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Got Traction?

Written by KV on Monday, 08 April 2013 11:09.

It's interesting to me that the term "traction" can have seemingly opposite meanings. For instance, there's skeletal traction in the medical sense where fractured bones are kept in alignment through the use of weights and pressure to promote healing. In this application of traction, the patient must remain immobile for a long period of time. And there's automotive traction which describes how tires adhere to a surface allowing the vehicle to "stick" and remain in place along an intended route.

Both of the above descriptions of traction imply staying in place. I assure you, when I put the question Got traction? to you, I mean relative to your business plan...and I am not asking if your plans have rendered you immobile or stuck. Yikes.

The traction I'm referring to is in the mechanical sense. Here traction describes when objects begin to move as a result of sustained pulling power. The "brute force" required before any momentum can be achieved. Imagine a group of people - a team - all hands on, heels dug in, deep in concentration and collaboration, trying to start the rolling motion of an enormous, stationary boulder. The team must exert incredible energy in a coordinated fashion to attempt the forward motion of that boulder. They are seeking to gain traction.

The end of the first quarter of 2013 has come and gone. It's time to look truthfully at the implementation of your plans to discern if you indeed "got traction".

Ask yourself these questions of your team:

  • Are team members well beyond the identification and collaboration stages? Have they successfully begun to implement tactics or are they still creating solutions?
  • Are they engaged in exerting energy and effort alongside others to move forward with the plan?
  • Are they working in a coordinated fashion (pulling together) to maximize resources?
  • Are they seeing how their efforts will produce results and measurable movement...even if small right now?
  • Are tracking systems and accountability measures transparent and accessible for all to see and use?

These are just some questions that are appropriate at this point before you can expect to gain the ever-coveted momentum in your plan.

It's April. Don't overlook this important assessment. It's a crucial time to reinforce expectations, make slight adjustments if traction has not been achieved, and - in the words of those whom have been successful at rolling stones - get some satisfaction.



"Plans are not important.
Planning is."

Dwight D. Eisenhower