Rhythm Blog | Patrick Thean
by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team
It’s time to slow down and develop a world class execution plan for next year. When we don’t slow down to plan our execution, our teams don't end up being focused on the right things, leading to mistakes and rework, and ultimately smacking our profit with a 2-by-4! How strong is your execution this year?
I ask these questions to check if you had a good and strong plan this year:
- Does your team know what the company is supposed to achieve this year?
- If your team does know what the company is focused on, do they know their roles in making that happen every quarter?
- Do they have clear success metrics so they can tell if they are on track or not?
I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with hundreds of companies. Quite often, when I visit, I am asked, “Patrick, can you please review our sales KPIs and help us improve them?” I mean, who would not want sales to work better, right? After reviewing hundreds of sales dashboards and KPIs, I noticed similar patterns in many of these companies. That’s why I created this video to help you use KPIs to drive sales.
The Bottom Line
Most people only use results indicators and review them monthly. This is good. You need clear result indicators, as they help you measure where you are in relationship to the sales targets that you have set and agreed to deliver. Gotta have them. However, you need to take it further. I would suggest in addition to results indicators, you might also consider using leading indicators. This 5 Minute Rhythm video is focused on helping you think about and develop leading indicators to drive sales.
Build yourself a great Brand Promise.
What's a Brand Promise? It is what you promise to deliver to your customer. It is more than a marketing tag line or a catchy one-liner. Done right, it will help you attract the right customers, increase your win ratio, and retain happy customers as you deliver on what you promise.
People ask me all the time, "What is so special about Rhythm? Why do your customers have so much success?" I jokingly reply, "I don’t know, either we are just awesome, or we have chosen awesome customers. But it is much easier to choose awesome customers, and they will make us successful." And we all laugh. However, there is a lot of truth in my statement.
We choose awesome customers who are already successful and have the right characteristics for our method and software to make them even more successful. They have a strong desire to go from good to great. It takes a lot of hard work to make this climb. Unfortunately, it is not easy. We are here to help. We can provide the tools, playbook, and coaching, giving our customers an unfair advantage over their competitors. But our customers are the ones making this climb, and they do it well!
I am often asked about the impact of leaders on a company’s strategy execution. Sometimes we have process and execution problems. But just as often, I have found that the company may actually have done a good job with execution planning, or creating priorities and KPIs. However, the leaders and managers are having trouble driving performance and results. In these cases, weakness in team leaders can be masquerading as execution issues.
Your leaders determine the performance of their teams and the results that your company achieves. Every single customer or project rolls up to a manager/leader. Your leaders determine 100% of your company’s results and performance!
The problem with revenue-generating strategies, or Winning Moves, is that you don’t feel you need to work on them when things are going great. You are too busy working in the business and harvesting sales from existing Winning Moves. Then the day comes and BAM! Your current winning strategies begin to slow down. Growth slows. But just like the characters in Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese, we are slow to go out and innovate new Winning Moves. Why is it so hard?
Here are the usual suspects that cause us to delay working on new Winning Moves:
The common mistake many companies make is to start designing a bunch of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for their company. They start with a burst of energy, gather together the team and work on KPIs in a quarterly planning session. They ask, "What do we need to measure in each department?" This produces 18 to 25 KPIs, a couple for each key executive to work on. Convinced they have changed the company, they dash off excited to see what results they will generate in the upcoming quarter. A quarter later, many are demoralized and not much progress has been made measuring these KPIs. They lose steam and by the 3rd quarter, it's back to business as usual.
SMART goals provide clarity and can accelerate your success. Conversely, poorly written goals will waste time and resources and frustrate and demotivate teams. SMART goals are critical to achieving execution success. They allow you to begin with the end in mind and have clarity about your goals. They also allow you to communicate in such a way that quickly aligns other team members to help you achieve the these goals. So why are there so many goals not written to be SMART? Could it be because it is difficult and hard to remember what SMART means, let alone how to write a goal that is SMART? SMART goals are powerful tools to help you achieve your dreams and goals.
I recorded a short 5 minute video to help make it simpler to write SMART goals.
Last summer, Nicole, my 14-year-old daughter, walked into my home office and asked “Daddy, can I intern with you this summer?” I replied “Sure!” She continued, “OK, what would you like me to do for Rhythm Systems this summer?” I laughed and said “I don’t know. You just popped the question. You are the one who wants to intern with me, so how about you think about what you would like to learn, come back, and we can discuss further and decide. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure it gives me and our company value.” Nicole makes a face “OK, Daddy. I'll think about it and come back with some ideas.”