If I had to pick one activity, habit or tool that would be the most significant thing a business could implement to get powerful business results, I would say it would be the habit of goals. And, by “habit of goals”, I am not referring to the habit of setting goals.
I am talking about the habit of setting powerful, focused goals and implementing a system to monitor the progress and deliver on these goals.
This is why I use one page tools like the Strategy Summary to clearly define where my business is going and to measure progress against these targets. I have seen businesses and non-profits alike make stunning progress in their market space simply by focusing their leadership and their staff on their most important objectives and reinforcing these priorities each and every day.
The book review for this week is Right Away and All at Once by Greg Brenneman.
Brenneman is a highly respected and experienced CEO who has led the turnarounds of many large corporations like Continental Airlines, Home Depot and Burger King (see this past post for more details). He provides some amazing business and personal insights in this book as well as revealing the foundation for his successful business philosophy.
My takeaway from this book is;
Greg Brenneman is one of the best CEOs that you’ve never heard of! He is responsible for the turnaround of firms like Continental Airlines, Home Depot, Burger King and others. He currently is the Chairman, President and CEO of CCMP Capital, an equity investment firm that specializes in making buyout and growth equity investments.
CCMP Capital look for underperforming and undervalued businesses and invest in them in a way that they can control them and turn them around. Although Brenneman is a “low key” leader and doesn’t seek the limelight, he is one of the best business leaders in the marketplace.
He has written the book Right Now and All at Once in which he describes the leadership philosophies that he uses to acquire, lead and turnaround businesses. One of the philosophies he describes is his five step plan to turnaround and grow a business. As he emphasizes in his book, this five step process should be used in all businesses, not just businesses in trouble!
Eliminating waste and unnecessary cost inside your business is critical to its long term growth, profitability and success. However, primarily focusing on reducing cost will eventually kill your company.
As Gordon Bethune said, “You can make a pizza so cheap, nobody will eat it. You can make an airline so cheap, nobody will fly it.” The king of corporate turnarounds, Greg Brenneman, supported this with his statement “a maniacal focus on trimming cost can lose you more revenue than you gain.”
This was certainly my experience back in 1998 when I was brought in by a client to redo engineering work that another contractor had outsourced overseas. The contractor was looking to reduce their engineering costs by sending the bulk of their engineering to a lower cost country. Unfortunately, they did not control this work close enough. When the engineering was submitted to the customer, not only did it not meet expectations, it caused the client to loose so much confidence in the contractor that the contract for the work was pulled and awarded to another engineering company.