“Vision without Execution is Hallucination.”
I wish I could take credit for the great quote above, but I cannot. Walt Brown, a friend of mine who helps companies implement Gino Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), used that phrase to describe companies who attempt strategic change before they have their daily operations under control. Affecting strategic change (i.e. implementing the vision) is not possible if you cannot even make tactical improvements. No point in planning a trip to the moon if you can’t even get to the corner grocery store.
The first necessary ingredient for implementing any change is visibility to the behavior and/or results that you desire to improve. Try catching a fly with your eyes closed, or try catching a fly by being told where it was just 2 minutes ago. Without visibility to the relevant data there is no accountability, and without accountability, there is no change. Also, when change yields improvements that are also invisible, you cannot apply the positive reinforcement to make certain they are sustained. Visions of the blind are simply hallucinations.
We got into this discussion because Walt is in the business of helping the same customers that ServiceTrade helps – privately held service contractors. However, he never begins with the strategic changes but instead with the tactical improvements and accountability metrics that build momentum toward strategic change. He references this approach as “Traction,” which also happens to be the name of the book upon which the method is based. ServiceTrade is all about traction because we give our customers visibility to both the data and the behaviors that drive outcomes – whether minute by minute or week by week or month by month.
The Service Contractor “Vision Test”
Can you see the answers to these questions every day in the metrics you review? Do these answers simply appear in a daily report, or does someone have to grind away for weeks to give you information that is irrelevant by the time you receive it?
- How much revenue did each technician deliver yesterday? last week? last month?
- How much repair work did you quote yesterday? last week? last month?
- How much in repair quotes does each dollar of maintenance work provide?
- How long do your technicians drive on average for a dollar of revenue?
- Which customers need to be notified right now because the tech is going to be late due to a prior appointment experiencing complications?
- What percentage of your quotes get approved versus the total of quotes delivered to the customer?
- How much revenue do you deliver per dispatcher/scheduler payroll dollar?
- How much revenue did you deliver relative to the total value of revenue available last month?
If answering these questions is difficult, expensive, or impossible, or if seeing the behavior that drives these metrics is difficult, expensive, or impossible, you are blind, and a vision of a better business is just a hallucination. To get traction, you need visibility. When you have visibility and traction, you can drive to better outcomes. When you get better outcomes, you get freedom.