Have You Sprung a Leak?

Have you sprung a leak

25th March 2016

Gavin Preston

Business Growth

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Four questions to spring into Q2:

It’s Spring! I love the Spring: lighter in the mornings and evenings; the daffodils and grass starting to grow; and the late March sunshine.  A time for new growth.  Everyone’s outlook lifts as the veil of winter recedes.  New optimism and new opportunity.

At the same time I find myself wondering where did quarter one go? As Spring affords the opportunity of new growth, where have you sprung a leak?

So as we embark on the second quarter of the year here are four questions to reflect upon:

Have you sprung a leak?

1.What are you tolerating?

Where in your business are you tolerating performance less than is necessary/than you expect? Where or with whom are you tolerating behaviour or attitudes that are not conducive to a productive, engaged and high performing team? What are you putting up with from customers in terms of slow payment of invoices, no response to emails or phone calls or from suppliers in terms of not delivering on their promises/your expectations.  Is the sales growth where you need it to be?  What are you tolerating?

What you permit you promote.

Action: Identify the areas you are tolerating less than you require.  Set the standards you require or remind your team of them again.  Explain why they are important. Train where necessary. Monitor performance.  What gets measured gets done. No longer settle for anything less than is required to deliver your business outcomes this year

2.In what areas of your business are you not yet seeing results?

Are there areas in your business in which you are not seeing the results that you had hoped for? Take a moment to look at the areas of your business: product/service innovation and development, sales and marketing, production/operations, customer service, finances and people.  Which projects that you started in the past few months are not yet delivering the results that you have expected?

Action: Once you have identified these areas decide what is required. Take stock of what specifically is working, what is not working yet and what is not working.  Given that most attention goes onto what is not working, be sure to acknowledge and appreciate what is working and the progress you are making. Engage your team with this.

Next look at the areas where you are not seeing the results you would like.  Caution yourself from prematurely sending the project to trash.  It could be that you and your team are doing a lot of the right things and they are either yet to bear fruit or require a little more sunlight or water.  What can you do to refine your strategies to increase the chances of success?  Patience and persistence are watch words here.

However, learn from the fly. Do not repeatedly smack yourself against the window when there is an open door one metre to the right. There will be cases when you have to acknowledge a particular project is not delivering the necessary results and in spite of the efforts you have made to get it on track it has not shown promise.  Collect the data. This is head stuff rather than heart.  Too many business owners and leaders have their heads down busily running the business. A result is they keep on doing what they have always done.

It may be the time to draw it to a close and decide on a different strategy.

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Spring into Q2

Where is the stretch coming from?

Where are you being stretched, your team, your customers and your suppliers? By stretch I mean challenged to grow, to innovate and to be courageous. So much has been written about the lure of comfort zones and the importance of getting us out of our comfort zones. We have seen the posters “Life begins outside your comfort zone”.

Action: Whether or not such quotes inspire or annoy you, set yourself and your teams a stretch.  Set a stretching target for quarter two.  What achievement could you all look back on at the end of June, at the half way point in the year, and feel that great sense of pride and achievement.  What reward can you set your team on the successful achievement of that target?

3.Where are your insights coming from?

Having insight into your market and customer trends, the moves of the competitor, external forces that could impact your business, the key people in your business, the buying behaviour of your target market, the marketing strategies that work, what is working and not working will keep you ahead of the pack. 

To get these insights you need to ask better questions. You don’t need all of the answers but you do need to be able to ask insightful questions.  Often, given that we are in the thick of running our business, we are not the best people to ask the most insightful and powerful questions for our own business. 

Action: Spend time around other business people. Find a switched on business person, a coach, a mentor, a strategist, someone who can ask the killer questions that will open up for you a new way of seeing the opportunities in your market and for growing your business.  Having someone that can ask you the insightful questions and share their external unbiased insights with you will be worth their weight in gold in terms of your business growth.

To find out more about our tailored programmes to get your business past what is slowing it down and into sustained growth then click here for an exploratory chat. You will find that we lead with value. Ie. After understanding more about your business during the conversation we seek to give you something you can take away and implement to help your business whether or not our services are the right fit for you.  Click here to tap into that insight.

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