We have found that laying out goals has been the best way to stave off winter’s icy patches in the new year. With clearly defined aspirations, objectives, and visions, forward momentum is much smoother. By holding focused team meetings at the beginning of the new year, goals can be set together and enthusiasm renewed.
After a much-needed break to rejuvenate from a wonderfully (and insanely) busy fourth quarter we tried a new strategy to invigorate our spirits. Our team gathered around a table and laid everything out—from the company’s financials, growth projections, etc. By offering complete transparency, we were able to discuss openly and with specifics. This strategy was new to me and is called the Open Book Management Approach. (A special shout out to my fabulous classmate (Laurie Lee) from Goldman Sach’s 10KSB program for sharing the concept with me)!
The ensuing brainstorming session created a sense of unity as, together, we developed transformative ideas that will take the company to new levels of success. With this approach, job titles were left at the door because our vision of success happens as a team.
Before the meeting, I asked each employee to complete a SWOT Analysis, evaluating how they perceive our business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats within the industry. With the remarkably candid responses, we were able to have a productive conversation, while ensuring every detail was discussed. We also learned that knowing our strengths helps us continue to stand out from competitors, identifying and understanding our weaknesses helps us convert them into strengths, capitalizing on opportunities helps us grow, and acknowledging threats helps us stay up-to-date in an ever-changing industry.
Keys to a successful New Year Meeting:
— Develop a mutual trust in your employees. A positive corporate culture is something we are always striving towards. It’s important for the employees to feel valued and respected.
— Complete your own SWOT Analysis. The information gained is invaluable. Many points were addressed by multiple people, which helped us zone in on where our priorities should lie in the first few months of 2017.
— Set attainable goals. We have a long laundry list of different ideas and paths we could go down. Looking at the complete list is overwhelming and not all have the same priority. We’re in the process of setting attainable goals as a team so that everyone is on the same page and aligning the vision to put us on target to reach our goals.
Having such an open conversation built trust, and I left the conference room feeling more confident in my business and my employees as a result. Moreover, I had clearly-defined steps for moving forward in the winter months. As a result, my company will not lag with the normal winter blues, instead, we will reach new heights and take our business to the Next Level.