When asked ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ most of us can parrot out ‘One bite at a time’. It may be a challenge to focus on a full year which is why you find that big and successful businesses break it down to quarters.
The final quarter of the year is a great opportunity to re-energise your efforts to finish this year well and start next year better.
Start with these seven simple steps with a guarantee that they will significantly improve the performance of your business
STEP 1: FOCUS: Begin with yourself: focus your efforts
You cannot do everything, but you can do the most important things
Review and re-assess all of your current activities to ensure that your time is spent only on those activities which enable you to deliver highest value and return. Decide to delegate and delete at least 60% of the tasks you currently have. ‘No’ is the most powerful word in the English language and you will want to utilise it more often and with purpose.
STEP 2: ACCOUNTABILITY: Review your year to date results against your plan.
Take the time to verify the results for the year to date and concentrate on areas where there has been success or obvious errors and blunders which have had an adverse effect.
Isolate the opportunities to repeat past success in this final quarter. Excise those activities and practices that have cost time and effort but do not contribute to the success of your business.
STEP 3: ACT TOGETHER: Re-ignite your Team
Share the key information points that arise from your review and revision of results to date and plan together with your specific hopes and aspirations as to how the year should finish.
Emphasise the urgency for action and your expectation and dependence on your Team to deliver results in defined areas. Back that up with a system and commitment to brief connection and communications on progress. Commit yourself to remove any obstacles that block the achievements you and your Team plan for.
STEP 4: CONSULT CLIENTS: How can you help them finish the year well?
Speak with key Clients and have your Team do the same with lower value Clients.
Get to know and understand what their plans and aspirations for this quarter and the coming year are. Consider how best you can support them by providing more or better products or services to enable them to improve their results both for this quarter and the next year.
STEP 5: CONSULT SUPPLIERS: What can they contribute to your success?
Ensure that key Suppliers are aware of the importance of their role to your business and how dependant you are them to enable you to meet and exceed Client needs and wishes.
Determine how best Suppliers can work with your business and your Clients to provide exceptional products and services in ways that will optimise your results both for the quarter and the future.
STEP 6: CELEBRATE SUCCESS: Plan to recognise achievements.
In the final quarter, you are in the best position to recognise and appreciate those who contribute most to different elements of success.
Positive reinforcement is the most powerful tool that you can apply to enable both you and your Team take the lessons on board from past actions and results for future use. It is also the most effective way to motivate your Team. All celebrations should be for a genuine reason and held in public.
STEP 7: PLAN FOR A STRONG YEAR: Use the impetus that you create to set a higher base for the success of your business for the next twelve months.
How you incorporate the essence of the previous six steps set out above will determine the extent to which you replicate success and minimise risk.
The overview for the year may be essential but an excellent start might be just to begin with the first quarter. Set the steps to success in place to exceed your plans and expectations. As always you have the option to continue to do what you have always done and expect the results that you have always achieved or try a better way. Time to start: now!