5 “Scaling Up” Lessons from the Trenches

Lisa Ridley did an amazing job at our 11th Annual Growth Strategies breakfast a week ago sharing her “Field Guide to Scaling Up” and giving our standing room only audience of CEO’s and their teams 5 critical things to consider and possibly implement as they look to grow their businesses successfully and stay “on plan” in 2017.

And since the 1st Quarter is drawing to an end, it’s time to dust off your plan, hopefully your One Page Strategic Plan™ (OPSP) and check your progress!

(You should – of course – be tracking your progress every week at your Weekly meetings but that’s the subject of another blog. :-))

1) Know where you’re going – and make sure that your employees do too! (Bottom of Column 2 on the OPSP)

Do you have an overarching goal for the company?  Call it what you will – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a Vision – having everyone in your business understanding what your Mt. Everest is and the part that they play in getting you there is compelling.  And make sure that it’s meaningful as well as measurable, Lisa Ridley emphasized.  A $10M revenue goal will not illicit the emotions or the staying power that Red Balloon’s 10 Year BHAG of over 2 million acts of gratitude did in the Australian-based company that reached their goal 2 years early.  And keep in mind the question “How is what we do valuable to a set of customers who will buy what we are selling at a profit?”

2) Know who you are and what you stand for. (1st Column on the OPSP)

What are the stories behind your Core Values? What are your “why” stories?  Lisa encouraged us to tell them – at every meeting.  She also strongly suggested that you highlight these stories with tag lines like “We paint the wall” and “Everyone you meet is Brian Blake.”  They are the myths that drive organizational behavior at its best.  Do you know why your employees get up and come to work?  Why are they employees of yours versus looking someplace else? What’s the emotional “handle” that keeps them committed and coming back every day versus slipping into a “it’s not my job” mentality?  Share these at every opportunity.  They’ll reinforce the Culture and improve engagement.

3) Define Success for each person and measure progress towards the goal. (Column 7)

How do you measure success in a job and more importantly how do the people on your team know that they’re winning? People need to know what’s expected and where they are on the field versus the goal.  Lisa suggests using your organization chart to clarify the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and targets that are expected and needed for each position.  And measure and report on the KPI’s weekly! Don’t let hope be your strategy for managing performance.

4) Optimize Performance with the “other” meeting rhythm – Monthly Coaching. (Column 4 – maybe a Rock for your company for the upcoming Quarter?)

How are you helping your employees to stay on track?  How often have you deprived a person of a paycheck because you failed to give them feedback?  Regular monthly coaching meetings that focus on their Successes, their Challenges, how they’re doing against targets and what they’re learning are imperative to creating accountability and engagement.  A monthly Coaching meeting is the other meeting rhythm, according to Lisa, one that leaders often neglect to institute.  But everyone needs a reminder to stay on track and accountable, along with a Quarterly look back and look ahead with the critical question, “What do YOU think the consequences should be for NOT delivering on results?”  Let your individual team members answer this one every 90 days – it’s on them to reinforce the message – to themselves!”

5) Be aware of your own Failings as a Leader and know when the Emperor has no clothes. (Another Column 7 item – a Rock for you as a leader before 2017 gets too far along!)

What’s your biggest failure as a leader and a coach?  All of us have them. It’s in our DNA to be human.  That said, knowing what your leadership failing is and owning up to it is the first step to managing and controlling it.  Is it a tendency is to get off track because you try to juggle too much and fail to prioritize OR playing the Superhero and not delegating and creating the right team around you OR being a King or Queen in an Ivory Tower and believing that it’s all about THEM and not about your own inability to set direction or hold people accountable to their commitments? Whatever your weakness, know what it is, own it and put the right advisors and coaches around you to keep you on the straight and narrow – people who aren’t afraid to tell you that the emperor has no clothes.

And if you’d like to learn more and don’t have a plan or need to update yours, we’d be happy to chat – reach out and let us help!