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Simplify, Focus and Execute

December 18, 2015 | By Don Drury

  • Simplifying, focusing and executing can help those strategic projects that somehow always get sidelined come to fruition
  • Challenging your team to utilize these three steps as an approach to one of your current programs could yield incredible results
  • The SiriusDecisions consulting team is a great resource to assist you in operationalizing your project plans

How many times have you read a published research brief, report or white paper and thought, “This is EXACTLY what we need to do!” You shared the inspiring content with your colleagues and formed a “Cross-Functional Collaborative-Interlock” committee. Your boss signed off, and a Very Important Strategic Project (VISP) was launched. Everyone agreed that the insights are brilliant, and new language and processes began to be adopted by the team.

But a few months later, someone else in your org found the Next Big Thing, and your VISP started to fade into the background. Even when the potential value that sparked the initial interest and enthusiasm hasn’t changed, competing for mindshare and accomplishing something before new initiatives take priority can be overwhelming. In my experience, three seemingly innocuous concepts – simplify, focus and execute – have been at the taproot of programs that succeed despite these common challenges.

Simplify

First, we must simplify our approach. SiriusDecisions’ research and benchmarking teams do a phenomenal job of tackling complex topics and making them easier to understand. Clarity is an asset, and pursuing too many initiatives with too few resources is a well-known formula for failure. Identifying a single challenge and setting realistic expectations is the foundation for success. Take a phased approach when applying the relevant concepts and best practices embedded in the frameworks and models to help teams avoid frustration. Simple, elegant, realistic. These terms describe the essence of Kaizen, agile and world-class design programs. How can you simplify the big hairy challenges that you are wrestling with today?

Focus

So many businesses and individuals are in such a state of overload that the time to think deeply, communicate well and impact the world eludes us. Real-time, 24x7, anywhere, anytime access can be our enemy as much as an enabler and resource for new business models. We text or email rather than write meaningful letters or essays; we “surf” rather than dive deep and explore. But by narrowing our focus and making time for real work uninterrupted by constant noise and pop-up distractions, we can do amazing things. One of our SiriusDecisions Consulting clients focused on a very structured deal review process and built it into its weekly sales meetings. The result was over a quarter million dollars of revenue closed in the first 60 days of launching the program for previously at-risk deals!  This focus on simple, achievable results and inspecting the impact resulted in a program that was embraced by individual sellers and management alike. Try closing the inbox, muting the phone, getting to a quiet room and rediscovering what can be done in an hour or two of truly focused effort.

Execute

Simply having a laser focus through the lens of models and frameworks that clarify and simplify the complex is not enough. Achieving results and hitting stated goals requires action. In the case of the organization that rolled out the deal review process, first-line managers embraced and prioritized the weekly cadence. Initial success was documented by sales operations and published to build enthusiasm across the company. Sales reps shared their wins, and the program took on a viral energy. They attacked a potentially complex, long-term initiative to improve win rates by starting with a simple, focused and well-executed deal review process, documented the impact and embedded the new process into their daily operations.

SiriusDecisions publishes materials to guide the implementation and operationalization of our core IP. We offer a library of tools and learning paths to assist in the execution of these change initiatives. Experienced practitioners on the SiriusDecisions Consulting team assist organizations in focusing and executing their project plans. Our clients share stories with us every week about the impact and value they are delivering to their organizations.

Challenge yourself and your team to adopt this approach on one of your current programs, and let us know what outcomes you are able to achieve when you simplify, focus, and execute!

Don Drury

Don Drury is a Consulting Director at SiriusDecisions. Don has spent his career as senior-level executive in the enterprise applications and technology industry, focused on defining and executing strategic sales and marketing programs to drive revenue growth and optimize profitability. He has been involved in many cross-functional initiatives to align sales, marketing, development and service teams, and has developed strong collaborative facilitation skills based on this experience.

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