Too Busy to Plan?

Work Smarter Not HarderWe hear this a lot this time of year. If you’re like most business owners, you’re moving fast to juggle the 137 things you need to get done today. It can feel like all those plates will fall if you “check out” long enough to make a business plan. Even worse if you include a few other leaders. It’s the beginning of a new year – that internal engine is revving up, it just needs to get moving.

Getting everyone on the leadership team on the same page about where you’re going and how you’re going to get there takes focus and time, it’s true, and it can be hard to nail things down in an ever-changing world. To quote one of my clients, “parts of the plan changed almost immediately, but what we’d learned while making the plan made everything, and I mean everything, work better.”

Here are a few tips to make your planning process most effective.

  • Include your leadership team.
  • Set specific, measurable, attainable goals for the company for 2016.
  • In addition to revenue and profit goals, pick 1-3 other measurables to target, like number of new clients or percentage of on-deadline delivery.
  • Less is more: Set 3-5 goals that, if complete, would significantly move help your firm in the next year (for example: Hire 2 engineers, 1 project manager and 2 interns and effectively integrate them into the team.)
  • Decide what the priorities (we call them Rocks) are for the next 90 days to achieve these goals, and who on the leadership team will own each Rock.

Keep it simple – don’t spend a lot of time trying to lay out the whole year. Your business is moving fast! Things will change. Make progress in 1st quarter, then reassess and set the next Rocks for 2nd quarter.

Reap the rewards: easier work, better communication, faster response to problems – what’s not to love?

While this is simple, it is not easy. I offer a free 90-minute consultation and mini-training to help you get headed in the right direction. Let’s have a brief conversation and see if that is right for you and your team.  Contact me here.

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When Generations Collide

partner conflictsRick got in a confrontation with Al over offering processors the option to work from home 2-3 days a week. Al insisted it was necessary to retain young workers. Rick felt they were losing control and productivity would suffer. Rick is in his 60s, Al in his 40s, the processors in their 20s – different stages of their lives, different generational approaches to work. Quite a stew. At one point Rick threw up his hands; “do what you need to do” and stomped off. They’ve been great partners in building their business, and have rarely gotten so heated about an issue, but there have been increasing tensions as they’ve grown from just 5 people to 30.

While both partners were inclined to paper over the peace, the remaining two people on their leadership team insisted that they bring the issue into the next leadership team meeting. There they dove into the issue of people working from home, using the IDS™ tool we teach in EOS®. During the Identify part of the process, it became clear that the confrontation was rooted in an increasing discomfort for Rick with the way younger workers were fighting to balance their lives with work. To Rick they didn’t feel committed to the company he had worked so hard to build, to them, he was a curmudgeon and a workaholic. Al’s time and energy was being increasingly drained by trying to be the peace-maker.

It was an eye-opening Discussion (the D in IDS™) for everyone on the leadership team. More importantly, a simple Solution (the S!) emerged. Jon, who as the holder of the Finance/Administration seat worked on most people policies, took on the to do item of researching work-at-home policies that had been effective in other companies. Rick decided he would do some research on his own to try to better understand the millennial generation at work.

Every team has it’s tough spots, and in the context of business its easy to think of communication as a “soft” something that we don’t have time to focus on because we need to get on with the “real work.” The leadership team recognized a brewing problem between their founders and had the courage to call them out. Several clients have had these kind of intergenerational communication issues this month (sometimes I think they get together and create a monthly theme for me!). The system of tools we call EOS® gave them the way to navigate touchy conversations in an open, honest, business-focused way. This was especially helpful where the leadership team includes family members!

Posted in: Multi Generation Workforce, Partner Communication

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Goodwin Growth on Buckhead Business Radio

goodwin-growth-buckhead-business-radio

Lynda Martin, Business Consultant and Coach with Goodwin Growth works, was featured on Buckhead Business Radio talking about the Entrepreneurial Operating System™.  Listen in below!

Connect with Lynda on LinkedIn

Click here to get the free Organizational Checkup offered in the show!

 

 

Posted in: Business Coaching, Company News, Media

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It’s Simple: Don’t Limit Your Options

Sharing coffee and shop-talk with commercial realtor Brooks Morris, we were digging into the challenges of helping businesses that don’t have good planning skills, or think they don’t have the time and bandwidth to make a plan.

Brooks was telling me it works so much better for him to build relationships 2-3 years out so that people have time to absorb and weigh options. He’s known plenty of business leaders who have 3 people set up at desks in the conference room, then call 6 months before their lease is up. The result? Their move becomes an all-absorbing, momentum-draining scramble.

Brook Morris quoteEver had that experience?  It can happen in so many components of our business – cash flow, staffing, projects… When we allow the tyranny of every day’s demands to prevent planning time we don’t save time – we just think we do. Build a regular habit of meeting with your leadership team to get up above the tangle of demands coming at you.

At EOS we use the Meeting Pulse™ as a simple, practical tool to get out of the scramble. Then we see peace of mind invade the company’s leaders! Try it – you’ll love it!

Posted in: Business Coaching, Planning

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Business Issues

The final Key Component™ is where all the work of strengthening the other components really bears good fruit for the firm and everyone in it. Here’s where the team gets healthy.

Business - Elephant in the roomIssues include anything that is an obstacle, a worry, an idea, or an opportunity. Issues wake us up at 2 in the morning, they lie buried (and sometimes ticking) in the bottom of our inboxes, they sit like elephants between us and our partners.

When the other Key Components are strong, issues can’t be ignored. They get smoked out. The great news is that, in an environment where the vision is clear, the right people are in the right seats and the right numbers are known, the issues also become clear and much more solvable. That’s because it’s easier to identify them without it getting personal. It’s easier to see what the real problem is.

The solution may be hard, but it won’t be a mystery! Using a tool called IDS™, which stands for Identify-Discuss-Solve™, I’ve seen teams resolve problems that they’ve been discussing ad-infinitum (some would say ad-nauseum) for years. If you want to know how you can experience this kind of clarity in resolving lingering issues in your organization, contact us to schedule a complimentary Strategy Session!

 

Image Copyright: tiero / 123RF Stock Photo

Posted in: Business Coaching

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Business Process Mapping

Business Process MappingIt’s easy for most of us who run our own businesses to make “Processes” the red-headed step-child of our time and effort. We know how we do what we do, and it hardly seems productive to take time to write it down. After all, it’s just common sense anyway.

When I got John and his team to slow down long enough to identify the main processes of their business (there were 7), and document the 5 basic steps for each one, he was stunned to learn that he had no idea how some things were being done in the company he’d built!

And the whole team found places where the people who worked for them were tripping over each other, duplicating effort, or actually working in opposite directions.

Now?  A quiet efficiency has replaced arguments over who sent what to which client when. Clients are referring their friends. Peace reigns in the land!

 

To learn more about how business process mapping can help your business become more efficient, Contact Us to schedule a complimentary strategy session!

 

Posted in: Business Coaching, Planning

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Data Overload?

Have you ever noticed that in a given day more comes at you than any human being could possibly handle?

If you are a leader in a small to mid-sized company, you are probably wearing so many hats you can even forget which one you’ve got on at the moment! Gino Wickman, who wrote Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business, discovered that if the leaders of an organization get strong in Six Key Components™ they will find the 137 things coming at them every day begin to develop into a manageable challenge. In previous articles, I’ve talked about how to strengthen the Traction, Vision and People components. Now let’s turn to two of the less sexy but essential underpinnings of any successful company: Data and Process.

Du Bois Quote

 

 

I’ve watched so many clients come into good relationship with the key numbers of their company. It gives them the data they need to make decisions about what’s most important to do today, tomorrow and next week. Once you have right numbers identified, and a simple but accurate way to collect them every week you’ll be amazed at how much more in control you’ll be. They become the rudder you use to steer your ship – and as everyone you work with learns their key numbers, your whole team will put their effort in the same direction. Then – pure magic!

Next up: Process (bet you can hardly wait!!)

Posted in: Business Coaching

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Building Your Business With The Right People

Have you ever heard someone say “It’s so hard to find good people?”

It always reminds me of this old Zen story.jA wanderer approached an old man sitting outside a village.

“What are the people here like?” the wanderer asked.  “Is this a good place to live?”

“What were the people like in your last village?” the old man replied.

“Lazy, disrespectful, and hard to get along with.”

“You will find the same here.”

Disappointed, the wanderer went on her way.  Soon, another wanderer approached.

“What are the people here like?” the wanderer asked.  “Is this a good place to live?”

“What were the people like in your last village?” the old man replied.

“Honest, hard-working, friendly – I hated to leave there.”

“You will love it here because you will find the same kind of people.”

 

To build an extraordinary company, it takes extraordinary people. Yet every competing company draws from the same population – how do some companies create an environment where seemingly ordinary people do great things?  It’s very simple:

 

  • Know your vision and values
  • Communicate them passionately and often
  • Set clear expectations
  • Hold people accountable, starting with yourself

 

I didn’t say easy! But I promise if you do those four things, you will attract and keep great people. The not-so-great will select themselves out of your organization. You’ll find your village one you hate to leave at the end of the day!

Posted in: Business Coaching

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