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“Statusing” Your Way To Growth
I’m going to do a little two-part series on the concept of statusing. Statusing is an integral term of what is known back in the day from Jack Welch of Six Sigma. Six Sigma, for those that haven’t heard some of my prior podcasts, it’s the technique of setting a goal with a counterpart or with another person. A division, a group, a management or a department in which both parties agree on the goal. The concept is both parties mutually agree of the goal and they mutually agree on what would be failure and what would be acceptable. Some companies do a little nugget above that, which we internally call super green.
I want to start with some fundamentals. Six Sigma is about compartmentalizing your goals, handing them off to an execution team and then having some form of a dashboard that can be viewed by multiple people that clearly shows with a greenlight, “That project’s on track,” every month, every week, every day. If it’s yellow or red, it’s off pace, it’s off track and you don’t have to wait until the wee hours of the night before something’s due to get an emergency 911 call that the project’s not going to come in on time.
If it's not in writing, it's not real. Click To Tweet
I’m going to use an example of us internally but I want to go to the part first called a critical driver. Some companies call these KPIs, Key Performance Indicators. These are the key things that if done, the performance would be allowed to a venture through or be facilitated and it would complete the task. It’s a Key Performance Indicator. The reality is psychologically, we as people can manage one, two or three what I call critical drivers or KPIs at a time. It’s been shown for many years that even with a group of people, trying to manage four or more critical drivers, the performance suffers. Let me share with everybody what Income Store has for the January goal. It’s one of our many goals. One of the January goals that I’m personally statusing, meaning I’m the one that is going into a dashboard turning lights from green to yellow to red, etc. One of the items in my managerial control is the goal of we’re going to launch 100 eCommerce sites in a very specific way, managed in a very specific way and marketed in a very specific way and then followed up with what’s called the deep dive.
Here are the fundamentals. We met as a group in our annual meeting. We set X amount of agenda items and goals for the year. One of the goals got broken down into monthly mini-goals. One of them, I raised my hand and said, “I would like to captain that and I would like to be the driver of the critical drivers.” The actual simple goal is launch 100 brand new eCommerce sites by January 31st. Then we had a three-part critical driver index that said, “Number one, each site has to have 5,000 products. Number two, the 100 in total need 20 media buyers.” Meaning, each media buyer, Facebook and Google pay-per-click can manage and operate five eCommerce sites.
On the backend, we need five funnel managers, meaning one person can run twenty funnels. A funnel is defined as when somebody comes into the site, maybe they put something in the shopping cart but they don’t buy it. They’re in there and they’re moving their mouse around or maybe they do even buy something. A funnel manager can basically put a cookie or a pixel and then follow that person for six months with the same products they were looking at or liked products. If they do put something in a shopping cart and don’t buy, we can have a popup that says, “You’re forgetting about the product in your cart.” Then a regular funnel says about ten hours after they buy something, you start in every third day email drip campaign with similar products.
The way this works of statusing for growth or statusing to grow is the following. We set a monthly goal. These 100 sites were technically built in the third and fourth quarter, but only with 100 to 200 products for testing. Once we realized after doing 110 sites, these were the 100 most successful. We then are ramping them up under these three critical drivers. The first one is again 5,000 products. The second one is 20 media buyers. The third one is five funnel people. Here’s the key. We’re halfway through January, if we’re at 50 websites and the 50 websites have 50,000 products and 50 websites have ten media buyers in the mix halfway and it has to be three because you can’t split a body. Three funnel managers in place, which we have more of each, all of the lights in the dashboard that I am managing and statusing, I’m able to keep turned green.
The reason you want a status in a dashboard instead of having daily or weekly meetings with the core group of people is it doesn’t waste anybody’s time. What will happen is if for some reason, let’s say the media buyers, if we were at less than ten, I’ve assigned captains to be reading my dashboard. If they notice it’s yellow or red, then they have a mini-sub responsibility to go in there, make some phone calls and find out, “Have we recruited enough media buyers? Have we trained enough media buyers? Have we reached out to a firm?” In this particular case, we have a firm partner with Oracle that’s doing all our media buying. We were green on that category.
The concept is you don’t need a physical tool or software or app. In 1982 when Jack Welch was using this methodology, he did it with an Excel spreadsheet. He did it via fax and modems back and forth with his team all over the world. He did it instead of red, yellow, green because the fax machine is black and white, he did a full-shaded in box, a half-shaded in box or just an outline of a box. If the box was fully shaded in, that was green, all systems go. If someone sent him a message about a certain division and it was half-shaded and that’s yellow, meaning it’s still unplanned. It’s still on point but it might need a little nudging or management. If it came over with just a box around it, Jack knew to get a little nervous and get a little worried because it’s off track. It’s not on track to hit the deadline and then he would know ahead of time it’s time to pick up the phone, have a managerial meeting, have a staff meeting and do a conversation in which leads to why this is behind.
The biggest single point I can make on this podcast is many people that attempt this managerial style think they’re ten-foot-tall and bulletproof and they set a goal. Especially if your DISC profile is an SC, if you’re the deep thinking, analytical, more keep-it-to-yourself type of person, you have a slightly higher belief in yourself. You’re a task-oriented individual and I have counseled so many people that will try to set up even five to 30 critical drivers. Inevitably, the majority of the time that project does not complete and it’s because they went off the fundamental concept of the one thing or the one habit as Stephen Covey says it. To do a mini review of statusing to growth, the most powerful thing you can do in business is set a goal and then back it up by putting it in writing. As you’ve heard me say a million times, if it’s not in writing, it’s not real, you’re afraid of it. I stole that from Brian Tracy.
The second most powerful thing you can do is get mentors and accountability partners. I call them accountability buddies. You set up a team. You agree that this style of management with Key Performance Indicators or critical drivers is what’s going to be used. You’re going to set a major goal for the project and a numeric goal. You’re going to have no more than three, hopefully only two or one critical drivers in which you can say, “If we do this, this and this, the project will be finished on time. This, this and this, the project will succeed.” Then you’re going to hand those to teams to manage each critical driver. They then can take their individual critical driver, build a sub team, break that down into a couple critical components. That’s what’s done. That’s normal for this system.
There is nothing more exciting than jumping into a project and have individuals agree on a goal, a deadline, and the work that's involved. Click To Tweet
I’m saying for the actual manager, leader, CEO, managing a sizable project, psychologically, we as people can manage one to three critical drivers. I’m telling you there is nothing more exciting than jumping into a project, having five or more clear like-minded individuals that agree on a task that’s appropriate, agree on a goal and a deadline and the work that’s involved. They agree on the one to three critical drivers and they set it in motion and build a system around it. Then the coolest thing that comes from John Maxwell is make one decision and learn how to manage that one decision every day. Instead of going a few days and then making a new decision and managing something new, make one decision when you’re thinking clearly insanely and put the decision in motion.
In our case, we made the decision, we’re going to launch 100 eCommerce sites by the end of January running in significant volume. What would have to be in place to do that? They’d have to have at least 5,000 products. It’s critical driver number one. It can’t happen without it. They’d have to have twenty media buyers buying at $8 per thousand RPM, per thousand-page views, a thousand people looking at it, $8 a crack. We need twenty media buyers spending thousands of dollars a month per domain, filling the top of the funnel. Once they’re in the site, we need funnel magicians to come in and continually move these people around, offering them more stuff because that’s why they came into the site originally. We’re going to help them navigate the website. For us to hit the numbers we need to hit, those are the critical drivers. We made one decision. We are now every day masters at managing that one decision daily. It just happens to be broken up into three critical drivers. We keep our lights green, we hit our goals. Then in February, we move onto another one. For episode 390, I am Ken Courtright. I hope this helps. Take care.