What My Daughter Can Teach CEOS About Structured Growth

What a weekend!

Check out this week’s Tuesday Tidbit video to see exactly why my weekend was so fantastic.

It started on Thursday watching my daughter compete in her school’s track & field event. 

The week ended with the finale to my gym’s competitive week of testing. 

They call it the Garage Gym Games and while it’s purely “for fun,” over the past few weeks we have been explicitly training and focusing on a few key areas of our fitness. This has included things like the deadlift, or a ski sprint, or a classic first responder “beep test/shuttle run.”

I wasn’t shocked at all to see that over 80% of the gym hit personal records in every one of the events – we’ve all worked hard at exactly the areas we needed to strengthen in order to beat our personal bests.

It reminded me again of the importance of focus and intention.  There’s no way we would have done anywhere near so well if we’d spent our time in the gym doing the “same old, same old”, or doing whatever exercises we felt like on any given day.  

To hit our bests, we relied on:

  1. Knowledgeable coaches to help us see where our weak points were
  2. Structured workout plans to address each of those weak points
  3. Separate technique and endurance components to ensure that we knew what to do, and could do it without thinking about it

In fact, it reminded me a lot of the work that I do with my clients to create corporate excellence.

Often when I ask CEOs, department heads, and even individuals working in departments "What specifically are to working on this month/quarter to get better", the answer is sadly generic.

"We're working to maintain our world-class service.”

“We’re working to beat last years sales targets.”

“We’re working to be a world class provider of widgets.”

The words are generic, and the activities that back them up are negligible.  They’re doing the same things they did last year, and the year before, and the decade before.

To create real growth and maintain a strong competitive edge, you can’t just maintain a status quo.  You need to FOCUS on one area at a time.  

Practice sessions are about isolating individual areas and working on them, not about trying to do everything at once.  This is true whether we’re sweating in the gym, or working hard to outclass our corporate competition.

My client's don't get away with those ridiculous answers. 

Instead, they identify the biggest opportunities to make significant changes, whether that's in instituting 500% more 1:1 customer interaction, creating & following customer care processes to make sure nobody 'falls through the cracks', or improving their sales management to be one based on fact versus fairy tale.

My daughter and my gym buddies are doing what major organizations aren't… they're getting specific about how they want to improve, and they're seeing the results./

This is all about disciplined focus because without discipline it’s just chaos.

I was talking to one company recently that has recognized the chaos, but can’t seem to find the “right time” to focus on the areas where they know they’re allowing things to fall through the cracks. Of course, the best time to start is yesterday, not next year.

Remember, if you're not getting better, you're simply getting worse.

Your Challenge For This Week: 

Ask your department heads what specifically they're doing to be better this quarter than last quarter. 

If you hear things like 'Continuing our focus on customer delight', dig deeper. 

Don't let them get away with platitudes. 

If there are no specific plans or initiatives in place that weren't there before, then you're going to have a hard time getting meaningful results.