Lloyd talks about the consequences for the company.
He discusses what measures they took to turn things around.
And he reports on the results so far of their plan of action.
Table of contents
1. The COO who was spread too thin
2. A focus on the wrong thing
3. What a fresh perspective can do
4. The tough job of letting people go
5. When the only way left to go is up
6. The results of Lloyd’s intervention
The COO who was spread too thin
Lloyd Thompson has been out and about – the Maldives, San Diego and Hawaii.
And Singapore, says James. He’s been keeping tabs. And he likes that Lloyd has been in contact with business owners worldwide. James has always said, the secret to an online business is to get offline.
Now, the situation that lead to one company hiring Lloyd was as follows: their COO had been doing too much work, including work delivery for the business, and had left.
A COO, for clarification, is Chief of Operations – they report to the CEO. They might also be called a Director of Operations, Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer.
Whatever the title, this COO had been spread super thin. The business was big enough that driving, overseeing operations, and delivering work was a significant challenge.
If you’re spread too thin, says James, you’re prone to making errors. It impairs your judgment, you lack the visibility and the focus of when you have a smaller set of tasks to be responsible for.
A focus on the wrong thing
When Lloyd arrived on the scene, one of the first things they observed was that the company was really good at one thing. This one thing, their niche or super power, made the money.
But they were focusing on other things, in particular a passion project of the founder’s. Business time and company resources were focused on this project, to the neglect of the niche area they were really good at.
What a fresh perspective can do
With the unbiased eye of an outsider, Lloyd could see clearly what was wrong in the business. The company credit card, for one, was maxed out on the founder’s passion project.
Finance said they’d already raised it with the founder. Lloyd raised it with him again.
It was a challenge to bring the founder around. The situation, says Lloyd, was rock bottom, but the founder was reluctant to let go of his hobby.
The tough job of letting people go
At this point, there was not enough money in the business to pay all the staff. And the worst situation that you want to be in is having to let staff go.
James feels that – as a founder, you’ve got a huge responsibility to your team. That was very real for James when he had 65 team members.
And having to fire people must be doubly hard when you’re the reason the company can’t keep them.
Lloyd supported the founder through the inevitable conversation with the staff. The founder had hired them – it was only right he tell them, face to face, what needed to be said and done.
When the only way left to go is up
The good thing about rock bottom is you can only go up.
What does that look like, asks James?
They had a very lean team, says Lloyd. But the founder had realized something needed to change, and they already knew what part of the business was profitable.
The company vision was clear; it just wasn’t written down anywhere. So they got the vision distilled – this is where we want to be; where do we want to be in three years?
What does that look like? Work back, where do we want to be in one year?
Where do we want to be each quarter to achieve the one year? And they chopped up those quarterly objectives into the weekly rhythm so they could actually do them.
At a high level that might be making X amount of million revenue in three years, and the founder not being involved in the daily operations of X amount of sales calls. And all of these things can cascade down into the daily activities of what people do through three years, one year, quarterly goals – so goals, vision and values.
Lloyd worked with the team to get that in place so that people had a clear expectation of what their job should be, and what good looks like. And with everybody rowing in the same direction, and everybody focusing on the super power of the business, things started to turn around very quickly.
This is missing in almost every business really, James imagines. Founders have a vision for a company and wonder, Why doesn’t my team think about this? Or, surely they know this, or, Why aren’t they as committed as I am?
Nobody’s going to be as committed as you are to your own business, says James, but you can at least share what you’re trying to do by writing business goals, and see if your team want to be on board that.
The results of Lloyd’s intervention
James is curious to know the results of Lloyd and team’s efforts.
Given such a lean team, says Lloyd, and that they were focusing on just the core area they were good at, in three months’ time, they had their best month in 10 years.
And what’s more, some of the staff that were let go were able to come back in on contracts – an absolute win.
Another win is the culture – there’s the common knowledge that something is working, they’re rowing in the right direction, the business is thriving, the founder’s realized what happened and what needed to change.
So the result was positive in the end, says Lloyd. They just needed to go through a really dark time to get there.
James loves it. If any of this sounds close to home, he recommends getting in touch with Lloyd by email, [email protected].
James has been hearing great things about Lloyd from people he’s worked with. You might check out Lloyd’s book, 9 Ways to Leave Your Day-to-Day Operations: And Realize Your True Vision.
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