I have been helping companies develop their strategies for growth and profitability for over twenty years. As with many consultants, I started helping companies plan in a very traditional manner by developing 3-inch thick plans that would make any coffee table or bookshelf proud. I am being a bit sarcastic, and I know sarcasm is not a true form of humor, but bear with me for a moment as I make my case. It is not that the work we did together did not produce valuable plans with real substance. Actually, part of the problem was that there was too much substance in most cases, so the plans became overwhelming and extremely difficult to execute. I would come back quarterly, or in some cases annually, and as we began to the review the plans, I would hear comments like, “Oh yes, now I remember talking about that in planning.” Laughs would emerge around the room, but the truth of it is that it was not really that funny, considering the lost opportunity and lack of results.
"Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts." -Arnold Bennett
Whether you or an external force initiated the changes that are about to take place, preparation is essential for you and your organization. Change management tools can be the catalyst for immense success or supreme failure.
Early on in the process, develop a think rhythm about the future adjustments, the impacts of change management, and an employee focus. Change management is much harder than project management or business processes, as you are dealing with human beings that have feelings that they bring to the workplace. This list of the best change management books will get you ready for the better and brighter future.
This past Fall, my family and I took a week’s vacation in Kennebunkport, Maine. We have been there several times in the past, but this was the first year we decided to take a sailing tour with Captain Rich on the Schooner Eleanor. It was a gorgeous, sunny and early September day as we sailed through the channel and out into the Atlantic for a couple of hours up and down the rocky coastline. As the captain steered back towards port, it became obvious that he was waiting for something rather than making a direct turn back into the narrow waterway between the rocky outcroppings where the ocean and river met. When asked about the pause, he quickly responded that while the way may look calm and easy, there were incredibly strong waters just under the surface that could make the way back to port treacherous for the inexperienced. Many of us on the boat were distracted by dinner plans, being a few extra minutes late for happy hour and getting back to the hotel. While we possessed a desire to accomplish what we were certain was important, and we were sure that we knew the destination, we were missing one key ingredient. After twenty plus years of sailing, Captain Rich had a keenly developed a sense of what was necessary to make it back safely to shore that evening—discipline.
Successful SMART goal (priority) setting is an essential skill for both personal and professional success. If you aren’t setting goals, you’re likely not making progress. However, research by the University of Scranton found that 92% of people who set New Year's resolutions never achieve them.
Business goals don't fare much better; 67% of great strategies fail due to poor execution. Writing an effective goal will increase your chances of successfully achieving that goal, or quarterly rock. Fortunately, goal-setting is a skill that you can learn and improve. Setting goals and priorities is essential to running a great company so it is worth the time and effort to improve this skill.
Here are 6 Easy Steps to Writing Effective Goals and Priorities:
If you are like me, your inbox is full of COVID-19 response letters from every vendor, doctor, airline, restaurant or business of any kind you’ve interacted with. These external communications serve their purpose, but not nearly as essential as your internal response.
No matter what business you are in, if you are the CEO or an executive leader, you're thinking about how your business is responding to (and being affected by) COVID-19. Your people are worried; everyone is worried. At the very least, your job is to lead them through this anxious and uncertain time, and it's also to prepare for the worst, just in case. This is why we always recommend using the 5c's of communication framework to ensure that everyone has all of the information that they need.
We all know we need to be prepared for the worst—while striving for the best—when it comes to the effects of COVID-19, and the market has proven that leaders who remain calm and focused are better able to steer their team through turbulence and uncertainty. However, my experience is that many leaders and leadership teams do not know how to do this.
I'm being asked by CEOs worldwide, "What few things must I focus on now?" Even when leadership appears calm like a duck on the surface, many leaders today are paddling like mad underwater with only a finite few that have clear direction.
From a leadership perspective, there’s a real thirst for increasing leadership accountability. Executives have recently asked me various questions that linger over the concept of building team accountability to help them achieve their strategic plans while creating high performing teams:
“How do I build accountability in teams?”
“What else can I do to get people to do what we need them to do?”
“How can I hold a team member to be held accountable and still be seen as a good leader?”
"How do I balance leadership accountability and personal accountability when building a team?"
"Creating a culture of accountability is hard, how do I provide constructive feedback without being the bad guy?"
Building team accountability requires that we understand a few dynamics because it’s more complicated than we might recognize. It goes above and beyond the responsibility for the outcomes, which is obviously important, but effective leaders know that they need a culture of accountability in their teams that provide the inputs needed to achieve the expected team performance.
As companies grow, the need to strategic establish implementation processes to help you scale to meet your business goals becomes inevitable. We've all reached a place in our role when the way we used to do things no longer works and we have to innovate. Necessity becomes the mother of invention - there's really no way to avoid it in a healthy growing company. The best companies are continually improving and have systems to implement a new process quickly and effectively.
The truth remains, however: implementing new processes at work is hard. It's some of the most difficult work that teams do. Some teams struggle with change itself - it pushes people out of their comfort zone and sometimes there is resistance. Other teams struggle to develop the processes themselves - they can't agree on the best way to proceed to improve the business process. Even if you can define a new process and make some headway on changing people's mindsets, there is still the uphill battle for implementing the key processes that turn plans into action. Management teams can help their employees to implement a new business process in five simple ways to maximize their implementation efforts.
The 880-page CARES Act requires ongoing, focused effort to reduce the complexity to useful information. Just like filing taxes, some are doing it themselves, some have hired the least expensive option, some have found professionals or teams that get the best results, and some are stuck in the process. CEOs and execs shouldn’t take this responsibility lightly, without careful thought, or overlook it just because you’re in great financial shape today. Consider how you will investigate and implement your options, through a team of professionals (internal or external), an internal champion, or a hired outsider.
Have you ever wondered just what is going on in your business, how well things are going, and why? How can you know for sure that your people and teams are focused and aligned to achieve your long-term growth strategies and goals? How can you ensure you are doing the right things to attract the best talent and keep them happy in your company so they won’t leave you? These are all questions that an Enterprise Work Execution Platform can help you answer.