We had an interesting conversation at our last Mastery workshop. Members were reporting on progress they had made over the previous 2 months, and Mike talked about the fact that there was a noted lift in accountability because he had not only instituted regular meetings, but he had also gone to the extent of making agendas and keeping minutes.
Two things surprised him: first, how much more got done because people knew they would be asked to report back on commitments from the previous meeting. This made him realise that until he had implemented this structure, he had been able to achieve very little traction.
The second thing was that people started contributing items to the agenda for discussion. This really surprised him because he always had an open door policy and people could drop by any time and talk to him about stuff. But they didn’t.
Ironically people don’t use it because they know it’s always there. They could use it at any point, but there is no commitment, so there’s no follow through.
I remember working in a building with its own gym, and I used to love the idea that I could pop down to the gym between meetings or before lunch. My unused gym gear got mouldy in my bag before I realised that intention is not the same as commitment. It was only when I made a commitment to be there 3 mornings a week at 7am that I started to work up a sweat.
And that’s the difference between an informal, casual system and one with purpose and structure.
As growth business owners, we have a bit of an aversion to structure and formality – we like the idea that we’re not caught up in the trappings of corporate. But the truth is, an informal casual business is a lifestyle choice.
If you want a professional, well-organised business, forget about the open door. It lets everyone off the hook, especially you. Get organised. Get serious. Get formal.
When we started using Asana as our business execution system at our weekly management meetings, our effectiveness jumped. We weren’t leaving stuff behind – or if we were it was because we decided it was not important. The best performing businesses we work with use Asana or something similar to keep track of their plans and commitments. They have meetings with agendas and action points. They don’t do these things because they are successful. It’s because they do these things that they are successful – being organised is in their DNA.
By the way, in another Mastery workshop we had a lot of fun looking at how Managing Directors build/derail their leadership teams. Turns out most of them really like detail and process, they just don’t want to do it themselves. As MD you don’t have to do the detail, just make sure it gets done.
Here’s something we know to be true: 10% more structure improves your results by 25%.