Why wait until the New Year to start new business habits? Start these now.

We are coming up on the time of year for New Year’s resolutions. Many people set personal and professional goals and use the New Year as the launchpad, a blank slate begging for that new beginning.

While New Year’s resolutions are all well and good, why wait? There is no reason to not start working towards those resolutions now. If a New Year decision will benefit your business in January, chances are that the decision will benefit your business to start it now.

Here are a few new habits that will lead to a better month, quarter and year ahead:

#1. Inspect what you expect: 

There will never be a better time of year to inspect what you expect from your current business processes.

Why is that?

Holidays are typically the only time of year when it is customary for numerous employees to take time off at the same time or close to each other. So how do we turn this into an advantageous situation for the business?

You may not fully understand your business processes but you sure know when they aren’t functioning properly. Be on the lookout for any steps in processes that are paused or create a bottleneck when employees aren’t working.

Once you have identified a paused process and/or bottleneck, identify the specific process and the person responsible for moving it along. Are they on holiday? Could this process be automated with the right tools or technology?

  • If the answer is yes, reach out to IT and see how you can automate the process.
    • If you prefer to own the process without bringing on IT, allow us to introduce Wrk and their automation solution.
  • If the answer is “I don’t know,” let’s talk to figure out if it can be automated (reply to this email).

#2. Daily/Weekly Check-ins: 

These standard business practices are vital to keeping tasks on track and business initiatives moving forward. Standing meetings allow you to keep a constant and consistent pulse around new initiatives. With anything new, there will be trial and error associated with it. The key is to recognize the error early and respond to it.

So, what cadence do you recommend for these standing meetings?

  • Daily Meetings:
    • Customer-facing organizational unit or initiatives. You want to keep anything that is customer-facing close as this can directly affect your brand.
  • Weekly Meetings:
    • New internal business initiatives
      • Allows for consistent communication
      • Key to weekly progress is that everyone is aligned at the end of the meeting on expectations for the following week. Best results are tangible milestones that are documented and can be shown to have been reached.
  • Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR):
    • Should be welcomed as a chance for staff to “show off” past quarter performance.
    • Formal place to have tough conversations or align on plans to execute in the coming quarter.

To make these meetings productive and concise, an agenda should be emailed ahead of time and a post-meeting email should be sent out to all attendees and stakeholders. This ensures alignment and keeps everyone accountable.

#3. Performance Scorecards:

If your team is not leveraging scorecards, iteration should begin immediately with a documented rollout before the end of the year.

Documented expectations of performance are the only way to ensure alignment on expectations. So what are the attributes of a great scorecard?

Measurable and Attainable

  • If you cannot measure it, it should not be a primary objective of the scorecard. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be included, just shouldn’t be the centerpiece.
  • Nothing is more deflating than starting off a program with an expectation that you do not believe you can hit. When building a scorecard, the path to attainment should be easily demonstrated.
  • Bonus points if the scorecard is simple and straightforward.

New Year’s resolutions are great and a fantastic way to mentally attack the new year with the feeling of a fresh new take. Imagine how much more successful a New Year’s resolution will be if you start it the last 3 weeks of this year. Do the work today to be better prepared for tomorrow.

Let’s get to work

Prescriptive Profits #13