Three Powerful New Concepts to Accelerate Growth in 2017
By Les McKeown, CEO of Predictable Success
As business leaders, we’re all constantly on the lookout for new ways to scale our businesses – new books, new ideas, new processes – anything that will give us an edge and bring sustainability as we grow.
Here are three concepts that we at Predictable Success have worked with extensively this year, with substantial impact for both our clients and our own organization.
This first growth concept comes with the added benefit of sounding cool. ‘Tori’ is the plural of ‘torus’…and if you are none the wiser, a torus is essentially the shape of a doughnut. (I guess ‘Dunkin’ Tori’ didn’t have quite the same ring.)
Why do you care? Well, start by picturing your company not as a classic ‘command-and-control’ org chart, with boxes and lines, but as a set of nesting tori (think of the concentric circles at the bullseye of a dartboard):
- Torus One is your most senior executive team, and it sits right at the center.
- Torus Two is your ‘middle manager’ group – it forms the ‘second ring’.
- Torus Three comprises your team leaders, shift leaders and project leaders, etc. It forms the outer ring of the bullseye.
Here’s what we’ve found: Building and communicating strategy in and out of concentric tori is more organic, breeds better quality discussions, unlocks more delegation, and instills greater accountability than communicating up and down a command and control org chart.
Why? We’re still working that out. The feedback we are getting is that folks find it more inclusive, more organic, and less ‘top-down’ than org-chart-based communications.
One of the key aspects of high performance in almost any field of achievement is pace. Think of any great musician, great sportsperson, great performer – even great comedians – and you’ll instantly recognize the degree to which pace and cadence play a vital role in their success.
The role of cadence in business success is equally important, just not as visible. Here are just some of the areas in which we’ve had great success in simply changing cadences up (or down):
Scheduled meetings –
Most structured meeting have a cadence ‘sweet spot’ – daily, weekly, monthly, etc. But often we either never find that sweet spot or, if we do, circumstances change and render the existing cadence clunky.
Internal meeting structure –
As far as internal cadence is concerned, most scheduled meetings have a start time and an end time, and that’s it. We’re achieving great productivity gains in scheduling start and stop times for each major agenda item. (This is part of our highly acclaimed ‘4D Process’, which you can find more about here.)
Pop-ins, and one-shot communications –
There’s a ton of research that shows how costly dealing with ‘one-hit’ interruptions is to our productivity. One study estimates it can consume up to six hours a day.
We’re seeing real productivity gains by instituting scheduled ‘mop-up’ meetings, whereby an Internal Customer Pair set a regular cadence (usually weekly) to ‘mop-up all the previous week’s one-hit-wonders’ in one go, together, leaving interruptions only for genuine emergencies. Hint: you’ll be surprised to discover how few of those there really are! (Find out more about the power of Internal Customer Pairs here.)
Systems and processes are great. Seriously. If you know anything about us here at Predictable Success, you’ll know that the core of our business growth model predicates the use of systems and processes to achieve sustainable scalability.
Used too clinically, however, systems and processes will at the least slow your growth, and at worst, push your business toward Treadmill, and into decline.
Want to ensure that your folks use your systems and processes consistently but flexibly? Consider the use of protocols. What do we mean by protocols? Well, in this context, we define it like this: “A protocol is an overarching guideline for optimal use of a specific system or process.”
So, for example, you may have an accounting system that ensures your accounts receivables (A/R) are updated and a report is run on the last Thursday of the month. But you might benefit from a protocol that prompts the immediate production of the A/R should your cash on hand drop to less than x weeks operation burn rate.
Or you may have a scheduling process that people adhere to if they want to get a meeting with the CEO; but you may well benefit from a protocol that allows each VP a once-per-month ability to access the CEO’s calendar directly for a one-on-one at their request.
Think about your key systems and processes – which of them would benefit from one or more associated protocols?