Are You Asking Yourself These Questions?
“The mirror will tell us everything we need to know.”
One of the most important aspects of leadership is the ability to be introspective and assess oneself. While it might be easy to say, it’s very difficult to do. Let’s face it – the world we live in is full of distractions and business is no different.
Oftentimes it’s the competition, the next best product, or month-end quota that steals the spotlight and garners all of a company’s attention; however, it often is a distraction from the key areas needed to be successful.
What are those key areas you ask? The basics. The foundation. The bread & butter.
Here’s a secret tip – the key areas are what you say they are. However, just saying it, or writing it, isn’t enough. You must define what you expect within each key area of your business.
Clear, consistent & measurable expectations. Simple, right?
Now that you’ve done the hard part and defined expectations, which most people never do, just ask yourself a few questions on a consistent basis – an inspection of each expectation.
If you set clear expectations that are measurable and inspect everything working towards those expectations then you’ll never be surprised.
Inspect What You Expect – it’s our mantra at Bratti+Co and is the core principle of everything we do, and how we go about doing it.
I’m sure most of you have heard of the saying, “There’s three ways to get something done in this world. Done right. Done fast. Done cost-effectively. But you can only choose two.”
Which two would you choose?
What if we told you that the answer to success, both in life and in business, actually lies within that old saying? Here’s another little secret – you can have all three. All you have to do is ask yourself the right questions so that each expectation is clearly defined & consistently inspected.
Over the next three weeks, we will dive deeper into Inspect What You Expect by providing you specific examples of the questions we ask ourselves. Each week we will insert ourselves into the shoes of a different business role level – executive, manager & front line employee.
Below is a sneak peak into what we will be sharing, tied back to that age old saying:
- What is “done right”? – first we must know what done right even looks like and clearly articulate it so that it can be tracked against without any miscommunication
- How fast is “done fast”? – said differently, is my time prioritized to actions that will get the job “done right”?
- How cost-effectively is it? – are we working harder or smarter, and do we understand why?
Now that you know what we do & how we do it at a high-level, let’s go deep into this week’s role in focus – the business executive.
1. Do I prioritize my time efficiently?
A fundamental aspect of understanding commercial organizations is grasping how much time is spent and on which specific activities.
Business Executive– Am I supporting my managers and reps in helping them close deals with our most strategic clients?
Positive – Supporting calls throughout the week in strategic situations where your expertise and title will help in higher velocity or winning the deal.
Negative – Overcommitting your time to support calls or having minimal to no time to support strategic deals that need an executive-level presence. Balance in this area is important.
During your weekly forecast call, ask each of your managers to provide one or two strategic calls for you to join. From there prioritize which to support based on factors like attendees, ACV, etc.
2. Do I have a “why” behind the time?
Having a purpose behind your time spent and a deep understanding of it will allow for growth.
Business Executive – Am I providing the most value to the organization with my current allocation of time spent? If not, where should my priorities and percentages sit?
Positive – Having a framework of where time is prioritized on a weekly basis. Spending a few minutes at the beginning of the week to understand which initiatives need a greater amount of time and a few minutes at the end of the week to review how that changed throughout the week.
Negative – Not having a general plan for how your time is allotted throughout the week and no reflection on how it could’ve been better prioritized.
Time is a greater asset than money. Organizations are diligent in making sure every dollar is accounted for and well spent but neglect to do the same with time. If you allocate time properly, the dollars will follow.
3. Do I know what success looks like?
The ability to benchmark yourself and your company against your peers and industry standards is paramount to understanding what “good” looks like.
Business Executive – Do we have relevant data to understand what our industry standards look like? Are we surpassing them or lagging behind?
Positive – Leveraging a mixture of analyst data and customer feedback/churned prior customers to understand what is performing well and where improvements can be made.
Negative – Comparing yourself to an established brand in the same space as you occupy while you are in an early growth phase.
Without the ability to document what success looks like, you are consistently guessing.
4. Am I measuring myself?
Correctly identifying which metrics to measure the organization and employees against is a significant contributing factor to success.
Business Executive – Are the metrics and behaviors we are measuring the most effective at generating revenue?
Positive – Once a company trials our product, our closed won conversion rate is 50% vs. companies who don’t trial their product and close at 10%. Let’s find a way to creatively add product trials to our rep’s comp plan.
Negative – Measuring managers the same regardless of the outcome, talent and seniority level of their respective teams.
Find what metrics and behaviors of employees most directly tie to revenue success, then incentivize or add resources to it.
5. Are my processes efficient?
Having defined processes and a deep understanding of if and how they are overperforming, underperforming or meeting the status quo are great indicators of business alignment.
Business Executive – How much time are staff members spending on repetitive tasks that could be automated? If we were to automate the tasks, what additional headaches will be created in the process of doing so?
Positive – Employees at our company are spending 3 hours a day on manual tasks that could be handled by an RPA solution. For instance, when building a presentation we can sacrifice these two metrics being a part of the document since they need to come from a different tool that is not able to be automated. Automation returns valuable time to staff to focus on high-value activities.
Negative – Making a strategic business change without fully understanding the ramifications it has on separate parts of the business. Making a high-impact change to a software tool that is primarily used by sales org but also leveraged by marketing and customer success without understanding the full consequences of the change.
The great ones play to their strengths and acknowledge their weaknesses while working on them to turn weaknesses into a strength.
Asking yourself and your staff these questions on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis will pay dividends in the coming quarters. True change starts with a good, long, hard look in the mirror.
Let’s get to work.
Prescriptive Profits #8