Get to the Next Level, a Blueprint for Succession

You remember the days when it was just a handful of employees, working hard and sharing responsibilities to do whatever was needed to get this business off the ground. It was an exciting – albeit stressful – time and the possibilities seemed limitless. Many years later, after countless hours spent winning customers, investing in growth, and cultivating employees, you’ve built a successful business. And now you’re ready to bring your team to the next level: expanding responsibilities, growing the company, improving strategic thinking. Is your team up to the challenge?

The key to ensuring the future of your business is to develop the skills and knowledge your team needs to succeed. Company leaders must be recognized and equipped with tools they can use to drive business objectives and catalyze growth and change throughout the organization. With a strong leadership team in place, major challenges like expanding the company and long-term strategic planning can become shared responsibilities with improved prospects of success.

Building a talented leadership team is no small feat. It takes a deep understanding of the business, the management team, and the corporate culture to envision the path to future success by investing in the people you have today.

In order to prepare your team for the next level, consider the following areas:

  • Determine the select few in your company today will have the abilities and influence to lead the company. You need to begin cultivating those employees today to equip them with the skills and know-how they’ll need to succeed.
  • If processes are learned by experience, without reliance on documentation, that needs to change. Routine processes that are easy to understand can be moved lower in the organization, freeing you and your direct reports to look ahead and work on transitions. Document the appropriate processes and train other employees to take responsibility for them, while you focus on the future.
  • If you have a major goal in mind, you must examine how your current business will enable you to reach that goal. Provide opportunities for your direct reports to work on these company changing goals and put them in the spotlight to help you confirm your decisions about who’s ready to lead.
  • Who in your company thrives in the existing culture? Every company has innate strengths and weaknesses in the corporate culture. It’s important to understand who can effectively leverage those strengths and overcome
    weaknesses to achieve strategic outcomes.
  • Establish a timeline. Determine what the organization should look like by the time you’re ready to put more responsibility on the shoulders of your direct reports. Work with your leaders to ensure that those people who are stepping up to the plate have the right set of capabilities and tools to do the job well.

It takes time and dedication to reflect on these topics, consider the potential risks and opportunities, and devise effective solutions. However, this process is absolutely essential to achieving larger, long-term objectives. Bringing your company to the next level is entirely dependent on having a solid team in place to drive progress.

DataKey Difference: Real-time coaching designed for immediate, practical application. The DataKey team has the experience and expertise needed to channel your team’s energy into productive skill-building. By integrating your management team into the Key Leaders network of successful peers and outside experts, DataKey can help equip your company’s leaders with the practical knowledge that will drive future success.

Much like in the early days, the possibilities are still limitless. With professional assistance from the experts at DataKey, you can set the business you’ve built from the ground up on a path to ensured future success. Now is the time to take control of your company’s destiny.

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Increase Accountability to Drive Results

You already know that accountability is key to driving results in any business. You create goals for your employees and evaluate them against their objectives in annual performance reviews. You have a vendor scorecard to make sure you’re getting the value you need out of your suppliers and contractors. You even rate your customers on their reliability and value-add. As the owner of your business, who is keeping you accountable?

The long-term success of a business relies not only on the day-to-day performance of employees and suppliers, but also on dedicated planning and the leadership team’s adherence to the company’s vision. Executive teams must look beyond basic metrics of revenue, profitability, and productivity to see the big picture. What are the best practices for our industry? Where are our competitors pulling away from us? Where is our market going? Are we prepared for the future?

It’s difficult to focus on these larger questions when you’re tasked with everyday management and keeping the business “in the black” in an increasingly competitive economy. However, failing to dedicate time and resources to create a long-term strategy could be a fatal mistake. If your competitors are planning ahead, you could be left in the dust.

Myopic planning prevents a business from growing and adapting to the ever- changing demands of the market.  As your company’s leader, it is absolutely essential hold yourself accountable for the future of your business.

Tips to maximize accountability at the top of your organization:

  • Look ahead 5 years from today and assess the strategic direction of your company. Consider environmental and competitive factors.
  • Create 3 to 5 well-defined, written S.M.A.R.T. goals to drive your business and your management team towards the desired state. Measure strategic, long-term progress with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) alongside traditional financial metrics. Create benchmarks to assess your starting point and measure progress.
  • Achieving strategic goals is a top priority! Each strategic goal will have an owner on the leadership team, including you. Each owner is responsible for achieving the goal with the help of the organization, while proactively identifying risks and clearing obstacles that are in the way.
  • Share your goals with a business advisor, board, or other leadership group. Making the commitment outside of your company brings more focus to your effort and strengthens your dedication to achievement.
  • Keep the goals posted where they’re visible day to day. Stay on top of your progress towards goals with scheduled monthly review meetings where the management team holds each other accountable to making progress.
  • Conduct more formal quarterly and annual business assessments to discover strategic opportunities and performance gaps. Understand where changes and improvement are most needed, and make the corrections immediately.
  • When you reach a goal, celebrate! But remember that you’re not at the finish line. Always be looking to improve and go further.

DataKey Difference: Real-time coaching designed for immediate, practical application.  Long-term planning and evolving the vision of your business are not easy to do on your own. By partaking in our Management Coaching programs, you can leverage insight from peer CEOs who are struggling with the same questions. DataKey keeps you accountable by providing an objective outside voice that can help you manage towards your strategic direction while delivering expertise and understanding wrought from years of experience.  Bringing more accountability to your business will drive long-term results and ensure your company’s future success. DataKey can help you get there.

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From Average Joe to Top Performer: Motivating Improvement

Every executive and manager wants to improve their skills, but having the discipline and motivation to invest time and resources into self-improvement is difficult when tasked with the daily operations of maintaining a successful company. But how can any business leader bring their company to the next level without enabling the people within that company to invest in themselves? The answer, quite simply, is that you can’t.

Motivation for self-improvement is something which must be built into the culture of a company and ingrained in the fabric of the company’s corporate values. Employees and managers must see that the leaders of the company take the time to invest in themselves, and must be given opportunities to do the same. Motivating self-improvement is one case where “talking the talk” is absolutely not enough. To truly inspire change and set the company on a path to continued future success, it is imperative for the company’s leaders to “walk the walk” by setting an example and empowering employees with the tools they need.

Individual or team coaching is an excellent tool for enabling executives and managers to learn about best practices, analyze their own abilities, and develop practical plans to improve their skills.

Coaching can help to motivate the entire organization to improve by:

  • Inspiring the highest levels of company leadership to strive to improve the business and the performance of employees.
  • Accelerating learning beyond what is achievable in everyday business settings to improve employees’ capability to contribute to the business.
  • Fostering accountability to follow through on resolutions by engaging the entire team in an interactive dialogue about tough problems.
  • Encouraging employees to be open to new ideas and motivated to improve, thereby enabling them to leverage lessons learned from coaching to accelerate the objectives of your business.
  • Empowering employees and leaders with the insights, knowledge and skill they need to become the top performers they’ve always wanted to be.

DataKey Difference: Real-time coaching designed for immediate, practical application.  With management coaching options ranging from team or individual coaching to advisory boards, DataKey has the tools you need to bring professional development within your company to the next level. Leverage the insight and experience of professional business coaching by DataKey to inspire your team to excel.

Download a PDF version of this article here.