Webinar Recap: The Fundamentals of Execution with Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish, founder of Scaling Up, led a presentation outlining the key factors every business leader should consider when developing and rolling out a foolproof strategy.
Developing your strategic plan is just one step. You won’t reap the benefits of improved business performance until you are able to effectively execute that plan, but moving from strategy to execution can seem difficult with so many moving parts. Verne says that if you ever get lost, you can always reset by returning to these 3 disciplines: Priorities, Data/Metrics, and Meeting Rhythms.
So how do these three disciplines influence action and help drive real results?
Your people are perhaps your most important asset. As a leader, your job is to build up your team members so that they can be effective leaders as well. Part of developing your employees means unifying them around a company priority.
A common mistake among business leaders is trying to juggle too many things by working toward multiple priorities. It’s easy to get caught up in chaos and lose your footing when there is so much to do and keep track of, so it’s best to decide on one company priority you will set out to achieve each quarter and let that be your focal point.
All team members should be aware of what the company priority is and know exactly how their role contributes to achieving it. This ensures your team stays focused on the main goal and is aligned on its journey there.
Data / Metrics
Once your company priority is defined, the next step is to determine how you will measure progress toward achieving that priority.
Verne says, “All wars in all markets are won through firsthand intel.”
A data-driven approach provides clarity and insight from all angles – from what’s happening in the market to feedback from your front-line employees. Don’t underestimate the importance of direct intel from those who play a role in your business, either directly or indirectly.
The world’s best leaders know not only how to collect this kind of information, but how to leverage it. Verne says to take Dylan Field, for example, the 30-year-old entrepreneur who recently sold his company to its competitor Adobe for $20 billion. Now a billionaire, Dylan accredited his ability to scale and exit to the fact that he spent his weekends reading support tickets and could use that intel to make better business decisions.
Along with feedback, there are several other data points that business leaders should track. Choosing what to measure is often a big task as you determine the most critical metrics for your business. Reviewing and reassessing data frequently plays a big role in staying on the right track, and that’s where meeting rhythms come in.
Holding well-structured meetings is perhaps the most impactful action you can practice with your team to drive success. Meetings provide opportunities to review data as a group, share relevant information and updates, and discuss roadblocks that may be in the way. Meeting frequently helps keep the most important work top of mind and reinforces what needs to be done, enabling leaders and their teams to make better and faster decisions.
There are different types of meetings including Team Daily Huddles, 1:1 Meetings between team leads and team members, All-Hands Monthly Target Reviews and Quarterly Planning sessions. Each serves a different purpose, so it’s critical to know what type of meeting is appropriate for what you want to achieve.
Ultimately, scaling is about knowing exactly where you want to be, having a strategy to get there, and having practices in place that move the needle and allow you to course-correct as needed.
Goal-setting with FAST Goals
Verne notes that when it comes to goal setting, it’s important to get it right. Several successful business leaders use the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound) as their foundation for goal setting, but have you heard of FAST Goals?
Verne says that this is a newer acronym that works alongside SMART Goals to ensure your goals are truly polished. FAST Goals are:
Frequently discussed as to keep everyone focused and motivated; Ambitious enough that they are exciting, but not so big that they are demoralizing; Specific so they can be easily measured; Transparent so that everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected.
Using tech to tie it all together
There are many parts to successful strategic execution, and even the best business leaders can get lost or become overwhelmed by it all. Technology and SaaS tools can help keep them on track by reinforcing excellent habits, organizing data, and ensuring the whole team is working toward the same goals.
Software like Align provide CEOs with a tool that allows them to easily track cascading priorities and metrics without dealing with the mess of multiple Excel spreadsheets. But Align is not just a tool for CEOs – the rest of the team can also use it to track their individual priorities and targets and take advantage of meeting tools and templates.
Interested in learning more about how Align can help you achieve your biggest goals? Book your demo today.