Expert Interview Series: Doug Wick of Positioning Systems on Business Development

Doug Wick, founder of Positioning Systems, is a Gazelles Business Coach focused on growing small to mid-sized business through Strategic Disicipline (Priority, Metrics, Meeting Rhythms).

We checked in with Doug to get his insight on business development and learn what businesses should be doing to implement growth strategies and ensuring employee buy-in. Here's what he shared:

Can you tell us about your professional background? How did you become interested in business development?

I owned a radio station from 1992-1998.  I've always been interested in personal growth and business development.  I realized with some coaching I could have succeeded in reaching my dream of owning seven radio stations and more. My career in sales blossomed when I began to learn how to sell, and every advancement I made was due to learning and developing myself.

Developing systems was the first understanding of this. It led me to become an E-Myth Coach shortly after we sold the radio station. The work is so rewarding. as a sales manager I enjoyed seeing my salespeople grow, earn more, become sales managers and advance to general managers from my coaching. Working as a coach, the reward is seeing the businesses, and specifically the people I work with, grow and develop. In a number of cases, the owners have sold their businesses or attained substantial wealth and freedom.  

What are the most important lessons you've had to learn in your career about business development? Things you'd wished someone had told you when you were starting out?

Growth comes through challenges and getting out of your comfort zone. You must have an appetite for and intense desire to improve. I’ve always had a voracious appetite for learning. I have no regrets or wishes. Every obstacle and challenge led me to growth and the people who I’ve worked with always helped me to develop, or I didn’t stay with them long.

What's your approach for helping small and mid-sized businesses grow? What sets you apart from your competitors?

Our promise to deliver results or money back sets Positioning Systems apart. These principles of Strategic Discipline work for a business when applied. I’ve applied them in my personal life to great affect, Strategic Discipline played an enormous role in my overcoming cancer in 2012 when I had less than a 2 percent chance of survival. 

What is Strategic Discipline? Why should business owners know about and understand Strategic Discipline?

Strategic Discipline is the execution part of your business. Decisions equal success. Business requires good, if not great, decision making. In my work with customers many are failing to execute properly. To achieve a cadence of accountability from their people that delivers consistent results. In order to have time to work ON the business, to strategize effectively, the business has to be running consistently and predictably. Strategic Discipline is developing a Winning Habit by:

  1. Priorities: Determine your No. 1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days. Repeat every 90      days.
  2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. Develop reporting dashboards. Increase accountability. Follow Pearson’s Law to achieve dramatic results.  
  3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. Establish a cadence of accountability. Compound the value of your priorities and metrics.

Where do business leaders need to start when implementing a strategy for growth? What types of questions should business owners be asking themselves when trying to create a strategy for growth? What considerations should they be making?

Four Decisions are at the heart of a strategy of growth: People, Strategy, Execution, Cash. At any one time all of these are in various stages of development. One is always the rock in their shoe, limiting their growth. Each of these four decisions has a result or outcome. Determining which one to focus on is really the result of knowing the outcomes they produce and recognizing which one currently is limiting you the most:


To determine which of the four decision to focus on they should as the ONE THING Question: 

What’s the One Thing I can do / such that by doing it / everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

By answering this question, they discover where to put their focus. This question determines their One Thing Focus for the year and each subsequent quarter. 

What are the most common mistakes or oversights you see business owners making as they're trying to grow their businesses? What should they be doing differently?

Most business are trying to do too much at once. Alignment throughout the business is never achieved. Everyone is running at warp speed in opposite or converging directions. Determine your ONE THING, communicate it through cascading meeting rhythms, develop metrics so everyone in your organization knows when it will be achieved, then use those same meetings to develop a cadence of accountability to achieve the outcome you want. A recent Inc. Magazine survey revealed 92 percent of CEOs believe their leadership teams agrees with and can communicate their strategy. 

In Reality: The same survey discovered: ONLY 2 PERCENT OF THE LEADERSHIP TEAMS COULD!  

What's one piece of advice you find yourself repeating to clients over and over again?

The Critical nature of the One Thing focus. Other than that, “First who then what.” When you have the Right People, results will come. With the right people and the right One Thing, anything is possible to achieve. 

What are the essential tools or resources for business leaders who are implementing a new strategy for growth?

A culture of learning is an absolute requirement. In today’s dynamic world the business that isn’t learning, training and developing its people is losing ground. As Gazelle’s coach, Positioning Systems is dedicated to learning and training the leadership teams we work with. Understanding the Four Decisions and having tools to develop your people’s knowledge in how to grow and develop each of these four decisions is essential to achieving growth. The business that learns faster eventually beats the competition.

How should business leaders approach getting staff buy-in for any new growth strategies they implement? What will help ensure success?

The leadership team needs to buy into the principles they are learning, and executing. If they are not committed to learning and growing whatever the principles they are working with, they will not work. Once the leadership team is completely bought into the Four Decisions and Scaling Up principles, then they can cascade these principles through the organization. Communication is essential, and the meeting rhythms (cadence of accountability) assure these principles will be implemented and understood. Every business is a mirror of their habits. These habits, when practiced and followed achieve results. It’s why we’re so confident we guarantee it.

What trends are you following in the world of business development today? Why do they interest you?

Trends are a critical aspect of business development and our Strategic Discipline coaching habits. We’ve placed an emphasis on SWT in our annual meetings, SWT is Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends.  We still ask middle management to complete the traditional SWOT, however in today’s VUCA world - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity– trends are more important than ever. The pace of change is accelerating.  

Innovation, as described in Kaihan Krippendorff’s, Outthink the Competition: How a New Generation of Strategists Sees Options Others Ignore is an absolute requirement. It’s not one change, it’s how a myriad of change is affecting every industry and business. Businesses need to have a system to enable their team to strategize and then implement disruptive changes. If not, they will be caught unaware. At today’s economic pace, they and their business can quickly face the distinct possibility of obsolescence. 

Make sure your workforce is on board with your strategic positioning. Try our employee engagement app: free 7 day trial.


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