As a new year opens business owners are in a unique position to advance their companies if they tap into an “ opportunity window.” Whatever industry sector you occupy, people are psychologically more open for change as the year turns. Businesses can capitalize on this openness and benefit from insight, rather than insider information, by committing to lead by example and direct open, literate, learning organizations.
Use Business Literacy™ as a powerful tool for businesses or service firms because of its cross-cutting effects (http://www.positivepotentials.com/businessliteracy.htm).
When ideas are uncomfortable to a leader, often they are brushed aside because the leader feels vulnerable. Openness will serve you. Just begin to explore these three elements and examine them with a positive, learning lens, not a punitive one. (This is a top coaching issue because coaching supports the leader.)
This is a positive time to shift gears and dust off your business and marketing plans. Strategic review is a sobering experience when you consider the primary reason projects, companies and services fail: severe lack of planning, not lack of funding. Another slant is to stimulate sustainability throughout your organization.
Custom Circumstance Solutions
Consider these ideas to your particular circumstances. Whatever direction you choose, the secret is to wrap these into an executable marketing plan. Below are several ways to insulate your company using a “slow-time strategy.”
Benefits and How To’s
Here are three ideas you may identify as needing attention within your company: (Excerpts from Cubas’ EMBA (Entrepreneurial Mastery of Business Assets™)
1. My contrarian view, based on two decades of coaching, is to move the company mindset from competitiveness to competence. Competitiveness distracts leaders from their core business and hijacks resources into “Me, too” modes. Competence sharpens the entire organization. Adopt Competence as an annual theme and apply it in your marketing plan. “Broadcast” how you’re doing this in your marketing materials, banners, web messages and voicemail message. This is an effective differentiator for your business offerings.
2. Another useful theme is sustainability.
A company’s sustainability factor can be measured with three core business-stabilizing factors:
• Enterprise-wide communication clarity
o Set the tone from “Gotcha” to “Serve Ya’ ”
o Intend for all to succeed in their roles to enrich the company
• Marketing-branding awareness
a. Internal and external
• Name the emotional attachments to your brand (how people identify you.) Have at least three.
If not, go to work on it.
• Ask yourself, “Would I do this if I was qualified to do something else?” or “Would my staff work here if they had other choices?”
3. Perception (image) management
It impacts quality recruiting and retention. Ever noticed how companies put the length of employment on a worker badges? What do you think when you see the years? That’s subtle sustainability.
a. When the day ends, what do you and your associates think, feel and hear about your business? Hint: how they were treated, spoken to, addressed, respected.
b. How much of your business is referral driven? Are you hunting or gathering? It’s more cost-effective to gather!
The planning void erodes limited resources essential for stability because it squanders the core areas mentioned above.
Ideas to Consider:
1. Invigorate “intra-preneurial” thinking and processes at all levels of your company. Start with gathering input rather than top-down mandates.
2. Limit meetings. A company looses ground when it squanders resources. Consider this communication and Human Capital issue:
—Communicate differently and more effectively. Email makes it easy to address individuals rather than blast “mandates.” A hand-written note is powerful. Team members will appreciate the outreach, know that you’re vigilant and will respond directly rather than drown in anonymity—it erodes accountability.
3. Understand the difference between productivity and performance (like efficient and effective.)
4. Set specific objectives for each category of your business. Have each team member write three bullet points as to how their work supports those objectives. This is useful when conducting reviews. Quarterly progress reports are essential for remaining in “flow.”
5. Understand what you intend to measure for results. Be sure the core elements relate and link back to enterprise objectives. Use metrics to connect them beyond just measure vertical units. Measure relational outcomes. Seriously, measure what price you paid to achieve your results.
As a coach, I often see smart and well-educated people overlook the simplest elements because they want to avoid risk. Coaching serves them to encompass the meta-view (from all around) when they are too close to the issues. The objective is not to avoid risk, but to manage it. The EMBA method is to shift your energy to VIEW rather than DO™.
You can submit your issues to Coach Cubas at firstname.lastname@example.org with a question that keeps you up at night. Trade in your antacid for a good night’s sleep when you know Coach Cubas is watching out just for you.
Cubas Contact Info
Michelle Cubas, Enterprise Business Coach and founder of Positive Potentials LLC, is a 2007-08 grant recipient from the City of Phoenix. She brought Positive Potentials to Arizona in 1995 from California. She has co-authored two books and targets fall 2008 for the release of her new book, The Broken Social Contract.
480-922-9699, www.positivepotentials.com. 1/4/08