By now you are probably tired of discussing the campaigns, election, and the final results that surprised many people and surely most pollsters. So let’s not discuss it. Instead, let’s talk about the current trends in your business that may surprise you. Do you really know what is going on in and with your company? How about we avoid an upset in your business?
Here are the most important questions you need answers to (and I bet you don’t have) today for far fewer surprises tomorrow:
1. Who are the people most likely to leave next?
And most importantly, how will their departure impact the company? How is the morale at work? Are your employees or colleagues happy to come to work? Or is this the job they “put up with” until something better comes along? Or worse: Is this the job where they do the bare minimum and avoid rocking the boat because they can’t get another job?
I know this may not seem fair (so goes the phrase “all is fair in love and war” and business sometimes feels like a battle, doesn’t it?), but I suggest you worry if you have very little turnover or very high turnover. Either extreme indicates a range of possible issues – from complacency to a lack of mentoring (particularly important for the millennial talent pool).
It is your good people who you will lose if your company is not fostering talent by hiring, promoting and firing the right people for the right reasons. These are the people who can easily get another job. They are good and marketable – and by the way – they know it.
Idea: Here are three steps . . .
- Identify who is your top talent. Understand how likely it is for you to lose that employee and the impact his/her departure would have.
- Talk to your team and address concerns.
- Make the changes necessary to ensure your company remains the place where they want to be.
2. What is the worst-case scenario?
I understand this is something no one wants to talk about. The bad news: Not talking about it won’t make it go away. The good news: If you can think of what can happen and what you would need to do or might want to have in place in case some unfortunate event takes place, you will be 70 percent of the way to overcoming it. Please understand I am not suggesting you transform your management meeting into a pessimist fest. What I am saying is think about a few things that would impact the business if they were to happen. Examples are: “What if customer A no longer buys from us”? or “What if the approval from our governmental agency client takes 18 additional months”?
Idea: Identify a few scenarios and define a high level plan. In the case of customer A no longer being a client: (a) define the cuts you would have to ensure the business can ride the reduction in revenue, (b) look into alternatives (right now) of how you can expand your customer base and therefore reduce your risk, or (c) review how your sales force is incentivized to sell; maybe it is time to have higher commissions when new clients or clients from new segments are brought on board.
3. What are the core values of the company?
You are thinking: “integrity, communication, innovation…” Skip those. I don’t mean the values on nice posters displayed throughout the office or listed on the company’s website. I mean the real ones, the ones your company lives by, thrives by. And here is how you discover them. First ask your employees or colleagues (and even yourself): What gets people fired at our company? Then use the opposite as the true core value.
Here is an example:
“People get fired for disagreeing with the president, no matter how polite they are.” That means the company doesn’t encourage open dialogue and the exchange of ideas. The risk is missing out in improvements and innovation, among other things.
This will give you an idea of the values that are currently running your organization. Choose the ones you want to keep, and take the opportunity to think of other values you would like to have as the foundation.
Ask yourself these simple yet tough questions. Get ready to really listen and, then, to act. No surprise, you will be prepared for just about anything that crosses your company’s path.
GABBY’S BIG TAKEAWAY:
Be proactive and leave surprises for birthday parties and anniversaries.