How an Anxious Business Owner Achieved Amazing Results with a New Business System (And How to Create One For Your Business)
The marketplace is a battlefield and to win, you’ve got to get your troops in line by having a good system in place. Discover the four disciplines you need to master to make that happen.
Anxiety is a killer for business owners, and it’s something that affected Kevin Burke on a daily basis. He says that he generally felt it over things that he couldn’t escape from, and it weighed him down in every aspect of his life.
But what caused that anxiety?
It’s due to a lack of certainty, as he had very few systems built into his business.
But that all changed when he started working with me. And Kevin said he felt the impact of that work straight away:
“I felt like David’s services were working almost immediately. Company-wide, we saw a lot of improvement in our communication and our ability to thoroughly vet out strategy and work on some long term goals that we had all had as a group.”
Before working with me, he had a lot of ideas but he didn’t know how to build systems around them. But with my help, he turned those ideas into tangible goals. That’s how he could create the systems he needed to make his ideas a reality inside his business.
Maybe Kevin’s story resonates with you. Perhaps you also feel that overbearing weight of anxiety that affects every aspect of your life.
If you do, your first step is to create a management system that helps you to overcome it.
Know that implementing key systems is crucial to the success of any business. This is especially the case for a management system, which is what this article will cover.
Why Is This So Important?
What’s the biggest source of the uncertainty that causes your anxiety right now?
It’s this situation that we find ourselves in as an entire nation, right?
The pandemic has shown us that our marketplaces are like battlefields. They constantly change and are often due to situations that are outside of our control.
Right now, you’re dealing with new needs from your buyers and you have no idea what your competition’s doing. There are also currently a lot of unknowns in your business and it’s weighing heavily on your shoulders.
This is why having a great management system in place is so important. It’s what will help you create clarity in a situation that has so many people running scared.
But, there’s no room for sloppiness here.
You have to get this system right if you’re going to relieve the anxiety that you and your clients feel right now. Everything needs to be measurable and carefully thought through before you implement it.
In this article, I’m going to share the four disciplines that you must master to create your management system. But before we get to that, there’s something you need to understand about strategy…
The Two Strategies That Business Owners Operate On
Businesses generally have two types of strategy:
- The Stroke of Pen Strategy
- The Behavioral Change Strategy
The Stroke of Pen Strategy is a reactive one.
For example, you see that you need more customers. So, you spend more money on marketing. Or, you hire more salespeople to land those sales.
The problem here is that those who implement this strategy don’t get to the root of their issues. They just throw money at the problem and hope that it will resolve itself. But by doing that, they’re not creating alignment between all of the buckets in their business.
The Behavioral Change Strategy is the one that you ought to follow.
Under this strategy, you’re not trying to turn your salespeople into rapid closers, for example. Instead, you focus on helping them become people who thoughtfully solve problems for your customers.
This strategy is all about stepping back and thinking strategically about how your business needs to operate. And if you follow it, you have a business that aligns with the people inside it and the people that you serve.
So, how do you create that type of strategy?
The Four Disciplines
To master the Behavioral Change Strategy, there are four disciplines that you need to master:
- Focus on the Wildly Important
- Act on Lead Measures
- Create a Scorecard
- Create a Cadence of Accountability
These are the pillars of what will become your management strategy. And here’s what you need to know about each of them.
Discipline #1 — Focus on the Wildly Important Goal
Most business owners have a few areas of their companies that they want to improve. The big mistake they make is that they try to tackle them all at once. This leads to the change getting mismanaged because it’s unfocused. The business owner feels overwhelmed and their people also become frustrated.
To avoid that situation, you need to focus on the one wildly important thing in your business that needs to change.
Here’s what I have my clients do.
Think of how your business as it is now as your status quo. Then, think about the one thing that you can change that will have the biggest impact, assuming everything else stays the same. That means you can make this change while your customers are still getting served and your people are still getting paid.
That’s the wildly important goal (WIG) for your business.
Focus on that single area of the business and get it up to the standard that it needs to be at.
But this doesn’t mean that you won’t work on the other areas of your business that need improving. The point here is that you’re taking it one leg at a time. You fix the thing that really needs fixing and create a new status quo.
After that, you repeat the exercise.
Now you have this new thing in place, what’s the next wildly important thing that you’ve got to change?
It’s like stacking dominoes. One by one, you put the pieces in place so that you can create something amazing.
Discipline #2 — Act on Lead Measures
A lead measure must always be predictive.
This means you have to believe, without a reasonable doubt, that the lead measures you use will contribute to your business. In other words, you’re not going to do anything that isn’t going to move your business forward.
For example, cutting costs isn’t a lead measure because it’s not going to increase sales.
Also, that lead measure also needs to be something that you can influence. This means that you’re not relying on some external group to make the measure work.
For example, you might think that cutting wait times is a good lead measure if you run a restaurant. Naturally, that task falls onto your waiters. The problem is that they don’t have full influence over that measure. If the kitchen gets backed up, wait times go up through no fault of the waiters.
A good lead measure is one that’s predictable and directly influenced by whoever the measure applies to.
Discipline #3 — Create a Scorecard
People always play hard when somebody’s keeping score. That’s as true in your business as it is in any sport that you care to watch.
And it’s why you need to create scorecards for your entire team.
These scorecards show your lead measures and the targets that you want your people to reach. You then use the card to track each person’s progress. And most importantly, you can use the scorecard to work together on creating improvements within your business.
This doesn’t need to be complicated.
You can create solid scorecards using Excel or Google Drive. Or, it could be as simple as a giant Post-It note that you draw out. The point is that the scorecard allows you and your people to measure your progress. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you need to improve on before you can achieve your WIG.
Discipline #4 — Create the Cadence of Accountability
Once you have your WIG in place, everybody in the business needs to work towards it. This means you need to create a cadence of accountability inside the business. Everybody has their own role to play and you need to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.
That’s why you need to hold a weekly WIG session.
This should last no more than 30 minutes and its purpose is to go through your scorecard. You’ll do it at the same time every single week and each session will help you to see how much progress you’ve made. It also holds your people accountable.
If there’s no movement towards your WIG from one week to the next, there’s clearly an issue.
It may be that the lead measures you’ve put in place aren’t working. Or, it may be that some of your people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do.
What’s Your Wildly Important Goal?
That’s the key question you need to answer before you can put this system into place. Figure out your WIG and then build this system around it. Create accountability and measure your people’s progress towards the WIG.
And once you achieve that WIG, you move onto the next one.
That’s what Kevin did within his business.
And as he achieved each if his WIGs, he built a more stable business that no longer gave him anxiety.