Most of our business stress is caused by uncertainty about the future and/or our ability to manage circumstances as they arise. This past year we’ve all had our share of stress from COVID-19 issues to political uncertainty and civil unrest. This coming year has to be better, right? Not necessarily, but continue reading to get your lower stress, greater success plan in motion.
Interestingly enough, managing stress levels and making more money have a lot in common. There are 4 key steps to achieving both. When these steps are incorporated into our daily routines and operating procedures, we see both, stress and business operations improve. Better yet, when you incorporate your team into these 4 steps, their performance improves as well.
So, let’s take a look at each of these steps and see how they can contribute to a less stressful 2021 with better business performance.
Hopefully, by now you have reviewed and updated you Strategic Plan for 2021. If not, get started now! Reviewing and updating your Strategic Plan will help you focus on the issues of today not something you developed 3 – 5 years ago. That plan may not address the challenges and headwinds we might be experiencing in this environment. Take a look at your Mission, Values, and Vision. Make sure they’re still appropriate. Usually, the Mission and Values don’t change much but the Vision for your company over the next 3 – 5 years could be dramatically different.
Once you’ve reviewed and updated those, work with your team to identify currently applicable business Objectives, Goals, and Strategies for 2021. Make sure that your Goals are SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) and that all your Goals and Strategies have an assigned “Owner” within the team. This provides you with the core of a current Strategic Plan.
Now, develop your Financial/Business Plan for 2021, incorporating the information from your Strategic Plan. The Financial/Business Plan should include your Budget, Budget to Actual, Budget to Forecast, and Cash Flow Projection reports.
That’s a lot of planning involved and hopefully, you’re already well down the path to completion. If not, start today. Remember the old saying, “The best time to plant a tree is today, a better time was yesterday.” Get the tree planted and start growing your business.
Planning reduces stress by providing a clear path forward and reducing the uncertainty about tomorrow.
In the planning process you should have identified an “Owner” for each Goal and Strategy identified. In addition to those, you should already have individuals (CFO’s, COO’s, etc) assigned to the key operational areas of your business. Make sure that they understand the need to further plan the execution of those Strategies.
Each “Owner” should develop a Tactical Plan for execution. As with your Goals and Strategies, the Tactical Plans should include “Owners” that understand the Performance and Completion Time expectations for those tactical plans. Managing execution is key to reducing stress and achieving goals.
Distributing the workload provides for an atmosphere of shared responsibility, reduces stress, and improves performance through better employee engagement.
“What Gets Monitored, Gets Done.” This doesn’t mean that you need to micro-manage, but it does mean that you need to oversee the progress and be prepared to course correct when necessary. You should have an established meeting time and a standard agenda to review performance with your team through Operational Reports and Dashboards, preferably Dashboards. Each Goal “Owner” should come prepared with updated information so that the Team can identify opportunities and challenges to accomplishing the plan.
Monitoring is nothing more than a mechanism with which to decrease uncertainty and provide a quicker way to replan when appropriate. If you have to course correct, the sooner the better. This drives to improved business performance, and if delayed, only exacerbates the ability to achieve goals.
As these situations are identified use the team to Brainstorm ideas to quickly overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. The old adage, “Two Heads are better than One” is very applicable. It has been evidenced through numerous studies that Peer Groups, Power Teams, and general Team Collaboration generate better results by leveraging the diversity of perspectives.
Brainstorming in and out of the organization has value. Done in a structured environment where there is an expectation that each member contributes drives the best results. It’s great to discuss a situation with your business colleague over a beer, or glass of wine, but a focused intentional discussion with a regular group of professionals is likely to provide the better path forward.
This all sounds like work; because it is. But stay true to these 4 simple approaches and you’ll reduce stress and achieve better results. Why? Because you’re taking control of your destiny. Many business owners work with Business Coaches to help them stay focused through all the noise and provide a confidential place to hold strategic discussions. Even small businesses and solopreneurs use coaches to supplement their lack of extensive teams.
If you’re ready for a successful 2021 with reduced workloads, less stress, and more money, practice these 4 key steps. Need help getting started? Contact me for a free 60 minute Strategic Business Assessment, I’d welcome the chance to be part of your team.