Helpful Questions at Year End

Business owners are busy this time of year but being asked to answer tough questions is an essential part of success. This list will start the process of evaluating how 2013 was for you and your business.

What were my priorities as the year started? Did I make satisfactory progress? If not, why not? If so, what worked so I can repeat it in 2014?

Did I have performance evaluations for every direct report? Have I made certain that all of my direct reports have actually had one-on-one meetings to discuss performance with their direct reports? Have I reviewed those evaluations and made appropriate comments?

How well did I do at conducting one-on-one meetings with my direct reports? Am I monitoring the one-on-one meetings my direct reports should be having with those that report to them? Am I enforcing this policy? If not, what do I need to do so that people are receiving more feedback on what and how they are doing?

How effective are the meetings we have? Are we improving the process of how we conduct meetings? What are of couple of things we could do to make our meetings more effective?

Am I doing a good job of leading by example? Does my management team understand the standard that I set for myself is the standard I expect for them to follow?

How much time have I spent with significant clients this year? Do I have regular contact with other clients to see what else we can do for them? Do I ask about problems that clients are having with my company and am I working to fix those things that cause problems?

Are my sales people receiving enough quality leads? Have I reviewed the process to make sure that leads that come to us are not forgotten or set aside, but are responded to professionally and in a timely manner?

How well is my sales team trained? Have we invested in them to become better this year and if so, what results have we received? Should we bring in someone from the outside to conduct training?

Does everyone in sales have specific objectives for specific periods of time? Has sales management reviewed how each salesperson is doing compared to the objectives that have been set? What is being done to close the gap between the plan and the results?

Are the current lines of reporting the most effective way to run this business? Does anyone have too many direct reports working for them, hindering communication and execution?

Are we investing to make our people better? What additional areas, topics and responsibilities do people need more education in? Are we ‘throwing” people into jobs and giving them responsibilities before they are ready?

Have we taken the time to teach managers how to become better? Is there anyone in management who is not management material? Do our managers have the authority and responsibility they require?

How have we been able to reduce operating costs and expenses this year? Where else in the company could we reduce discretionary expenses?

How much time did I actually invest reviewing the financial results of the business this year? Did we include the managers often enough and at a deep enough level so they understand how we make money?

This year end review was written to challenge and provoke you. There is no time like the present to review where you’ve been, to to decide where you are going.

Keep in mind three things as you move forward. Some things will stay the same, because they work well in the business. Some things you will need to stop doing because they no longer work or are a detriment to your company. And some things you will need to start doing, because only by doing some new things will you achieve a different result.

If you want better results in 2014, you have to lead a better company. A better company starts will having a better leader.