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 that in 2020 – election year – we’re heading into a recession. Just as many people, including our president, say the economy is strong…and it’s 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 businesses.
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 prophecy.”
Regardless of what’s being said on either side, what you can do is prepare your business through careful 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:
Want help attracting AND retaining your top talent? We can help! Give us a call at 305. 285.9264.
Chinedu Okoro started Continental Global Services in 2014 as a compliment to his father’s commercial janitorial service business. Consequently, his father was his largest client. His business was growing slowly and organically. When we first met Okoro, he had just completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and he’d learned a lot; however, implementing all the new information was a whole other matter. Okoro had two employees and was working days, nights and weekends trying to grow his client base and move away from dependency on his father’s business. He was working hard to fulfill orders, invoice, collect, purchase products and run the business, all the while seeking government contract certifications. Shortly after we met, his office admin assistant – pregnant in her third trimester with her first child – broke her foot. All the things she was responsible for then fell onto his plate as well. The way things were operating was simply not sustainable.
We got clear on the processes for each of the different organizational functions and began systemizing the business. We set up financial tools to analyze the business and set profit margins and brought in professional help to get the books accurate, then outsourced the bookkeeping. We let go of a team member that wasn’t working out, or government contracting, we hired a new team member who was familiar with this type of business development and began training her to be an asset and free up Okoro’s time. We set sales targets and business goals and then we set up tools that allowed Okoro and his team to access company data remotely. Our coaching also provided a structure of accountability that helped move the business forward.
In December of 2018, Chinedu was called to Nigeria where his family was involved in a hotel development project. He remained in Nigeria until early June of this year. During his time in Nigeria, Chinedu ran his business remotely, growing revenue by 147.49% and gross profit by 107.42%! He attributes this success to the team and systems we put in place prior to his departure. Our actions granted him the freedom and flexibility to simultaneously pursue business endeavors in both countries and experience substantial growth.
Chinedu states, “Running a business is like having a child. If you let the child run wild, there’s chaos. Having a business coach is like the parent providing guidance – one who helps you by looking from the outside, one who is experienced at reducing the chaos. You stop running around doing this and that and formulate a clear vision and effective actions. Developing a clear vision and prioritizing what to do, when and how to do it, is the most valuable thing I’ve received from working with my ActionCOACH. Her guidance has been invaluable.”