I’m reading an interesting book right now, “The Law of Abundance” by S.D. Buffington. Within some intriguing concepts, the author brings forward three traits required for creating abundance. Courage, responsibility, and discipline. Boy, I latched on to that last one, especially after watching some AEC firms consistently succeed while others ride one wave up and another one down.
Discipline to plan.
Most firms are disciplined enough to develop an annual plan. In reality, that’s the easy part. The hard part is to consistently implement that plan to create favorable outcomes. Time and time, again, the best plans get out of the starting blocks, but go by the wayside after several months. Proposals and interviews get in the way and internal demands soak up time.
Discipline to consistently implement.
The most successful firms consistently implement their plans. They get their plans out of the starting blocks, they incorporate checkpoints into the plan throughout the year, and they have the processes and automation to consistently implement programs. It takes discipline to make that happen. At your firm, six months after a plan is implemented, is your team still enthusiastically putting it into consistent action?
Discipline to consistently measure performance.
Next question -- you have a great plan in place and you’re well into implementing it, but (cringe), do we really have to measure it? Or, as I’ve heard more often, how do we measure it? A marketing and BD plan is measurable in all different kinds of ways and it takes discipline to be willing to measure what you’re doing. It’s not just the “win” rate. It’s measuring how the components of your revenue generation are performing. What does your marketing program produce? How about BD performance? And, the place where the easiest revenue can be gained – client relations. Is your program performing there? Metrics are possible in all three areas and it takes discipline to be willing to measure and adjust.
Discipline to stay the course and know when to change the course.
It takes discipline (and experience in knowing what to do) to stay the course. Too many firms try one thing and expect immediate results. When they don’t see that in one to three months, it’s time to try something else. They jump from one tactic to another, when, in reality, it, often, only takes time for a well-designed program to take hold and produce results. Do you allow sufficient time for your marketing and BD programs to take root and have an impact?
It’s also valuable to have discipline to know when to change the course. So often, individuals will have a personal investment in the original decisions that were made during planning and they have a hard time giving up when it becomes apparent a tactic is not producing results. Or, perhaps, it’s the still-heard adage of “we’ve always done it this way.” Be disciplined enough to be willing to stay the course, evaluate its performance objectively, and change it, when needed.
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