“Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.” — Brian Tracy
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
Your company wants to grow. It hatches a plan, sets some goals (maybe), and hires a new sales person to push the ball up the hill.
Day One: New desk, new computer, tour of the offices.
Day Two: Finish setting up the new guy’s computer, installing programs and updates to the OS.
Day Three: Turn him loose.
Seriously; that’s it.
Jim Collins states in his book, Good to Great, that you should first
Get the right people on the bus.
This means interviewing every candidate thoroughly, making sure they can perform the job at hand.
What it doesn’t mean is ‘have they done this kind of job before’? necessarily, but ‘do they have the right experience from which to launch into this project successfully and carry it forward’? Experience has value, but so does trajectory.
After you get the right people on the bus,
Get the right people in the right seats on the bus.
Failing here means your accountant is doing sales work, or your top sales guy is doing tech work, or your IT guy is pulling weeds in the parking lot.
In most small companies, there will certainly be some overlap of roles. I firmly believe in every team member wearing multiple hats. But the right people will excel in some areas and not in others, and they should be provided the opportunity to work in their area of greatest strength a majority of the time.
Spending more than ten percent of your time outside of your greatest area of competence will prevent you from moving closer to your goals.
Once you have the right people in the right seats on the bus,
Together, decide where to drive the bus.
Together is the key word here. While the CEO may have the idea (and the power, etc) he may not be able to articulate the vision clearly. And he may not have had the time to think the idea through yet, which means the idea needs more inspection.
But this is not about the bosses’ latest idea needing closer inspection, at least not directly.
It’s about the weak hinge pins of many businesses: planning properly.
In my experience, here are the most common breaking points of today’s business:
- Hiring a new person and sending him off into the wild blue yonder without any training.
- Hiring the wrong person.
- Changing course before commitment has had time to blossom into success.
- Having only one person decide the direction of the bus.
- Bosses who pretend to listen only long enough to talk again.
- Failing to set SMART goals.
- Promises not kept.
- Hoping new technology will save you from doing the work necessary for achieving success.
There are more, but these are the most common ones. I hope I’ve helped you identify some of your own weaknesses.
What do you see as a common failure of today’s businesses?
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