Posts Tagged ‘Mastering the Rockefeller Habits’

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Interested in learning how to align your team for profitable growth in 2012? Then join me on November 2 in Vancouver

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Are you ready to ignite your company’s growth in 2012?

Then come to this Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Four Decisions™ Executive Workshop on November 2 in Vancouver, B.C.

This one-day workshop is for CEOs and their leadership teams who want to align their team and create an action-oriented strategic plan for profitable growth in the year ahead.

In my coaching practice, I have had the opportunity to use many different tools to help companies improve their performance; yet, I have voluntarily chosen the Rockefeller Habits methodology, created by Verne Harnish, because it is by far the best set of tools and techniques available to help businesses sustain positive and profitable growth.  The One-Page Strategic Plan is also, in my opinion, the most effective way to plan and get plans executed in a way that improves a company’s performance.

During this one-day Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Four Decisions™ Executive Workshop you will gain:

  1. An overview of the Four Decisions (People, Strategy, Execution, Cash) you must get right to grow.
  2. A considerable start on your 2012 One-Page Strategic Plan to focus and align your team.
  3. The Rockefeller Habits check list to strengthen your ability to execute and accelerate your growth.
  4. An aligned, accountable and enthusiastic leadership team, ready to hit the ground running in 2012.

When: Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where: Terminal City Club, 837 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Time: Doors open at 8:00 a.m. Workshop runs from 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. Breakfast & Lunch will be provided

Register: http://mrhworkshopvancouver.eventbrite.com

Your investment:

For more information contact: Janice Watkins at Janice@CoachKevin.com or 604.313.2229 ext.1

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You can’t win if you’re not on the same page

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Ten reasons why the One-Page Strategic Plan created by Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits improves a company’s performance

By Kevin Lawrence (Coach Kevin)

Remember the back of the napkin – the one where you doodled your first business plan? Or perhaps it was a whiteboard in windowless room where you fervently scrawled your ideas on how to change or dominate your industry. Regardless, it was that one page that helped bring your business, or ideas to fruition.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO at the helm of established organization or an entrepreneur who created a company from the ground up, I’ve seen many business leaders develop extraordinary ideas on the back of a napkin over lunch meetings – and probably more over a dinner late into the evening. The point is – there’s a remarkable sense of clarity that comes from creating a strategic plan that fits on one page.

Equally important, is what happens next – everyone leaves energized and on the same page, off to execute on the plan or idea with a clear purpose. And even if they don’t have the napkin in front of them, the image of that plan is burnt in their mind. The challenge for executives becomes how do you sustain the momentum?

For CEOs of smaller-sized companies who are not at the mercy of the bureaucracy and complexity of larger organizations, this is less of a challenge. But what happens when there are 10,000 different versions of that plan-on-a-napkin, representing every employee’s individual interpretation of the plan?

Oftentimes, business leaders are too focused on steering their ship through day-to-day hurdles, and as a result, they lose sight of company’s vision and goals. I also see many leaders who become extremely tactical and short-term focused, causing them to miss out on the opportunities that made them successful initially. This can be detrimental because when leaders lose focus, so do employees. The result? Everyone is executing his or her own version of what they think is the plan, which is absolutely scary and certainly not good for business.

Instead, winning requires leadership teams to create a strategic plan that is easily understood, communicated and championed. This is why I encourage my clients to use the One-Page Strategic Plan by Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, because it takes a laser-focused approach to capturing all the important business strategy components – from core values and measurable targets to who is specifically responsible for accomplishing the top priorities each quarter.

The One-Page Strategic Plan makes the difference between companies that prosper and those that unfortunately tread water and here are ten reasons why; business leaders who use the One-Page Strategic Plan:

1. Get clear on who they are as a company and where they want to be in ten years. For many leaders, it may seem like daunting task to develop a long-term vision but with the One-Page Strategic Plan, leadership teams work through smaller, action-oriented components, which in the end establish the company’s vision and the plan to get there.

2. Identify the biggest opportunities and obstacles ahead for their business. The only constant is change and if your company is not agile to changes in the market, it will become irrelevant. Putting a bunch of smart people in a room on a quarterly basis ensures that the biggest opportunities and obstacles are identified and debated regularly. This is crucial because you don’t want to miss opportunities or unexpectedly face obstacles.

3. Build a shared conviction and greater commitment to the strategy. Having a plan is imperative, but it’s also important that those executing it are in agreement and committed to making it happen. The One-Page Strategic Plan process helps business leaders:

This all leads to a greater probability of success, regardless of whether or not the plan is perfect.

4. Enrich their leadership capabilities. Leaders (and employees) get the chance to drive major priorities, giving top executives the ability to see how their key talent handles and delivers on major initiatives.

For example, one of my clients needed someone to drive a major project and when an employee volunteered, executives were skeptical because they didn’t believe he had the caliber of leadership required. Well, to everyone’s surprise this employee was stellar throughout the project, and in fact, established himself as one of the best leaders in the company. The perspective went from “yeah he’s a good guy” to “wow, he is amazing.”

Seeing who volunteers to lead initiatives is really quite important because:

Now, some employees (and leaders) will not be able to deliver, but ideally, if this process is applied correctly, senior executives will be able to use project leadership as a litmus test to determine who is capable of assuming greater responsibility.

5. Inspire employees with a crystal-clear vision that reinforces why their efforts everyday matter. Employees have desire to be a part of something that is exciting in terms of the impact a company makes and the success it can generate. The One-Page Strategic Plan reinforces across the organization why the company matters, where it wants to be in ten years and what must happen each quarter to achieve that goal. This will without a doubt focus and energize employees.

Many leaders also engage their employees at a grassroots level to help determine how to accomplish priorities. For example, if the goal is to eliminate $10 million in expenses, by soliciting employee feedback on where to reduce costs, employees gain greater ownership in the goal. Additionally, the opportunity for success improves because employees are often the first to know where money is being used inefficiently.

6. Unleash a culture that empowers employees with responsibility and accountability. Human beings are easily distracted and generally have a hard time following through on challenging projects. Put another way – if you know you have a year to work on a project, typically, you will only focus on it during the last 30 days (that’s assuming you remembered to do it because you were given it 11 months ago and it’s amazing how fast things fall off our radar).

The One-Page Strategic Plan creates a culture of discipline because priorities are reviewed in 13-week intervals, which causes an innate urgency to get projects done. I have seen time and time again that companies get at least twice the amount accomplished when priorities are evaluated four times a year versus annually. Furthermore, if the plan is done right, employees will know exactly what the three to five priorities are, and ideally everyone will be associated in some way with the number one priority. Employees will also be empowered to say no to non-critical requests that are not tied to the company’s top priorities.

7. Eliminate priorities that simply don’t fit with the company’s strategic direction. If you don’t have a formal process for determining quarterly priorities, how do you know if your employees are working on critical initiatives that are actually moving the company ahead? Even worse, what happens if employees are working on initiatives that are detrimental to the business’ success? The One-Page Strategic Plan helps leaders identify quarterly priorities that are congruent across the organization, reducing the likelihood that employees just pick ones they think are important but that may not be beneficial.

8. Uncover hidden issues that are inhibiting success. After 12 to 18 months of executing quarterly priorities, many previously hidden issues become exposed and dealt with, which means the company can move into a position of greater strength because executives are able to notice new opportunities they didn’t see before. For example, I often see situations where newly appointed leaders join companies only to discover a plethora of issues, and the longer they are there, the more they find.

Creating a rigorous process for establishing and measuring quarterly priorities surfaces issues, aligns leaders and focuses the business, which over several quarters, results in less emergencies to address and fix. Consequently, leaders can capitalize on new opportunities leveraging the strength in what the company has built.

9. Generate momentum that is similar to the Flywheel effect – a concept introduced by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Built to Last and How the Mighty Fall. According to Collins,“Good to great comes about by a cumulative process – step by step, action by action, decision by decision, turn by turn of the flywheel – that adds up to sustained and spectacular results.

Considerable momentum can be achieved if every business unit focuses on making notable improvements on five key things each quarter.  Additionally, imagine how incredibly powerful it would be to have every employee focusing his or her efforts on making a single, but significant, improvement for the business, for example, increasing units sold per month.

10. Communicate with clarity and engage in a consistent two-way dialogue with employees on the strategic plan. Once business leaders have a clear vision of the company’s direction, the opportunities and obstacles and the top priorities that need to be accomplished each quarter, they are perfectly positioned to engage employees in helping to achieve the priorities. Employees are typically hungry for information on the company’s goals and performance, particularly in industries facing ongoing change and competitive pressures. By improving the flow of communication, employees will better understand each individual, team and business unit’s priorities and contribution to the strategy. As a result, they will be more willing to explore ideas that benefit the entire organization rather than just themselves personally.

Improving communications based on a clearly articulated One-Page Strategic Plan will also decrease the all too often experienced communications gap between the executive leadership team and front line employees who ultimately work every day with customers, partners and suppliers.  I have yet to see an employee tell me, “my CEO communicates too much.” Instead, it’s usually the other way around with employees often sharing:

When I work with clients on the One-Page Strategic Plan, I strongly encourage them to develop a quarterly communications plan alongside the quarterly priorities where timeliness and transparency of information rules. I also encourage them to engage in a healthy debate and two-way dialogue with employees. Why? Well, if employees can challenge ideas or potentially bad decisions, two things happen. First, it builds a strong culture of collaboration and diversity of thinking beyond the senior leadership team, which means the generation of better ideas across the organization. Second, if employees contribute to the decision-making and idea creation process, they too will have a greater sense of ownership in the priorities and the outcomes.

The most effective way to plan and get plans executed

In my coaching practice, I have had the opportunity to use many different tools to help companies improve their performance; yet, I have voluntarily chosen the Rockefeller Habits methodology, created by Verne Harnish, because it is by far the best set of tools and techniques available to help businesses sustain positive and profitable growth.  The One-Page Strategic Plan is also, in my opinion, the most effective way to plan and get plans executed in a way that improves a company’s performance.

All too often business leaders are so caught up in all the urgent but not important stuff that they lose sight of the company’s purpose and goals. Creating an action-oriented strategic plan based on quarterly priorities keeps short-term priorities top of mind throughout the organization, while helping companies achieve the long-term vision. It also reinvigorates and motivates employees by demonstrating how their day-to-day efforts matter and contribute to overall success.

Now, this is my perspective, but don’t just take my word for it. Verne’s book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits is filled with testimonials from executives around the world who have shared how these techniques have made a lasting difference in their organizations. If you’re serious about accelerating positive business performance, don’t miss out on the dramatic results that can be achieved using the Rockefeller Habits methodology or the One-Page Strategic Plan.

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Kevin Lawrence is a strategic advisor and coach to CEOs and executive teams across North America and internationally. Driven by a relentless passion for helping business leaders get what they really want, in business and life, Kevin has coached clients across a wide range of industries, including consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, luxury retail, media, automotive and professional services. He deeply believes that CEOs and entrepreneurs can have tremendous business success along with an enriching, adventurous and fulfilling lifestyle, taking their professional and personal accomplishments to an entirely new level.

For more than a decade, Kevin has helped clients overcome major obstacles, deal with tough decisions and capitalize on new opportunities to generate breakthrough results. Clients often turn to Kevin when they are faced with a frustrating and challenging issue, which causes them to seriously look at making a big change, quickly. His methods, style and savvy approach have helped his clients expand into new markets, build high performance leadership teams, attract profitable clients, improve productivity, and increase revenue and profitability. Also, with Kevin as their advisor, clients reduce their stress and hours worked so they have more time and energy to live their personal version of an outrageous quality of life. For more information, visit www.CoachKevin.com or call 1-877-564-6224

Copyright 2010, SGI Synergy Group Inc. & Kevin Lawrence

www.CoachKevin.com
inquire@CoachKevin.com
Phone: (604) 313-2229
Toll Free: 1-877-564-6224

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Posted in Feature, Home Feature | 2 Comments »

The basics of vision and brand promise – part II

Monday, September 20th, 2010

By Kevin Lawrence (Coach Kevin)

The concept of brand promise is where I will focus on more in depth now, because as I detailed in Part I there are many rudimentary definitions of brand promise shared online and in business. As I previously mentioned, a brand promise is not a tagline telling customers what they should expect from your business. This is instead a positioning statement and while this statement is important in engaging customers to do business with your company, make no mistake, it is not a brand promise.

A brand promise is an internal strategy focused on two to three non-negotiable things that you stand for that fit with who you are and what you do to serve unmet, or under-met, needs in the market.

These two to three pillars of your brand promise must be quantifiable so you know without a doubt whether or not you are actually staying true to your brand promise. Embedding measurable pillars as part of your brand promise also provides a filter against which everything you do internally can be judged by, for example, acquisitions or new product and service development.

Once you have developed your internal strategy based on two to three measurable pillars, you then align your systems and processes to deliver on your brand promise. And once your systems are in place, then and only then, do you come up with your positioning statement for customers and prospects. By focusing on the three pillars and optimizing your internal strategy, you should drive success and as a result increased market share, relevancy and dominance.

Uncovering and activating your brand promise

Discovering the unmet or under-met needs in the market that you have unique abilities to fill and that would be very difficult for your competition to replicate will lead you to your brand promise. For example, Rackspace, a world leader in hosting recognized that most companies in the industry focused on the technology end of hosting, leaving customers with less than satisfactory service. As a result, Rackspace created its “Fanatical Support” model to deliver the service and support that customers were previously missing from other server hosting providers. Rackspace’s positioning statement is:

Get Dedicated Server and Managed Server Hosting Services backed by 100% Network Uptime Guarantee & Fanatical support

Underpinning Rackspace’s positioning statement is a brand promise based on a series of operational and customer service pillars including:

Many people have commented that their focus on fanatical support sets them apart from the competition.

Fanatical Support® is Rackspace doing what it takes to make a difference for every customer; a difference that will truly change the way you work. It’s a promise that’s deeply rooted in our belief that being a great hosting provider requires more than just the best technologies, but the best of support and service.”

Ideally, companies should segment the delivery of their brand promise across customer-facing and internal-facing systems and processes. For example, if your organization promises service that is unmatched in the industry, your human resources practices are going to focus on attracting and retaining people who will go above and beyond to deliver exceptional experiences.

From a technology perspective, you will probably avoid complex processes that dictate how customers can reach you for service. Instead, your organization will be transparent across customer touch-points and each customer escalation will have one internal person who assumes responsibility for resolving specific issues. Moreover, your executives will make it a priority to spend time with customers at least weekly to ensure that your organization is filling the unmet need for exceptional service better than anyone else in the market.

Southwest Airlines is often cited in case studies as an excellent example of a company that has aligned its entire business to deliver on its brand promise to offer:

To accomplish this, Southwest focuses on flying frequently between point-to-point destinations; it doesn’t provide extra frills that drive up costs, such as on-board meals; nor does it offer advance seat selection, which would only delay departures, something it does more than 3,200 times a day.  Southwest Airlines has been in business for nearly 40 years and has earned significant industry recognition for its commitment to customers and exceptional performance including being named Best North American Low Cost Airline by Executive Travel in July 2010, and in June 2010, the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Southwest Airlines number one among all airlines for the 17th year in a row.

Articulating your brand promise to the market

The articulation of your brand promise is your positioning statement that should engage customers to do business with your organization. This statement will capture exactly what your company guarantees it will do for customers, and more importantly encourage customers to seek you out instead of your competition. Your positioning statement must be characterized by the following:

  1. It is unique, distinguishing your company from the competition in the minds of consumers; and
  2. It is galvanizing, inspiring employees, partner, investors and other key stakeholders to truly believe in your company’s purpose.  Also important…they will align with your efforts and in fact, share responsibility to help your business succeed.

Coach Kevin’s tips for precision performance

Uncovering the perfect brand promise that resonates with your prospects, customers and team may be challenging, but you have to absolutely concentrate on this element of your brand and how you execute on it throughout the organization to be successful.

Here are some of the questions that clients ask me when determining their brand promise and how I help them overcome obstacles:

1.) We have been operating for years without a brand promise, where do we begin to determine one?

Coach Kevin: Many successful companies already have one in place; however, they may be unconscious to it and simply pursuing it naturally. One of the best ways to uncover your intrinsic brand promise is to interview your best customers. Ask them:

2.) Can we change our brand promise over time or do we have to pick one that remains in place for years to come?

Coach Kevin: Some companies have remained true to their brand promise over time. If you really uncover and get your brand promise right from the start then it probably won’t need to change a lot. Furthermore, once a company uncovers its brand promise and aligns the whole business around it, the only reason it would change is if there is a substantial change in the market.

3.) It is tough to come up with a brand promise that is measurable, why does it have to be measurable?

Coach Kevin: It needs to be measurable because you need to know whether or not you are delivering what you say you will to your customers. Many companies make a promise, experience substantial growth and then lose sight of the promise they made so the momentum fades. In fact, some companies are completely unaware they stopped delivering on the promise, but their customers sure notice.

Carrefour, the #2 retailer in the world (behind Wal-Mart) based in France slipped on its competitive strategy. Lars Olofsson, the chief of Carrefour stated, “Carrefour had lost track of being client and consumer focused and lost a certain track of price competitiveness.” According to an article in The New York Times, “market share had slipped at home, shareholders were uneasy and the group had lost focus on core clients, while pursing a haphazard international expansion.”

Setting measurable goals within the brand promise will ensure that you are accountable for achieving your promise. It takes the subjectivity out of whether or not you think your company is doing a good job. Regardless, at the end of the day, it is not what you think but instead what your customers think that matters.

4.) What happens if we create a measurable brand promise but then find out that we cannot fulfill what we said?

Coach Kevin: If you cannot fulfill on a measurable brand promise, you have to ask yourself if you are fully committed to achieving your promise. If you are then you have to realign all the systems and processes in your business to deliver on the promise you make. If you still have a problem delivering on your promise, then I encourage you to learn about the concept of Catalytic Mechanisms, which Jim Collins states, “are the crucial link between objectives and performance; they are a galvanizing, non-bureaucratic means to turn one into the other.”

Using this powerful tool will ensure that the measurable aspects of your brand promise are achieved.

Mastering your vision and brand promise may seem like a time-consuming investment, particularly for time-starved CEOs and entrepreneurs, but it is absolutely worth the investment of time and minds to do so in order to help your business succeed and grow.

The world’s most valuable and recognizable brands make this a priority because it gives their employees, prospects, customers and other stakeholders a clear vision of what they stand for in the market and how they bring customers value. Furthermore, with a clear vision and measurable and entrenched brand promise, every aspect of the organization including values, talent attraction and retention programs, performance management programs, reward systems and work processes, to name a few, can be aligned and focused on one unified and well articulated corporate strategy.

Five critical factors to master your vision and brand promise

Based on the work I have done with clients, here are five critical factors that will help you master your vision and brand promise.

1.) Your vision and brand promise are extremely important aspects of your strategy and take time to figure out. Many companies struggle with uncovering their vision and brand promise despite having an initial starting point.

One of my clients struggled for a year to come up with his company’s vision. Then in an interview with a potential employee, the candidate said, “You know what I love about you guys….” That’s right, someone who wanted to work for the company uncovered the purpose just based on answering a question in an interview.

2.) The company’s purpose will usually come from within the founder and is often what drove them to start the business in the first place.

3.) Your BHAG needs to be articulated in a way that engages the hearts of the workforce.

I hear, “I want to build a $100 million (or $1 billion) company,” all the time. The challenge is that this monetary goal may be limiting because it doesn’t necessary engage the hearts and minds of all the people in the company, particularly the younger generation, which largely believes in working for organizations focused on creating positive social outcomes.

4.) When analyzing and uncovering your potential brand promise, remember it must be focused on the customer. The secret to your brand promise can typically be found by tapping into the opinions of your current and best customers. And remember, your brand promise is not about pleasing everyone.

5.) Once you have identified your vision and brand promise, you need to find engaging ways to discuss and entrench them into your organizations. They need to be top of mind for your employees and they need to be at the forefront of all strategic decisions, behaviors and interactions with customers and one another.

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Kevin Lawrence is a strategic advisor and coach to CEOs and executive teams across North America and internationally. Driven by a relentless passion for helping business leaders get what they really want, in business and life, Kevin has coached clients across a wide range of industries, including consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, luxury retail, media, automotive and professional services. He deeply believes that CEOs and entrepreneurs can have tremendous business success along with an enriching, adventurous and fulfilling lifestyle, taking their professional and personal accomplishments to an entirely new level.

For more than a decade, Kevin has helped clients overcome major obstacles, deal with tough decisions and capitalize on new opportunities to generate breakthrough results. Clients often turn to Kevin when they are faced with a frustrating and challenging issue, which causes them to seriously look at making a big change, quickly. His methods, style and savvy approach have helped his clients expand into new markets, build high performance leadership teams, attract profitable clients, improve productivity, and increase revenue and profitability. Also, with Kevin as their advisor, clients reduce their stress and hours worked so they have more time and energy to live their personal version of an outrageous quality of life. For more information, visit www.CoachKevin.com or call 1-877-564-6224

Copyright 2010, SGI Synergy Group Inc. & Kevin Lawrence

www.CoachKevin.com
inquire@CoachKevin.com
Phone: (604) 313-2229
Toll Free: 1-877-564-6224

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