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Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

Published January 13, 2015

Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

Picture of Ted Skinner

Ted Skinner
a Rhythm Consultant

Happy New Year! I hope your 2015 is off to a great start. Isn’t it great to come back to work after a nice refreshing break with a clean email inbox? What do you mean, didn’t you check off all five tips in my year-end prepare for a successful 2015 blog? That’s okay; I have another five tips for you that will help you achieve success in 2015.

If you can answer yes to all of the questions below you are most likely already outdueling the competition. However, if you are like many companies that haven’t entered the New Year with a detailed planning and execution process there is still time to get your company aligned to meet your goals. It does take some effort, but the time invested pays great returns. Don’t stress too much about the timing, as they say “better late than never!”

Keep in mind, even if you have a strategic plan you may not have the processes in place to execute those plans. Read Patrick Thean’s great blog post that outlines the key differences between strategic thinking and execution planning. There is also a lot of strategy execution related content on our blog that outlines what Rhythm Systems’ most successful customers’ standard practices are.

Question 1: Does everyone know your annual plan and have a clear vision of what a successful year looks like?  

The plan should clearly define who is responsible for what and be able to be tracked with key metrics. Do you have leading indicators to make sure you have plenty of advanced warning if an adjustment needs to be made? If you’d like some assistance, our free Annual Planning guide will help get you started on the right track. This is a very important planning process as it helps guide the majority of your efforts for the year.

Question 2: Do you know your quarterly goals? 

Make sure you size your quarterly goals appropriately and blaze the path to achieve your goals. Make sure that you think about what needs to be done each quarter to achieve the goals, remember to take things into account like summer vacations, year end holidays and any other seasonality that might effect your business. What can you reasonably accomplish is the next 90 days? How does that get you closer to your company goals? If you need help, please make sure to check out our free resources on quarterly planning.

Question 3: Do you have clear success criteria? 

We all hear about SMART goals, but we need to make sure that we put them into practice. Rhythm Systems software users know that we try to make it as easy as possible with our Red-Yellow-Green dashboard software. The key here is transparency, clarity and the elimination of any ambiguity. It needs to be clear so all parties understand exactly what needs to be delivered and when. Are your KPIs really key performance indicators? Or are they that in name only? Make sure that they are key to driving the growth of your business towards its goals. If you’d like some additional help, we offer a free guide to help you create KPIs to drive your business.

Question 4: Does everybody know what their responsibilities are to help achieve the company and departmental goals? 

You have to make sure that every member of your team knows exactly what function they are expected to perform. It is one thing to have a plan, but quite another to have everybody aligned and accountable. Do they have action items with clear deliverable dates that they are held accountable to by the rest of the team? Remember that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so make sure that everybody knows what his or her part is. If you need to work on accountability in your organization, be sure to check out our accountability blog posts.

Question 5: Is your company aligned? 

If you asked members of your departments what the company’s priorities are, are you positive they would all answer the question the same way? At Rhythm Systems, we normally find that when you reach a certain level of complexity it is very common for management to know what needs to be done, but the news doesn’t always make it all the way to every employee. In order to stay ahead, make sure that you keep your message clear, concise and memorable so that everyone is singing from the same song sheet. We have lots of content to assist you with your organizational alignment.


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