The Change Implementation Series
I know just how hard it is knowing where to begin on your change journey, so I’ve written this series around the six starting points that I use to make implementation easier for my clients. Couple of weeks ago I introduced the series in TA75 – The Kick-start Change Implementation Plan. This article is the last of a 7-part series on kick-starting your own change implementation plan.
Part 6: Four Ways to gain & Build Strong Momentum in your Change Implementation
Over the past few weeks I have shared specific strategies necessary for implementing change in an accounting practice. This week I’ll focus on how to build strong momentum in your growth plan so that you stay on track, become self-motivated and achieve the goals set for you and your practice.
It can be easy to become complacent about where we are, or allow our uncertainty about possible growth plans to put off actual action towards goals. So here are my top four strategies to gaining and maintaining momentum towards your growth goals.
1. Give yourself an extra push and the leadership required to support you and your firm through the challenges of change and growth
As you change you’re guaranteed to encounter unexpected roadblocks and challenges along the way. Instead of being put off, you will need to adopt a mindset that allows you to embrace these as opportunities and use them to build a strong future. This can be harder than it sounds.
When I began the transition from compliance to business advisory, I was often frustrated by the apparent lack of progress and time spent problem solving various issues with the team, our products and new systems.
My experience: “We often got lost in the process of doing.”
In fact, it wasn’t until we appointed an outside expert that these decisions became easier. Not only did our expert provided invaluable insight into our business decisions, but they were able to guide our personal journeys as well.
In the end, I calculated that we made back the money spent on external advice within 9 months.
My experience: “That year we sacked a third of our clients and by March we had exceeded the previous year’s turnover, all from additional client work (VAS)”.
2. Make sure you’re made accountable for your goals
It’s one thing to set goals and plan implementation, but day-to-day issues can quickly side-track you and push your growth to the backburner.
In my experience, an external expert makes the perfect accountability partner. Accountability as a process requires you to check-in and gauge your progress over 90 days against the goals set at the beginning. An honest appraisal of your efforts can encourage you or drive you to make your quota when you are behind. When the process involves reporting to another person, this adds an additional element that will drive your efforts.
3. Manage initial setbacks and turn them into opportunities
Even the best action plans can go awry. But it’s crucial to your overall progress that setbacks are managed appropriately and even turned into greater opportunities. This can include changes to product offerings, revision of team processes or tweaks to client delivery methodology.
The first step is to maintain a mindset that allows you to remain focused on your vision (overall goals) and to view the problem or issue within a wider context.
My experience: “This is difficult to do when you’re in the trenches, so again an external expert can help with invaluable advice and perspective.”
4. Prioritise the right activities and plan your implementation
There are two parts to this. First involves knowing which are the right activities for you to be focusing on, the second planning your calendar around them.
I’ve written several articles on identifying the right activities, including TA74 – The Real Business Numbers that are Driving Your Business. While these can vary from practice to practice, this list provides a great starting place.
The second step is to plan your calendar around these activities. This means blocking out time for planning, implementation and review as a priority over other work (including client work).
My experience: “I recall our external expert prompting us with the question: ‘What are you doing today that will produce a $ tomorrow.’ Without this prompting it was really easy to fall back into doing client work and find yourself 90 days later wondering why things weren’t moving quickly enough and why the team weren’t engaging.”
Get help with your growth implementation
If you’ve read this far, then you’re committed to change. Now you may be one of those people who takes what they’ve read and goes on to implement it into a successful action plan. (I know those people exist, and I’ll be the first to say how much I envy you!)
But if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll benefit from having a nudge (or more) to get started, stay on track and achieve those goals.
Having been down this track myself, I know just how much I and my partners benefited from external advice, but I want to leave you with the advice of one of my clients.
Managing partner Damien Molloy from Easdowns Business Specialists, a firm doing 50% plus in VAS turning over $5m, had this to say about myself and his previous external advisors…
“…critical to getting out of the day to day and keeping you focused on strategic (work) and ‘stepping up’. Someone to keep you accountable plus the advice is invaluable.”
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Andrew Robertson | TwentySix Group