Today’s business world demands leadership and management like never before. More and more companies are turning to executive development for their top-level executives’ capabilities, help them align and engage high performing teams, grow their business results and advance their careers.
The world’s leading Business Coaching firm, ActionCOACH, named Monte Wyatt, of West Des Moines, Iowa, the winner of its highest honor, ‘Partner of the Year’ award, at its spring franchise conference held virtually on May 29, 2020.
As an executive leadership and business coach, Wyatt helps CEO’s and their executive team members develop their leadership and management skills. Wyatt focuses on creating financial, team, individual and overall business results through a process called strategic thinking, execution planning.
This is the second year in a row (2019, 2020) that Wyatt has been recognized as the top ActionCOACH Partner in North America. ActionCOACH Founder and Chairman Brad Sugars presented the award to Wyatt.
“Monte is very talented in how he guides and develops his mid-market executive clients and their leadership teams. The results with his clients are focused on strategy development, implementation discipline, revenue growth, team alignment, and effectiveness in their organizations,” Sugars said.
As CEO of AddingZEROS, Wyatt focuses not only on developing CEOs but also on teaching coaches, consultants and trainers to use his globally proven ‘5 Disciplines’ methodology. Wyatt’s business clients range from $10 million to $1 billion plus in revenue.
ActionCOACH, the world’s largest business coaching firm, was established and founded by Brad Sugars in 1993. ActionCOACH has more than 1000 business coaching franchises operating in greater than 80 countries. To learn more about ActionCOACH, go to www.actioncoach.com.
AddingZEROS is a global executive development and training company that works with executives to achieve exponential growth. AddingZEROS provides companies the tools and the guidance to add zeros in every aspect of the business – revenue, margin, profit, customer acquisition, customer retention, employee engagement, employee retention, and community involvement.
Monte Wyatt, CEO of AddingZEROS, brings over 25 years of management, leadership and personal development experience to executives and mid-market organizations. The AddingZEROS concept originates from the Best-Selling (Wall Street Journal and USA Today) book Pulling Profits Out of a Hat – Adding Zeros to Your Company Isn’t Magic, co-authored by Monte Wyatt. To learn more about Monte Wyatt, visit www.AddZerosNow.com or go to www.montewyatt.com.
Today’s business world demands leadership and management like never before. More and more companies are turning to executive development for their top-level executives’ capabilities, help them align and engage high performing teams, grow their business results and advance their careers.
In the blink of an eye, it’s almost July! It’s hard to believe the year is halfway over when it feels like it’s just getting started. Remember that annual plan you created back in late 2019 or earlier this year? These unprecedented times have thrown those goals (along with our lives, our work, and our economy) into a tailspin. While the social, economic, and physical impact of COVID-19 is far from over, most businesses are legally allowed to reopen in some capacity, giving us a moment to breathe, reflect and refocus. How can you gain control back of your business?
If you haven’t already, re-evaluate your previous 2020 goals. The world is a different place than when you were creating them. Consumer habits, buying behaviors and social norms have changed since then. Instead, use this time to be proactive, to choose the direction you’ll take your business in, and make the impact you desire. Here are a few ways you can set your goals for the next six months to plot a successful comeback.
Reset your goals for the rest of the year
How can you make the best of the next two quarters? Take some time this month to check in on the state of your business and re-evaluate what you want to focus on for the rest of the year. Your new goals may look completely different than what you originally set them to be. Be realistic about what is feasible moving forward, and brainstorm multiple scenarios as the pandemic is predicted to persist through the indefinite future.
To start, visualize 2-3 results that you will commit to achieving by December 31st. Once you have identified the main goals you want to accomplish by the end of the year, set 3-5 priorities, or areas that you and your team need to focus on to achieve the results that you chose. Make sure you choose a champion for each priority who is responsible for fulfilling the priority. While the champion does not necessarily need to do all of the work themselves, they are responsible for ensuring the work needed to complete each priority gets done.
Bring clarity to the next 90 days
Now that you know where you’re heading, break your annual goals down into shorter-term, 90-day goals that lay out what you need to accomplish each quarter to finish the year strong. Consider breaking them down even further to define what you aim to carry out in July, August and September. Especially in times of uncertainty, having defined quarterly and monthly goals will help you to stay on course when the future is unclear.
Ensure that everyone in your organization has a 90-day plan with clear outcomes that they are responsible for. Create clear steps that will ultimately lead to reaching your annual goals and outline key actions, benchmarks and timelines for the upcoming quarter.
Goals create focus, and focus creates productivity
It’s easy to shut down when you feel overwhelmed and directionless. By narrowing your focus to a few specific goals and clear priorities for the rest of the year, you can create an action plan with measurable ways to gauge progress. Once you’ve identified your organization’s goals and priorities, be sure to effectively communicate them with the rest of your team. Schedule weekly progress updates to keep everyone motivated and held accountable for the same goal. Remember, these are unprecedented times for your employees, too. They are in need of strong leadership as you navigate the new normal together.
Let’s create our own economy!
Don’t just wish for a better outcome – plan on it! The actions and decisions you make today will determine your future success. Goals backed by a clear action plan can provide the focus and direction you need to drive productivity within your organization to lead to a better tomorrow. If you would like help with this process or help with adjusting your strategy because of the world changes, contact me for a complimentary strategy session.
Right now, we are all experiencing rapid change and a high level of uncertainty. For some of us, these challenges are the biggest ones we’ve ever faced in our business – and possibly our lifetime. How does one keep a clear head amid all this chaos? The one key skill we need to draw on now more than ever before is our ability to think critically.
Critical thinking is balancing fact and intuition to solve problems with a commitment to high standards of excellence. It ties the needs of today to the needs of the long-term future and is a proactive approach to problem-solving rather than reactive. Critical thinking considers both emotion and logic and helps you stay open-minded to consider many options. It allows you to think deeper past your daily surface-level thinking to find lasting solutions.
Critical thinking is not just for management. As remote and virtual offices continue to reign precedence over the next few months, now is the time for everyone to step up – not only to self-manage and self-lead while working from home, but to offer new ideas and solutions to the organization as a whole. Your front-line workers will have a unique perspective, be sure to include them in your conversations.
Areas to think more deeply and long term:
Think critically about your business model. Can it compete in the virtual revolution? COVID-19 has sped up the online shift by 5-10 years, and contactless-ly conducting business will be the new normal. Instead of finding short-term solutions that may work until your storefront is fully functioning, find ways that you can continue to do business online.
What new opportunities can you take advantage of? How can you leverage your current resources that may be sitting idle or untapped due to current government or health restrictions? Can you scale your company into different lines of business that may be in higher demand right now?
Your business development:
By now, your marketing message needs to have shifted to show empathy and community togetherness. Now is not the time for a hard sale approach. Remember, regardless of who your target market is, COVID-19 is first and foremost a human issue rather than a business issue. A portion of your target market has had a loved one who has had the virus, who has possibly passed away from complications due to it or has lost their job because of it. Think critically on how you can frame your marketing message to highlight how you can help and serve your customers, and how your company can add value to them during this difficult time.
Now is the time to step up your customer service experience. Repeat business is crucial during times of economic hardship – it’s a lot cheaper to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones, and right now your customers are looking for the comfort and the convenience of doing business with companies they know and trust. How will you out-serve your competition? How can you wow your customers so they continue to come back time and time again?
People don’t quit jobs, they quit their bosses. How you lead your team during this time can either create a bond of loyalty and trust that is stronger than ever or drive great employees to look elsewhere. While using your head to find new solutions for your business, don’t forget to use your heart as well. Think critically about employee retention – what do you need to do to keep as many of them employed during this financial hardship?
Your employees may be struggling to keep their productivity levels high while sharing their work environment with family or roommates. Or, they may be in a front-line worker feeling anxiety and fear when coming in contact with people each day. What tools and training can you provide them with to be as efficient as possible while understanding the challenges they are facing? Strong leadership will help to keep your employees motivated and engaged and will attract the right people if/when you are hiring.
Do your processes need to be updated to reflect the changes you are making in your business model? And, do your processes need to be updated to accommodate a virtual work environment? You may find that a virtual environment could lead to more efficiencies (think of all those in-person meetings that are now sufficed with a quick email). How else can you take advantage of our current situation?
Invest in project management technology that will help you keep track of procedures, workflows, sales funnel, and content management in a collaborative remote environment. Remember that you lead PEOPLE and manage PROCESSES. If you feel your team members are not performing at their best, take a look at your processes to see if adjustments could be made there. Then, find ways to motivate your team to keep them engaged and focused.
Take some time to think critically about your purpose, your values, and why you do what you do. Why do you exist as a company? Think about the greater good your business exists to serve and create, the bigger picture that your company is working towards, and the culture that you have cultivated within your organization. Times will get better if you continue to adapt – how can you serve your mission in a new way?
These are the 5 disciplines for exponential growth.
By focusing your critical thinking on these five areas of your business, your company will become more sustainable, predictable, stable, consistent and emotionally connected to your customers, your community and your team. It will help you to adapt to the changing times so your business can survive and thrive through economic challenges. Learn more in my book Pulling Profits Out of a Hat or call for a complimentary 5 Disciplines Assessment to see where your organization needs greater discipline in the new world.
Communication is the most vital action item you should be focusing on right now. As a nation, we are tuned in more than ever, seeking out daily updates from our local and national government on the health of our community and the guidelines they recommend to stay safe. We can also all relate to the feelings of frustration and anxiety spurred by the mixed messaging from the CDC, local government officials, and the White House. While we may not have control over the virus or the regulatory precautions placed on your business or industry, we can control HOW and WHAT we are consistently communicating right now.
When communication is done well, it helps manage expectations and fears, making it more likely that your key stakeholders (your employees, customers, vendors, etc.) will continue to support you and your business through this uncertain time. When it is done poorly, it can undermine trust and damage the important relationships that you have worked so hard to build up. During this time of crisis, it is important to regularly touch base with your key stakeholders. Hungry for updates and reassurance, there is no such thing as too much communication.
As the world seems to be changing minute-by-minute, your stakeholders expect to have current information about your business available at their fingertips. Here are a few ideas on how to keep them informed:
- Share daily updates with your team: If your team is worried, fears and negative thoughts are keeping them from producing their best work. Whether you have good news or bad news to share, you need to keep them in-the-loop on what is going on and what changes you are making to your business. When it comes to key day-to-day operational changes, consider sending out a daily or weekly morning e-mail that highlights the modifications you are making. When it comes to larger issues that require a dialog or two-way communication, consider having these conversations over the phone or in person.
- Show empathy and understand where your team is coming from: You may have seen the following phrase going around Twitter or LinkedIn: “You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.” Your team is working under the same roof where their dog is barking, their children are playing, and their spouse or roommate may also be working from home and taking phone calls. They are also operating while feeling concerned or anxious about their physical, mental, and financial health. This environment can make communication and productivity more challenging. Adjust your expectations and encourage an open dialog so that you truly understand what your team is going through.
- Make sure your online messaging is current: Your consumers are turning to your online presence for updates on your business. They are wondering if you’re open, if they can do business with you virtually, and if not, what precautions your business is taking to stop the spread. Start by creating a pop-up on your website with a COVID-19 policy that answers these questions. Next, pin the same verbiage to the top of your social media pages so it is the first post your customers see when they view your page. Lastly, send the verbiage out in regularly scheduled social posts and e-blasts to keep your followers informed and engaged.
- True communication is the response you get: The effectiveness of your communication relies on how your audience hears, interprets and responds to your messaging. While you may have good intentions, the meaning of your communication is defined by readers/viewers/listeners who have their own point-of-view on the matter which can be completely independent of yours. It is important to be sensitive to the delicate situation we are all in – a portion of your audience could have just been laid off or furloughed, another portion may have a loved one whose health was impacted by COVID-19. Choose your words wisely.
- There will be pain points – communicate them instead of trying to cover them up: Your customers, vendors and employees understand that this is not “business as usual.” Most businesses are experiencing hiccups in their supply chain, technology glitches, and staffing changes that can result in a slower-moving sales process. To avoid a flood of questions and customer service complaints, be the one that brings these issues to attention. Leverage your online platforms to get the statement across about any delayed lead times or other disruptions that may be occurring in your business. You’ll find a majority of your followers will be sympathetic and appreciative of your transparency.
- Ask for input: The best way to make sure all of your stakeholder’s questions and concerns are answered is to simply ask them what they’d like to know. When it comes to employees or vendors, feel free to send them an informal e-mail or phone call, or send out an internal e-blast to see what their most pressing thoughts are. When it comes to customers and followers, choose the platform you receive the most engagement on, whether it’s through social media or an e-newsletter, and give them the option to submit comments or queries that you can then answer in a formal written post or video.
- Find ways to “double communicate” both verbally and in writing: It is important to be as clear as possible when conveying information to your stakeholders. Double communicating your key points in both a written and verbal format helps to avoid misunderstandings while emphasizing their importance. Follow up information shared during a conference call or video meeting with a written email summary. Consider sharing the same message in a video format as you would a text or blog post online. Your audience may prefer to receive their news in different ways, so providing a variety of formats will ensure you get your message across.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Keep the conversation going. Ease your stakeholder’s fears and worries by consistently providing them with the most up-to-date information that you have. Lead your team through these unprecedented times.
To get you through this difficult time, I am offering a complimentary 30-minute coaching session to help you think through where you are and where you are going. Contact me today for your free strategy session and we’ll work through this together!
The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly, causing unprecedented economic disruption and immense global impact amid uncertainty. On one end, industries such as the paper product manufacturers cannot keep up with the high demand on toilet paper and facial tissues. On the other end, service industries such as restaurants and bars have been required to stop dine-in services in certain states. No business will be left unaffected from the economic toll of the Coronavirus. How can you effectively lead your team through the panic and chaos of these uncertain times?
Brad Sugars, ActionCOACH’s Founder and CEO, shared 12 tips in a webinar last week on how to survive (and even thrive) as business leaders through the Coronavirus crisis from an economic standpoint. I have expanded on his key points below, but tune into his full webinar here.
- Communicate: Your team and your customers are looking to you for guidance right now.
Don’t let worry and panic lead to unproductive negativity. Whether your news is good, bad, or ugly, it is important to communicate with your team DAILY to give them updates on the decisions and changes being made on a leadership level.
Don’t delay communicating your business’s precautions with your current and potential customers. Others to keep in mind when planning your communication strategy are your suppliers, stakeholders, and local community. Great avenues to reach them include e-newsletters, social media and press releases. Keeping the conversation going within your network controls the narrative and builds key relationships between your customers and your brand.
- Stay Positive: Look for new opportunities.
With massive change, comes opportunity. Turn off the news and push back the paralyzing feelings of panic and worry to look for small wins in each day. Lead your people – they are looking to you as a role model for positivity and gratitude in these difficult times.
Find a way to take advantage of the current situation, so you can see better results today. How can you better lead your people through this economic impact? Continually ask yourself, “what can be done?” and you will come out ahead of competitors who are sitting back and accepting defeat.
- Understand the Cycles of the Economy: a 7-to-10-year cycle.
The economy moves in a cycle, which have stayed consistent within a 7 to 10-year span. The U.S. has had a strong economic boom (the summer season) that has gotten us past the 10-year mark from the market crash of ‘08. However, at the end of every summer comes the fall and winter.
Will this fall/winter last long? We’ll know more over the next week or so as we keep an eye on China and Italy, where we are already seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases. We can expect for the “winter” season of low economic growth to be shorter than in 2008, as our economy should spring back quickly once the virus has peaked and the spread begins to decrease.
- Changes in Your Business: Don’t wait until it is impacting you.
Now is the time to get ahead of the potential crisis to minimize the damage to your business. It’s time to make a plan! Ask yourself the following questions: what changes do I need to make in my products, services, prices, delivery and staffing to survive the pandemic?
Consider the formula for change: (Dissatisfaction x Vision) + First Steps > Resistance. If you are waiting to make a change until your dissatisfaction is high, you’re too late. If you think it will all blow over in a couple of days, what if it doesn’t? The worse thing that could happen if you implement these changes now, is that you’ll have a leaner, faster, better business sooner if you start today.
- Cut Back: Find where you can stop unnecessary spending.
Cash is king! In times of crisis, it is advised to cut spending on expenses that do not directly help your business grow. Continue to spend on marketing and sales, but consider negotiating fees and minimize upgrades that you can live without in the next 30-90 days, and reevaluate at that time. Postpone extra spending if your business is slowing down, and cutting back can also help you increase your cash flow to meet the demands of production if your business demands are speeding up.
Take a look at the top 10 industries that are booming right now because of the virus. Turn your focus to these industries and find ways that your business could help them.
- Extend Your Credit: RUN (don’t walk) to the bank while they are still offering it.
Banks are still lending right now. Extend your credit lines and open more credit cards while you still can. You’ll want to have that extra credit, so you’ll have the ability to spend more during the recession. Also consider refinancing if you have to. Renegotiating your rates to get the lowest rate as possible can help minimize your expenses.
- Staffing Cuts/Changes: Do what you need to survive.
Layoffs may need to happen for your business to survive. What efforts can you make to avoid it? Consider encouraging your staff take their vacations and accrued paid time off now during the downtime. Can cutting back on hours for your staff keep them employed? Pay cuts are also an option. Suspend your bonus programs to tighten your belt through this phase.
If you know you need to make layoffs, do so today. With the uncertainty of the timeframe of this virus, don’t put it off until your business is a sinking ship. For mass layoffs, it’s best to do it all at one time.
- Go Virtual: Make a plan to work from home.
Having a work-from-home option allows business to continue while minimizing risk of spreading the Coronavirus. It’s important to have a plan in place so that this transition is as smooth as possible. Here are a few aspects to consider: Will your technology needs be met? How will you communicate and conduct meetings with your team and your customers when you are out of the office or not available in person? How will you share reporting and minimize disruption on day-to-day tasks?
Create remote procedures for customer service, banking and mailing to help your business continue to function as normal outside of the physical office. It could be just for a week or two… or it could last for months!
- Online Deliveries: How is Your Virtual User Experience?
Can your business be conducted online and through a delivery service? As your customers are encouraged to stay home and distance themselves socially, you still need to be able to serve them, but possibly through a different platform than you normally do. Do you have online technology to make this possible?
From a logistic perspective, how do you need to change your staff’s roles to accommodate for delivery platforms? Do you need to reconsider how you package and brand your items? Stay proactive by thinking these issues through and make a plan!
- Marketing and Selling: Keep spending but embrace changes.
In times of economic crisis, marketing is the last cost you should cut. But, you must change your marketing messaging to better fit the customer’s new set of needs. Your customers are panicked, worried, and thinking about products and services differently. How can you best meet their current needs? Can you create special rates or offers to motivate customers to keep spending money with you considering the current market?
Measure your “Five Ways to Massive Profit”. In times of crisis knowing your numbers is important. How many leads do you have? What is your conversion rate?
- Focus on Repeat Business: Your VIPs in times of crisis.
Existing customers are the best customers! Keeping them happy is the most vital thing you can do right now. Make sure they feel like they are important and valued. Stay in frequent communication with them, offering them special deals to encourage them to keep spending. Consider offering ways for your customers to “buy in bulk,” saving them more while giving you more cash upfront.
- Bonus Tip: Common Sense and Compassion: Put people first.
Focus on customer service during this time. While you can’t control the economy, you can go over and above to make sure it is easy for your customers to do business with you. Showing common sense and compassion is very important right now.
Put the safety of people first – customers and employees alike. Be sure you are maximizing your cleaning efforts at your office and storefront. Provide hand sanitizer and implement “elbow bumps” instead of handshakes.
Now is the time to focus on what you can do… not what you can’t do. 2020 is different now than what we originally planned for. How does your business need to change? Contact me to set up a 90-Day planning session, where we will go through each of these steps and identify how you can implement them so your business will survive the recession.
Monte Wyatt Wins MOST INFLUENTIAL BUSINESS GURU AND BEST BUSINESS AUTHOR OF THE YEAR NORTH AMERICA at the 2020 BIZ X Awards on February 11, 2020
West Des Moines, Iowa – Monte Wyatt, CEO of AddingZEROS, today announced that he was named the winner of Most Influential Business Guru and Best Business Author at the 2020 BIZ X Awards, an annual event that honors the best of the best small and medium-sized businesses around the world. The event, which was held in Nashville, Tennessee showcases exceptional results for business owners, entrepreneurs, and their teams. BIZ 2020 Conference and Awards are powered by ActionCOACH®, the largest business coaching franchise in the world.
Monte Wyatt has carved out a niche in helping CEOs and their executive teams bring clarity to how they lead and manage their organizations. Wyatt influences organizations in Iowa, throughout the United States and Globally.
“Our team has worked hard to bring proven best practices for executive teams to help them create emotional connections with their teams and customers, be consistent internally and externally, and build long term predictability. It is an amazing honor to receive this recognition.”
With the competitive and fast paced economy, the business world demands talent development. More and more companies are turning to executive development for their top-level executives’ leadership capabilities, help them engage a high performing team, grow their business results and advance their careers. Wyatt recently launched a book titled Pulling Profits Out of a Hat. The book reached best seller status in 2019 recognized by the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
BIZ X 2020 Conference and Awards are part of ActionCOACH’s on-going commitment to innovation, business excellence and business re-education for owners and teams who operate and work in small-and medium sized businesses.
To learn more about Monte Wyatt, visit www.AddZerosNow.com or www.montewyatt.com. ActionCOACH, the world’s largest business coaching firm, was established and founded by Brad Sugars in 1993 when the concept of business coaching was still in its infancy. Since franchising the company in 1997, ActionCOACH has helped business coaching become more mainstream and has grown the company to more than 1000 business coaching franchises operating in more than 74 countries. To learn more about ActionCOACH, go to www.actioncoach.com.
Is every member of your organization rowing in the same direction? Are they even all in the same boat? Verne Harnish, in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, notes that organizational alignment attributes to 99% of an organization’s success, compared to organizational vision which leads attributes 1%. While executive leadership may determine the organizational goals, a majority of these goals have responsibilities spanning through multiple (if not all) departments. Organizational alignment is essential so that every individual in the company knows how their role impacts and works with others to reach your company’s success.
Start by making sure these key areas are aligned:
Is everyone aware and on-board with your organization’s annual and long-term goals? What about where the company is headed in the future? If you have yet to have a Strategic Thinking, Execution Planning session to determine your priorities for 2020 and beyond, now is the time! Involve your executive leadership and key team members in the planning session so that everyone is on the same page and has input in the planning process. It’s easier to get everyone on board when their participation is involved.
Operational alignment is equally important. Have you defined what success looks like in your organization and how you expect your team to work together? How about how your organization spends money? These are just a few of many aspects within your organization that must be in sync to ensure success.
Are your key people aligned?:
Is there a disconnect between your organization’s key people? Start by analyzing the relationship and communication procedures between the CEO and executive team. When the leaders of an organization do not see eye to eye, the confusion and power struggle trickles down to all other aspects of the business. Set a solid foundation for organizational success by scheduling weekly alignment meetings to ensure everyone is informed about the happenings around the organization, and are continuing to work towards the same goal.
From there, analyze if your executive team is aligned with the rest of the employees, down the chain of command from managers to direct reports, and even from one team member to the next. Define how your team should communicate with one another, how frequently they should meet, and consider organizing company-wide development days to refresh, energize and inspire your people to work toward a common goal.
What causes misalignment in your organization?:
Communication (or a lack thereof) is the key reason for alignment issues within a business. How are your annual, quarterly and monthly goals communicated with your team? How often do you talk about your company’s vision to your employees? Are decisions being made, and is it being relayed if you change your mind? Develop or revisit your team’s or company’s communication strategy when it comes to conveying goals, spreading news, or sharing updates.
How can you be more aligned?:
Do you wish your team was more aligned? It helps to have an outsider come in and talk to your team individually to learn what is going well in terms of communication and what could be improved upon. Hire a facilitator to help with your Strategic Thinking, Execution Planning session who will guide you through necessary areas of business that need to be worked on. Then, create discipline in your business to have discussions regarding alignment more frequently, and put them in a document and review with your team every few months.
Are you desiring greater alignment in one or more aspects of your business? Call for a complimentary team alignment assessment at 515-222-9193, or message me today.
As business owners, key managers and executives, our time is our most valuable asset (and the one that we are most wasteful of). When it comes to investing money into resources and initiatives, we granularly track ROI to make sure we’re getting the most out of our dollars. Why do we not do the same when it comes to spending time?
Are you actively defining your priorities and allocating most of your time to those tasks? Or are unexpected issues, fighting fires, or distractions dictating your time and taking precedence over what is truly important? In 2020, take back your power over your schedule by focusing on ROT (Return on Time).
Not Every Task is Worth Your Time
For most of us, saying “no” does not come naturally. When we do, we often feel guilty about disappointing a colleague or anxious about denying a client’s request. Saying “no,” and setting limits is an important skill to help you stay focused on your priorities.
Take some time to determine three to five high-value activities, which are activities that produce your most important outcomes. Low-value activities produce results that, will still necessary, aren’t nearly as important (they don’t have a real impact on your success). When taking on a new task, ask yourself, “Does this activity ultimately impact the bottom line of my business?” and “Does this activity bring me closer to accomplishing my goals?”
Delegate What You Can
If the task is not necessary for your job function or has no bearings on your goals, delegate it to someone else so you can focus on what is essential to drive your business forward. Delegation is a skill that you develop through experience, and while it is often hard to let go, giving your team members more responsibility strengthens their trust with you and motivates them to step up to the plate. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when delegating:
- Delegate to the right person: Identify a reliable team member whose skills or interests may fit well with the task. Consider outsourcing tasks that may need specialized or expert knowledge or skills for execution.
- Provide the training and resources needed: “It’ll just be quicker if I do it myself.” Have you said that before? While it may take a little extra time on your end to teach someone how to do the delegated task, it will save you more time in the long run.
- Focus on the outcomes, not the process: Another team member may do a task a little differently than you would do yourself. Unless you feel strongly about a specific process or provide a template, overlook differences in how they completed the job if it still produces a quality result in a time-efficient manner.
What About Fires?
Does it feel like you’re always putting out fires? It’s hard to spend your time strategically when it seems like you’re going from one crisis to the next. For any business to be profitable, there needs to be standard operating procedures, clear communication lines and basic workflow. When you are dealing with a fire, a specific system or communication plan is not in place that addresses the issue at hand, and it disrupts your workflow and the workflow of others. How are you teaching your team to handle fires, so they don’t require 100% of your time and energy?
Train your team to be so good at mastering systems and procedures, especially those “in case of emergency” procedures, that they can respond quickly and efficiently without needing your assistance. Hopefully, buttoning up the processes will help to eliminate common errors that escalate to big problems. Still, when the significant issues do occur, they’ll have the resources available to address it themselves without getting you involved in the whole process.
Do you know your ROT? Contact me to set up a time audit and prioritization consultation.
Are you leaving something as important as the success of your business up to chance? Instead of wishing for a better year in 2020, why not plan on it? December is a great time to reflect and analyze the past year while defining a clear path for 2020. However, we all know the saying, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.“
Don’t leave success in your future up to happenstance; choose it! The actions and decisions you make today determine your future success. For a better 2020, select the outcome of your revenue, customers, profit, etc. Then, determine the actions needed to make it happen!
Goals backed up with a clear action plan can provide focus, direction and a sense of purpose for your whole organization. Here are a few tips to make the goal-setting process easier:
- Think long-term first and work backwards:
Start the goal-setting process by dreaming about the future. Where do you want to see your business in 10 years? Create a clear vision of what you want to accomplish by 2030, and don’t be afraid to think big.Next, break your 10-year goal down to what you want to accomplish in three years that will get you a quarter of your way to your big future goal. Lastly, break that 3-year goal down to what you need to accomplish in 2020 to stay on track. When looking at your 2020 goals, identify benchmarks you need to meet within each quarter that will lead you to success at the end of the year.
Are you still working towards the same goal you’ve always set out to reach? Year after year, you may find your goals, ideal outcomes, and direction may not change very much. Consider changing your actions, behaviors, and mindset to reach your slower-moving goals (have you heard of the secret formula, Be x Do = Have?).
- Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, with a defined timeframe):
To properly execute your goals and priorities for the year, be sure they are S.M.A.R.T. Define critical dates and benchmarks each quarter (or even each month) to keep you and your team on track. Measure success by creating quarterly revenue, profit, margin, or new customer goals. Be realistic, so you set yourself up for success while still feeling challenged to meet and exceed your goals.
Identify specific actions and timelines needed to complete your goals and designate specific individuals or teams in your organization who will “own” each step.
- Write your goals on paper:
A study by Dominican University in California found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams simply by writing them down regularly. The likelihood you’ll transform your desires into reality increases even further if you share your written goals with individuals who believe in your ability to succeed.
Work with your team to develop individual and company-wide goals, and be sure to write them down and share them with one another. Review your goals weekly and monthly to ensure that you are on track with your actions, then focus your time and energy to achieve them!
It’s easy to let your job or your business dictate your life. This year, make your personal goals drive your business goals. Set a few goals revolving around your family, your faith, your health and fitness, or your personal finances, and accommodate your business goals around them. Prioritize your mental health and make time to travel somewhere new or take on a new hobby.
Let’s turn 2020 into a new beginning to achieving new heights! If you need assistance, please contact me to learn how to create greater discipline in your business.
In the past week, have you had one of those “too busy” days where you felt like you got nothing accomplished? Have you been so focused on day-to-day operations and putting out fires that you haven’t had time to concentrate on reaching your business goals, creating an action plan for 2020, and growing in your leadership and management skills? Without setting strategic priorities, the rest of the year will continue to fly by this way. There is still time to refocus and regroup to end the year strong and to start 2020 on the right foot. Prioritization is the key!
As an owner, key executive, or leader, your time and energy are valuable (possibly even the MOST valuable) in your organization. Do you have control over it, or are you letting others direct where you spend your focus? It is easy to get distracted by the pink elephant or get dragged into fighting fires that your team throws at you. While these problems need to be addressed, having a strong team in place can alleviate some of these issues off your plate, giving you more time and brainpower to work on what is most important in your business.
Start By Knowing Where You Are and Where You’re Going
In last month’s blog, I wrote about strategic thinking and execution planning. If you haven’t already, block off some time to focus on goal-setting with your team. Where do you currently stand in line in reaching your 2019 annual goals? What can you focus on in December to finish the year strong?
Next, take some time to set your long-term goals. Where do you want to see your business in 10 years? Create a clear vision of what you want to accomplish by 2030, and don’t be afraid to think big. Then, break your 10-year goals down to what you want to achieve in three years that will get you a quarter of your way to your big future goal. From there, break that three-year goal down to what you need to accomplish in 2020 to stay on track.
Once you know where you are going in the big picture, your goals and decisions should guide your daily and weekly actions by setting the right priorities. A priority is an action or area you need to focus on to achieve the results you are looking for. Prioritizing helps you muddle through the clutter of your day to day tasks so that you keep working towards your end goal. Every week and every day, identify 1-2 priorities that you need to get done to stay on track of your business goals. Focus on your strategic priorities first, then tackle your other day-to-day tasks.
Tips For Sticking to Your Priorities
- Schedule time each day to focus on your priorities. Block off a few hours each day or each week in your calendar as a regular, undisturbed time to focus on your priority tasks. Stay loyal to your priority task appointments, and let your team know you are unavailable during that time. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you give a task your undivided attention!
- Delegate unimportant tasks. Too much on your plate? How much of your valuable time is spent doing unessential tasks that someone else on your team can tackle? Start small by delegating your most trivial tasks, and gradually work your way up to getting rid of those larger time-suckers. When delegating, play into your workers’ strengths (give any number-crunching tasks to the analytical thinker on your team, or any creative jobs to the right-brain employees). Don’t be afraid to take the time to teach them something new to complete the delegated task – spending a little more time to walk them through instructions and look over their work will save you hours down the line.
- Keep your long-term goals top of mind. Print them out, write them down, frame them, or do whatever you can to keep your long-term goals in sight and in mind! There will be times when you’ll question what you’re working towards or wonder if the hard work and dedication will be worth it. There will be days when you keep procrastinating, and your top-priority tasks will be the last thing you want to work on. Look towards your goals to keep your drive going!
- Celebrate your small accomplishments. I wrote a whole blog on this; it’s that important! Has focusing on your core priorities led you to achieve a short-term goal? Take a moment to feel excited about this feat and celebrate to keep yourself and your team motivated and working towards your next goal. The celebratory feeling of crushing a milestone and being one step closer to your long-term goal will help you stay dedicated to your core priorities.
Need help creating goals for your business and identifying your core priorities? Contact me to book your strategic thinking and execution planning session, where we will strategize your long-term and annual goals and help you break them down into quarterly and monthly benchmarks. Hurry, the schedule is filling up!