In today's competitive landscape, companies need to be efficient or get left behind. That said, companies are often stuck in their ways, leaving opportunity for growth out cold. Here are some things I would do if I took over your business today:
1. Reviews. Eliminate annual employee performance reviews and replace them with more regular reviews, thus making my managers more accountable. If I am only assessing employee performance once per year, there are going to be too many lost opportunities for development and the organization will be spending unnecessary time and resources on under-performing people. I want my managers to be empowered and accountable for developing their people.
2. Meetings. Refuse to go to any meeting where we weren’t discussing something that would have a significant impact on the results of the organization. We all go to too many meetings and most of those meetings don’t have a clear objective or agenda. If I were running an organization, I would want to know exactly what the meeting is meant to accomplish and why I need to be there. We shouldn’t be proud of the fact that we are in back-to-back meetings all day.
3. Face time. Ensure I spent at least half of every day meeting with customers, suppliers, and business partners. Since I am one of the faces of the organization, it’s important that I have good relationships with key customers and business partners. Too many leaders spend time resolving problems or issues that could be delegated to someone else.
4. The numbers. Eliminate most of the metrics that are currently being used and only use ones that clearly show we are progressing towards our future state. Many organizations have more metrics that they can realistically keep track of. Once you have a clear vision of where you want the organization to go, identify three to five metrics that will show your progress in getting there. Don’t overcomplicate things with too many metrics.
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5. Planning. Eliminate strategy retreats and time-consuming planning meetings and focus the organization on implementation and execution. Organizations love strategic planning sessions and still believe that developing a strategy requires a lot of time and effort. We are used to developing five-year plans. I’ve got news for you. The five-year plan is extinct. No one knows what will happen in the next two years, let alone five. I would focus on developing strategy quickly and building a strong competency in execution and implementation. I would then review that strategy every quarter to make sure it still applies and make adjustments as required.
6. Innovation. Create a separate innovation team and implement a process for managing innovation to ensure we measure the possible impact of new ideas and then integrate them into the way we operate. Innovation cannot be harnessed properly if it is subject to the same metrics and budgeting process as the everyday operations of the business. Innovation may have a longer payback period and require some failure before significant results are achieved. I also want to make sure that my organization has a formal way of identifying, classifying, prioritizing, planning, executing and integrating new ideas into the organization.
Most organizations aren’t doing a lot of the things I mention in this article, even though implementing them would improve their performance and results. What’s stopping you from moving forward on any or all of these ideas?