2 Easy Ways To Blow Away Your Competition This Year
Do you get caught up in the day-to-day and struggle to find enough time work on the most important and strategic things, while competitors seem to have more resources and beat you to market again and again?
Good ideas are nice but execution is what matters in the long run. When you can put your great ideas into action, you’ll see bigger results. However, to get out of the rut of reacting to each and every little thing that comes up, you must prioritize, track progress, and be consistent.
Great execution is in fact simple and a couple actions over the next hour or so can make a huge shift in how you move forward.
How do I know? I’ve made all the same mistakes. I was growing a company at more than 30% for multiple years. Eventually I started to mess up because I hadn’t scheduled the important things before emergencies and breakdowns stole my time and attention. I knew better but I procrastinated on the first step here. In the end, that procrastination cost me more than a couple million dollars. It was a painful but valuable lesson.
To put great ideas into practice, you need to follow two simple rules:
1. Schedule Important and Essential Things TODAY
It is human nature to procrastinate, but there’s no power in that. Our days get full, our calendars are overloaded and we either end up skipping the key things, or doing a less than stellar job in the time remaining. Do you know who is getting the key things done when they should be? Our competitors.
No need to feel overwhelmed before you even begin. A surprisingly few things are actually key for a team at a growing business: 2 days for annual strategy and planning, 1 day per quarter to update your plans, 2 hours a month to learn and grow, 1 hour per week to assess progress and plan new action, 12 minutes per day to sync up and identify the top priority.
Very few growing companies do these consistently but they can make a huge difference.
It’s really simple. Here’s how:
- Create an automatically recurring appointment near the end (or beginning) of each quarter for one day of planning work for your whole leadership team.
- Add another day near the end of the year (or January) for annual strategy work. Give some thought to your typical holiday schedule and patterns. Make your selection automatically recurring.
- Pick the best day and time of the week for a weekly plan review, and schedule an hour – automatically recurring. Even every bi-weekly can work if weekly is too big a challenge. Add an extra hour once a month for some learning.
- What time of day would work best for a 12-minute team huddle? Schedule and automate that too.
2. Track and Manage Performance and Promises
- Pick a 4-6 metrics to focus on for your business and the top 2 metrics for each leader. Keep things in balance like gross profit vs. customer satisfaction, or sales vs. purchases/production. Keep it simple with a whiteboard. Electronic dashboards are ok but performance can fade into the background if you aren’t interacting with it.
- A simple list on paper (or a Google sheet) capturing what was promised and agreed to in all your meetings will foster accountability. Capture Who will do What, and by When they will do it (Who What When). Review the list together at each meeting.
- The next thing to really elevate effectiveness is to schedule TIME for action items. It’s one thing to promise a by-when date, but few teams plan and set aside any TIME to actually work on things. Train yourself and your team to schedule the work time for each promise. How long will it take? When will you begin it? Calendar that.
Now Fight For Consistency
Holidays, conferences, key events, trade shows, and family matters will all compete for the same time as the new things you’ve scheduled. Adjust as needed, but also understand that the key management rhythms will already be calendared for you and your leadership team.
- Make sure all your key leaders have these meetings calendared in the same way.
- Consider a coach to help you develop and maintain the new discipline.
Taking just an hour or so right now to schedule these things will literally be giving your business an edge over your competitors.