The next 90 days

By Kevin Lawrence (Coach Kevin)

Well, you are now off to a good start: you have drafted your One Page Plan, have an inspiring (and scary) BHAG as well as 3-5 Key Rocks for the Quarter. The workshop is over; you’re back in the office, now what?

This is where the rubber hits the road, or you just spin your tires. This is the real test of your leadership: executing and accountability. In many cases this is actually the end of the road, because the CEO or perhaps the executive team becomes buried in the daily firefighting (urgent but not important things I call “distractions and drains.”) What’s more, the intentions contained in their One Page Plan are forgotten. This is the sad reality for too many.

So what about you…are you going to win or lose?

Here are a few specific steps you can take to ensure you make positive progress and at least increase your chances of winning.

Remember this is an endurance race

Yes, you need daily focus, weekly commitments and a quarterly sprint, but it is more than a 90-day competition. You are in an endurance race of weekly / quarterly priorities cycling quarter after quarter – pace yourself.

Those who are over-ambitious and try to shoot the lights out in the first quarter often fizzle out and are out of the race in the second quarter. Stay focused on the 3-5 rocks you picked and avoid the temptation to take on anything else…until next quarter.

Bump into your Quarter Rocks daily, if only for 45 seconds

Think about it this way: there are 100 things that you could work at any given time but just 3-5 that REALLY count. Those should be the 3-5 rocks you picked for the quarter. Take 45 seconds each day to remind yourself what the heck they are – and let them influence what you pay attention to today and tomorrow.

This may sound obvious to you, but you know how easy it is to get distracted with everything else going on around you. These distractions are so often urgent but not important — and dangerously interesting too.

Make this 45-second review part of your day when you wake up, get into or out of your car, before you check your email, or even in your daily meeting.

Review your Quarterly Rocks every week, without fail or excuses

There are only 13 weeks in a quarter, which means only 12 times to correct the course on any individual rock. If you miss one or two check-ins, you dramatically decrease the odds of completing a rock on-time.

Yes, the rock owner will tell you that he or she is on track and will likely believe that to be true. But in my experience, many people are overly optimistic about their priorities. How to solve this? Review the steps on their Rock Action Plan.  Now to do this, they needed to have a good plan in the first place – which you reviewed and approved before they got started. Literally go through each item in their Rock Action Plan, confirming that everything that should be completed up to and including today is actually 100 percent complete. Watch out for shifty eyes, vague responses, or comments like, “Yeah, we’re pretty much done that.” You want proof that they are on track and done what should be finished by now.

The intent here is to help them be more accountable and honest with themselves. In the event they are on track or better yet, ahead of plan, acknowledge their success. If they are behind, let them feel the pain of disappointing you and them, and then, get them to commit what they are going to do to get back on track by next week’s meeting.

Coach Kevin’s Tip: Creating Commitment

Write down every word people say when making important commitments and then read it back to them verbatim (Use the Who, What, When (WWW) format for this). This does two things:

  1. Shows them that you take this seriously (without having to make a scene).
  2. Gets them crystal clear on what they committed to doing. This makes a difference because rather that skipping over it, you focus the attention on them keeping their word.

By the way, use the same technique on yourself in front of your team if you miss a goal or are off track. Show them what accountability looks and feels like.

Have powerful weekly meetings; make your meetings indispensable

Weekly meetings can make or break the potential of a company. But, to leverage the value of a weekly meeting, it takes forethought and preparation. Most weekly meetings would put both of us to sleep. Not ideal when you want to inspire your team to take the next step towards greatness.

Remember that weekly meetings are designed to get everyone on the same page, review feedback, KPIs, and create more accountability around the quarterly rocks and weekly commitments. Not everyone is going to love them – and that’s okay. Like with a personal trainer, sometimes it hurts or is frustrating, but it is good for you.

So what would work for you? Each company has different values and style. What does work in general is having a conversation and reviewing the data for your company in the points below.

My challenge to you is to take this template and rework it to suit you. After practice and tweaking you should come up with a weekly meeting that is an 8-9/10 most weeks.

Weekly Meeting: Sample Agenda

Start on time and meet for no more than 60 minutes

1. Wins/Brags/Good news of the week
2. Review value of the week: Define & Examples
3. KPIs & figures for previous week
4. Feedback:

  • Customer Feedback/Issues
  • Staff Feedback/Issues: Star performers for CEO to acknowledge?
  • Competition/Market updates

5. Update on Rocks vs. Action Plans & Quarterly Theme
6. Last Week:

  • Review WWW from last meeting
  • Individual Key Projects Committed to Deliver

7. This week’s focus:

  • Key project to deliver this week (track publicly)
  • How to improve (Make some item or process better, cheaper or faster at least 1% this week)

8. Drill down on the Big Issue for 15-30 minutes
9. Summarize commitments/who, what, when (WWW)
10.  Wrap Up: What’s most valuable, and what are you looking forward to?

To summarize, in the next 90 days, you can make a marked improvement in the strength of your company for the short and long term – if you can stay focused on your top 3-5 rocks, and ensure you are still ready for the race next quarter. Avoid the temptation to try too many things at once, and make the mistake of burning out yourself and your team.

So, to make the next 90 days successful, what are you going to do today?

Originally posted at: http://www.coachkevin.com/the-next-90-days

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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 2011, SGI Synergy Group Inc. & Kevin Lawrence

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Posted by: Kevin Lawrence



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