Streamline Business Focus for Maximum Results
During challenging financial times, strategic direction and business planning are vital—albeit intimidating. As the leader of your operation, it’s essential to provide direction for your team while effectively managing time and resources. Apply this expert advice to your operation.
4 Tactics to Empower Employees and Simplify the Decision-Making Process
1. Define Your Business’s Direction and Goals. Often, business leaders spend too much time focusing on where they’ve been, says Aidan Connolly, Alltech chief innovation officer and vice president of corporate accounts. The traditional strategic model answers key questions in this order: 1. Where did we start?
2. Where are we now? 3. How will we get there? 4. Where do we want to go? Instead, Connolly suggests swapping the order to: 2, 1, 4, 3. This forces you to focus on the destination.
2. Kill Stupid Rules. We live in a complex, always-on world. This is a major hurdle for business leaders, says Lisa Bodell, CEO of futurethink, a firm that trains businesses to become innovators. “Complexity is the enemy of meaningful work,” she says. “It holds us back. People incorrectly think complicated systems are more meaningful and valuable.” As you develop your strategic and business plans, enact one of Bodell’s tips: Kill a stupid rule. Ask your team: What are your biggest time wasters? What tasks have little ROI? Identify which tasks can easily go. “People love it when you give them permission to stop doing things,” she says.
3. Maximize Team Meetings. On the farm, team meetings are vital, but they can also be frustrating if they aren’t run properly. To use meeting time effectively at Alltech, a company that employs more than 5,000 people, Pearse Lyons, founder and president, says his team documents their updates on a smart board before the meeting starts. Then the meeting isn’t filled with each person talking through every point.
4. Give Your Team Permission to Make Decisions. Employees are continually frustrated when obstacles hold up the decision-making process. That could be a complex system, but most of the time a person is holding up the progress. Authorize your employees to make decisions. For instance, Bodell has a client who told his team by next month’s meeting, each employee had to report two decisions he or she made without asking for permission. He received emails for a week or so but by the next meeting, each person had two decisions to report. After several months, he had freed his time to focus on the tasks only he could do and simultaneously created greater job satisfaction and productivity for his team.