Where do you see yourself in 12 to 24 months? What’s the size of your company and people? What’s the size of your company in revenue? What new products are you coming out with? If you’re going to hit those numbers, wouldn’t you agree it has to be built anyway? Why don’t you build the bridge today and start building 18-month plans? If you’re just a one man show, you’re the strategist, you’re the executionist, and you’re the person doing the work. The key here is there are three roles. There’s the strategist, the captain, and the doer. The system can’t be done without each of the three, and you can’t be a solopreneur and be each of the three. Get a mentor to help you out, because if it has to be built anyway, you might as well build it properly.
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It Has To Be Built Anyway
The title of this podcast is It Has to Be Built. I spent some time with my wife almost being interviewed at O’Hare Airport in the restaurant of the Hilton hotel on the O’Hare campus because we signed up for a software called Rhythm based on the very famous book called Rhythm Systems, and we met with the CEO of Rhythm, Patrick Thean. The concept is this gentleman has started and sold off a number of companies and he found that there is a definite rhythm to your systems and your systems involve strategy, execution and people. There is no company growth. Quite frankly, there isn’t even family growth, any kind of growth to speak of, without somewhat of a strategy, somewhat of execution, and somewhat of people. He got a feeling over time that there was a need for a software that could track strategy independent and separate from execution and independent and separate from people. The more I thought about what he was saying, the more right on the money he was. We took a liking to Rhythm and we fell in love with Patrick.
We invited Patrick out to teach us and coach us on this new software that we bought. During his three-hour coaching session, Patrick said something, just one simple sentence. It’s so profound that I had to stop the meeting. I had to take some notes. I had to almost decompress. I was getting pumped up. I have heard what he said in so many different ways. I’ve even talked to principle in so many different ways, but I never heard it said the way he said it. I want to walk you through how this went down a little bit about the software, just to give this podcast some shape. Let’s just jump right in.
The bottom line is we bought this software. It’s going to help us track our 120 people. Our infinite amount of new strategies we come up with. Most importantly, the execution of our strategy. The long and short of it is he’s describing that every piece of growth starts with a strategy whether we know it or not. Then there’s some form of execution whether we know it or not. There is some form of people behind the execution of which sometimes they do, but most of the times they don’t know the strategy in which they’re implementing. I thought that was interesting. It’s irrelevant to this podcast, but interesting. Here’s the deal, you double in size, in revenue, in people and in products every single year. You’re not like any company I’ve seen in a long, long time.
He says, “Do you mind if I just jumped right in?” He opens up one of those iPad Pros and starts writing with a pen and write on his laptop. He goes, “Number one, give me the size and the shape you see of your company in eighteen to 24 months.” I think both at the same time, Kerri and I pushed our chairs back a little and we think 90 days in advance, 24 months out, that’s like infinity in our world. He goes, “Let’s slow this down a little. Where do you see your company in twelve to eighteen months, but long enough where you’re going to be much bigger doing much other different tasks. Give me an idea.” I looked at Carrie and I said, “Can I go first?” He said, “No question, we will be roughly approaching method. I got two different new products in my head.” He said, “Let’s start with this. Let’s go to finite. You’re at 122 employees now, where do you see this in eighteen months?” I said, “Honestly, probably more like 80 employees, but another 180 virtual assistants or out of country workers.”
He goes, “Give me the model of what you’re at today.” I’m like, “We’re about 50 in the US, 50 overseas, and about 20 new folks in Europe.” That’s obviously overseas but it’s a brand-new division. We’re going to split them into half captains, managerial folks, and half doers. We talked about that a little and he said, “Let me summarize. You’re at 120 today, but there’s no question if you achieve the vision in your heads, you’re going to be at 250. You mentioned two to three new products coming, and so you’re going to need some strategy there, some roll out some execution.” He goes, “This is perfect, perfect.” I said, “What’s perfect?” He hears the phrase, and he said, “So it has to be built anyway.”
If everybody that is not driving a vehicle could write the phrase down, “So it has to be built anyway.” What he was saying was we have doubled five years in a row. Five years ago, I think we had seven people total working here, maybe nine. Then it was eighteen, then it was 36, then it was 68, and now it’s 122. We’ve doubled in revenues. We’ve doubled in product set for sure. There are a lot of things but here’s the key. For us to double again, whether it’s twelve months or 24 months, the shape of the divisions, the number of people and the buildings, the office space, the product strategy, it has to be built anyway. It’s either going to be built on the fly in six months or nine months or twelve or eighteen, but it has to be built anyway or we can’t reach that size and that growth. As everybody that’s a regular podcast listener knows, if you’re not green and growing, you’re ripe and rotting. It’s growth or die in the business word.
I said to them, “We do need to build it because it has to be built anyway. Where are you dragging it?” He goes, “This is where the software Rhythm comes in.” He goes, “Correct me if I’m wrong, you’re going to need hiring coordinators.” I said, “We already have a recruiter.” He goes, “That’s not going to sustain 180 more people.” We need to create a patch in Rhythm called hiring coordinator, and I gave him what’s called who farted look. I’m like, “What do you mean a patch?” He goes, “Forget our software for a minute. Let’s just pretend we’re running this growth module on an excel spreadsheet. Put 120 people on the left, put 280 people on the right side of the spreadsheet. In a mock way, we did it on paper. He goes, “We’re going to now build a Gantt Chart, and that’s just a chart where along the way there are dates, maybe every 90 days every month. We’re going to hit different hiring numbers along the way. If we’re not hiring a proportionate amount of people over eighteen months, we know we’re too far behind.”
He goes, “Then let’s talk about office space. Let’s talk about your new building. Let’s talk about the products.” We went around and around and we started to put all of these things on an Excel spreadsheet. He goes, “The only real difference between my Rhythm software and the Excel spreadsheet you just built in front of me around all of these strategies is that you’re going to assign a captain who is going to take responsibility and going to accept the growth and the timelines.” He goes, “Let’s just strictly stick with headcount. If you’re going to hit 280, let’s just pretend you got to grow 30 people every 60 to 90 days.” We wrote that down. He goes, “The Rhythm software allows you to assign a captain, will call the captain, Captain Bob. Captain Bob is in charge of hiring X amount of people. Call it 30 people over six months or 90 days.” It doesn’t matter the timeframe, but here’s the deal. You have to ask yourself going in. If 30 is the goal, what is failure? What would be just a failure that you’re too far behind to catch up? I go up, “Probably fifteen.” He goes, “Fifteen is not a failure, so anything failure plus one or the goal of 30 minus one, anything in that range we’re going to call mediocre, okay results, but it’s not victory and it’s not failure.”
What he does is in his software Rhythm, you set the number 30 as the goal, 15 as the failure, and everything in between. Sixteen to 29 seems obvious, but he goes, “Here’s the key to this, the captain at the end of the 90 days or six months, depending on the number, he has to turn the dashboard to red, yellow, or green. If you hired 30 or more people, it’s green. Sixteen to 29 is yellow, and fifteen or less is red.” He goes, “Ken, what you think happens if it was a quarterly goal? What do you think happens on the 91st day? If it’s yellow or red?” I go, “I know what happens. A conversation happens.” He goes, “Why is that?” I said, “Because I woke up one morning on day 91 and I saw red, which is an automatic alarm, and I saw yellow, which is still an alarm. I didn’t see green, which is victory.” He goes, “What are you probably going to do?” I said, “I’m going to have a conversation on how to adjust the activities.” He goes, “Yes, that’s called execution.” “Then I’m going to second guess myself. Was the strategy correct?”
He goes, “Exactly. What the Rhythm software does or what any Excel spreadsheet with a Gantt can do is it tells you if a business plan, a strategy and then execution is on track and on task in the early days instead of waiting for ultimate failure.” I said, “This is brilliant.” He goes, “Because here’s the key, this thing has to be built anyway. You might as well build it with tracking mechanisms early on that tell you and your captains that you need to make adjustments early.” He honestly didn’t have to say anymore. I was so tracking with this. I was so excited I couldn’t stop.
Here’s the question for everybody, where do you see yourself in twelve to 24 months? What’s the size of your company and people? What’s the size of your company in revenue? What new products are you coming out with? Here’s the key. If you’re going to hit those numbers, wouldn’t you agree it has to be built anyway? Why don’t you build the bridge today and start building eighteen-month plans? If you’re just a one man show, you’re the strategist. You’re the execution and you’re the person doing the work. There are three engines behind this. There’s the strategy people, then there’s the captains inside the software, and then there’s the execution people. Strategy, captain and the execution. The people that do the meaningful work, they often don’t know what the captain’s thinking or what the strategies was thinking. In many times they shouldn’t. That’s not how the military works. That’s not how most major companies work. There’s not enough time for the very, very people at the top to teach the very, very people doing the work. Everything they’re thinking, it doesn’t make any sense. That would be very dysfunctional.
Here’s the question. Where are you going to be and are you willing to create that bridge and build yourself an excel spreadsheet where you break it into 30-day, 90-day or even weekly chunks? Then maybe just write yes, mediocre or failure. Goal achieved? Yes. Mediocre results, which is yellow or failure. Here’s what Patrick said at the end, which got my juices flowing. He was, “Here’s the deal. When your captains see a red light either weekly, monthly or quarterly, and it’s a biannual or annual goal, you don’t have to manage them because when they see red, they run.” He goes, “They sprint so fast the next month or next week or next quarter because they don’t want to disappoint you again. They have something called pride and the pride says we’re going to double up our efforts or adjust the strategy so we only see yellow next time. If it was red or if it was yellow, they only see green.”
He goes, “It only takes two weeks, two months, or two quarters to where the captains adjust the strategy often for you.” It’s just such a brilliant concept because it emboldens the left-brain strategy and execution modules necessary in business. It also involves the right-brain psychology of winning into business. I now understand why the whole six sigma model for Jack Welch was so successful. I hope this helps. The key here is there are three roles. There’s the strategist, the captain and the doer. The system can’t be done without each of the three and you can be a solopreneur and be each of the three. You just better have Chet Holmes’ pigheaded discipline if you’re going to be all three. Otherwise just get a mentor to help you out. I hope this helps. This is episode 347. It has to be built anyway, you might as well build it properly.