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First published October 8, 2007
"In summary, successful businesses operate with a crystal clear vision that is shared by everyone. They have the right people in the right seats. They have a pulse on their operations by watching and managing a handful of numbers on a weekly basis. They identify and solve issues promptly in an open and honest environment. They document their processes and ensure that they are followed by everyone. They establish priorities for each employee and ensure that a high level of trust, communication, and accountability exists on each team."There are many free EOS tools.
Most leaders are so buried in the day-to-day grind that they'll typically think up flimsy workarounds just to get nagging issues out of their way so they can make it to the next week. If this happens log enough, their whole organization will come to be held together by duct tape and twine, and it will ultimately implode.
A crucial step to getting sales back on track during the turnaround of our real estate sales training company involved determining who our ideal target market was. Eventually, we realized that it was the presidents and CEOs of real estate organizations with 200 or more agents (demographic) in north America (geographic) that saw the value and need for outside sales training (psychographic).
With this clarity, we ran the filter (which meant that we researched every publication, database, and resource) to find out who and how many there were. We came up with a total of 525. By focusing on, "The List" we were able to turn sales around. Ultimately, we were able to penetrate and maintain over 50% of The List as our clients. Every client that defines its target market creates this laser focus as a result.
How to make the list:
- The geographic characteristics of your ideal customers. Where are they?
- The demographic characteristics of your ideal customers. What are they (If you're marketing business to business, consider characteristics such as job title, industry, size, and type of business. If business-to-consumer, then age, sex, income or profession.)
- The psychographic characteristics of your ideal customers. How do they think? What do they need? What do they appreciate?
Again, what you're creating here is focus. The most common mistake that most organizations make involves competing in too many sectors, markets, services, or product lines, and trying to be all things to all people. It's a game you will not win.
Rather than your salespeople saying, "Yes, we do that, and oh yes, we'll do that," to everything, they should be saying, "If you're looking for that, we probably aren't the company for you. What we excel at are these three things."
Your guarantee must drive more business or enable you to close more of what you're not winning. If it doesn't, you shouldn't waste your time using it.
Go after all of the prospects on The List, communicating with them why you're unique, showing them your proven process for doing business, and offering them your guarantee. This incredible precision in your sales and marketing efforts will increase your sales dramatically.
Write down bullet points of what the organization will look like on that date three years from now. Factors to consider include things such as number and quality of people, added resources, office environment and size, operational efficiencies, systemization, technology needs, product mix, and client mix.
I also learned of a company that offered a weekly $20 gift card, albeit with a unique twist. The employee that received it the previous week would give it to the next employee who exhibited one of the company's core values. They had to email the entire organization adn tell everyone who they gave it to and what core value that person exhibited. The gift card could never go to the same employee until everyone received it, and it had to cross departments each time.
Envision all of your direct reports' responsibilities, problems, and issues as monkeys. When your direct report walks into your office with a problem, he or she is trying to leave his or her monkey with you. If someone walks in with a monkey, he or she needs to walk out with it. If he or she can't or won't, you've hired the wrong person.
An example of activity-based numbers is client satisfaction. If you merely track customer complaints or lost customers, that's too late. Instead, go to the first step in the progress-finding out what factors drive both happy and unhappy customers. For instance, you might do a proactive numerical survey, such as asking three questions that require a number-based answer every time you close the business or deliver the product.
The scorecard review is the leadership team's opportunity at a high level to examine the 5 to 15 most important numbers in the organization and to make sure they are on track for the goal. Any numbers that are not on track are dropped to the IDS portion of the meeting, which is your issues list. Avoid any discussion here. The reporting phase should merely identify problem areas. The biggest pitfall with most teams is that they launch right into discussing and trying to solve an issue.
- Thou shalt not rule by consensus
- Thou shalt not rely on secondhand information (you cannot solve an issue involving multiple people without all the parties present)
- Thou shalt not try to solve them all (take issues one at a time, in order of priority.
The owner is the person who drives the Rock to completion during the quarter by putting together a timeline, calling meetings, and pushing people. At the end of the quarter, the owner is the one that everyone looks at to assure the Rock was completed.
Each person reports that his or her Rock is either "on track" or "off track." No discussion - the discussion will happen later. When a Rock is of track, it's dropped to the IDS portion of the agenda. Even if a Rock is on track but someone wants an update or has a concern, it should be dropped to IDS. Rock review should take no more than 5 minutes.
Decide which issues are number 1, 2, and 3. Start with only the top three because as a rule of thumb, you don't know how many you'll resolve. As long as you take them in order of priority, you're attacking the right ones. To repeat, it's a mistake to start at the top of the list and work your way down because sometimes the most important issue is near the bottom of the list. In addition, when you solve the most important issue, you tend to find out some of the other issues on the Issues List were symptoms of that core issue, and they drop off automatically.
Each member of the leadership team shares three things: (1) the organization's three greatest accomplishments in the previous year, (2) his or her one greatest personal accomplishment for the year, and (3) his or her expectations for the two-day annual planning session.
The power of the annual segue, in addition to setting the stage and transitioning from working in the business to on the business, is that leaders have a chance to stop for a few minutes and reflection the company's successes and progress over the previous year. After the segue, one client said, "I was actually feeling like we had a bad year until I listened to everyone share the business accomplishments. We actually had a pretty good year." This is typically the mindset after the segue, and that sets the tone for what follows.