How To Keep Your Business On Track & Get Stuff Done Amid Ongoing Uncertainty
Businesses continue to look for ways to meet their goals and objectives amid an era of disruption. From the pandemic’s health threat to the new challenges associated with managing a remote workforce (not to mention the accompanying supply chain disruptions, demand shifts, resource constraints, and more) it’s getting harder and harder for business owners to devise and realize critical plans for the year (or years) ahead. Then there are the “unknown” factors to contend with, including how long COVID will continue to disrupt our daily lives and the economy? Albeit to say, companies are having a hard time when it comes to prioritizing needs and adapting to an environment that is consistently inconsistent. This article is going to walk you through some practical steps you can take to get stuff done in 2021.
Identify & Focus On Your Priorities
The first step is to figure out what you and your team should be focusing on and develop a plan to get it done.
- Identify priority projects for the next quarter.
- Ensure projects align with the broader organization’s strategic plans.
- Sort those projects into individual workstreams with dedicated teams.
- Make actionable checklists for each project.
- Create project benchmarks and define KPIs.
- Establish a monthly/quarterly review cadence for the initiatives with the executive team. Review all major initiatives, progress to date, and the current business environment. Reprioritize where appropriate.
Listen to episode 201, “Defining The Future Of Leadership,” on unsuitable on Rea Radio, Rea & Associates’ weekly business podcast.
Tap The Right People For The Job
Identify your dedicated team — with the appropriate combination of skillsets and personality — to ensure the project gets the attention it needs to be accomplished successfully, on time, and on budget.
- Designate a specific person or team to be responsible for a project.
- Identify a senior-level champion for the project/initiative to help ensure firm-wide buy-in.
- Ensure the project team has productive group chemistry and the right combination of skillsets. At a minimum, you’ll need a big-picture visionary, a strategist to turn that vision into an action plan, and a tactical executor.
- When building the team, look for high performers outside of your regular circles to spread the opportunity to more professionals and provide them the opportunity to expand their skillsets.
- Be judicious about who is on the team. Keep only those who believe in the project and want it to succeed.
- Be realistic about team members’ workloads. Try to offload less important work that project members may be doing so they can dedicate more time to their assignments on the project.
Look At The Whole Picture
You’ll need a method of communicating all the projects happening throughout the business to company leadership and other parts of the organization. Getting a big-picture view also allows you to assess how your people’s time is being used, whether you are relying too heavily on a few professionals, and if the organization is taking on more than it can handle.
- Track all the various projects in your organization in a centralized location, using common metrics for monitoring success, with the help of dashboards to provide the big picture. Ensure all dashboards are easy to use and are fed by accurate, real-time data. Don’t rely solely on dashboards, however. Remain in regular communication with the project team who can provide more context to the data and share qualitative updates that aren’t as easily tracked.
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Don’t Wait For Perfection
In this current environment, it’s more important to act swiftly than to wait and strive for perfection. If you try to plan for every eventuality, you may be too slow to respond adequately to a crisis or seize a new opportunity.
- Don’t wait for perfection — start executing. Encourage a “fail fast” organizational culture, and not just for times of crisis.
- Assess the progress and value of all projects on an ongoing basis — at least monthly and, if feasible, bi-weekly.
- Are they moving the needle for your business?
- Evaluate the progress of each project against predetermined KPIs and milestones. Is the project meeting those KPIs, and do they bring the expected ROI? ROI comes in many forms (e.g., revenue protection, revenue generation, increased profitability, cost avoidance, etc.), so define the ROI you’re aiming for to measure the project’s success and try to identify quick wins in the early stages.
- Based on this evaluation of impact and ROI, determine whether projects need to be discontinued, reprioritized or require more investment and support.
Check out episode 249, “Analyzing The Business: How To Pursue Relationships That Last,” on unsuitable on Rea Radio, Rea & Associates weekly business podcast.
Raise Up Leaders
Even in a crisis period, make sure you are still taking steps to train your people and provide them with new opportunities.
- As you address immediate needs, don’t neglect your organization’s future. Provide avenues for junior staff to get exposure to opportunities that further their growth.
- Include at least one junior person on every project team. Even if they are just involved in project management, expose them to strategic conversations that are beneficial for their development.
- Teach them to be students — and, ultimately, champions — of the “fail fast” mindset you’re encouraging in the organization. The next generation of leaders will take up that mantle.
Get Stuff Done (And Grow Your Business) In 2021
Whether you are trying to overcome financial challenges, capitalize on a new opportunity or adapt to shifting market conditions, how swiftly and effectively you act in the next few months could have significant implications for your business’s long-term success. Don’t wait, get started today.
Are you looking for more practical ways you can grow your business in 2021 and beyond? Contact us today to speak with one of our professional business consultants and industry experts.
By Mark McKinley, CPA (Dublin CPA Firm)