What does your plus one look like? Why small changes can be good for business

We have this great tool we use with companies when working with them to identify their business strategy, what they need to work on, what they need to celebrate and what support or resources they need to achieve their plans. It’s called the Wheel of Work (or Life if its content is personal in nature). It’s a first step, not a total answer, but helps the management teams start to identify what is important to the organisation and where they need to address their best efforts. It stops all that shooting in the dark and second guessing that we so often fall into.

So why bother? Because sometimes that elephant in the room, the one thing you need to deal with. is just that – an elephant. It can be too big to tackle head on and needs eating in small bites – a +one if you like. And why now? Because it’s spring, we have survived the first quarter of the year, and we now need to refocus, recoup and drive forward. We need to take stock and direct our efforts where they actually need to be.

So how does it work? You take a normal circle, draw it and then dissect it into eight ‘pie’ segments. The eight segments, or sections, in the wheel of work represent areas of focus that, following a brief brain storm, the team has agreed are the important topics. Then, each section is labeled with that topic name. Common ones have included supplier relationships, staff skills, training requirements, cash flow, new product introduction, customer service, new business, production control, culture and beliefs, and systems, to name but a few.

The centre of the wheel is regarded as zero on the scale, and the outer edge as 10, and the business decides what score to give each segment, ranking its level of satisfaction within each topic by marking that score as a straight or curved line. So, for example, if ‘new business’ was important and as an organisation you were happy with how you were achieving it and where it was coming from you might score that as an eight. You repeat this for each of the topic section to achieve a new circle edge – your new wheel of work. It’s not going to be a perfect circle, you are not going to score each section the same, because when you are honest with yourself some things you do are just great! This is a way to recognise and celebrate those, while identifying where you need to channel your efforts and make that +one change.

Next you determine what you wish to tackle and how. It’s a five step process
1. You ask yourself ‘what does +one look like?’ So if it was a score of four, ‘what would five look like, what do you need to get there?’
2. ‘Why is it important to get there?’ and
3. ‘How are you going to achieve that change?’
4. The next question, to help identify the actions and steps to make that change, is ‘where are you going with the change’ and
5. Then you identify a milestone, a ‘when’.

It’s not going to be a nice circle you end up with, but a genuine ‘bumpy’ one. Just imagine how bumpy the ride would if that wheel was a real wheel? That’s why you need to make the plans to address it and smooth the wheel out.

One company we have worked with identified within their eight sections the following three areas as ones to focus on to get their +one

– Communication – more specific, timely and relevant to stop them running around trying to gather facts when dealing with customers and wasting time that way
– Internal Relationships – clearer roles & expectations, with more support & cooperation was required to give clarity to individuals and stop any concerns of ‘not my job’ before they started as too much time was spent figuring out who should do it, rather than actually doing it
– People – what resources, the right number, with the right skills, and right attitude, with set roles and development paths

They then turned to the actions required for that +one, turning these statements into SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time framed)
• Communication – they agreed to set up a weekly meeting with a set agenda and recurring topics
• Internal Relationships – a full work flow of tasks was to be undertaken to understand who did what, and more importantly why, and then allocation, or reallocation as required
• People – internal resources were found to be lacking so a new role was identified, with a person specification that they would go to the market and recruit for.

Not rocket science, but positive actions, quick fixes that made a big difference. Their +ones.

So, again, I ask you ‘What does your +one look like’? Let us know your thoughts on twitter @3domSolutions