Hint…It’s not because your coach or some book told you to.
I’ll admit. I’ve had a bit of a haphazard 2016. Like you, I’m still working on getting my annual projections finished and it’s December already. 😉 It may be the many marketing plans and budgets we seem to be working on right now, but as we push towards yet another NYE, I start to think more and more about strategy.
Strategy is tough. You can’t tackle it amidst the everyday stuff. You have to do something extreme like leave the office on a Wednesday to work on it, strand yourself on a desert island, or in my case, wake up early. Really early.
I rarely get into the office before my team. And when I do, I usually jump right into email, the day’s chaos, and a cup of coffee.
But today, I skipped the first two and just walked around a bit with my cup of coffee. Why? Because I was in the mood to write, needed to get working on 2017 plans, and was looking for a little inspiration.
What did I find?
- Desks: Workspaces of each member of my team. Some a touch disheveled. Some clean. Some well decorated…some, well, cluttered.
- Scribbles: Everywhere! Notes on a whiteboard. Checklists. Markups on a project. Post-its.
- Folders: Agendas. Client meeting minutes. Internal meeting notes. Plans, budgets, calendars and more.
- Kitchen: Lean Cuisine boxes in the recycle bin. Too many coffee cups to count in the sink. Crumbs on the counter. Leftovers from the office potluck.
- Books: Some flagged. Some bookmarked. Some dog-eared. Some uncracked.
And that, my friends, is why you need a business strategy.
Not because your coach told you to.
Not because some book told you to.
Because if you stop and look at the things around you in a different light…they tell you to.
- Desks = People: People need direction, need to feel cared for, and need to feel they are a part of something. If you look past what’s on the surface, you’ll see the things you glaze over every day. You’ll see quotes on walls that inspire the person behind the job title. You’ll find photos of loved ones who are the reason we do what we do. And, my favorite, observe the fun little artifacts of their commitment to your brand – company logos on sweatshirts over the back of their chair, notes from clients and vendors, photos of team events, and more.
- Scribbles = Priorities: It’s not just clutter. It’s a reminder that we have a million things on our brains and it really is necessary to prioritize and have a plan. Without a plan, we pick the post-it that’s closest and that becomes the priority for the day…a bad way to work.
- Folders = Clients: Yes, your clients are a big reason you should form a business strategy. Your products and services are only as strong as the plan behind them, and the stronger that plan, the more value you bring to those you serve. In fact, next time you hire a vendor, ask them if THEY have a strategy in place – that will make for a fun conversation.
- Kitchen = Rest: Your plan needs to include time to break. To rest. To enjoy time with your team in “non-work mode” and with those you care about. Small Business owners are the busiest people I know. If you don’t plan time to refuel, it doesn’t always happen.
- Books = Knowledge: The world changes every second of every day. And, for many, we forget to keep learning new things. You need to include time for your team to build their skill set, stay abreast of new knowledge and technology, and stay the foremost experts in their fields. Don’t grow, don’t learn? Fall behind!
If as a small business owner or leader you haven’t had your own personal stroll around the office in a long time, savoring a cup of coffee, I’d encourage you to do so. What will you find?
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