Why the SCALE UP is so important to your strategy!

We’re always keeping our blog up to date with our latest company updates and helpful information for both businesses and people looking to get into work. Feel free to check out some of our other updates or get in touch if we can help in any way.

There’s no denying that expanding your business comes with its challenges. A whole host of challenges to be exact. To overcome these challenges and convert them into opportunities, you need the right strategy. But how do you do it?

As my business goes through exponential growth, I am trying to figure this out all, with the wonderful support of my team. Most recently in our expansion journey, we held a Strategy Day at St James Park Newcastle. Inspired by Verne Harnish’s book Scaling Up, the team and I took some much needed time away from our frantic schedules and endless meetings to explore what it takes to lead our company through this new growth process. Have you read Scaling Up yet? Believe me, you’d be crazy not to!

Every business owner knows that the growth process is intense and days out of the office become few and far between. Making the most of your strategy days are vital – as I’m sure you will have read in RE:geon’s most recent blog – otherwise its nothing more than time out of the office for very little in return. Maximising the output of your day comes simply from maximising the effort put into the preparation. So with the support of our Head of Strategy Rochelle, we ensured that we got off to a flying start.

Each team leader within RE:geon was responsible for listening to Harnish’s book ahead of the Strategy Day. To familiarise themselves with the approach we want to take for our next business step. The Scaling Up performance platform that Harnish has created focuses on the Four Decisions methodology every company must get right: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash.

The platform comprises a series of One-Page Tools including the infamous One-Page Strategic Plan and the Rockefeller Habits Execution Checklist. No doubt documents you may have come across before as more than 70,000 businesses around the globe are currently using them. While there are many 1 page resources in Scaling Up, my team and I chose to focus on the Start, Stop, Keep exercise, the Function Accountability Chart and the One Page Strategic Plan. (Our sun is to use the rest as we grow!)

The Start, Stop, Keep exercise was rolled out to the entire team, as well as our trusted pool of freelancers and subcontractors. We wanted to get to grips with the current state of play for “what it’s like to work at RE:geon” and this exercise was the perfect tool to ask those killer questions to build up a true picture of where we are today. These include:

  • What we should START doing to improve people’s work environment, as well as their efficiency levels – If you’re anything like RE:geon, you will have welcomed many new faces into the business over recent weeks to meet the growth demand, so this question may not yield a particularly expansive list right now but it’s certainly one to be worked on over time. Needless to say it’s still key to getting the lay of the land for how your businesses’ working environment is perceived right now.
  • What should we STOP doing – To get the most effective results, we went where some businesses are too afraid to go and asked the team to be brutal here. We wanted to get under the skin of what tasks or approaches towards tasks need to stop to ensure our team can work more efficiently and more effectively.
  • What should we KEEP doing? Celebrating the daily successes and wins that bring our team fulfilment in their roles and make RE:geon a rewarding place to work. The document was also completed ahead of our Strategy Day to optimise our time in the session.

The second tool that we used from Harnish’s platform was the Function Accountability Chart.

The Function Accountability Chart allowed our team to run a fine tooth comb through each function of the business to gain a greater understanding of what role the functions serve within the business. And who is responsible for serving those functions. By working through a simple process, we carried out the below:

  • List out all functions in the business
  • Ask each senior leader to list who they think is responsible for each function – presenting their response back to the wider group.

This task provides a good base to work from by figuring out what the current level of understanding is within the business. More often than not, this exercise will demonstrate that members within your team do not know who is responsible for certain functions. By no means is this exercise to single them out for a lack of understanding but rather highlight a key area for YOU as their leader to address and align on, to ensure a smooth sailing expansion journey.

Function Accountability also creates space in your thought processing to determine if there is anyone that may need to be moved or removed – to best serve themselves as well as the business. It’s about having the right people on the bus as I discussed when I covered my approach to hiring at RE:geon. (You can read more about how I hired my Rockstar Team here – link to https://regen-academy.co.uk/hiring-a-rockstar-team/

Like Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, everything in Harnish’s performance platform also comes back to your people, and why cultivating and nurturing the very best team possible will springboard you into achieving the efficiency needed for your growth goals.

We also looked at empty function seats, honed in on any function that only had one person in it, and if that person was listed across multiple functions to determine the bandwidth of each individual. The goal? To make sure there are no gaps and to highlight any team members taking on too much. Growth is a rollercoaster and you need a strong army to step up and make it happen. But you cannot achieve this with burnout across the business.

The last tool we used for our latest RE:geon strategy session was the famous. One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP).

…..“If you want to get everyone in the company on the same page, then you need to literally get everything on one page.” – Verne Harnish

The one-page strategy allows business leaders to boil everything down to its most simplest form and align it with core values, purpose, a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) and action items.

Even if YOU as MD or CEO have a clear vision of where you want your company to be in one, five or ten years from now, without a strategic plan that unites everyone, that vision remains just a dream.

In order to scale and achieve your company’s vision, you need to easily communicate a strategic plan to all your employees, so everyone can stay focused and aligned. This might be easy during the early days of having just a handful of employees, but becomes significantly harder as your company grows and expands.

The real power of the OPSP is it makes it easy for everyone in the company to know where they’re going and what they need to do to get there, without being bogged down by an overly complex business plan possibly riddled with unclear and even contradictory statements.

We identified our OPSP to clearly define our 2022 goals. For RE:geon, our year covers the financial year, not the calendar year so we’re only in Q2. With big ambitions and LOTS to go at!

We took the approach in this session of looking at it like a giant jar (or bucket). Collectively we decided on 3-4 annual “rocks” to put into our bucket. Before concentrating on the specific actions that will successfully get us to those rocks. That’s what we call the sand. Our rocks were:

  • The exact number of learners we want to educate and place into job roles
  • Internal team development, and of course,
  • Revenue/profit goals.

Once we found our annual rocks, we focused on quarterly rocks as a company. We asked ourselves, what do we need to do this quarter to get us to our annual goals? For RE:geon, it’s around creating strong lead generation, systems and processes to hold up and support the entire business. As well as nurturing and retaining the best talent. Once our annual rocks were identified, we broke these down into monthly rocks. Our August/September Rocks drill down into each function of the business: Marketing, Sales, Finance, Development, Operations etc. Split down further into clear goals and KPIs for each team member within those functions. So everyone has a clear understanding of how their actions and their departments fit into the monthly, quarterly and annual goals of the business.

There’s no doubt at this point that your goals will be pretty “safe” – because by default that’s what we are programmed to. Create safe goals we know we are likely to hit. With any expansion plan however, you NEED to shift your mindset. Encouraging it to go places you never thought possible before. Stretching your mind to thinking BIG. (Big and Hairy to be exact!) Verne Harnish’s book and the power of the OPSP encourages you to do just that, identifying your BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goal — a goal that is so big it scares you! Why? Because believe it or not now, there’s a firm chance you might actually hit it if you believe in it.

All of this ideation is then tied to your business values. For us that’s Nurture, Growth, Integrity, and Diversity.

Once complete the OPSP was pinned up in our office. Not stuffed into a drawer for the next strategy day. This document will serve as the backbone to your day to day. It will be reviewed on a weekly basis with the team to show our progress and share in our learnings along the way.

We’re now two weeks into using our OPSP and all of the learnings from our strategy day and what a transformation!! Not only to our day to day performance but to our mindsets. I look around in my office and see a group of incredible people, all on the same page and working furiously together to achieve the same goals. Sure we’ll hit bumps in the road, go off piste at times and hey, maybe we won’t always hit the rocks in our jar – but the level of alignment that now binds us all together is the real sense of accomplishment for me. As someone who has gone through exponential growth both personally and now professionally, alignment is definitely the most important thing of all to navigate you through.

Feel Free To Share...

Latest Posts