Many experts think that America’s economy is poised to expand, perhaps slower than we’d like, but preferable to the recent stagnation. While you may see opportunities on the horizon, how do you know if your organization is prepared for growth? For maximum effectiveness, plan and execute now to sow the seeds for growth later.
Align on key values. Organizations who “grow well” don’t lose sight of what is important, regardless of the pace or size of growth. These core values are the rock-solid foundation upon which growth can happen.
Get rid of thorny issues. Get to the root of pervasive problems now, prior to implementing any growth strategy. Causal mapping is a great tool for understanding interconnections between problems and their roots – ensuring that solutions address the real causes, not just the symptoms.
Be more transparent. Communicate as much as you can as broadly as possible. People in the loop make better decisions and can think/act like owners. That is exactly the attitude that you want – all of your employees making decisions as if it were their own money at stake.
Go, see, lead and empower. Visible leadership is needed during any change process. If you’re more used to hanging out in your office, change that habit now. Caution: Resist the urge to go around fixing problems. Your job is to be with your organization’s people (Go), be a careful observant (See), model openness and learning (Lead) and remove roadblocks to success (Empower). None of these steps involves yelling, accusing, doing it yourself or any of the other negative behaviors which might be in your repertoire.
Lose the noise. Can you honestly say that you spend all of your time on the most vital aspects of your work? Or do you get distracted by email, meetings and the minutia of your organization’s operations? Proper focus requires the discipline of thinking and action to evaluate and resolve the critical, urgent few. Think about this as “triage,” where only the most vital strategic work passes through your filter. Everything else? Delegate or don’t do it at all.
Keep the joy. If you’re considering growth, there must be some great things happening within your organization. Figure out now how you will recognize successes. Make joyful celebrations a top priority.
Understand the drivers of success. Don’t forget to give good outcomes the same examination as you do problems. Fully explore what factors lead to success, so that you have a complete understanding how things really unfolded so well. Only then will your organization be able to build upon past achievements.
Even if you’re not in an expansion mode, your organization will benefit from the above steps. Continuous, passionate dedication to improvement is a necessary component of ongoing success. After all, as Stewart B. Johnson, a British artist, said, “Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves – to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by today.”
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