The most successful growth leaders use routines to boost productivity in their day and help build new capabilities for the future. Whether it is a daily shop-floor walk and talk or a weekly chat to customers, we need these patterns of activity to help us achieve growth and transformation. We cannot simply rely on our strengths.
When in a high-growth business, you can become so busy keeping up with the crazy pace of growth that it is hard to build competencies for the future. Routines allow us to do that. They can be individual routines, for example, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Founder of Twitter, handles two businesses and his routine involves dedicating a specific weekday to a part of the business at both companies. For him, this method of applying themes to his days enables him to stay attentive to each area even when he's often interrupted.
Routines can also be team or business-wide practices. I worked with a senior leadership team that focused too much on their own individual parts of the business and this created conflict with the other team leaders. We implemented a routine where they agreed to facilitate each other's strategy and planning sessions. This gave them greater insight and understanding about the issues and challenges that each team faced. It also created different attitudes that fundamentally changed their behaviour and helped to build new capabilities needed for growth.
Early on I learnt the importance of routines through my endurance athlete training. They helped me raise my game to perform in difficult circumstances or against a competitor. This also is true in business, routines enable us to become more precise and build the confidence and competencies that we need to perform effectively, especially during challenging times. Routines create new habits and ways of thinking. Then as we repeat progressively challenging routines, we build endurance that helps us grow and succeed.
Here are 6 ways you can harness the magic of growth routines:
1. Identify critical attitudes and thoughts for your growth strategy
Think what is required to achieve your growth strategy. Incorporate these key factors into a simple routine that can be implemented easily and effectively. Over time it will become a habit.
2. Establish critical stakeholders
These will play a role in executing your growth strategy. Then create routines that bring their perspective into your thinking or increase positive interactions with them. Sometimes customer boards work well. We work with a payments company whose employees volunteer to act as brand ambassadors. They visit merchants to observe them and learn about their experiences and payments.
3. Design a simple routine to build outside-in thinking
For example, my company uses Workplace by Facebook where we've created a special group to share news about our customers and their industries. We invite our customers to share content for this app, too.
4. Create an easy routine to include customers
Bringing your customers into your innovation process (yes, we're talking about customer-aligned innovation) is a great way to co-create new services with them. It is something we do regularly at my company.
5. Prioritize your routines
Less in more! Decide how you can absorb and utilize your routines effectively so not to waste unnecessary time and resources. Manage the set like a portfolio. Once a routine is a habit, try out another one and see how successful that one is. But don't move on until the routine is embedded. And I mean really embedded!
6. Try them out
Give each new routine a few tries to see if it works. But be brutal in stopping it quickly and publicly if it doesn't work.
Implementing the right routines effectively will bring huge benefits for you, your team and your business by making things happen and freeing up time to focus on what matters. They are an easy way to execute today's business whilst ensuring that you maximize productivity and build readiness for growth and success in the future.