Is Your Team Focused, Aligned and Held Accountable?

If you are like most leaders, there always appears to be too many things to be done and not enough people or hours in the day.

Do you ever wish that you could crack the code to achieving the long- and short-term goals? Maybe even achieve those goals while working less time? Have you wondered how to get everyone in the organization singing from the same sheet of music?

Mastering Successful Business Habits

The Rockefeller Habits

Have you heard of the Four Decisions ProgramTM derived from the book “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish? It is an entrepreneurial operating system that can help you and your leadership team agree on three-year goals and what capabilities you need to make those goals happen. It also helps you clarify and communicate to your organization the best strategy for making money and how you will differentiate your business from the rest of the market.

Top Business Priorities

If I asked your leadership team what your top five priorities are for the year and then asked them to rank them for the next 90 days, would I get the same answer from every leader? Could every leader tell me what are the specific goals, the two most important leading critical numbers that will drive your improvements in revenue and profits, and the annual initiatives that are designed to make those critical numbers and annual goals happen? Can they answer the same questions for the quarter?

If I reviewed each department’s current quarterly goals, how well would they align with those quarterly and annual initiatives? How well informed are the people below the leaders in terms of what the company is trying to get done? Can every employee in the organization describe in one sentence how your business makes money? Can they describe how your company differs from the competition? After all of the plans are made, how often do you discuss progress, and how laser-beam focused is everyone on accomplishing what they committed to? What happens when people run off the tracks?

Maximize Business Performance

Interested in maximizing your business performance? If you would like to increase your growth and profits through more focus, alignment and accountability, let’s schedule a time to further discuss your business and how we might work together to increase your results. Call our business coaches us for a FREE consultation at 305.722.7213.

Focusing On The Core

I recently read a white paper entitled “The Focused Company”, produced by Bain and Company. As a business coach, I have found that while most clients understand the importance of prioritization and focusing, they fail to achieve either. Why does this occur?

As an owner of three businesses, I can appreciate the challenge. There are so many things that must be done in order to be successful in business. As a result, it can be hard to see what is crucial. The natural entrepreneur has the “shiny object” syndrome. We are interested in pursuing the “shiny object”, which distracts us from concentrating on the matter at hand.

Why We Fail to Focus

Business executives mainly fail to focus because of the way in which the human mind works. We operate more on a subconscious versus a conscious level. We tend to learn by repeated behaviors and allow those repeated behaviors to take precedence over conscious learning. In other words, our brains have us operating on auto-pilot. We may know consciously that the way we have behaved in the past is not working, but our subconscious knowledge still drives future behavior.

According to the Bain report, “… 80% of CEOs expect high levels of complexity over the next five years. Far fewer feel prepared to cope with it. A truly focused company, one that has cut complexity to the minimum, does not invest to win in every element of its business. It invests primarily in its core, the business in which it can outperform everybody else. A focused company does not try to appeal to every potential customer. It concentrates on the most profitable customers, those who it can serve better than any competitor can.”

Having a Focused Business Strategy

As many of my readers know, I am a certified Gazelles Coach. As such, we take our clients through a process known as the “Four Decisions,” which was derived from a well-read book, “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish. The power of the “Four Decisions Program™” process is not producing the “one-page business plan.” While that is the output of the process, the true value derives from the discovery that occurs by going through the process.

We recently worked with a multinational public company that operates with several billion in revenue and has little-to-no profit to show for it. By working with their coaches, they found that the secret to achieving greater growth and profitability is predicated upon how well they are able to focus. The leadership team was stunned to realize that they had grown to several billion in revenue, and they were struggling because of their failure to have a focused strategy. Our client discovered that their focus had been on how much supply of product they had versus possible customer requirements. If you wanted to analyze their customer base and go-to-market strategy — there was none. As a result, they had no customer loyalty and were more susceptible to market pricing than if they had focused on a core customer and mastered those variables in their business that were important to the core customer.

Addressing Your Customers Needs

Now that this has been discovered, it will be important that their coach continues to help them focus products and services in a way that best addresses the needs of the customers that they believe have the highest profit potential and will stay loyal as a result of addressing these needs. We concluded that, if they do this well, they will be able to use up 100% of their manufacturing capacity by serving much fewer customers well. Rather than being supply-driven they will become customer-driven. To accomplish this, it will be important to design the organization in a way that supports making critical decisions rather than supporting existing processes. Also, by being customer-driven rather than process-driven will result in integrated process efficiency rather than functional efficiency.

In the end, companies must attack complexity in their business. Focus is a never-ending journey.  Business must focus the majority of organizational emphasis on a very few key areas that are costing too much or causing some type delay in order to best serve core customers. We also recommend that businesses should focus their activity by quarter, treating each quarter as a 13-week race. Race to improve one major area of your business. What you will find is that fixing one area will reveal sizable opportunities for simplification elsewhere for the next quarter.

Improve Your Business Strategy

Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach and founder of Activate Group Inc. based in Miami, Florida. His firm works with companies to deliver transformational management and business coaching to executive leadership. To learn more about executive leadership coaching through Activate Group, please contact us today or give us a call at 305.722.7213.

Time is More Valuable than Money

Time is the great equalizer. Everyone gets the same amount of time: 24 hours in each day. No matter how rich you are, you cannot buy more time. No matter how many people you know, they cannot give you more time.  So the most important question you can ask daily is, “How can I and everyone on the team use time more wisely?”

One of the essential keys to maximizing success as an individual or an organization is to effectively determine where your time should go now and into the future. Where you used time in the past only serves as a guide and learning mechanism for your decisions as to where time should go.  If one person in your group does not focus on congruent goals it can cause everyone’s time to be misused.  If many people are not using their time wisely it can be a huge barrier to your potential.

I find the most effective executives are very intentional and disciplined about the use of time and have a well-structured set of policies, systems and procedures for keeping their teams aligned and focused on the right sets of activities. You have most likely found that people can spend a whole  day’s worth of time trying to figure out why someone assigned a task that could be completed by the right person in 20 minutes has spent 3 weeks on it and is not yet finished.

The following are some opportunities so achieve better use of time:

  • Clarifying the specific expectations from each person’s role in terms of project, position, department, process, and organization
  • Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in the organization and directing efforts toward utilizing each person’s strength
  • Identifying and narrowing focus around the fewest goals and priorities possible
  • Planning and preparing for obstacles
  • Understanding who is going to do what and when
  • Identifying, measuring and managing around the proper leading key performance indicators toward achieving short and longer goals
  • Knowing and making sure that progress is made on the most important priority daily
  • Developing and implementing an effective meeting and communication regimen throughout the organization.

We have found that the concepts from Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 – Scaling Up, by Verne Harnish, can provide a simple and effective means for capitalizing on the above opportunities.  The tools and process identified in this book along with the assistance of a certified Gazelles coach in helping you make the right decisions around strategy, people, process and cash can help you better execute your decisions through the disciplines of priorities, data/metrics, and meeting rhythms.

As a Certified Gazelles and executive leadership coach and founder of Activate Group Inc., based in Miami, Florida, Howard Shore can help you and your leadership team to become more effective. To learn more about the Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, please visit contact Howard at 305.722.7213 or email him at