My unwrapped Christmas gift for you

Leading up to Christmas, business owners and leaders are not in the mood for anything but the essentials. Once the holiday passes, there is time to reflect and plan for the New Year ahead.

Here is a simple plan to start your 2013 strong; by assigning you a thought-provoking lesson for each business day in January.

If you follow the formula, when the month is over, you be a better leader and have a better organization.

Day One: Make sure your organization has yardsticks to measure performance. Are you measuring the most important things or just what has always been measured?

Day Two: Make a list of your most capable people and make a list of your new opportunities, assign accordingly.

Day Three: Start today, and commit to spending 10 minutes each day to walking around the facility.

Day Four: Assign every employee to write a short work plan that includes their focus, desired results and deadline. Meet with each employee within ten days to review it face to face.

Day Five: Decide if your organization is delivering the results it should be. If not, review and update the mission statement. If you don’t have one, write it.

Day Six: Ask “Am I a leader who treats my employees as my helpers?” List three ways profits would increase if every employee was encouraged to assume more responsibility.

Day Seven: What results are you being paid to achieve as the leader? List five tasks to eliminate or delegate.

Day Eight: When a decision or change is being made, allow ten minutes to list everyone who needs to be informed. And another ten minutes for all those impacted.

Day Nine: Ask every person in management to answer the question “What should my contribution be to the organization?” Give them a day to answer the question in writing.

Day Ten: Talk to three customers. Ask them how they see your organization, what they think of it, what kind of company they believe it is and what they want from it. Use this feedback to fine tune the mission statement from Day Five.

Day Eleven: Perform a management audit. Use the criteria of whether or not your managers have made good people decisions; whether or not they have had any innovative ideas; and, whether or not any of their goals were achieved on time.

Day Twelve: Ask yourself how your organization can benefit from ecommerce.

Day Thirteen: Make a list of every employee. Next to each one, mark if these individuals are committed to getting results while on the payroll, or just going through the motions.

Day Fourteen: Does your organization value learning? Ask your managers to make a list of every employee and the training that needs to take place.

Day Fifteen: Make a list of the top ten reasons why your organization is an attractive place to work.

Day Sixteen: Ask every manager to answer two questions, “What do I get paid for?” and “What should I get paid for?”

Day Seventeen: What are the ten things your organization does superbly well?

Day Eighteen: Review your organizational chart. Will it fulfill the needs of your company in the year ahead? What needs to change?

Day Nineteen: Answer the question: Is the organization an inventor or an imitator?

Day Twenty: Create a Key Indicator report. On a single page, list opportunities, sales, revenues, profits and volume, track goals and performance. Use this for management meetings and one on ones.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!