2020 has certainly been a roller coaster of a year. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted virtually every facet of our lives and businesses. Now that we’ve all had time to adjust to the new normal as best we can, it’s time to start planning the next phase. It’s time to carve out some space and focus on what you need to do to ensure your company achieves success in the coming months.
As we round out the third quarter, take some time to stop and assess where you stand — as a leader and as a company. Perhaps you aren’t experiencing any significant changes to your business model. Maybe you are anticipating changes, but you don’t yet know what they’ll be. You might even have a good feeling for what may be coming. No matter where you are, the key to focusing on excellence in the next phase of your business is taking the time to really step back and assess the status quo.
1. Assess Present Circumstances
As we often tell our TAB Denver West Members, if you don’t know where you are, a map won’t help. Creating a plan doesn’t work if you don’t know what the requirements are first. Ask yourself the following questions in order to get a clear sense of where you are with your business and strategic vision.
How has your SWOT changed since the last time you did an analysis? What are the effects of your teams working remotely or otherwise having to adjust operations? Whether the changes to your business model have been radical or more subdued, there have likely been some changes to your strengths and weaknesses. There are inevitably new opportunities and new threats that need to be addressed for you to take your business into its next phase of growth.
2. Reflect On The Year So Far
Once you’ve paused to assess where you are, take some time to look back at how you got here. We encourage our Members to set themselves up for a the next phase of their business by checking in with what’s working and what’s not. Reflect on this year so far and chart your progress and your challenges. It’s important to note both the positive and negative aspects of your operations this year.
- What are three things that have delivered improvement in the year?
- What are three things that have disappointed you in the year?
- What are the top three risks your business now faces?
- How has your role changed this year? Are these changes for the better?
- How would you like your role in the business to change next year?
3. Involve Others
Once you’ve done your due diligence and have a clear sense of where things stand, make sure to involve others. Be sure to review your assessment of the company with your team. This is an incredibly important and valuable part of creating your path to success. People resist change if they don’t understand the necessity. Secondly, get and share input from others. They will see blind spots you don’t see and will help you complement your assessment.
Watch this short video to understand why and how to share your assessment of your current situation.
4. Craft A List Of Action Items
With your team (and hopefully input from your peer advisory board), craft a list of primary action items. When filling a jar, you don’t want to start with sand and try to cram the big rocks in later. You have to start with the big rocks. So, what are your company’s biggest rocks? This is why it’s important to include your team and some outside perspective when making your list of key objectives. You don’t want to get lost in the sand.
Make sure you select a manageable number of things you think you need to work on. While your reflection on the above may have helped you identify a dozen areas of opportunity, it doesn’t serve you to try and tackle them all at once. Divide and conquer doesn’t work well in a business environment. Select a handful of Critical Success Factors to focus on moving forward. Once you have those identified and prioritized, you’ll be ready to take the next steps.
These four steps will set you up to develop and implement a powerful plan. Once you’ve taken the time to work through these ideas, you’ll have a clear sense of where your company stands. From there, you’ll be ready to put the information to good use and craft a plan of action — which we’ll cover in our next blog.