When there is a major problem, what signals do your actions send to your employees?
What do you do when things are going dramatically worse than planned? Merely hoping that things will get better is pretty risky. Many of our clients have hit an icy patch, finding themselves in a situation with results far below expectations. When one recently found themselves with sales dramatically below budget, they did two things. First, the entire team drilled down to make sure they understood where they were and why. As is often the case, there was no one reason but a confluence of events — a weakening market, an underperforming new business development effort, and too many dumb mistakes in handling the initial orders from the new customers they did attract.
Second, they declared a formal crisis. Declaring a crisis while the company was still profitable may seem extremem but why risk waiting? The biggest effect of shifting to crisis mode was to focus on making sure they were following up daily on tactical actions. Each morning started with a 10-15 minute huddle to clarify exactly what they were doing today to bring in more business, what jobs were VIP-status and required additional attention to make sure they were performed flawlessly. The mere act of meeting daily communicated to the entire company the need to focus on bringing in and retaining business. A happy side effect was the immediate improvement in cross-departmental communications and teamwork.
One of the overreaching goals of planning is to identify potential crisis points and take action today to prevent them from occurring. Preventing a crisis is by far the best approach. Organizations that are constantly fighting fires seldom reach their potential.
It’s easier to identify potential crisis points if you have a clear visualization of where your company is going. For a pragmatic take on how to develop, refine, and implement that visualization, review the first two chapters I wrote in the Business Expert Guide to Small Business Success.
If you’re interested in having a facilitated strategic planning meeting that moves you from concept to tangible implementation, check our our services, contact us or better yet, give us a call at (800) 207-8192 to arrange for a complimentary consultation to determine if our program is right for you and you are right for the program.