I get nervous about the holes that keep cropping up. It seems like we all struggle with giving things the right amount of time, and patience. It feels like it could take forever before we accomplish anything.
Thoughts of the Day: Setting the success tone for the company starts at the top. Define the top priorities, what will lead to the company’s overall success. Have a way to track progress, and know what progress looks like so you can know it when you see it. Make sure everyone has time each week to work on those top priorities. Encourage people to practice at making bigger and better decisions. When planning, allow for breakdowns and recovery time, but demand that each mistake leads to getting smarter and quicker.
If the business owner, as leader of the company, believes the company can succeed, people are likely to follow the lead. Conversely, if the owner is down on the company and pessimistic, people are likely to pick up on that attitude. After all, the owner has the biggest stake in the company’s future, and is presumed to have the best overall information.
So what’s your attitude like these days? Committed, focused and driving forward to the prize? Are your concerns about the business just problems to work on solving? Having reservations about the future success of the company is normal. How those reservations are presented to those around you is what counts.
When you look at the future do you communicate to others that you see potential? Are you filling positions in the company with people who are capable of helping you to solve the company’s problems? Do you embrace change as a necessary part of the company’s evolution?
Paint a picture of what company success looks like. Work with managers and employees to identify the top factors and actions that will lead to success. Get people engaged by talking realistically about the challenges, and then brainstorm ways to get from where you are to where you want to be.
It’s your choice how the people who work for you spend their time. If you keep asking for more productivity on day to day tasks, that’s what you’ll get. If you ask people to set aside time to think, plan, review results and revise actions, they’ll usually do that. But you can’t do both at once. Sacrifice a small amount of productivity in order to develop ways to become smarter, more error free, faster, more coordinated.
Ask people to take a risk. If they get it wrong, ask them to fix it. Start small. Build confidence for both yourself and the people who work with you. The more that people around you can take on, the freer you will be to work on even bigger things.
Build in time for errors and recovery. If you haven’t seen someone do something well in the past, expect they’ll get it wrong the first or second time they try. Plan extra time and resources to allow for the learning curve to take hold.
Set up KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, to make sure that everyone knows what’s being measured. Graph performance vs. KPIs so that it’s obvious when improvements are taking hold and when more help is needed to figure out better solutions. Celebrate the wins, and use them to build everyone’s confidence that things are getting better.
Looking for a good book? The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for Us All, by Michael Useem