Getting a Fast Start in 2014

Today is Monday, January 6, and most people will be back to work. Hopefully, the company plan for 2014 has been nailed down and assignments to key result areas are known and responsibilities for achievement assigned.

If you want a great year it helps to have an atmosphere of optimism and positive feelings with a strong January start. That is why I wrote this article; to get you moving quickly this New Year.

With twenty workdays in this first month, here are some assignments for the owner to complete to help the team start the year off on the right track.

Answer the question: what specific results am I being paid to achieve as the leader of this company? Review how much time you spend on each desired result and compare it to the total time you spend at work. How do you narrow the gap?

List ten tasks you could eliminate doing. List ten tasks that you currently do that would be better off delegated. Take action on this at once.

Reach out to twelve customers this month. Ask how they see your organization, what they think of it, what kind of company they believe it is and what they want from it. Listen without pushback; ask clarifying questions. Share this feedback.

Ask yourself “Am I a leader who treats all my employees as my helpers?” List five ways your company could be more profitable and efficient when every employee is encouraged to assume greater responsibility.

Ask all managers to be prepared to answer the question “What should my contribution as a manager be to the company?” at an upcoming staff meeting. Give them a few days to think about this.

When holding the session, get answers from each manager. If someone comes without an answer, or with an unserious answer, excuse them from the meeting. Some in management might not sincere about their role, regardless of age, or whom they are related to or how long they have been on the payroll.  Having a better year 2014 means your managers must step up to the responsibilities of managing.

You already know who your most capable people are. The question is: are your best people addressing the biggest opportunities or the biggest problems? What and when will you make the necessary changes for continued growth?

Make your list of the top ten reasons why your company is an attractive place of employment. Add this to the agenda for the next staff meeting and share your list.

Have each manager create their own list of at least three new, additional reasons at the meeting.

Take the entire list and have each employee rank the reasons so management will know what employees really value. This is helpful information to have when hiring and creating motivational plans.

At the end of the second week of 2014, conduct a reality check. Pick the most critical functions in your business and review with the appropriate managers whether or not so far in the New Year the most important things are being measured.

In sales, for example, companies offer measure closed deals and volume. Those are trailing indicators to sales effectiveness. Exceptional companies look up the sales funnel to uncover (and measure) the leading indicators such as prospecting efforts, daily sales calls made and pending proposals. If you want a different result in 2014, change what is measured.

Make sure that every employee understands what it means to “own” a key result area.

This can only be done when you take the time to sit down with managers and ask unpleasant questions to insure understanding and acceptance at the management level.

Your managers can’t teach their employees what they don’t know and do themselves.

Here’s wishing that your 2014 is the best year ever for you and your company!