Regardless if your organization is small or big, online or offline, national or international, selling products or services, there is one thing that is of highest relevance to all of them:
Speed matters more than ever in a quickly changing world. Companies which want to survive need to become fast and agile.
This is not a new finding. Still, many managers and business leaders do not know how to make it happen and how to realize the concept of speed.
Based on my experience there are 14 simple rules to become the world´s fastest company:
Meet To Make Decisions
Meetings steal time and leave less time to get things done. Therefore: No meetings longer than one hour. No meetings with more than 8 participants. No meetings without agenda and minutes. No meetings with more than 5 topics.
Stop The Presentation Cat Walks
Keep Presentations to 15 Minutes max. Only one presentation in one meeting. Presentations should be fast to the point. Not more than 6-8 slides. Avoid the multimedia overkill. Put one idea per slide and do not clutter the slides. Presentations are meant to convince and to reach or to get a decision; and not to impress.
Use One Pagers
If you can´t explain it simply, you don´t understand it well enough (A. Einstein). In other words: You need to be able to boil down your idea on a single page. State the context, issue and task at hand, objectives/strategy/action plan, resources needed, timelines and milestones.
Don’t Breed Workaholics
Work hard and smart. It´s a tough world. Sadly some companies go too far by considering it a badge of honor to live the idea of the workaholic. In reality, however, workaholics often are over-worked, cranky and tend to create more problems than they solve. Be a real hero in assisting your teams to get things done quicker and plan for sufficient downtime.
Leave Politics To The Politicians
Keep office gossip, politics, and drama to a minimum. Cultivate an open, transparent, and personal atmosphere. Address tensions quickly and directly. Don´t tolerate bullies and backstabbers.
Plus One Minus Two
Whenever you introduce something new (e.g. a new product, service offer, process, KPI, etc.) take out two existing, similar ones. It´s like following a health diet and working out at the same time. Careful not becoming too lean at a certain point however. You need sufficient energy to outrun your competitors.
Focus On The Future
Unbelievable how many companies spend a huge chunk of time to analyze, and re-analyze past results. They have developed all sorts of metrics and often get lost within their cemetery of data. They´ve missed to define a limited set of relevant and simple KPIs.
Specify Clear Goals
Set SMART goals: Specific (target a specific area), Measurable (quantify indicators of progress), Assignable (define who will do it), Realistic (state what results can realistically be achieved), Time-bound (specify when the results can be achieved).
Transparent And Need-Based Communication
Say what you mean. People can handle it, if respectfully expressed. In times of information-overload keep the volume of circulating data and information to a minimum. Make sure that it is clear when to communicate what to whom. And not everything to everyone at anytime.
Dump Non-Successful Products And Concepts
If a plan, etc. does not work although you´ve put lots of resources into it, change it. If still not successful, reduce your efforts and throw less at the problem. More people and more money makes the problem just bigger. Don´t hesitate making the tough calls.
Don´t Penalize Failures
Making mistakes is a major element of the learning process. Fact. If employees know that failure will be punished, they will stay on the safe side and will not trial new things. Fact. As a result the organization will be less creative and innovative. Again, fact.
Learn From Successes
At the end of the day, there is only so much you can learn from mistakes and failures. You just learn what you should not do. Learning from successes is about building upon what worked.
Be Clear About Priorities
Fewer, bigger, better. Not more than 3 major initiatives/projects should be handled by any organization at the same time. In parallel decide and empower the teams to stop non-priority tasks.
Stop Talking And Get Started
Ideas are plentiful and the perfect solution does not exist. What really matters is what you do at the end. Thoughts, words, and plans without actions do not generate sales. The success formula: decide, begin, move on, and execute in excellence. Groom a spirit of action.
What do you think?
Andreas von der Heydt
Andreas von der Heydt is the Country Manager of Amazon BuyVIP in Germany. Before that he hold senior management positions at L’Oréal. He´s a leadership expert, executive coach and NLP master. He also founded Consumer Goods Club. Andreas worked and lived in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
Please click ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from Andreas in the future. Feel free to also connect via his LinkedIn Group Coaching or Consumer Goods, or via Twitter and Facebook.
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