As a manager, you must “do the right things (good leadership), as well as do things right (good management).” To accomplish these goals and to create a workplace environment that’s ready for success, develop “the Six Habits of Highly Successful Managers,” and incorporate them into your daily activities. This requires “discipline and commitment.” You may need to change the way you act, including getting rid of some bad habits and replacing them with new ones.
“Focus on the Process, Not a Plan”
Approximately 95% of business owners do not develop business plans, and the 5% who create such plans seldom use them. Perhaps business plans are so unpopular because people do not understand the true value of planning; they see all the hard work, time and effort that goes into business plan development as wasted. That is the wrong attitude. The real value of a business plan doesn’t reside in having it, but in the thinking, research and strategizing that goes into creating it. Try this organized, five-step process:
- “Identify the right information” – The conventional method is to generate a plan once a year, but that’s not enough. Business changes too fast. Plan periodically through the year. Gather data pertaining to four specific categories: the company’s strengths and weaknesses, industry trends, the “competitive environment” and the firm’s opportunities.
- “Engage everyone in collecting the information” – Your employees can provide valuable assistance in the planning process. Solicit and encourage their input.
- “Create successful strategies” – Target individuals in your organization who have a penchant for strategizing, and put them to work. Ask them to consider any notable changes that have occurred and to use that understanding to formulate the firm’s strategies and goals.
- “Modify the strategies in light of new information” – See business planning as a nonstop activity. Follow this progression: Develop a vision, gather information, analyze data, develop a strategy, set goals, outline each “action step” and evaluate your team’s results. Then repeat the process.
- “Do this frequently” – At first, monthly planning will suffice. Once you are used to this process, carry it out weekly.
“Serve the Right Customer”
To win in the marketplace, make your consumers feel special. Organize your customer contact work as your primary focal point. If this means modifying your operations, so be it. Remember who pays the bills. Sole proprietors are good at focusing their activities on their customers. Big companies are far less likely to do so; that’s a mistake. Follow these five steps to orient your business to your customers:
1. “Definetherightcustomers”–Developadetailedpictureofexactlywhoyourideal customers are – as well as who they are not.
2. “Create the right strategies for your right customers” – Decide what type of business you want: Are you a “low-cost” business, a firm based on “exceptional products and services” or a company offering “exceptional customer service”?
3. “Create a sales process to secure and serve your right customers” – Use a trial- and-error approach to find what methods work best and convert the most leads for you.
4. “Create an operations process to serve your right customers” – Many firms’ operations grow away from their customers, becoming bureaucratic and self-serving. Find and implement best practices that put your customers first.
5. “Constantlybuildtheculture”–Everyday,tellyouremployeesaboutthecustomer- oriented steps you’ve developed so everyone understands how important your clients are. Look for new hires who will enthusiastically support a customer-first orientation.