Archive for May, 2014

Targets Are Targets, Results Are Reality

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Hubris can be the first of the 5 stages of decline.In the last few days, the weather, in the parts of Canada I’ve been in, has gone from chilly to hot.

About time, too!

It’s almost the end of May. The golf courses are open.

Another month and the schools will break up for summer and vacation time will begin.

And, just in case it’s overlooked in the excitement, companies with a calendar fiscal will reach the mid-point of the year. I know. I’m a dour, Scottish buzz kill.

Some business owners will go off on vacation pleased that results are ahead of expectations. Others will not be so satisfied – and some will be unhappy.

But all 3 types of owner share 1 thing in common. They know more now than they did when they set their expectations for the year.

Why is that worth mentioning?

We live in an achievement-oriented society. So we’re programmed to focus on the latter 2 types of companies – those that haven’t made their targets and those who are barely doing so.

They’re the ones who are underperforming. So they need to figure out why because they need to do better.

And that’s where our thinking often stops.

However, what about the companies that are doing well against their targets?

Is it possible that’s because their targets were low? After all, they were set around 6 or 8 months ago.

And, despite having been in the consulting business for over 12 years, I have yet to meet someone who can consistently predict the future.

Some of the owners, whose companies are doing well, will take the time to review their performance. And, if needed, change their activities to drive for even better results based on what they now know about this year’s performance.

In fact, I notice that the owners who take the time to step back and review their performance regularly, tend to have successful businesses.

The alternative, simply accepting the results as good fortune or, worse, as being their “due”, is a sign of complacency born of hubris.

And, as anyone who has read Jim Collins book “How The Mighty Fall” knows, hubris can be the first of the 5 stages of decline……..

 

If you enjoyed this post you’ll also enjoy Too Early To Tell If It Will Be A Good Year? Think Again!

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Jim Stewart is the founding Partner at ProfitPATH. He has been working with business owners for over 16 years to increase profits and improve the value of their companies. LinkedIn

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Strategy – 3 Things To Argue About

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

This morning, I gave my good friend Jeremy Miller some feedback about one of his blog posts.3 things to argue about strategy

Actually, I’m being polite. I told him where I disagreed with what he’d said.

The reason for the disagreement.

In his post Jeremy argued that:

  • Numeric goals, e.g. grow to $50 million in annual revenues in 5 years, lack meaning.
  • They – and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Related) goals – aren’t aspirational.
  • And they don’t engage people’s hearts; tell them why they should change their behaviors; or why their contributions matter.

Knowing how Jeremy thinks, this surprised me. However, as we talked I began to see his point of view.

Jeremy is a branding specialist.

Some of the companies he works with employ strategy consultants to help build their business strategy. And some of these consultants leave Jeremy’s clients having developed a strategy and set lofty goals.

Unfortunately, with everyone exhausted by the effort of developing the strategy, no thought is given to how to execute it.

And, to make matters worse, the only people to participate were the owner and management team.

Jeremy is left with the task of designing and implementing a marketing or branding program to achieve the goals.

His thinking is rooted in the frustration which arises when little or no thought has been given to how to translate a strategy into results.

“Strategy” has 2 parts.

That is because, I think, we’ve misused the word strategy for some time now.

Many people – consultants included – believe the job is done when a strategy has been developed. Let’s face it; most of the “models” in common use are designed to develop strategy.

It’s common knowledge that most companies fail at execution. Yet, ironically, there are far fewer “models” designed to guide the successful execution of a strategy.

The model we’ve been using, and improving, for 12 years now deals with both.

Yes, that is unashamed self-promotion.

But it’s also how I know that, if as many people as possible are involved in both developing a strategy and working out how it will be executed:

  • The meaning of numeric goals will be evident in the things a company intends to do.
  • Satisfying more customers, increasing profits and creating more jobs will become worthy aspirations.
  • Goals – numeric and SMART – will engage people’s hearts, explain why they should change their behaviors and why their contributions matter.

I’ll talk more about how the “strategy development only” model is broken – in future posts.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post you’ll also enjoy “You Can Achieve Any Result You Want To……”

Click here and automatically receive our latest blog posts.

 

Jim Stewart is the founding Partner at ProfitPATH. He has been working with business owners for over 16 years to increase profits and improve the value of their companies. LinkedIn

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