What Have You Done?
I love that question! I have to confess that the first time I heard it, my mother was actually making the statement, “Look at the mess you’ve made!”
For the purpose of this article, the question we’re really asking is, “What have you done to make 2016 your best year ever?” Well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions have long been forgotten by many. Others have simply succumbed to the daily grind and allowed life to take over, putting their plans on the perpetual back burner.
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Is Business Insanity on the Rise?
The practice of doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein
You would think that this definition would become less and less accurate over time as more people are exposed to it. And you would be wrong. Small business owners (and more than a few executives in larger firms) seem to be determined to prove this particular stereotype true year after year.
And, with another year just about in the books, it’s worthwhile to take a moment to explore some of the key symptoms of business insanity to help you identify and treat this dangerous disease.
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6 Steps to Even Better Results in 2016
With only 1/12 of the year remaining, it’s the ideal time to take stock and consider how you’ll get better results in 2016. This is the perfect time of year to pinpoint just where you are and clarify where you’re headed, whether you’re delighted with the way 2015 has gone so far or you’re disappointed and frustrated you haven’t been able to reach the level of success you originally imagined.
A sound process for introspection and goal-setting will position you for superior results in the coming year. Here are six steps you should take and why they’re important:
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A Pattern And A Solution
Early this year, I noticed a pattern in what business leaders were saying throughout the region:
- Some were expressing frustration over turnover among key employees and the disruption and cost incurred as a result.
- Others were reluctant to delegate more responsibility to key employees because they had been disappointed so many times before.
- Some were concerned about how they were going to handle important inflection points in their growth.
- Others observed that important team members were struggling to keep up with the demands of a changing marketplace or workforce.
- A few were searching for ways to engage top-notch employees who showed real promise but had no immediate promotion pathway.
Do you see the pattern? So did I.
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Strategic Planning--What's the Deal?
An awful lot of people believe that strategic planning is something that is undertaken only by large organizations. Are you one of them?
Would you be surprised to learn that the majority of small-to-medium business leaders spend more time planning their vacations than they do planning the future of their companies? They sure know which route they’ll follow on their next trip to the lake or their detailed itineraries for that trip to Europe. They have a clear destination and they know how they’re going to get there.
That’s really the essence of strategic planning: knowing where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. It is often said that the best way to ensure that the future you desire becomes reality is through strategic planning. Sounds pretty important, so what’s the deal?
Well, in more technical terms, strategic planning is the process of envisioning the future to which you aspire, and the growth you will have to realize to achieve that future state. To identify all the components of growth, it is helpful to analyze strengths and weaknesses. In companies, this means gaining a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the business, products, and services, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
Some of this will necessarily be based upon key assumptions. Key assumptions are those factors that you believe will happen or continue to happen based upon information available to you.
Good strategic planning is a pro-active, holistic approach to building your business which allows you to create your future, not simply react to current business trends.
An effective strategic planning process causes you to define the future you want to create for yourself and your business. You will discover your purpose, establish your values, set clear goals and specific time frames, and crystallize the action steps that will help your vision become reality. This is where the rubber meets the road.
To keep a plan from being a dust collector, the action steps need to be clearly defined with specific responsibilities, time frames and measurements in detail for at least the first six months. This is crucial along with regular check-ups on progress being made.
Many business owners and professionals today get so tied up in the "business of doing business" that they never really take the time to plan their future, much less monitor progress. You’ve heard the excuses before. “I don’t have time. We’re too busy. Planning doesn’t work in this industry.” The fact of the matter is that unless you make time to plan, you're already wasting a great deal of time and money.
Plan now or pay later!
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Employee Engagement: A Dramatic Opportunity
Still think employee engagement is just another buzz word? Top-performing organizations don't--they achieve superior outcomes because they understand the importance of employee engagement.
In a recent survey, Gallup, Inc. found that world-class organizations boast a ratio of engaged to not-engaged employees of 9.6 to 1. Average organizations, on the other hand, score a dismal 1.8 to 1. On average, only 29% of employees report feeling engaged with their work. More than half (54%) reported that they were not engaged while a shocking 17% indicated that they are actively disengaged.
Perhaps this explains why most entrepreneurs at the helm of growing companies along with managers who are leading growing departments are so concerned with how to manage people. This represents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and executives to develop their leadership skills as well as their work force to achieve dramatically improved outcomes.
We all know business leaders who are struggling to find the right balance between maintaining control and delegating. Many are convinced that they simply can’t delegate important or sensitive matters. Others create exceedingly rigid processes in an effort to maintain control. Others define the outcomes, set the parameters and closely monitor the outcomes. The difference in approach is driven by the managers’ confidence in the work force. Which approach would you take?
How can you gauge the extent to which you are missing the opportunity to take advantage of the knowledge and creativity of your work force? If you answer yes to three or more of these questions, you have a real opportunity to make dramatic improvements in employee engagement:
- Does my work force suffer from low morale?
- Are my revenue and profits stagnant or declining?
- Do employees tend to point fingers and dodge accountability?
- Is employee turnover increasing?
- Do employees gossip more than in the past?
- Does my work force lack the skills needed for me to delegate more?
To take full advantage of the opportunity that awaits and to tap into the full potential of your people, please contact us.
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