In today’s crazy and often unpredictable economy, it’s easy for us to lose track of what is most important to our business. We too often get caught up in the day-to-day clutter and distractions (email, voicemail, cell phones, etc.) that must be re-directed, re-focused, and re-oriented continually. Our employees are no exception. As a leader, you need to share your focus and vision for your business with your employees. If you ignore this critical focus, the possibility of wasting energy, time, talent and resources on trivial matters will keep them from attaining the company’s vision and its mission-critical priorities. Can you afford that?
You probably have heard it said that managers do things right, and leaders do the right things. The first statement speaks to efficiency, and the latter refers to effectiveness. It is easy to be busy but hard to work on the right things. You as a leader should focus on doing the right things – those things that matter most to the success of your department or organization. In short, to be effective, you must drive the focus of the organization. You must channel your time, talent, energy and resources into making an earnest effort to focus on the key priorities and goals of your organization. Keep your focus by constantly asking yourself, “What’s important now?” (something I call WIN).
As you formulate goals, strategies, and action plans for the coming year, I strongly suggest you focus your team’s attention and concentration on these six primary areas:
1. Satisfying your customers/clients.
Your team should know clearly that you expect a culture whereby your team falls in love with its customers and their wants/needs. You are in business to attract, delight, and retain customers in a profitable manner….period.
2. Becoming outcome driven; expecting results, not excuses.
Develop a corporate climate that expects achievement and not just activity. Be a leader who admires thinking and planning. Be a leader who demands effectiveness and rewards it more than efficiency. It is critical you understand that one of the most important jobs you have is establishing a performance and a goal-oriented environment; then hold employees accountable to it.
3. Learning and continuous improvement.
If your people and systems aren’t improving, your company won’t improve! You must champion an investment and dedication to employee learning. Commit to your employees that you want them to continually learn and improve what they do and how they do it. I’m amazed today at the number of companies that have stopped investing in the continuing education and training of their employees. Crazy!!
4. Maintaining and driving profits.
Lead an offensive, not defensive strategy for success. Don’t forget profits! Remember both top line and bottom line growth. Replace high-maintenance/low revenue customers with low-maintenance/high revenue customers. Watch all your margins, and try to improve them where you can. Now is not the time to reduce your value.
5. Letting them know you are in it for the long run.
Don’t be short-term oriented. Make sure everyone knows you’re in it for the long run. If you have a short-term business mentality, you can’t expect employees to think the other way. Business is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself in 2014, and you will cross the line ahead of the pack.
6. Having fun!
Finally, focus on making your business fun. Celebrate progress and reward your employees for superior results. Make coming to work a meaningful event. If you can master this one, you’ll reduce one of the biggest expenses associated with operating a business…turnover.
If you incorporate these six critical tactics into your business plan and continually focus on “What’s Important Now”, you should be in the WIN column in 2014.
Have a great week! Next week we’ll start adding some RPM’s to your plans. Stay tuned!