entrecode Blog


How to overcome the 6 barriers to executing great strategy

Our research suggests that less than 50% of strategies deliver the financial performance they promise. Evan worse the reasons why appear unclear to top managers. The result is: wasted energy, lost time and frustration. However some high performing clients have closed the strategy to performance gap. How did they do it?

They dealt with the 7 key factors that create the performance loss:

  1. Inadequate resources. They put the right people onto the performance critical projects not just those who are available. Obvious, but many do make the mistake of allocating the wrong resources. High performing clients do not make this mistake.
  2. Actions required to execute not clearly defined. Most executions of strategies I have facilitated require the delivery of 3/4 key projects not 27. Having this clarity of focus is critical. Keep it simple is a key mantra.
  3. Organisational silos and culture blocks execution. Change is problematic in a typical corporate power and control culture. So the key is to select people to drive the change who are up for it and create an achievement sub culture with them. see earlier post, How to get your preferred culture.
  4. No consequences for success or failure. If you want to change behaviour change the reward system. Reward success and have consequences for failure to comply with the process.
  5. Poor performance monitoring. What gets measured gets managed so ensure the execution programme has the right measures in place.
  6. Uncommitted leadership team. The strategy and execution plan needs to shared by and championed by the leadership team who take real pride in the execution performance.

Armed with the experiences of those who have successfully executed great strategies should help you to achieve similar successes. Don't miss any of these key factors out and remember "it’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it that's what gets results".

Grow your business by creating Magic Moments for your customers

When was the last time you were the wowed by a Magic Moment delivered by a supplier? Can you recall 2 or 3 times this past 12 months? If you can you will be lucky and unique. Most of us put up with poor service and average products because we have had to reluctantly get used to mediocrity.

But it does not have to be like that and this is your opportunity. If you go out of your way a bit and create some magic Moments for your customers you will enjoy: high levels of repeat business, new business from referrals and a lowering of sensitivity to price. Most sane business people would take these benefits if offered.

Here are some examples to get your juices flowing:

  • One Asian airline’s stewards in business class memorize each passengers name on their sector and use it every time, it’s amazing and makes passengers feel important and cared for.
  • When I visit one business they take my car keys and valet my car inside and they are a builder not a garage and they leave a packet of sweets on the seat
  • My wife's hairdresser showed her how to do her hair as well as he does every time so she feels good all the time.
  • A hotel manager introduced me to Brian Adams the singer because he knew I was a big fan.
  • A supplier discovered I really liked an Italian wine I had when I was on holiday in piedmont and delivered a case of it to me on my birthday.

There is no formulae for creating Magic Moments it just requires a bit of imagination and empathy and if its done well then it can create a friend for life.

Have a go and let me know how you go on I am always looking for examples I can use in my work.

The 5 priorities when turning round a business

When a business is in crisis sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus.

I have spent 35 years helping to sort out businesses in difficulty and found that there is a priority of actions to follow.

  1. Cash. Get control of the cash, stop spending and ensure you collect as much cash as possible. It’s the first priority because that's what kills most businesses in trouble.
  2. Customers. Reassure customers that all is well if necessary and keep them onside and ensure they are looked after properly.
  3. Margin. The easiest way to make money is to stop losing it. So fix any system slippages and work hard at boosting the margin.
  4. Strategy. Review the strategy and refocus on the businesses core competencies and profitable opportunities. Discard any sacred cows and investments in nostalgia.
  5. Communicate. Keep your team informed and onside but be honest with them that's what they prefer.

It’s hard to keep a cool head in a crisis but this roadmap has served me very well in the past.

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How to get your preferred culture

Changing culture is one of the most difficult things managers have to do. If strategy is what we do culture is the way we do things or a better definition I prefer is what people do when nobody is looking.

You get a culture by design or by default; usually one you don't want.

You get a culture by design or by default; usually one you don't want.

  1. Determine the business not personal values that will drive your business towards your goals e.g. we take pride in performance; we seek to delight our customers etc.
  2. Make sure there is something for customers, employees and investors if you want them to engage with your business.
  3. Publish them and make them non-negotiable.
  4. Make sure the senior leadership team model and champion the values- watch their feet not their lips.
  5. Audit the application of the values across the business regularly and publish the results; make sure there are consequences for non-compliance.
  6. If you do the above diligently for a minimum of 2 years you can change and embed your preferred culture.

I will be presenting a workshop at BizWeek 2014 in Hull for CEOs and senior managers on how their businesses can find their hidden profits.

Watch this space for more details…….

strategic challenges many businesses face

I have consulted with over 90 businesses over the past 35 years and have consistently found the same issues in many of them.

How many of these issues do your business face:

  1. No clear strategy. Ask your top team and your customers to write down your strategy individually without conferring, if they don't agree you have a problem.
  2. They have no competitive advantage so compete on price and suffer low margins. Are your margins the best in your sector?
  3. They don't have the right people on the bus. How many of your team consistently produce results beyond your expectations?
  4. They have a culture by default rather than by design. Are you confident your people do the right thing when no one is looking?
  5. Don't really understand what their customers want. Did your recent customer perception survey confirm you give your customers what they want much better than your competitors?

Tough questions, but how did your rate your business?

Insights from coaching young talented managers

I have been coaching 12 young technical people identified as future high flying managers. An interesting pattern of development needs has emerged which may have implications for other organisations.

They have all been through a rigorous selection process including personality tests and have management and leadership potential but with some common areas for development:

  1. They don't promote themselves in meetings preferring so stay quiet, which is a confidence issue.
  2. They are unclear about their job role and what they need to do to add value.
  3. They don't delegate well and multi task trying to do everything themselves.
  4. Their level of interpersonal skills in dealing with people is generally low.
  5. They place too much emphasis on their technical skills as opposed to their management skills.
  6. They have ideas on how to improve the business but lack the confidence to approach senior managers.

The good news is they are ambitious and are keen to learn and with a bit of coaching I am sure they will succeed.

5 ways to find your hidden profits within

Most of my clients don't need to work harder they just need to work smarter to discover the hidden profits within their businesses

Here are 5 ways we have helped clients find their hidden profits:

  1. Put your prices up. Many people think they need to compete on price but the last thing you want to do is be a busy fool, anybody can give it away. Smart businesses compete on either service, quality, relationships or delivery and this enables them to put their prices up and make good profits.
  2. Seek to sell additional services to customers, once they have bought from you they may be up for buying other services. Many businesses make their best margins on the extras they sell.
  3. Review your product/service portfolio. Analyse where you really make and lose money and cull the losers. Be wary of "favourite" products you like but lose a fortune, generally 20% of your products at best will make 80% of your profits so focus on them.
  4. Produce a zero based budget. Many businesses estimate sales add up costs and what's left is the profit. A zero based approach estimates sales decide what profit you want deduct this from the sales and what's left is how much you afford to spend. It’s a brutal approach that forces you to make some tough decisions.
  5. Inspect don't expect. Don't assume people who work for you are following all your rules and procedures to the letter, go and look what's actually happening but be prepared for some shocks!

Clients we have worked with using these approaches have found significant profits within and you can to if you really want to.

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