Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

First published April 26, 2020

How to Choose Your Bucket 

In beginning to shape the broad outline of a medium-term COVID-19 response, how do you know what to focus on most? What to prioritize?

Even in the best of times it can become difficult to distinguish what's really important from what's mere busywork, or just 'coloring outside the lines'.

Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out how to set a one-word Overarching Medium-term Goal that will act as your north star in the months ahead:

Please leave your questions and observations in the comments below!

Running time: 08' 49"     Don't forget to leave your comments below!

Read Transcript

Just literally before I sat down to record this video I had

a phone conversation with a friend and colleague, and we discussed

a version of something that I maybe had four to five different

discussions about this week, and it's around this theme of

emerging out of the initial triage phase in responding to

the economic effects at least.

of the covid virus and just beginning to put together the

broad outlines of a medium term strategy - or at least the framework

to start developing a medium term strategy - and one of the

things that folks are saying a lot, and I understand it, I

get it entirely - is it's really hard to know whether of all

the things that need doing, whichare the ones that are going

to get us - my organization - where we need to be over the next

few weeks and months, and which is busy work,

and when am I 'coloring outside the box', when am I 'coloring

outside the lines'?

What do I need to focus on, and what do I need to prioritize?

And obviously the answer to that is going to vary from organization

to organization, but for all of us, no matter whether we

run a for-profit or not-for-profit ,one of the prePepts that we

teach in predictable Success is having an overarching medium

term goal.

Sometimes I call it an OMG - an overarching medium term goal,

and that's something which if it can be in expressed in one

sentence or even better just one word becomes your touchstone

for the sort of prioritization questions that we're all now

beginning to face. And so as I reflected on what we discussed

in our previous two videos about beginning to put this medium

term strategy together,

I thought it might be helpful if I showed you just some of

those one word buckets that I think are most applicable to

emerging out of where we are now, and beginning to make some

forward progress.

Let me show you what I mean.

It's much more easily understood if I start showing it to you.

You may recall - I'm not going to reteach this topic but this

is essentially what we discussed a couple of videos ago,

maybe two three weeks ago, where the economic impact that

we're feeling at

the moment is essentially like a headwind.

And depending on which side of the life cycle you were on

before this hit, you're going to get pushed down either side.

Now, if you haven't actually seen that video, I'm going to put a

link to it here and it's well worth your while going and

taking a little look at it.

But I just want to put that up as context for what I'm about

to share with you, because depending on where you end up, depending

on what stage you're at in this life cycle your one word

bucket is going to vary, and , sometimes as you'll see, the

variance is a little bit of a nuance but they're important

nonetheless. And by the way, if you haven't yet taken the

free assessment that we have that will help you decide what

stage of the life cycle that you're in then there'll be

a link to it just here where you're watching this video.

And if you ended up - if where you're at at the moment is in

this early struggle

stage, then you'll recall me saying a version of this in the

previous webinars.

Essentially your bucket -

your one word

OMG, your overarching medium term goal is to Relaunch. I've

advised many many people just set aside for the time being

that launch of your new business if you were in the very

very early stages, and let's build a strategy for you to relaunch

it the right way and in the right time.

If you're in Fun, you were a little further up the growth

curve. Maybe you were in Whitewater or very early Predictable

Success, and you got pushed back to the fun stage: you had to

let go some people, you've lost some functions, perhaps

that you just began to put in place.

Maybe you've had to let go an HR team, an accounting team,

or say a new sales team you put together - then your one word

OMG, your overarching medium term goal, the bucket that you

should be using to help you decide whether you're coloring

inside the lines is to ReBuild. Now that might sound a little

trite, and it might sound like doesn't that apply to all of us?

And of course it does, but it's specifically for you in Fun.

That's the bucket that you're in - it's putting the bricks back

in place,

so to speak. Rebuilding what you had before. And I would keep

using that as the mantra to decide whether or not this next

thing should be your priority.

Does it help you rebuild?

But if you're in Whitewater right now, and for those of

you who may be new to the model Whitewater is essentially

that stage of development where your organization has become

complex because of growth and you really need to take time

to put some systems and processes in place, and you do that

in order to push through to Predictable Success. You need to

REGROUP. And what do I mean by that?

I mean you need to press pause, you don't need to Rebuild

because you didn't get knocked back into Fun, but now is not

the time (with some exceptions -

there's going to be some exceptions) but by and large if you're

in Whitewater, don't try to continue the process of putting

in place systems and processes right now.

I think my best advice is that's another two to three months

down the line at the moment. Just Regroup - give your folks

breathing space.

I see a lot of the organizations that I was working with

and many of them

I've been

observing over the years who are in Whitewater who really

going through massive burn out right now because this is

not a time to compete with Whitewater.

Just let things sit - do not try to build your Predictable

Success systems and processes just yet.

You'll burn your people out - particularly as many organizations

are trying to get... what's the word

I'm looking for?... are getting used to working virtually. Speak some

calm to them. And maybe slow the pace down a little bit- Regroup.

if you're in Predictable Success well, you were well set

up for this. it's been so gratifying to literally have people

share with me how much the work that we did together getting

them to Predictable Success has stood them in such great

store right now, and that they've been able to resist the

buffeting that has come their way. (Obviously every organization is

hurting but those that were in Predictable Success are the

ones that are weathering the storm. Your job

is ReInforce. Reinforce what got you here. Solidify

what you've got. strengthen your foundations because you're

going to need it again another time.

If you're in Treadmill (you're over systematized,

you have too many systems and processes) -

you need to ReIgnite. You've got to bring vision back in. You've

got to innovate.

That's the only way you're going to save yourself from being

pushed on through The Big Rut and into Death Rattle.

You've got to ReIgnite - that's your bucket.

That's your OMG, your one word mantra. And if you're in

The Big Rut, you need something huge. You need ReBirth - you really

have to rethink the very fundamentals of what it is that

you're doing, because by definition in The Big Rut, you've

lost the power to self-diagnose (so you're probably not here

listening to me anyway), but if you are, and you feel your

organization's in The Big Rut in this time of crisis (economic

crisis and the many other pressures that we're under) you really

really need a ReBirth.

You've got to rethink your organization from the ground up.

So that's a set of buckets, a set of OMGs, a set of overarching

medium-term goals - a mantra to help you ensure that you

are indeed coloring inside the lines.

Please leave some comments down below.

Let me know what you think about this video and this video series.

If you're watching this video on our website, welcome to our

new home.

Maybe you'd like to give me a comment on the redesign.

I hope you like it and I'll put a link to the other videos

in this series down below as well.

I'm Les McKeown, let's go innovate this week.

Other posts in this series

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