Apple just released the iPhone 12. It comes in various sizes, finishes and configurations as it enters the world of 5G. Of course I want one. I want one badly. I am such a sucker for innovative technology. I've also successfully convinced my wife that it is part of my job to use the latest technologies so that I can share my thoughts with clients. Yup, it's part of my job—and I love it.
- 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.
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.
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.
Successful companies have too much to do. New opportunities come about, and it is hard to say "No." But
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are key indicators used to measure the success or performance of a business and are most commonly used to measure sales, cash and products. In any business, client retention is just as important as sales, but so often I see my clients forgetting to measure it or measuring the wrong things. I’ve learned from making this same mistake in the past.
It’s time to slow down and develop a world-class team 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 get asked every year how to do team planning, and I am sharing some of my insider tips with you.
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?
A new quarter is starting. It is time to discuss, prioritize and choose your top priorities for the new quarter. How do you do this? How do you decide what are the best ideas and priorities to execute? Prioritizing is not about ranking from 1 to 10 and doing them all (or failing to do the last few). Rather prioritizing is about gaining focus. To achieve focus, you need a few big things to focus on, not a list of 10 things to try and get to. As Yoda in Star Wars said, “Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.” Trying to work on all 10 things does not give you focus. Saying “No” to items 4 through 10 frees up your brain to focus on your top 3 priorities.
So what are the right two to three things? In chapter 2 of my book, Rhythm, I discuss how to use an objective and simple way to sort through ideas and choose the right ideas to build winning strategies on. It is an objective framework to discuss subjective ideas and to keep our discussions and decisions from becoming too emotional. Your best ideas are the ones that will give you the strongest revenue growth for the least investment of resources. I use a simple framework with two questions to rate each idea:
- What is the impact on your revenue growth over the next three to five years? Rate it from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest impact.
- How easy is it for your team to execute on this idea? By “easy” I mean can it be implemented with current resources? Will it require little additional capital? Is it synergistic with other projects? Rate it from 1 to 10. The more difficult or expensive it is to develop and execute, the lower the rating. This means 1 is the least easy, and 10 is the easiest.
I was facilitating a Rockefeller Habits mid-year planning session. As part of their regular Think Rhythm, the executive team was working on developing Winning Moves to ensure continued growth for the next 3 years. These Winning Moves would be top line revenue generating strategies to drive revenue growth over the next 3 years. Every company needs a couple of Winning Moves to drive growth. Two to 3 would be best to focus the company. You don't want too many, otherwise the team will not be able to focus as resources get allocated across too many projects, causing teams to inadvertently compete for some of the same resources. Competition for resources can cause negative stress and reduce team effectiveness.