Originally posted 9/12/2018. Revised 1/5/2021.
One of the most important concepts my colleagues and I at ActionCOACH coach our clients on is being proactive. Everything from our GrowthCLUB (90 Day Planning Workshop), our use of the ActionCOACH Business Chassis (5 Way Formula), to the alignment consultation we use to start each of our client’s coaching programs, is aimed at promoting proactivity. Unfortunately, too many of the businesses I am introduced to operate on a reactive basis, reacting on a daily, sometimes hourly, rhythm of solving crisis after crisis after crisis. The consequences of operating in reactive mode are many; lack of growth, low company morale, low or no profit, high levels of stress, and in some cases, bankruptcy!
Chief among the steps toward proactivity is to periodically Stress Test your business. Here are a few of the tests you must perform:
|What if this works?
|“What if this works?” is one of my best coaching questions. You cannot achieve continuing success without preparing for it. This doesn’t mean starting a second shift before your sales increase, for example. It does mean having the plans and processes for starting a second shift prepared as part of introducing your new product.
|What if a key part of your business goes down? Or you must close for an extended period due to Covid-19?
|Machinery breakdowns, illness of key team members, storms, key team retirement or resignations, etc. are a fact of business life. How much cross training and employee development is part of your daily routine? How many strategic alliances have you developed? Do you have succession plans? Being prepared is a major responsibility of business ownership and leadership. While preparing for a pandemic certainly was not on the radar in 2018, many of our clients have currently benefitted from the proactive activities listed here.
|What is my customer retention?
|Low customer retention, and/or a low customer referral rate are leading KPIs, indicating a need to proactively redesign your operations. Simply, if you are not at minimum, satisfying your customers, you have a big problem. Of course, your goal should be to consistently WOW your customers. Customers who are only satisfied are not loyal, raving fan customers.
The results of these stress tests and others, whether good or bad, should lead you to proactive activities. My colleagues and I at ActionCOACH are ready to assist you to stress test your business and to implement proactive processes. All you need to do to start your proactive journey is contact us.
Work on your business, not just in your business.