Keep Doing, Start Doing, Stop Doing

Keep Doing, Start Doing, Stop Doing

Recently, I had an eye-opening discussion with one of our clients. We reviewed 2008 and set goals for 2009. My client provided me with several critical “Keep Doing, Start Doing and Stop Doing” items that he felt would help Anthony Cole Training Group be more effective. This 3-dimensional discussion helped me to understand how we could grow by tweaking some of Anthony Cole Training Group’s traditional approaches that weren’t working from his perspective. This was a difficult but significant conversation. I left this meeting conflicted. But, upon reflection, I realized the importance of the items addressed and implemented the suggested changes. In other words, I listened and learned so that I could better our company and our processes. Keep Doing, Start Doing and Stop Doing: What are those important issues for your firm?


Keep Doing


In every organization, there are things that must be done to drive results and achieve the goals that have been set. Whether your business is research, logistics, finance, athletics or education, all organizations should identify the “rocks” they must move daily in order to achieve their goals. But identifying the rocks isn’t enough. You also have to identify the daily, weekly and monthly activities that lead DIRECTLY to the rocks being moved in order to achieve the results you are looking for. In most cases, just a few activities directly lead to the outcome being sought. Everything else is just “stuff”. In the world of business consulting, our desired outcomes are to:

– Improve people’s lives
– Create advocacy internally and externally
– Grow profitably

To achieve these goals, our “rocks” or activities are really quite simple:

– See people within organizations that fit our identified ideal prospect profile
– Qualify those organizations to see if they meet our definition of a prospect – do they qualify to do business with ACTG?
– Help these organizations make timely decisions to solve problems that they have identified and that we can help fix

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When we do these things on a consistent basis, our company grows. Therefore, we need to make sure those people who are responsible stay on top of the priorities. This is not always easy. It sometimes takes courage. To execute, we must be able to have fierce conversations when activities aren’t being performed. We must be able to manage our own activities and be strong and flexible enough to function as a team. We must be able to encourage each other when we have fallen behind. We must have the endurance to do this day in and day out.
It is easy to get discouraged, bored, and frustrated when these activities don’t lead to results immediately. But, if your business plan is solid and your sales activity success formula is based on real data, these good business practices will lead to the accomplishment of your goals.


Start Doing


When I was 9 years old, I convinced my dad that I wanted to try out for the Hammonton Hawks youth football team. On the first day, as I finished the end of my practice laps for conditioning, I ran to my dad who was standing just outside the end zone talking to my coach. Dad asked me, “How did it go? What do you think?” I replied that I was going to go to college some day and play football. Dad said, “Well, if you want to do that, then you need to start running. College football requires that you be in great shape, so you might as well start now. Go ahead and run 8 more laps (2 miles).” “OK, Dad.” And off I went.

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Nine years later, I played football for the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship.
So, what is it that you have not been doing that you need to start doing in your business? While I can’t provide specifics for your situation, I can provide you with a list of those activities that normally lead to success in selling:

– Have a specific plan for success. If you don’t have a plan, you need to create one.
– Have a plan that identifies specific activities for success. You must also have success standards for each of these activities.
– You must honestly assess yourself on these standards. Are you executing to the standards required to be successful? Are you consistently executing these activities?
– Have an accountability program. If you aren’t holding yourself accountable to your plan, then your opportunity for success will diminish.
– Have a system of reporting your activity and results to others. There is nothing as powerful as being part of a group. Peer pressure is hugely motivating.
– Be a life-long learner. You must commit yourself to improving your know-how. Being in the business 20 years is not good enough. You have to be better today than you were last year.
– Adjust your approach to the marketplace. Today, technology has changed how people buy. There was a time when the consumer relied on you, the sales person, to provide information to help them make a decision. Today that information is available via the internet. Your role now is to help prospects identify specific problems and to help them decide if they want to fix those problems with you.

These are just a few things that we help our clients “Start Doing” When you take the time to analyze your business practices to identify what you need to do in order to be successful; you have taken an important step toward accomplishing your goals.

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Stop Doing


Three years ago, I heard Verne Harnish speak. As part of his presentation on the “1-Page Business Plan”, he challenged the crowd with the following question: “What will you stop doing?” Typically, when companies create a business plan, they focus on the things they are going to start doing when what they really need is to focus on what they will stop doing. Let me provide a personal example.

As president of our company, I have the responsibility of driving revenue. I have always felt that, if I could sell more, we would be successful. I was right about that while our business was new. However, as we have grown and established a goal of building a sellable business, I have had to realize that I cannot be solely focused on selling; to best accomplish my goal of building a sellable business; I must focus on developing those same skills in others. In addition, I have to stop doing certain time consuming activities if we are going to get to the next level of building a sellable business.

Therefore, to show my commitment to this objective, just one year after this meeting with Verne, here are my “stop doing” activities:

– Stop getting involved in operations and finance
– Stop creating new material as we have plenty that needs improvement
– Stop focusing on generating all of the sales for the company

Going forward I need to use my strengths to help our company achieve sustainable and repeatable growth. I will do this by leveraging the talent and resources around me. What do you need to “Keep Doing, Start Doing and Stop Doing”?