Regardless of whether you are a small businessperson owner or manage a large division in a major corporation, it is always worthwhile to step back, gain a little perspective and ask yourself how things are going. Here are five items that I see come up most frequently with organizations with whom I talk with every week:
- Your People: Do you have the right people doing the right work? While we talk about our people being our most important resource, we rarely take time to see if they are doing the job we want and if they are properly suited for their job. Make sure you are getting the kinds of outcomes you need to move the ball forward and if one of your staff is faltering in that area then look to see what must be done to improve the situation.
- Focus on the Customer: Discussions about customers are always difficult because we’ve created so many customers (external, internal, staff, board) for our workplace that it’s sometimes hard to know who is the most important customer. Let me remind you…THE CUSTOMER WHO BUYS YOUR GOODS AND SERVICES! While all customers are created equal, some are more equal than others!
- Understand and Translate Financials: Too many business leaders want to drill down into too many financial details. Make sure you trust your CFO or Controller and focus on the reports that are most important. When I review financial statements, I am mostly interested in the margin that is being created. In addition, I like to advocate for creating an open forum for providing employees or divisions of employees with information about the organization’s financial status. It helps build engagement and creates a sense of trust for your staff.
- Brand, Brand, Brand: Many business leaders spend a lot of time focusing on their product or service brand but may not spend as much time thinking about their own brand and how they are thought about inside and outside the organization. Consider how you are seen and compare that with your perception of how you are seen. They may match but they may not match and that can cause problems inside and out.
- Be Ready to Move: I was talking with my wife today and while we are an all Apple house, she was complaining that some of Apple’s “control issues” around the iphone and Mac could lead to an eventual downfall for them. At first, I thought, no way, but then I remembered Kodak who invented digital photography (bankruptcy) RIM makers of the famous Blackberry (stock down 75% in last year) and many other great companies that failed to see and act in a way that would keep them on top.
Being Great in whatever you do is never easy and it’s usually easier to stay focused on the details rather than focus on your strategic objectives. Make sure you make time for them!