14
Sep
15

How to “Dial-In” Your Business Performance

airplane_cabin2You have expectations for how your business performs. You want to maintain an optimal productivity rate while delivering extraordinary customer service. You want a great culture that inspires your team to go above and beyond. You want predictable revenue growth, a manageable payroll, controlled expenses, a cash reserve … and a respectable net profit. Most of all, you want to enjoy being the leader of your own company and not be stressed out putting out fires, dealing with problem employees and struggling to pay bills.

The difference between achieving your performance expectations and being stressed out and struggling is the attention you give to “dialing in” the operational functions of your business. “Dialing in” means finding that optimal setting that achieves the desired performance. Think of leading your business like being at the control panel of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. There are multiple data screens, throttles, flight controls, dials, switches, levers and gauges. Each one needs to be set just right for takeoff, cruising altitude and landing. However, like in business, there are variables like wind speed, wind direction, temperature, the weight of the plane with passengers, baggage, cargo, fuel and more … that require a host of settings to be dialed in for current and future conditions.

Here are six strategies to help you keep your business dialed in for optimal performance:

  1. No autopilot in business: The one function that a 787 Dreamliner has that your business never will is an autopilot. There never will be a “set it and forget it” switch in business. Yet, more businesses get into trouble because their leaders weren’t paying attention to the readouts on their control panels. A business on autopilot is the equivalent of putting out the welcome mat for a cash crisis, quality issues, low productivity, waste and staff turnover. It sounds like, “How was this happening and I didn’t see it coming?” Well, it happened because you, the leader, weren’t paying attention to, and dialing in, your company’s control panel. In business, it doesn’t take long to go from flying high to crisis. So … stop pretending that your business has an autopilot. It doesn’t.
  2. No pilot license if you don’t know how to fly: Anyone can start a business. Not everyone can lead and grow a business. As a passenger on a commercial aircraft, my expectation is that the pilot and co-pilot are fully qualified to fly. In contrast, too many business owners lack the financial and leadership skills to run a company. That’s why eight of ten business startups fail. No one would fly if eight out ten flights crashed. Leaders MUST know the functionality of each and every gauge, switch, dial and lever on their company’s control panel. The less you know about how to dial-in your control panel … the more exposed and vulnerable you are to experiencing the ugly side of business.
  3. No pick and choose: Remember, as leader, your primary responsibility is to keep your company’s control panel dialed in. In my many years of coaching leaders, the most common problem I see is how leaders get comfortable working only a few settings on their control panel and avoid the settings they don’t understand or fear. It sounds like, “Hey, I played with that setting once and almost had a walk-out.” There are certain settings on your control panel that represent those “tough decisions” that every business must make when situations dictate. Procrastinating out of fear and uncertainty usually translates into having to make bigger and more drastic setting adjustments later. In almost every case, had incremental adjustments been made to keep the control panel dialed in to current reality, there would be less of a need to make drastic adjustments … and therefore less stress to adjust those settings you’re not overly fond of.
  4. Gotta have a flight plan: Growing a business is all about planning and goal setting. Every aspect of your plan and every goal requires different settings on your control panel to keep it dialed in. Is your control panel dialed in to address the hiring, training and development of new staff? Is it dialed in to meet the demands of the new service or product launch? Is it dialed in to achieve today’s goals in order to hit your monthly goals? Is it dialed in to meet your pre-book, productivity and client retention goals? Is it dialed in to manage expenses and create profit? Every aspect of achieving your company’s performance, operational growth and goal plan not only dictates the recommended settings on your control panel … it is a constant reminder that those recommended settings must be relentlessly tweaked and fine-tuned to keep it dialed in.
  5. The daily dial-in: So, you begin your day at your control panel. Is it dialed in to address current reality? If someone calls in sick, you need to dial-in different settings to compensate. If an employee quits, you need to reset and dial-in to compensate. If your team lost focus and fell off your game, you need to tweak the settings to get dialed in again. A major storm, broken water pipe, broken equipment, power outage and a host of other unforeseen disruptions all require you to adjust and dial in your control panel. There are forces constantly at work that interfere with your plans and goals. The daily dial-in is a non-negotiable business practice. Not doing the daily dial-in is like switching on your imaginary autopilot.
  6. Never a leaderless control panel: The intent of this control panel analogy is to establish the correlation between your role as a leader and the perpetual daily need to adjust your company’s systems, strategies, finances, information flow, resources and a host of other leadership disciplines to dial-in your best chances of achieving your performance expectations. Therefore, every second that your company’s control panel goes unattended … the dial-in process ceases … and outcomes are left to chance. It’s the exact same reason the use of handheld mobile phones while driving is prohibited. That split second your attention shifts away from the road to your phone can be deadly. Pay attention to your company’s control panel. Never allow it to go unattended for a second. No compromise!

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click below to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They will appreciate it.

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1 Response to “How to “Dial-In” Your Business Performance”


  1. November 6, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Great post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful info particularly the remaining section 🙂 I
    care for such information a lot. I used to be seeking this certain information for a very lengthy time.
    Thank you and best of luck.


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