It’s the end of August, the end of summer. Four full months left in the calendar year. 120 days. Are you ready for the final push of the year? Is your team?
I want to share this week the advice that I give to my clients at this time of year. Here goes:
Reduce your pain
First, identify all the things that make you, as the leader, miserable, frustrated and angry by taking the time to write them down. Then prioritize them in the order of the amount of pain they cause you.
Since our best thinking takes place alone, usually in a car or in the shower, figure out how you can capture this list before you forget them.
Make a goal to eliminate just one item off of this list each month for the next four months with the goal of being in far less pain by the end of the year. Keep the list in front of you so you stay focused on it.
Until you perform this task, and take action, you will be living in a state of unhappiness on a daily basis.
As the leader of the business, you deserve better.
Second, I have noticed an acute case of “I’m too old and tired to do anything” with people of a certain age. It is almost as if the enjoyment has vanished from the things that once brought them a feeling of satisfaction. Many turn to other pursuits in an attempt to restore some level of vitality to their business and their lives. In the meantime, the business and its employees suffer because the leader is not focused on the business.
Don’t think for a minute that your employees aren’t picking up the message you are sending: “I have one foot out of here.” I suggest that for the next four months you become dedicated to the idea of “finishing the year strong” which means you, the leader, need to be all in, with your mind, body, spirit.
How do you do that? You set a better example for others to follow. That encompasses everything. As the leader, understand you are always under a microscope.
Never forget that everyone in your company looks to you when deciding what kind of behavior is acceptable. No leader should ever consider saying out loud, “Do as I say, not what I do.” Every leader needs to “walk the walk and talk the talk” all day long, every single day.
To finish strong, you need to devote ample time to teach employees what they need to do to get their job done right the first time.
Teach your team
Chances are there are people at your company that do not understand what results are expected of them. It is the responsibility of the leader to make certain people know what the desired results are for the company, and the part each employee plays in achieving those results.
Each employee, regardless of title, must possess a solid understanding of the role they play in client relations, building revenue, managing expenses and cash flow, and improving profitability.
People want to be part of something bigger, they want to be in the know; they want to contribute. Don’t stand in their way; help them along, because it helps the company.
One impactful way to help employees improve the company is to educate them on the financial impact of what they do. Pennies do count and the dollars add up — very quickly.
Finally, for the next four months, focus on improving communications with clients and suppliers, but more importantly, within the organization.
It is often said that some companies succeed in spite of themselves. One thing successful companies do is stay focused on just a few goals and they tend to over communicate the goals, the plan, the activities and the results to everyone. Repetition is good and valuable because someone always doesn’t get the message and everyone needs to get and understand the message.
It’s been said that “one man with courage makes a majority.” As the leader, you are the only one who can make a significant difference to those you lead.
Don’t delay getting started. December 31 is right around the corner.
Ken Keller is an executive coach who works with small and midsize B2B company owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs. He facilitates formal top executive peer groups for business expansion, including revenue growth, improved internal efficiencies, and greater profitability. Please contact him at Ken.Keller@StrategicAdvisoryBoards.com. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.