My Dad was a chemist working on, among other things, the Proctor and Gamble team that brought Cascade to the market. It was a fun childhood for me because my dad was always tinkering or experimenting with something. I remember one experiment in particular that was assigned to me on a hot summer morning. It was one of those bright, already hot at 9:30 am days. My dad sent me out of the house with directions, a magnifying glass, some old newspapers and a stopwatch.
Change is accelerating, competition is stiff, and employee engagement is measurably low. How can you possibly make headway in a growing company in this environment? How can you cope with the multitude of internal and external information and distractions that are competing for your mind space and energy? As I slowed down to think about the answer, I realized that an expert in removing life clutter could help with the foundation of my question.
Are you fostering an accountability-based team, department, or organization? Accountability takes a step beyond responsibility. Responsibility is a felt obligation to act within an organization's values, whereas accountability adds that you can be called to answer for your own actions.
If you’ve ever worked at an entrepreneurial company, been a business owner, or worn the hat of sales person, then you understand a revenue drought. This past year I worked with a company that had been growing annually at just over the 20%. Then, due to industry changes, a lost salesperson, and higher expenses – there was a sudden announcement, if sales didn’t increase that there would have to be layoffs.
Are your meetings the butt of work-related jokes? Why is it that we roll our eyes with disdain when our calendar is loaded with meetings, and more specifically, why do we dread the planning meetings that are so important to our strategic success? Let me ask, have you used senior team members as facilitators? If so, you’ve very likely chosen the wrong facilitator. Save yourself a bad decision before your next planning session. Don’t choose your CEO or an executive team member for strategic planning facilitation. If you do, you’ll pay for it all year (or quarter) based on the plan developed and the pain to get there. Most executives are great at their jobs, but they don't have all of the qualities of a good facilitator. When you are in charge, it is hard to be an active listener, which is extremely important to bring out all of the great ideas from the team.
I recently blogged about why some companies increased sales and were happily forging ahead while others never moved out of the starting gate, or worse, closed their doors in 5 Secrets to Make Happy Money in Your Business. I was challenged in a recent onsite planning session to share more. As I wrestled with the question, I shared 5 MORE secrets. Whatever your description of happy money, find 5 more secrets below to add to your success bookshelf. Let's start with #6:
As I think over last year, I wonder why some companies increased sales and were happily forging ahead while others never moved out of the starting gate, or worse, closed their doors. I’m going to begin with the premise that you’re attempting to build your business in an industry that has potential. For example, I assume you aren't fighting the odds against industry and market trends. There are examples of niche companies that have been successful at this, companies like LC King Manufacturing Company in Bristol, VA, a quintessential American success story. Remaining family owned for four generations, LC King maintains the standards and quality of the founders’ vision while still working with designers and manufacturers around the world. For sake of focus, let’s put specific niche business aside.
My youngest son was eight years old and played for the church basketball team. You may know the routine, practice once a week and play once a week. At the time there wasn’t a real playoff - which was irrelevant since the team was 0-4. Total points scored to date? Two. Contrast that to the 34 combined points that competitors scored against them. After that fourth game, while waiting on my son, the coach (who had never played basketball) approached me.
Leaders often self-impose what used to be good habits at a bad time. What I mean is that they continue doing the things they did with 5 employees when their team becomes 50 employees, or what they did at 200 employees when they become 600 employees. It won’t work.
If you’re from southeastern USA, you know full well how delicious a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut can be. The anticipation of that sweet savory melting-in-your-mouth moment is something to look forward to.
Recently, while enjoying a long weekend in Boone, NC, my wife realized she had received a coupon from RetailMeNot, an online coupon company from Austin, TX. The coupon was for a free lemon-glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut. I was intrigued. I had never considered a lemon-glazed doughnut, but it sounded like it might be good. Besides, I might get lucky and find the “Hot Doughnuts” sign lit. So off we went. As we approached, “Eureka!” I thought to myself, the “hot doughnuts” sign was lit! This guarantees a great experience just like I remembered.