If success is the goal, what is your game plan?
As a company grows, automation of tasks, task reallocation, reporting and alerts becomes more important. If you have a team that are working remotely or happen to be fighting the ever changing environment due to circumstances beyond your control (who could have predicted a global pandemic?) automation and good system design becomes your insurance policy.
In fact, we have grown at a phenomenal rate. While the growth was welcome and we were already on that trajectory, it is the rate of that growth causes a whole new set of issues for me, as the CEO, to resolve.
Specifically, we are looking at how we restructure the company to support that aggressive growth, and what impact that will have on our systems and reporting.
During a rare moment of downtime reading the weekend press, my eye was caught by a couple of articles that got me thinking about the parallels between automation (due to the Ocado announcement), team sports (thanks to football and the ESL) and running the company, as we move towards a restructure that will better support continued growth and more evenly distribute responsibility and workload.
Like the players on a football or hockey team, your employees are a team working together towards the goals of your business. Whether that is your sales team responsible for winning new deals, or your marketing staff appealing to the fans of your business.
However, the team consists of sub teams which collectively have a common responsibility. The key to this is recognising the team is so much more than the players on the pitch or court. So, the team on the pitch are your customer facing “pods”, which can be further sub divided into forwards. These are the people responsible for bringing in the revenue and setting up your strikers for a goal, whereas the defence are the people catching the dropped balls, and the ultimate protection against you losing a customer.
The off pitch “pods” are your operations and delivery team responsible for scheduling matches, making sure people are fit to play, have the kit, organise the transport and so on.
The point is, everyone has a role to play, a need to understand the role and knowledge of how they are measured. This is why A2Z Cloud will encourage you to start with process. If your success is a goal: what is your game plan to get you there? How will you know when you have got there? This needs to be as definitive as putting the ball in the net.
Once we have your goal, the game plan is your process. How are you going to get to that “ball in the net” scenario? The process should also clearly define who handles keeping the ball moving towards the goal at any moment in time.
In an efficient system, you never want more than one player on the ball (ideally!), but the rest of the players on the team can all see where the ball is and are watching, ready to jump in and help, or pick up and move the ball closer to the goal. The entire team needs to know what you are doing with a given client project, so they can play their role effectively when required.
Why is this important? Imagine, for example, a member of your sales team is in the middle of striking a new deal when they are injured, or taken ill, and are forced to leave the pitch. How do you know that has happened? It was tough enough when we were all office based and remote working just exacerbates the problem if you haven’t built that scenario into your “game plan”. What happens to that opportunity now? Have you the systems in place to enable you to pick up the ball where they left off? What if that prospect called wanting to move things forward, would you flounder without the relevant information to hand, or can you immediately access the necessary information?
The above is very sales focused and easily addressed within your CRM system design. Identifying someone who has the skill and the time available to pick up that deal is arguably a function of the HR – Zoho People system. It gets harder when a ball is being passed between “pods”, say from your forwards to defence, as this can mean a handoff from one system to another.
I have long been frustrated by the fact that we have been too busy to sort our systems out. So, once that goal is in the penalty area, the project and delivery team successfully score the goal by delivering a system that the client is happy with so the project can be closed. The frustration was borne out of the fact that if something changes in Zoho Projects, for example a change request results in a change of project completion dates, the sales person didn’t automatically get an alert, and the finance team weren’t notified to update the cash flow forecast for the projected payment date.
To be clear, I don’t mean email notifications. Personally, I hate email, I get so many and it’s way too easy to miss simple notifications. If a project slips, the sales person needs to update the projected close date of any follow-on deals, such as the managed service contract, so the alert needs to be in the form of a task – an action to be completed.
With true automation and integrated systems we have now fixed our “game plan” so that our CFO Catharina doesn’t have to do anything. By auto updating the due date on a draft SalesOrder sitting in Zoho Books, as a result of a change in milestone dates in Zoho Projects, her cash flow report and our monthly budgets are automatically updated. Goal scored!
The analogy doesn’t stop there! Wimbeldon is (hopefully) around the corner and, if you are a fan, you will know that the analysis now available to the professional tennis player is phenomenal in terms of how many forehands they hit out, the speed of the serve and so on.
Post match analysis is critical – where could you have improved to change the outcome? This equates to using your data to strengthen your forwards. Could you have got a goal quicker or more profitably, key stats for measuring sales velocity? What do you excel at? How can you maximise on this to optimise your key performance indicators and dashboards? Where is your defence weak? How can you help your defence to prevent your competitors from stopping you getting to your goal?
Are we succeeding with this analogy so far or should we call half time? No? OK, can you guess where we’re going next?
Measure what matters – at every level of your game plan.
Effective planning, communication, analysis and action is the goal.
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