As I set up for the Q4 planning session with my client and her team, there was something unusual in the air – a kind of buzz. Typically, when I work with them on their quarterly goals, the team meanders in. On this particular day, however, they were eager to get started. My client and her team had achieved EVERY SINGLE ONE of their quarterly goals for the first time in years. They’d knocked it out of the park and they couldn’t wait to share that with me!
You see, most times at these quarterly meetings, we’d go over what got accomplished (typically somewhere around 50%), what didn’t get accomplished, what didn’t work and what displaced their word. We’d clear the space and reset the energy. Then we’d discuss what to carry over into the next quarter and what else they wanted to achieve. You might be tempted to think that this is a slacker team but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a high-performing, world-class interior design firm of very talented people.
At our last planning session, we did something very different. The team committed to taking on realistic goals in light of their workload and they self-selected teams using their Clifton’s StrengthsFinder results. They were intentional about forming teams with members that would complement one another’s natural talents and strengths. Then they went to work on the initial steps they needed to accomplish in the first week of the quarter and scheduled time to work together for 45 minutes each week on their goals.
Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity. (Gallup)
When I drilled down a bit deeper into what they believe had made them so successful, they said they operated above the line with ownership, accountability and responsibility and gave up blaming, excuses and denial. They had a display that showed the teams, the goals and where they were each week and at their weekly team meeting, they shared the status of each goal. In short, with the display and weekly communication, they kept the game alive over time. They had well-formed teams and they had realistic goals that they committed to and that were meaningful to them. The excitement in the room was palpable. Something had shifted for this team in a very positive direction! It was a proud moment for this owner and a proud moment for me as well.
Employees whose managers involve them in goal setting are 3.6x more likely than other team members to be engaged at work. (Gallup)
There’s a lot we can all learn from the story of this interior design team! If you’re looking to transform your annual and quarterly planning process into one that really works and generate momentum in a more positive direction, schedule your complimentary business health check and be sure to check-out our team engagement services!
Recessions are cyclical and many experts are saying in 2020 the election year we’re heading into a recession, just as many including our president say the economy is strong and we’re not.
It’s hard to tune out all the noise and know what to think. Most people were caught off guard during the last recession and some of the smartest guys on the planet lost their business.
Duke professor and economist, John Graham said in a recent interview “CFOs are growing more certain of a 2020 recession because of the paralyzing consequences of economic and political uncertainty — including trade wars — on business. Faced with uncertainty, companies may pause by holding off on spending and hiring. That can turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy.”
Regardless of what’s being said on either side what you can do is to prepare your business through planning to minimize the effects of a recession and to build on the inherent opportunities that arise in challenging times.
Dwight Eisenhower famously said, plans are useless, but planning is essential. Over the weekend I did some digging into our financials and realized some things I wasn’t aware of. Typically, we business owners are happy when there’s money in the bank and the company is in the black which can lull us into stopping short of further analysis.
Engaging in business planning forces us to confront every aspect of the business, what’s ahead and how we’re going to make that happen. We have to evaluate our market strategy in light of technology advances and disruption in every industry. From there we must determine our people strategy, succession planning and future team needs. Discern how we’ll measure our results against clearly defined targets. How we’ll fund growth and what our financial milestones including profit and cash need to be.
Since history tends to repeat itself our best defense is an offensive approach through thoughtful planning. We can help and now is the perfect time. Call us today at 305-285-9264 for a complimentary strategy session and get started on your Action Plan today!
It is frustrating to lose hardworking, high-performing employees. It can leave employers blindsided and wondering what went wrong. The best way to retain your key employees is by understanding what they’re looking for in their jobs and in their work environment and by prioritizing the things that are important to them.
Countless interviews with HR professionals show consistent findings. Nine important measures your small business can take to nurture your top talent include:
- Work/life balance: Satisfy your employees by accommodating their personal needs. Many employees appreciate the option to telecommute when they have a sick child or other urgent family matter to attend to. Big city employees may benefit from flexible commute hours to avoid rush hour traffic. Offering a fitness center pass is another way to show employees that you care about their overall wellbeing – not just their time in the office.
- Consistent workload: High-performing employees are easily overworked. Because they can be counted on to produce quality work in an efficient manner, managers often send them more tasks than they can comfortably manage during the workday. This easily leads to frustration and burnout. On the flipside, these same employees may start looking elsewhere if they feel like their skills are underutilized at their current job.
- Promotional opportunities/career pathing: While employees may be content for awhile in their current positions at their current pay scales, eventually most employees expect a raise and an opportunity to advance their careers. While it can be challenging for small businesses to outline a clear path for advancement, employees stay engaged within companies where they can identify internal opportunities that match their skill sets.
- Effective management: A lack of training in their positions or a fear of giving honest feedback are two main reasons managers fail to earn the respect of their teams. Invest in your managers with proper training that teaches effective interpersonal skills and conflict management and encourage your leaders to get to know each of their team members and their personal motivators. When managers earn the respect of their team members, these employees are motivated and loyal to their team and their company.
- Raises and recognition: Keep employees engaged and motivated by recognizing outstanding employees for their achievements. This can be in the form of verbal praise, an email you send out to everyone in the company highlighting their achievements, lunch on the company, a pay raise…Be sure your employees know that you value their hard work.
- Attractive benefits: Just as important as an attractive salary, benefits say a lot about how much you value your employees and an employee that feels valued is more likely to stick around. Offering fully funded professional development opportunities, plentiful sick days and vacation time, generous maternity and paternity leave…These benefits are just a few great ways to invest in your employees.
- Trust and autonomy: No one wants management looking over their shoulder but this is especially true of high-performing employees. They have worked hard to earn your trust. Give them the autonomy they deserve. If you do, they will continue to deliver quality work and reward you with their loyalty.
- Retaining other key employes: Like it or not, employee resignations can be contagious. Oftentimes when one good employee leaves, particularly one in a managerial position, team members will follow suit, often following that manager to the next company. Working hard to implement these steps to retain your key employees will help curb this trend.
- Aligned values: Ultimately, people want to work for a company that aligns with their core values, goals and objectives. When this is the case, employees tend to be more like-minded and develop an emotional connection with each other and with their jobs.
Want help attracting AND retaining your top talent? We can help! Give us a call at 305. 285.9264.
It’s hard to believe that summer is already here! The kids are out of school and vacation season is in full swing. For business owners and their teams, it’s time for the mid-year course correction. June and July are the ideal time to review all your dreams, goals, plans, strategies, learnings and assumptions. It’s the time to take stock of what’s working and what’s not. Based on your findings, you can make course corrections to ensure that you and your team accomplish your goals and stay on track with your dreams. If you set aside the time and put in the effort for this process, it can make a difference this year and in the years to come. Here are seven things to consider and possibly modify mid-year.
- Review your budget and forecast. Are you on track to achieve your projections? If you are ahead of budget, you must determine if sales will continue to exceed expectations. If you do exceed your sales targets, what will you do with the extra revenue? Is production on track? If you’re falling short of budget projections, can you honestly create the additional revenue to make up the difference? If not, how will you bring your costs down to remain profitable?
- Review all expense categories. Are all your expenses in line? Are the programs and processes you put in place achieving their targets? Are there any that are just not working? If so, what’s the cause? Does the program or process simply need more resources, time or attention or has it totally missed the mark? If there’s no chance it will be effective and profitable, stopping will free up resources for other programs that will give you a return on your investment. Has an unexpected opportunity come up? What will it take to make that work and keep the business financial goals in line? What have you learned?
- Analyze your cash flow.
- Review all your product and/or service offerings. Is there an offering that needs to be dropped? If an offering isn’t performing, what’s the source of that? Would more sales and marketing attention make a difference? Has your offering become irrelevant in the marketplace?
- Have you identified new opportunities? What resources will be required? What’s the timeframe? What benefit do you expect? Will additional funds be required? Where will this money come from?
- Take a look at your competitors. Where do you stand in relation to your competitors? What can you do to become more competitive? What sets your business apart from the competition? Are you living your brand promise?
- Evaluate your marketing programs. Review and assess the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Which programs and campaigns are working? Which ones aren’t? Is there sufficient time and money to be effective? Should you outsource implementation?
- Bonus question: What do you and your team need to learn to course-correct successfully?
When your review and analysis is complete, you will be in a position to make helpful mid-year course corrections. Doing this will limit the money you invest in unsuccessful efforts, help you keep your goals front and center, and allow you to build on accomplishments from the first half of the year.