What to do to start small and win big!

I’ve worked with a lot of companies; large, small, start-up, growing, struggling, and conditions in between.  My experience has been that no matter what their present situation is, they all have something in common; choosing a starting point to improve or make progress is often quite a challenge. 

James Clear captured a more scientific view of the issue of inertia and productivity in his article The Physics of Productivity: Newton’s Laws of Getting Stuff Done.   He says that once you “get in motion” you are much more likely to “stay in motion.” 

Just a few comments I have heard from business leaders; “we are floundering, it seems like we just can’t get started and complete what we start”, “we need a strategy, but we have got to solve other problems first we just don’t have a good approach on where to start”, “our team just cannot work together, I can’t fire everyone, we all have to get pulling in the right direction, focused on first things first”, or “the bank account looks great, but I am not sure we know how to focus and be consistent.” 

Now, you may not relate to any of these comments.  If not, that’s great!  But if you do, there is a simple, easy to adopt approach that could help you zero in on the best starting point consistently and begin making progress immediately for your organization. 

The OMV (Objective, Metric, Value)

OMV stands for objective, metric, value.  The OMV is a tool that combines elements of a few frameworks.  Gary Keller in his book The One Thing,  said “focusing on the one thing means ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do.”  So the objective component is really about focus.  Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, created what we know today as the OKR framework (Objectives and Key Results). One of the most important aspects of the OKR framework is the use of metrics to define the results.  In order to know you’ve hit your objective, you need metrics.  Finally, Simon Sinek in his book Start with Why, explains value using The Golden Circle.    His point is that companies that know “why” they do what they do, or what they believe, create real value.  So knowing the value you want to create determines whether you have a good starting point. 

Here is an example of an OMV …

ObjectiveIncrease revenue. Primarily in the digital channel.
MetricsIncrease email list to 5000. Deliver at least 2 new pieces of new content and 3-5 posts per week.
ValueImprove revenue consistency and growth Connect with new clients and build trusted relationships Create equity in the “user” base for the business
Sample OMV

How to use it to improve performance

Using the OMV approach is somewhat intuitive.  You need to identify the area in your business or team that, if repaired or accelerated, could have the greatest impact or create the most value for the organization.  I have coached clients using this approach for years.  What I find, it’s usually the urgent situation that gets focus first.  While that isn’t necessarily wrong, most of the time, narrowing down what’s important by looking at the value impact helps make a better decision.  Gary Keller in his book The One Thing said… “Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.”  By following the value, you typically find the right thing!!

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some misses!  The great news is that none of them have been disastrous (as far as I know 🙂 ).  The reason…even when the starting point is a little off: focusing on the real value always creates a return on the effort and makes the pivot smoother. 

So here is a list of steps…not rocket science but sequentially strategic…

7 Steps to making progress and building results momentum

  1. Define the starting point (OMV) – Use the OMV process to help establish your first objective.  Document it and communicate it to all those that can help create the value you are pursuing. 
  2. Find square one (start at the corners) and orient yourself – Putting the pieces together starts with the right tasks.  Focus on the tasks that create the corners of your puzzle.  For example, if your OMV is related to sales, start by identifying strengths and weaknesses in your sales process and documenting gaps.
  3. Take your first steps (recognize small successes) – Act and applaud!!!  Get started and make sure you celebrate small wins!
  4. Pre-empt obstacles/get help – Look for inflection points – Paying attention to momentum can help you know where you need help.
  5. Stick with it – This is the most important behavior to have when using the OMV toolset.  Focusing on one objective might seem like you are missing something.  Let me assure you that if you have used value to select the objective, you are heading in the right direction.  
  6. Measure progress/review regularly – Create a simple dashboard for your metrics and measure your progress.  This step can be encouraging and eye opening at the same time.
  7. Focus on the gain not the gap – Fundamental principle.  Keep your focus on the gains you are making and not the gap remaining to get to the metrics you’ve established.  Can’t stress this enough.  Nothing kills forward progress more efficiently than trying to see over a hill. 

New directions and roadmaps

One of the best features of the OMV approach is its reusability.  It works in almost all settings.  Whether you are managing a team, a project, a company, or just looking for ways to improve your personal surround, the OMV framework is repeatable and scalable across all areas of your environment. 

Use the OMV and get started!  Accomplishing one objective can change your world!