At this time of year it is a natural to look forward to the coming New Year with hope and the chance to start anew with lofty goals to be achieved and success to be had. We are all wrapping up this and looking at the score board to see if we won, lost or tied. It is the time to move forward, learn from this year and prepare for the next. Do it differently this year!
Many companies embrace a practice of holding a retreat, a term that is defensive and negative. More positively, consider holding a company Revival. It is a more positive term that lays the groundwork for an awakening, and increased enthusiasm resulting in increased re-dedication and engagement within your company.
Here are some tips on how to hold your company revival:
First, hold one! Break up your routine. Devote the time to work on the future of your company as opposed to muddling through the present day struggles and routines.
Get away. Go to a neutral, new location offsite at least one hour away from the office. The last thing you want is it to be interrupted with excuses about needing to “take a break,” and use it to head into the office for 15 minutes. The idea is to create perspective by leaving the workplace behind. Ban personal communication devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.)!
Shake it up. Of course bring all the key movers and shakers in your company but this time ignore formal organizational charts and invite new voices to the revival. Consider vendors and customers. Going to the same room, with the same people, with the same agenda will most likely yield the same outcome. Go ahead, dare to bring in the curmudgeon, the critic, the naïve and benefit from the new perspectives.
Be Grateful. Review this year’s results, express appreciation for the success you experienced, the clients you served and the vendors you worked with.
State the WHY. Call it a Vision, Mission, Defining Statement or whatever is right for your culture just start with why you do what you do. If the Revival team is not in unity with the WHY, the outcome of your revival, your company future will be at best unfocused, but at worst, in chaos. Allow a good measure of time to revisit, refresh and rededicate to the WHY. According to Joseph Murphy, multi-million selling author of The Power of Your Subconscious Mind ”We go where our vision is.”
Conduct a S.W.O.T. This invaluable exercise needs to take place with robust honesty. It is essential to assess your Strengths and Weaknesses (within your control) as well as your Opportunities and Threats (outside of your control). You would be foolish to start a trip without checking out your equipment, this is the business planning equivalent. This is where the new voices play a tremendous role.
Focus on the Critical. Less is more. For most businesses the strategic plan needs to focus on 3 to 5 Critical Success Factors. Addressing more than that is most likely tactical and diffused . Your SWOT will provide the information you need to determine what is Critical to your WHY. Robert J. Shiller, Yale Economics professor reminds us that “The ability to focus attention on important things is a defining characteristic of intelligence.”
Set Goals properly. The time tested S.M.A.R.T. formula is vital. But once set, the plan must be drilled down to deadline driven, personally assigned action steps. Failure to do so will result in an ignored plan.
Follow up. Schedule frequent updates. Keep the revival energy alive by updating the strategic plan the agenda for your staff meetings. After all, is there anything more important to talk about than achieving your WHY?
Have FUN. Fun is essential to building the trust your team needs to accomplish your plan. There are many options from icebreakers to skydiving. At the very least, eat meals together as a team. It is amazing how the simple act of breaking bread together can be team builder.
Get Revived! Get the spirit and charge into a prosperous New Year!
Russell Lookadoo is the HR Guy for small businesses. His firm, HRchitecture, specializes in helping business leaders accomplish their goals by effectively using their teams. Russell brings over three decades of experience designing Human Resources solutions that achieve business strategies in varied organizations ranging from a small manufacturer to the nation’s second largest bank.
Russell holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources designation from the Society of Human Resources Management and earned the Certified Compensation Professional designation from World at Work. Russell attended the University of North Carolina on the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Industrial Relations. Visit his website at www.theHRGuy.biz