You get what you pay for. Meetings are expensive. The matter how you slice it. Staff time costs money. You pull a bunch of people into a room in person or remotely to discuss issues and items. It costs you productivity. And is often a waste of time. Still, no matter what the experts say… People just like to have meetings.
Can’t we all just get along? Historically there have been some challenges when sharing documents back and forth between Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 apps. The most notable of these exchanges has been between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. The workflow usually goes something like this. Someone makes a document in Excel and then emails it to a Google Sheets user. The Google Sheets user then opens the workbook in Sheets and makes some edits.
I sat with the client yesterday and help them implement Google Team Drives. It’s a pretty neat solution. Think of it like having a file server in your web browser. While most people are familiar with using Google Drive since it’s part of their Gmail or Google G Suite account it’s not the most effective way to organize your data and files.
Now I've done this on more than one occasion so it must be a thing.
The discussion usually goes something like this.
Rob, I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around putting together a one-year plan for the business. We can't realistically plan that far out. At least not with any degree of accuracy.
I smile, I agree, and then I offer up the 90 Day Management Plan.
The 90 Day Management Plan was a concept development years ago with a CEO I was working with at the time.
I’m pretty sure we weren’t the first ones to come up with this approach.
But who knows...
Here’s how it came to be.
Many years back a CEO that I worked with told me his version of the story of Columbus.
It went something like this.
Do you know how Columbus got his crew to America?
Nope. says me.
Well I’ll tell ya.
Columbus’ crew was tired.
They were upset.
They hadn’t seen land for weeks.
Things were bleak.
Heck - They were ready to mutiny and kill Columbus.
Now Columbus knew he was in trouble and so he called his crew together and shared with them the following message.
All I’m asking you to do is to sail with me - to the next horizon.
The CEO then shared with me his idea to run our business 90 days at a time.
It made sense and so we tried it.
And you know what?
We were wildly successful.
It’s since become a thing.
I’ve actually used the 90 Day Management Plan with every company I’ve worked with since.
I should dispel one myth and that is the belief that we can't realistically see farther than 90 days.
It’s not entirely true.
Many business owners have vision.
Many business owners know what they want.
Many business owners know where they want to go.
But the challenge is - How do you get there?
People used to ask me what's your five-year plan?
I don't hear that anymore.
Haven't heard it for years as a matter fact.
You know why?
Because it doesn't work.
People have goals.
People have dreams.
People have visions.
When you have lofty goals it's hard to chart a course from where you stand today to where you're going to be once that vision is realized.
A great way to run your business is 90 days at a time.
Running a business 90 days at a time really works.
I’ve done it a bunch of times.
And built some really great businesses.
Let me know what you think of this article.
90 Day Management is something that I’ve practiced for a long time.
I'm curious to see how many others practice this method.
Some people just want you to tell them what to do.
Other people want to tell you what to do.
Some people want to do things alone.
While others just want to be left alone.
So where does that leave the collaborators?
The team players?
The consensus builders?
I met with a client the other day regarding their operations.
As part of their on boarding process I'm looking to understand their operations.
And I'm looking to understand their process so that we can make better informed decisions about how they use the tech in their business.
Basically they're using about a dozen apps and we're trying to simplify that.
Our goal is to remove the complexity and gain some operational efficiency.
So I spent some time on the phone with one of the company's operations staff.
It was a great discussion.
It was collaborative and fun.
I enjoy working with others and collaborating on ideas to move businesses forward.
As I meet with new and prospective clients.
I'm looking for clients who want to grow.
Clients who want to build a better mousetrap.
Clients who want to collaborate.
I avoid the dictators.
I avoid those who just want me to tell them what to do.
One of the most important aspects of getting the tech right in your business is being involved.
Collaboration is king.
If you're looking for a partner give me a shout.
I'll give you the best I can give.
I'm not technical.
I hear this all the time.
When I hear it - it's almost as if the person is saying…
I don't want to talk about tech.
It could also mean: I'm busy right now, I don't care, or…
Seriously dude, are you going to try to explain something technical to me?
Don't get me wrong they're all fair responses.
I think tech guys bring it upon themselves.
They unintentionally alienate people.
For me, when someone throws down the term I'm not technical - I hit the brakes!
I’ll stop for a second and try and gather my bearings.
Something is off.
For me it means I've hit a nerve.
Likely caused by not speaking in simple terms.
It means that I am not making sense.
Or that I’ve triggered a negative response.
Getting your tech right is something we need to do together.
My job is to deliver technology in easy to understand bite-size chunks.
Granted serving size varies based on the individual.
At the end of the day I’m here to help your business grow.
I’ll do my best to present tech in plain ole’ people speak.
This is a gold promise.
When you're looking to hire a new IT person be it a direct hire or outsourcing - one of the top things on your list should be finding a great collaborator.
A great collaborator should be able to manage in multiple directions.
What do I mean by managing multiple directions? A mentor of mine shared this lesson.
A person's ability to manage up, down and sideways is critical to their success in your organization.
Managing up - means you bring things in a structured manner to your manager. You are able to sell your ideas effectively and achieve your charter as an employee.
Managing down - is your ability to is the ability to manage people effectively as well as your ability to hire and cultivate leaders and staff.
Managing sideways - is how you work with your peers and how you bring them together to work on common goals.
Let me just say, when you find one of these people you will enable your business in ways you've only dreamed possible. One caveat. You still need to manage them well.
The traditional tech person is all about command and control. They want you scared and unaware. They want to do things their way. They dictate not collaborate.
It's not hard to find out the difference and we can talk about how some other time. But for now, just remember that great tech collaborates.
Go find that diamond in the rough. It will make all the difference.
By the way… How well do you manage up, down and sideways???