In our two decades of observing patterns of success and failure in companies across various industries, I've noticed a stark reality. Fewer than 4% of businesses in the US ever surpass $10 million in revenue, and approximately 17,000 see more than $50 million. It's a select category of companies that continue growing with double-digit growth, causing their companies to double every three to five years. These companies are experiencing constant change and renewal. The lessons I share in this blog post are curated from such growth companies.
What do they do differently? I am glad you asked, as they all stack together powerful habits, one on top of another in a regular cadence. They get better week after week, quarter after quarter, and year after year. The compounding flywheel effect of this getting a percent better each week adds up quickly; team performance and accountability culture happens and becomes part of your organizational culture.
The Need for a Rhythm: Think, Plan, Do®
I have found that companies need to get into a repeating rhythm to think about the business, plan their execution, and do the work. We have learned that we cannot truly predict what opportunities or crises will cross our path. However, we can equip ourselves to maximize these moments with speed and well-planned execution. Our Think, Plan, Do® process has a proven track record of success for over twenty years!
Our clients using this Think, Plan, Do process continue to succeed and impress. They have repeated this Think, Plan, Do process in a tightly coupled Rhythm of Work™ that I describe below.
Rhythm Systems Case Studies
Let's look at three case studies of companies that have successfully implemented this process:
- Michael Praeger, AvidXchange: Michael led AvidXchange to become one of Charlotte, NC's most successful and highly valued Fintech (Financial Technology) companies. He continues revolutionizing the B2B (Business to Business) payment industry. AvidXchange became a Unicorn (privately held company with a valuation of more than one billion dollars) in 2019.
- Colin Campbell,Club Domains LLC: Colin is featured in the "Breakthrough Execution" chapter as the CEO of Hostopia. After successfully exiting Hostopia, Colin went on to start.Club Domains LLC. He completed this journey as well by selling.Club Domains LLC to GoDaddy in 2021. He is now a rare serial entrepreneur with multiple high-valuation exits.
- Jeffrey Berstein, ImageFIRST: Jeff was on a quest to build a great company. He achieved his goal and provided a legacy for his family and employees when he sold ImageFIRST to Calera Capital in 2019 in such a way that gave his employees an exciting future.
What each of these successful clients has in common is a commitment to a cadence, a repeatable Rhythm of Work that became the operating system to run their companies. A consistent Rhythm of Work® allows leaders and teams to actively lift their heads above any crisis or chaos to think, plan, and work as a team. They prevent fires instead of constantly fighting them. And, when fighting the inevitable fires, they can lead with less drama, align their teams and collaborate.
A Rhythm of Work®: Stack Successful Habits
A Rhythm of Work organizes your Think, Plan, Do® process and creates four precise and interlocking Rhythms.
- 3-5 Year Strategic Plans: These anchor the focus of your Annual Plan. Typically, senior management meets once a year to work on its long-term plan. The execution of this plan is carried out over several years by individuals working in various departments, which can lead to fragmentation and loss of common purpose. The right way to execute complex initiatives is to organize them as projects composed of experts who may come from any number of departments. These initiatives need to be cross-functional projects or enterprise-wide as it typically requires experts from different departments and teams to come together to create and execute. When executed well, these efforts reduce departmental silos and keep you from being blindsided.
- Annual and Quarterly Plans: These drive alignment and clear direction to teams in the Annual and Quarterly Planning process. During Annual Planning, translate your strategic plans to annual objectives, ensuring your strategic goals are tightly linked to action plans. This allows work to be done, tracked, and measured.
- Weekly Adjustment Meetings (WAM): These allow your teams to monitor goals every week and stay aligned on how to get the work done. You might need to make micro-adjustments and stay coordinated with other teams. This is part of the operating system to manage the chaos that comes with growth. Team leaders need a straightforward process to provide leadership and support decision-making for their team members. It is essential to repeatedly re-align your work to the company plan and with other teams. However, be careful to make this meeting as long as needed. Unproductive meetings will quickly become a source of frustration and wasted time for everyone.
- Daily Focus and Accountability: This is the fourth and final interlocking rhythm. After successfully managing more than tens of thousands of plans, millions of priorities, and action items, our platform and method have enabled clients to build high-performance organizations and align teams consistently, achieving above-average growth in their industry. We have learned that it takes daily leadership and a system to provide disciplined execution, as it is only possible to continue being well coordinated and effective with a system once you scale past one hundred employees.
- Leveraging Experience With Rhythm AI Software: Those plans have created the software industry's first and most potent AI Goal Writing experience. The biggest problem for many companies is creating SMART goals that align with the company's strategy and are easily tracked across departments. Our software helps with all of that so that you can focus on your business, and we can focus on aligning your daily execution with your long-term strategy.
The Think, Plan, Do® process and the Rhythm of Work® are not just theoretical concepts; they are practical tools proven to work in the real world. Successful companies have used them to navigate the complexities of growth and achieve impressive results. The key to success is commitment. The companies that have achieved the most success with the Think, Plan, Do® process and the Rhythm of Work® have committed to the process, stuck through the inevitable challenges and obstacles, and made it a central part of their business operations.
Ultimately, the Think, Plan, Do® process and the Rhythm of Work® are about more than just business success. They are about creating a company that is resilient, adaptable, and capable of achieving its full potential. They are about building a company that can survive in the complex and fast-paced business world and thrive and excel.
So, suppose you're ready to take your company to the next level, navigate the complexities of growth with confidence and clarity, and achieve the kind of success that only a select few companies ever achieve. In that case, it's time to embrace the Think, Plan, Do® process and the Rhythm of Work®. It's time to harness the power of rhythm and propel your business to new heights. Let’s schedule a time to see if you are our next great case study!
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Harvard Business Review (HBR) Paywall has additional resources available on this topic from the Harvard Business School
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