Every fall, we gather at an annual offsite meeting to set goals, no more than three per year, for the upcoming year. We also include time for socializing with each other (though, this year, it’s all remote meetings and a virtual happy hour).
Not only does it give us a clear focus for the next 12 months, but it also reminds us of why we are choosing to build a business together.
Here are the guidelines we follow:
Limit goals to no more than three, with one identified as the top goal.
Make goals measurable so you know when your goals have been met.
Assign ultimate responsibility for each goal to someone with the proper authority.
Have frequent updates to “shine a light” on progress toward each goal.
Create a theme that ties everyone in the company to the top goal for the year.
Hold quarterly meetings to review what’s been done and what’s next.
At Intertech, we improve communication in the leadership team through personality cheat sheets, which are personality profiles that remind us who hates long-winded descriptions and who struggles to make a decision that involves something unpleasant. This is to keep us from driving each other crazy in those little annoying everyday ways that creep up when people work closely together for a long time. The cheat sheets are the result of a personality inventory similar to a Myers–Briggs test. I highly recommend it for any group of partners or managers who work closely together.
Also, we are intentional about building strong, trusting relationships among the leadership team. Pre-COVID, a weekly lunch at a local restaurant took us away from the daily press of business and helped us reconnect on a more fundamental level.
Professionals expect clarity in performance appraisals and promotions. Make sure the expectations are set clearly from the very first day and give frequent feedback along the way. We’ve adopted the Dale Carnegie Key Result Areas (KRAs) approach to talent management. We use the following questions:
What is the purpose of my job? This answer should be extremely simple, such as “selling our services.”
What do I need to do to make it happen? For someone in sales, the answer might be “call 100 potential clients every day.”
What tools do I need to be successful? For a salesperson, training in phone skills or negotiation techniques might be in order.
My book, The 100, was supplemented by more than 25 downloadable templates and checklists to help lead a team, run a business, and manage your life. They are all available for free, and based on downloads, here are a few of the most popular:
For over a decade, I, along with Intertech leadership, get our economic guidance from Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics. He recently published Economic Recovery and Profits: Know This Trend to Make More Money. In my experience, Mr. Beaulieu has provided reliable insights and a leading indicator with a high correlation to what eventually happens in the economy with enough lead time to take action before a downturn or uptick.
Despite how the current world feels, he believes the economy will grow, and it’s time to act. US Industrial Production in July had a massive surge from June. Based on their guidance, the worst for the economy is behind us. The reasons for optimism are with the lockdown and semi-sequester (e.g., less spent on restaurants, travel, personal services, etc.), we have money to spend, and employment is picking up.
They have some insights on what to do for your business:
Have a plan of how to maximize opportunity and minimize risk
Make sure you have the right team. An excellent team beats an awesome plan, eight days a week
All the above said, a big part of the optimism is an expectation of a vaccine, and governors can safely keep most of their economies open. As leaders, our response needs to match the exponential, not linear, nature of COVID.