As human beings and business people we are truly blessed each and every year. Our forefathers put in place a system that let?s us start over every 365 days. It is commonly known as January 1st.
It gives us a chance to refocus our attention and activities, put in place changes and set meaningful goals for ourselves and our businesses. Much lip service is given to goal setting in business. However, let me pose a question to each and every one of you.
?Do you and your colleagues, peers, employees, employers set goals?? If they do, are they meaningful or meaningless? Are they mere numbers on a page or is there real thought and consideration put into their goals. In addition, is there a detailed plan for how you are going to achieve these goals?
In working with small business owners for over thirty years, I will promise you that 80% of all business owners do not set goals. And it shows in the success or lack of success in their business. Outwardly they appear to be going through the same motions as they did last year and the year before and the year before.
I contend that part of the reason that we have low employee productivity, morale and loyalty is that our employees are a direct reflection of management. When they see management not setting goals, they figure why should they set goals. their boss or supervisor doesn?t. They take the path of least resistance and just keep doing the same thing over and over.
Improving employee productivity and morale is a management function, not an accident. Management has to face the music and bite the bullet. Management has to take the front line and not only set goals but get the workforce actively involved in that process. Without buy in from the employees, goals become management?s goals, not theirs.
Management has to have a plan for their planning. A system in place to get the employees involved from the start, not at the end. This will facilitate the employee buy in that is necessary to foster enthusiasm amongst the people that will actually execute the plan and achieve the goals.
Her are a few tips to setting and achieving goals?
? When management/ownership puts together a forecast, be realistic! ? Gather employees together by departments or in small groups to discuss the coming year. ? Assign each person the task of developing a forecast for their department. ? Give each employee a deadline by which their part of the total forecast must be completed. ? Give them an idea or example of what format the forecast should be in. ? Gather all the finished forecasts and compile them into a corporate forecast. ? Compare their forecast to yours. ? Have departmental or group meetings to discuss and modify, where necessary, the forecast. ? Put the final departmental forecast in the hands of each employee, in that department. ? Develop an incentive plan for obtaining and exceeding their part of the forecast. ? Solicit agreement from each party that the forecast is realistic and doable.
With that process behind you the easy part is done. Now you have to work with each person and help them achieve their part of the forecast. Also, you should have in place a system to compare actual results with forecast each month. This report should be in the hands of each person by the fifth of the month. This allows them the necessary time to modify their activity to improve in any deficient areas.
During this process and the ensuing year, you are likely to encounter someone that discounts the forecast. This is an indication that maybe they are not right for the job. Also, publicly reward people when they achieve their part of the forecast. These types of accolades go a long way.
This process should take no more than a couple of weeks, providing you approach it in an organized way. You must be organized first and by setting that example, the employees will fall into place.
People are productive in an environment that is conducive to productivity. It is up to management/ownership to provide the cohesive element that binds the organization together.
Should you have any questions or the process gets bogged down, you should not hesitate to obtain outside assistance. Your employees will respect you more if you seek help than if you continue to bang your head against a brick wall.
Mike Gibson is a Senior Associate with Innovative Business Engineers, Inc., a Plymouth Meeting, PA based management consulting firm. Innovative Business Engineers specializes in the problems and challenges of small and medium size businesses. He can be reached at 1-800-590-5000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org