LOL, TL;DR, FTFY, ROFL, YOLO, NVM….if you are under 30 reading this you know what all of those mean.

I’m not (in that 40 age range), so I have to work a little harder to get them. They’re shortcuts used in text messages or on social media.

In case you are well over 30 and don’t know what they mean, I’ll help you now:

  1. LOL - Laugh out loud
  2. TL;DR - Too long, didn’t read
  3. FTFY - Fixed it for you
  4. ROFL - Rolling on floor laughing
  5. YOLO - You only live once
  6. NVM - Nevermind

Shortcuts on language can be confusing, but as humans are pretty good at creating a common language to help us communicate. When you use it with someone else, and they understand you, it connects you in pretty unique ways.

Most relationships create a bit of uniqueness in the way they communicate. Most businesses do as well.

If you have read about Congruence, the operating system we teach to growth-minded businesses, you know we teach a clear language related to running a business.

One of the shortcuts we use is AIP or Action in Progress.

It’s a critical one to learn.

We teach businesses to take a day once a quarter, get the leadership team together, and write out all of their most significant problems to solve as a business. You prioritize those and then work together to address them.

It’s a simple process that helps ensure you are consistently working on the most significant problems you’re facing. It brings energy to your organization and makes sure everyone is on the same page.

As you work through those critical problems to solve, if the problem is big enough, you create a quarterly AIP to solve that problem.

An AIP (Action in Progress) is an action that will benefit the organization. They are generally projects or process improvements. Maybe you’ve been tracking customers in a google spreadsheet and need a more cohesive way to manage clients, so you don’t drop the ball on following up with them - that’s a significant problem to solve.

The AIP to address that would be to explore 5 CRM systems, write down pros, cons, and pricing, and pick one that works best for the business to implement over the next quarter.

It’s a specific action taken to solve a significant problem. Each week, in your weekly BME (that’s short for Best Meeting Ever), you check-in with whoever is accountable for that AIP to see if they are on track or off track.

As a result of doing this every quarter, you are systematically addressing your biggest problems with focused action steps.

No one person on the team should have more than 2 or 3 AIPs each quarter; otherwise, they could get overwhelmed. However, it’s important to remember that only one person should be the driver of each AIP. If more than one person is accountable to get it done, no one is. That doesn’t mean they can’t bring in others to help; it just means that at the end of the day, the buck stops with them.

Many organizations set goals for the year, quarter, etc. I often get asked what’s the difference between a goal and an AIP.

It’s a great question. A goal is a number - everyone should have a number they are responsible for at some level either individually or as a team. These may stay fairly consistent for the year/ quarter/ month/ week. You need to track these numbers regularly. We teach businesses to create minimum, primary, and visionary goals for the year.

An AIP may involve a number, but it’s typically a project, a product improvement, or a systems change/ improvement. It’s different from a goal in that it’s a specific solution to a particular problem.

Goals are great - every business needs them. However, to focus only on the goal and not the problems that need to be solved to reach those goals is like staring at the scoreboard during a basketball game hoping it changes and not running a play that can beat the defense the other team is playing against you.

To help you solve those problems systematically and consistently, we recommend the AIP. Creating AIPs each quarter based on the most significant problems you need to solve will keep you focused, and your team energized throughout the year.

So remember to seize the day because, you know, YOLO. Remember to LOL today, and the next time you are working through your most significant problems to solve as a business, create an AIP.

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If you would like to implement Congruence in your business, schedule a call to learn how today.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash