Getting things done . . . Overcoming inertia in construction marketing


Bruce johnson breaking through plateaus book coverHave you ever felt frustration that things aren?t moving quite as fast or as effectively as they should? This morning, remembering the advice of Bruce Johnson that the key to growth is speed of implementation, I?m feeling that sense of ?why is it taking so long?? to make things happen.

Of course there can be many ?good? reasons for delay and sometimes taking some care and time up front can save you from marketing headaches later. Notably, in this industry, few businesses plan correctly and even fewer successfully implement and modify plans based on updated information and clear analysis. We are either running ourselves ragged trying to keep up or put out fires, or we are confused about where to go next. So we don?t go anywhere.

At our October annual planning meeting, we made a few copies of one chapter of Bruce?s book (If Bruce is reading this, we pay an annual licensing fee to Access Copyright, so indeed, this copying is in compliance with copyright rules) and, afterwards, Heather Kirk drafted this synopsis (I recommend you purchase Bruce?s book, available from his Wired to Grow website or through

Chapter One ? Move Faster, Succeed Sooner

?There are basically no companies that make good slow decisions. There are only companies that make good fast decisions.? Larry Page (co-founder of Google)?

Analysis Paralysis is caused by

  • Fear
  • Personality type
  • Beliefs
  • Structural Issues

Fast Growth Culture

  • Few layers of bureaucracy
  • Empowerment
  • Modeling fast action
  • A culture of action

Increase speed of implementation

  • Reward quick action
  • Reward risk-taking and fast prototyping
  • Simplify and eliminate any policies, procedures or processes that hinder speed
  • Keep pushing authority and responsibility down the chain
  • Set time limits on discussion
  • Review how you personally contribute to slowing down implementation

?Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.?

So, how are we (and you) doing in following these approaches?

In September, we decided we would re-energise our business with a revitalized U.S. presence. We have decided on our initial market and a strategy that allows for an orderly and inexpensive roll-out. We started by contracting to design a new website that would serve as a template for the other markets (cheap and easy to replicate) and a new email server. As well, we hired a competent salesperson to help co-ordinate the initiative

Well, much has gone right, so far, but much has not quite followed the script. Our U.S. publisher has already sold some ads for the as-yet completed site (good). The email system is ?almost? complete, but the designer has run into a snag in setting the email formats ? and the project seems to be languishing on the shelf. The new website isn?t done yet ? our website developers experienced a serious setback when they were infected by malware (these guys aren?t amateurs, so this is a surprise). With some of the rate-determining steps not completed, we cannot move forward with other planned projects. The problems, alas, are largely outside of our organization?s walls and our ability to influence and manage these matters is less-than-perfect.

Today, I?ll call the email service provider and suggest some creative solutions to put that project back on track. Meanwhile, we?ll explore other ideas to keep things moving forward.

In some respects, we are doing things right. We aren?t putting all our eggs into one basket, and are adhering to a business plan that is really careful with the budgets. (The sales rep assigned to the project, for example, can continue market research while selling other stuff to earn his way.)

Still, I wish we could be moving faster. How fast are you going with your own marketing and business development plans?

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