Keith Gerson has spent more than 35 years in franchising in many different sales, development, and leadership positions. Now at FranConnect as president of global operations, he has agreed to combine his personal experience with FranConnect's franchising database to write about franchisor/franchisee relations, growth, culture, technology, and more in an ongoing column.
As we approach the new year, many of us are finalizing our strategic plans and budgets. We've spent countless hours ensuring that every ounce of discipline, creativity, and resources has gone into the effort. Yet, despite an ever-improving economy, too many CEOs will not have achieved the top-line revenue growth they budgeted for 2013. In a CEO survey conducted by FranConnect, 58 percent reported that they were not achieving their financial goals. So what will make 2014 any different?
Common wisdom suggests that a slowdown in top-line revenue growth says it's time to rexamine your strategy. But assuming that revenue shortfalls are indicative of a flawed plan is, more times than not, erroneous.
In a key study of organizational change, the global management consulting firm Bain & Company reported these findings:
In short, people weren't sure what the goals were, were not committed to them, didn't know what to do specifically to achieve them, and weren't being held accountable for it.
We see evidence that these same trends are occuring in franchising. Consider that in our CEO survey, 46 percent of respondents acknowledged that they did not have their strategic plans in writing and shared with their management teams; and 25 percent of respondents did not have a clear vision/mission statement in writing and shared. An additional 25 percent did not have clear core values used for hiring, reviewing, rewarding, and terminating. Each of these is a critical step in getting everyone aligned without wasting sales or operational energies on activites not useful to the business.
Another critical metric from our CEO survey that can contribute to issues in engagement and execution of strategies is that 25 percent did not have detailed job descriptions. Also, 38 percent did not have a formal evaluation method.
Achieving engagement and execution of strategic plans boils down to learning how change in human behavior is accomplished by having closed-loop mechanisms and by holding people accountable. At the end of the day, it's all about performance. Here are several behavior-modifying best practices for making 2014 your best year ever (with a nod to the business book The Four Disciplines of Execution.)
Great teams know at every moment whether or not they are winning. They must know--otherwise they wouldn't know what to do be winning.
At the end of the day, stratetgic planning is the ante. The ultimate aim is not just to get results, but to create a culture of executional excellence.
A targeted, quarterly magazine that takes CEO's, VPs and Sales Executives to the cutting edge of franchise development.