Management Articles


 

Six Breakthrough Strategies for Your Business

By: Gary Lockwood

Gary Lockwood is an experienced business coach, facilitator, speaker and an author with dozens of informative articles and reports published. He specializes in helping business professionals achieve breakthroughs in their business. Gary has over thirty years of experience in the business world, including technology, sales and marketing, management consulting, business planning and corporate training. He has held senior executive positions in several companies and has started a few successful companies of his own. You can learn more about him at his Web site, BizSuccess.com.

Wealth.... Quality of Life.... Satisfaction... Fun....

Are you:
  • getting all you want from your enterprise?
  • progressing in your professional practice as much as you desire?
  • satisfied that your job/career gives you everything you want?
Many of the business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals whom I coach have come to me because of that feeling that "there must be more than this". Most are successful, yet have the feeling that they are working harder and are less satisfied. Many were trying to develop a balance between their personal and professional lives.

If you're having these feelings, join the club. A gap exists between expectations and the reality of the workplace today. While business people generally expect they will take more time off and worry less about money as their business grows, they currently work long hours, spend little time with family and suffer from dangerously high levels of stress. These are the challenges of working in a time of transition.

The bad news is there is a great gulf to bridge between reality and expectations. The good news? There are ways both individuals and corporations can change to improve both workplace quality and the level of productivity.

What are the possibilities? How would you like to just leap over the mundane, step-by-step progress you have been making? You do not have to settle for incremental improvements. You CAN achieve extraordinary breakthroughs in your business and personal life if you know how.

Interestingly, YOU already have the answers for more success! They are just locked away inside you. Unlock the creative power inside you and focus it on turning your dreams into reality.

In my twelve years of coaching and training, I've observed how successful business people "break through" existing boundaries and move their business and their lives to a higher level. I have identified six aspects of the enterprise where it's possible to achieve these breakthroughs.

To get breakthroughs, business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals must systematically examine and develop the six integrated principles of success. These Breakthrough Strategies are:

Strategic Vision System:
This is the process of surfacing and clarifying the areas of significance to you and your business. You will establish meaningful goals in each of these areas. This assures that you stay focused on the outcomes you desire.

In times of great change and ambiguity, how do we set meaningful goals? And how do we keep our businesses moving forward and on target? This is what strategic thinking is all about. For this breakthrough strategy, identify the 8 or 10 key areas that are important and essential for your business and your personal life - cash flow, customers, employees, family, friends, spiritual growth, health and so on. Write them down.

In each of these areas, develop a crystal clear vision of where you are going with this. What's possible. What does it look like when you're living up to your best expectations in each of these areas? Describe as best you can, in writing, what it looks like and what it feels like when you have reached the point in each of your key result areas where you are happy with each. This represents a picture of your future as you prefer it to be.

These processes have been designed to take advantage of the way your mind actually learns and the way entrepreneurs actually work. With clear purpose and direction, your efforts will be laser-focused on the results you want.

Tactical Action System:
These processes ensure that your actions and decisions are aligned with your values and vision. You will set critical milestones, success yardsticks and key tracking indicators so you will achieve your goals faster and easier.

To be goal directed, we need goals. Set aside a couple of hours this week to contemplate your 3 or 4 or 5 major business goals for the remainder of the year. Don't get hung up on the small stuff. Look beyond today and this week and this month. Picture yourself on December 31 reflecting on the significant accomplishments of the year. What will have had to happen to make you happy with your progress, professionally and personally?

Don't forget to include your personal goals in here. They may be family related and growth related (preferably both). When your monthly goals are in sync with your long goals, and your daily activities are leading toward your monthly goals, you achieve "Goal Congruence".

Quality of Life System:
In our high-demand, knowledge-based economy, issues such as free time, happiness, satisfaction and peace of mind are not just nice-to-have. These things are crucial to your ability to operate an enterprise at peak effectiveness.

The emergence of creativity, ideas, and information as our most valuable resources, and the pervasiveness of the global, 24-hour business world have changed our concept of "time equals money". Now, it's "results equals money". And we all know that more time at the office does not mean more results. In fact, it often means less results and more mistakes.

What's the answer? The solution is to take time away from your business. Free time makes you sharper. Free time provides the rejuvenation you need to restore your confidence and sense of well-being. You come back from time off with a new perspective, a higher energy level, increased creativity, and often, a breakthrough idea. Take one vacation a year, get one break-through. Take two vacations, get two breakthroughs. Take three, get three.

Getting and keeping a superlative quality of life is best done systematically, not just when convenient. By consciously attending to the balance in your life, you can create a rich quality of life most people only dream of ever having.

Leveraging System:
Here, you will regularly examine the results you get from the investment of your time and money. Leverage to produce high-impact results is attained through support people, automation, outside specialists, smart delegation and shrewdly managed priorities. Many entrepreneurs are still operating under the mistaken belief that results are in direct proportion to how hard they work.

This is why it's so important to make wise decisions about how we invest time and energy. Why do you feel that there's more to do than you can possibly do? Because there is more to do than you can possibly do. You must make choices. Often very difficult choices.

It is imperative that we are doing the right things, every bit as much as doing things right. You've heard of the 80/20 rule -- 20 percent of all activities will produce 80 percent of the meaningful results.

What are your 20 percent? What are the handful of activities that produce the results that you want, that will make a difference, that will take you in the direction you wish to go?

Remember, you are rewarded only for results.

Stragegic Relationships:
Inevitably, the largest share of your income flows from a relatively small number of key economic relationships, generally your top clients and referral sources. Identify these special relationships that require nurturing and create action plans around retention and developing maximum potential from each.

Truly effective business people succeed because they are genuinely curious and concerned about people in general - and customers in particular. Their desire to understand the customer takes priority over their desire to sell their products and services. The delightful irony, of course, is that the very
reason they are successful at selling is because they have made their desire to sell a secondary issue. The primary issue is the relationship they have with their customer.

In too many cases, entrepreneurs focus on current transactions rather than relationships that will sustain and grow the business over the long run.

Learning and Constant Improvement:
When you are proactive about learning and improving instead of just letting it happen, you accelerate your capabilities, expand insight and experience startling advances in your thinking.

Effective learning must be conscious vs. unconscious, active not reactive. It must be something we seek, not just "let it happen". If learning ability is not conscious, it can't be improved. It just becomes "another habit" without effective application to the circumstances in our business (and personal) lives. We already spend too much of our day "doing things."

How do we become good learners, and subsequently, good change masters? The answer is surprisingly simple. Become an active, conscious learner on a daily basis by creating a diary or log of your most important daily experiences.

Set aside time daily to consciously learn from your experiences. You will discover a little-known secret that will put you on a course to life-long, continuous learning and improvement.

Bottom line.... these Breakthrough Strategies provide a practical, systematic way to achieve remarkable results. This approach, once mastered, becomes a habit that enables you to continue your program of extraordinary accomplishments over the remaining course of your lifetime.

Here is how you get started. Pull out your appointment calendar and start blocking out three or four hours each month where you can be uninterrupted ( if you can not do this, you are in trouble already). Use this quiet time to think seriously about your personal and professional life. Use the Breakthrough Strategies as your guide.

In each planning session, focus on one or two of the Breakthrough Strategies, articulate the desired end results, map the possibilities, and create an action plan for the coming three-month period. Refer to this action plan as you plan your time each day or each week.

What can you expect to get out of using these Strategies? The benefits you experience from using the Breakthrough Strategies will depend on the specific nature of your goals. The most common results for entrepreneurs include:
  • significant increase in income
  • a goal achievement process that works
  • a more satisfying lifestyle and workstyle
  • elimination of non-productive activities in favor of value-adding activities that propel you toward your goals
  • a more predictable future
  • peace of mind and increased confidence in your ability to accomplish your goals even faster and easier.
We have found that entrepreneurs desire continuous growth in their business and personal lives. They are impatient to reach expanding visions. Regular attention to the six Breakthrough Strategies helps satisfy this basic desire for endless growth.

© 1997 - 2000 BizSuccess All rights reserved. No duplication.

Other Articles by Gary Lockwood

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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