The 4 P's of Leadership:  Controlling Change

The last couple of posts in this series has been about factors that cause Change within a Business.  Many of these factors are external to the Business and so are not directly under control of the Owner or Executive.  I had a client who sold items to High End, Brick and Mortar Toy Stores.  Needless to say, this client was having to shift to an online business.  They were unhappy about the loss of the Toy Stores.  I pointed out that this was not a choice that they had control over.  The only choice they had was to how they were going react to the change in how their products reached the end consumer.  I pointed out that by selling online that the company had a theoretically larger potential market and that they could end making more money by eliminating the Middle Man.  They were not happy, but were accepting and we moved on.

This is where Business Plans come in.  Given the changes that are going on, how are you going to operate your Business so that it thrives under the new conditions?

There are lots of people who ask me about how to make one and what is important or what is the best kind of plan.  The answer is that there is no best plan.  There are better plans and worse plans.  The reality is that if you work the process, that any plan is better than no plan.  Why is that?  Because effective plans have goals and metrics that you can use on the way to your Goals.  This process allows for course correction over time.  This is only true if two things are true:  Goals and Metrics are measured and maintained dispassionately and Corrections are implemented efficiently.

The biggest single challenge with Goals and Metrics is changing the measurement during the plan without a replan.  Especially the first time you do this, you are not going create great Goals and Metrics.  But you should not just throw them away.  I see so many people changing Goals so that they are met so that they can feel good about their achievement.  Don't fall into the trap.  If something has drastically changed (and it happens), then do a replan.  Everything has to be back on the table.  The good news is that all the work that went into the first plan will dramatically shorten the replan.

Corrections are another problem.  I worked for a company that acted like it had ADHD.  Products went from the most important to on the chopping block within a span of a few months.  This created more chaos than it did momentum.  It is hard to make progress if the priorities of the company change so rapidly.  It is important to know how to detect the success or failure of initiatives and that is a problem area for people as well.  They will set goals that are too optimistic or not have a complete plan to support that sort of optimism.  But the Goals should stick, plans need updating and should do so with some concern for too much course correction.  Think about teaching someone to drive.  Until they start looking down the street, they make too many corrections and riding with them is not pleasant.  Similar things here.

Have a great day!

Jim Sackman
Focal Point Business Coaching
Business Coaching, Leadership Training, Sales Training, Strategic Planning

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