Part 7 - Creating a Road Map
Another aspect of being in the performance zone is “keeping on track.” If you’re going to play the role of “boss” then you have to take on the responsibilities that the role requires. When your system’s results are on track and things are designed right, you and your operations prosper. When things go off track, profitability goes down the drain.
So what do you do to assure things do remain in line with the business plan?
A good start is to have a clearly defined business plan to begin with. (If you want to hear the sound of one hand clapping, say “duh” as you smack your forehead sharply with either one of your free hands...)
HINT: Business plans are merely the road maps your venture is to follow to assure its mission will be fulfilled. Things to have clearly spelled out in a business plan include: 1) Operations Outline - Including Departments, Functions, and Flow Chart; 2) Financial Resources, Credit Lines, Projected Sales and Weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly Budgets; 3) Marketing Analysis & Plan; 4) Measurement and Accountability Structures. Of course, this is not all inclusive.
Another way of saying all this is that a business plan is your step by step instruction set or “road map” that get you to where you want to go.
Now, the key to assuring the road map is adhered to is to have a feedback system in place that makes adjustment in and on the operation - including the behavior of the workers. In my business we have a saying that reflects back to this point. A business coach that has not been empowered to take action by their client when the client is off track is about as useless as wet matches are to a cold camper. Sure they look good, but they’ll never get things going.
The same thing applies to any and all feedback systems that are supposed to assist in keeping things on track. Feedback systems that can be circumvented by the workers and boss are not worth the effort to install them. Can you imagine riding as a passenger in a car going down the highway, having everybody who is riding along screaming at the driver to slowdown, get off the shoulder, and to prepare for the next exit while having that driver wearing ear plugs and blinders on.
The same thing occurs in business operations that neither have effective feedback systems nor people who use them. Which when we think about it, is saying the same thing.
And if you really want to know what the true key is, take a good look in the mirror. The one element in any successful feedback system is the boss who laid it out. If the boss did not put into place an accountability system that all involved will adhered to then the boss failed in their mission. That mission, of course, being to run a successful operation. And when the boss themselves can and does circumvent that very system they created, the message they give to the rest of the crew is, “The rules don’t apply!” and “The system is out of control!” I’ve seen a lot of operations move swiftly into failure mode long before the doors closed due to this very situation.
And that reminds me of an old saying, “If you plan to fail, and succeed, then what have you really done?” Whether you fail to establish a plan and then implement it or fail to implement an established plan, they really amount to the same thing. And that includes the mystery word “accountability” that’s so many people have a problem understanding.
Businesses without plans which including tracking and feedback systems are by design “uncontrollable” and therefore produce unpredictable results. Accountability designed into systems assist in keeping accurate records of what’s going on. They give accurate feedback to the system and its people so that adjustments can be made to assure the system is on track.
CAPITALIZING ON A THEME: Ask yourself what types of feedback systems your operations should have to assure it’s kept on track. Ask yourself of all these types that should be in place, how many are not. Along with this, ask yourself how implementing the missing systems would impact your current bottom line. How has not having them affected your bottom line so far? How effective are your systems in assuring the proper adjustments are made to keep it and its people on track? How do your people respond when the system requires they take action that benefits it but makes them extend themselves beyond their regular duties? What happens when people don’t follow thru on what they’re supposed to do? Include the boss in this!
Who holds who accountable for what and does anyone not get to play fully in this when “push comes to shove?” Who gets to not feel the full brunt of the penalties for non performance? Is there any one person who gets away with not being held accountable and what message is this sending to all involved?
With a fully functioning feedback system in place, you can account for and compare your present actions/behavior and results to that which has been laid out by your business plan and they will coincide. This is called, “Being on track.”
When you’re the boss, you make the rules and you enforce them. It’s a tough job to do right and when done right, the results are grande!
Have a bodacious week!
Coach John S. Nagy is CEO and Lead Business Coach for Coaching for Success. Inc., a Business Coaching Service specifically designed for top level decision makers dedicated to peak performance in all facets of their activities. He’s hired to focus them continuously in activities that bring higher returns on their resource use. His programs are for the seriously committed. This means having his clients work "ON" their businesses, not just "IN" it. He’s a published author and a multi-degree professional with a nationwide client base. Coach Nagy can be reached through his E-mail address at his website at http://www.coach.net and by calling 813-949-0718.
Copyright © 2000 John S. Nagy