Training & Development

Quint Column: Look ahead to the new year

Quint Studer at the public input sessions for the future Studer Community Institute building. Credit: Barrett McClean.

Happy New Year! With the end of one year and the beginning of the next, it is common for people to make New Year’s resolutions. One of those could be resolutions to grow your business.

Here are some strong 2018 building blocks:

Commit to taking care of you. Think about the direction you receive on an airplane when the flight attendant instructs each passenger in case or emergency to first put their own oxygen mask on first. Take steps to be kind to yourself before you sacrifice your own well-being to helping others.

Commit to your own development. One can only take people as far as they take themselves.  Set aside time each month for your own development. That can range for an unplanned day of training to attending a conference. Mort O’Sullivan, a Pensacola community leader, amazes me on his constant pursuit to learn. It seems he as always looking for ways to get better and often thinking outside the box.

Commit to the development of others. When I meet with leaders, I ask them to describe some of their very best workers. When they finish I then ask them what would your job be like if all our team were like that. They respond by saying their job would be great. While we may never get to that point in which every worker is great, we won’t know if we don’t try. Take time to hire right and then build your team members’ skill sets. The legacy we leave behind is those we teach. All leaders need to be chief development officers.

 Build a well-defined culture.  Make a resolution to build a well-defined culture in the organization. Culture is the behaviors that take place even when no one is looking. Culture is what defines us. A well-defined culture provides team members the framework of what is expected from them. This then leads to what customers can expect. Consistency and integrity are essential for building the kind of trust needed in an organization to achieve its goals. Here are some key attributes to include in building a well-defined culture: What are the values? How do you gather the best ideas for all parts of the organization? Make sure there is transparency, accountability and discipline in the company. Don’t confuse activity with progress. This is hard for many to grasp, however, at times organizations are busy with activities while not achieving what is needed. Activity is no excuse for the lack of results. Take time to evaluate ideas. Have a system in place to evaluate initiatives. Do they fit the mission? How much revenue will be created?  What will the expenses be? What other resources will be needed? It is ok to let some ideas pass. Make sure there are vibrant avenues to receive feedback both for staff and customers.

Build entrepreneurship in to all parts of the organization. Empower people to think like owners. Ask this question in your next meeting: If this was your business what would you do differently? It is easy for people to quickly go to expenses. However, the real key is top line revenue. How do we create more customers and how do we get the customers to buy more?  When those two items are accomplished all sorts of good things will happen.  Investments in the business include better pay to employees.

Build a tribe. In his book, The Coming Jobs War, Jim Clifton of Gallup talks about how leaders need to develop followers or tribes. Each business needs believers inside the organization that believe in the organization and carry the message. These are people that let people know where they work and why the product is great. They are proud to wear clothes with the company’s logo out in public.

Create and celebrate those moments that make a difference. Dan Heath spoke of this at the 2017 EntreCon conference. He described those certain experiences that have extraordinary impact. They don’t have to be the giant experiences. Each day people can make a positive difference. Even when they may not be aware of it. Create these moments for your team and your customers.

Have fun. Sounds simple, but it is not. If it was easy, research would not show the great percentage of employees who are not engaged at work. Build fun into the workplace. Employees enjoy fun as the Customers also enjoy seeing staff have fun.

2017 is in the rear-view mirror. Treasure the good times and leave the disappointments behind.  Fill your heart with gratitude. A full heart leaves little room for anything else.