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Rhythm Blog | Patrick Thean

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

4 Questions to Help You Achieve Focus and Alignment

Patrick Thean Wed, May 1, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

If you want your team to be focused and aligned on the right projects, you need to connect your strategy to execution.

Successful companies have too much to do. New opportunities come about, and it is hard to say "No." But strategy is more about saying "No" to the wrong things than saying "Yes" to everything. Most entrepreneurs are not wired to say "No." We are wired to find a way to say "Yes" and get more opportunities into our companies. If that sounds like you, then you don’t have the danger of dying from starvation. But, you do have the risk of dying from over-eating from the buffet of opportunity!

7 Keys to Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and your One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP)

Patrick Thean Tue, Apr 30, 2019 @ 08:27 PM
I was in Jakarta speaking at Taipan 2013. We had the strongest showing at Taipan ever with 220 people! CEOs with their teams worked hard on their business. I had a wonderful time. EO Indonesia and EO Malaysia were such wonderful hosts, making the event very memorable. My one day session on Rockefeller Habits (Scaling Up) and the One-Page Strategic Plan template was adjusted for two different types of teams in the audience: teams being introduced for the first time to this framework and experienced teams who wanted to take it further.

The Role of 3 Year Strategic Plans

Patrick Thean Tue, Apr 30, 2019 @ 04:00 PM
There are many views or definitions of strategy. Renowned Harvard Business School professor and strategy expert Michael Porter provided one that I like because of both its simplicity and clarity. Porter defines strategy as:
  • the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities.

Porter argues that tactical improvements or operational efficiencies are not strategies but that the essence of strategy is to perform a different set of activities from that of your rivals. For many businesses, regardless of size, strategy work may get completed annually but there is a disconnect between strategy and performance. There have been many books and articles written on the topic of “Execution”.  An Execution framework is critical to be certain, but outstanding execution will not rescue strategy that lacks focus or differentiation. To be successful, a company must master the three areas of Strategic Growth: Strategic Thinking, Execution Planning, and actually Doing the Work. Data from a Bain Consulting study, notes that seven out of eight companies in a global sample of 1,854 large corporations failed to achieve profitable growth, though more than 90 percent had detailed strategic plans with much higher targets. The Harvard Business School (HBS), in a 15 year study, has looked at root causes of the disconnect between strategy and performance. They have learned that most organizations do not have a strategy execution process. Many have strategic plans, but no coherent approach to manage the execution of those plans.

Choose Your 3 Year Strategic Growth Plans Wisely With This 4 Step Process

Patrick Thean Tue, Apr 30, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

In a recent Annual Planning session, one of our clients asked us to help them review and renew their Winning Moves, the 3 year strategic growth initiatives to help you double you revenue.  They wanted to make sure that their growth strategies were still powerful enough to drive growth over the next 3 years. We highly recommend reviewing your Winning Move strategies every year.

During good times, it is easy to neglect working on your Winning Moves. Then when growth begins to slow, we realize that we are already late to the game at developing new revenue growth moves. If you want consistent year over year growth, you must review and renew your 3 year strategic growth plan in a regular rhythm to continue to test assumptions and make adjustments to your plan.

It is best to only have a few Winning Moves. Otherwise, the team might be spread too thin as resources get allocated across too many initiatives, causing teams to inadvertently compete for some of the same resources. Competition for internal resources often causes negative stress and reduces team productivity, even to the extent of building silos. 

I’d like to share our Winning Move Strategic Planning Process so that you can have an objective way to discuss, debate and agree on the best 2 or 3 ideas for growth.   In order to sustain long-term growth rates, you need to be continually working on these business plans.  Growth rates will continue to rise organically and your team culture will transform into one that is continually looking for the next the next source of revenue growth.  

Don't Confuse Strategic Thinking And Strategy Execution Plans

Patrick Thean Tue, Apr 30, 2019 @ 08:42 AM

It is easy to confuse your strategy and your 3 year strategic plan. I have seen somany leaders tell me that they have a great strategy.   Yet, when asked specifically what their strategy is, they have difficulty sharing the key strategic initiatives they are going to make - and when.  Strategy and strategic moves should not be as complicated as we sometimes make it.  This is the very reason that there is a strategy or execution debate.  You must do both well to succeed, and you need the right rhythm to get it done. 

How to Create a KPI in 5 Simple Steps (Video)

Patrick Thean Fri, Mar 1, 2019 @ 04:47 PM

The common mistake many companies make is to start creating 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. What they should be asking is "How do I create a KPI that measures my team's performance?"  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.

Download our free KPI Guide to help you drive results with KPIs.

The Test of True Accountability - He Who Cares More Is The One That Is Truly Accountable

Patrick Thean Sat, Feb 2, 2019 @ 11:45 AM

This happens all the time. You are holding someone accountable to get something done. Yet you find yourself checking in and chasing for an update on what is going on. Constantly. And if you do not remind them to report the current status to you, they continue to mosey on and forget about reporting in. So frustrating! But they are supposed to be truly accountable, right? So why are you chasing them around as though you are the one that is really accountable?

Are Your Leaders Delivering Awesome Results? [SlideShare]

Patrick Thean Sun, Jan 13, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

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!

4 Tips to Use Dashboards Well for Stronger Execution

Patrick Thean Mon, Jan 7, 2019 @ 09:30 AM

Tip 1: Focus on the problem, not the people.

When Dutch Valley Food Distributors first used Red-Yellow-Green in their Weekly Team Meetings, it seemed natural to ask a team member “Hey, why are you Red this week? How can we help get you back to Green?” They were inadvertently shining the spotlight on the person instead of on the problem that needed to be solved. Because their culture is one of caring and sharing, this felt very uncomfortable for them. When I sat in on a weekly meeting, I noticed this subtlety. We shifted their questions from “Hey, why are you Red?” to “Why is this priority Red? What can we do to move this priority from Red to Green?” This line of questioning unfroze their brains. It helped people relax and focus on solving problems. As Dutch Valley shifted their focus from the person to the priority, they have found their Weekly Adjustment Meetings to be much more productive and engaging, leading to stronger results for the company. 

Annual Planning: 9 Tips to Focus & Align Your Team With a Great Plan for 2019

Patrick Thean Mon, Jan 7, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

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?