Results.com is the business execution expert. For over 15 years this firm has transformed businesses and their potential into extraordinary results. Ben Ridler, CRO or Chief Results Officer and Stephen Lynch, COO, are two of the key leaders at Results.com. They shared their principles of business transformation and how they apply them with their clients around the world to bring extraordinary results as guests on my radio show.
Give our listeners a little history of Results.com
We took a franchise model and turned it into a professional services company. It was a fun process. There were 26 franchises when we took over the company and we negotiated and converted the company in 2006. We now have ten offices and local partners who are share holders.
Normally, I ask guests on this show to describe their reasonable aspiration or hoped-for goal. You guys don’t do reasonable. You do Big. Hairy. Audacious. What is your big hairy audacious goal for results.com?
It is to be the world’s leading brand for delivering extraordinary business results. Any BHAG needs to be measurable. We want 10 million people engaged in executing their strategic plans by the year 2020.
Why 10 million people? Why is the meaningful to you?
Once we start working with a company and they learn the values, vision and their role in delivering it, they become engaged in the vision. Originally I had thought 1 million people, but this isn’t really big enough. We know how to get to one million in ten years and we can do this and reach all of those people.
Why did you choose the BHAG methodology?You gotta have a BHAG that engages everyone in the company. We need to live what we teach. It inspires excitement.
What happens when the leaders see the wave of inspiration from their employees? What happens with the dynamics?
We talk about transformation into extraordinary results. Sometimes it’s the staff that think bigger than the business leaders. It’s inspiring to see the team lift the business leader’s sights.
This is where transformation begins to take place. It’s a pretty rewarding thing to do. To grow the business, you have to grow the leaders.
What are the three most common themes for business transformation that you see in your client?
1. Most people don’t know what strategy is. You do need a plan and know how to be strategic.
2. Most companies are also not very good at execution.
3. Tunnel visionOf these three, what is the most prominent?
The leaders have to transform first. Ideally, everyone in the company needs to go through a change. Start with the leadership and work from there – this creates the most impact. It starts with the CEO.
The past year has been a little turbulent, how has your business been effected by these changes?
We had a really interesting roller coaster year. We found a lot of our smaller clients dropping off or not moving ahead, while we began working with much larger clients who recognized the need to change. The other thing is that we have had 66% growth, by getting back to core, looking at our market position. We do things a lot differently than we did one year ago.
What have you learned that helps you with your client and their challenges in transforming their business and their leader?
It has made a lot of people realize they have to get the basics right. They need to become a little more clever. They need to be strategic. Think about the opportunities and impact.
It is really focusing on your core business. It is rock solid and you are doing it really well. It must be relevant to the market.
Stephen you wrote an article for The Economist Magazine, Execution, the Biggest Challenge of Business. (Link is to full article at Results.com's blog) Why is that? Why does execution remain the biggest challenge?
People just get busy doing what they do. It is easy to get distracted. They may have good intentions and good ideas, but they do not have a good or viable execution, whether they have a strategy or not. It does not come naturally and we help people learn those things.
How do you help your clients make execution their greatest opportunity? What do you advise or suggest to turn the situation around?
You have to be working on the right thing. You need to get very clear on where the company is going and what are the key moves the company needs to make to navigate an increasingly uncertain future. We do our best to create certainty for success in the future, from 3-5 years, to this year, to this quarter and really limiting the number of things they make priorities. We want to know what are the top three things the company needs to achieve this particular quarter. We actually work with them to implement them.
When do clients approach you and why?
Certainly up until the middle of last year, some were growing too fast or out of control, but traditionally our clients are successful businesses looking for another edge. They are ambitious open-minded learners. They just want to get there quicker. They see unfulfilled potential and are looking for the catalyst.
Do you have a standard client profile or demographics?
Typically, it’s the mid-market, privately-owned, companies who are looking for better results. They see unfulfilled potential.
Has any of this changed since the economy changed in the past year and one half?
We seem to be attracting larger clients. It is the first time these companies have looked outside themselves.
You mentioned one of the driving reasons that your clients contact you is unfulfilled potential. Are there other common challenges that you see your clients facing now? Is it the unfulfilled potential or the threat of the economy, increasing competitive pressures...etc?
We don’t like to position ourselves as the ambulance at the bottom of the hill, but sometimes that does happen. Other times the companies just need a little “how.” Generally most people have a sense of where they want to be in the future and they see the recession as potential. We want to work with ambitious people, who are learners and want to make a meaningful difference.
Can you share with us a client’s journey who overcame some of these challenges? Who had unfulfilled potential, were ambitious, and wanted to create a place where people loved going to work?
It is probably it is easier to talk about the process. These people come along with a burning desire to change, but are dealing with a lot of overwhelm. We help them create a vision and a culture first – with core values and ideology. With one company we helped them to build a community and a team toward a common goal, involving the company and its suppliers. They are a phenomenal success and have experienced tremendous exponential growth.
It is great learning experience for us as well. As we continue to grow and assist more businesses, we are fortunate to learn more about different industries and organizations and are able to take this new found knowledge and transfer it to other business models.
Let’s talk about social media. You use it in your business. What role has it taken in terms of ROI for your business?
I think social media has been fantastic – developing deep relationships and allowing strong connections. On LinkedIn we posted question from one of our clients. The response was incredible. It showed me the power of social media.
We like to share what we have learned. I can see that there is not going to be room in the world for bad products. Social media will see to that. It is important to give value and share things. We are building trust and when it comes time that they need to speak with someone, they have already learned about us and are comfortable. We are out there, visible, creating a presence. Our business is moving and social media is certainly creating higher traffic.
What other tools and SM resources do you use besides your blog, LinkedIn and Twitter?
[Ben] Facebook! I just love it and think it is a great tool.
[Stephen] I use different things for different reasons but I think they will all become one along the way. You have to be considerate and build trust, and also adding value to people’s lives. When you do this they are open to some promotion as well. You need to be consistent, acknowledge and connect with people in a meaningful way.
What are your three tips to best use with social media?
1. Know your target audience
2. Be remarkable3. Build trust
What would you say is your best social media platform and why?
[Steven] Twitter has been a revelation for me. The information that I learn from my followers has astounded me. I have found an incredible learning platform for connecting with thought leaders on a variety of different topics.[Ben] Facebook so I can connect with my buddies.
Steven, going back to your thoughts on Twitter, as you were talking I was thinking back to a year ago, when people were doing more idle conversations. In the past year, there has been more meaningful content. Would you agree or disagree?
I guess you have to filter through the noise. I use TweetDeck, but I am continually astounded with what I learn and the directions I am pointed in. I may have not picked up this information if I was just browsing in a bookstore. People just open up my mind. It has been a very powerful tool.Do you use an RSS tool for your blog?
I use Google Reader. I have limited myself to the number of blogs I follow, keeping it to a manageable number. When I find a new one, I drop an old one. It forces me to look at the value of the blogger and what they add to my life.
Are there signs of life in the global economy?
Definitely. There are many things happening and there is certainly movement.
A strong economy does create demand and tolerance but on the hand as judged from the growth of results.com, it seems it is irrelevant what the economy is doing. What are your thoughts?
I would agree. There are opportunities and many companies are thriving or learning how to adapt and transform. Many companies have definitely needed to reposition and restructure to take advantage of the situation.
Share with us an inspirational quote to bring our show to an end.
"Life gets better when you get better."
Your website has a nice section on business books. What books are you reading right now that you would recommend?
“The Hero and the Outlaw,” by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson. It has helped me think about brands in a completely new way. It is a transformational book for me.
I like reading science fiction and history. There is a series called The Otherland Series.