- Your company consistently misses financial targets (even realistic ones)
- Your company consistently is unable to achieve all that it sets out to do (Goals)
- Many team members complain of lack of clarity in what is expected of them
- Many a times, you produce something which is not really required at that point in time
- Most days, you come in and start the day afresh with new ideas and next best thing to do. Its as if there is no continuity (And you dont just leave it an idea but change priorities of the relevant teams and put it to play.)
- … and so on and so forth.
DiagnosisAnalysing why a business experiences such symptoms, could be the topic of a big book (several books). And hundreds of books/articles have been written on this subject. A lot of businesses and consultants exist to just help your business go past such constrictive phases. The problem could be in many parts and aspects of your business. From something as basic as whether there is need for your product in the market, Funding, to your strategy, to your team composition and right onto the execution where the rubber meets the road. My purpose here is to help you sort out ONE possible cause for this, and that relates to point 4 above (execution). Hence I assume that your product has an accessible market, you have adequate funds, and your strategy is good, working by proof to some extent. ONE possible Cause of poor execution In our own business (Mithi) over the last few years, we have grappled with issues that come with scaling up and scaling out and experienced similar symptoms along the way. We were quite sure of our product, service and market since that was proven over the years by consistently releasing solid product versions and acquiring large marquee customers whose businesses depended on our solution. When we embarked on a program (strategy) to REACH out to more customers, acquire and service them in high SPEED, and at the same time continue to grow in PRODUCT EXCELLENCE, our ways of working and our systems were severely challenged by these new goals. Looking deeper we discovered that one reason for us slowing down was lack of ALIGNMENT amongst teams (to some extent the teams were pulling in different directions and their efforts and results were not adding up CONSISTENTLY to the final goal). Put another way, given ENOUGH TIME, we would “GET THERE” for sure. But it would be an excruciatingly slow journey
SolutionWe felt that to fix this execution gap, we needed: I. Clear unambiguous TARGETS CLEARLY COMMUNICATED to the teams We broke our targets into two types viz. Leading Indicators and Lagging indicators. Lagging indicators are numbers which measure the results you wanted for your business. Typically financial targets and may include numbers like number of customers acquired etc. Leading indicators are numbers which measure the output of the activities that you chose for achieving your business targets. E.g. number of mailers sent out, number of calls to be made, number of product releases to be done, etc. While deciding these, you must be able to make the connection that consistently achieving the Leading indicators (execution of chosen activities/initiatives HAS a very high chance of achieving the Lagging indicators (results) II. Clearly documented milestones, which are repeatedly communicated to respective teams
- The strategy had to broken into short term, medium term and long term projects/initiatives for each department with monthly milestones defined.
- The monthly milestones to be further broken down into weekly milestones
- The above to be DOCUMENTED top down, and CLEARLY COMMUNICATED to each department’s team REPEATEDLY
- All of you agreeing to the direction to go
- All of you having the necessary team work to pull in the same direction
- All of you being result foccussed by measuring and course correcting continuously
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