By Jeff Bowman
“Unless we progress, we regress” said Dwight D. Eisenhower back in 1959. All our business strategies when combined should be leading us in a progressive pattern. Yes, times have been difficult over the last several years, however that doesn’t mean a business can’t be moving forward, planning ahead, and planting the seeds for future expansion and growth. After the first six months of the year it is time to settle in and review some of the key things that might affect your strategic plan.
I tend to focus on three key areas of a business when looking at where we have come from and the future direction we need to take. We don’t have a Business GPS that will pinpoint our final destination and tell us step by step which turns to take. We do however have our experiential compass that can show us the general direction, based on our past movements and the trails we have marked to get to the current position. At times when we feel a little lost however there are many tools at hand that we can utilize to get back on course. A strong business strategy serves as the basis for all future actions, and from time to time these might need to be tweaked or altered a little, a few degrees here and there.
Consider the following three “influencers” to determine if it is the plan that needs some alterations or is it tools and support you have in place to get you where you want to be. First, what if any landscape changes are you encountering on your journey? Has competition changed? Has the marketplace grown or retracted? Depending on what your product or service is, has consumer attitude changed? Is your brand more or less recognized? What is being said about you in social media circles? These all have an impact on your business, just the same as the landscape would if you were hiking through dense forest, thick marsh, inclement weather conditions etc. We always plan for these events, however it is the smart business person that recognizes theses changes and adapts.
Second, is everyone on your team paddling in the same direction? It may be time to review your goals and objectives with the entire team. Explain your progress, and ask for feedback on possible alternatives to past actions that did not get you the results you were hoping for.
Finally, has the leader in the group demonstrated the skills and competencies that make them a good leader? Flexibility, positive thinking, the ability to manage internal conflict, foresight and most importantly do they delegate authority? When the business is doing well, everyone is happy, however throw a few missed objectives, a string of poor revenue performing months or some other distraction into the mix and the added pressures can have ill effects on the employees and the leaders of the organization. Most of us have seen in our business lives the type of leader who owns the successes but positions the failures on others.
Progress needs to be monitored to ensure that we are advancing and not just going in circles. The six month mark is an excellent time to see exactly what your coordinates are!