So How Ya Doing So Far?
I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but I am, however, a believer in hitting the "reset button" from time to time. Coincidently, the start of the year, after the holiday break, is a perfect time to reset.
Long ago, I identified some conditions that allow me and the teams I lead to measure and achieve our best work.
Centering Time. Start every day with 15-30 minutes of "centering." It could be reading, prayer, meditation or just quiet time to review yesterday and plan for today. It's important to prioritize your thinking time.
Thinking and Planning Time. Where possible, plan some time for your own work and planning. If you spend a lot of time in meetings and group work sessions as a leader, preparation and insight are critical. For me, setting some time aside in the morning until 10 a.m. is ideal, but hard to do.
Personal Time. Have interests and do things that take you out of your routine and comfort zone for a few hours each week. It helps keep me fresh for business issues.
Check In and Level Set. Provide time every week or two for one-on-one time with each immediate team member. This allows them to clear the pipes and ensure they are getting what they need.
Reduce the Number of New Projects. Specifically, start less and finish more—remembering that everything that is presented as urgent isn't always that important. Be protective of where and how you use your time and for what purpose.
Track Progress. Determine what information is critical to achieve your goals and track it daily, weekly and monthly. For example, if your margins are suffering, what are the culprits? Overtime? To find out, track labor every day or two. Burden rates and pricing? Estimate win/loss ratios.
Create Accountability. Without improved clarity, commitment and accountability on a daily basis, 2016 has little chance of building the level of sales, profits and value so many business owners desire.
At our franchise home office, we have implemented an operating system that is driving us to make tough choices, establish mutual accountability and create clarity of vision, values and key metrics in a disciplined way. We look forward to where this effort will take us.
Hitting the "reset button" is an important exercise.
A perfect example is the analogy of a plane crossing the ocean with a specific destination. If it takes off from Los Angeles for London and is just one degree off each mile, the plane will land somewhere around Toulouse, France—more than 500 miles off course.
Daily and weekly accountability are critical to stay on course. So…how 'ya doing so far? Are you on course or not?
I welcome any comments or practices that you may use to ensure that you and your organization stay on course. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
While it's great to have starters on your team, it's even better to have finishers.
Kevin Cushing leads the Allegra, American Speedy Printing, Insty-Prints, KKP, Speedy Printing and Zippy Prints brands as president of Alliance Franchise Brands' Marketing and Print Division.
Alliance Franchise Brands LLC, the parent company of Allegra Network LLC and Sign and Graphics Operations LLC, is a world leader in marketing, visual and graphics communications, linking more than 600 locations in North America and the United Kingdom. The Marketing and Print Division is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Franchise owners in this division offer one-stop marketing and print communications services. Its Sign and Graphics Division, headquartered in Middle River, Maryland, includes Image360, Signs By Tomorrow and Signs Now brands of sign, graphics and visual communications providers.
Cushing has owned and operated award-winning franchise locations, was inducted into Epicomm's Soderstrom Society, and was named Print CEO of the Year in 2011 when he served as CEO of AlphaGraphics Inc.