Kenny Chapman: 4 steps to business freedom
When it comes to crushing your goals this year and beyond, hopefully you’re crystal clear that what got you here won’t get you there. This is a drum I beat with our clients and can serve as a valuable reminder when we get stuck in that “the way things have always been” mentality.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about — there are things in every business that are done every day simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done. It’s time to examine every aspect of your business and question whether what you’re currently doing is helping your company (and you) move in the right direction, or if they are simply enabling stagnation and mediocrity.
Now that we are a few months into the year, how are you doing with your goals? At the beginning of the year, everyone seems to have a fresh mindset and fresh hope, but for many, that fades as the year progresses. Right now is a great time to look into some of the processes you utilize in your life and business, figure out if they are serving you, and build or solidify a stronger framework.
Like it or not, your company is run by systems, and people run those systems. Whether your systems are actually documented and trained is irrelevant. The truth is, systems and habits are the backbone of how most things get done in most businesses. Tony Robbins says it best when he talks about the fact we are not 100% committed to our standards or our goals or ideas, but we are 100% committed to our habits.
This is true in both your personal life and your career. As human beings, we are wired to seek the path of least resistance (except for us crazy entrepreneurs). Since we have a tendency to seek easy paths and implement things in our lives that are easy to understand, I believe that creating framework in your life can be a game-changer for you.
There are many areas of framework we can discuss, but let’s break down the overall structure to create the systems that can set you free.
One definition of “framework” from BusinessDirectory.com is a “broad overview, outline, or skeleton of interlinked items which supports a particular approach to a specific objective, and serves as a guide that can be modified as required by adding or deleting items.” The keywords here are outline, interlinked, and specific objective.
Where can you create a framework that serves you in your life and business? At the Blue Collar Success Group, we have a Four Step Framework for Service Management Mastery. We have a 12 Step Framework for The Ultimate Service Call. We have a 7 Step Framework for Recruiting Superstars, and on it goes.
In this column, however, I want to give you a simple four-step framework for business freedom. I obviously cannot cover every aspect of creating a company’s structure in one column, but I can break down the four most important things that contribute to increased success and freedom.
RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
This is the first part of the four-step framework because without responsibility and accountability, the other three will fall short. Clearly defining roles is crucial to avoiding the “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that” excuse, or basically any other reason team members can come up with for falling short of their responsibilities.
Everyone needs to understand that, as part of a productive and effective team, there are certain responsibilities that are non-negotiable. This applies to every single position in the company, from managers to customer service representatives to technicians. Luckily, the next two steps (standards and tracking) will help keep everyone accountable to their roles and responsibilities.
It’s pretty simple to explain the difference between responsibility and standards. Responsibility is what needs to be accomplished, and standards dictate how and when something needs to be done. Standards take personal opinions out of how well something was done, because they outline exactly how and when things happen.
Having a planned-out sales process is the perfect example of this. If everything is outlined specifically, as well as tracked and trained (conveniently, the next two steps), there is no excuse for failure if the process has been proven to work and is followed appropriately.
When it comes to tracking, it’s not just about what you are or aren’t tracking right now. The key to this step is why you are tracking what you are and how you are using the information that is generated.
I’ve had so many companies present me with long, in-depth reports when I’m onsite, but they can’t explain what the numbers all mean to the success of the company. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen businesses failing to even track basics. In both scenarios, leaders are wondering why the companies aren’t growing at the rate they would like. So, it’s not about numbers on a spreadsheet — it’s how well you understand and make changes based on those results.
I believe in weekly scorecards for managers so there is never a surprise at the end of the month, and managers can make changes and adapt based on real-time, weekly numbers. Don’t wait until the end of the month to realize something needs to be corrected.
The goal of training is to teach a behavior and transfer responsibility. So, if something — your conversion rate, for example — is off based on your tracking and reporting, the logical thing to do is provide targeted training surrounding how to increase conversion rates.
I know that’s easier said than done, but that is the whole reason I started my online-based series of topic-based tech training videos. One-time training is never enough. In your mind, maybe you’ve already trained them on a certain topic, but refreshers must happen. I also need to stress the importance of ride-alongs as follow-up to your training. Demonstrating skills in your training room is much different than you seeing them live in front of customers in the field.
Tracking only provides you with the information necessary to know what area is suffering. In order to change a behavior and your results, training needs to be specific and include the “why” behind the desired change. Team members need to understand why they are doing something other than “because I said so.”
Take some time to look at bigger processes in your business and begin breaking them down into smaller pieces that can be better understood, better trained, and implemented seamlessly. Keep a scorecard that can help you stay informed about performance on at least a weekly basis; some companies even use them daily.
A solid framework and systems can set you free to focus on your goals for the business, from increased revenue to more free time for you. If you aren’t currently experiencing the results you want in your company, find the “holes” in your system and begin to make changes based on this four-step process.