Coming into a new year with the tailwinds of success at your back, you’re feeling pretty good about the business. And you should. What you should also do is not take anything for granted. When runners coast across the finish line, that’s when they are apt to roll an ankle. Like a runner, when you let your guard down unexpected things can happen.
Be cautious of having a feeling that you’ve made it. That’s when you start reading your own press clippings, and you begin setting incremental goals, not really pushing yourself to your true potential. To be more direct, those are the times you might take your foot off the accelerator.
Determine Your Goals
Setting goals for your business involves taking risks. The risk of going in the wrong direction or pushing too hard, can create an impediment to your progress. Likewise, the risk of not deciding, can make the business feel like a boat without a rudder – purely reacting to the wind.
When the business climate shows potential headwinds of economic instability, charting your course may require many inputs. What are your customers thinking? Where are they investing, what are they doing with staffing, how do they intend to use your products in the future – these are discussions you should be having with your key accounts. What is your internal team saying? What thoughts and insights do they have concerning the direction of the business? As the leader of your business, you need to ask the right questions to determine your next destination. These are influenced by the diversity of who you speak to, who you listen to, what you read, and the things that you feel are not only important, but vital to your future success.
Are you being challenged?
Take a hard look at where you are getting your inputs from. Make sure that they are still relevant and that they will challenge you to play to your potential. The goals you set for the business, and for yourself will affect the tempo and direction of the business. Becoming the leader your company deserves involves many moving parts. It’s not easy! Many of the business owners I speak with count on the insight derived from their own experience, their leadership team, and outside professionals. They may also be part of a business group in their community, an industry-specific peer group, or participate in programs such as the Graphic Arts CEO Forum. Whatever direction you chose, make sure that it’s working to provide you with the tools necessary to thrive.
Take a hard look at how you lead and manage and get the elements into the right balance. Ask for feedback from your direct reports or members of your peer group or advisory team. It’s not easy being at the top, so you should utilize all the resources you can to help make you the leader that your company deserves. Good luck with this and remember, doing nothing is not an option!
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in Printing Impressions.