Coaching to Action

There are 100s of small improvements you could make each month that would make your business operate smoother, with fewer problems, and a higher growth rate. The best part is, your team often knows these and wants to implement them! What stops them? Decision Procrastination. 

Below is the playbook for pushing your team to action and moving forward on these improvements in a much faster way, compounding and growing your company much faster.

Decision Procrastination

Small businesses often have a hard time making decisions... even small ones... especially small ones. When ideas are simple or easy to implement, we tend to think we do it perfectly, it can be one area we control. This goes for everyone at your company too. They want to the best implementation. What ends up happening is no implementation.

The reasons for this include:

  • seeking perfect solutions
  • analysis paralysis
  • inertia

The result is meeting after meeting where things are discussed, refined, hashed out, and never used. The what should be stays the what if, and never becomes the what is.


Decision Speed

Small businesses move at the speed of the decisions you make. Imagine how different your company would be today, if you implemented 1 new thing a week, or day, or even on the hour? 

The compounding of helpful implementations, decisions, investments, and fixes should be underestimated. Much of the growth that we see comes from simply moving forward - yet we find it difficult to get us or our team to do so.

Coaching to Action

One of the best ways to overcome this is what I call Coaching to Action. I learned this from a combination of people including a mentor of mine in Austin, Matt Mochary, and listening to other leaders lead their teams.

This technique does a number of things:

  1. It forces implementation in the moment
  2. It overcomes the inertia roadblock
  3. It lowers the bar for what is ready for use
  4. It rewires the team's minds on decision-making speed
  5. It creates responsibility for results

The Playbook

At each point where an idea is being discussed, rather than let a team member walk away with "I will look into this", you

  • use the knowledge already had by them or the team present to create something in under 5 minutes that will work,
  • push for self-prescribed action
  • add a layer of accountability

Lower the Bar

Ask the team questions in order to get something going asap

  • "What is an 80% solution here that gets us started?"
  • "How do we get our first version of this by day's end?"
  • "Can we estimate the data for the last week, and track the easy-to-get numbers going forward?"
  • "Can we all agree this isn't a horrible solution, is better than none, and will get us towards our ideal goal?"

Assure the team they can always come back and make it better. It is much easier to improve a system that exists than a system that is being hashed out in someone's head. For the most part, something is usually better than nothing when it comes to improvements for your SMB.

Push to Action

When an individual attempts to push a decision off until the next meeting, next week, tomorrow, or later... push them to action. This is the part that always throws people off when I do it.

  • "Ok, I'll create that tomorrow" then you reply, "Can you create it right now and share it while we hold this meeting?"
  • "That's a good idea, let me look into it" then you reply, "I think we have enough here to start, can we all agree we'll start this right now? Great, every enter your data/metrics for today, I'll wait."
  • "I am almost sure this is the direction we should go" then you reply, "While I agree there is probably a better solution somewhere out there, doesn't this achieve everything we want at a price we can afford? Isn't this good enough? Let's just choose this and move forward. Do we all agree? Place the order by the end of the day."

This will push you and the team to an uncomfortable speed, but it is necessary to push your company forward.



Further Action

There will almost always be additional items needed to be done, created, and implemented. For this, you ask them in that moment

"What can you do to keep this going?"

and after they answer

"When can you have this completed"

This pushes them to come up with the next steps, which creates a personal alignment you can't achieve if you simply assign something to them. When someone says they will do something and internally generates that something, it becomes much more difficult for them to not follow through. People need to remain internally consistent, and this will help push the action item to completion.

Make sure to hold them accountable at the next meeting based on their date (and even check in with them in the interim, reminding them of their commitment).

Add Accountability

This little step adds a massive amount of personal accountability for each person on the team. 

After they respond with actions and timelines, reply with

"Can I count on you for this?"

Asking for this puts the weight of the results squarely on them, and removes the wiggle room of pushing it off. 

So in summary, don't allow simple things to be procrastinated. There are so many fixes and improvements that can and should be done on the spot. Your company growth will explode if you start doing these daily instead of monthly. All of those improvements compound in a massive way.

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