense of perspective, purpose and ordered priorities."

-- Stephen Covey, Author and Speaker

"The key is not to prioritize what is on the schedule, but to schedule your priorities." 

-- Stephen Covey, Author and Speaker

"I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could. I'd put off everything else to fill my bus. The single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people."

--Jim Collins, Good to Great

A dashboard to track priorities is essential to your quarterly progress.   Simply click here to receive a quarterly financial dashboard example and a dashboard template in Excel....


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