The Sum of its Parts
A business runs like a machine. It’s made up of multiple moving parts that each carry out tasks in order to reach a desired goal. As a team leader, you must divide your attention amongst the different parts as needed, as all are essential.
In Scaling Up: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0, Verne Harnish argues for a business model focused on the foundations of:
- People – A strong network inside and outside of your company
- Strategy – A clear plan of action to achieve goals aligned around your company mission
- Execution – Carrying out operations to achieve goals and ultimately drive profitability
- Cash – Understand your Cash Conversion Cycle and base your planning on cash flow
These four foundations serve as the center of decision-making for a business leader. Of the four, strategy and execution offer the most opportunity for freedom and customization. Your strategy should outline your unique company vision, and the steps you will take to get there. Similarly, execution should be catered to your specific business goals. Each execution tactic should essentially be a step to achieving your goal. Take advantage of the opportunity to approach execution from different standpoints, and adjust your processes as needed based on results.
The 4D Meeting
A smart way to facilitate smooth execution is what Harnish calls the 4D Meeting. This meeting model is centered around the 4 D’s: Discover, Discuss, Decide, and Delegate.
Begin your meeting on a high note by sharing good news and highlighting wins. Identify current Priorities and Critical Numbers that will be the focus of the meeting.
The meat of the meeting is the discussion. Here you can address any issues and brainstorm solutions. Be cautious of sidebar conversations that tend to arise during this point. If a conversation goes back and forth for longer than the allotted time, it’s best to leave it in the Parking Lot and schedule a time to revisit it.
Using points from your discussion, align and land on a decision. Make sure all team members are aware of the final decisions.
Assign who is going to do what and when. Assign deadlines for to-do’s to ensure the ball gets rolling. Each task should be assigned to no more than one person, and everyone on the team should know who owns which task.
As simple as it may be, this meeting structure hits all the key points that should be included in a planning meeting, and limits room for sidebars. Keeping your team focused on the objective at hand can be more difficult than it seems, so it’s important to remind everyone of the meeting’s purpose and stick to it.
We know alignment is important to driving success, so why focus on the smaller day-to-day functions of your business? Simple: Alignment starts at the smallest scale. Holding effective meetings is the fastest and easiest way to get all your team members on the same page. Following a simple structure like the 4D Model helps limit misinformation and miscommunication, while encouraging all team members to participate. A clear meeting rhythm will ultimately help facilitate better and faster decision making. These factors will improve productivity, accountability, and overall company culture.