As hard as it is to believe, we are almost half-way through the year. As a result, we should be thinking NOW about what to stop, start and continue for the second half of the year. I learned this exercise from my HR mentor (a P&G-trained guru) as we performed it with our team with great results (thanks Debra!).
Stop, Start, Continue
Here are the questions to ask yourself and your team:
- Stop – What should we stop doing? This is actually the hardest. Not only do I find it hard to stop doing things I’ve included in my daily and monthly routines, my clients seem to find this quite challenging as well. Are you selling to a customer and losing money? Or, does this customer always create some sort of hardship for your team? Is your team putting together reports because they always have even though they are no longer necessary? Do you open them and make decisions based on them? If not, stop. Are you hanging on to that so-so supplier because you’ve developed a nice friendship even though they are no longer delivering or are at high cost? Perhaps you should have a discussion with them about it.
- Start – Let’s assumed you’ve stopped something. Now you have time to start something new. I am bad at this sometimes as well – just add, add, add but not stop. Are you falling into that trap as well? I am going through my activities currently and making sure to stop more (or at least equal) to the start activities. Start those activities that you think will yield an improved return on investment. Undoubtedly, there are several of these opportunities if you look. We find that our clients have many more ROI opportunities than they realize when we perform an assessment – every time without fail.
- Continue – Thank goodness, not everything we are doing should stop or start. Continue those activities that add value and contribute a result. Do you measure success by activity (time) or by result? I definitely advocate for the latter – you’ll double your success.
Put it in Context with Market Forces
Although it is always a good idea to take stock of what you should start, stop and continue, it will be helpful to put it in context with market forces. Here are a few questions/priorities to consider.
- Amazon Effect – No matter your business, you are being impacted by the Amazon Effect. Elevated customer expectations, immediate deliveries, 24/7 accessibility, easy returns and more.
- Customization – Who doesn’t want a product or service tailored just for them? We all would. I am an executive platinum status on American Airlines and they always offer me a complimentary meal as a thank you for my status. It’s a small thing but I do appreciate it.
- Resurgence of Manufacturing – Somewhat in response to the Amazon Effect and the desire for customization, executives are discovering it makes sense to locate manufacturing and last minute customization close to the customer. For example, even though California is not the state anyone would think for manufacturing, it makes imminent sense when you consider that it is the 5th largest economy in the world. If only we could get CA politicians to support us!
- Additive manufacturing – What could be closer to your customer than 3D printing on the fly?
- Logistics rules -Again, when considering the impacts of the Amazon Effect and customization, it is quite clear that warehousing close to the customer is also desirable. However, there are vast cost pressures. So, you need to be thinking about how to take performance to a new level. The same is true with transportation – if you even can source a carrier. The last mile is certainly gaining a lot of attention. “Last mile. Last minute” is my new favorite expression.
- Global – We are in a global world. Are you making global considerations as well as local ones?
What else do you think we should consider? Drop me a line as I’m interested. No matter what – give the second half of the year some thought and you’ll increase your chances of success.