Mike Taylor, managing director of Accelerating Experience, considers what leaders might want to ask themselves, to help their business scale in 2018.
Risk management perspectives dominate conventional wisdom currently in the business world. Economic and political uncertainties feature daily in news reports, leading many business leaders to adopt a “batten down the hatches” approach with a “wait and see” mindset.
Is it possible that we are being overly pessimistic, irrespective of our Brexit likes or dislikes? There are many positive economic data points that would suggest this is the case, including the devaluation of the pound making exports much cheaper for overseas buyers and bolstering engineering order books, and the fact that we are almost close to ‘full employment’, with many jobs waiting to be filled.
The New Year is a great time to stand back and consider fresh perspectives. To help accelerate business performance in 2018 senior leaders might ask themselves the following questions:
1. What is the mind-set in our top team? Are we risk averse or opportunity seeking?
Senior leaders’ role is fundamentally to look up and outwards, scanning the horizon to find opportunities and identify threats early. The best business leaders don’t wait for mists to clear, they are willing to make decisions despite uncertainty.
2. How clear is our business strategy, and how aligned is our top team in supporting it?
Frequently when interviewing top team members individually, we discover that each believes the business strategy is well defined, but there are several versions of what that strategy is. Extra time invested in ensuring strategic alignment, a shared purpose, and highly effective communication with all employees pays handsome dividends.
3. How much trust is there among our top team members?
A compelling vision, rock-solid strategy, excellent communication, innovative insight, and highly skilled senior leaders are of course each and all necessary to business success. But trust is the key foundation for delivering high performance in any team.
4. How effective are we as leaders across the business?
Micromanagement is the plague which is killing value in many businesses today. All too often we see senior leaders diving into low level of detail and interfering with managers’ responsibilities. In the best performing companies, business leaders set the tone from the top. They act as role models in exhibiting high levels of trust and liberating talent within their organisation.
5. How well do we inspire all of our people to give their best?
Inspirational leadership has a hugely positive impact on the contribution all employees choose to make. Productivity levels can be raised at a stroke, with a positive tone across the business self-evidently boosting the bottom line.
No one doubts the challenges facing business today. But a fresh mindset, with positive actions on each of these five themes will not only raise business performance in 2018, it will better insulate the business from uncertainties ahead.