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Here’s a quick nugget, mini passionate plea, and something to think about on your next Clarity Break. I’ve just finished all of my annual planning sessions with all of my clients (30 in total), and they averaged a 16 percent growth rate in 2012. There is an interesting whipsaw effect going on from the downturn of the great recession to the impressive growth of the last three years.
Many leaders have too much on their plates and must free themselves up. The following is a recent short article I published that I hope will give you a kick in the butt:
Last week marked the 500th time I’ve heard a leader utter the words “I can just do it myself in the same amount of time it takes me to teach someone else.” I hear this often, and when I do, I think to myself, “Oh boy, we just lost another one.”
When I say “another one,” I am suggesting that this person is a good leader that won’t go to great.
I’m not going to get into a bunch of delegation techniques here. More importantly, I’m going to go right to the root of what gets great leaders to become expert delegators – motivation. This message is intended to light that fire. Teaching delegation techniques falls on deaf ears unless you are motivated. It’s 90 percent motivation and 10 percent technique.
Once motivated, you can Google the word “delegation” and get a hundred techniques on how to do it.
The unfortunate truth is that most won’t become master delegators and are going to remain just good, overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, and stuck. It’s truly the difference between a great leader and an adequate leader. It will be the discipline that leads you to making more money, growing your current situation, being more balanced, and getting what you want out of your business.
If your company is growing and you are in a leadership team position and haven’t mastered delegation, the organization is going to grow right past you and you will get left behind.
Uttering the above words about doing it yourself is short-term thinking. You need to take a long-term outlook. While it will take longer to invest the time to teach someone, it will save you at least one hundred times that amount of time over the long haul and you’ll never have to do that work again. This ultimately frees you up to do the high-gain activities and elevates you to be the great leader that you can become. As a rule of thumb, if you are on a leadership team, you shouldn’t be doing $20 an hour work.
Click here to download “Delegate and Elevate,” a powerfully simple tool to help you understand where you should be spending all of your time (the top two quadrants) and what you should delegate (the bottom two quadrants).
We at EOS Worldwide are incredibly grateful for all of your support. I’m excited to announce that Traction is now available in audio and our new book Get a Grip is getting great reviews. If you haven’t read it, I guarantee you it will make a huge impact on your business and personal life.Stay focused, Gino
Having world-class, rock-solid weekly meetings will make a difference in achieving your goals in 2013, as well as saving you time and building team health.
While this may seem a boring topic with little sizzle, it is the one discipline that is the moment of truth for leadership teams (departmental teams as well).
I ask you suspend disbelief and humor me for a brief five minutes as I intend to convince you.
Picture your team in the following weekly meeting:
The Level 10 Weekly Meeting
Your leadership team comes together every week, on the same day, at the same time and with the same agenda.
Segue (good news) – 5 Minutes
The meeting starts on time – what a concept (if you start all of your meetings five minutes late, that’s 2000 minutes wasted annually for a team of five people … do the math) – with a quick sharing of personal and business good news (this is a great segue and builds team health).
Reporting- 15 Minutes
From there, you report on the three most important items in your business: (1) your numbers being on track (Scorecard – containing a handful of weekly activity-based numbers), (2) your quarterly priorities being on track (Rocks – the three to seven most important objectives for the company and each individual), and (3) your customers and employees being happy (quick headlines so everyone is in the loop regarding people).
To-Do List – 5 Minutes
From there, you review your To-Do List to make sure that every action item from last week’s meeting was accomplished. As a rule of thumb, 90 percent of to-do’s should drop off every week; if not, there is something wrong somewhere. You will get at least 100 percent increase in productivity from this one simple discipline; we are human beings and we need to be held accountable. To-do’s are baked right into the agenda.
Issues Solving – 60 Minutes
You then go to the magic of the weekly meeting. This is where you solve all of the relevant issues for the week. You first have everyone take a quick pause to think about and add any issues to the list, which already includes any issues from last week’s meeting that you couldn’t get to and the issues you added from the above reporting-numbers, Rocks and people issues. The issues are baked right into the agenda.
You then quickly decide on the three most important issues by picking 1, 2, and 3 (never start at the top and work your way down). Start with issue number one and IDS it. Click here for the Issues Solving Track (IDS).
The owner of the issue quickly identifies the issue (hitting the nerve/root or looking into the eyes of the person who created the issue or who is responsible for solving it). Once identified, everyone then discusses the issue, only once because discussing it more than once is politicking, and when everything is on the table, you then move to solve. You then capture the conclusion as an action item on the To-Do List with the owner’s initials and move onto issue number two. Work through the Issues List in this fashion until there are five minutes left in the meeting. In some meetings, you will only solve one issue, in some meetings, you will solve ten-that’s okay as long as you are taking them in order of priority. On average, however, you should be solving five to ten issues per week.
Conclude – 5 Minutes
With five minutes left in the meeting, you then conclude with three things: (1) Decide if there are any cascading messages to share with anyone else in the organization based on what you discussed and solved in the meeting, (2) recap the to-do’s and (3) rate the meeting on a scale of 1-10. You should always be averaging an 8 or better. Where it’s not an 8, this gives you an opportunity to self-correct by asking what would have made it an 8 or better.
Doing this meeting both as a leadership team and departmentally will improve communication, solve problems, and help you gain more traction. You will accomplish more in 2013 as a result. In my experience, the 90 minutes you spend each week saves each leader two to three times that amount of time in avoided train wrecks, miscommunication, and the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. It’s a time-management tool (departmental meetings are typically customized and shorter than 90 minutes).
Click here to download the Level 10 meeting agenda and also read pages 189 through 197 in Traction for a deeper recap of the Level 10 meeting.
Pick the ideal day and time for your team and get your first Level 10 meeting on the schedule for the first week of January to hit the ground running in 2013.
There is a lot coming up about culture in sessions this quarterly planning season. I’m often concerned about how much mental energy most leaders put into “building their culture”-i.e., trying to be overly creative with countless ideas like putting core values on banners, laminated cards, coffee mugs, and computer screens.
I’m truly not knocking these things. These actions will actually get some results, but they are the icing on the cake, not the cake. Most leaders who are doing these things are putting more effort and energy into these many inconsistent, less effective, time- and energy-draining ideas, instead of a handful of simple, powerful, impactful, and timeless disciplines (the cake).
My urging is to put your energy into the cake, and if there is extra time and capacity, then do the icing. I recently heard Jim Collins say five of the most powerful words. He said, “Mediocrity stems from chronic inconsistency.” The above icing is typically an inconsistent spattering of ideas that will typically feel “flavor-of-the-monthish” to most employees. What I’d like to suggest to you is three disciplines that, if you remain absolutely consistent with them, will help you achieve 80 percent of the battle when building a culture. One or two years from now, if you stay the course, you will have a thriving culture. They are as follows:
- Hire everyone around your core values – Hone your core values speech.Your job in the interview is to scare people away. Deliver it in such a way that conveys “Let me prepare you for what you are about to get yourself into if you join forces with us; we are…,” and share each core value with passion. The candidates that don’t have your core values will self-select out, or at least you will see it on their faces. The ones that have your core values will light up.
- Review everyone on core values at least once a year – Every performance review should include the People Analyzer (which will force a conversation around core values), and the manager should be open and honest about how his or her direct report is truly doing living them. I strongly recommend a One Page Performance Review. If your direct report is not living up to the company’s minimum core values standards and you have done everything in your power to help him or her, you must fire that person. Your people must know that core values are an important aspect of performance. This discipline will make that clear.
- Do a quarterly state-of-the-company - Every quarter, you must communicate to all employees:
- Where you’ve been
- Where you currently are, and
- Where you are going
Under the topic of where you are going, this is an opportunity to share the company vision and plan-the V/TO. This is an opportunity to reinforce and remind everyone of the company core values. At a minimum, share one real-world story from last quarter for each core value as to how someone has exhibited them.
These three simple disciplines will keep your culture strong, and if you choose to throw some icing on the cake, that will only help. You must stay consistent. Your people need to hear something seven times before they hear it for the first time. If you continue this consistency through good times, bad times, high and lows, you will look up one day to find a thriving culture.
We are a couple of weeks from the halfway point for 2012. At this time you should have done your Q3 planning session or have it scheduled.
With client growth rates averaging above 20 percent in 2011, a strong 2012 so far, and continued conservatism toward adding resources, the result is a very busy time having to do more with less. Things may be a little chaotic and murky right now; therefore, it’s a great time for a clarity break.
To finish this year strong and to make sure that you are firing on all cylinders, I highly recommend that you take time to fill out the Organizational Checkup (click here) in your next clarity break. I would also suggest that you have each member of your leadership team do the same. This will help assure that you are in a position to finish the year strong.
This is also a great time for you to review your goals for the year and to make sure that they are at least 50 percent complete and/or on track to be done by year-end. In addition, I would like to offer up three additional thoughts for your next clarity break:
- Make one great people move this quarter. I trust and hope you will think about your next great people move this quarter, whether that’s a great hire, a great move, or a great fire (watch this video).
- Read a great book. I would highly recommend reading Great by Choice by Jim Collins. I haven’t pushed a book so hard since the original six books that must be read in the EOS Process (Good to Great, The E-Myth Revisited, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and Built to Last). Great by Choice is a true masterpiece and dispels many business myths. It will give you great confidence that you have everything you need right now to realize your vision.
- Simplify your performance reviews. A hot topic during the 2012 annual planning season was performance reviews and keeping them simple. I offered up a simple one-page performance review used by one of our clients that was a big hit (click here to download it). I would strongly urge you to put an end to multiple-page performance reviews because you’ll tend to lose sight of what’s important. Most of the battle is that your people possess the company core values and GWC (Get it, Want it, and have the Capacity to do the job).
Hope that helps. Enjoy your clarity break. Contact us if we can help. Thanks for all your support.
As you may have noticed over the last five years, I’ve occasionally sent you something of a passionate plea like the one that follows. I’m officially calling it “Clarity Break Thought” in an attempt to remind you to take a Clarity Break and to also give you something to ponder during it. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m thrilled to announce that my clients finished 2011 very strong. Hopefully this is a sign that things are economically turning for the better. As we now look to 2012, I’d like you to consider making 2012 the year of the client.
This may not mean what you think. One of the most exciting milestones in the process with my clients is when they get the confidence to start looking at their customers and firing the ones that are non-core.
This may be shocking to you as many companies are fighting to get clients and can barely hang on to the ones they already have. However, I’d like to shift and challenge your thinking with the following seven-step thought process:
- Consider defining the criteria of your ideal client. I’m urging you to think about your best customers and what attracts you to them and them to you. Here are mine: open-minded, respectful, entrepreneurial, and want help. My clients must have these traits or I won’t work with them. Life’s too short to work with anyone else.
- Make sure your marketing/sales message and approach are consistent in getting those types of customers. For instance, if you’re mass marketing and warm referrals is the best way to reach them, you’re going down the wrong path and need to consider recalibrating your energy and resources.
- Create a flowchart or scorecard and analyze all of your current clients against the criteria.
- Take the worst twelve and call them the Dirty Dozen and do one of the three things with each:
- Fire them
- Raise fees
- Get them to play nice and become less of a hassle
Once you clean them up, go to the next twelve, or “Dirty Dozen.”
- If you kept your current revenue the exact same, but it was 100 percent composed on clients who meet your newly defined criteria, would you be more profitable? Would you have fewer issues? Would you be happier?
- Remember that like attracts like. People tend to do business with, refer, and hang out with similar minded people, so you will get more of what you’ve got.
- Start the clock today. In time, you should look up and find yourself much happier, more profitable, and with fewer hassles, as many of my clients do.
I’m also excited to announce the release of the new expanded version of Traction on April 1 and the release of my new book Get a Grip! with co-author Mike Paton in October. Thanks for all of your support. Let me know if we can help.
Clarity Break Thoughts
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