“Most leaders would agree that they’d be better off having an average strategy with superb execution than a superb strategy with poor execution.” Stephen Covey
In today’s challenging environment, enlightened business leaders will focus on thorough planning and flawless execution. Both disciplines are important to a successful business; however, this discussion will focus on execution.
To be clear, a thoughtful plan is a necessity; however, without effective execution, it is practically worthless. I will share a simple framework for helping individuals and teams achieve solid execution and operational excellence. This proven process is simple and straightforward and will serve organizations well, regardless of size or industry.
In previous articles, I have stated what is an indisputable fact: The right culture is fundamental for delivering consistently superior business growth. Specifically, two essential elements of the winning culture are:
- Effective, free-flowing communications
- Abundant collaboration
Truly effective organizational communication is not unilateral but is characterized by an environment that supports mutual respect, trust, integrity, and transparency. There is an open, honest, two-way exchange of vital information between leadership and employees, and among employees as needed. In short, this environment features a prolific communications network and effortless collaboration among Individuals and teams.
Once an environment of communication and collaboration is established, leadership must provide a simple, straightforward framework to drive operational excellence. This approach is comprised of three elements:
- Define What Must Be Done and Assign Individual Work Activity
Accountability – Each person in the business is accountable for carrying out a specific set of responsibilities in a certain way. Expectations must be set and communicated clearly and then confirmed, to ensure there is no room for misunderstanding. To be clear, leadership is ultimately accountable for all aspects of the firm; however, to achieve business goals, they must delegate responsibilities and duties throughout the organization. To make this work an implicit bilateral contract is established between leadership and each employee. First, through coaching, training, and other employee development opportunities, leadership is accountable to prepare individuals to be capable of carrying out specific activities/duties required to meet business expectations. And, in turn, employees must be accountable to leadership for executing these duties and responsibilities.
- Inspect Expectations – Review/Evaluate Employee Performance Against Goals
Visibility – For every critical business function, leaders must have a clear, timely view on actual results produced by each and every employee. It is recommended that leadership develops a rigorous and systematic review process. Based on the situation, this might include personal observation, customer and employee feedback/survey processes, systematic reporting, scheduled operations reviews, random inspection, etc. These views must provide transparent perspectives to leadership on actual employee activities and associated outcomes, and how these align with business expectations and goals.
- Administer Rewards, Training/Coaching, Discipline. Etc.
Consequences – This category includes compensation, incentives, rewards, and recognition. Further, it includes coaching, training, performance management, and disciplinary action. Employee work efforts/activities will result in three outcomes: 1) exceeding, 2) meeting or 3) falling short of expectations. Each outcome warrants a specific consequence that must be administered in a fair, timely, and consistent manner.
In summary, consistent execution and operational excellence are driven by a culture which supports communication and collaboration with visibility, accountability, and consequences. Of course, this is a very high-level view of a business model for operational excellence and solid execution; however, if you are interested in additional details and assistance in creating this scheme in your business, please contact me at 281-817-7391, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Create a Winning Sales Culture
‘Adapt and Change Your Habits to Survive and Grow Your Business’
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
~ Charles Darwin
To state the obvious, our world has changed significantly. Not just business, but almost every aspect of our lives. And thus, we are compelled to adapt.
Even before the worldwide pandemic, most leaders weren’t happy with the amount of revenue their respective businesses were generating. They were working longer hours, applying greater effort while spending more for marketing and receiving lower revenue. And now, here we are in the midst of an economic downturn and an impending recession.
What you need to know…
If you’re not happy with your business’s current revenue and profitability, it’s important to remember that those results are directly related to the actions you’ve been taking! If you want different results, then you MUST take different actions, and you MUST execute with discipline.
So, if that’s all that’s required, why don’t business leaders just do that? The answer may shock you. They can’t stop repeating their past patterns of behavior. Their past patterns have become ingrained into their subconscious mind and have established themselves as habits.
Have you ever listened to art experts accurately identify a recently discovered painting as belonging to a specific artist such as Rembrandt? How can they tell who painted that picture? Patterns… that’s how. Even though the painting may look completely different than all the others that artist painted, his or her patterns, sometimes referred to as their “style,” continuously comes through with each and every painting.
Why you need to know this…
The exact same thing happens to business leaders as well. All of us have been mentally conditioned to perform certain daily activities, and to do these in a certain way. These activities and processes have become habits through constant and daily repetition. The problem is that the majority of these habits… more than 80% of them… are ineffective and non-productive. Einstein’s definition for insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. If there was ever a time to do things differently and change your habits, that time is now! In fact, I will go so far as to say that if you want your business to survive, you must adapt. You don’t have an option! However, it is critical that this must be the right kind of adaptation.
We will help you adapt to this new environment with a game plan that includes a proven process and reliable strategies for growing your business profitably.
Email Adam Vital at email@example.com or call (281) 817-7391. We offer a free consultation and guaranteed results. And, once engaged with your business, our fee will be based on your improved performance results.
Create a Winning Sales Culture – Employment Development – Five Elements of a Coaching Session
Each person is unique and will come into the business with a unique set of skills and potential. This argues for a customized development plan (training and coaching) for each employee. Of course, the end objective is to have every salesperson behave in a consistent and predictable way in interfacing with customers; however, it is important that sales leadership recognize individual differences, helping each employee to optimize innate capabilities. This not only means helping them perform at their best in their current roles; it’s much broader. Good coaches will strive to understand and assist the employee in realizing longer-term personal goals and dreams. This means that good coaching and development is filled with a special kind of commitment to support and help a person; it’s about building a trusting relationship with a human being. And thus, good coaching is a critical role for the sales manager for not only business growth, but for employee engagement and loyalty as well.
Like other facets of the sales leadership process, it is most important to establish a rhythm or an expected routine for coaching sessions. The focus of these meetings is to facilitate employee growth and development. For the purpose of ensuring the best use of time and to optimize overall effectiveness, here are a few thoughts on five key elements for a successful coaching session:
- Agenda (sent out before the meeting) is reviewed up-front with verbal acknowledgement and confirmed understanding between the coach and employee as to what is to be accomplished in the meeting (role-play, a review of instructional videos or other materials, etc.)
- Active engagement and participation in the session by both employee and coach
- Honest, objective, non-judgmental feedback and counsel from the coach
- Open, two-way communications between employee and coach
- Confirmation at the end of the meeting as to what was accomplished with respect to the agenda and goals for the next session
Consistent, committed execution on coaching will result in improved business growth and better customer experience.
Coaching is a process and a learned skill. Your managers will need guidance in developing requisite capabilities to be competent coaches. If you need assistance in training and developing your sales managers to be competent coaches, we can help you with that. Contact me at (281) 817 7391 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation. Here’s my calendar for scheduling an appointment: https://calendly.com/adam-vital
In the last post, we started our series on word of mouth and talked about how to make your customers purchasing experience a short, easy one. We are going to continue with that theme a bit today. We’re going to talk about the power of word of mouth and how to mold it to your advantage.
The reality is everyone needs an advisor to guide them to make a decision. We rely on the expertise of others to make the right decisions as they are explained to us. When you take the time to understand exactly what and how word of mouth works, you’ll see all the great advantages it has to offer you. Remember this path when working to understand word of mouth:
- Accelerate the decision-making process for increased profits.
- You can accelerate product making decisions by making the process easier.
- Instead of low-ball advertising and the used car salesman approach, try delivering on your word of mouth promises.
Traditional advertising draws about one response for every thousand ads and most of those are to ask for more information before the customer even considers purchasing. When you get information from a friend, you are more likely to take their word for it and act. On average, customers purchase two out of every five recommendations their friends make. That’s a HUGE difference.
So, what exactly is word of mouth? Well, we know how powerful it can be, but to define it: Word of mouth is communication that happens between a customer and a potential customer. There is usually a relationship of some kind between these two people with an established level of trust.
Now, compare this to advertising where you are providing a message to a potential customer where they have not established relationship with you or level of trust. Who are they more likely to take advice from? The answer is clear!
We talked above about the benefits of word of mouth now let’s take a look at some reasons why it works. Some of these are:
- The information is custom tailored to the potential customer because of the friendly relationship of the referrer.
- It’s more personal, relevant and believable.
- It’s customer driven.
- It’s self-generating and can take on a life of its own, especially with the information age of the Internet.
- It becomes part of the product’s description.
- The source of word of mouth can be important and more effective when coming from an expert.
- Word of mouth saves you time and money.
To fully utilize word of mouth you need to understand:
- Where is your word of mouth coming from?
- What products are being affected by word of mouth?
- How is your word of mouth traveling?
Once you know these things you can work out a plan on how to trigger more word of mouth. This wraps up our lesson on word of mouth.
If you need help understanding word of mouth and how it can impact your business, try our FREE test drive to access our wealth of resources and tools. For a complimentary consultation on ways to grow your business, contact me at email@example.com or (281) 817-7391.
Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 1
Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson, we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.
Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, the experiences they have and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services in a positive way, you’ll attract the right customers and client who will sustain your business for a long time.
Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems to travel faster than good news and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know to not buy your products and services.
The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking and all the other online mediums available and making it easier and easier for consumers to share their experiences. And, remember this is all free advertising for you.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers/client choose more quickly and easily. There are three great ways to increase sales by shortening the decision cycle. They are:
Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase
Increase your number of customers
Increase the frequency of purchases