What is your 2014 BHAG?
Shirley, parts manager for a sawmill equipment manufacturer, told Session 4 of the Leadership Development Lab:
“It was the summer of last year when I was called into my boss’s office. After we talked for a while about the previous year’s parts sales volume, current trends and market conditions, he threw down the gauntlet and gave me the challenge to significantly grow our Parts Sales business. His instructions were pretty brief – ‘Just do it.’ I wasn’t certain about what should be done ‘to do it.’ I did feel trusted, supported and empowered.
“I made a few organizational changes. We have six locations and 27 people selling parts. I added a couple of people and promoted two others to team leaders in two of our branch locations. Then I got together with all the parts folks and we developed our sales strategy, our plan for the year ahead. Our plan for sales growth revolved around a greater focus on the customer. We encouraged and empowered everyone to go visit customers, make more outgoing phone calls, and proactively reach out as much as we possibly could.
“We upped our marketing support materials, produced several content-rich brochures, and we took team pictures and emailed them to our customers for a personal touch with our marketing messages. We were quick to give out t-shirts and other gifts. We took every opportunity to show our customers how important they are to us! And our sales numbers grew daily.
“It was late in the year when I received a call from our Vice President. He said, ‘You are on pace to break our all-time best Parts Sales record. Senior management would like to recognize your achievement with an award and celebrate by taking everyone out to dinner.’ Now we still had to make the numbers. As everyone pulled together, continued on our path of taking care of the customers, our pace increased and we blew by the old numbers. The Washington team celebrated with a dinner cruise aboard the
Portland Spirit. We were all given a trophy commemorating our new sales record. “The lesson I learned from this experience is when everyone is encouraged and engaged to achieve specific stretch BHAGs (big hairy, audacious goals), I can create breakthroughs to record-setting performance. The action I call you to take is accept the challenge of creating breakthroughs when they come your way and include your engaged, empowered team in planning for success. The benefit you will gain is the success that comes when challenges are accepted, and everyone is empowered and pulling together.”
As we move into 2014, challenge your team to a BHAG (big hairy, audacious goal). Communicate the importance of the goal and give your team the trust, authority and empowerment to achieve your intended end. You will look back on 2014 as one of the best years of your life.
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