Challenged to Change
Do You Have What it Takes to Reach Your Goals?
by Richard Voreis
As we continue to focus on the importance of change, don’t be surprised if you encounter some resistance within your company. Some management and staff members may feel “things have been done the same way for years,” and that’s okay. Doing business the same as you’ve done for years, however, is not suitable for a future in a constantly evolving business environment. You’ll need to continually emphasize that change is good and necessary.
As you move forward, focus on:
• Making your company a place where the best people want to work;
• Making your company a place where the best customers and vendors want to do business; and
• Retaining your outstanding employees and keeping your valued customers.
At the very least, challenge yourself and your company to change. Remember what Benjamin Franklin said: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
Employee empowerment is a hot topic and certainly important in today’s challenging business environment. Without accountability within the organization, the president or owner ends up the only one held accountable. I don’t think this is the right way to run a company and, hopefully, you also agree.
I’m sure most employees want the company to succeed. However, I often find they have difficulty expressing what the business wants and what they are expected to do to contribute to its success. This is a symptom of lacking clearly communicated goals and not establishing employee accountability for reaching them. Employee focus, empowerment and accountability must be established to drive and sustain results and success. The lack of clearly defined goals is often a major problem with many companies in this industry.
What Will They Say?
If I came to your company and interviewed a representative number of your employees, what would they say with respect to the following: What are the company top priorities for this year?
When I ask that, the management and staff employees mention some top priorities; many are different, most responses are not specific and others are just disappointing, such as “I don’t know.” My feeling is these employees were basing their responses on personal assumptions rather than what they have been told.
Additionally, most employees don’t mention any measurable priorities. For example, this could be to increase sales or profits by a specific dollar amount or percentage increase.
Here are some additional accountability questions to think about. If I interviewed a representative number of your staff, what would they say with respect to the following?
• What are you doing to support the company top priorities?
• What are your personal action plans or personal objectives to drive success at your company?
As I mentioned, everyone wants the company to succeed, but many employees have difficulty expressing what they do to contribute to that success. Like the top priorities mentioned above, the answers I get are not specific, not measurable and, in most cases, don’t address how the personal objectives would be accomplished. Most of the responses are very general or just disappointing. Additionally, no one had any written personal objectives or action plans that would indicate accountability.
Ideally, employee action plans (i.e., objectives) should be specific, measurable, time framed, in writing and say how employees will contribute to achieving the company’s top priorities. Action plans drive accountability and generate great results.
What do you think your employees would say about their personal action plans? At best-in-class companies, the employees have action plans and they are accountable.
Richard Voreis is the founder and CEO of Consulting Collaborative in Dallas. His column appears bi-monthly.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and
read his blog on Thursdays at dollarsandsense.usglassmag.com.
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