Once again the new year has brought with it hope and anticipation, and people starting off the with the best of intentions for making positive changes – Loose a few pounds, exercise, quit smoking, get out of debt, watch less TV, etc. However, by this time in January many people have retreated to their old habits.
The very same thing can be said for making improvements in organizations. Many leaders are working on strategies to help their organizations to become more effective/profitable.However, what is typically ignored is that successful accomplishment of the strategies ultimately depends upon people – the very same people who are at this moment struggling (and most often failing) to keep their own resolutions.
So how can you overcome the odds? We’ve come up with a list of 9 simple steps you can take beginning today to improve your business in 2012. Here goes:
1. Communicate!! Communicate often, clearly and consistently. This builds trust encourages alignment toward a common goal and will boost morale.
2. Encourage 2-way communication. One way that you can help this process is to give feedback when someone offers a suggestion. Even if the suggestion won’t work, let the person know that you appreciate the fact that they took the time and effort to give you input.
3. Use multiple channels of communication (Do you see a general trend here?). Don’t assume that what works for you is good for everyone else. Ask for feedback and suggestions on how to improve communication.
4. Write it down. People who are successful with their New Year’s resolutions often have reminders all over their house and workplace so that their subconscious can help them stay on track. Similar reminders of your desired outcomes for your company will have a similar effect.
5. Make success personal – Ensure that each member of the team knows specifically how her/his role impacts success. This includes establishing clear expectations, eliminating any ambiguities, and setting measurable goals with milestones.
6. Set incremental steps: If someone wakes up on January 1st and says “My resolution is to lose 50 pounds,” chances are that he won’t succeed. However, if he says “I am going to lose 10 pounds before Valentine’s Day”, there is a high likelihood that he will succeed. The same thing goes for business improvements. The increments need to be time bound and measurable. If your team helps you establish these steps, they will have more invested in ensuring that they are accomplished.
7. Plan for success: A great motivator is for you and your team to plan how you are going to celebrate success – both the incremental successes and the grand finale. Make if fun. Write it down and keep visible as a reminder.
8. Monitor progress and make it visible. Think about the thermometer sign used by many charities to measure donations. One glance tells you everything you need to know. How can you and your team communicate progress?
9. Communicate. Just thought we would throw one more in for good measure. It is, after all the most crucial component to your plan.
For more ideas on how to launch the new year on the right foot, we invite you to download our Free Planning Guide Ebook that will provide even more assistance.
We wish you great success in 2012 and thank you for letting us be a part of it!