Good intentions are one of the most sought after commodities in existence. It seems that as every new year begins, virtually everyone finds a way to acquire varying degrees of this powerful item. However, as time progresses, it becomes evident that this prized commodity becomes less valued or at least is not put into a fully activated status. Thus fewer “golden rings” are achieved by the new year’s end. What causes this shortfall? Could it be that the commodity quality is less than satisfactory or is it a lack of understanding as to how to properly put the good intentions to work? Whatever may cause the end result to be less than its initial intent, there are three specific acts that when followed will guarantee you that the road you are traveling will most often lead you to the success you seek to achieve. Those acts focus on planning, people and development.
First, you must have a fully operational action-driven business plan. Fully operational action-driven business plans address the following five questions:
1) What are you actually building?
2) For what specific reason does your business exist?
3) What are the critical results that you must measure?
4) What must you do to build or grow your business?
5) What is the actual work to be done so that you can experience success?
The well-know axiom of people never planning to fail only failing to plan is true. Most often too many organizations and individuals do not devote the time to planning that is truly necessary for ongoing growth and lasting success. There is a feeling that a few common goals simply written down is good enough. It’s not that there is a lack of understanding for the necessity of planning. More directly it falls upon the fact that there are no substantive answers to the totality of the five questions. Therefore, what happens, happens. If things fall short, no problem…the goals set were most likely too high or the business cycle was just not favorable. In the final resolve, they don’t know what they don’t know.
Having a sound business plan that enables you to clearly announce your vision, live your mission, understand your objectives, employ your strategies; and, utilize workable action plans to gain the results you want is critical IF you truly want to achieve all your goals versus hoping to reach a single goal or perhaps two. Your business plan keeps you going in the right direction. It enables you to have a reason for doing what you do; and, you can’t really build a viable business without a fully operational action-driven business plan.
To laugh a new year successfully, develop and deliver a plan that gets you off ground-zero and propelled to gaining lasting growth and achievement. When you know where you are going, your business plan will get you there. As one time president of Home Life Insurance Basil S. Walsh said, “An intelligent plan is the first step to success. The man who plans knows where he is going, knows what progress he is making and has a pretty good idea when he will arrive. If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?”
Second, you must have the right people on your team, in the right positions and engaged. Staffing is perhaps the most stress-filled task for any business leader. Success in your endeavors will most often occur through people. Employing the right people to execute the right tasks solidifies a cornerstone ingredient that is vital for any growth-oriented enterprise. To operate effectively, you can’t have people on board to simply fill a space or position.
Having the right people on your team often eliminates many worries. Being able to evaluate their skills and place them in roles which allow them to exercise their strengths is critical. Generally these individuals are self-motivated, readily engaged and carry your company’s brand as their motivating factor to achieve. Your goals are their goals and each desires to help you create a greater highly successful business profile. In essence, you build a team where the strengths of each member enable your wagon of opportunity to travel more smoothly. In doing so, you are positioned to grow great results.
Having the wrong people is nothing short of an economic drain. These individuals may perform a role but it usually comes at a cost. To them it is simply a job not a consolidated effort to better direct your brand. Whether the company falls short in its goals or achieves its goals matters little to them. Either way by simply putting in their time, they will get paid. Their motivational intent never produce results and the environment they crave centers on how to get the work done with the least effort while never short-changing their compensation options. Never allow these people, regardless of how pleasant their personalities may be, to remain with your company. It is not fair to you nor the other right people you may employ.
It is therefore vital to get the wrong people off your team and the right people on your team. In doing so you will insure better results. You must keep looking for the right people and never, never rush to hire. Look at the best people you currently have. What do they possess that matters most to you and your company’s results? Then, go about finding others with similar qualities or strengths you need to make your company stronger. Being selective in your team building efforts may be uncomfortable in the developing stages; but, the rewards of having that team who thinks together for the betterment of the organization in place positions your organization to consistently win.
Third, despite any challenges, commit to continuous learning and development. Too often in today’s fast paced business environment, companies and individual leaders look upon learning and development as an afterthought. There is a failure to effectively comprehend the substantial contribution that investment in professional development can have on the future integration of an organization or unit. In times of business shortfalls, the learning and development area is usually the first area to see economic cuts. There is much more needed than simply handing someone a book to read or requiring an Internet program to be observed for it to be deemed in essence, development.
A former president of Drug Emporium, Philip Wilber, once said, “The expense isn’t what it costs to train employees. It’s what it costs not to train them.” The same applies for leaders and managers. A leader who feels his or her learning and development is over due to position, age, cost or skills is a leader who is not only short-changing the potential of an organization; but more directly, shortchanging their ultimate potential as a leader. As the Arabian proverb proclaims, “Learning is a treasury whose keys are queries.”
Learning and development must be a fundamental code of action embodied in the culture of an organization. Such organizations as Disney, GE, SAS, Amazon, AT&T, and Marriott are well-known for their commitment to developing their associates and leadership so that each may take greater ownership for results. As you examine each, it is very evident that their commitment to development are well rewarded in overall results and profits. By allowing associates and leadership to grow skills through knowledge-based performance programs and practical life interaction, those associates become de facto “owners” in their respective enterprises. With that mindset in place, greater achievement is possible.
Regardless the size of the company, when an owner, leader or manager focuses their perspective in such a manner to insure that all associates and themselves are placed in a position to learn and grow, good things usually happen. When those same principals move past cost and look upon their outlay as an investment, the ROI (return on investment) will most often provide results that usher in desired profit levels. As the legendary Henry Block of H&R Block once said, “We are forced to rely on people, which is why we put so much emphasis on training them.”
With a focus on building a workable plan, having the right people on your team; and, having a commitment to learning and development, your business or area can be on the road to greater success in the New Year. All that remains is for you to display a strong incentive to succeed and work with enthusiasm to produce measurable results.