TRACKING to our BHAG
CHRIS, give us an overview of Maclean.
Maclean is a family owned business with a 19-year heritage. We provide Rock Solid IT for Auckland head-office based, mid market companies. I am the 2nd generation Maclean to run the business, following on from my Father, Allan Maclean.
Our focus is helping our customers achieve their ambitions, unhindered and enabled by technology. Our focus is IT infrastructure – the platform that sits beneath the applications people use every day. There are only two things we need to do: make sure it never breaks – and if that’s inevitable, get it fixed super-fast.
We invest in the technology and people to achieve that in a world-class manner. Through prevention monitoring, and using some clever automation and remote technology to speed up fixes, we can make a huge difference to our customers’ productivity.
Tell us about your ambition for Maclean for the next three years.
Our BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal) is to support 20,000 end points by 2015. This is a big step up from where we are now and will be achieved by a combination of organic and strategic external growth. It’s a stretch, but with a strong plan and clear strategies it’s definitely “do-able”.
What challenges do you face?
We are currently focused on “Earning the Right to Grow”. In order to scale I need to ensure the systems, processes, proposition and people are rock-solid.
The first step in that was simplification – which includes narrowing our customer focus, staying true to our IT infrastructure services core, and outsourcing non-core functions.
Next up is a major software systems overhaul, which will no doubt present its fair share of challenges.
Following that, our next big mission is to bring a greater level of standardization into our product and service set. It’s a lot to do but we’re all really looking forward to getting stuck into it.
I expect our biggest challenges are probably managing the change well, and of course cash! It costs money to grow and execute well and the business needs to constantly invest ahead of the curve.
Why did you purchase the Leaderkit app?
With so much going on, and some very ambitious goals to achieve, we need a tool that helps us determine the right things to do, keeps us on track with our commitments, and helps to keep us aligned with each other whilst we’re all running 100 miles per hour.
Leaderkit helps us a lot with all of these things. I have tried various task manager and list type applications, lots of different home grown tools and spread sheets but this has so much more.
It starts by helping you think about the business, then links up goals, strategies and actions to the thinking and the overall reason for being in business. This flow-through from top to bottom makes it hugely effective.
Leaderkit also helps the communication around these things. It’s a beautiful application which makes walking the various stakeholders through it so much easier. I use it with everyone, from the staff to the management team, board and bank.
How does Leaderkit help you to fulfill your ambition?
It is a structured framework to track towards the BHAG.
Having everything I know about the business at my fingertips gives me the confidence to be effective at my role, and is a great guide as to what I should be focused on.
Being so user friendly, the application has definitely accelerated the planning process. We were doing a lot of the planning before, but in a fragmented way – this brings it all together and introduces an overlay of coherence to our strategy.
How do you use the app?
We use the IQ Builder annually to review our major goals, and to ensure we are still heading in the right direction. It provides the groundwork for planning our strategy and doing our business.
Every quarter, we then get the leadership team and some nominees together to do any fine tuning required, and to review achievement against our goals from the previous quarter and set our goals for the quarter ahead.
From there we get together weekly, and review progress against the milestones set for the quarter.
I also use it as an on-boarding tool for new senior staff to understand Maclean, and for talking with my key stakeholders and the board.
Anything else you would like to say about Leaderkit?
Leaderkit is excellent for gap analysis and I think it makes a great tool for boards to help CEOs get focused on the right things. CEOs are naturally good at one or two things e.g. sales vs. process vs. financials, but using Leaderkit helps keep balance in the focus.
In summary – I’m a big fan and think that Brett and his team have done something really special with Leaderkit. It’s not just the app, which is great, but the coherence that is brought to strategy by aligning a bunch of current strategic thinking theories into a practical single tool.