By the time you read this, we’ll be approaching Christmas, New Year, and the good old Kiwi holiday at the beach. Many business owners use this time to reflect on their business and what they need to do differently in the new year, so I thought I would take a break from the four primary management practices (three down, one to go) and provide some suggestions about structuring that reflection time.
The first thing I suggest you do, is forget about it. Most likely, your business has driven you crazy over the last few weeks. You didn’t get everything done you wanted to, and for the first few days of your holiday, you’ll be in recovery, de-tox, and stress reduction mode. This is not the right time to start trying to plan for the future. Remember there are more important things than making yourself fabulously wealthy. Relax. Read, fish, go to a concert, socialise, swim, snooze, whatever floats your boat. Never fear, your brain will be surreptitiously sorting through all the factors you need to include in your thinking about your business. Ever marvelled at the way you get a sudden flash of inspiration about something you haven’t been consciously thinking about? Hunh.
After 3-4 days, you can start to think constructively about the future. Now’s the time for a bit of note-taking while those insights burst out. Supplement them with some reflection on these questions:
Collate the answers to those questions with the insights you recorded earlier. Sift through it all, and carefully come up with the THREE most important projects you need to complete in 2019. Big chunky projects that will take most of the year, are challenging yet achievable, and which you would be delighted to complete. Write them out in full, making it clear exactly what is required. Share them with your team when you start back, and assign accountabilities for leading and contributing to each priority action.
In closing, I’d like to wish every reader a Merry Christmas, and a very happy and prosperous 2019. God bless you all!
Whether you like it or not, your business has a culture. Beliefs, norms, customs, acceptable behaviours all evolve over time. They are introduced, refined and nurtured by individuals and groups – either subconsciously bringing their own preconceived ways of interacting into a workspace, or by proactively setting out to design and nurture an “ideal” culture.
The only thing up for grabs is whether you, as the business owner, want to have the major influence on how your company’s culture develops. My strong advice is that you do just that – as I wrote two months ago, culture is a combination of an organisation’s ideology and personality. “The way we do things around here.” Your business culture determines how your people interact with customers and with each other, and what things get prioritised. In other words, when you are not there, your business culture helps to keep everything going the way you want it to.
Culture is not just one aspect of the game – it is the game. Lou Gerstner
In a recent interview Tom Peters said, “CEO job No. 1 is setting – and micro-nourishing one day, one hour, one minute at a time – an effective, people-truly-first, innovate-or-die, excellence-or-bust corporate culture.” He also reminds us that Lou Gerstner, the CEO who saved IBM, said, “Culture is not just one aspect of the game – it is the game.” That’s how important your business culture is.
This is not to say that you should design and mould your business culture alone. Consulting with your people about the best cultural attributes to emphasise is a wise move. They will have great ideas.
A Harvard Business Review article from May 2013 was entitled “Creating the Best Workplace on Earth.” It reported on the “six common imperatives” that described a business operating at its potential. They were:
If you were to consult with your team and adopt core values that supported those imperatives, together with some specific cultural attributes that describe how the company would achieve those “six common imperatives,” you would be well ahead of the game. 60%-70% of employees report that their company is not doing enough to engender a positive culture. Now all you have to do is that micro-nourishing that Peters was on about.
Take control of the environment in your business today. Promote yourself to Chief Culture Officer
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by Chris Bunce
Chris has 28 years’ experience as a management consultant and business coach. During this time he has worked with clients in many industries and of all shapes and sizes, including some in Australia, Asia and the US. Nowadays he is passionate about improving the lives of Aucklanders by helping business owners to master the very few management practices that actually make a difference to their success. Chris lives in Blockhouse Bay with his wife, Cathie, having lived in or around the area for most of his life.