Michael: Hello, and welcome to HaBO Village. I am Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I am Kathryn Redman.
Michael: We're really glad you're joining us today. This podcast is all about helping leaders grow passionate and provision companies, that are full of more profit and more joy. What that means is that your company is surviving and thriving financially, healthy, growing, everything is going great for, and you're meeting all the needs you have for today, and for the visions and dreams of tomorrow.
Michael: On top of it, it's fulfilling. It's something that you actually enjoy. It's more labor than toil, and we talk about that in another podcast.
Kathryn: It's not just for you, but for your whole company, and everybody in it is experiencing some passion and provision.
Michael: Because the goal is if you want to get your company to really thrive, then you also want to make sure that you are thriving and that your team is thriving, because you want to make sure that your burden is being shared, that they're actually helping you as a team because community, great leadership has really looked at teamwork from Apple, to Google, to small companies all over the world that have been really successful, understand the power of the team and bringing people along together. The more you can do that, the more you're going to be able to lead in your unique giftings and skills, and other people are going to be able to bring their strengths that way too.
Michael: Today we're going to talk about really when you're thinking strategically and when you're planning for an organization as a leader, you really want to know and have your plan dialed in. There are multiple things that come from clear plans. Now I'm not talking about just a business plan right now, although research has shown that just doing a thorough business plan, and putting it in the drawer, and never look at it again.
Michael: Companies and they'll pull it out, maybe they pull it out five years later, and companies that don't, it actually turns out that the thought process alone in that causes the company to grow more than the folks that never even went through the business planning process. Did you know that?
Kathryn: I didn't know that. But it makes sense. Then those that actually use the business plan as an iterative document as opposed to it getting stuck in the drawer then, that much more, they outperform.
Michael: They outperform the ones that just built it and put it in the drawer. It's a pretty amazing thing.
Michael: What's really important, and we work with clients all the time with our business consulting, and marketing, and leadership development is how well have you ... are codified and articulated the major aspects of what it takes to move forward? Those three areas that we're going to talk about today are your vision, your marketing plan/roadmap, and your strategic plan.
Michael: Why are those three things important? Start with vision. We talk about that a lot.
Kathryn: Yeah, so your vision is really the clear articulation of who are we and where are we going? Why do we even exist? What is it we're trying to achieve and accomplish? How are we changing the world and making it a better place? Your vision is really that part of your organization that you want your team to be able to wrap themselves around to get excited about, to buy into, to understand. The more clear you are in your vision, and more agreement you have among your leadership team and the folks that you're leading, that this is who we are and where we're going, the better of you're going to be.
Michael: That's right. One of the things we say a lot is you don't want to just have a vision, and a vision actually has four elements. It has core values, core purpose, a BHAG, a Big Hair Audacious Goal, and a detailed description, and when you have a vision that is clear, complete and compelling. I like that, three Cs.
Kathryn: Ooh, look at you.
Michael: Did you see how I did that?
Kathryn: Oh, it's impressive. Write that down quick. Maybe we should trademark it. Everybody else trademarks everything.
Michael: Everybody trademarks it all.
Kathryn: Let's trademark clear .... Wait, wait, what? Clear, complete and compelling. I can't even remember.
Michael: Right, right. Well, and we talk about it being a complete and compelling, but a clear one. Clear, complete and compelling can be ... Say that three times fast.
Michael: But this vision is purposeful because it actually has been proven that when you articulate these things out and write them down, it accelerates your company to the next level. It accelerates productivity, it accelerates effectiveness, cost effectiveness, costs go down, and efficiency goes up, profit goes up. Time accelerates for folks. It takes less time to actually do things and more stuff gets done, and it's very similar to trust. Trust is like that too.
Kathryn: It has to be communicated. So clear, complete, compelling and communicated really matters. There's an old saying that without vision, the people perish. If you don't have vision clear in your company, your team is going to languish because there's nothing to aim at, there's nothing to go after. Vision is that piece that begins to really coalesce and gel folks towards a common. Obviously if it's towards a common goal, then it has to be agreed upon.
Michael: Yeah, and we've talked about this lots on this podcast. This may be redundant to some folks. This whole episode is not about that, but it is so important. We continue to run into companies that if there's been a company that's been surviving, and they've been going along and doing quite well, over time it invariably. We have not met a company yet that doesn't have this all written down and articulated well.
Kathryn: That's does have it [inaudible 00:05:41].
Michael: That does have it. Yes.
Kathryn: 'Cause otherwise they wouldn't need us.
Michael: That does have it. They come in for a lot of other things. They don't necessarily come in for this, but we always take them back to this going, "We need to make sure that this is codified and clear, and then communicated well, but it has to be compelling."
Michael: Let's take communication out of that 'cause it adds to many Cs. But that idea that a leader often times has a vision. They kind of like, "Do you know where you're going?" Well yeah, I have an idea, or I have a pretty clear idea. Okay, let's talk about that. They can talk for an hour about where they're going. But has it been congealed into something concise so it's very clear?
Kathryn: That's two more Cs.
Michael: It's a C kind of day.
Kathryn: It's a C kind of podcast. We're just going to talk all in Cs, carefully.
Michael: Okay now, stop that.
Kathryn: I can't.
Michael: Anybody want a peanut? That was a Princess Bride joke for any of you who didn't get it.
Michael: Okay, so that said, this whole idea of vision, the first thing you want to do is make sure how clear is it as a leader in your head? Second, can you write it down? Because it needs to be communicated regularly to others. If it's just done in an oral fashion, it usually isn't something that's recited and repeated by the troops, by the customers, and people don't know what that means and what's going on. You want to do that.
Michael: We have identity. This is our core purpose, these are our core values, three to five values usually. BHAG is something that's 10 to 30 years out and it's beyond what you think you can plan. It's like, "We really want to do this. We don't know if we can accomplish it."
Michael: I was reading this morning really quickly about Disney. I got another book on Disney leadership.
Kathryn: Of course you did.
Michael: I was being reminded. It was really nice because in one of the graphics was actually a list of their core purposes over the last well, there was four or five of them over the last 50 years.
Kathryn: Oh, cool.
Michael: Yeah, it really was. What was interesting was that the core purpose on those was way more articulated, it was longer. The most recent one that started in 2011-ish, or actually probably in the late '90s is really short. It's making people happy.
Michael: Before it, it was making people happy through a entertainment amusement situation or something like that. It was a little bit more wording. All of a sudden they're pulling that out going, "Look, this is our core purpose. Our core purpose team is to make people happy. That says we do. Every behavior we have, everything we do, everything we talk about is in the way we run our organization is going to move back to that. It's simple and easy, and people can go, "Mm, do I do that?" The core values say this is how we behave, and we can't violate the core values, so you keep them in three to five. Well then that allows people to make decisions are amazing.
Michael: One of the things Disney does really well is teach their people in the amusement parks and a lot of different places when it's all running how to make decisions on the fly without a leader there, without a manager there. It's real simple, if you can handle these things, these core principles, and then we'll teach you some things and suggest ideas on what you would do. One is always say thank you and be helpful. Those things that stand out.
Michael: Hopefully you can see that you want to take it ... If you have clear vision, if you have a company that's running well, you have some vision. But if you want to give people that extra move forward and create one of those turbo boosts in your company that has longevity, this is one of those things, is create a vision.
Michael: The next thing we want to do is we want to talk about the marketing plan really quick. I don't want to go into detail in this podcast but you need a clear marketing plan that has a clear message and a clear process because the old statement that marketing is a waste of money or time, or that 50% of every dollar I spend on marketing is wasted, you just don't know which half it is, is really spoken out of people being naïve and not understanding. Quite frankly, that quote was an actual quote taken out of context from a speech that was given 30 or 40 years ago, maybe longer. I remember looking it up at one point and going, "Oh, this is completely taken out of context."
Michael: What's happening is if you have a plan based on ... I'm telling you, we've got 17 years experience doing marketing that there is actually research and ways of looking at it that are predictable and repeatable. That if you do them, if you have a product that's halfway decent, it doesn't have to be great. A halfway decent product, because there are crappy people out there who have crappy companies with crappy products and crappy service, and they beat good companies all day long because they communicate better.
Kathryn: Sorry, I'm just laughing because you just said crappy [crosstalk 00:10:49] three times, and it's three Cs.
Michael: Oh, a bunch of Cs.
Kathryn: I'm just pointing it out. Go on.
Michael: I didn't plan it. Okay.
Kathryn: Crappy, crappy, crappy.
Michael: Ah, it is a C day. All right
Michael: So when you think about this, I just want to tell you, you either know about how to do this or you need to research it and see how to do that. In this podcast we talk more about it. On our website at halfabubbleout.com, we have a blog that talks about marketing and different things like that. You want to pay attention to figuring out how to create messaging.
Michael: I'm telling you that one of the better messaging books out there is by Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand. If you want to do it all yourself and everything, and you want to educate yourself, get that book and it will teach you about messaging.
Kathryn: We might do a podcast on that at some point.
Michael: I think ... Well, haven't ... We haven't done it?
Kathryn: I don't think so.
Michael: Oh, well then we should.
Kathryn: We should ask.
Kathryn: I don't remember.
Michael: Absolutely. I thought we had.
Kathryn: Oh no.
Michael: Maybe it was in my mind, in my dreams that we had already done that. Then you want to pay attention to the value journey as you create and think about the steps and stages of how you engage people.
Michael: The analogy that is in that book that he didn't invent is the dating and marriage. You want to think about the steps to intimacy, the stages in which we build relationships in a healthy way. If you jump through that step process too fast with human beings in marketing, it's one of the reasons marketing will get shot in the foot and it doesn't work well, is because you violated some of those rules. When you violate those rules of marketing and those rules of relationship building in marketing, it's perceived as assault as human beings.
Kathryn: Yeah, so in the dating world it's the concept that you would introduce yourself to someone and say, "Hey, it's nice to meet you. Would you like to get married and can we name our children?" As opposed to, "Hey, it's nice to meet you. Can we grab coffee?" Those beginning entry points, if you're immediately going for the sale and you haven't built relationship, chances are most of the time that's not going to work, unless you have such a low value product that the risk is not that big a deal. There's certainly exceptions, but it's just not the right way to go.
Michael: Well then, if you want continued repeat customers, especially on low priced stuff, consumables, you need to build trust. There are things that you can do in this relationship process, this marketing process to violate trust or build trust. You need to understand that you need a process that's going to help you make his clear compelling copy.
Kathryn: Oh, two more Cs. No, three. Clear and compelling copy. Ooh.
Michael: So your vision is clear and compelling, and your marketing message is clear and compelling.
Kathryn: And focused on the customer.
Kathryn: Now we're just making ourselves laugh. Sorry, I hope you're laughing. I don't know.
Michael: Hey, I hope you're laughing.
Kathryn: It's hard when you can't see the audience.
Michael: Okay, and then what you want to do is then you think about all of your different activities, whether it's ads, Facebook advertising, Facebook social, LinkedIn social, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, YouTube ads, Google ads, search, email marketing.
Michael: There is a place in that value journey that's appropriate, and how you reach people, and how you connect with them, and how you talk with them at each level. You want to understand this. That's marketing.
Michael: You can start to see the power of vision, the way we talk about it in those four pieces, the power of marketing when it's done well. If you think about one of our last podcasts that we just did, one of the last couple of ones, it was on iteration, and you refine and make sure that your communication, 'cause good communication is an iterative process.
Kathryn: Right, and in the context of this podcast, what we're talking about, you're talking about getting agreement. If you have agreement across your marketing then everybody's speaking the same language from your company.
Michael: Come on, preach it.
Kathryn: If somebody were to ask, what do you do, or who are you people and what do you offer? Everybody that they ask within your company would be able to tell them in the same way, and that would be of great value. That agreement, again, to be able to clearly articulate the marketing messages and who we are, and who we serve, and all of those pieces. Then have the folks within your organization know that so well because you are helping them gain agreement, it just becomes a more powerful machine for moving your company forward.
Michael: Absolutely, right. A hundred percent.
Michael: As we're talking about this, that type of ... Hopefully you're listening and saying, "Oh, okay. This makes sense." Because you need to come into agreement as a leader with your leadership team on what that vision is. You need to have that discussion and you need to come into it whether you're saying, "This is what I believe the vision is. Do we have buy-in?" Somehow you got to have buy-in and agreement in there.
Michael: Then the marketing plan. Getting help with this, understanding what those look like, and what it, the healthy productive effective systems look like.
Kathryn: Well, and we would say too, before we move onto the final piece, again with this agreement thing. Marketing touches every part of your business. I've worked in large organizations before, especially in the software industry. I sold software for a number of years. It's a wonder and an awe-inspiring thing to me that you have people who are developing software or working over on the other side of the building, and they see marketing as a necessary evil, but they're not talking.
Kathryn: You've got these people who are trying to market a product. Software developers, who are not asking the question, what does the customer want? They're simply developing software they think is cool and trying to solve problems that people may or may not have because the communication between the two, there is no agreement, there is no buy-in.
Michael: Well, and in your context, the software your company was developing too required salespeople because a lot of us today, we buy software all day long and we never talk to a human being. This was to city, county governments, large not for profits.
Kathryn: Yeah, multi-million dollar projects.
Michael: You have companies, organizations like entire cities, Salt Lake City, you have library systems, you have the Golden Gate Bridge, which is a whole district.
Kathryn: My favorite client. That's my client.
Michael: Your last client.
Michael: That you had before you left that and came to join us at Half a Bubble Out.
Michael: But this is a requirement where you have an organization that's large enough and the products expensive enough that you need sales people, and marketing and sales start to get out of sync, and then product development and marketing and sales are out of sync, and that challenge that you're articulating is there. How do you create clarity across the process, across the organization? Unity and a clear vision is part of that. Then speaking and leading into your marketing.
Michael: Now the third part that we need to talk about before we end today is the strategic plan. There are a lot of people who go, "You got to have vision," and they think vision ... Vision's a fuzzy word. For some people, vision includes 10 things. For some people, it just includes one thing.
Michael: Hopefully we've articulated that we believe that works really well with four specific ingredients. Then having a marketing plan is separate from that, but they all work together. But what's missing is a strategic plan because a vision gives you that 10 to 30 year goal, that way out North Star, where are we headed?
Kathryn: How are we going to behave along the way?
Michael: Yeah, and how are we going to behave? But what it doesn't do is it doesn't deal with the day to day behaviors that need to happen, the marching orders for it today because when you're on that journey, in today's world, three to five years is really starting to get far enough out. It's difficult to anticipate what's going to happen and things happen in the world.
Michael: We talk about the different strategies that happen or the different things that happen that impact your company and organization that are out of your control. Whether natural disasters, things like that. Government is often out of your control. Economic situations, the economy of the country or the world, out of your control, really.
Michael: Typically, there might be a couple of other things out there that are out of your control, lawsuits, folks outside the organization that might attack you in the courts, or the systems, or the laws of the land, things like that. You don't know what's coming at you and so your strategic plan is allowing you to handle boots on the ground, what are we doing now, and how are we going to achieve it.
Michael: When we look at our 10 to 30 year goal, and we back up and we say, "Okay, let's have the elements of the strategic plan," and for this we're going to talk about having a three-year plan, high level, what are our three-year goals? Right, Kathryn?
Kathryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michael: Then having one-year goals, and what are we trying to accomplish? Then breaking those down into quarters. So every three months we've got action items, and we've got goals for those, and they build back out so that our quarters, we have multiple check-in points so that we're testing, are we on track? Can we adjust? If we're off track, we iterate, we adjust.
Michael: It breaks it down to what am I and my team doing today, tomorrow, and the rest of this week and this month to build towards this? 'Cause now we've created this line. Our BHAG's way out in front, and then when you're trying to sight something in and draw a line, like a golfer, you have the cup, you have the ball, and a lot of times it's a strategy where you pick one spot on the green if you're putting where you say, "Okay, I'm going to putt past that point 'cause that point lines my ball with however I think the break is in the green. If I go through that point, it's going to carry my trajectory over to the cup, and it works really well."
Michael: You have that three-year mark out there that allows you to have a better chance of putting or hitting your goal. Then for us, we bring that back again, at one, 'cause if I go through the one, I hit the three, and the three will take me. But when things change, we have to change our entire strategy. That happens sometimes, doesn't it?
Kathryn: It definitely does.
Michael: What happened to us? I mean, how did that affect us at Half a Bubble Out when the bubble in the laser technology for podiatry failed?
Kathryn: Yeah, so we had been marketing a product and our company had grown extraordinarily, like 400%.
Michael: In one year.
Kathryn: In one year, so that was exciting and painful. But we were marketing a specific technology. For numerous reasons, that technology essentially began to fail.
Kathryn: We were in a position where we had relationships with podiatrists based on a specific technology, and the technology was being essentially replaced. That meant, for us, we were losing significant amount of business. You grow 400% and then the market changes. Through no fault of our own and no fault of our doctors, things just radically shifted and we ended up suddenly being in a position where we lost most of those clients.
Michael: Well, and in that situation we had several impacting factors. The FDA did not have a laser department for the medical lasers and they were involving that in other departments. In the midst of this whole process, we watched the laser development or the development of a laser department at the FDA that specifically oversaw laser medical devices. That changed things. Then there were laws coming into effect. So the bureaucracy of the FDA, and getting things approved, and seeing what that looked like, the laws that came into effect, and then the other laws that were impacting certain things.
Michael: Then the fact that when you had more competitors, which are outside of your control, the competitors came into the market space with better products, better pricing, even though it was more expensive at some level. On the front end it was three or four times cheaper on the backend for those doctors.
Kathryn: Yeah, better business model and actually FDA approved. What.
Michael: And the lasers worked better.
Kathryn: And they worked better.
Michael: They worked better at they were more effective, and it was easier for the doctors to treat. It took less time and it was less difficult for them to use the technology. All those things happened and we were a secondary ... We weren't selling lasers, we were a secondary service to that industry. Wow, it changed overnight. When we quadrupled, we didn't lose all our business but our business had grown.
Michael: We like to say that our business grew 200% in about two and a half years. Really what it did is in two years it grew 400%, and then shrank and cut in half. But we grew 200%.
Kathryn: We did 'cause they never pulled all the way back. That's an example of something outside of our control that impacted how we were going to move forward, staffing, everything else because it just radically shifted.
Kathryn: Then recently in our world, we had the Camp Fire. That affected tons of our clients. That affected then our business because suddenly what we were doing for them came not as critical because there were so many other big problems to solve. Those are the forces that you have to be able to adjust to, and you change your plans and your immediate way of moving through towards your goals based on that strategic adjustment that you have to make.
Michael: Yeah. It's really critical.
Michael: What we have is we have the strategic plan and thinking about the big rocks quarterly. Then there is one other piece in the strategic plan that needs to be added, and that is just what are the challenges you're facing? You're going to know the challenges. What are the challenges that you're aware of, whether internal challenges or external challenges? But you want to list those out.
Michael: It's not really a full SWOT analysis, but it actually includes this so that as you are thinking, you have a vision and a marketing plan with messaging, and a system that you trust that has results, and that you know at least has gotten results somewhere else that you're starting to adopt. Then you start to build a strategic plan. That allows you to be effective, and really get some traction towards your vision and your mission, and to really understand, wow we're really being effective.
Michael: The profitability in your company goes up, the fulfillment goes up, the ability for people to believe they're contributing towards something because they can see the markers go by that are saying, "I accomplished something and we hit our goals." It's really huge.
Michael: We continue to talk about the core things in a culture are do people know what they're supposed to be doing? Do they feel like what they're doing has value? Do they feel like the people that are around care about them and they can see their traction or their accomplishments? It goes individually and organizationally.
Kathryn: And they have the goals and objectives to hit, so you have a level of accountability built in that allows people to know what they're going after.
Michael: Which further builds trust and then gives you a feedback loop that we talked about on our five areas of management where you can also encourage folks because you're affirming them, telling them that they're doing a good job, giving them the feedback they need and allowing them to be seen amongst their peers as competent. Everybody wants to know everybody on their team is competent and they could trust them. That's part of how you do it.
Michael: We have really out of today's podcast these three core areas that you have to have discussion and agreement with your leadership team as you build a clear plan, strategic plan and vision for the company that involves the vision, the marketing plan and the strategic plan. If you could have those three things, and out of that those nine components in place written down and agreement with your organization, then you're going to see so much more traction and have a greater sense of fulfillment as you move towards that. Ultimately, your company's going to be more nimble and more profitable.
Kathryn: Amen. Hallelujah.
Michael: Right. That's what we all want. We want to have that because we didn't get into running our own business to lose money.
Michael: And to fail.
Michael: We wanted to be successful.
Kathryn: It's not a good gift.
Michael: We're looking forward to helping you move towards building and growing, a passion and provision company, that gives you more profit and more joy, and gives you all the money you need for today, and to build for your dreams of tomorrow, for tomorrow, as I slur. We just really appreciate you coming.
Michael: If you're listening to us on iTunes, please hit the Subscribe button or go out and subscribe, and we would love it if you would leave a comment.
Kathryn: Final C, leave a comment.
Michael: Leave a comment.
Kathryn: There it is.
Michael: On that final C, we're going to say goodbye. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: This is HaBO Village Podcast. Thanks for joining us. Buh-bye.