Do you sweat the small stuff? You should.
You know the saying, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. WRONG. Another saying goes, “don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish”. I just disagree and this is my blog, so I get to write whatever I want – ha. From a business and personal standpoint this hasn’t worked for me – plain and simple. Sweating the small stuff, the details, seems to make all the difference in the world. As the CEO of WhatCounts, or as an investor, I have always felt that the most value I can provide is to help rally teams of smart people around a few “very important goals”. Not big huge stuff – like – change the world – be passionate – don’t do evil.
I have also found in my personal life when I focus or obsess about the big huge goal it seems to never happen. We have all done it. I am going to be in “great shape” doesn’t work. I am going to “start a company” often goes no where. What works for me is directionally stating a goal, but then breaking it down into smaller pieces that are obtainable in a manageable period of time – say 90 days. As I have shared before, directional compasses are important, but big bold statements without a plan to implement them are just eight (8) words on the wall.
From a business perspective I use the following framework, every ninety days our teams focus on the most important goals, within four key driving areas. These goals must be specific, must be measurable, and must be important not urgent:
– Enhance People and Processes
Businesses are driven by people and those people operate within processes (formal or informal). Spending time investing in your people and the systems they use are vital to the long-term success of a business.
– Innovate the Customer Experience
Customers pay the bills. We live in a world of competition and that competition is always prepared to do better, try harder, and innovate. Great organizations are constantly evaluating how they interact with customers and working to innovate that experience.
– Optimize Technology and Infrastructure
Every organization is a technology organization now. Whether you build software as a business, provide services, or work at home, you use technology to manage your business, deliver your service, and keep the lights on. Focus on how you can optimize these systems.
– Make the Revenue Plan
Do you have a specific measurable revenue plan for the next 90-days? If you don’t, get one fast. Revenue is oxygen to an organization. Revenue helps you recruit and retain talented team members as well as retain and win new customers.
This four part framework has been invaluable to me as I “sweat the small stuff”. It fits well within my thought process of continuous improvement. Please note, these four key driving areas are broad; however the goals under them need to be very specific, a slight reach but obtainable, and be important not urgent. I don’t know a single individual or organization that couldn’t build a list of 100 things they want to do – but the successful people and organizations are the ones that can decide the specific actionable goals that will help them accomplish that big dream!
Final thought: under each key driver, in the beginning, force yourself to pick just one goal. You will have four goals to accomplish each 90-days. As you get better at it and your team evolves, you can add more, but, it is not a quantity thing it is a quality thing – what are the most important. Get ready, it’s hard.