Do you feel like your business isn’t performing up to par? Is your competition growing while you’re lagging? In my last blog, I shared about a workshop I conducted for a group of very successful business owners who were experiencing the same thing. Typically, the turn-around needed requires a few personal changes as well as adjustments in the business. Last time I addressed the positive personal habits necessary to experience growth and improvement. Today, I’d like to discuss business-practice habits that lead to greater success.
8 Habits for Greater Business Success
#1 – SMART WAY Goals. Successful people have goals that meet the following criteria:
#2 – Know Your Priorities. Most people and organizations have too many goals. Their “reasoning” is that everything on the list is important, so we have to find a way to do it all. The reality is that, by trying to accomplish too much, they compromise the chances of achieving much of anything. Set priorities!
Instead of spinning your wheels, make a list of your “Top 5” things that need to be accomplished, and rank them in the order of importance. Put the most energy towards the number 1 item on the list. You help propel your organizational and personal success by achieving results, not by creating wish lists.
Next, list any obstacles that might prevent you from achieving your goals and begin to develop the best solutions for those problems now. By anticipating obstacles, one dramatically increases the likelihood of overcoming them.
#3 – Have Strong Action Plans. Most people lack comprehensive action plans for projects they agree to complete. Lack of detailed planning is a primary reason for failure to achieve a goal.
Be specific in your action plans. Determine who the players are, what steps to take, what the timeline is, and what the benchmarks are to determine whether the plan is working or needs a course correction.
#4 – Create a Dashboard of Leading Indicators. Do you spend more of your time looking at lagging indicators (those found on your balance sheet and income statement) or leading indicators (those you highlight in your financial statements)? The most successful leaders identify the most important leading indicators for every facet of their business, find a way to measure them, and improve them. Having a good dashboard, and reviewing it at least weekly, produces the financial statements you want.
#5 – Perfect Your Organizational Structure and Personnel. The biggest hidden drains on growth and profits are poor organizational structure and having the wrong people on your roster. This is because a traditional financial statement does not capture soft costs.
It does not capture customers lost because the top salesperson (frequently the owner in a smaller business) has no time to go out and get them. The salesperson has to spend time doing things that other people should be doing. It does not capture the lack of productivity because leaders are diminishers rather than multipliers. It does not measure customer turnover because “B and C Players” instead of “A Players” are servicing the accounts. It does not measure the need for 2 to 3 times as many employees because you hired “B & C Players” instead of “A Players.”
Leaders can see this because they spend a fair amount of their time in management meetings revisiting the same business and people problems over and over again. When you create the right structure and learn how to hire the right people, these problems go away and bring you more time and success. “A Players” solve problems and make you money. Successful people learn how to get, keep, and grow “A players” and master their organizational chart.
#6 – Focus on Strengths. The #1 reason people leave their jobs is that they are not doing work that plays to their strengths. Marcus Buckingham likes to point out that your strength is NOT what you are good at, but something that makes you feel strong when you do it. What is the work that you do that makes you feel strong? Are you doing enough of that, and can you find someone else who feels strong doing the things you do not like to do?
How many of your people spend most of their time doing the things that make them feel strong? Do you spend a good deal of time focusing on someone’s weaknesses and not appreciating their strengths? Do their strengths outweigh their weaknesses? Can you redistribute responsibilities to match strengths and weaknesses? These are essential questions to consider.
#7 – Hold Effective Meetings. You know you are holding effective meetings when:
-People are looking forward to the next meeting;
-Everyone shows up on time;
-There is a great constructive discussion with everyone participating; and
-You are moving your company toward your most important priorities with every successive meeting.
In most companies, the problem isn’t too many meetings. The problem is too many bad meetings.
#8 – Improve 1% A Day. Executives and organizations that focus on improving 1% daily, and direct those improvements toward the most important goals, are the most successful. Everyone can find one way to be better every day. By doing this and compounding those improvements over a year, you have a dramatic improvement over the year versus trying to make a dramatic leap at one time. You must strive to learn and improve to be more successful continually. After all, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.”
These habits have been proven to improve results within businesses of all sizes. If you’re not sure where or how to begin, I’d like to offer my assistance by offering you a FREE 30-MINUTE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION. We’ll chat, and I’ll get you started down the right path.