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A good friend of mine recently sent a comment suggesting that I provide 3 ways to win in 2011. Well, I gave that some thought and landed on three of the most important things that I think any leader can do to ensure success in 2011. Here you go Cary! I have even added a bonus step.

1. Make sure that your strategy is Spot-On.

While this sounds easy, it isn’t. This involves asking your clients or customers what they need and want. What will help them succeed the most in the coming year? This may mean shifting your focus or you may find that you get conflicting responses and have to choose one path. You will be far better off being great at one approach than average at both. Make a choice and go.

2. Reward Innovation.

I often find that companies are doing things the way they have done them for years. Sometimes they have added technology, but layered that onto the old processes. In 2011 take a fresh look at each step of a process and continually ask the why questions. Why do we do it this way? Why do we have this person or team do this step? Why are there so many hand-offs in the process? Then ask, is this what our customers want and need? Does it meet their expectations? Are there any competitors doing a great job that I could learn something from? Are there any Vendors that can help me identify new innovations? Technology is simply a tool that allows you to innovate, improve your processes, and improve the productivity of your human resources. Create a team challenge within your organization to solicit and reward teams for their ideas for improving the customer experience, quality and their own productivity.

3. Invest in Your People.

This is a common sense statement, but not a common practice. I am amazed at how few companies REALLY invest in their people. Investment in your people might look like the following:

  • Training
  • Outside Seminars
  • Effective Team meetings where everyone participates
  • Recognition for outstanding performance
  • Involvement in a special project
  • Regular and constructive performance feedback
  • An executive coach

I often work with organizations that have very little management or leadership depth. As you dig deeper, you find that there has been little investment in people that have been around for years. Rarely has there been good coaching or little real performance feedback. The result is that there is no internally groomed successors. No one has been prepared for the next level. The only answer for management is to go outside to hire talent when someone retires or growth occurs. This approach is a high-risk management approach.

Take some beginning steps to invest in your team. You will be amazed at what they are really capable of and the level of gratitude they will exude when you invest in them!

Bonus Step: 4. Execute, Execute, Execute.

Many teams fail to execute well. They have great intentions, and even start things well, but either lose interest or are distracted by the events of the day. Failing to make execution a priority is a frequent problem. Commit to following through on your plan. The best way that I have found is to begin by planning out your execution steps every Monday morning. What are the critical things that must be accomplished in order to ensure that your strategy is well executed.

If you break it down into daily or weekly steps, it isn’t so overwhelming. If you as the leader don’t take the time to do this, who will? If not you, it isn’t likely to happen and you can expect another average year. So, make execution a priority. Decide to win and the commitment to doing the critical steps needed to win. It’s not rocket science, but it also isn’t easy.

If you take these 4 steps in 2011, I am sure that when you look back on December 31, 2011, you will be amazed at how much you accomplished, how much your team has improved, and how much your bottom-line has benefited. My bet is you will do it again in 2012.

If you need help developing your strategy or breaking it down to weekly activities, or you need and Executive Coach to help you or one of your team members focus on the right activities. Give us a call to make Visible Progress Now!

Happy New Year!