GAIN can simplify your execution

I joined a struggling business area a few years ago that had a small team of terrific people who managed hundreds of relationships with alumni associations, athletic departments, and universities, each of whom wanted individual attention.   It didn’t take long to figure out that all the team needed was someone to focus on execution and prioritization.

We launched daily early-morning “huddles” where each person got 1-2 minutes to talk about their goals for the day and what help they needed to accomplish them.  For the most part, we were in and out in 20 minutes.  Every day.

Then we created a simple acronym — GAIN — to define our strategy.  We used it for internal audiences, but also included it in every group presentation using an equally simple theme of Grow…Retain…Delight. 

This was Bulldog Simplicity at its best despite the volume of groups under management.  If the initiative or action didn’t fall into one of the four areas, we deprioritized it.  The four GAIN areas were:

  • Group Strategies.  Find initiatives to move the needle with our largest programs.
  • Activation.  Focus on getting customers to use their accounts and stop them from closing their accounts.
  • Integration.  Work with other business areas to offer new products, reduce risk, and deepen relationships with our Collegiate partners.
  • New Channels.  Find cost-effective ways to improve portfolio metrics and revitalize tired approaches.

The beauty of this acronym-based approach was that we could design our reporting and our presentations around the four key elements to let everyone know exactly how we were doing and it got everyone on the same page using the same language.


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