Effective leadership occurs when the community as a whole successfully executes a strategy. Large, complex, organizations have the resources to execute much more efficiently than startups or even small and medium sized enterprises (SME). In fact, I’d go so far as to argue most of the tools and techniques, online and off, hailed as the vanguard of business management are destined for these large players.
However, there is a more traditional tool which is available to SMEs, startups and Mega corporations alike: the Monthly Business Management Review (MBMR). Many of you won’t know what this is unless you come from a big company, so allow me to explain. A MBMR is simply a monthly meeting that convenes senior management to review and discuss the company’s progress toward its stated goals and decided on corrective actions. In every senior executive role I held (subsidiary, division, and HQ) I held these reviews.
Many of you might be familiar with similar types of meetings but know them under names. However, these are operational meetings, not strategic meetings or business planning meetings or even forecasting meetings. They are focused on short term operations and are very effective for sharing with the community where you have been and where you are going: execution.
A rather detailed online search demonstrated to me that there is a phenomenal amount of information and services about starting and exiting a company but hardly anything at all about how to go from one to the other. It is for this reason that I am throwing this tried and true tool into the arena for your consideration.
As a coach and consultant, I get the opportunity to work with business leaders from around the world on strategy but more often than not they totally underestimate the requirements of a successful execution. MBMR can be expanded to include other key people in the company but also from outside. Not only can you get a fresh pair of eyes on your most pressing business issues but you also avoid the traps of “group think” which blind you and your team to the assumptions underlying your decision making.
By way of an example, I offer the recent case of a client of mine. The CEO recently learned an imminent change in legislation was planned which could adversely effect the sales so he wanted to launch a campaign informing potential clients of the pending change thereby accelerating orders. He and his team spent hours working on the communication strategy. During our weekly session, I asked him how he was planning to execute this strategy?
- How many replies did they anticipate?
- Given the fact that the legislation might change at the end of the month how did they plan to service these clients? Did they have a contingency plan in place if every client responded on the last day?
- How could they influence the prospects to reply sooner rather than later?
- How would they address the risk of not getting a prospect grandfathered in under the old rules? If a prospective client did everything asked of them but the company did not would they liable for damages?
- How were they going to manage the sales funnel?
- Since the legislation changed only within the state how were they going to manage prospects from out of state? Did they want them even? Of course not. So how were they planning on blocking them?
- Who could they call on if they needed extra resources? Had they been informed?
- How much information did they need to share with prospects about their process so as to manage expectations?
And so on and so forth! You get the idea. The strategy was sound but very little thought had been put into execution. This is when I remembered my old management review meetings where a lot of similar issues got hashed out and suggested it to him.
Now, I am suggesting it to you.
Sure, you can go online and find any number of people to hire for a business plan, or to sell your business, or to raise money, or any number of other business related tasks. You can even find people like myself who can coach you and consult with you. You can even find peer-to-peer groups in which to get peer advice. But no one who will actually take the time to work with you and your team on a monthly basis on the operational issues that effect how well you execute your plans.
I will and do!
Likewise, the Internet lends itself very well to organizing and conducting MBMR. Using services like Skype and Google Hangouts, or any conference calling service, we can readily organize these meetings; expanding them as necessary to include other skills and views. Leaders should seriously consider using cost effective and efficient Monthly Business Management Reviews to improve their execution and their company’s performance.