Improve your Say:Do ratio

Do you need to improve your say/do ratio?  Initially you might think you can only work on the denominator to raise your average, but actually you should work on improving both your ‘say’ and your ‘do’…

How to improve your “SAY”:
> Write the plan down, share the plan.
> When you change the plan, tell your team about it, and explain why!!

How to improve your “DO”:
> Consider whether you are focused on the critical few or whether you are trying to boil the ocean.
> Re-evaluate your overall leadership process.  Yes, leadership is a process – meaning that you can practice it in a consistent, repeatable, sustainable fashion.  More to come on that.

The application is the same in both business and personal:
> Identify your key stakeholders… Who are the people that you regularly make commitments to… your team members?  Your family?  Your friends?  Yourself?
> Explain the concept of say/do ratio to these stakeholders and ask them to help you get better… By making your goal public, you will hold yourself to a higher standard & you will be inviting others to do the same for you!


What is your “Say:Do” ratio?

In a previous entry I underscored the importance of putting your plan in writing and clearly communicating it to the team. Here’s another important step to effectively engage employees: you need to actually do what you said you’d do. Let me introduce a conceptual “metric” that helps me think about this… it is called the “Say/Do Ratio” and is derived as follows:


The goal, of course, is to have a say/do ratio of 100%. Don’t bother trying to track hard data and come up with a precise calculation for yourself… instead you should simply evaluate every decision you make in light of a 100% goal for say/do.

Coming next: How to improve your Say:Do ratio.

Put The Plan In Writing!

So you have determined to inspire your team to greatness, harnessing their loyalty & belief in a common cause. Fantastic!   But… What exactly do you want your team to do?  And… How will you make sure they are all on the same page?

Answer: Do like Doc… Write it down!

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers giving his team the plan

A former CEO of mine tells the story of his first GM role, running a “small” division of ~1,000 employees and ~$100M in revenue for GE. In an early discussion w/his boss, he explained his gameplan for the division… and then his boss asked him one simple question: “How in the [world] do you think you can get 1,000 employees headed in the same direction if you haven’t written down the plan?”

Practical. True. And sadly, often overlooked.

Every leader should have a written plan. The format of this plan is less important that the content. In the simplest form, your plan should include:

  • Long Term Vision: where are you going over the next 5-10 yrs?
  • This Year’s Objectives: what does success look like?
  • This Year’s Metrics & Targets: how will we measure ourselves against our objectives?
  • This Year’s Priorities: what are the few most important priorities/initiatives we must deliver in order to succeed?
  • If you go much beyond this, you get extra credit… but just get this far to start!

…So What? (What should I take away from reading this?)

What follows is common sense. But as Ben Franklin said “what is common sense is not common practice.”

For Leaders:

  • Write down the plan. Don’t worry about making it beautiful… just get the main ideas in writing, simple bullet points on a page or two should do it.
  • Share it with your team. Get their input… do they believe with the vision? Do they agree with the objectives? Do you have the right priorities/initiatives to move the needle? 

For Everyone: These concepts apply in both business & in life.

Have you ever thought about writing down the plan for the next 5 yrs of your life?  Try it… you will be surprised at the focus it provides you in your day-to-day life choices.

%d bloggers like this: