This month’s theme is growing your business. One of the challenges we see, when an organization is growing, is the abundance of goals and initiatives that leaders set and, often struggle to accomplish, because of the urgent demands of the day-to-day business. Though every organization, when setting goals, starts with good intention to achieve them, it is the lack of execution, the ability to sustain momentum for a goal or project to completion, that stands in the way of real success.

In the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling, the authors state that two things get in the way of execution: too many goals, and the “whirlwind,” which they describe as “the real enemy of execution.” Having too many goals (more than 2-3) causes the organization’s attention, energy and effort to be spread too thin and often results in some, and often none, of the goals achieved. The authors ask: “Why is that?” They conclude it is due to the “whirlwind, the massive amount of energy necessary to keep your operations going on a day-to-day basis.” The whirlwind is always more urgent and often takes us away from the goals which are important yet not necessarily urgent.

So, how many goals do you have, as an organization, this year? If you have more than three, you might want to reconsider where your focus is and how you can realign the entire organization’s focus to just one or two goals. I worked with seven companies, as they were doing their 2018 goals, to do just that. Taking the concepts from The 4 Disciplines of Execution, we started with the question, “What is the single most important goal that we need to focus on this year?” The one caveat, and most challenging, is the goal must be one where every single employee can contribute to achieving it. It’s not easy to find that one goal but each of the seven companies did. Here are three examples:
  • Build a business development culture where all employees contribute to achieving a 5% increase in billed revenue.
  • Client Experience is owned by each and every employee resulting in satisfied clients, subcontractors and employees.
  • Every employee is practicing their highest pay-off activities and committing to Lead Measures weekly that contribute to the achievement of the safety, quality and production goals by the end of 2018.

You may ask, where is the revenue or profit goal?  The belief is this: if a company focuses on this one goal, and every employee is engaged and focused on contributing to that goal, the revenue and profit numbers –  as well as all the other key performance indicators – will be met. Don’t get me wrong, leaders are looking at the revenue and profit numbers (lag measures) each month while all employees are working toward the one goal and making adjustments to their behaviors (lead measures) on a weekly basis.

So far, each of the companies are on target with this “one goal” strategy and their employees are more engaged than ever in contributing (every single week) towards achieving that goal. I’ve only mentioned one of the four disciplines set forth in the book. The remaining three are as vital as the first and must be employed to keep the company focused, employees engaged, the whirlwind in perspective, and goals and action plans executed.  Stay tuned for more on the other three disciplines in future posts.

If you are frustrated because your 2018 goals are stalled, or you are on the path toward the whirlwind taking over the achievement and execution of these goals, give me a call. No better time than now to get back on track!

By Theresa Gale