A Vision Is Great. A Game Plan Is Even Better
I speak to entrepreneurs on a daily basis, and almost without fail one trait always comes through loud and clear: entrepreneurs are visionaries. They can paint me a beautiful picture of where they want their company to be, what values it has, what amazing things it will do for their clients. But if I ask them: “How?” … Well, the vision stops there. They just don’t know how.
Daydreaming is fun, and it’s even more fun at first to go out and try to make it happen. But with no game plan for how to do that, the happy daydream can quickly turn into more of a nightmare as you struggle to break through to what you know in your heart could be amazing.
Sadly, the world doesn’t only run on ideas. There has to be a mechanism for bringing those ideas into reality. There has to be a game plan.
Project Of The Month Syndrome
A lot of entrepreneur-led businesses suffer from “project of the month” syndrome. Because the organization is led by a visionary, the answer to every problem is a creative new idea.
Not enough sales? Let’s launch a promotion. Need to recruit more people? Ok, we’ll throw in these benefits. Poor customer retention? Here’s a super cool customer loyalty gizmo. All of these are great but to work they need to be properly implemented, results measured, and successes iterated for the business to grow.
Instead, what so often happens is that the founder gets caught up in the vision and forgets to put the processes in place. With little or no attention paid to the detail deadlines aren’t created, and feedback and milestones aren’t considered. Deliverables, resources, measurements and milestones are wishy washy or non-existent. Soon the business is back at square one, looking for the next great idea that will get things moving.
Far from boosting the business, the new ideas become an endlessly repeating cycle of busyness masking stagnation. This is a recipe for discontent, not only for the entrepreneur who will quickly grow despondent when nothing seems to be working, but also for staff who struggle to keep up with ever shifting, poorly defined priorities.
Horses For Courses
I should stress at this point: If you are that entrepreneur – this issue is absolutely not your fault. As a visionary, it is your job to come up with amazing ideas and create a vision for the company. It is not your job to figure out all the detailed processes that will get you there – that’s an entirely different skills set. Very few people possess both.
What you need is an operational soulmate: someone who shares your passion for your company and what it can become, but who has the ability to take a step back from each new idea, assess its merits and weaknesses, and put in place a game plan to bring the idea to fruition.
And let’s be honest here, some ideas sound awesome at 3am when you sit up suddenly in bed and shout ‘Eureka!’, but in the cold light of day they turn out… well, not to be so great. A real visionary needs a trusted right-hand person who can pull them back down to earth when they’re off building castles in the clouds.
Sometimes great ideas won’t be valuable right away. Maybe the business needs a bit of reorganisation or to grow a little more before the idea can be perfectly executed. A good operational soulmate will re-introduce those great ideas when the time is right, often long after you’ve forgotten all about them.
Now, it is entirely possible to get this sort of feedback from a mentor or trusted advisor, but that still leaves you with the problem of integrating all the processes and systems required to make your ideas a reality.
In his book Traction®, author and entrepreneur Gino Wickman introduced the concept of an Integrator, writing: “An Integrator is the person who harmoniously integrates the major functions of the business. When those major functions are strong and you have strong people accountable for each, great healthy friction and tension will occur between them. The Integrator blends that friction into greater energy for the company as a whole.”
Add this person into the mix and you can easily see how that cycle of idea / poor execution / stagnation can be swiftly broken, allowing the organization to take flight as the good ideas are honed in on and properly implemented.
Let’s face it, it can be lonely at the top. But far from being just another employee to be directed, a good integrator is able to take the initiative and pro-actively organise the work flow across all departments, giving you the time and space to sit back and come up with the next idea to supercharge your business.
At Soulidify, we believe every entrepreneur should have a trusted deputy by their side, ready and willing to put your groundbreaking ideas into action. That’s why we’ve made it our business to source talented people who have exactly the skills and industry know-how to get your business seamlessly organized and surging forward.
Call us today for a free consultation to find your operational soulmate, so that you can get on with the fun stuff: creating the vision and inspiring others to come along for the ride.