Strategic Execution in a Changing Environment: John Gongos, Keith Price, Troy Schrock #CASROmanage #MRX

Welcome to this series of live blogs from the CASRO Management Conference in Chicago. All posts appear within minutes after the speaker has finished. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.


    • Troy Schrock, Advisor The CEO Advantage
    • John Gongos, President/CEO, Gongos Research, Inc.
    • Keith Price, Managing Partner, reinvention
  • Troy Schrock begins…
  • Change is the only constant, how do we adjust and cope
  • Be quick or be dead – agree or disagree?
  • Radical change on the outside requires radical change on the inside – agree or disagree?
  • Innovation distinguishes the great companies – agree or disagree?
  • These three things are myths. It’s not about how radical we change, it’s about the inconsistency. Know what to change and when and also know what NOT to change.
  • The basic principles of success are well known yet frequently these principles are not followed. It’s the “knowing doing gap.” We know what to do and we don’t want to do it.
  • 11000 business books published EVERY YEAR [… hey, buy #TheListenLady!]
  • “Leaders get bored.” Fanatic discipline is a key behaviour to success. We shouldn’t lurch from program to program giving our employees whiplash.
  • Drive momentum through consistency
  • “I need your help with this problem”  [I like that. Recognize the need for help and actually SAY it]
  • Is your strategic plan a giant book laying on the table?
  • Condense the output and increase the frequency to build momentum through consistency [that’s a mouthful!]
  • Condense –  your plan to one page, simple enough to keep in front of you, only key items, not your full financial forecast and the list of minor tasks. Know your corporate DNA, know where you’re going, how you’re going to get their, what you have to do to get there (top priorities)Leaning tower of pisa 4
  • A plan that is on the shelf is invisible to you and your employees and your resources will not align. Have your plan always visible.
  • Prioritize relentlessly – What is in your binder? 54 initiatives? Just for this year? Can you ACTUALLY get it all done? You need to prioritize. Resources are limited so you must focus on the most pressing issues. What is your #1 priority. Have just 4 or 5 priorities that have the greatest impact for the organization in the coming year. And know them clearly.
  • Recalibrate quarterly – Allows you to make required changes, calibrate against reality of situation and decide if you need to make changes.
    • Performance review
    • Perspective on annual plan
    • Priority focus
    • Progress acceleration
  • 90 day results window – long enough to see meaningful results, not so long we quit before we begin, our resolve will be tested
  • 70/30 curve – need a framework and a plan. It’s like have a diet plan laid out but then you have to meet with people and measure your diet plan success.
  • Can we straighten out the leaning tower of pisa as we go? Can businesses fix as they go? Organizations can have foundation failure to, all the people at the bottom of the org chart. Traditional view is the little people at the bottom holding up the company but we need to think about the leadership team being the foundation.
  • Corrective actions
    • take direct accountability for a strong leadership team, it’s not all on the back of the CEO
    • spend enough time together, build more trust, helps you through disagreements
    • prepare for your executive team meetings, don’t just show up. take time to focus and prepare
    • stay focused in meetings, turn off the electronics
    • be more patient to see results instead of jumping too quickly to the next new thing. mediocrity is connected to inconsistency. Decide on your goal and stick to it
  • “I wrote you a long letter because I didn’t have time to write you a short one.” Mark Twain
  • John – Learned by trial and error, not a lot of management or leadership experience, learned by reading books and making mistakes. Focus on finding the right people and let them be. Don’t be a control freak except when you are hiring. If you hire the right people, then you don’t need to be a control freak.
  • Keith – Starting his journey, just a year ago. Core of career as part of management team. Went through 3 CEOs, saw perfect and less than perfect executions. Saw many different leadership styles.
  • Keith – Communication across a large employee set with different cultures, key to ensuring strategy connected the dots, needed constant in person and other methods of communication to ensure everyone had the same goals.
  • John – Key change – technology has changed product offering, used to be mail or phone or internet, so many possibilities now, can’t be the expert in everything. Difficult to choose focus. Every year there are more possibilities. Speed – driven by speed of client’s decisions. Quick 2 years ago is slow today. And of course, without mistakes.
  • John – Annual plans led to 20% implementation, quarterly plans let to 90% implementation. Their plan is one single page for employees, purpose, core values. Be reasonable about how many major goals you can actually accomplish. Start with 20 top priorities, easy take it down to 10, hard to take it down to 8, and really hard to take it down to 3
  • Keith – Must be disciplined and don’t bite off more than you can chew.  What is the #1 goal? Shareholders? Clients? Employees? Can change from day to day. Define and follow through on what the goals are and how we are achieving them.
  • Steve Jobs was great at picking the one great idea from among many other great ideas. For us – social media, mobile, gaming – what do you say NO to? [not social media 🙂 ]
  • Keith – Frequency of calibration depended on the “regime” [nice chuckle from the crowd]  Leadership matters 100%. Colleagues in multiple time zones is normal. In person meetings are essential. Video conferencing is next in line, force the organization to use it if you must. Telephone is next. Email is the worst and it is used the most often. We spent the most time on the most inefficient method.  When employees see the management team solving problems and working well together, then they can do so as well. Execution becomes urgent.
  • John – 5 three year goals, 5 one year goals, and then new quarterly goals [sounds complicated again]. Choose goals that can actually be accomplished. One year – become a market leader. Quarterly goal – develop an app. People goal focuses on “Employees leave managers, they don’t leave companies” [been there, if management could recognize and deal with poor management, they would be able to keep great employees]
  • Troy – if you aren’t willing to learn and do the new thing first, then don’t roll it out
  • Do you give your employees the freedom to say no? Prioritization is about saying no. You must excuse things from the list. Help me understand what I can take off the list. There must be things that can be said no to.
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