Thank God For a Good Recession: 7 No-Fail Strategies to Pull Ahead During Tough Times (Part One of a Two-Part Series)

By Roxanne Emmerich

Fortunes are made during recessions—it’s the perfect time to pull ahead of competitors. Challenging times require that we raise the bar on expectations and that we celebrate the accomplishment of those expectations. Here are seven you need to implement NOW.

1) Be a Giver…NOT a Taker

Your relationship with current customers, prospective customers, and centers of influence should be based on giving. They should hear from you every 90 days—lest they forget you and acquaint themselves with your competition. Send informational mailings like a “Top 10 Tips for Preparing for the School Season” sheet. Including coupons from one of your retail customers are great ways to add value to the correspondence. A “taker” approach—sending “buy me,” four-color, glossy brochures—will create almost no response. Givers always get better results than takers.

2) Clarify Measurable Expectations

A Business Week survey asked individuals, “Are you one of the Top 10% of performers in your company?” The percentage answering “yes”:

• Middle managers: 84%

• Females: 89%

• Males: 91%

• Age 55+: 93%

• Work for company with less than 50 employees: 96%

• Executives: 97%

Seems like a delusional view of our contribution is the norm. This begs the question: How do you help people understand what quantifiable measurements they should be scoring themselves on so they can assess their contributions intelligently? The need for “critical driver” numbers and quantifiable results for each position is imperative. A sales associate who knows his or her critical performance drivers and how they will be measured each week is newly empowered to assess his or her true contribution. Every team member should have exact measurements in place to help them understand how they rank in relation to your expectations using approximately five “critical driver” areas. It will help your people ground themselves in reality and create “real” plans for progress toward precise goals.

3) Execute, Execute, Execute

It’s no surprise that the team with the most passion to get things done wins. It’s time-tested. And those that throw their hearts over the bar, manage to catapult over the heads of their competitors. CEO Advisor LLC proves that execution is the key to success, sharing that “the execution ability of a team remains the single most important skill we see. Recently, 500 CEOs were asked to name their company’s greatest competitive advantage. A majority 88% said it was that they executed better than their competitors.” If execution is so important, then what holds people back from doing it? A recent Harris Interactive survey discovered the following barriers that must be addressed by leaders and their teams:

• The big picture is out of focus. Only 22% of workers are focused on organizational goals and only 23% precisely understand their organization’s strategy and goals.

• Goals are unclear. Only 10% of workers have clear, measurable, deadline-driven work goals.

• No individual or group prioritization. Only 8% of workers systematically schedule their priorities. Only 60% of an individual worker’s time is spent actually working on key goals.

• And only 14% of the average work groups’ time focuses on top goals!

The bottom line? Great execution requires alignment, accountability and action. Execution isn’t a pipe dream, but it does require investing the time and effort to create a playbook for the game, to study that playbook and of course, to get on the field and play. By providing your employees with more context and fostering more alignment, you’ll actually empower the kind of understanding, accountability and excitement that make winning the execution game a lot easier.

(Note: This is the first of a two-part series. Visit Wednesday for Part Two of Thank God For A Good Recession!)

Roxanne Emmerich’s Thank God It’s Monday!—How to Create a Workplace You and Your Customers Love climbed to #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list and made the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists—all in the first week of its release. Roxanne is renowned for her ability to transform “ho-hum” workplaces into dynamic, results-oriented, “bring-it-on” cultures. Listen to the free 60-second audio with teammates each Monday to clean up the craziness in your workplace and focus on getting massive results. Sign up today at ©MMIV Leadership Press Avenue, LLC. All rights reserved, including translation. No reproduction or duplication, whole or in part, in any form or by any means without written permission from Leadership Press Avenue, LLC. Material provided under license, for internal use only pursuant to the terms and conditions of the license agreement.

By Adam

March 07, 2011