Planning to Stay Successful, Avoid the Treadmill


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You’re finally there. Your business is clicking. New ideas flow, you adjust to changes as nimbly as a sailor to the waves, and the systems you’ve put in place act like a machine for decisions and execution of plans. Les McKeown calls this Predictable Success.

How do you stay there? The tendency is for those systems to become the focus instead of just tools to keep you on track, and then it can feel like you’re on a treadmill instead of really going somewhere. From the inside it’s hard to see the first signs of that.

You need an early warning system to guard the life spirit of your business.

Here are seven measures McKeown recommends. Turns out they are all about real people and real relationships:

1. In advance, give real people permission to tell you what they see.

Don’t rely on a checklist, because that’s actually a symptom itself of the treadmill stage.

2. Appoint one or more board members who aren’t executives, aren’t afraid to speak up, aren’t golfing buddies with the CEO, and ideally have worked somewhere else that slid into the treadmill stage so they can recognize the signs.

3. Hire an external coach for your top three executives.

The idea here is to prevent them from becoming an island and to keep them experimenting and open to change.

4. Hold a biannual “advance.”

A retreat focuses on the organization. An advance looks at everything else: the industry, supply chain, and all kinds of changes in the business environment.

5. Enforce MBWA – Management By Walking Around.

As defined by Tom Peters back in the 1980s, this means face-to-face conversations with those who report to you instead of hiding behind email. Good stuff comes from unplanned encounters with real people. {I throughly recommend all Toms’ books especially The Search of Excellence, WOW and ReImagine}

6. Start an internal mentoring program.

Pair people in ways that promote safe, honest conversation, even intra-team. Focus on the development of the individual, not just applicable skill sets.

7. Encourage sabbaticals and employee exchanges.

Getting people out of their daily environment to experience something different opens windows and lets in fresh thinking that prevents slippage into the treadmill stage.

Find more in related Predictable success blog posts, here or in business relationship development.

Visit the Les McKeown Predictable success web site, here.

Or give me a call (269-445-3001) to discuss how to move your organization back to and stay in predictable success.

What does your organization have as an early warning system?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


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