Regular readers of my articles (thanks Mum) know that I like to start with a little anecdote, something that has some tenuous link to the content that follows.
I’m struggling a bit this week.
But here goes.
If I was to ask you, “What is the magic number?” Many of you would say, “Three!” There would also be some sevens in there, but 3 really is a magic number. Just ask De La Soul. Or if you’re a bit older Bob Dorough.
Got you singing it, haven’t I?
Well, here’s a magic threesome that you should consider for your business.
- A = Approaches
- I = Implemented
- M = Measured
So, just how good is your AIM?
Approach is easy
For a great many business challenges, finding an approach is easy. Just ask your favourite search engine. But which method is best? What will deliver results?
Researching approaches to developing a unique value proposition (UVP), I instantly found at least 20 methods. 17 of them were not particularly helpful. Three had merit. Three had a clear and logical structure. These three were helpful.
While an approach may be readily available on the internet, does it fit your business? Will it give you results?
And when your challenge gets a little more complicated, innovating around your business model, or devising a new strategy, for example, Google might not serve up the best answers.
Implementation is hard
Peter Bregman writing for the Harvard Business Review said, “However hard it is to devise a smart strategy, it’s ten times harder to get people to execute on that strategy. And a poorly executed strategy, no matter how clever, is worthless.” Which brings us onto the “I” in AIM.
There are a whole series of “black holes” in businesses. For example, of those companies that collect customer feedback, a huge number fail to do anything with it. Which begs the question, “why go to the effort of collecting it in the first place?”
Many businesses have invested vast amounts of time in developing policies, that are not shared or understood in their business. Training is provided and then not put into practice. Vision statements are prepared and then under communicated. Black holes where efforts vanish without results!
How often do we hear these examples? Nodding with a knowing half-smile on our faces we say, “Imagine that. You put all that effort into creating an approach for XYZ. Then you don’t actually implement it.” And then we realise that we have fallen into the same trap ourselves from time to time?
The thing is, there is a big difference between “knowing and doing”. You know it is essential, that’s why you went to the effort of collecting, researching, writing, drawing, constructing (etc) but is it consistently used in practice?
Measurement is crucial
I talked about measurement as one of three (yes three) ingredients for business growth in a previous article. Improvement is difficult (sometimes impossible) without measuring results. Got an approach? Check. Implemented across your business. Check. Measured to allow you to make improvements? No? Why not?
Something that often puts smaller businesses off from measurement, metrics, KPIs whatever you might prefer to call them, is that they think it is going to be a huge task. There is both an art and a science to finding a small set of significant measures that can be used both for course correction (leading indicators) and knowing that you’ve arrived in the right place (lagging indicators). But with a small set, you can manage the performance of your business and make great leaps forward.
Remember to check your AIM:
1) APPROACH. Do we have an approach? Is this approach fit for purpose? Will it give us the results we need?
2) IMPLEMENTED. How well do we implement this approach? Is it consistent? Is it well understood by those that need to know?
3) MEASURED/MONITORED. How do we know that we are using a useful approach that is performing well? What tells us that we are improving? Do we have both leading and lagging measures?
What do you think?
I’d love to know what you think. Where do you find quality approaches? What are some of your biggest implementation challenges? Can you drive improvement without measurement? And whatever happened to De La Soul?
Contact us now to see how we can help your business to be more valuable, more enjoyable and more future proof.