By now, it’s highly likely that you’ll have asked yourself the big, important, and very obvious questions about how your business measured up during the past year. You’ll know how much you increased your turnover and profits, and how far you met the goals you set for the business at the start of the year.
Planning and reflection sessions can be hugely useful, but sometimes, it's easy to miss the less obvious measures of what you are and aren’t achieving. If you’re serious about making 2016 a success, you need to delve a little deeper and consider the questions that probably haven’t even crossed your mind.
Your planning for 2016 isn't complete until you've asked yourself these three
important (yet difficult) questions:
Are your line managers really capable?
It’s safe to say that your line managers are, in so many respects, the backbone of your business. They deal with day-to-day issues, they handle unexpected events, they make sure your policies are implemented and adhered to, and they keep things ticking over when you can’t be there. So it’s crucially important that they can perform to the absolute best of their ability.
Carefully consider where there’s room for improvement, then create a plan that will help you to get to where you want to be. This might involve training, coaching, or something completely different like re-allocating responsibilities. It’s important to note here that identifying problems when it comes to capability isn’t about pointing the finger. You need to avoid knee-jerk reactions.
What mistakes with employees have you made in the past twelve months?
No one is perfect. Running a business is a steep learning curve, whether you’re completely new to entrepreneurship, or you’ve been in the game for decades. The world is constantly changing and adapting, and you need to make sure that you’re keeping up. What worked just a few years ago won’t necessarily bring about desirable results right now.
So what mistakes did you make when it comes to the people in your business
during 2015? Think about operational issues, as well as the bigger strategic picture. Did you make any recruitment or promotion mistakes? Are your employees on board with organisational goals? Does everyone understand and embrace their role in achieving growth? Only when you get really honest with yourself, can you start to work out how you won’t fall into the same trap twice.
What do you need to do to grow as a leader?
It’s easy to overlook your own personal development when you’re trying to grow a team. It’s crucially important though. How can you be expected to get the most out of everyone else, if you aren’t constantly improving and growing yourself? This should be a consideration throughout the year, but it’s easy to drop the ball, and now’s a good time to reflect.
Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution here. You can’t just book yourself on a training course and assume you’ve ticked the box, or download a generic management book and promise yourself that you’ll get stuck into it. Your approach needs to be tailored to your needs, and it must be an ongoing process rather than a one-off task.