Ever wonder why certain companies seem to not only survive a downturn but even thrive?
Some may say it’s luck or fortuitous product development.
If you’re in the camp that thinks it’s luck you’re missing the big picture and a key opportunity to be in the winning position to thrive when the going gets tough. Either way, it’s never too late to improve your organization, transform it into a powerful machine, and thrive in good times and in bad.
Leadership. Systems. People. Engagement.
You know that great leadership is the key to a long-lasting successful business. But what is great leadership? Is it hiring the most talented folks in the industry? Is it making sure the p&l statements appease and excite the board?
We’ll get back to leadership and answer those questions later. For now, let’s discuss what happens beyond leadership.
Systems and processes can be the backbone of a fast growing organization. One of the keys to processes, however, is that you have a system in place to evaluate your processes on a regular basis…especially if the business is growing quickly.
Here are some questions to ask around your systems:
- Does the technology we interact with allow us to do our job at the highest level possible?
- Do we rely too much on technology? Does it actually impede productivity?
- Do all teams have adequate budget to operate effectively?
- Do budgets support organizational vision and strategy?
Demand & Support
- Is Demand on the team high enough to push toward improvement but not so high that it impedes quality of work and life?
- Is there adequate and consistent training on boarding?
The first thing you have to know about hiring is that your people are your business, not your product. It’s more important that you hire people who have a drive to grow and learn with you and share your passion for what makes your business great…that means they want to truly make a difference in people’s lives and they believe with their whole heart that your product or service is the thing that will make that difference.
Questions to ask about your people.
- Is training and onboarding adequate?
- Do your employees feel encouraged to overcome career gaps?
- Do you allow time and space for solo or team brainstorming?
Talent & Fit
- Do your employees feel fulfilled in their roles?
- Does everyone feel they are surrounded by qualified and talented people?
- Do your employees trust your hiring process and abilities?
- Do team members align with your mission, vision, and business pillars?
- Is teamwork and communication supported by the organization?
- Are co-workers satisfied with roles and responsibilities?
- Is collaboration between teams easy and effective?
- If it’s a distributed company, is cross-team collaboration easy and effective?
The word engagement is most often used for external measurement of marketing efforts but have you taken a look at internal engagement recently? Knowing that you’ve trusted your employees to build the business you were so passionate to start or lead, are they still engaging with the internal brand in the way that will set you apart from competition and set up for long term success?
Questions to ask about your internal engagement.
- Are new ideas encouraged and supported?
Reward & Recognition
- How do you recognize contributions and achievements?
- What achievements are being recognized, how, and by whom?
- Is there a strong correlation between performance and compensation or recognition?
- What indicators are you using to measure employee success?
- Does the team have easy to measure or communicate the success of their leadership or connected teams?
Do your employees regularly recommend your business as a great place to work?
Now we can talk about leadership.
Hiring the most talented folks in the industry and making sure the p&l statements appease and excite the board are not the cornerstones of leadership. It all starts with having a great and clear vision and being able to get a team of people just as excited about that vision as you are…every single day. From there you and your team can make all decisions about the company from hiring, to systems, product development, internal and external communications, and business strategies. When all those areas are consistently aligned and re-aligned, you’ll weather any storm because you’ll have an excited and passionate workforce that believes fully in the mission and understands its customers better than they understand themselves.
Questions to ask about your leadership.
- Do you and others in your leadership circle believe in the mission, vision and company pillars you hold your employees accountable to?
- Is the organization’s vision reflected in your everyday work?
- Is your vision and strategy well communicated?
- Do you have confidence in the organization’s vision and strategy to achieve it?
- Do you regularly communicate with all teams to the best of your ability?
- Are you kept up to date on initiatives, and progress?
- Do you regularly find out about setbacks well after they become a problem?
Feedback & Execution
- Can provide feedback and opinion without organizational fear?
- When I provide feedback is it usually happily accepted and executed?
- Do I receive honest feedback regularly?
No matter the size of the business, it’s never too late to transform into a thriving enterprise. It all starts with that clear mission and vision and a willingness to excite a team of people to ride with you. If this is a bit overwhelming because you don’t think you’re currently on the right track, hire a coach or start working through these questions one department at a time…starting with you.