Plan today for the business you want tomorrow. This is what we teach in workshops to owners/executives and managers. I know it sounds basic, but when we master the basics we excel and our organizations are more likely to excel.

In the midst of the whirlwind at work, we can get so caught up that we don’t take the time to make a clear plan for the year or quarter. The problem is if you don’t clearly know where you’re going, how will you know if you get there.

Here is a simple five-step approach to creating your business plan for the quarter and/or year.

1. DEFINE YOUR LEADING OBJECTIVES

You need to clearly define what your leading objectives for either your business or department are. If you are making one for your department, it should support whatever the company’s most important goal is.

When it is finished, the goal should be in the form of x to y by z. For instance, your work goal may be to bring up sales revenue from one million dollars in quarter one to one million two hundred thousand dollars by the end of the quarter.

2. ANCHOR THEM WITH HABITS

There are certain habits or actions that set off a chain reaction for others to happen. Choose one or two habits that when done one or more times on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis causes you to meet your leading objectives.

3. SCHEDULE  THEM IN YOUR CALENDAR

What gets scheduled gets done. In order to hit your lead objective, you must give it the needed time in your calendar. Schedule your habits in your calendar as if they are your most important meeting of the day or week.

4. MONITOR THEM WITH A SCOREBOARD

You need to keep a scoreboard of your progress. So you know where you are on your journey to achieving your objectives. Every week record your progress.

5.  REPORT THEM FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

There needs to be someone that keeps you accountable for hitting your lead objectives. Decide what time each week you will be updating someone on your progress. This could be the leadership team, a team member, or a coach.

I believe that a plan works when you work the plan. This may be the very thing you are missing to take your organization or cause to the next level. Once you have your document finished, you may want to reveal it to your team members to get their input and buy-in. I encourage you to review it once a week to see if you are hitting your marks and to adjust your course as necessary.

My first couple of jobs were in the food service industry. I started when I was fourteen years old. This was a great way to earn some extra money and learn how to work with others.

My biggest takeaway from those years were lessons I learned from the managers I worked for. Some of the lessons I learned from these managers were imparted to me in the form of stories from their own work experiences.

One I remember explicitly is a manager telling me that a super successful company he worked for had a phrase they lived by; “Back to the basics.” This company wasn’t always chasing the new trend. They were chasing greatness in the things that matter.

By mastering the basics, companies are able to thrive and grow. Without the basics, organizations are left wondering why chasing the latest and greatest trend isn’t working.

One of the most important basics to master is communication. Whether you know it or not, you’re always communicating – by what you are saying and what you are not saying. If you want to see your organization move forward make sure you are mastering the following communication areas:

1. Roles and goals

This sounds basic, but according to a Gallup study of over two million employees, “‘only about half of the employees strongly indicate that they do.” This means that one out of every two employees doesn’t confidently know what is expected of them. This same study also found that managers were just as likely to not know what was expected of them.

For starters, organizations should have clear job descriptions and key measures of performance.

2. Vision

People who put their time and effort into a company need to know where it is going. Vision is a clear mental picture of where the organization as a whole is headed.

Vision is something that needs to be communicated constantly. Why? Vision leaks over time and people need to be reminded of it.

3.  Feedback

Your team needs your positive and constructive feedback. This point will focus on the latter. When team members have an area for improvement, let them know.

Creating healthy feedback loops is a vital part of a healthy, growing culture.

4. Recognition

Yes, employees should do their jobs whether or not they are praised for their efforts, but we all want to know we are appreciated and are doing our job well. You may have heard the saying before – what gets rewarded gets repeated. Studies show that companies with good cultures of recognition have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

If you see someone who hit it out of the park recently, let them know. If you are looking for some specific examples on how to recognize your team members, this is the post for you.

Communication is one of the most important basics, and if you don’t get this one down the organization and its team will not reach their potential.

Look at the areas listed above and begin with the one area that would give you the biggest lift once improved and go from there.

4 C’s Of A Culture with Strong Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a relatively new term in the business world that can trace its origin to a study by William Kahn in the late 1980s. Kahn studied two different organizations, a summer camp and an architectural firm, to see how engaged the employees were and the reasons behind it. Despite its recency, it is a hot topic in the business world; as it should be.

Companies with cultures of high engagement had a minimum of 24% lower turnover according to Gallup. In this day and age, when employee loyalty is down, high engagement is a shining star.

Having a culture of strong employee engagement will not happen on its own, but you can turn the tide by working on these four C’s.

1. Clarity

Companies with high employee engagement have incredible clarity around a few key areas. The areas they are clear about are mission, vision, and core values.

A mission outlines what the company ultimately there to do, and answers the question “why does this company exist?” The reason this is important is that your team members want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. According to Gallup, 83% of people say it is “very important” for them to believe that their life is meaningful or has a purpose. It is important for their workplace to reflect this.

Clear vision lets the team members know where it is the organization is going. If there is no clarity of vision, employees won’t feel that what they are doing matters, and won’t know if they are headed in the right direction.

Core values communicate how you’re going to get to the end result of your vision. If one of your core values is customer first, this tells you what you that you are not going to put the customer second. Understanding your customer is first, helps to act as a filter in your decision making.

2. Care

While having an effective boss is not the only driver for engagement, it is an important one. Aon’s research shows that having a connected boss and connected senior leadership is critical for a company to have high engagement.

I remember a story of someone I was working with that was incredibly discouraged at work. The conversations were based on constant challenges they were experience based on their boss not caring for them.

In a turn of events, the employee got a new boss who was highly engaged, and the person became much more passionate about their role and their productivity increased.

When an employee has a boss who cares for them, it is much less likely that the employee will want to change companies. Richard Branson has said that “Clients do not come first; employees come first. If you take care of the employees, they will take care of your clients.”

3. Coaching

The desire for professional development is very strong in people. They don’t want to just “do a job,” they want to improve themselves so they can grow. Look at the findings from Gallup on millennials’ desire for professional development.

An impressive 87% of millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job… and 69% on non-millennials do the same.

Coaching is a great avenue to provide for the professional development of your people. Though you will need to find your own rhythm, these coaching conversations typically happen 2-4 times per month.

Whether you use a coaching company or empower your managers and directors to do it personally, coaching is key to the future success of your organization. If you want to ensure that your team of employees remains motivated to come to work, you have to keep investing in them!

4. Celebration

When a team member does a good job, they should be celebrated and recognized. This helps to put to bed the question “do they even notice my work?”

Recognition and rewards are the number one driver of employee engagement globally, according to Aon’smost recent comprehensive global study. Companies that have good cultures of recognition have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.

The rewards do not need to be expensive. Simply recognizing someone’s hard work publicly, sending a handwritten card, or taking them to lunch can go a long way.

Now that you have an understanding of the 4 C’s of employee engagement, choose one or two areas where your organization or department needs to change. Once you know which areas to work on, secure buy-in from senior leadership, as they are critical to the engagement process.

What is one area of engagement you want to improve on in your company?


Five Incredible Benefits Coaching Can Bring To Your Organization

Coaching has taken the business world by storm, and what used to be an exclusive service for C-Suite executives is now being used readily throughout companies to develop their employees.

I remember an instance where I was brainstorming with the CEO of one of our clients about the benefits of coaching. During this time, the term EROI, an acronym for Employee Return on Investment, came to light. Out of that session, came five game-changing ways in which coaching can increase the return on your workforce investment

  1. Employee Retention

A growing concern in the marketplace is employee retention. Unlike days past, today, people are holding jobs for shorter periods of time than in previous generations. Instead of employees spending decades at a company, they are spending on average 4.2 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

While there are many factors that influence this shift, companies with cultures of high engagement show 24% to 59% percent lower turnover. This represents astounding savings as that same study mentioned that the loss of an employee can cost up to 1.5 times their annual salary! On the low side, if a disengaged team would typically see 20 people leave in a year, an engaged team would only see 8-15 – ultimately adding up to a total savings of between 600k-1.4MM. 

The biggest factor in employee engagement is management, which to this day remains a typical position for coaching. The study offered coaching services as one of the recommendations to support management in increasing employee engagement.

Companies that have used coaching in the past say that employee engagement is always among the top benefits they’ve seen after the fact. The EROI is incredible here, as you’ll not only see an improved workplace culture, but you’ll also save a ton of money as well.

2. Employee Development

The potential of your organization rests in the potential of your people. When your people grow, your potential grows.

One of the most common reasons we are hired to coach people is to help in their professional development. The desire for professional development also happens to be incredibly important to millennials. In a Gallup article titled,  “Millennials Want Jobs to Be Development Opportunities,” they wrote:[

“Millennials care deeply about their development when looking for jobs and — naturally — in their current roles. An impressive 87% of millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job…”

If you want to ensure that your team of employees remains motivated to come to work, you have to keep investing in them!

  3. Employee Productivity

Productivity is going to increase once team leaders, and consequently their team members, have more clarity that allows them to understand their most important goals. This is a big deal, as 50% of employees and managers do not have a clear understanding of what their role entails. 

Coaches work with employees not only to clarify their goals, but to also decide what consistent actions are necessary to accomplish them. Moving employees from setting goals to executing is crucial to the overall success of the organization.

4. Employee Selection

Our company help with employee selection through the use of EEOC compliant assessments. They can help the team go through the process of understanding the required behavioral skills, internal drivers, and competencies needed to drive production. We do this through the process of completing a job benchmark for our clients.

The behavioral skills will show whether or not the person applying for the role has the natural tendencies and abilities to do the job – and even if they don’t have the natural tendencies, they can adapt their behaviors. The key here, is to realize that the more adaptation required, the potential for increased job stress still remains. 

The internal drivers may be the most important factor because this will help to show whether or not someone is a cultural fit with that specific workplace culture. Behaviors can be adapted, and skills can be learned, but an applicant who does not fit the culture raises a red flag. 

Measuring one’s competencies helps to ensure that the person is ready for the position immediately. As mentioned above, skills can be learned and developed. 

  5. Business-Owner Mindset

There is a big difference between an employee mindset and a business owner mindset. One goal in coaching is to help give the cleints a big picture mindset to help drive the company forward. Here are a few differences between an employee mindset and business owner mindset.

  1. An employee mindset focuses around working for the business, while a business owner works on the business.
  2. An employee spends resources to accomplish a task, while a business owner invests money on resources to fulfill a larger vision. 

Once the potential benefits that coaching can offer are realized, it becomes easier to see just why more companies are hiring coaching firms to work with their employees, establish positive company cultures, and drive operational efficiency all across the board. Your company may be the best in its industry, but it can be even better with coaching!

For more information on message or contact us.

The year is almost over, and there is nothing that any of us can do about it! Next year is a blank canvas, and you can start to make sure that you hit your desired outcomes. But remember, with a new year, something has to change.

I started this year off with some strong personal and professional goals. Here is a list of just a few:

  1. Grow my leadership coaching company, Plan to Lead.
  2. Eliminate food and beverage products that have more than 12 grams of sugar with few exceptions 
  3. Get totally out of debt.
  4. Start waking up at 5 am.

When the year first began, some of these seemed easier than others, but after some time, I hit every one of these goals. I am not some kind of goal conqueror; I just try to set my self up to achieve my goals by giving something else up. I gave up to go up – and you can too.

This year may have its ups and downs, but you too can positionyourself to hit your goals by knowing howto answer these three questions: 

1. What are my clear and compelling goals?

What are the clear and compelling goals that you are trying to hit?  These are the goals that would help you achieve massive growth and stretch you far and wide at the same time.

For some, you may want to grow your business by twenty percent. For others, you may want to grow your faith, improve your health, or grow a relationship with someone else.

The goal here is to get very clear and specific on what you want. These are not clear and specific enough:

  1. I want to grow my business.
  2. I want to grow in my relationship with my spouse.
  3. I want to wake up earlier.
  4. I want to grow in my faith.

These are clear.

  1. I want to grow my business twenty percent in revenue next year.

      2. I want to go on biweekly dates with my spouse.

      3. I want to get up at 5:00 am every morning.

      4. I want to have thirty minutes of devotional time every morning at 5:00.

2. What do you have to give up to reach your goal?

Most likely, you will have to giveup something in order to achieve something bigger. To reach my goals, I gave upcontrol and brought on team members for my company, gave up ice cream, paideverything off, and gave up watching movies most weekday nights. 

If you are looking to grow your business, you’re going to have to decide what tasks and responsibilities you need to delegate to other team members. We created a document to help with this and you can have it by signing up through one of the pop-up boxes!

The companies that we coach are finally experiencing tremendous growth. The owners of these companies are handing off more and more responsibilities because they understand that they have to give up to go up. 

3.Who will keep me accountable?

When we’re aware that someone is always checking on our progress, we tend to perform better. You need someone who will encourage and challenge you to reach your full potential.

You may have a close friend or peer that will check in on you at least twice a month. Personally, I have found the best results by having someone who could coach me into being accountable.

This year is in your hands, but someone who needs to take some action if you want to reach new goals. So, take some time to set your goals, decide what you are giving up, and enlist some help! May this be your best year yet!

If you would like to talk to a coach schedule a call.