Boston Centerless - Precision Matters Magazine Fall 2018 - Page 2
By Jim Canfield
To Take Your Business To The Next Level
ULTIMATELY, EVERY CEO or manager has to ask themselves,
“What do I need to get to the next level?” The answer to that
question could be the topic of a day-long working session. Luckily,
there are steps you can take that will provide a jumpstart to
those answers — today. Do so, and you’ll ensure you’re armed
with the knowledge and team you need to move forward.
3. Mind The Numbers
Once you’ve determined your next-level goals, it’s time to take
action. Start by tracking meaningful data: Down the line, you can use
this information to provide critical feedback, equipping you and your
team to make necessary adjustments to your action plan. Need an
example to illustrate the importance of data tracking? Imagine playing
a competitive sport with no access to statistics or scores. Beyond the
fact that there would be no way for you to know if you were winning or
losing, there would also be no opportunity for you to make the changes
needed to improve your results.
Before you can begin tracking data, you need to determine which
methodology would best serve your needs. Create an action plan by
asking the following questions:
• What are you currently tracking?
• Are you focused on the right result drivers?
• How do you ensure that you’re tracking meaningful information
(and not just numbers)?
• What are your tools for measurement and feedback?
1. Set Clearly Defined Direction
To create a valuable action plan for your organization, it’s integral
you establish clear, meaningful goals and milestones. This means
defining what the next level looks like and then determining the
strategies, tactics and goals that will get your business there. Call upon
employees to define the next level for your organization in their eyes.
Then use their perspectives as a litmus test to analyze the degree to
which your current direction is clearly defined. As part of that process,
it’s important you’re able to answer the following:
• Do your employees know where your organization is headed?
• Do they understand what actions they need to take to move in
• Do they know what results are most meaningful?
• Do they know if you are on track to achieving those results?
4. Anticipate The Future
When trying to derive actionable insights from your data, you must
evaluate both your past and current results. To truly get to the next
level, you must anticipate the future in order to realize it and make it
happen. George Steiner, the grandfather of strategic planning, puts it
this way: “The essence of formal strategic planning is the systematic
identification of opportunities and threats that lie in the future, which
in combination with other relevant data provide a basis for a company’s
making better current decisions to exploit the opportunities and to
avoid the threats.”
Determine whether you are incorporating the future into your
business equation, by answering the following:
• How well are you doing each of the three Steiner actions, and
which tools are you using?
• How reliably can you project your future results?
• What tools do you use to get the feedback needed to assure
your future activities will deliver the desired results?
2. Communicate Everything
Communication is not just telling; it’s creating a dialogue that makes
achieving results matter. Communication of information, feedback
and support in a regular and reliable cadence creates trust. And trust
is essential to accomplishing high-performance, superior results. As a
business leader, the need for communication is even more important.
Ask yourself the following questions to assess your communication
process and understand where any gaps exist:
• What communication tools do you use to create and reinforce
• What is your regular cadence of communication?
• How do your employees interpret your communications?
What is missing that forces them to “fill-in-the-blanks”?
5. Identify Top-Performing Players
Processes are critical, but it takes the right players to make your
team truly successful. As a leader, it’s crucial you know how to place
(and coach) your top-performing team members strategically. Jerry
Goldress, the turnaround superstar, talks about getting results by
“putting your best players in the game-changer positions.”
To form a winning team of your own, keep the following questions
• What are your game-changer positions?
• How do you ensure you get ‘A-players’ in those positions?