Ready, Set, GO… How to show credible progress fast

There have been a lot of conversations in my Executive Mentoring Group lately about how to establish credibility quickly in a new role, as many members are starting new jobs.

I recently updated my article The First 30 Days, which has some very practical advice about how to proactively communicate so you get off to a good start.

But today I want to talk about the next step.

Building Credibility Quickly

How do you demonstrate fast progress, particularly if you are building something new, or fixing or turning something around, and the positive results might take awhile to materialize?

For example, say you have a timeline that shows tasks and initiatives that go out over a year.

But when you look at the timeline, you realize that the new revenue really isn’t going to start coming in until after the first year, because there is so much work that needs to be done to prepare, and build, and train for, and launch all the things that need to happen before the revenue can roll in.

But at the same time, you want to demonstrate results more quickly.

Ready, Set, GO!

What I have done in this situation and also advised my clients, is to build a “Ready, Set, Go” plan.

Here’s how that works.

You take that one year timeline and break it into 3 parts. The first 4 months might be the READY phase, the next six months the SET phase and the last 2 months are the GO phase.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things that would go in each phase.

Ready Phase Items

In this phase the theme is defining, deciding, fixing, designing. It’s the foundational stuff that you need to put in place before you can do anything.

It’s getting the right team and the right strategy defined and ratified with stakeholders. It’s getting commitment for resources. The kinds of things you might see in the READY phase are:

  • Define New Strategy
  • Design New Organization Structure
  • Close offices/Open offices
  • Select CRM System
  • Define Customer Self-Service Strategy
  • Design Service Delivery Infrastructure
  • Analyze supply chain to reduce costs, increase flexibility

SET Phase Items

The theme of the SET Phase is about infrastructure and automation. The foundation is defined, and maybe even partially built, but the complete system to support full speed business operations is not.

The SET phase is about building, contracting, implementing, testing, running trails, partnering, building rapport with influencers, collecting references.

The SET phase is about making sure that all the supporting elements of the machinery necessary to execute your strategy are in place –they are SET for action.

The kinds of things you might see in the SET phase are:

  • Implement CRM System, Strategy and Training
  • Train Sales Force on new strategy and service
  • Finalize 2 year GTM Plan in all regions
  • Develop and staff Account Based Marketing in top 50 accounts
  • Develop Customer Transition Plan
  • Test Self Service
  • Test new Service Delivery
  • Change Sales comp plans
  • Build out Digital Marketing Strategy
  • Build out Marketing Automation Strategy with instrumentation
  • Get 10 reference customers globally
  • Engage/Influence Industry Analysts and Media
  • New partner agreements in place throughout supply chain
  • Activate and test new processes with supply chain partners

GO Phase Items

The theme of the GO phase, is that everything is ready, the infrastructure is set up, and now you GO. Everything you built is in now place and you are executing and expecting results.

The kinds of things you might see in the GO phase are:

  • Turn on new service in phases across major geographies
  • Turn on Self Service for 200 customers at a time
  • Begin to realize cost reductions in supply chain
  • Sales Kickoff Event
  • Initiate Account Based Marketing
  • Launch new, targeted marketing campaigns in each region
  • Implement Digital Marketing plan
  • See revenue increase of X% in segments A,B,C

Why this matters

When you step into a role or take the helm of a new program or major project, companies can have a tendency to be unaware of, or ignore, or forget the size of the hole you are starting from. They will think that your arrival will create instant results.

So without a ready, set, go plan, you can get into month 6 and have nothing to show in terms of results.

But if you get buy-in for your READY, SET, GO phased approach, you can create measures for each phase of the plan and show performance against the things that were agreed for READY and SET.

And by the way, it also buys you time to get ready and set! If you need to drive change, as a leader, you need to give yourself this time to plan and think about it, so you will be confident to roll out a new strategy with the right social and structural support.

It gives you a way to show measurable progress and results long before you are able to demonstrate the results of the actual payoff. Without this, you run the risk that management or the board will be expecting an immediate revenue increase just because you showed up!

READY, SET, GO is a highly credible way to buy yourself some time and demonstrate results along the way.

While we are on this topic of defending your ability to make progress where people might expect miracles too soon just because you showed up, see my other recent article, The Cost Difference between OK and Great. Don’t sign up for “Great” with an “OK” budget!

What do you think?

What do you think about these ideas? What would you add? Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page.

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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her books RISE and MOVE.

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