Post #2 in a multi-part series from the excellent book Traction by Gino Wickman

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).

  1. What are your core values?  Your timeless guiding principles.  Less is more. Hire/fire/reward/recognize according to it.  Between 3 and 7
    1. 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”
    2. Decide, let simmer 30 days, then revisit before announcing.   Back it up with stories and illustrations
    3. Use WE instead of I.
    4. Finding people with skills is easy.  So focus on core values when hiring.
  2. 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!!
    1. To determine your Core Focus:  Needs to be something nobody else has.  How are you different and special.
      1. You and your leadership group should define with absolute clarity your 2 Truths.  Your reason for being and your niche.
      2. Lock everyone in a room for at least 2 hours to answer (might take several sessions)
      3. Why does your organization exist?  What is its purpose, cause, or passion?
        1. If defined right, it doesn’t even matter what industry you are in.   Can take it anywhere.   Not your niche.
        2. Meets all 8 items on this list.  Has an Ah-ha effect.   Not about $$.  Bigger than a goal.  3-7
      4. 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.
        1. Simplifying mortgages for the world (borrowers, lenders, LO’s, brokers, correspondents)
        2. Easiest mortgages
  3. What is your 10 year goal?    All successful people have a habit of setting and achieving goals.  BHAG’s.  Specific and measurable.
    1. Refine how others in the industry do business.
    2. Some can do 5 yr and some do 20.
    3. Keep congruent with Cores above.
    4. Will take multiple attempts.
  4. 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.
    1. Paint the picture but don’t emphasize the obstacles along the way.
    2. What is the annual revenue going to be 3 years from now?  What is the profit?  And what are the key measurables?
    3. Everyone on the leadership team must verbalize their role in the process.
  5. 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.
    1. Schedule 2 hours with mgmt team and set a future date.
    2. What important measurables must be on track to achieve your 3 year goals?
  6. 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.
    1. Chapter 8
    2. Take time, away from work, to bring every key person to define.
    3. There will be a battle for resources.  Setting the rocks helps.
  7. 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.