At some point, paper tools, spreadsheets, and even simple software solutions are not enough to run your enterprise. When you reach that inflection point, you need to manage your business growth with a more sophisticated solution. That’s not to say that many of the habits that got you where you are today aren’t still relevant; in fact, the 3 Rockefeller Habits (the Quarterly Rock, the Right Data, and the Right Meeting Rhythms) are important for companies of any size. As your company grows, you just need a better way to track and standardize those habits across the enterprise.
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).
“Are you kidding me? Have a meeting every day! We already have way too many meetings. The last thing my team wants to do is add another morning huddle meeting..... every day.”
Yep, that was me about 12 years ago when my coach, Dan Weston, suggested we implement the daily huddle meeting in my company. I was reluctant, but he made me promise to give it a try. My team was reluctant at first too, but in time, this became one of the most important rhythms in the company. And, not only did the executive team huddle, but the design team huddled, customer service and sales huddled, the engineers huddled and the front line supervisors huddled daily.
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.?"
I recently re-read the 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.