Every Corporation has 6 components.
- Vision: You must create a compelling vision and be able to communicate it clearly. Focus everyone on 1 thing, and amazing things will happen. This should be Simple points that define who you are as an organization.
- People: You must surround yourself with the great people. The right people in the right seats. Are all of your people the right people for your cause?Your People HAVE TO meet the GWC Standard! They must Get it. Want it. And have the Capacity to do it.|
- Data: The best leaders rely on a handful of data. Gets you out of the emotions of management. You need a scorecard – generated Weekly – to report 5-15 important metrics. This saves you from having to ask a bunch of people “how’s it going” and sifting out the truth. Keeps people accountable.
- Issues: The obstacles that must be faced to meet your vision. There really are only a handful of real issues. Must be able to identify and address in a helpful fashion.
- Processes: Your way of doing business. Most often neglected. The power of process is tremendous. Can’t just be in your head. Brings consistency and scalability.
- Traction: The most successful business leaders are the ones with traction. Reduces fear and makes the vision a reality. Vision without Traction is hallucination.
- Everyone in the organization should have “Rocks”. Clear 90 day priorities to keep them focused.
- Implementing a Meeting Pulse to keep everyone focused and aligned. Makes meeting enjoyable, productive, and worthwhile.
Most entrepreneurs won’t get to the next level because they aren’t willing to let go of their bad baggage. Must build and maintain a true leadership team. Successful businesses are not a dictatorship. Dictatorship can’t survive you. You need to be willing to be open and honest. And empower the leaders to make changes.
Each departmental head should be better than you at their discipline. Present a united front. Can’t let kids go to mom, then dad, then grandpa.
When you are following these principles, hitting the ceiling is inevitable. Part of growth is exceeding current resources. Will hit the ceiling on 3 different levels: As a company, departmentally, and personally.
Prevent this by having a leadership team that possesses these core leadership abilities. Above all else they must be able to simplify, delegate, predict, systemize, and structure.
Simplify: KISS – Keep it simple stupid. Simplify things and how they are communicated. No state of progress and growth can be created without a new state of simplicity.
Delegate and elevate to your highest skill set. Letting go of the vine. You have to let go of the tasks that you have outgrown. And you need to focus on finding bigger and bigger things to work on.
Systemize. When certain actions become redundant, you need to systemize them. Organize them and integrate them into a whole and healthy organization. And the methods you use should be clear to everyone. This is your company’s “way of doing business”. Document and fine tune
Structure: You and leadership team need to create accountability while retaining simplicity. Most small business structure is too loose and governed by ego. Need to define responsibility and encourages expansion. You must be open minded, growth-oriented, and vulnerable.
Structure Your Company The Right Way:
You must have 1 operating system for your company. Traction is your operating system. And you must be open-minded, growth oriented, and vulnerable. You must be open to new and different ideas to grow, if you can’t grow you can’t be fulfilled, if you can’t be fulfilled you can’t be happy.
To grow, you can’t be scared of the turbulence.
The Vision Component: Does everyone in your organization know what your vision is? You must get it out of your head and down on paper. If you can get everyone rowing in the same direction at the same time, you can dominate any industry.
This component clearly defines what your organization is, where it’s going, and how it’s going to get there.
To build an enduring vision, you must answer 8 questions. Vision Traction Organizer (VTO).
- What are your core values? Your timeless guiding principles. Less is more. Hire/fire/reward/recognize according to it. Between 3 and 7
- Things like “unequivocal excellence; strives for perfection; wins ; does the right thing ; team building ; compassion ; integrity ; enthusiastic ; competitive ; encourages creativity ; helps first ; encourages individual initiative; practices consistency; is fun ; etc”
- Decide, let simmer 30 days, then revisit before announcing. Back it up with stories and illustrations
- Use WE instead of I.
- Finding people with skills is easy. So focus on core values when hiring.
- What is your core focus? You can’t let anyone distract you from core focus. “Shiny stuff” distracts you. Competitors/new products/new trends are shiny stuff. Having a Core Focus helps keep from getting bored and looking for greener grass. Decide what business you are in – and be in that business!!
- To determine your Core Focus: Needs to be something nobody else has. How are you different and special.
- You and your leadership group should define with absolute clarity your 2 Truths. Your reason for being and your niche.
- Lock everyone in a room for at least 2 hours to answer (might take several sessions)
- Why does your organization exist? What is its purpose, cause, or passion?
- If defined right, it doesn’t even matter what industry you are in. Can take it anywhere. Not your niche.
- Meets all 8 items on this list. Has an Ah-ha effect. Not about $$. Bigger than a goal. 3-7
- What is your organization’s niche? Do 1 thing and do it better than anybody else. Where do you excel. Can be a niche within a huge category. Mortgage is a niche of financial products.
- Simplifying mortgages for the world (borrowers, lenders, LO’s, brokers, correspondents)
- Easiest mortgages
- What is your 10 year goal? All successful people have a habit of setting and achieving goals. BHAG’s. Specific and measurable.
- Refine how others in the industry do business.
- Some can do 5 yr and some do 20.
- Keep congruent with Cores above.
- Will take multiple attempts.
- What is your 3 year picture? What does your organization look like? What is the vision? “Whatever a man can see and believe, they can surely achieve.” Get your senior mgmt team together to create and get everyone on the same page.
- Paint the picture but don’t emphasize the obstacles along the way.
- What is the annual revenue going to be 3 years from now? What is the profit? And what are the key measurables?
- Everyone on the leadership team must verbalize their role in the process.
- What is your 1 yr plan? Many times less is more. Make it measurable and obtainable. If it seems insurmountable, people won’t even really try. When everything is important, nothing is important. The team has to believe it’s possible to hold the people accountable for it. Goals are set to be achieved.
- Schedule 2 hours with mgmt team and set a future date.
- What important measurables must be on track to achieve your 3 year goals?
- What are your quarterly rocks? What really matters in the next 90 days?! What is necessary to stay on track for the 1 year plan.
- Chapter 8
- Take time, away from work, to bring every key person to define.
- There will be a battle for resources. Setting the rocks helps.
- What are your issues? Now that you know where you are going, what are the obstacles in the way. State them open and honestly. Generally only takes 15 minutes or so. You will always have issues so don’t lie to yourself. Just add to the list. Don’t focus on solving.
The People Component:
Have great people around you. Getting the right people in the right seats. The Right People are the people who live your company culture, do good work, and you enjoy being around.
The Right Seat= Everyone is working within their best skill and passion within the organization. Their unique ability. The core focus that gets them to achieve to amazing new heights. Their Unique ability + accountability chart = Right Seat
The People Analyzer Chart will help you figure out if the right people are in the right seats. Recommended bar for a company with 5 core values is 3 plus. 2 plus-minus, and no Minus. Give people a chance to improve
- Strike 1: Discuss and give 30 days
- Strike 2: Discuss and give 30 days
- Strike 3: Gotta go
If you are clear about the core values – and that they are important – people who don’t fit, realize it, and leave on their own.
Make an Accountability Chart
People-wise, what is the best way to move the company forward in the next 12 months. Must look forward only. No looking backward or at today. Detach yourself from the business, your role, and your ego.
There are 3 major functions in any business:
And all must be strong. Only 1 person can be in charge of each function. When more than 1 person is in charge, nobody is in charge.
Successful companies have an “Integrator” that ties them all together well. Managing day-to-day issues. Generally more fact-based and enjoy managing. Run day-to-day business and handle accountability. The Manager. LMA= Lead, Manage, Accountability.
Very successful companies have a “Visionary.” Couldn’t be more different than the Integrator. Visionary has 10 new ideas a week, and 1 of them is good and makes growth. More off emotion than fact. The Entrepreneur. Only about 50% of organizations really have one.
Map out all of the functions of your organization on the accountability chart. List who does each function and who they report to. Then the 5 major roles of that function. Define by LMA= lead, manage, accountability.
Start with the functions and roles before entering the name. Determine if you have a visionary, and define it clearly. Communication should flow across. No Silos
GWC: Get it. Want it. Capacity to do it. If people don’t ‘step up’ to the job it’s because 1 of these is missing.
- Get It: Truly understand the role and culture, systems and pace.
- Want It: Genuinely like the job and want to do it, based on fair compensation. Provides the spark.
- Capacity to Do It: Time as well as mental, physical, and emotional capacity to do it.
No on any one of these is a person in a wrong seat. Must be YES on all 3. You can have 1 name on 2 seats, but now 2 names on 1 seat.
If you have the right people in the right seats, delegation is easier.
If you are taking on the problems of a seat, the wrong person might be in it.
People must add value – getting someone out could help them get into the right place elsewhere.
Formulate & Manage Your Data:
This enables you to see business trends in your data. Everybody in the business should have a meaningful and measurable number. Activity based numbers to measure on a routine basis.
Creating a scorecard
Get your management team together for a couple of hours. Pretend you are on a desert island with no phone or email. Decide what numbers you would need to see to know what is going on. Weekly sales activity/customer satisfaction/profit and loss/accounts payable/etc.
You want 5 to 15 numbers. Closer to 5 is better. Keep it simple.
- In left column list who is accountable for each function. This is the person who delivers the weekly number. 1 person each.
- Define the expected goal for each week for each number. Should be tied to your annual goal number
- Put next week’s date in the first date column.
- Decide who is accountable for collecting the number and decide the method for collecting the number
- Use it. Review every week to make sure you are on track. Look for patterns and trends.
Rules of Thumb:
- Make sure they are weekly ACTIVITY based numbers. Not a P&L. It’s items that predict the P&L.
- i.e…. New revenue sales instead of sales. Number of leads generated. Number of proposals. Etc.
- Needs to be a proactive tool to find things in advance. Finding problems before they happen.
- Redflag categories that are off track.
The process of defining, measuring, and accountability will evolve over first several months.
What gets measured gets done. Track high level numbers down to the source. Everyone has a number. Even the receptionist (2=2 rings good, 3 rings bad).
Numbers cut through the murkiness of reporting between managers and subordinates. Creates the basis for comparison and unemotional dialogue. Numbers create accountability. Nothing is clearer than a number.
Accountable people appreciate numbers. Right people in the right seats like numbers. Right people want to win. When a person has a number and they believe that they can achieve it, they are excited and accountable.
Repeatedly setting high goals, without buy-in is dumb. Especially in multiple months.
Nordstroms even puts sales/hour on people’s paychecks.
What gets watched improves. Numbers create competition, and create results. It doesn’t always have to be competition with others. When you have the right people in the right seats it improves teamwork. The right people will want to have competition against themselves.
The important thing is to set the goals as a team. Not just top down. When the people are involved in the process of creating the goals and measurables, they will take ownership.
The Issues Component
Have the guts to face your issues. Your ability to be successful is in direct proportion to your ability to solve your problems. Solve problems, not just identify them. It’s more important THAT you decide than WHAT you decide. Unresolved issues can make a company implode. Create and issues list and an issues solving track
Issues List: Everyone has them. Get over it.
There are really only are a handful of issues in the history of business. You have to create a workplace where people feel comfortable bringing up issues and have a system to smoke them out.
Communication happens naturally when you make the work environment safe. It is your job as a leader to make sure that it comes off as constructive and they are safe. Make it visible that you have your list and are working on them too. Keeps issues in the open and being worked on.
There are 3 types of issues lists
- All company issues that can be shelved beyond 90 days. Generally big things or if you have more important fish to fry
- Weekly Issues List: Shorter timeline. Strategic in nature. Things that need to be escalated. If don’t need to be escalated, solve it within the dept. The pieces you are doing to solve the issues in #1
- Departmental Issues List: Can be handled within group. Handle in weekly meetings.
Issues Solving Track: Making meeting NotSuck
Problems generally don’t get solved due to fear of conflict, lack of focus, lack of discipline, personal ego, etc. So you have to define a formal way to address them. This will make it less personal.
A formal Issues Solving Track helps solve the problem, not the symptoms.
Take them in order of priority.
There are 3 types of issues:
Information that need to be communicated and agreed to by the team,
Opportunity that needs feedback or green light.
In each weekly meeting, you have a formal time to address the issues.
- Identify: State the problem then find the root. Plan on getting a little bit uncomfortable. The cause of most real issues are people.
- Discuss: Everyone’s opportunity to say what they want to say about the issue. Everyone should only say their issue once though. If something is becoming redundant, you need to do step 3. Don’t let it get off on tangents.
- Solve: conclusion or solution. Action item for someone to do. You can’t really solve problems without your VTO complete and your vision communicated and leadership on the same page. Make every decision as if you are winning the super bowl.
There are 3 types of resolutions from an issues solving track.
- Issue is resolved and require someone to take action
- When the purpose is just to bring awareness and the conclusion is everyone is aware of the issue
- The issue needs more research and that is assigned to someone.
The 10 Commandments of Solving Issues
1. Thou shalt not rule by consensus: make everyone heard, but not necessarily ‘happy’. Decisions must be made.
- Thou shalt not be a weeny:
- Thou shalt be decisive.
- Thou shalt not rely on 2nd hand information: All parties must be present
- Thou shalt fight for the greater good:
- Thou shalt not try to solve them all: Rank issues in terms of importance.
- Thou shalt live with it, end it, or change it: There are no others.
- Thou shalt choose short term pain and suffering
- Thou shalt enter the danger: do the hard thing
- Thou shalt take a shot
IDS: Identify, Discuss, Solve
There are times when personal issues need to be resolved. So need to schedule a Personal Issues Solving Session. The Personal Issues Solving Session is there to clear the air and resolve differences. You will need an uninterested 3rd party intermediary
Have each person bring and prepare to share what they think the other person’s 3 greatest strengths and weaknesses are. List all of the issues and solve them. List action items from the solutions. Then meet 30 days later to make sure the action items have been accomplished. If the issues are serious and can’t be resolved, one has to go. Hopefully to a different team within the organization.
Process – The secret component to successful organizations.
The old saying is that “you generally can’t understand a system while you are in it”. Most of the time you have to raise your head out of it for a while to see it. You must be able to systemize what you have built. This is your “franchise prototype”.
Doing things because “it’s how we have always done it” isn’t good enough.
Document your core processes: 3 Stages
Break down your core processes. Schedule an hour with your leadership team to discuss and it must be in person. Take at least an hour. Must identify and agree. Everyone has to be on the same page and speaking the same language.
Document what happens in all of them. Create an accountability chart for each of your core processes. Document the 20% that produces 80% of the results. Should be high level. Likely around 6 pages. No skipping steps.
Use checklists. Checklists are an effective way to make sure people don’t screw them up. Technology must improve your way of doing things. No just bring new features.
The core processes should be drilled down so tight that- if you disappeared, the company could live on. Compile this info for everyone in the company. Put in on the shelf with the label “The [yourcompany] Way”
Then you just make sure they are followed by all. Everyone on the leadership team has to be committed to this 1 way. They must be committed to doing the processes in the plan. You have to create a clear illustration of what your vision looks like and how this gets them to what THEY want.
Create a circle of life visual. Present it to everyone. Train to it. Refer back to it for resolutions. This allows you to replicate and grow.
The Traction Component
If you can accept the fact that you are going to make people a little uncomfortable, for a short time, the solution is actually straight-forward.
This are 2 world moving stops that require total commitment from the leadership team. However, if you can withstand the discomfort for a couple of months they will actually appreciate the improved traction, accountability and solid results. Especially if you tie their compensation (bonus) and/or employment review to the rocks. Quickly, the discomfort isn’t that bad. Or maybe you discover some people are in the wrong seat.
- Everyone must set specific measurable priorities. (Rocks)
- You must meet better as an organization (Meeting Pulse)
A combination of the Rocks and the Issues Solving Track are the recipe for making meeting more productive and less sucky.
Rocks are your big goals. Your big issues. The things you must get done to achieve your annual target.
Since science and experience has shown that people lose focus on specific goals about every 90 days, you have to set new rocks each quarter. First you set the target for the year. Then you break that target into 4 quarterly segments. The Rocks are the biggest components for this quarter to compound into a great year.
Each quarter, everyone need Rocks!!!!!! Set 3-7 (probably closer to 3) most important priorities over the next 90 days. These are designed to keep everyone focused and allow us to work toward 1 year goals, in measurable chunks.
Having specific goals removes the need to assess intention.
Once per quarter, you sequester your leadership team. Everyone meets for a full day, every 90 days. In this meeting you will review vision and set rocks for next 90 days. Write everything on a white board for next 90 days. Discuss the most important 20-30 things. Then talk about keep it, combine it, or kill it. Until you have 3-7.
Define each rock so it’s specific, dated, measurable and attainable. Not open ended. Clear. No “work on…”
Create the Rock Sheet
On the sheet, assign who owns each rock. Can only be 1 person. Not multiple. Put organization rocks at the top. Below are the management teams individual rocks.
Integrate rocks into our weekly “Level 10” meetings. Once priorities are set, you can’t add new because everyone has agreed.
In the weekly meetings, once per quarter (max 45 minutes) have a meeting where you go over the state of the company, go over successes, unveil the VTO, go over the rocks for coming quarter. Sometimes people have to hear something 7 times to hear it the first time.
Then, each manager will meet with their team to set their rocks for the quarter. Same process. Each employee has their rocks (1-3) per quarter. Should achieve 80% or better of rocks as done, to be great.
When you roll out your rocks, make sure you are completely committed to them. Otherwise, commitment will fizzle. No more than 3 rocks for people outside of leadership team.
Meeting Pulse: How it Really Happens
Not all meetings are bad. You probably need more meetings but better meetings. This is the “Level 10” Meeting. This weekly Level 10 Meeting will become your organizations heartbeat.
2 types of meetings: Quarterly and Weekly
We live in a 90 Day World. Humans stumble, lose focus, and get off track roughly every 90 days.
It’s human nature so stop fighting it.
So the 90 day world has to be a routine. Creates a laser focus and keeps you on track. Go from working in-the-business to on-the-business. Fight the need to coast a bit when things seem to be going well.
- Who: leadership team.
- Where: off-site.
- How long: 1 day.
- Frequency: 90 days. Pre-requisite: vision organizer complete and bring visions for next 90 days. When: as close to quarter end as possible.
Meeting Agenda: Share best business and personal news from quarter, Review previous quarter results and rocks, Review the VTO, Create rocks, Key issues, Next Steps, Conclude
To start, each person should share their best business and personal news in the last 90 days. What is working and not working? What are your expectations for the day?
If rocks failed from previous quarter it’s generally from setting too high of expectations or somebody dropped the ball. If goals were too high, learn and adjust. If someone dropped the ball, review if it was really attainable. If it was, it might be an accountability issue. Put that on the issues list and solve it. Then decide if the incomplete rocks get carried over to finish or reassign to someone else.
SWOT: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats. Everyone lists these to create an issues list. Then do issue solving.
When people know the quarterly meeting is coming up there is a build-up time where people will think more introspectively and creatively to think of opportunities and challenges that they wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
Next, solve any issues using IDS: Identify, Discuss, Solve. Discuss and debate until everyone is on the same page. Then go over Next Steps.
To Conclude: Everyone shares feedback, rates the meeting (want >8), and whether or not their expectations were met.
Your weekly “Level 10 Meeting” is designed for taking the vision down to the ground. Helps execute the vision by focusing on the rocks. Creates a consistent cadence using level 10 meeting format.
Every week, no cancel, no reschedule. No phones or electronic devices.
What makes for great meetings is solving problems.
No more than 90 minutes. Everyone brings their rocks sheet. Issues solving track MUST be understood and used by all.
Agenda: 1 person runs and somebody keeps track of rocks sheet and scorecard.
- Opening 5 minutes – Share good news to segue into the meeting.
- Scorecard 5 minutes- Checking the KPI’s. These are the numbers that you established earlier.
- Rock Review 5 minutes- Make sure rocks are on track. Company & individual. Just “on-track” or “off-track”. No explanations. Off-Track rocks go to the IDS portion.
- Customer/Employee Headlines 5 minutes-
- To-Do List 5 minutes: Separate To-Do’s from Rocks. Cross off To-Do’s that were established in previous meetings and have been completed. At least 90% of things should be checked that week. Nothing stays longer than 2 weeks.
- IDS (Identify, Discuss, Solve) 60 minutes – Where the magic happens. Solving issues. Generally 3-5 come from last week. Then add 5-10 new. Prioritize the issues. Generally turns into a plan of attack for the To-Do list
- Conclude 5 minutes – Pull whole meeting together and frame the meeting. Recap the new to-do list and action items. Reinforces accountability. Determine how to communicate any changes.
Each participant will then rate the meeting on a 1-10. And end on time.
This meeting Should be same day and time each week. Each week has the same agenda. Do everything possible to end on time.
Pulling it all together: The Grand Journey
Mastery is making sure that you and your leadership team understand all tools and processes, and have implemented them properly.
Results won’t show on your P&L immediately. But it will. Everything can look like a failure in the middle.
Stay committed to the 90 day world!!! Even when things are going well. If too busy, that is all the more reason.
Anything important that can get done this quarter is a rock
If need to get done sooner than 90 days it goes on your weekly level 10 meeting issues list
Anything important that will require longer than 90 days but less than 1 year is a goal. Decide which rocks are necessary to get them done.
Have a “Same Page Meeting” 1 time per month to get partners on the same page. Communicate thoughts, express concerns, unite fronts. If can’t get on the same page consider counseling, coaching, or remediation.
Great leaders need to schedule quiet thinking time away. It’s necessary to get out of the grind and think bigger to return laser focused. Grab a blank legal pad and a pen and find your place. It’s like a clarity break. Make it an appointment that you schedule with yourself.
If you can’t find an hour, you need 2.
Don’t be distracted by shiny stuff. Especially for visionaries. Keep it within your core focus. You can venture out to shiny stuff as long as it doesn’t drain anything from the core focus.
To get started, use this model top to bottom. Right to left. There are 7 main tools with 12 secondary tools. Start with leadership team and make sure they have mastered them before rolling them down.
- Accountability Chart: with people analyzer and GWC
- Helps determine the right structure for organization.
- Rocks: 1 helps you set better rocks.
- Meeting Pulse: with IDS, level 10, quarterly, annuals.
- Scorecard: make it a powerful predictive tool using KPI and accountability.
- Plans: 1 yr plan. 3 yr and 10 yr picture. Marketing Plan. Core Values. Core Focus. Quarterly state of the company meetings.
- 3 step process documenter: usually a 6 – 12 month process
- Everyone has a number: and reward based on the KPI’s
Find out the areas that will give the most bang for the buck in your organization. Though, normally, this is the order.
Amount of absorption is better than speed. Typically at least 1 year. Especially important to have all leaders on board if have multiple locations.