The Power of Prediction
If you’re in a leadership role in an organization, you’ve got issues. Don’t worry. It’s a good thing. All organizations have issues. How we deal with them is the real question. And I help deal with them is by using The 5 Leadership Abilities™ in conjunction with the tools and practices of The Entrepreneurial Operating System®.
I’ve already written about how learning to flex the “Simplify” and “Delegate” gets many issues solved, when they have already come up. In this article I am going to talk about using the “Predict” ability to prevent issues from arising at all. Remember,
The 5 Leadership Abilities Are:
No one of the abilities is “the most important.” You need to learn to use all 5 in conjunction to truly master your business and bring EOS Traction® to bear.
When I first bring up “Predict” with a new client, they tend to think I’m crazy. They say, “No one can predict what will happen tomorrow, especially in business.” A lot of small business owners say, “part of my job is putting out fires,” or “I’m always getting blindsided.” They think it’s normal.
I’m here to tell you that great businesses don’t get blindsided. They look to the future. They define numbers that they can measure to day to predict upcoming issues. And, they deal with those issues in advance.
Here are a few most common complaints I hear leadership teams and small business owners say, and how flexing the “Predict” muscle can help.
“I Think My Small Business Is Failing”
Start with the ugliest one in the room first, I say. And here is the ugly truth: sometimes businesses fail because of the business model. Nothing anyone can do about that.
However, often businesses are failing (or under threat of failure), because the owner is dealing with problems as they come up. Running a small business is no easy task, and it can feel a lot like you’re spending all day putting out fires. Eventually, it feels like the whole thing is burning down. How can “Predict” help?
Good small business models don’t “fail” from lack of profit. They fail from lack of control. You’ve got fires? Fine. Figure out where they are going to be in advance and install sprinklers. Sometimes that’s hiring a new employee. Sometimes that’s increasing your sales calls, because you know you’ve got a client about to fall off.
The specifics aren’t important. What’s important is that you are thinking of the future problems, not the ones right now.
“We Can’t Predict Profits For Next Year”
Cash flow is a major pain point for a lot of medium sized businesses. Money in is money out before you’ve even had time to count it sometimes. And many leadership teams, even experienced ones, feel like they get blindsided by their Profits And Losses statements.
Simple, a PNL (and other reflective data) tells you how much money you’ve already lost or earned. That’s important information, but it doesn’t tell you squat about next year. Real prediction starts when you define the numbers that allow you to see into future profits and losses. Sounds impossible? Here are some examples.
|1 New Client||100 Outbound Calls|
|New Sales Team||2 Interviews / Week|
|Be Ready For Slow Season||10 AC Installs / Week|
These are examples of items that I’d put on an EOS Scorecard™. A Scorecard is a tool that helps you look into the future to answer the question, “am I accomplishing the right things now?” Think of it like the scoreboard at a football game.
It doesn’t tell you who won the game while it’s still happening, but it gives you a good idea of how each team is going to do by breaking down their performance into a few simple numbers.
If your organization doesn’t use EOS Scorecards, I’d strongly suggest looking into them. They are one of the strongest tools to help you “Predict.”
“I Don’t Know Why We Don’t Accomplish Organizational Goals”
This one is very much related to the previous one. I’ve had clients tell me again and again they don’t accomplish their EOS Rocks™ (the 3-5 goals you commit to achieving in a 90 period), because they didn’t have enough time.
Well, I don’t have enough space to unpack that entire issue, but I can say that having time is often a product of planning and tracking progress.
Businesses that achieve goals are businesses that hold people accountable for regular reporting on the progress of those goals. When that progress slows, everyone knows. Then, in a healthy business, the leadership team can figure out why progress has slowed and how to get it back on track.
Again, it all starts with knowing a goal is off track through honest, open reporting and accountability.
“Is My Small Business Going To Be Profitable”
I hear this a lot more often than you would think. Why? For the same reason large businesses don’t know if they will be profitable: they are measuring what’s happened, not what’s happening. Again, (I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it) an EOS Scorecard is how you know this.
A small business doesn’t have the cash leeway to have an off year. That’s makes predicting your sales all the more important. Some of the major things my small business clients like to measure are
- Potential client calls/ meetings
- Current client satisfaction / likelihood to leave
- Milestones for special projects
- Production numbers for large orders
- Conversion counts for advertising campaigns
The list could go on and on and is unique to every business. The real point is that, if you aren’t measuring what’s happening right now, you can only really guess at what happens in the future. And that is why “Predict” is one of The 5 Leadership Abilities.
What Can You Do?
The first step is to remember that this is only the first of The 5 Leadership Abilities. I encourage you to check out the other four articles on Simplify, Delegate, Systemize, and Structure. Each one is a necessary part of the equation, so be sure to also read our article on Pulling The 5 Leadership Abilities Together.
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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.
Jeff Whittle is a Certified Dallas EOS Implementer.