Executing Today’s Business
When you and your team walk into your business in the morning and start doing things, every action you take falls into one of two buckets. You’re either executing Today’s Business as you know it or you’re building Tomorrow’s Business as you dream of it.
Think of these as two lanes you must run simultaneously. Assuming you envision a different and better future for your company, you have to do work to bring that future about. Otherwise, the business will continue to look exactly like it does now. We’ll discuss this in a future post.
But if you focus too much attention on building your future, you’ll never get there. Why? Because executing your existing business exceptionally well is how you generate the cash to pay for tomorrow. That’s what we’re going to cover here.
What it Looks Like
In most companies (project-oriented businesses are a bit of an exception), executing today’s business takes the form of things we do over and over again in relatively short time frames. It’s the daily/weekly rhythm of what a friend of ours describes simply as “Get Work => Do Work => Get Paid.” We bring in the kinds of customers we know. We do for them what we already know how to do—order the parts, make and ship the products, deliver the service. And we handle the money to make sure the company is profitable and has cash.
How it Works
The keywords are: Activities, Repetitive, Daily/Weekly Cadence. To be exceptional at managing your existing business, here’s what matters:
- You can’t manage results. All you can manage are the activities and efforts that produce them.
- This means you have to understand cause-and-effect in your business. Which activities and efforts—sales calls, proposals, on-time delivery, uptime, yield, collections, etc.—really move the needle when it comes to getting the results you want? How much of each do you need how often in order to get what you want? That’s what you have to manage.
- Wherever possible, those activities and efforts should be captured in documented processes that you can implement, enforce and continually improve. Doing this improves quality and lowers costs—a lot. It also dramatically reduces the amount of time and energy you need to spend managing today’s business and lets you shift that time and energy to building the future.
- Processes do not need to cover every keystroke and every possible circumstance. They need to cover enough to let you follow the mantra, “Systematize the routine so you can humanize the exceptional.” You can document a core process effectively in about an hour (this is one of the things we teach our clients to do).
- Those key activities and efforts need to be measured and reported on a regular basis (we teach a weekly Scorecard pulse). This is not micromanagement. It’s peer accountability in which the people who own those activities are empowered to report to the team that they’re getting done so you don’t have to micromanage them.
Putting the Pieces Together
This is the formula. Pick the right activities and efforts. Get them into simple, documented processes that your people execute consistently. Make sure they’re getting done daily and weekly. If you do that, you’ll hit your revenue, profit and other key goals every quarter.
It won’t be an accident or a matter of luck. Because what you’ll be managing, systematically and with minimal time and energy, are the activities and efforts that produce the results you want.
If you’re ready for that, click here and we’ll start the conversation.