Podcast Episode #8
How do you create traction within your organisation? The trick is to have your entire team marching to the same beat.
So how do you develop your business operating system? This is the drum beat everyone marches to. Listen to Ben Stickland (from Alliance Software) as he shares how he’s applied the Traction methodology (via Gino Wickman) to great success. As always, we provide the swipe and deploy the systems to get you up and running as quickly as possible.
Ben Stickland is the Founder & CEO of Alliance Software.
Alliance Software is an Agile Software Development firm founded in 1999 by Ben Stickland during his final year of University. Despite topping his entire graduating year and receiving a variety of enticing offers, Ben opted to build the Alliance business.
Ben is a passionate entrepreneur with a deep interest in both marketing and business process optimisation.
To this day, Ben continues to take a hands-on role in a number of startups including serving as both a board member and key strategic advisor.
In 2004, Levi Cameron became a business partner and the technical lead of the firm. Levi is a world-class engineer and technologist and has been the catalyst for Alliance identifying and attracting its team of high calibre developers. The partnership has proved to be very successful, with Ben providing the passion, energy, and strategy, balanced by Levi’s stable and consistent technical leadership. This union has allowed Alliance to fund and incubate two successful tech startups.
Grab Ben’s system: Complete management and leadership system
The Complete Management and Leadership System
Step 1: Create an organisational chart to establish the leadership team and responsibilities.
- Outline the core functions in your business – typically between 5 and 9 processes. For each core function, assign a person who will be responsible for driving that part of the business. The people who oversee these processes are the leadership team.
- Typical functions include Leadership & Oversight, Finance Legal, Project Delivery & Business Systems, Technology & Infrastructure, Sales & Specification, Marketing & Brand, HR & Recruitment.
- The leadership team are responsible for making key decisions for the company and set its direction. Organise weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings of the leadership team to track progress. Each leader then must have a meeting with the people of the company that they are responsible for.
Step 2: Set the vision and direction of the company.
- Create a vision document that answers the following 8 questions:
- What is your core product or service focused on?
- What are your core values?
- What is your purpose in business?
- What is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) looking like?
- Who is your target market and how do you reach them?
- What are the 3 things you are going to be great at?
- What is your proven process?
- What is your guarantee to the customer?
- Actively review, debate and engage on the vision document with your leadership team 4 times a year.
- Share the vision document with the entire team.
Step 3: Create a numbers-driven business – identify your key metrics (KPIs), track them and review them with your leadership team weekly.
- Create a spreadsheet and/or dashboard that contains your most important numbers.
- For example, Current workload, Leads, Sales, Utilization, Revenue, Profit, Training Time, Customer Satisfaction, Staff Satisfaction
Step 4: Set run meetings with a purpose and find the right rhythm for them.
- 10-minute daily standup meeting with the management team to discuss the issues of the day.
- 90-minute weekly leadership meeting rhythm:
- 15-20 minutes: look at your key numbers, check to-do lists, major 90-day goals, and accountability, customer and employee deadlines.
- 65 minutes to discuss issues (both opportunities and problems) – set a collaborative Google Doc and list these issues. Process for dealing with issues: IDS – Identify, Discuss, Solve.
- Last 5 minutes: review to-do’s and confirm ownership, any cascading messages to tell in the company weekly meeting, evaluate the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10.
- 1-day quarterly retreat – apart from reviewing the quarterly numbers, the two core activities are:
- First, everybody must ask themselves “What are the 1-3 things that I should focus on, that will push my department most towards our combined strategic goal?” Set these as your quarterly goals.
- The second activity is to deal with high-level issues – discuss what the issues are and what the solutions might be. The solutions can become quarterly goals for the leader.
- A 2-day off-site annual meeting
- Review company vision and strategy.
- Make a SWOT analysis (planning method that evaluates strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to a business).
- Review and refine the company’s long-term (3-year) goals.
- Suggestion: Have an Agenda – Google document template for each of the meetings – weekly, quarterly and annually.