You are a great leader and you treat your people well. You are doing all the right things – coaching and mentoring, teaching people how to solve problems, giving regular feedback… You practice the five daily good management habits we talked about last week (if you missed it, here is the link).
Your employees are happy, and you are well loved. Those who work for you express how fortunate they are – and those who don’t, wish they could.
So why are your business results in a rut?
Five things may be standing in your way. Here is a quick checklist for you and your executive team to use. Where might you be stuck?
1. Do your teams and individual contributors understand how the company vision relates to their area of responsibility?
This seems elementary, and your employees may be able to articulate the vision. After all, it is “front and center” in all your materials, your meetings and retreats. But do they understand how their area of responsibility relates to this vision?
If your staff doesn’t understand why their area of responsibility exists to support the forward motion of the entire enterprise, this needs to be where you start. When people cannot grasp how their individual contributions help to make a difference to the whole, people may be comfortably happy, but they will not have that focused sense of purpose related to the business. Eventually, this disconnect will foster complacency or a lack of motivation that will lull your employee base to under-perform.
2. Do the goals provided to your teams and individual contributors support the company vision, goals, and objectives?
Many a great business has grown quickly and taken on projects and initiatives that may no longer be valid to the goals and objectives you have at present.
I recently worked with an enterprise who asked for my help in increasing productivity and revenue. While performing some due diligence, I discovered that part of the workload assigned to many of their employees was not supporting the direction of the company. This situation occurs often and can be identified and corrected to support higher performance and better results by conducting a yearly work audit using your company’s strategic plan – but that’s another entire article!
3. Do your employees have clear action plans that support their goals?
Has your executive team worked with their reports to outline clear plans of action for the year that relate to meeting goals?
This exercise not only ensures that each employee knows what he or she should be doing to support the company direction, it can also be used as a tool to teach them how to think more strategically, solve problems, and hold themselves accountable (not to mention, a great trust-building exercise).
4. Are the metrics assigned to these goals the ones that matter?
This is where a lot of businesses stall. You need to measure in order to assess progress.
However, too many businesses commit to too many change initiatives at the same time, rendering them overwhelmed and stalled. You may collect a lot of very useful data, then, but won’t do anything with it, wasting time, energy, and money. Consider selecting 1-2 key areas or business approaches that will give you the most return, and work on these until you have incorporated them into your business culture and way of operating. Once you have done this, reassess, decide where next to improve, and repeat the process.
5. Are your employees able to execute well?
Do you have the right staff in place, and are they able to perform well so that the action plans become excellent results?
This is where we go back to the daily management habits of successful leaders (see last week’s article on this, here). Are you providing the right tools and resources for them, and are you operating with mutual trust and accountability? This is where we separate the good from the great – and what I’ll be writing more on, next week.
Where in the five points above, do you and your company excel? And where might you do a better job? I look forward to your comments.