If you haven’t heard this from me before let me offer something up for your consideration —
"Everything we deal with can be categorized as either an opportunity or a problem".
Sure some philosophies may offer broader considerations, but from a day-to day perspective it has worked very well for me over the years. You find yourself, on almost a constant basis, dealing with either an "opportunity statement" or a "problem statement". And an important consideration with regards to this, is if you can't categorize what you are dealing with, maybe it's not worth your attention or is of little consequence.
Once an opportunity or a problem has been categorized and articulated it becomes an issue of assigning Goals and Objectives to whatever you are dealing with (this will help you zero in on what you are going to do with either your problem or opportunity). It should be pointed out that you may have a laundry list of opportunities and problems, so it’s also important to prioritize what you’re dealing with to ensure you are minimizing your big problems while taking advantage of your biggest opportunities — the problem of not knowing where to go after your favourite restaurant has closed pales in comparison to the unexpected government audit that has come your way.
As you move into the execution stage, there are three considerations that should be top of mind —
Ensure you involve people who are committed, have diverse perspectives (and skill sets), and are able to leave any ego (and agenda) at the door. If you are leading the effort let your team do their job because they’re definitely going to do a better job hitting those Goals and Objectives than you.
Have a framework and a process to move the thinking and execution of your initiatives forward. I liken it to a funnel — initially you want your approach to be broad and capture as much input and thinking as possible; as you prioritize and progress this thinking it allows you to focus in on key initiatives that you can execute on (and measure). A time and event will help you stay on track and meet your milestones.
Be aware of the time and resources you have to work with. This keeps you grounded in reality with regard to what you can and what you can not do — for example, planning out a multi-channel marketing campaign but only having the budget for guerrilla marketing will be a problem. Use your money effectively and show results because simply put, success attracts money.
And finally measure everything you do. Set expectations and measure how you are doing relative to them — whether it’s solving for the initial problem, understanding if you have met your Goals and Objectives, determining if you’ve initiated your key activities, or if you’re on schedule to meet your milestones. It should also be stressed that although you should never loose sight of hitting our Goals and Objectives, it’s just as important to always be progressing. Constant measuring will insure you are heading in the right direction.
It probably wouldn’t hurt if everyone around the table is also showing some leadership — my experience is this is how things really get done.