Rhythm: How to Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth
Growth-oriented companies wrestle with an overwhelming amount of activities and risk, because it’s impossible to know with 100% confidence what to focus on every week. In a recent Fridays with Vistage webinar, Patrick Thean taught participants how to build a strong culture of execution that delivers focus, alignment and accountability for accelerated growth. Patrick is the cofounder and CEO of Gazelles Systems, and the founder of Metasys, Inc., which he grew to a ranking of 151 on the Inc. 500 list.
Patrick has worked with more than 2,500 executives and managers to increase sales and scale their businesses. Many of these executives shared with him that when they hired more people, their company execution actually worsened. Hiring more people meant getting bigger and going national. Suddenly there was more complexity and less clarity. These companies were finding that growing was hurting more than helping.
To solve this problem, Patrick shared his simple Think, Plan, and Do Rhythm for execution and growth. His shared the system during the webinar, as well as four “Difference Makers” that allow some companies to grow successfully, while others stumble and fail.
Think Rhythm refers to the strategic thinking to keep your teams focused and working on the future of your business. Successful companies focus on future growth moves, even when existing growth moves are strong. When current strategies expire, it’s important to have new ones in place. It’s not possible to wake up one day and call a meeting to plan a growth strategy—they’re not created overnight. Conception of growth plans takes time and forethought.
Plan Rhythm refers to choosing the right priorities and getting your department and divisions aligned. Successful companies view every quarter as a 13-week race. This helps them know better what to say yes to and what to say no to. They develop a new execution plan every single quarter.
Do Rhythm refers to the way you execute your plan and make your team accountable to make timely adjustments every week. Successful companies maintain a strong and consistent 20-mile march every single week. They’re focused, aligned, accountable, and they execute their plan.
Difference Maker #1: You need to schedule regular think time. Most companies meet offsite once a year to do this, but many companies don’t do it at all, or they think they’ll just call a meeting when an issue comes up that needs attention. This is a huge mistake. Growth strategies must be scheduled and given regular focus because they cannot be birthed overnight.
During the Think time, you focus on:
- Winning Moves to double the growth of your company in three to five years.
- Prioritizing you moves by using four quadrants: Expensive Winning Moves, Affordable Winning Moves (these are best), Losing Moves and Cheap Losing Moves.
- Plan a structured process for your meetings, for example, Spend: 5 minutes on Objectives, 5 minutes on independent work, 20 minutes brainstorming ideas with the team, 20 minutes debating and rating the ideas and organize and summarize the top three ideas.
How do you know your Winning Move works? You have to test before you overcommit. Write down your assumptions and the top five things you need to validate before you go forward. Ask yourself:
- What does your business model depend on?
- What questions should be answered or you should not move forward?
Difference Maker #2: You need a strong quarterly plan with metrics to have great weekly meetings. This gets your team focused and aligned so you can be accountable. Discover a leading indicator and confirm that it’s useful to your organization.
A useful four stop process to create a leading indicator:
- What’s the business problem?
- What’s the desired outcome?
- How will you measure results?
- How do you know if you are on track? (Leading Indicator)
Difference Maker #3: The plan is not complete until it’s cascaded to your teams and departments. Most people plan at the executive team level; however, the goal should be to plan to your team and your departments. This gives you alignment. By planning with the team it bridges the communication gap between the executive team and the staff that executes the plans. And certainly as companies get larger, communication becomes more and more difficult.
Difference Maker #4: Think of your weekly meeting as a time to solve problems and make adjustments, as opposed to just hosting a status meeting. Here are some tips for a much better weekly meeting:
- Spend 80% of time working on solutions (instead of working on status)
- Focus on the future (instead of the past)
- Make adjustments for success (instead of reviewing what happened)
- Get the team focused on achieving company plan (instead of individual focus on status)
Patrick closed with a quick tip about a pattern he has noticed over the course of his career working with growing companies: If each quarter is 13 weeks, watch out for weeks four, five and six. For some reason, these weeks are when things tend to go wrong. So to keep employees focused and executing at high levels, make sure that during the planning session (the Do Rhythm), each team member writes down three to five milestones associated with each priority goal. “If you can’t see it, you can’t do it.” So if they focus on those achievable, tangible goals, they’ll stay on track all quarter long.
To learn more about Patrick Thean and his unique plan for breakthrough execution and accelerated growth, please visit www.patrickthean.com.
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