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Why the fundamentals?

Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Packers, was famous for saying at the start of every season, “Gentleman, this is a football.”

Lombardi knew the power of fundamentals. Randy Pausch, the former Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008, also spoke to the “basics” in his inspiring New York Times bestseller, “The Last Lecture.”

“Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals…As a college professor, I’ve seen this as one lesson so many kids ignore, always to their detriment: You’ve got to get the fundamentals down, because otherwise the fancy stuff is just not going to work.”

Fundamentals exist in business too, which leaders forget – and sometimes ignore – ultimately to their disadvantage.  But just like in football or school or any other “competitive” space, if you don’t get these “basics” right, you’ll definitely lose the game – maybe the season.  And you certainly can’t have great Execution of your plans.

So, do you and your team have the right fundamentals in place for success in 2014?  Here’s 3 “basics” to “remind” you!

1)    Know your plan.  But more importantly, determine and communicate your Top 1 and 2 priorities, what Covey calls the “Wildly Important Goals” (WIG’s) that are critical to move your business forward. Make sure that everyone – from the top executives to the front line understand their part in achieving those goals – and how their work will contribute to the success or failure of the business.

a. For those of you with a written plan, make sure that you’re using it – weekly at a minimum – to hold yourself and your team accountable. Have it in front of you at every weekly tactical and at your one to one’s.  Ensure that each person has at least one Key Performance Indicator for themselves that’s tied to the WIG and that they are reporting on it weekly. And to make things fun, think about making the WIG into a fun theme with a great “prize” at the end if you achieve it.

b. For those of you still dragging your feet on writing your plan down, at the least, pick up a copy of “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and read Chapter 3 AND check out our blog on “Navigating the Growth Curve” to give you some ideas for what your goals should be 🙂  And – if you dare, give us a call or shoot us an email.  We’d love to help get the ball rolling!

2)    Develop project plans for each of your TOP Goals.  Have Management Accountability Plans (MAP’s) been done outlining what will be accomplished in each quarter? Remember: A quarter is a 13 week race!  Do you have weekly (or at least biweekly) targets and benchmarks that will help your team stay on track and not get distracted?

a. If you do have project plans with actions, key accountabilities, timelines and resources outlined, great!  Just make sure to use the weekly tacticals to stay on top of your team.

b. If you don’t have a “robust” project plan – or any implementation plan at all – get started by checking out Verne’s sample MAP and make sure that you don’t have other issues that are getting in the way.  (Click here to see what I mean.)

 3)    Finally, have a “cadence of accountability”.  Another Coveyism – here’s where weekly tactical’s come in handy.  Are you sitting down with your team weekly to review the progress on Quarterly goals?  Are they sitting down weekly with their teams to review progress on their team’s goals?

a. If you do have a clear cadence, make sure you don’t overload or rely solely on a couple of individual high performers. You may burn them out, or worse, discourage others from stepping up.

b. If you don’t have clear cadence, it’s easy for priorities to slip.  Check out our blog on “Creating a Culture of Accountability” for some hints.

c. If you are not sure, then you probably don’t have a cadence – or accountability for that matter.  Here’s some best practices from some of the companies with which we work that will help you get started.

 And learn from the best – SAVE the Date for Thursday, March 13th!

For our Eighth Annual Growth Strategies Breakfast at the Union League of Philadelphia. 

We’ll be reviewing the results from our annual growth survey of small and mid-market companies in the Greater Philly area AND be joined by Howard Stoeckel, the recently retired CEO of Wawa as our guest speaker.  He’ll be sharing the story of Wawa’s impressive growth strategy and how he and his team shaped the retailer into one of the best and most profitable convenience store operators in the country!

For more info or to register for the breakfast, here’s the link:



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