5 Steps to Predictable and Reliable Success

 Not meeting your personal and/or business objectives?
Need a proven process that assures measurable results and overcomes obstacles?
Group of Multiethnic People Discussing About Business Issues


 Many people think that goal setting is the true secret to success in any area of life. Although setting a goal may seem simple, achieving it is usually another question altogether.

The ability to achieve your goals is the true secret to success!

Why is that? Because you will never achieve your goals unless you:

(1) Know exactly what you want

(2) Are passionate about your goal

(3) Have a solid, realistic plan of action

This is what marks the difference between nebulous dreams and wishes – and truly achievable goals!

Many obstacles and challenges will fly right in your face when you’re going after a goal. Here are 5 time-tested methods that will help get the success you deserve.

1. Know exactly what your goal is: Your first job is to discover exactly what your goal is. What will achieving that goal really look like? Be as specific as possible about exactly what your desired end result is. Your success will be a measure of your clarity – since an achievable goal plan cannot be created around a nebulous “dream.”

If your goal is to create a more successful business, what will that look like? Are you thinking in terms of simply hiring someone to accelerate sales? Are you looking for a very specific monthly profit? Or can your goal be best expressed in terms of a certain lifestyle?

Regardless of what you want, the best way to get it is to first clarify exactly what you want in as much detail as possible. This can be hard work. But without a clear mental picture, you’ll never have the focus required to achieve your goal.

2. Be willing to pay the “entry fee”: Success takes dedicated planning and effort. In a way it’s like building a house. In the beginning all you have is a rough concept. Then you develop a complete set of plans – and you immediately move closer to success. The same is true of creating a better lifestyle, or a more successful business.

But there’s always an “entry fee” to be paid for success. The entry fee? Creating more success in your business may mean less recreational time. Writing your own book may require less TV. Being closer to your children may require adjusting your work or social activities. It’s the “full glass” deal.

If your life (your time) is already full to the top, there’s no room for something new. The entry fee is carving out the time to create that something new.

3. Focus on your goal every day: I’m sure you probably want to achieve your goal as fast as possible. That’s why clear mental focus is so very important.

Consistent daily focus is absolutely necessary to “burn in” the new neural pathways you need to create your new goal. Without daily focus, the old mental habits that have kept you from your goal will continue to take over. This happens automatically – since these old habits replay 24/7 deep in your subconscious mind.

The only way to override subconscious anti-success messages is to consciously focus on what you DO want – and build new neural networks! That’s why success is an every-day event.

Re-commit to your goal every day. Don’t let your goal take a back seat to the daily tasks and distractions that will try to take over. Life WILL try to get in your way. Just get, and stay, on course every day. Focus on your goal, and on success!

4. Get passionate: One of the most powerful tools in your “success tool box” is having real passion for your goal. Why passion? Because intense passionate desire for your goal will help you burn in those new neural pathways even faster.

Many, many scientific studies have shown that intense emotion (passion) is a key success tool. PLUS (and this is really a “big” plus) intense passion will also help you rapidly override any inappropriate old “failure messages” stored in your subconscious mind.

5. Take consistent action: In many ways, actually taking action can be the most difficult step. Successful goal achievement is built by taking one small action after another. The word is ACTION!

If you commit to take at least one small action each day, your actions WILL add up and make a difference. So avoid sitting back waiting for that big second when everything will magically “just happen.” You CAN create whatever you want in life.

The secret is to determine exactly what you want, then pursue it passionately. But remember — in the end, only action and accountability counts! You can’t just dream about it! You have to DO IT!

If you can now see what a process like this can mean to you personally imagine the results if you applied this approach to your organization and created a “Goal Driven Management Team” ? No more delays, excuses, silos, risk, late deliveries, lost sales, and more. We have even achieved greater than 25:1 return on the investment.

If you feel inspired to move to your success achievement to the next level both personally and professionally, give me a call at the number below and learn how this our goal achievement process coaching can accelerate your path to success and enhance your business performance quickly as we have done with others.

4 Keys to Predictable and Reliable Results


As executive adviser Jacques Neatby wrote in Harvard Business Review:
As one executive once put it to me, ‘the CEO is the most manipulated person in the organization.’ He was reacting to the myth that CEOs, perched as they are atop the organization, see and know everything. Research and experience tell a very different story: CEOs actually find it difficult to obtain the information they need.
In their efforts to gather relevant information from your team (How is the work going? Will we get to our destination on time? What do we need to do differently?), leaders often err on the side of:
  • Too much information. They personally pore over every every graph, slide deck, and spreadsheet, but there’s so much irrelevant noise that they easily lose the signal.
  • Too little information. They seal themselves up in their office and don’t try to tap the perspective of their team. Their decision-making falls out of sync with reality, and they are unable to steer the enterprise.
  • Not the real information. They are given just enough information to allay concerns or deficiencies in their team’s performance or accountability; not the whole truth.
The net effect of these errors is the same: unreliable company performance. Getting the right information in the right amounts is a challenge, but there is a quicker and more accurate way: Khorus-a platform built to help CEOs monitor the real results of their companies:
1.  Get the right context. Khorus helps cascade the employee’s insights in context of company goals and objectives. It’s not just more noise; it’s useful, actionable data about the performance of your team from the bottom-up when and as often as you want it.
2.  Get quantitative and qualitative insight. Sometimes how the employee feels in his or her gut and his perspective is just as important as the raw numbers. Khorus gives you balanced feedback.
3.  Get information about the future, not the past. If you’re just getting historical information from the organization, you’re a rear-view leader. Khorus helps you see ahead by asking for predictions, insights and feedback from the bottom up.
4.  Start the feedback loop. As a communication platform, Khorus lays the foundation for critical two-way conversations and accountability that helps everyone get on the same page and avoid barriers to success.
Khorus online platform was engineered to help CEOs deliver consistent, predictable and reliable performance results.  At The SOS Group Inc., we’re now partnering with Khorus, and it’s a powerful combination. You get help from SOS as you develop and implement your winning strategic mission and goals that spells success for your business, plus Khorus as an online platform for collecting and monitoring feedback from the organization to assure predictable and reliable results.
Ready to lead your company forward and gain a measurable competitive advantage in today’s market? Give me a call today at 713-249-9569 for a free demo and to learn more.

3 Keys to Enhancing Your Competitive Advantage Today

f0fa8bc1-0be6-4f2f-8294-a9ffaa404046 Game Changer
During a recent SPE luncheon Hess presented their results and achievements in implementing Lean in their oil and gas operations. They demonstrated outstanding successes and improvements in performance, reducing costs and more.
Lean is about maximizing customer value while minimizing waste, increasing revenues and improving results. Following their success they are expecting their suppliers and contractors to demonstrate commitment and implement Lean programs!  So what should you consider in establishing a Lean program to show commitment and enhance your competitive advantage?
Lean needs to be a sustainable key strategic commitment cascading from the top down throughout the organization.  Without management’s commitment Lean is just another flavor of the month initiative.
It is up to leadership to communicate and lead on a continuous basis the implementation of a Lean improvement program. They must cascade accountability and seek out opportunities for improvement in every work process ranging from accounting, management, operations and customer acquisition.
Culture encompasses the values and behaviors of an organization in its execution of the strategy and delivery of results. It is management’s responsibility to nurture the right attitudes and create an environment that motivates its valued resources to achieving the business objectives. Management must make Lean thinking, acting and behaviors a cornerstone of every aspect of their daily business.
Winning Results
Rome was not built in a day; however, the ROI from Lean successes can start in less than a week. Companies have realized bottom line improvements of 25 to 45%.  With a continuous program and winning results you can demonstrate your enhanced competitive advantage when your client asks – Are you Lean?
Ask how we can help your team enhance your competitive advantage through a successful Lean initiative.
Author – Charles Wilds is senior management consultant with over 30 years of experience in contracting, operations and strategic business development. He works with leadership and organizations to drive alignment to winning behaviors and performance for faster growth and greater profitability.

Improve Margins FAST – Or it Costs You Nothing!

85fd77e0-3f7f-4831-a769-5e724319c161In our last newsletter “So You Cut Your Costs – Now Recover Lost Margins Fast”, we introduced the concept of SPEED where you could recover 25% to 65% margins starting this week, month or quarter?  To back this up we are going to offer a proposition that you cannot refuse!

The Proposition

  1. Select a high value “CORE” business process that will yield the greatest ROI,
  2. Establish the workshop charter,
  3. Agree targets,  and then
  4. Leave the rest to our experts and your team!
  5. No Cure, No Pay! Nothing to Lose!

“CORE” Business Processes

Examples of “CORE” business processes include those that: impact customers, have a changeability index, have a measurable performance-base, impacts business outcomes, impacts work processes and more.  Candidate processes might include development, financial accounting, information systems, purchasing, programming, customer service, distribution, financial planning, production control, delivery schedules, approvals, personnel, quality, sub-process candidates and more.


The benefits of an internal and external “SPEED” program of this nature are overwhelming.  This proven and repeatable process has yielded 25% to 65% recovery in cost savings, increased capacity, minimized waste, improved profit margin, reduced overhead, improved quality, shortened schedules and cycle times, created ecstatic customers,… and more.

Limited Time Offer – Act Now! 

563e7c0e-de97-4749-b4f7-2c09e4345861You’ve heard the expression “Time is money!”  Every day you wait or delay taking action could be costing you.  Call at 713-249-9569 to set your no obligation appointment – NOW!

Call NOW! – You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain!

Results Assurance

“If we improved any single process in our business by just 1%, or even 0.1%, but we did that every single day – what do you think the effects would be in a month? In a year? In five years?”

Are you looking to assure more successes with sales, profit, satisfied customers and employees, promotions, bonus or more? Do you know the formula for success and have you mastered the art of achieving success? We all know what we want to do and maybe what we should do, however, do we have the behaviors and the know-how and support needed to achieve real success?

There are four key components to being highly successful. Those are:

  • The Want To!
  • The What To!
  • The How To!
  • The Where To!

If you have ever played organized sports you know what it’s like to have a coach encourage you and help you understand the rules, strategy, plays and the behaviors necessary to be successful in that sport.

Business is the same. Be it building teams, managing people, successful sales, career advancement, project management, profitable operations and projects and more we all need a valid success formula and the support to achieve our goals and objectives. It’s a team sport!  If it was all so easy, then why aren’t you already getting the results and rewards you deserve?

The solution is simple; we can give you a proven process today that you and your teams can use to achieve phenomenal long term results, FAST. The ROI starts on day one!

As some of our clients put it:  “It helped me get organized and focused not only on my work but also on what I want to achieve!”,”It helped our team to discuss shared issues and find solutions to common problems.”, “Our sales could double using this formula!”, “The gains we are realizing are priceless!”

There is no charge for the first consultation.  You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain – more profits, advancements, improved retention of mission critical resources, more sales, satisfied customers, reduced risk, behavioral based change, goal driven management teams with results and more! You could say that we are in the Results Assurance Business!

If you’re interested in learning how this success formula can help you get more from what you already have, then give me a call today at 713-249-9569.  I guarantee it will be life changing for you and your business results!

Dedicated to your success!

Your Results Assurance – Executive Coach

Misalignment can be costing 15%. What is it costing you?

Misalignment can be costing 15%
Misalignment can be costing 15%. What is it costing you?

What is misalignment costing your company?



What is misalignment costing you?
What is misalignment costing you?

We know of no company that has ever saved themselves into prosperity.  However, we also know of no company that has positioned themselves for long-term success without managing their costs, productivity and most importantly the actions that they take to give them an advantage in the markets that they serve.

In our experience, the primary obstacle is not structure, market conditions or financial pressure, it is misalignment …

•Misalignment of core processes with strategy

•Misalignment of recognition issues that reward activity but negate strategy

•Misalignment of managerial behaviors and attitudes with strategic direction(Inappropriate attitudes render long term success DOA)

•Misalignment of strategies, products and services with what customers really value

The simple logic is that today, misalignment can be costing your company as much as 15% of your gross sales.  Stopping only a fraction of this bleeding would improve your profits, employee and customer satisfaction, successful new product introductions and supplier relationships.  Your unit costs would go down and your competitiveness would go up.

We would like the opportunity to connect the above with your current business situation and to illustrate how our organization might become a resource to you. We unlike traditional consulting firms believe the answers to the challenges and opportunities facing an organization exist within that organization.  It’s our job to help you tap into this creativity and talent to get more from what you already have and fill the performance “GAP”s between your strategies, people, process and customers and where you want to be. Don’t let misalignment impact your profitability.

Charles Wilds – The SOS Group


Introduction to Risk Management

How is your risk being managed?
How is your risk being managed?

Risk management has become an integral part of any business model and processes as the organizations are going global and the market situations are increasingly becoming more dynamic. As per the ISO 31000 definition, risk is ‘the effect of uncertainty on objectives’. This ‘effect’ can either be positive or negative. Therefore, risk management can be defined as the process of identification, then assessment, and thereafter, the prioritization of various risks and minimizing, monitoring, and taking control of the probability and impact of such unfortunate events by coordinated application of all the resources, in order to maximize the gains from possible opportunities. Risks can arise from uncertainties which exist in financial markets, legal liabilities, project failures, credit risk, natural accidents, and disasters and even from deliberate attacks.

There are many standards being developed for risk management by the Project Management Institute, National Institute of Science and Technology, ISO standards, and the actuarial societies. The definitions and methods to calculate risk differ from domain to domain. The definition of risk could be different for security and different for an engineering project. It also differs for different sectors. There are different standards established for financial portfolios, public health and safety, project management etc.

There are many strategies to manage risks which may differ from industry to industry. The different strategies include transferring the risk to another company, avoiding anticipated risks, implementing plans to reduce the negative impact which may be caused due to the risk, and finally accepting either some or all the consequences arising out of the risk.

Although there are some brilliant standards established for risk management that have increased the confidence and stability in the estimates and decisions taken to combat risks, some of these are criticized for not being able to show any improvement in either reducing such risks or in preventing them from emerging in the first place.

For more information on risk management and processes, visit Charter4. they offer information on ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, and others.

Author: Jim Johannasen

Virtual Assistants – Top Ten Reasons Why A Business Should Have One

Virtural Assistant

Working with a Virtual Assistant is fast becoming a necessity for the busy entrepreneur, small business owner and large organisation. Below are the top ten reasons why a Virtual Assistant is the answer to your outsourcing needs.

1. Allows you to focus on your business.

Having a Virtual Assistant allows you to concentrate on the core needs of your business, and not the time consuming admin chores which are essential but don’t add value. Being forced to concentrate on the tedious task of running your business stops you from thinking about new and exciting ways to expand. Your VA will take away as much of this burden as you need.

2. Saves you money.

A VA offers businesses a full range of office support services at a fraction of the true cost of a temp or employee. There will be no millstone of extra expenses around the neck of your business. VAs are self employed professionals who are responsible for their own office overheads. Compare that with the full hidden cost of an employee with all the responsibilities you have for salary, tax, national insurance, holiday pay, pension benefits, maternity or paternity leave, sick pay, and training. A Virtual Assistant can ensure that any small business has access to the same office support system as a large company – without adding to the payroll.

3. You don’t pay for ‘downtime’.

Businesses only pay for the hours worked or service provided, as and when required. Why pay for unproductive and unnecessary downtime? VAs will not charge you for coffee and lunch breaks, or time taken for their admin. When you hire a VA, you only pay for the time spent actually working for you.

4. Availability outside ‘normal’ office hours.

Virtual Assistants don’t start work only at 9.00am and go home at 5.00pm. Being self employed professionals themselves, they understand the need to be flexible and to provide an out of hours service when necessary, and that includes weekends and Bank Holiday periods. VAs are there for your business needs, not their convenience.

5. Tailored to suit your requirements.

Virtual Assistants can tailor their services to provide assistance for one-off projects or long-term support. You don’t need to ‘fill’ their time on the quiet periods. Whether the service you require is as simple as correspondence or as complicated as project management, a VA can be there as and when required – no more, no less.

6. Commuting? What commuting?!

Location is no longer an issue when using a VA. Through the use of Internet, email or good old fashioned phone and fax, VAs can communicate with their clients wherever they happen to be. Most virtual workers face a commute lasting minutes, or even seconds to their home-based offices. Even if they work in their own offices outside of their home, it’s usually nearby and not dictated by the location of their clients. This means that VAs don’t get disheartened by a demoralising struggle with traffic or public transport, nor do they lose any valuable time which could be better spent on their clients’ work.

7. No need for constant retraining.

With a high turnover of permanent staff in some businesses, the ongoing training involved can add a significant burden to your budget, both in time and money. The same applies if you employ a succession of temps. You will have to train each one to follow your own working methods. Whereas a temp is employed by an agency, the VA works with you. VAs are responsible for their own training in whatever equipment or software is necessary to provide the support your business needs. Your VA will be the one groaning when yet another software upgrade is issued, not you!

8. An offshore office.

VAs can provide a presence in a foreign country for international companies. Use a VA in the UK and you have a mailing address and phone number without the overheads involved in setting up an office. A Virtual Assistant can be your offshore office – from address to accent.

9. Parting is painless.

And when the contract comes to an end, for either side, there are none of the legal responsibilities associated with an employee, nor the personality conflicts which can sometimes taint such situations. Either the VA or the client can decide to end the business relationship, given the statutory minimum period agreed at the beginning. It is merely a business transaction like any other, with no need for tricky and sensitive ’employee handling’.

10. Providing a range of services.

A VA can become your partner in business, offering more than just excellent secretarial back-up. Most have experience in a wide range of business fields, including marketing, PR, editing, event management and website design, to name but a few. VAs can offer services ranging from word processing, invoicing, desktop publishing, book-keeping, travel arrangements, mailshots to more specialised services such as website design, editorial copywriting or event management.


Author: Irene Boston

Six Necessary Mindshifts For Implementing Strategy

“One of the criticisms we would have of some of our colleagues who have studied strategy (and some consultants who advice on strategy) is assuming that once you design strategy, it gets executed. They don’t look inside the process and realize that it’s much more complicated.”
– Joseph Bowler, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Nine out of ten strategies fail to be successfully implemented.

This is a statistic that is growing in influence as there is a pendulum swing away from the thought that just crafting a strategy is enough and towards that it also has to implemented. You can have the greatest strategy in the world but if you cannot implement it, it is not worth the paper it is written on.

In the last few years, an increasing amount of research has emerged on how to successfully implement strategy. The company I founded, Bridges Business Consultancy Int, a pioneer in the field of strategy implementation, has been conducting research for eight years. From our studies and work with clients globally, we identified flaws in leaders’ thinking and their approach to implementation. That helps explain why nine out of ten times, leaders fail to successfully implement the strategies they create. Success in implementation starts with thinking differently and then doing things differently. After all, if we always do what we have always done, then we will always get what we have always got.

My interviews with leaders who successfully executed their strategies reveal that at some point, they dramatically shifted the way they thought about implementation. A Mind Shift occurred.

In fact, they have helped me identify six Mind Shifts that need to take place for the success of an implementation, contradicting much traditional literature on the subject. I describe these new required Mind Shifts here, noting the old mindset in quotation marks.

Mind Shift #1 – ‘When crafting strategy is complete, the hardest part is over.’ No, implementation is twice as difficult as creating strategy.

For decades, business leaders have quite rightly focused on developing a strategy for change. Business schools teach the importance of strategy and how to create the right one for a company’s needs. A leader’s role is to design that strategy. The consequence, however, is that once leaders have created their strategies, they believe they have completed most of their responsibilities. The hardest part is over. Yet they habitually underestimate the challenge of implementing that strategy. Many delegate this process to others, taking their eyes off what needs to be done to put their strategies in place. After all, they believe, it is more difficult to create a strategy than to implement it.”

This is not true. Research (from Bridges) indicates that implementing strategy is at least twice as hard as creating the right strategy. The fact that nine out of ten implementations fail supports this statement-not because the strategy was wrong, but because the execution was poorly done.

Evidence to support this conclusion continues to grow. Research spanning 16 years at Newcastle University in the U.K. concluded that “business success is governed more by how well strategies are implemented than how good the strategy is to begin with.” A frequently quoted Fortune article from June 1999 stated that companies fail to successfully implement strategy not because of bad strategy but bad execution. Bridges research over the last eight years shows that nine out of ten strategies fail to be implemented successfully.

When I ask leaders in the seminars I run in 35 cities if they would prefer to have a good strategy implemented badly or a bad strategy implemented well, most speak up for a good strategy implemented badly.

If you believe that having the right strategy means you are moving in the right direction or have the foundation from which to build, that is the wrong answer. The correct answer is having a weak strategy implemented well. Why? If an organization is good at execution, then it will have in place the tools, systems, techniques and abilities to realize that the strategy is not working. They can then go back and make the required changes to the strategy.

Consider also that no leadership team intentionally adopts a bad strategy. It is only in its execution that leaders realize that the strategy is weak. By being good at implementation, you will be able to read the signs and make the necessary changes. Remember, it is the implementation of a strategy that delivers revenue, not the crafting.

The time has come in the evolution of strategy to move from just focusing on the crucial question on how you develop a strategy to how you implement it.

Mind Shift #2 – ‘Most people resist change.’ No, most people are open to change when it is communicated in the right ways.

Contrary to popular belief most people do not resist change! This is probably the most controversial of the six Mind Shifts, because for years we have firmly believed that most staff members will resist change. Remember, if our current beliefs are accurate, we would not be failing so frequently. The question of why we mistakenly believe staff members resist change and its implications are critical to successful implementation.

From its research, Bridges discovered that when a new strategy is announced, staff members generally respond in one of four ways: indifference, resistance, disbelief and support. Which ones occur depend on what the change means to each individual.

Consider these research statistics:

· 20 per cent (and only 20 per cent) resist change. And these resisters tend to complain about anything and everything. They badmouth the implementation behind the leader’s back, complaining that the money could be spent better on bonuses instead of a ‘lost cause’ like this. They try to convince others around them that this strategy is just another management fad. Based on these characteristics, we call such people Saboteurs. If their views win out, the whole implementation fails. You can probably identify one or two Saboteurs in your organization!

60 per cent of the staff members are fence-sitters, neither supporting the implementation nor opposing it. They arrive at 9.00 am and depart at 6.00 pm. In between, they simply do their jobs. They don’t volunteer for additional work, but they don’t actively resist change, either. Based on these characteristics, we call them Groupies. Those who are Groupies like the safety they find in numbers.

20 per cent are those who welcome the change, embrace it and willingly support it. They become the early adopters who drive the change. Based on these characteristics, we call them Mavericks.

Those in the last group are not easy to spot because they are hidden among the Saboteurs. Based on their characteristics, we call them Double Agents. They initially resist, but can become Mavericks over time. Double Agents have seen change many times before and impose doubt that the new strategy will succeed. They have also been called to arms too often and have witnessed too many failures. However, Double Agents start out acting like Saboteurs, but once they assess that this implementation is the ‘one in ten’ that will succeed, they get on board, becoming supportive and active Mavericks.

So why is it commonly believed that people resist change?

Because of the four groups, Saboteurs make the most noise. As a result, they create the largest commotion and lead others to the wrong impression that most people resist change. In addition, Groupies keep quiet because they do not want to draw attention to themselves. Mavericks just get on with the work on hand.

If leaders fail to shift their beliefs, they will develop the wrong policies for addressing staff members’ reactions to the new strategy. So as a leader, what should you do? Mostly ignore the Saboteurs and support the people who support you-the Mavericks.

Mind Shift #3 – ‘It’s all about taking actions.’ No, it’s about taking the right actions.

Of course, you need to take action to implement your strategy. And of course, in business, you are always taking action, filling up the amount of time you have with activity. But the difference between success and failure is that successful leaders ask: “Are we taking the right actions?” Sure, staff members are always busy, but are they doing the work today that will deliver the planned strategy, tomorrow?

To answer this question, you have to first identify the right actions to take. When working with clients, I use the Implementation Compass (see Chapter 2) to identify the right actions based on the eight global best practices of successful implementation.

For example, when a large software company was rolling out its global strategy in Asia Pacific, the right action initially was to convince people why change was necessary when the company was doing so well. That’s called the Biz Case. This company rolled out a teaser campaign that ignited interest and curiosity in its new strategy, starting the implementation in the right way.

A Middle East bank created its new strategy, but did not have a common understanding among its leaders. So the strategy planners developed a Strategy Map to translate their new plan into specific objectives. They also developed measures that ensured the leadership team and staff members were all on the same page.

A local government division wanted to improve its back-office operations to support its new strategy. The division leaders required staff members to engage at two levels. First, all staff members were trained on how to map their work and identify improvements within their own scope. Second, key staff members were asked to participate in cross-functional process redesigns using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control – from Six Sigma) approach. Rolling out the strategy included making sure staff members tune in to both ‘radio stations'”: WII-FM (What Is In For Me) and also WEX-FM (What Is Expected From Me).

Mind Shift #4 – ‘Communication is all about making sure people understand the strategy.’ No, staff members also must know exactly what actions they need to take.

Yes, before staff members can adopt any new strategy, they must first understand it. Absolutely. Successful implementation goes beyond ensuring staff members understand the strategy; they must also know exactly what to do and be motivated to do it.

Much communication about a new strategy focuses on its launch, which is usually marked with electronic presentations, briefings and t-shirts. Shifting the focus from the initial fanfare to staff members embracing the strategy is imperative.

Launch communication also has to spell out what each staff member needs to do differently as a result of the new strategy. The question ‘what actions should I take to participate in the new strategy?’ has to be answered for everyone. And there’s more. Ways to motivate those who implement the strategy (staff members, not leaders) must be introduced. Measures to track the new strategy need to be set up. New behaviors need to be encouraged through reinforcement. Early adopters should be recognized and encouraged so others follow their lead.

When Rolls Royce rolled out its new strategy a few years ago, it used ‘strategy storyboards’ to share the new message across its broad organization. The storyboards translated abstract ideas into concrete actions. They not only explained why the strategy was important but what Rolls Royce staff members were expected to do differently. In addition, 75 managers were trained to conduct the briefing and hold at least 4000 presentations around the world. After this effort, staff members were able to both understand the strategy and know exactly what to do to help implement it.

Realize that strategy can’t be implemented if it can’t be understood, and it can’t be understood if it can’t be broken down into action steps. While strategy is designed at the top of the organization chart, it gets implemented from the bottom up. Effective communication fills the gap and brings the two together.

Mind Shift #5 – ‘What worked yesterday will work tomorrow.’ No, new strategies are needed every two or three years.

Leaders have had a habit of extending knowledge that was true yesterday when planning for tomorrow. You used to be able to rely on a strategy for eight to ten years. But those days are gone, forever.

Today, many organizations (depending on their industry and product) plan strategy for only two or three years. The cycle of change occurs more and more frequently. As a result, you can no longer depend on yesterday’s model for success; you must craft strategy more and more often. That means you need to implement a new strategy more often than ever before. The current economic crisis reinforces this need.

On the Standard & Poor’s list in 1985, 35 per cent of the companies were considered high risk (that is, their probability of achieving long-term, stable earnings growth was low). In the 2006 list, that figure had risen to 73 per cent. As another indicator, from 1973 to 1983, 35 per cent of those companies listed in the Fortune 1000 were new. From 1983 to 1993, 45 per cent of the Fortune 1000 companies were new, and from 1993 to 2003, 60 per cent of them were new. Maybe Fortune Magazine predicted company performance best when it forecast “continued chaos with a chance of disaster. The challenge is getting comfortable with it. ”

One company comfortable with constant change is Google, which provides various Internet services. The company has built a culture that not only allows its change-friendly people to adapt easily, but it has also become the number one company people want to work for in the United States. Google receives over 3000 job applications a day.

“Googleplex” headquarters today is crammed with conference rooms, hallway buzz sessions, sandy volleyball courts, youngsters whizzing around on motorized scooters, and an ‘anything goes’ spirit. In addition-

o The 17 legendary cafes on Google’s main campus offers 20 cuisines and fantastic (and free) food (e.g., lobster gets served for lunch).

o Google engineers spend 20 per cent of their time pursuing and developing their own ideas.

o Google’s organizational hierarchy is flat.

o Google holds 64 per cent of the market share in its category in the U.S.

o In its 10-year history, Google has created more investor wealth in less time than any other company in history-US$10.6 billion in revenue earned.

o Sheryl Sandberg, a 37-year-old VP, made a mistake that cost Google several million dollars. When she informed founder Larry Page, he replied, “I’m so glad you made this mistake.”

The late management guru Peter Drucker observed that “maintaining yesterday is difficult and time consuming and therefore requires the institution’s scarcest and most valuable resources-and above all, its ablest people-to non-results.” Acting this way means your people are not available to create a successful tomorrow.

Mind Shift #6 – ‘Strategy must be reviewed twice a year.’ No, it must be reviewed twice a month at least!

In many management meetings, Bridges research has revealed that 85 per cent of managers’ time is spent on operational issues while about 15 per cent is spent on strategic issues. But leaders are not meant to solve day-to-day problems (although they do because it feels good and they can do it); they are responsible for crafting and implementing strategy.

What indicates that an organization is good at implementation? When that ratio gets reversed. That is, when 85 per cent of the managers’ time is spent on strategic issues and 15 per cent on operational issues.

Changing your strategy means changing the dialogue/agenda at your meetings and specifically at your management meetings. Once it’s successfully changed, the effect will cascade down through the organization. Your immediate reports will pay attention to what you pay attention to.

The catalyst for this dialogue change is frequently scheduled strategy reviews. If leaders are responsible for both crafting and executing strategy, doesn’t it follow that implementation should be discussed as frequently as possible? In my experience, successful implementation requires conducting strategy reviews every two weeks.

During these reviews, you are not analyzing the whole strategy. Rather, you break it down into small chunks. You would examine, for example, the actions being taken, the behaviors and the measures every two weeks. Then every quarter, the strategy would be reviewed in its entirety.

To predict where an organization will be in two years, therefore, do not look at its strategy on paper. Instead, pay attention to the daily actions its leaders and staff members take.

In this article, I have explained six Mind Shifts that leaders should adopt, but I probably haven’t succeeded in changing your mindset completely. Behavioral psychologists say it takes 21 days to make a change stick.

Still, I hope I have at least planted a seed of doubt in your thinking. This seed will be further fuelled by more study results and by your own experiences. Then you will be ready to adopt theses six Mind Shifts that will lead to success on your implementation journey.

Robin Speculand, the founder and CEO of Bridges Business Consultancy International, a pioneer in the field of strategy implementation. Widely acknowledged as a thought leader in implementation, Robin has written the bestselling books Bricks to Bridges – Make Your Strategy Come Alive, and Turning It On – Stories to Ignite, Excite and Engage. Robin is a masterful event facilitator and engaging keynote speaker. His work has been featured in the media, including BBC Global and Financial Times. For more details, go to bridges@bridgesconsultancy.com

Implementation Compass-A Tool to Make Strategy Implementation Come Alive

The Implementation Compass provides you with a structure that can make your strategy successful. Instead of wandering aimlessly through the implementation maze, following this Compass allows you to assess your implementation readiness and identify key areas to tackle.

The Implementation Compass-
assesses your readiness to implement your strategy
assists in crafting your Implementation Plan
identifies the actions you need to take today to deliver tomorrow’s strategy.

The Implementation Compass has been developed by Bridges Business Consultancy Int based on eight years of research and testing with business clients around the world.

Author: Robin Speculand
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Define Leadership and Exercise it – The Missing Key Success Factor in Change Management

How you define and exercise leadership in the present climate will be a significant determinant in your organisation’s fortunes – and especially in the context of change management.

Let’s define leadership: Leadership is the process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective. Leaders have a vision that they share with others. It is the leader who binds the organisation together with beliefs, values and knowledge… and who makes it more cohesive and coherent.

Leadership is also defined as a process that…motivates people to excel in the field in which they are working.

Is this you? Is this your direct up-line report?

So can leadership be taught?

Many would say that leadership qualities are not inborn but can be developed gradually through education and self-study. Personally I am not so sure about that.

The current assumption is that leadership can be taught. There are very many many courses, seminars and books on leadership and a big demand for training to develop leadership skills.

On the basis of my life experience and as I define leadership – it is my view that you can only teach leadership skills to someone who has the latent [and maybe unrecognised and unacknowledged] potential to be a leader.

Management skills can be taught to just about anyone of at least average intelligence and education [and in saying that I am not denigrating management]. However, a brief review of the differences between leadership and management suggests that leadership owes as least as much to “nature” as it does to “nurture”.

It may not be a popular thing to say but in my experience – most people would rather be led than lead. In my experience – the vast majority of people are followers and not leaders and very happy to remain so. Leaders are a very small percentage of the population maybe less than 1% and really strong leaders with the potential to really change things [for better or worse] probably less than 0.1%.

Leadership versus management – some useful points of comparison

– Leaders are apparent – Managers are appointed
– Leaders cope with change – Managers cope with complexity
– Leaders set direction – Managers plan
– Leaders press for change – Managers promote stability
– Leaders are visionary, inspirational and have eye to the future -Managers are operational, hands on, and based in the ‘now’
– Leading is concerned with future direction – Managing is concerned with uncertain conditions: implementation, order, efficiency and effectiveness
– Leadership is strategic – Management is operational
– Leaders set the direction – Managers develop the capacity to achieve the plan
– Leaders motivate and inspire – Managers control and problem solve
– Leaders need to ‘get on the balcony’ to spot operational and strategic patterns within the organisation – Managers get caught up on the field of action.
– Leadership defines the culture of the organisation – Management instills the culture in the organisation

Leadership in change management

Clearly both sets of skills are needed.

But so often in change management situations the emphasis is on the process and the management of the situation and not the leadership.

The leadership characteristics outline above are crucial for the fulfillment of a change programme director / leader role – leading [and being seen to lead and own] the whole change initiative.

How we define leadership, how we understand it and how we exercise it, is of paramount importance in the current economic and business climate as the quality of your leadership could be a major factor in determining your company’s fortunes – and especially in a change management situation. And this is where the properly applied leadership skills are exercised to best effect when employing the holistic and wide view perspective of a programme based approach to change management.

For more on this: “Define and exercise leadership

Equip yourself to avoid the 70% failure rate of all change initiatives with the “Practitioners’ Masterclass – Leading your people through change, putting it all together and managing the whole messy business.”

Stephen Warrilow, based in Bristol, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Stephen has 25 years cross sector experience with 100+ companies in mid range corporate, larger SME and corporate environments.

Author: Stephen Warrilow
Article Source: EzineArticles.com