With only weeks to go to the start of a new year have you done the necessary to give your people the flying start needed to achieve your goals for 2014?
What are your goals? Have your team been involved in setting them and are they on board? What are your smart numbers and do your people understand the importance of achieving them?
Feedback to my recent article “Are you on Track?“ suggested that “Unfortunately when you talk of KPI’s & EBIT, many people have no idea what they mean, and associate this with gobbledy gook (is that spelt correctly?) that one reads in the AFR. (Australian Financial Review).” This is unfortunate but often true as many owners of small to medium business’ are technical people who ended up with their own business but who have no business management background i.e. they learn as they go. They do their best but as the saying goes they don’t know what they don’t know.
Does this describe you? If so there is no need to be alarmed; simply take the time to work out what it is you want to achieve from your business. To some this will be a work/life balance, to others it may be the beginning of a dynasty and to the baby boomers it is most likely time to plan your exit strategy.
Whatever your current situation may be you really have to work out a clear expectation of where you want to get to say in 3 to 5 years then break it down into quarters with your top priorities per quarter. A great tool to do this is a basic One Page Strategic Plan such as the one promoted in the Verne Harnish book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” or one of the many other templates available on the net. Which one you use is less important than HOW you use it; in my experience it is critical to get buy-in from the team by developing what is effectively the business’ road map for the foreseeable future together with the team.
This will greatly effect the outcome as without this buy-in you are unlikely to achieve the desired result. Your people need to be involved in the “how” & “why” so as to be fully engaged in the delivery. And by the way, who better to advise on issues, unproductive processes, double handling on one hand and potential improvements on the other than the very people who work in your business all day every day? Also by involving them in the decision making process and thereby getting their buy-in they are unlikely to let you down as they now have ownership; you will also see positive can do attitudes emerge to deliver the quarterly results agreed on in the strategic plan.
You will find that your people react positively to these goals, especially if extensive visual management of the goals is updated regularly throughout your business. It is human nature to want to succeed so you will find that they are more content and less stressed at work if they understand what is clearly expected of them. Most employees also feel better knowing that the business they work in is successful & therefore their position is secure.
This will require you to embrace open book management to really be successful in delivering your 3 to 5 year goals but it is well worth it. A good starting point is a book from Jack Stack called “The Great Game of Business” which is the story of a small business owner just like you who decided that in order to grow he needed to get employee engagement happening and thought what better way to do this than to create a game, and educate his people as to the rules. It was such a success that his factory is now toured by business owners from all over the world wanting to duplicate his success in their own business.
So, do you have a strategic plan for 2014 or are you just going to hope for the best and most likely be in the same position this time next year?
Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
To a successful 2014