Strategies for Growth Resources

Accountability in Leadership: Build Leadership Accountability with the 5 C's Framework

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Sun, Jan 31, 2021 @ 09:00 AM

From a leadership perspective, there’s a real thirst for increasing leadership accountability. Executives have recently asked me various questions that linger over the concept of building team accountability to help them achieve their strategic plans while creating high performing teams:

“How do I build accountability in teams?

"How do I increase accountability in leadership?"

What else can I do to get people to do what we need them to do?”

“How can I hold a team member to be held accountable and still be seen as a good leader?”

"How do I balance leadership accountability and personal accountability when building a team?"

"Creating a culture of accountability is hard, how do I provide constructive feedback without being the bad guy?"

Building team accountability requires that we understand a few dynamics because it’s more complicated than we might recognize.  It goes beyond the responsibility for the outcomes, which is obviously important, but effective leaders know that they need a culture of accountability in their teams that provide the inputs needed to achieve the expected team performance.  Holding people accountable is one of the most important things that a successful leader does, but it is also one of the hardest.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams, Mergers & Acquisitions

Business Competencies Examples: Using Company Core Competencies to Innovate in 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

In our fast-moving world of innovation and disruption, some leaders may wonder if it is no longer beneficial to hone core competencies over time. Are business core competencies - those unique combinations of capabilities and resources that make your business operationally different and give you a competitive edge - a strategic tool of the past?

Download our free Strategy Connector Tool to help you.

It takes years and a lot of focused energy to hone these diverse skills, activities, and technologies to near perfection, or to the point that they would be too difficult to replicate by competitors. So, is it still worth it to play the long game in our rapidly changing marketplace?  Here are some great business core competency examples to help you define yours.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Align People in 2021: Getting Everyone on the Same Page to Drive Alignment

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Sounds like a simple concept: Alignment.  What makes this so hard to achieve?  The fact is, if you are hiring the right people, you will have a lot of smart people on your team who disagree with each other.  This is a good thing.  Alignment doesn’t mean that everyone starts on the same page; if that were true, then you’d just have a bunch of robots running around who all think the same way and who never challenge your ideas or come up with anything creative, interesting, or groundbreaking.

Difference of opinion among your team members is a key ingredient in developing the right strategies for your team, the ones that have been analyzed from different angles and debated in your planning sessions. However, when the dust settles and the decision has been made, this is where alignment takes over from diversity of viewpoints as the key to your strategy’s success or failure.  

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

What to Listen to in 2021: 8 Great Podcasts for CEOs

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Dec 22, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

This has been a banner year for new podcasts! It seems like there's a new one launched every week. I suspect people who found themselves suddenly unable to travel or with more time on their hands due to the pandemic turned to this alternative medium where you don't have to be in person to be connected and reach an audience.

If you are heading back into the office in the new year and looking for some interesting and informative podcasts for the commute -- or, if you're like me and still working from home but looking for something to listen to as you aimlessly walk your neighborhood streets for the thousandth time, you'll find something in this list!

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

How to Retain & Grow Customers in the Time of COVID-19

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Dec 18, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As you strategize for the year ahead, there are a lot of unknowns. One thing is certain: keeping and growing your customers has never been more important. What are the best ways to retain and expand your existing customer base mid-pandemic? We all know that it is much more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep the ones you have, so regardless of what you are planning to help you grow revenue in the future, you need a plan for your current customer base.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

How CEOs Succeed - Achieve a Top Valuation through Strategy Execution [Client Spotlight]

Posted by Patrick Thean on Sun, Dec 6, 2020 @ 11:05 AM

Congratulations to Jeff Berstein, and the ImageFIRST Team! Calera Capital, a private equity firm, acquired a majority share of ImageFIRST, allowing Jeff and his team to successfully achieve their dreams. This unique win-win deal provides the following for key stakeholders:

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

CEO Secret Weapon: Simple, Proven System for Success

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Dec 2, 2020 @ 11:39 AM

For over a decade, our consultants have worked with client CEOs to help them exceed industry standards and build great companies. Having seen thousands of business plans and helped hundreds of CEOs around the world, some very clear patterns emerge in our work. We’ve distilled the most important factors to building a great company of aligned teams who execute flawlessly into a simple system. I say “simple,” because the concepts are easy to understand; however, they can be challenging to implement—just as the concept of exercise and balanced diet are easy to understand but be difficult to achieve.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

Quarterly Planning Session in 2021: 10 Tips for a Successful Meeting

Posted by Melissa Enriquez on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 01:10 PM

Quarterly Planning is just around the corner, are you prepared to create a winning plan this quarter with your team?

Here are 10 Quarterly Planning tips to get you started:

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

Strategic Planning During COVID-19: Business Planning for 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As the summer comes to an end and fall looms with more uncertainty, it can be tempting to sit back and see what comes next—but if you aren’t careful, you’ll be stuck in reactionary mode and never make forward progress. To successfully weather the storm and recover from the pandemic, you need a strategic plan. You may not know what’s coming around the bend, but you need to be proactive in planning for the future so you don’t get left behind.

There are a range of possibilities for the future which are currently unknowable. How long until the spread of the virus slows? When is there going to be a vaccine? Will there be another round of shut downs? Will there be additional support for individuals and businesses from the government? How long until consumers can resume their old routines, and what will their new routines look like? How long until business travel ramps back up? These aren’t questions any of us can answer right now.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

Hedgehog Concept Examples: How a Hedgehog Supports a BHAG

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Does your who do what? It sounds somewhat funny, but this is really a serious question. Many people know what these terms are, but for those that do not, here is a brief refresher. These terms come from author and management consultant Jim Collins in Good to Great.  You can find some great BHAG examples on our middle market CEO blog that can help you take your company from good to great.  The main gist of the hedgehog concept is to find where the intersection of your passion, financial drivers and where you can be the best in the world in your organization.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Brand Promise Examples: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Your Brand Promise is the commitment to your customers that really matters to them and differentiates you from your competition.  It is one of the most important building blocks help you win more of the right customers by helping you focus on how you sell your product/service to your Core Customer. 

What makes a Brand Promise “good” is not only its appeal to your Core Customer and its ability to help you close sales with them, but also your ability to consistently deliver on that promise.  It will let all of your customers know what to expect from your company.  You'll find that most of the brand promise examples listed below you are already familiar with as they clearly define the what the brand promises the customer and is used heavily in their marketing as it completely aligns with their brand.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Planning for an Uncertain 2021: Tips to Create Plan A and Plan B

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Wed, Nov 18, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

We recently held our 6th annual Breakthrough Conference, although it was our first ever virtual conference, and I want to share a few ideas from one of the two sessions I facilitated: Planning for an Uncertain 2021.

These are extraordinary times we are living in right now, and traditional approaches need to be challenged. As we enter into the busiest time of the year for annual planning, I hope you will find these tips useful.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

5 Tips to Win and Retain your Core Customers (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Sun, Nov 15, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Customer retention is a routine, where you rinse, repeat, and rise to perfection over time. In 2018, winning new customers and keeping their business is going to get more challenging now that new trends, like enhancing user experience through content and emphatic marketing, are on the rise. Therefore, if you want to win and retain core customers in the new year, you are going to have to fine tune or make adjustments to the customer programs you have already implemented. 

Here are 5 tips to help you succeed: 

Know Your Brand

The secret that many companies continue to miss when attracting customers is having a clear vision of what their brand stands for and how it is communicated in the market. You need to know what wins customers over to begin with. To do so, you have to answer the following questions: 

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Topics: Increasing Sales, Strategies for Growth

Master Electronics Achieves Over 100 High-Impact Growth Initiatives with Rhythm [Client Spotlight]

Posted by Cindy Praeger on Fri, Nov 13, 2020 @ 10:14 AM

A better way to scale a family-owned business

How Master Electronics grew from 160 to 450 people by empowering them to make decisions without family input

Riad Nizam is the President of Master Electronics, a leading authorized distributor of electronic components. When Master Electronics became our client over six years ago, they were doing well as a company but it was hard to scale. Without a tool like Rhythm, they would start with a plan but four weeks later, lose momentum. 

In order to scale, Master Electronics had to:

  • Build a culture of trust to empower their employees to make decisions without having the family last name
  • Track their plan and stay focused on the activities that drove their growth initiatives
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Topics: Strategies for Growth

How to NOT Treat Your Customers

Posted by Patrick Thean on Fri, Nov 6, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

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.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

How Middle Market CEOs Execute on Strategy for Success (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Sun, Nov 1, 2020 @ 10:03 AM

Most Companies Fail Due to Poor Strategic Execution

As a fan of Blue Ocean strategy, you already know how important it is to have the right strategy. But, a great strategy executed poorly produces lackluster results and missed targets. Unfortunately, most companies and top executives focus their efforts on developing a strong strategy but spend very little time converting those strategies into “execution ready” plans that clearly define the actual work team members need to do to bring the 3-5 year strategic plan as determined in your planning process to fruition.

 

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution, Mergers & Acquisitions

Level 5 Leadership Examples- How to be a Level 5 Leader

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Fri, Oct 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

The Level 5 Leadership Stage is Set…

Have you ever had this "strange" feeling that you just couldn’t shake? I recently went through that. It was after a two-day Annual Planning Session with a newly formed executive team (the company had been through a major transition). It was a great two days but the reality is that as the session began, the “stage” was a bit of a mess because the executive team was fractured in their vision for the company. In spite of that, alignment and clarity of vision were created over those two days. But after the session, my reflective thinking left me feeling suspended inside. It was a strange feeling.

The strange feeling actually began to linger as the two day session ensued; it was just something I noticed but I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around what it was. It was subtle, non-obtrusive yet politely prominent. It just lingered. Upon reflective thinking after the session came the epiphany. It was the CEO. Yet, I still couldn’t pinpoint anything. So, I asked myself: What is it about this CEO that I can’t grasp? What is it? 

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Do You Need a Strategy Refresh?

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Wed, Oct 28, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

There is no better time than the present to work on completing your strategy. You may have wanted to nail down your work on core customer, brand promise or brand promise guarantee. You may need to review your core competencies and refresh the short list. Maybe you are getting close to reaching your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and need to envision a new one.

As many people continue to work virtually, it creates the perfect opportunity to set aside time and schedule a virtual planning session or two. Working virtually allows more flexibility by allowing you to break sessions into 4-hour increments, if desired, and you can schedule the work over several weeks.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

Breakthrough 2020: Key Insights and Takeaways

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Oct 27, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

One of the best parts of our annual Breakthrough Conference is getting our Rhythm community together to live our core values of Keep Smart, Be Appreciative, Family is a Blessing, No TDC (Thinly Disguised Contempt) and Go the Second Mile. This year’s conference looked considerably different—while we weren’t able to showcase our southern hospitality by having our guests come to Charlotte and enjoy time together in person, we did have an amazing virtual learning experience last week.

Our first virtual conference was a whirlwind of amazing content, and I’ll be thinking about some of the presentations for a long time to come! We heard from amazing speakers and learned a ton from the attendees, as well. In the spirit of our Keep Smart core value, I’m here to share some of our audience’s key takeaways.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Moat Building: 3 Ways to Build Your Moat Around Your Business

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Mon, Oct 26, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

As you approach planning for another quarter, take a moment to check in on your 3-5 Year Strategy or what he calls Winning Moves. These are specific strategies that have the potential to double your revenue over the next 3-5 years. Many companies lose focus and momentum on these by only discussing them once a year during Annual Planning. Don't be one of them.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

One Page Strategic Plan Template (OPSP) for the Rockefeller Habits

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 @ 05:52 PM

I have recently been involved in a few conversations with clients that are new to the Rockefeller Habits or to long-range planning. The questions that keep coming up are "Where do I start?" and "Should I first establish my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), 3-5 year strategic plan, Core Values, etc.?"  

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

3 Year Strategic Plan: How to Achieve your 3 Year Strategy

Posted by Patrick Thean on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 @ 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.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

What is the Difference Between a Primary Customer and Secondary Customer?

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

I have written previously about the importance of identifying your core customer because I have seen far too many companies waste their valuable time and resources selling to and serving the "wrong" customers.  They haven't taken the necessary steps to identify their most valuable customers that purchased the primary product and were highly satisfied.

Your core customer is the one who values what you offer at a price and quantity that is good for both you and the customer and will take you into the future successfully. This is the individual that uses the product, the one you look in the eyes and can put a name to and the one you can’t live without. Knowing who the core customer is will impacts sales in a positive manner.

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Topics: Increasing Sales, Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

Departmental Silos: The Silent Productivity Killer [New Research]

Posted by Cindy Praeger on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 @ 11:04 AM

Written by Cindy Praeger and Eskinder Assefa

Departmental silos in business are organizational units that should operate as specialized components of the proverbial ‘well-oiled machine’ but, unfortunately, almost always wind up operating increasingly in isolation of the rest of the company and will often end up in turf wars.

Organizational units created to provide excellence in some functional area inevitably grow to the point that they become more or less independent of the rest of the company. That, in turn, leads to fragmentation, destroying synergy with the rest of the organization and, at the same time, wasting resources by replicating expertise and data found elsewhere in the company choking the flow of information and making most cross departmental projects failures.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

Breakthrough 2020 Goes Virtual: What to Expect

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Sep 23, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Our first-ever virtual Breakthrough Conference is just a few weeks away! Here's a sneak peek so you know what to expect from this can’t-miss event.

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Topics: Increasing Sales, Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Big Hairy Audacious Goals: Classic BHAG Examples (Still Relevant in 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

I recently re-read the classic HBR article entitled "Building Your Company's Vision" by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, and I was struck by the great examples they gave to illustrate different types of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). If you are asking yourself "What is a BHAG?" or struggling to come up with an audacious goal for the first time, these examples will help you get started as it is a powerful tool to align your company around a single mission statement. These may also be helpful if you are working with your team to reset after accomplishing your 10-25 year visionary goal. Don't let your team fall into the trap of complacency after reaching the finish line of one BHAG (pronounced bee hag); celebrate your success, and then reset. Having a long term, a visionary goal is a habit of successful companies that becomes the unifying focal point of effort that aligns your team and gets everyone excited is the only way your company will continue to grow with purpose and increase team spirit.

Download a free BHAG guide to help you create and align your company around a  single strategic vision

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

OKR Spreadsheet: Why You Should Upgrade Your OKR Game

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

I’ve just finished reading John Doerr’s book, Measure What Matters: OKRs - The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth, and it is full of really practical goal-setting tips and great stories from real companies like Intel, Google, and even a few smaller companies. What struck me throughout the book, though, is that the companies in many of these stories rely on spreadsheets, documents saved in company intranets, or even Post-it Notes hung up in their offices (and in one story, by the toilet) for communicating the goals. Using a spreadsheet or paper-based process for OKRs is like parking your Ferrari on a busy street under a tree on garbage day. Why would you risk ruining something so beautiful as a well-written goal with poor communication and accountability?

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

The CEO's Business Strategy Execution Gap... And How To Close It

Posted by Cindy Praeger on Mon, Aug 24, 2020 @ 10:44 PM

Written by Cindy Praeger and Eskinder Assefa

A fairly significant body of research now clearly shows that the reason why a number of mid-to-large companies face is not that their strategies were not sound, but because they were unable to create a culture of strategy execution to perform well on those otherwise sound strategies.  Successful teams bridge the strategy to execution gap through Intelligent Work.  

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution

Strategic Growth Planning: How to Create Your 3 Year Strategic Growth Plans Wisely

Posted by Patrick Thean on Mon, Aug 24, 2020 @ 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.  

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Strategy vs Execution: Don't Confuse Strategic Thinking and Strategy Execution Plans

Posted by Patrick Thean on Thu, Aug 20, 2020 @ 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. 

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

Why You Need a Facilitator to Drive Your Virtual Strategic Planning Process [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Aug 18, 2020 @ 10:55 AM

Many unknowable things can happen between now and the beginning of 2021. One thing we do know is that when next year hits, you will need to hit the ground running on your company’s strategic plan. Whether you are in a position to capitalize on new opportunities or looking to survive cuts and turn the ship around, this could not be a more critical time for your business. Your planning process for 2021 may be the most important one you ever undertake.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

BHAG Exercise: How to Have the Right Discussions to Get to Your BHAG

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

Ever feel stuck working on your BHAG? Like you just can’t get the right words? You know that your BHAG is supposed to be measurable but also inspire the team; you know it should speak to the heart as well as the head. Maybe you’ve read our blogs or our BHAG Guide or checked out some of Jim Collins’ resources. If you are still feeling stuck, we have a tool that can help you have the right discussions to get to your BHAG.

Before you get in too deep to this discussion with your team, it is important to clarify for yourself and for them what the process of determining your BHAG is… and isn’t. This is an exercise to pick the right mountain to climb, not to create a perfect statement. Coming up with your BHAG is about going on the mission, not writing a mission statement; in other words, it is not a wordsmithing exercise. Your goal is to come up with your goal, not to write a beautiful sentence for your wall or website.

Download a free BHAG guide to help you create and align your company around a  single strategic vision

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Help Us Inspire Hope in the Midst of COVID-19

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Aug 6, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Like most other companies, we’ve made the decision to pivot our in-person conference to a virtual event. As we were planning for this new reality, we went back and forth over whether to make the event free or to charge for a portion of it. This was uncharted territory for our team, who have never put on a virtual event longer than a webinar. We knew we still wanted to keep the best elements of our in-person event - to provide a place for our Rhythm family to come together, to share ideas, to get real work done and to learn from each other while enjoying ourselves.

Ultimately, we decided to use the event to do the most good we can at this difficult time—to help our clients, friends and our community. We decided that instead of charging a registration fee for the virtual Breakthrough Conference, we’d make it optional for attendees to donate to our charity partner, Samaritan’s Feet. On top of that, Patrick Thean, our CEO, has decided to personally match all donations up to $12,500.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

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

Posted by Patrick Thean on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 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.
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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

Leveraging Your Core Competencies to Create a Competitive Advantage with Examples

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

I have helped many companies identify and leverage their core competencies through the years, and doing this can really make a difference in the products or services you provide to your customer. Core competence is a concept introduced by C.K. Prahalad, professor at the University of Michigan, and Gary Hamel, management expert and founder of Strategos. They define it as “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace.”

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Company Alignment: The CEO's Roadmap to Corporate Alignment

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Alignment can be elusive for even the smallest start-up companies, never mind mid-market companies that have multiple divisions, departments, or business units, different locations, new acquisitions, or remote employees. The more successful you are in growing your company, the more complex your organization becomes, and the more challenging it is to communicate effectively and attain alignment. And, as the CEO, aligning your company to succeed starts with you. You need to have a company alignment strategy so that all levels of the organization know what is expected of them.  According to an article in Harvard Business Review by Oxford University’s Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe, "Large, diversified, and geographically dispersed enterprises, in whichever sectors they compete, require the greatest amount of strategic effort by their leadership to be aligned.”

What do I mean by alignment? An article in IndustryWeek quotes Fred Smith, Chairman of Federal Express, as saying “Alignment is the essence of management,” and goes on to say that “Alignment reflects an active ownership on the part of team members, not simply the absence of disagreement… Alignment is an agreement on the goals of the organization and on the process of allocating resources to achieve these goals.” The HBR article I mentioned earlier describes alignment in this way: winning through a tightly managed enterprise value chain that connects an enterprise’s purpose (what we do and why we do it) to its business strategy (what we are trying to win at to fulfill our purpose), organizational capability (what we need to be good at to win), resource architecture (what makes us good), and, finally, management systems (what delivers the winning performance we need). 

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Accountable Leaders & Teams

4 Types of BHAGs: Which BHAG Model is Right for You?

Posted by Liz McBride on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Suppose you and your team have been in a Think Rhythm to determine what Jim Collin and Jerry Porras call your Hedgehog concept - the intersection of what you are passionate about, what you are best in the world at and what drives your financial engine.  Defining your hedgehog and BHAG (pronounced bee hag) gives you a powerful mechanism to help you strategically plan for growth.


Specifically, the hedgehog concept is the intersection of these three questions:

  • What are you deeply passionate about?
  • What can you be the best at in the world?
  • What drives your economic engine?

Now comes the easy part, right? Simply take that information, determine where these three questions intersect and craft a long-term goal that drives on that intersection - your BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Are you having writer’s block?

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Revenue Growth Strategy: 9 Steps to Create a New Revenue Growth Plan

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Working with middle market CEOs, we are often asked "What is revenue growth strategy?"  Driving revenue is the number 1 concern for most CEOs.  Many leaders romanticize about striking it big overnight with a brilliant business idea. We've all seen that moment in movies where inspiration strikes in the middle of the night, and some innovative new product or idea launches a company to greatness.  In reality, you can't wait around for lightning to strike to keep your company growing. As Patrick Thean shares in his book Rhythm, growth strategies "do not come from eureka moments. They are developed over time..."

Even if you're not trying to be the next Apple, companies in today's competitive landscape have to be disciplined about anticipating what's next and how to generate revenue in the future. If you aren't thinking about your next 3 year strategic plan with growth ideas and actively working on it in your Annual Planning sessions, you're already behind. If you want a continuous supply of revenue-generating strategies, you need to spend time thinking strategically, and you need a process for creating and implementing your strategies to grow revenue.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What you Must do to Increase the Value of your Growing Firm

Posted by Chris Cosper on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 @ 10:10 AM

By now, most of us are familiar with Verne Harnish’s book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do To Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm.  And, synonymous with the book is the Rockefeller Habits One Page Strategic Plan.  There are so many great concepts and solid theory captured in this material, all boiled down to simple, actionable steps that each of us can apply in our businesses.  But it’s all so good, you may be wondering where in the world to start Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.  

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 @ 10:09 AM

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes - some big improvements for your business can be born from small, incremental changes that empower employees to make daily continuous improvement. It can be tempting to think of innovation as that mountain-top revelation or the lighting bolt idea. While glamorous, this vision of breakthrough improvements is misleading—most innovation comes from incremental improvement on ideas over time with continual process improvement . Cultivating a culture where every person is empowered to improve the processes, systems and tools they use to get work done can make a tremendous impact.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Scaling Up Your Business with Rockefeller Habits 2.0 With These 16 Questions

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

It’s summer. Bright blue skies, puffy cotton candy-like clouds, and colorful flowers abound in gardens everywhere. This description is also a metaphor for the mindset and optimism of entrepreneurs. And in that mindset, like an approaching hurricane for your garden, lies danger not yet encountered. In fact, even serial entrepreneurs make minor mistakes that wreak hurricane-like havoc on their carefully planted business. You need a contingency plan for health and safety prior to a hurricane, and you need a contingency plan for when things go wrong, or you’ll never be able to be successful scaling up your business.

The approach of detailed business contingency planning is one for growing an established business. I won’t address that in this blog as the pattern I’ve seen is that so few entrepreneurs and their business make it to the established, growing stage. I’ve seen many get stuck at $15-50mm in revenue while struggling to break past their growth barriers. My advice here is targeted to those companies. If your business is larger, let this be a reminder of the contingency basics. And, if you have a larger business that doesn’t have contingency planning in place, let this be a warning.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

Adaptive Leadership Theory: Adaptive Leadership Framework

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

As leadership guru Jim Collins tells us, organizations go from good to great when personalities step aside and let purpose become the focus. Essentially, great organizations are purpose-driven versus leader-driven.

So how can you be an adaptive leader in your organization, and still stay purpose driven? First you must understand these adaptive points:

  • Adaptive leaders create change incrementally.
  • Learning can be painful, so you should anticipate and counteract reluctance.
  • You must continuously connect change to the core values of the organization.

So what can you do to embrace adaptive leadership?

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Rockefeller Habits Scaling Up Your Business Execution

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 @ 11:04 AM

When companies are small, it’s not such a challenge to get things done. Maybe you have a meeting (where the whole company attends), you come up with an idea, and you go out there and do it. Everyone was there from the beginning, everyone understands the plan, and everyone does their part to get it done. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges with execution for small companies, but typically, if small companies do a good job hiring the right people, figuring out their strategy, and ensuring there is enough cash to run the business, then execution is something that can easily be managed. However, as your company grows and the people who come up with the ideas and plans are no longer the ones who are actually doing all the work, successfully executing the plan gets much more difficult.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

How to Prepare for Virtual Strategic Planning

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Since most of our consultants haven’t traveled to see a client since March, we’ve successfully transitioned their planning sessions from in-person to virtual meetings. Having a great virtual planning session requires a little more advanced preparation. However, the extra effort is worth it - our clients have been raving about the additional focus they are able to achieve in the virtual environment. With the right preparation, your next virtual planning session could be your best strategic planning session ever.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Virtual Planning Lessons: Keep Your Company Out of COVID-19 Trouble

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Fri, Jul 24, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

According to FEMA, only 60% of small businesses reopen after a disaster. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues this timeline with the finding that in the two years following a disaster, over 90% of businesses fail. Only 10% of small businesses have the right flexibility, focus, and accountability to make it two years past a disaster. A lesson from virtual planning can help you be among that 10%.

When I talk with leaders regarding disasters, it’s easy for them to think of earthquakes (we don’t live in that part of the country), floods (we aren't in a flood zone), and fires (there’s no history here). Occasionally they think of things that they deem unlikely—like terrorism, war and pandemics like COVID-19. Rarely does a leader think about other incidents—like burst pipes, roof leaks, discovery of black mold, ransomware, computer hacks, etc.—as something catastrophic to their business. Yet any of these disasters may cause business failure.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

Focus and Alignment: 4 Questions to Ask Your Team

Posted by Patrick Thean on Wed, Jul 15, 2020 @ 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!

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

A Better Way to Implement Your Rockefeller Habits 2.0 One-Page Strategic Plan

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Sat, Jul 4, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Planning Sessions are exciting - the possibilities are endless, the team is optimistic and ready to conquer the world! You spend countless hours discussing, debating and agreeing on your Core Values & Purpose, BHAG, Brand Promise, Key Initiatives and Quarterly Rocks. Decisions are made. Targets are set. Your One-Page Strategic Plan is beautiful! The work gets put into a Word doc and filed away for everyone to access. "Let's really do it this year," everyone says...

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Rockefeller Habits One-Page Strategic Plan: Strategies for Growth

Posted by Patrick Thean on Tue, Jun 30, 2020 @ 08:50 AM

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.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Have You Defined Your Company Core Purpose Statement? CPS Examples

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Tue, Jun 30, 2020 @ 08:48 AM

Peter Drucker stated that ”the best and most dedicated people are ultimately volunteers, for they have the opportunity to do something else with their lives.

One of the best articles I have read on Core Purpose is Jim Collins and Jerry Porras article titled “Building Your Company’s Vision.”  The authors explain that a well-developed vision consists of two parts, core ideology and an envisioned future.  The core ideology consists of two components, Core Values and Core Purpose.  The envisioned future has two elements, The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and a vivid description of what it will look like when you achieve your BHAG.  The former should never change, while the latter may, once you have accomplished your long term 10-20 year goal.  These should be your guiding purpose to go above and beyond the status quo.  As we hear more and more companies becoming purpose driven organizations to attract and keep A-Talent having a well defined Core Purpose is the first step in the process.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Priority ZERO: Make COVID-19 Part of Your Survive, Recover and Thrive Mentality

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 12:58 PM

We all know we need to be prepared for the worst—while striving for the best—when it comes to the effects of COVID-19, and the market has proven that leaders who remain calm and focused are better able to steer their team through turbulence and uncertainty. However, my experience is that many leaders and leadership teams do not know how to do this.

I'm being asked by CEOs worldwide, "What few things must I focus on now?" Even when leadership appears calm like a duck on the surface, many leaders today are paddling like mad underwater with only a finite few that have clear direction.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution

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