UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 53 October 4, 2006

Accelerating Through The Finish Line

“Leaders are the most results-oriented individuals in the world, and results get attention” – Warren Bennis

Tangible and measurable results. Everyone wants them and everyone promises the secret sauce to deliver them and yet, it happens so seldom that it remains the holy grail for any business and its owner.

You put in that new software system but people are not using all the productivity tools that made you buy it in the first place.

You launched a new web site and it is not contributing to your business goals

You promoted a new product or brand message and it did not take hold across the company or in your market

You set out this years plan to be more innovative and then… Nothing.

Sprinters and runners are taught early on that they are to imagine the actual finish line 5 steps beyond where it actually is so they accelerate through the finish line. The same is true for business results, we are thinking about the finish line in the wrong place and confuse getting things done with what needs to happen to make sure we enjoy the results we need them to deliver.

From my own experiences, and what I witness with clients, the problem arises from very little planning about what comes right after done.

What would happen if you mapped out, from the start of every initiative or project, 5 more steps that needed to be done beyond the obvious finish line?

5 ways to promote the site in the first 3 months after launch, 5 weeks of planned out persistent promotion of that new product, 5 things you were going to do after the big annual meeting to demonstrate your focus on innovation or a 2 month plan to make sure everyone is really using the new technology tools you implemented. What about 5 things your company can do after you landed that big client that makes sure you deliver on everything you promised and you set a time to track and prove the value you have delivered?

Results are what moves the business up to its next level of growth. Getting things to done has merely become the equivalent of treading water. It may keep everyone busy but it just moves you from project to project. Accelerating through the finish line not only gets things to done faster, it creates a follow through that changes how your company executes.

What initiatives do you have in the works now or have implemented that delivered bottom line results that were way below expectations?

Write them down on the left column of the linked PDF form below and consider 5 more steps after the original finish line for each one that moves you towards cash account” results.

Interested? Click here to download the PDF action form.


User Profile

Howard Mann is the founder of Brickyard Partners, a business strategy agency based in Portland, OR. Prior to founding Brickyard Partners in 2001, Mann owned a premier international logistics company with over 140 Million in revenue, six U.S. offices and a global network of over 40 agents worldwide.

As that business came under severe pressure from the previous economic downturn and industry consolidation, Howard lead the company out from those treacherous times by returning to the basics that make every business great and completing 6 acquisitions that re-imagined the business so it was highly attractive to buyers. Finding that “secret sauce” did not come easily but has fueled his purpose to help other business leaders to never have to go through what he endured. 

Through real world experience and those hard times in the “trenches” of business he has learned that it is not following the latest fad, copying competitors or adding complexity that makes a business truly great. His pragmatic approach and knowing what it feels like to sit in the CEO/Owner chair is what makes his work so different and effective.

In addition to his strategy, marketing and communications work, Mann coaches a select group of entrepreneurs, CEO's and business owners. His highly focused workshops and keynotes help executive teams take aggressive action to unlock the true potential of their organizations and build remarkable businesses that endure. In good times and bad. Online and off.

Howard is a sought after speaker both in the U.S. and around the world. He writes frequently on his blog about the importance of the basics and reconnecting to the passion that too often gets lost as businesses mature.

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Interesting ideas … downloaded the PDF and we’ll see what happens.

Interesting ideas … downloaded the PDF and we’ll see what happens.