Ever read a thought provoking book or attended a motivational seminar or marketing meeting, excited to return back to work with tons of new ideas that you know will have a tremendous impact on the future growth of your business?
The problem is a few months later none of those ideas that you knew would make you more money and grow your company have been implemented or were even tried, deemed a failure by your staff, abandoned and quickly forgotten.
Was it the idea that failed, or was it you that failed the idea as the owner and leader of your company?
This past week I was a guest at the Tony Robbins 4 Day “Business Mastery” Conference in Las Vegas. The conference featured Tony Robbins and included Chet Holmes (who wrote The Ultimate Sales Machine and a variety of other dynamic motivational, marketing, sales and operations related speakers, who captivated the the hall for four amazing days.
Whether they were the CEO of a large corporation, a dentist, small business owner, restaurant owner, mortgage broker, or solopreneur looking to turn an idea into a new venture, everyone I spoke to on breaks spilled over with energy, excitement, ideas and innovation, that they knew would impact their business once implemented upon their return home.
The important question is, will they follow through on their return this week and begin to implement what they learned, or will they be sucked back into their day to day routine and fail to make the positive change that they know will impact their future business? Seems like a simple question, but in reality, most will do nothing without out some type of coaching or consulting help to push them forward.
A common theme that many of the speakers emphasized was that any great idea that they took away from the conference would not succeed without six essential elements. They were:
- One Thing At a Time
- An Effective Implementation Plan
- Policies and Procedures
- Proper and Consistent Training
- Unyielding Commitment
One Thing At a Time!
To often we return from a conference or even read a book and it sparks a variety of ideas that we want to implement immediately. We are all enthused and impose our new vision upon our organization, with all the best of intentions. What we end up with though is confusion, natural resistance, inconsistency and in the end no positive change.
Step 1 is prioritize what you want to accomplish and follow the preceding steps to address one idea or improvement at a time. When you have planned, implemented, trained and woven this new policy or procedure into the fabric of your organization, then move onto your next idea.
This requires some patience that many are unwilling to accept, but one successfully implemented policy or procedure that brings positive change to your organization, is worth a hundred great ideas that are never effectively implemented.
An Effective Implementation Plan
It does not matter if you are talking about a new marketing strategy, sales presentation, changes in inventory control or expanding your product or service offering. You need to plan it out, discuss and utilize the talent you have on your team and develop a plan that will achieve your goal, while playing to the strengths of your organization.
Take the time to get input and ideas from your people as they are your greatest resource and are critical to making any idea a profitable jump forward or a dismal failure for your company.
Consistent Policies and Procedures
Implementing a new marketing strategy, product development, sales plan or operational initiative without clearly defined policies and procedures that support the effort is a recipe for failure. You need to detail not only the goal, but exactly the steps required to achieve it. Whether that is a sales script for a new product, order filling procedure, how the phone is answered or the process that each new lead travels through the organization, it all needs to be defined.
Here again your biggest and best resource is getting your people involved in defining the most effective way to implement a plan and create the policy and procedures that all will follow.
Proper and Consistent Training
Here is a pit that many of us fall into when it comes to implementing change or even maintaining consistency within our organization as it grows. If we establish policies and procedures to guide our organization, but do not effectively train our people, educate new employees and re-enforce what has been taught on a regular basis, people will turn to either what they know or what is easiest.
Handing someone a new printed procedure for their policy manual is not effective training. Effective training requires understanding, role playing and repetition. Effective training makes policy and procedures second nature and the natural response to a particular situation, whether that is sales, marketing, manufacturing, accounting or administration.
Chet Holmes calls this “Pig Headed Determination” in his book that I mentioned above. You can not implement anything that will have a meaningful long term impact on your organization, unless you are committed and unwavering in your determination and expectations that the plan will be followed.
It is not unusual for a new sales or marketing plan to take months to bear fruit and the usual reaction of your sales team is to go back to what they know and take the path of least resistance. This is where you need to remain firm, lead and hold your people accountable, that the procedures are followed and the results are achieved.
Develop and review on a regular basis metrics and reports to track and quantify that the plan is being followed as developed, implemented and trained.
Speaking of holding people accountable. The first person you need to make accountable for any effort to be successful is yourself and that can be the hardest step in the process for some. If you do not have Unyielding Commitment to the plan, do not expect anyone else to.
Excuse Number 1 that most use when I discuss accountability is that they do not have the time to lead and manage the steps I have outlined above, but the reality is that as the owner, no one requires them to make time and so they never do.
Think through what you need to do to ensure that each of these 6 steps are followed in order to achieve real growth and success for your business.
For some it may just mean commitment to better personal time management to facilitate implementation of a new idea. For others it may mean hiring a business coach to help keep them focused, discuss strategy and help them through the process (even the greatest athletes have a coach). Maybe your organization is to big to lead and manage the types of changes you want to implement, which may mean outsourcing the process to a consulting group, who can facilitate all or part of the process to ensure success.
The bottom line is that their is no excuse that should prevent you from driving forward to implement positive change in your business, no matter the size of your organization, the market you are in or the current state of the business economy.