Leaders: January will be here before you know it! With that inescapable reality in mind, consider the following five strategies you can use right now to ensure that your business is positioned for maximum growth in 2019.
Strategy #1: Get specific about what success in 2019 looks like. When you’re communicating with your various teams, break down each team’s goals into comprehensible behavioral units that people can understand and buy into. So for instance: Don’t just keep repeating the sales team’s annual or quarterly financial goal; break those numbers down into specific behaviors for both the team and the individual. How many new initial discussions with potential buyers have to happen for the person, or the team, to hit that quarterly goal? Set up a “cookbook” that shows each individual on the team what specific behaviors have to happen on a daily and weekly basis in order for the team to hit the target.
Strategy #2: Get each team leader to validate his or her team’s goal and timelines. Do this in a one-on-one meeting with the direct report. Your direct report should be able to communicate exactly what his team’s deliverable for the coming year is. Make sure the discussion is supportive and positive – but make sure it is clear, too, and that doesn’t end until there is absolutely no room for “I didn’t understand what you meant.” Why is this step so important? Well, think of your own interactions with your kids. Just telling them something they’re supposed to do doesn't mean anything. You need to have a tactful, engaged conversation that shows you beyond a shadow of a doubt that the message really has been received – and bought into. Make sure there are no disconnects about the expectations.
Strategy #3: Don't just focus on the “what,” focus on the “how.” Ask each team leader to share with you how the team is going to reach the key benchmarks that support the team’s goal. Do a little brainstorming together. As part of this conversation, ask what the direct report thinks the two or three likely roadblocks are that the team may to run into, and figure out some possible solutions for these issues ahead of time. Have that conversation early! Your direct reports will appreciate this. Most “leaders” simply announce what the team is supposed to deliver, then dust off their hands and walk away. (Actually, that’s the opposite of leadership.)
Strategy #4: Share the RACI stuff. RACI – which stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed – is a simple, powerful task management system that clarifies who’s doing what on any important project. It should become part of the way you communicate with direct reports, and part of your company’s culture. You can learn more about RACI in this video.
Strategy #5: Set up the calendar. Don’t assume one meeting will give your direct reports everything they need from you, or answer every question they have. Figure out what the team’s key deliverables are, and when those deliverables are due …. and then schedule additional meetings for relevant time slots that come slightly before each of those dates. There should be time for check-in meetings set aside in each of your calendars, so you can briefly share feedback with each other about how things are going, what kind of progress is being made toward the annual goal, and the best ways to handle any new challenges that may have emerged.
Strategy #6: Compensate and reward at the individual level, not just the organizational level. Your compensation and bonus system should connect to annual organizational goals, yes – but it should also allow you (and your direct reports) to have meaningful conversations about why the goal is important on the personal level. For instance: “If we hit this quarterly goal, Jim, you’ll get a bonus of X dollars – and just out of curiosity, what would you do with that money if it came through?” In other words, find out what the goal could really mean to the individual employee … and help the employee connect the dots between what the company is trying to achieve, and how that lines up with what he or she is trying to achieve personally. When those two goals are well aligned, anything is possible!
Click here to learn the three best prospecting practices to close out the year strong.