When performing well, it can be easy for an organization’s leadership team to stay the course.
Strong leaders, however, will constantly shift gears and look to be better — capitalizing on their success in both good and bad times by feeding the growth and seeing far beyond what’s directly in front of them. Finding a proper balance between a focus on the underperforming elements of the business and those that are most successful — particularly in times of profitability — will create opportunities for sustainable growth.
This ability to identify the strongest and weakest aspect of the business and take action to both remedy the problems and cultivate the growth is often the differentiator between a good company and a great one.
Study the financials
The first thing any good leader will do to locate strengths and weakness is study the financials — first on a macro level and then by diving deep into the minute depths of the reporting.
This close look at financials will help you separate the performing aspects of your business from those that are falling short so you can concentrate on the weak spots. There are several potential reasons for goals not being met, and it is important to devote time to work with management early on to discover what they are.
Is poor execution standing in the way? Allocate resources and time to creating standards and ensuring that your team is well-versed in procedures. Good training is paramount to performance and will increase productivity.
Take stock of your team
If execution isn’t the issue, it could be a people problem — which often falls on leadership. Take careful stock of your employee roster. Are there weak players or gaps that need to be filled? Determine the appropriate balance or changes needed, and make good recruitment a priority. Is there low morale amongst teams? Working closely with management to ensure that your goals are being properly communicated to staff is important as leadership sets the tone for the workplace environment.
Keep in mind that the above methods must be communicated to management as ongoing initiatives. Temporary fixes won’t prevent problem areas from resurfacing, and creating and communicating clear long-term objectives for resolution is critical to strengthening an organization.
Focusing on the areas of weakness when business is good is crucial — but it is equally important to determine where your business is most successful and feed that growth. Doing so often requires leaders to be aggressive against their budgets. Many leaders are fearful of disrupting the stability when things are going well, but strong leaders know that real growth won’t be realized without a willingness to think outside of the budget.
Attack the markets where you already have a presence — and be particularly aggressive in hiring for those offices/departments that are most profitable. Promote those who have and will continue to contribute to your success and celebrate your employees’ accomplishments. Investing resources in markets where your company is doing well will increase visibility and create a workplace atmosphere of confidence in the organization’s long-term success. ●
Thomas B. Moran is the CEO at Addison Group.