One of leaderships most important role demands is staying informed about what is going on in the business and the customers it serves. Being informed allows for better and more timely decision making. You work from a point of knowledge rather than making guesses or assumptions which may or may not be exactly correct. I’m not indicating you toss out your gut level instincts but have them enhanced by input from various data points.
One of the data points are your finances. Sounds pretty straight forward but if your monthly financial statements are not timely – i.e. available to leadership by the 5th-10th of the next month then you might be making financial decisions based on less than accurate information. Slight trend changes in the numbers might now show up in your instincts as accurate. You can guess to high or too low. Both can be dangerous to future success and results.
Another data point is the pulse of your staff. Much like your financials, if you are guessing at what you think your staff is talking about then you are likely not getting correct insights. You need to allocate time each day, week, month to have short quality interactions directly with your team. Short 5 to 10 minute conversations to get current input on how they see the business, the customers, the industry and maybe most importantly – how they see you.
Businesses ebb and flow based on leadership. If leadership is driving forward with deliberate actions guided by a well communicated strategy then it is far easier for everyone to get on board and move in the same direction. If leadership is not engaged then neither will your employees be engaged.
You also need data points from external sources such as industry insights and most specifically your customers or clients. When was the last time you picked up the phone or stopped by a client without needing to address a problem or follow up on something prompted by them? I realize you are busy and have lots of things to fill up your schedule. I would suggest that you build a habit of contacting 3 clients each week for the 50+ weeks of the year. During that time you will touch about 150 clients. No, it is likely not all of your clients but a reasonable majority of the 20% which contributes 80% of the revenue. These are not lengthy calls. Just 3 to 5 minutes to thank them and remind them you care about their business. You can do the same thing with your staff. It must be done authentically and you will be amazed at the change in attitude and culture internally. Externally you will form a far stronger relationship which will in turn sustain long term customers.
This week take that first step and set up a calendar of internal and external contacts you will begin calling the following week. Set up the contact list for all 50+ weeks including name and telephone numbers. Yes, this may take a few minutes but once set up all you need to do is dial the phone. Should you get a voicemail, simply leave a message of your intent for the call and move on to the next business to contact. You may not hear back from them but you planted an important seed in their mind that you took the time to reach out to them.
Want to raise the level of your understanding of what is really going on in your business? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida.