Analyze the activities that are supposed to be driving the results.

I bring this up in response to an inquiry at a presentation I made last week. An audience member came up to me and asked me about results. I had just reviewed Pat Lencioni’s model from the The Five Dysfunctions of a Team(a great book like everything Lencioni writes).

“I’ve got a great team but I’m just not getting the results we need. What do I need to look at.”

I’ve got a few suggestions:

1. You first have to look at the activities that should be driving the results. Are they being done? Are they being done well and in a timely manner? If not you might have an accountability problem. Measure and monitor daily, weekly, and monthly. What gets measured gets done. You’ll know what to do if they aren’t doing them.

2. If the activity is there and being done well, your activities or tactics need to be tweaked, evolved, maybe even changed. It’s probable that at the very least,the buying process or cycle has changed for your product or service. Or a competitor has come up with a compelling reason to buy from them the supersedes your compelling offer (or now less compelling offer). Time to adjust and recalibrate. The market has changed.

3. Finally, look at what you used to do when things were growing, and try to figure out what you stopped doing. Graph out your sales for the last several years. Highlight the periods of growth. Look at everything the key people were doing during this time and find out why they stopped doing it. Figure out a way to update that old activity and make it relevant and start doing it again.

This last suggestion is more significant than you think. When things are going well we tend to believe we have become geniuses and start tinkering with what works for no other reason that we are supposedly smarter and want to be more creative. Or we got real busy and diverted attention away from the good things we did that drove business to handle the new level of business. We get out of rhythm. We get cocky. We get complacent.

We got to get back to what works. That’s what the best turnaround artists do. They don’t really try to fix what is going wrong as much as find out what worked when things were going well and get back to it to get around the weaknesses. This is documented clearly in How the Mighty Fall, by Jim Collins. The losers forgot what worked and stopped building on it. The ones who survived got back to their roots and got back to business.