Over the years I have published many articles on scaling businesses. After running my own blog site for many years I have transitioned most of my articles to LinkedIn's publishing platform. The most recent and most popular are referenced below but if you want to access all my articles you will find them all on my LinkedIn Articles Page.
The Coach Cascade System is a powerful approach designed to transform leaders into effective coaches, fostering a culture of continuous growth and high performance within their teams. By fostering a culture of coaching throughout an organization, the Coach Cascade System helps create high-performing teams that are aligned with the company's strategic goals.
The cash system is simple, though counterintuitive to many. Forecast your cash first then forecast the widgets you need to get there. Cash is a system so you don't just forecast it once and be done, you build your forecast capability and confidence over time and you get to the point where you are forecasting cash and the widgets you need to achieve it every month so that you always have a 36 month cash forecast for the business.
The Execution System is what gets us to where we need to be, day by day, week by week, month by month, quarter by quarter and year by year. So we need to define our plan for the year (our 1HAG including Targets and Priorities) and our plans for each quarter (quarter by quarter, our QHAGS including Targets and Priorities). The Execution System needs to be in place to ensure that there are clear accountabilities for what needs to be achieved to bring the company’s strategy to life as we know that strategy without execution is just a dream.
The fourth system in Metronomics is the strategy system. It is a prescriptive, structured strategy formulation process that shows you how to build your strategy and then connect it through to execution. It looks at where we want to be in 3 years time, the market the company is operating in, who the core customers are, what you are good at and how this measures up to your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.
Within Metronomics, the Human system is there to make sure that you attract, hire, develop and retain as many A-Players as possible; A-Players who are committed to both the company culture and to the achievement of results. For A-Players to truly deliver great results there needs to be absolute clarity of functional and role expectations and accountabilities and this is where the Human System comes in.
If your leadership team is dysfunctional you are not going to achieve what you want. The Cohesive System, which is powered by Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, shows you how to create trust, manage conflict, get commitment and accountability and through this process and ultimately, create results. The Cohesive System works from the beginning to build balance cohesion within the leadership team and from there, cascade down to all team members.
In my recent article “The Seven Systems of Metronomics” I summarised the seven systems in the Metronomics Strategic Execution Growth System. This article is the first of seven individual articles that “deep-dives” into each of the seven systems. This first article is all about the cultural system.
People who gravitate to Metronomics (and there are many) often ask about the “Systems” in Metronomics. The question normally comes either after they have finished the book or, if they are working with a Metronomics CEO+Leadership Team Coach, during the second or third quarter in the process.
In articles I published recently, I explained how we run daily, weekly and monthly meetings. These meetings are tactical/operational meetings and are focused on execution. But we also need to look further ahead, to where execution meets strategy. That is where Quarterly Meetings come in. Quarterly meetings signal the start and the end of each 13 week race and they provide leadership teams with the opportunity to review how the last quarter went, review strategic issues and set the quarterly targets and priorities for the next quarter. My clients normally dedicate a full day to quarterly meetings depending on their size and how established they are on their scale up journey.
A few recent conversations with clients made me suspect that the distinction between Sprintlanes and Swimlanes wasn’t absolutely clear; they sound similar so how can they be different? Well there is the paradox, we use a similar concept for two fundamentally different Strategic Execution models but because the concept is similar the distinction isn’t always clear.
Monthly meetings are part of the daily, weekly, monthly quarterly and annual meeting rhythm cycle that is key to establishing flawless execution. As for all the other types of meeting, monthly meetings have a specific purpose within that rhythm. Monthly meetings are an opportunity for the leadership team to learn and solve, learning more about specific aspects of their business and solving specific tactical problems.
Meeting Rhythms help to get the organisation flywheel turning, once that momentum has started building up, it helps drive flawless execution by keeping the focus on the priorities and ensuring issues get assessed and resolved. Whereas the daily meeting is about synchronisation, the weekly meeting is a short 1 - 2 hour meeting that focuses the team on the key priority(ies) and allows the team to collaborate on one or two main topics that need to be addressed.
"Routine Sets you Free" - This is so true. In my work with my clients, I can't emphasis enough the importance of meeting rhythms, particularly the daily meeting we call the "Huddle". Huddles are a great way of synchronising a team so that everyone knows what is going on, how your are tracking towards your key targets and what might be stopping you from getting there (or slowing you down).
Recently, several of my clients have doubled down on their perfecting their meetings and their meeting rhythms and they have asked me for advice on how and when Scaling Up meetings should be run. It occurred to me that over the years I have written many articles, blog posts and podcasts but haven't curated then into a single place. So, I have collected them all into one place to make it easier for you all. Here goes.
I dislike job descriptions even more than I dislike Business Plans. These two documents have caused more problems in business than any others. Business Plans, because they never really map out how a business will grow with any confidence; they are full of false assumptions on “hockey stick” growth and mostly live on a shelf gathering dust from the day they are printed. Job descriptions; because although they might tell you what someone has to do, they rarely encourage accountability by describing the expected outcomes of a role. To me, businesses employ people to achieve outcomes not to list the tasks they must do. The idea of Job Scorecards was popularized by Brad Smart in his seminal 1999 book “Topgrading”. It was further developed by Geoff Smart in his 2008 book “Who”. Shannon Susko further developed this concept within the “3HAG Way” Strategic Execution system as the Function Scorecard.
This time of year is a very busy time for me. As well as my ongoing client portfolio I also start getting enquires from potential clients who want to start their Scaling Up journey at the start of the financial year. Starting the Scaling Up process in June/July is better than not starting it at all, but it’s not the best time. Here’s why!If you are not already working with a growth system, it takes a while to implement some of the prerequisites and fundamentals before you can start on your strategic growth. Even proven growth systems like “Scaling Up” and “The 3HAG Way” need you to have got a few things in place before you can see the benefits.
You can have the best strategy in the world, but if you don't know how you are going to execute it, it is all for nothing?So you know where you fit within your market and you know your core customers (down to their names). You know what things your market values and how well you (and your competitors) can deliver them now and (aspirationally) in three years time. You also know what differentiators you have now and what differentiators you want in place in three years time to make your 3 year highly achievable goal (your 3HAG) come true. You are 2/3's. of the way through the 3HAG Strategic Execution process. Now is the time to bring it all to life, quarter on quarter over the next three years.
One of the tools I have used with my clients for the last few years is the Key Function Flow Map (from “The 3HAG Way”). It is quite a simple tool but most people don’t realise how powerful it is. It is fundamental to achieving what you want from your business. To many people it looks like a trivial process flow map and, in its simplest form that is exactly what it is. But it can very easily very much more: it can be the map of your business, of the problems in your business and, very importantly, how money gets into your company bank account.
Now what? Our worlds have been turned upside down by the events of the last 3 months. Some have thrived, many have struggled, often down to luck or market position. Many are now turning their attention to what comes next because one thing is for sure, doing what we were doing this time last year is probably not going to get us to where we want to be.
When I work on Strategy with my clients I ask the question: "Are you competing to be the best?". The answer is nearly always "Yes, of course, why would we be in business if we didn't want to be the best?" or something similar. My answer to them is if you try to be the best at everything you become the best at nothing, you are invariably better off being UNIQUE!
Many companies now have BHAGs™(some are better than others) but for many, the path to achieving the BHAG™is not clear. It might show the team which mountain to climb but it doesn't show which track to take or the best strategy to get there. In short, BHAGs™ are invaluable, but they are not enough. You need something that shows the path towards your BHAG in incremental, evolutionary steps and that is where the 3HAG comes in.
Scaling a business is hard, really hard! Sometimes, the “do nothing” option can be really attractive. Sailing a boat in a harbour is easier than taking it out to sea and that is a great metaphor for scaling a business. When you do set out to sea, you often find that things seem to conspire against you. In business every new employee you hire is hard to hire, every new client you win seems to be a struggle, every new product you develop and launch takes much longer than planned. You are working harder than before but your profit has gone down just as you thought things would be getting easier. Sometimes it just seems easier to retreat back to where you were before you started scaling. What is happening here? There is a very simple phenomenon known as the “Valleys of Death”. These are the stages of business where the dynamics of the business shift (for various reasons) but the end result is the same – they are just really hard to push through.