Chapter 5: Predictable Success
As this chapter begins, we meet Ian who has a door and window manufacturing business. He proudly demonstrates his giant door-producing robot, which not only operates with precision and elegance – it also has enabled his organization to cut its waste wood output down to the single digits. That’s a far cry from the 25% they were experiencing during their tumultuous time in Whitewater.
It took a lot of hard work and effort to get there, but over the course of four years, Ian and his team had taken their organization through Whitewater and in to Predictable Success.
Predictable Success is the fourth stage of development, and it’s the one where an organization has the most control over its destiny.
While in Predictable Success, mistakes will still happen and roadblocks will arise. What’s different, however, is the way in which the organization responds. Problems are maturely assessed, an optimal response is agreed upon and then executed – with minimal drama. Much like an athlete at the top of his or her game, the organization operates with a clear sense of identity and purpose.
Staying in Predictable Success is not easy. It requires a fine balance between the creativity, drive, and entrepreneurial spirit that give the organization its vision, and the precise/mundane systems and processes that bring scalability, consistency, and profitability.
To give way to one will result in Whitewater, the other Treadmill. Much like guiding a sailboat, adjustments must constantly be made in response to a myriad of ever-changing factors. We’ll take a closer look at precisely how to go about this in Chapter 11.
For now, let’s explore the benefits of being in Predictable Success and the effects it has on an organization’s employees and culture.
Use the links below to access the resources for Chapter Five. They’ll take you through this remarkable stage.
Chapter 5 Resources
Blog Posts: Ownership and Self-Accountability
In order to achieve Predictable Success and stay there, it’s essential that a sense of ownership and self-accountability be cultivated throughout the organization.
Instilling these principles provides three key benefits:
1. Rather than blindly following systems and processes, employees will improve/enhance them over time in order to achieve optimal results. It’s when systems and processes become more important than what they were created to do in the first place that an organization falls out of Predictable Success and in to Treadmill.
2. The organization is better able to respond to the needs of its customers, both internally and externally, as employees anticipate their needs and proactively work to meet them.
3. Fewer mistakes are made because rather than falling through the cracks, individuals step up, take responsibility for them, and seek solutions to keep them from happening again.
Dive deeper into the benefits of these principles in this blog post.
Want to learn how to gauge the degree to which these principles exist in your organization? Read this blog post.
Become a Predictable Success Leader
How can you lead your team to Predictable Success? The short answer is to make and implement good decisions. Sounds simple enough, but how do you go about doing that?
We’ll begin by examining tips that you, as a leader, can put into practice. Then in our next section, we’ll take a closer look at how the team dynamic comes into play.
Here are three articles on ways to develop yourself and your leadership style:
Tools for pattern recognition – Discover why this is the most important leadership skill you will ever learn.
Role of emotions – Learn how to use your emotions rather than being subjected to them.
Optimizing the work week – How can you get your team to engage at the start of the week and ‘tool down’ at the close of it? Try these suggestions.
The Role of the Org Chart
The org chart is the single largest unused resource in your organization. Before we examine why, it’s important to clarify the reason for its existence.
The org chart’s overriding purpose is to be a machine for decision-making, enabling the organization to process information and deliver high-quality decisions over and over again.
If your org chart isn’t fulfilling this function, then read this blog post to learn what you need to do next.
Making Decisions as a Team
If the secret to success is making and implementing good decisions, then how can you ensure that your team is up to the task?
While decisions are constantly being made at every level of the organization, it is your senior leadership team who is in charge of making the most important ones. Here’s a simple exercise you can use to evaluate their propensity for high-quality decision-making.
During team meetings, tensions will often arise between those with varying leadership styles. For example, a Visionary could be talking to think and purposely promote a view that’s 180 degrees from his or her actual opinion. A Processor who hears this is likely to take these words literally and immediately respond negatively to them.
In this webinar, we reveal how to uncover the hidden dynamics of your team and the steps you can take to overcome them.
Even when the individuals involved are highly talented and capable, most groups and teams are ineffective at making quality decisions consistently. However, there are teams who are able to regularly operate at a higher level. In every case, one thing stands out above all else, and that’s the rhythm of their discussions.
Read this blog post to learn how to apply this knowledge in your organization.
Tool: Straight from the Gut
Jack Welch was at the helm of GE for twenty years. During seventeen of them, the company was in Predictable Success.
His book, Straight from the Gut, provides an inside look at what it was like and how they achieved it.
Who You Need To Fire
One of the challenges of getting to and staying in Predictable Success is that it will require you to lose a number of the people you value most.
In some cases, these individuals will choose to leave on their own, deciding that this new stage and all that it entails just isn’t the right fit for them. In other cases, you will have to take action yourself.
While this is never easy, it’s essential in order to prevent the organization from being pulled back into Whitewater. Read these blog posts to learn more:
Who and How to Hire
Earlier, we discussed the importance of team-based decisions. But what about the employees who are on the front line of your business, who are making dozens of decisions day in and day out?
From the person who answers client calls, to the one who responds to customer service emails, the majority contribution to your organization’s success lies in the hands (and ears, and mouths) of your employees. Read this blog post to see exactly what we mean.
So how can you ensure you’re hiring the right people? Specifically, how can you see through the interview personality to who will actually be coming on board? Listen to this tip to learn more.
As your organization grows and develops, you’ll need to evolve your hiring practices accordingly. Here are some additional resources to assist you with this: