AskDickWagner - Disaster Restoration Consulting
Implementation: What Is It?
Implementation is the execution of a plan, idea or strategy.
Successful implementation of any plan includes identifying and assessing resources, establishing the strategies, and developing a system to make it happen. Also, one of the most important aspects for success is having and following timetables for completion of each level of the Plan.
How will you use an implementation plan?
- As a management tool
- To illustrate critical steps in starting and working a project
- As a guide or map of where you are going and how to get there
- Assists you in being proactive rather than reactive
- Facilitates identifying any challenges or issues early in the process
- Assures a more positive outcome and success of the plan
It should be a reflection of the specific goals and objectives of your company, and must establish benchmarks (e.g., number of clients to visit daily/weekly). Plus, it’s the best way to measure the success (or failure) of the target benchmarks, (and the ultimate goal).
An implementation plan should have the following components:
- Task – list of project tasks or targets (prospects)
- Status – task status such as: completed, on schedule, behind schedule, cancelled
- Day of initial visit and date of the next scheduled visit (i.e.: 2 weeks)
- Actual Completion Date – date task was completed
- Task Assignment – Name of task owner
- What is the VBR (valid business reason for the visit or call)
- Notes – details to help remember important info
- There may be many many components listed here!
Even the most well-thought-out implementation plan is just a bunch of notes if you don’t clarify objectives, assign tasks with deadlines, and chart your progress in reaching goals and milestones. Too many times we know where we need to go, but we fail to lay out the road map, and often end up making wrong turns, back-tracking and even forgetting the original destination! The basic ingredients of an implementation plan should include:
Goal: Your objectives should be completely clear and specifically spelled out, since the rest of the plan depends on an accurate and clear destination. For example, if you were going to take a vacation to Florida, these are some critical points you would need to know:
- when you were going
- when you were coming back
- how you would get there
- where you would stay
- what you hoped to do while there
- how you would pay for the trip
- and many other factors
Tasks: This should detail what has to be accomplished to attain your objectives, (the Florida vacation). Someone (even an outside advisor) should be involved in overseeing each step, so roles and responsibilities are well defined and there’s complete and measurable accountability. Assignments should be clearly expressed; micromanaging each step will only cause frustration, confusion and likely slow the implementation down. Highlight the expected results associated with these tasks. Back to the vacation example, the steps could include the following:
- verifying the dates to travel worked with everyone’s schedule
- get airline tickets purchased
- book the hotel where you will stay
- know how you will get to the airport
- know how you will get from the airport to your hotel
- know how you will get around the city
- decide what the eating and food arrangements will be
- pack all the appropriate clothes
- arrange any required tour reservations
The above list is clearly specific to this particular vacation, but serves as a great example of appropriate planning. The greater the detail, the more likely you will achieve the goal within the stated timeframe.
Time allocation: To be fully measurable and provide a way to verify accountability, each task should be paired with an appropriate time frame for completion. If you are casual about the timeframe for completion, then those assigned to the task will also be casual. I recommend you be aggressive but sensible with your time allocation in order to guarantee not just accomplishment of the task, but competent work.
Progress: You, a member of your management team (or an outside advisor) must be in charge of monitoring each task’s progress and the completion percentage of each objective. When delays occur, try to get to the cause of the setback. Did someone drop the ball? Did he or she have too many responsibilities to handle? Did a third party, such as a travel agent fail hold up its end of a deal? Make adjustments to you task to appropriately account for the delay, make a note of the reason the original deadline was missed, and establish a new target date.
Many people reading this will immediately think; “this is overkill.” However, it has been shown time and time again “what gets measured – gets done!” The decision to begin a specific major plan will usually not include the benefit of familiarity and intimate knowledge of what to exactly what to expect. This is all the more reason to start implementing your plan with as much detail and measurement as possible. It’s more likely you will actually achieve the stated Plan, and enjoy the successes that will happen. Dick Wagner
Valuable Selling Time Lost - Can You Afford It?
Sadly, many executives and management spend a significant percentage of their workdays in meetings. Our meeting-intensive culture affects employees at all levels, and succeeds in killing productivity and morale.
If your corporate culture falls into this trap, please realize it is unsustainable and unproductive. Think about how many meetings you attended last week that didn’t even have a formal agenda? Did any of them generate a new direction or a new strategy, or a better more profitable way to get business? And at how many meetings did the attendees think, “Why am I even here?”
Hopefully, you are realizing that time is a commodity, and the time spent in a meeting should generate a measurable return on that investment of time!
If you aren’t thinking about your meetings with the ROI in mind, you are probably wasting valuable time and money. Often, those calling the meeting fail to think about the lost productivity of the other attendees, much less their own productivity. If it is sales and marketing staff attending these meetings, this is lost time – time your sales people are not in the marketplace generating business, sales and profit.
It’s frustrating to me when I hear clients tell me they spent four hours in a meeting, then another hour on a conference call with other staff, and many times they are spending time in meetings or on useless phone calls numerous times each week.
If the marketing/sales rep is expected to generate $500,000 per year in business, that translates into a “cost” (or value) of the employee in the amount of $240/hour. A four-hour meeting costs your company almost $1,000. Can you really afford that? Multiply that by all the people in the meeting, and a four hour meeting could easily cost you and your company $5 or $10,000. (And in many industries, reps are expected to generate $1million per year is business).
Even worse is when you are caught up in issuing “micro-management” instructions, orders and demands via the telephone. This obviously interrupts the marketing/sales reps’ day and seriously hurts productivity.
Consistency - Not Having It Will Cost You!
Trust takes days, weeks, months, even years to build. Trust is something that scales; it's something that we can continue to build on for decades, for a lifetime, or longer. Trust is the investment you cash in on when you print "Since 1870" on your beer label. Trust can take a century to build. Sadly, trust can take seconds to destroy.
Trust isn't just the most valuable asset that you have at your disposal; it might be your only asset. You can use that trust to find new employees, you can use that trust to build new partnerships and make sales, but you can't buy trust with money, and it takes a long time to earn it all over (if you even can) again once you've lost it.
The only way that you build trust is with consistency. It is through our most consistent behavior and attitudes that we develop a reputation that others know who we are and whether or not we can be counted on.
In a B2B scenario, consistency can refer to consistent follow-up, consistently ensuring that every web page we design for a client is just as good as the last one. In marketing, consistency might mean turning away that major client who wanted you to disobey the do-not-call list in your telemarketing efforts so that your other clients know that you can be trusted not to associate their brand with invasive advertising techniques.
In the classic Tarantino film Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson's character is asked about a girlfriend of his who is always trying to double cross him. Questioned on why he keeps her around, Jackson replies "Well you can't trust Melanie, but you can always trust Melanie to be Melanie." This is an example of the kind of trust that you don't want to earn, but if you consistently fail to complete a project on time, if you consistently release poorly tested products, if you are consistently inconsistent, reversing your position on everything on a near-daily process, this is the kind of trust that you'll earn: we can be one hundred percent certain that you're not going to deliver on your promises. Your customers, your employees, your friends and family all learn who you are and know your reputation. It must be consistently good!
Throw away your company literature! It’s junk
Throw away your company literature! It’s junk.
Have you ever really thought about why you have company brochures, flyers, literature and even business cards?
Here are the brutal facts about your marketing materials: they are all about you, all about your services, all about your skills, training, certifications, number of trucks, quantity of equipment, ad nauseam. For most business owners, managers and marketing reps; a glossy, four color, full bleed folder or pamphlet about your company only serves to stroke your ego. And for the few of you that don’t do it for your ego, you create and print these marketing materials because you think that’s what you are supposed to do! Sorry. Wrong.
While I’m on this rant, the very common networking meetings are also almost always, in my opinion, a waste of time. You probably immediately thought about meetings like Chamber events, business networking luncheons, or other get-togethers primarily intended for you to leave the meeting with a handful of business cards. The more cards you walk away with, the more success you think you had! Oh, you also are excited if you got to spend time telling people about your company, services, skills, or expertise. Yes, you rock. But they really don’t care.
Just like your company brochures, these meetings are all about you and rarely bring anything to the prospect that is truly important to them. Should I say it again? It is not about you. It is about what they need and want!