It’s that time of year again – where we talk about ten of the best new year’s resolutions for your business to capitalize on potential missed opportunities from the past year, as well as new ways of operating to make the coming year more successful. Small changes in your organisation’s approach to doing business and internal processes to help train staff and keep them engaged can have a profound impact on how your organisation navigates the coming year… and that’s what we’ll be tackling today.
While 2020 was no doubt the most challenging year that businesses both small and large have faced in modern times, it is also a year that has presented a number of opportunities to learn new ways of operating, the potential for experimentation and innovation in your products and services, as well somewhat forcing organisations to become more agile as a whole. While it was a somewhat disastrous year for a huge number of businesses and individuals alike, 2020 was also a year that proved that complacency is dangerous, and often fatal for organisations that aren’t willing to do the work and implement something reminiscent of a new year’s resolution for its operations.
So, with that, let’s talk about ten of the best new year’s resolutions for your business to help steer you into 2021 with the confidence, direction and strategic-underpinning that businesses, stakeholders and customer confidence demand in the modern era.
Commit to Creating a Learning Culture
One of the best ways for your organisation to grow as a whole is to invest in a coaching and learning culture that encourages every member of your team to invest in their professional and even personal development. As you’re no doubt aware, employee burnout is a powerful force that acts to undermine the results of the organisation, particularly in the latter stages of a year. We’ve covered how to tackle employee burnout in a previous post, which you can read here. In essence, if your organisation commits to creating a learning culture in its operations, and allows its employees to take time from their daily duties and watch a webinar, partake in an online course, or any activity that helps to build parallel competencies- the results for your business can be staggering.
Not only will your employees have more skills as their disposal to leverage in their position within your organisation, they’re likely to be more productive for longer periods of time. They’re also likely to stick with your organisation for a longer period of time, due to the recognition that the executive team is willing to invest time and resources into their professional development.
There’s no losers in this equation, so as you move into 2021, think about how you can create a learning or coaching culture in your organisation.
Schedule Catch-Ups, Not Long Meetings
“This meeting could have been an email,” is something we’re sure you’ve heard before. Hour-long meetings that contain little substance are increasingly redundant, and you should think more about scheduling short employee catch-ups, rather than long, tedious meetings. This is due to the fact that meetings are a listening exercise, while catch-ups are an up-close and personal learning exercise that can extract the same, if not more meaning from a ten-minute conversation than an hour-long meeting.
Meetings, particularly in the context of strategic planning sessions for the management team are no doubt essential- but this doesn’t necessarily extend to every member of your team. So, as you move into the new year, consider how you can leverage short, punchy and informative catch-ups to ensure team alignment, and hopefully you’ll see the benefits of increased productivity once you’ve gotten rid of long, tedious meetings.
Let Your Customers Know You Appreciate Them
Now is the time of year that you should be acknowledging your most important stakeholders: your customers. You simply wouldn’t exist without them, so why not let them know that? You can show this appreciation either with a kind-hearted email to your database explaining the year that was 2020, and how 2021 is shaping up for your organisation, or you can take a more tangible approach. You could deploy special customer-only offers and specials, or ways to incentivise positive online reviews or referrals from your existing customers.
Too often businesses take their customers for granted, so as you move into 2021, let them know just how much you appreciate them choosing your organisation over your competitors.
Capitalise on your Ultradian Rhythm
Without structure, it’s impossible to maintain high performance and an exceptional quality of work over a long period of time. An organisation working without structure will become disorganised and less productive than its competitors, and the same applies to the human body. One of the most impactful new year’s resolutions you and your staff members can make is to understand and capitalise on your ultradian rhythm, which will help you become both more organised and productive in 2021.
While it might have a technical name, the concept is remarkably simple. Your ultradian rhythm works in a similar way to your circadian rhythm, which dictates your sleep patterns; it’s just the reverse, as it dictates your productivity patterns. As we work throughout the day, we enter peaks of productivity and troughs of sluggishness that impacts our productivity. If you can begin to schedule your day around these rhythms, you can, infact, get more productivity out of your day even though you’re leveraging the same eight-hour work day as before. Now, however, those hours are scheduled appropriately, and will allow you to channel your energy into projects that demand your attention, while conducting less intensive activities when your body has entered one of those troughs.
Get on Top of Your Cyber Security Risks
This is something that, unfortunately, a large number of organisations won’t realise the importance of until it’s too late. As we move into 2021, online scammers and hackers are increasingly turning their criminal activities toward small and medium sized organisations. This is because they know that these organisations represent an ‘easy target,’ to capitalise on. No matter how small or humble your operations are, your organisation holds extremely valuable data, and you have an obligation to keep that data safe.
With an Information Security Management System like ISO 27001, you’re able to work with an internationally-recognised framework that addresses your potential cyber risks, and areas to innovate and improve upon as you move into the future. While this might not be a huge trend right now, it’s only a matter of time before customers will gravitate only toward organisations that take cyber security risks seriously; the risks are simply too high otherwise.
Learn Something New
This new year’s resolution is something that won’t be a surprise to anyone, but, learning new skills and furthering both your personal and professional development is essential to your mental health and your attractiveness as a candidate in your current and potential future positions. There’s a number of benefits in this regard: if you’re burnt out at work, learning a new skill or hobby will help your brain cope with work-related stresses and presents you with an opportunity to unwind. It’s also essential to further our professional development with new skills and modern tactics to ensure we’re meeting international best practices of conducting business.
Whatever the reason or motivation, learning something new over the holiday break and into 2021 is essential to maintaining your productivity, professional development and consolidating your mental strength into the future.
Give Back To Your Local Community
As we mentioned earlier, your organisation owes a lot to its customers, and this extends to the local community in which you operate, too. It’s likely that word of mouth referrals within the local community have helped your organisation secure more customers, or at the very least, improved your reputation in the market as a reliable trustworthy vendor that offers a high level of quality in its products and services. With that in mind, giving back to the local community is one of the most inspiring ways to show your appreciation, and it doesn’t necessarily require a huge amount of resources, either. You could volunteer your time, or ask your team to volunteer some of their time in exchange for a day off work to help with local projects or initiatives that support the less fortunate. You could support a local charity or sporting team, you could donate some of your organisation’s supplies or electronics to those in need, or you could make a monetary donation. Whatever it is, just make sure you’re making some effort to channel your resources into something worthwhile in your local community
Yes, this is an opportunity that you can use in your marketing in the future, but it’s also a selfless opportunity for your organisation to show thanks to one of its most important stakeholders.
Set B.H.A.G. Goals
Now, strategically, your organisation needs to think about some B.H.A.G – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals – for 2021. These shouldn’t be pie in the sky ideas- they should be based in some reality, but they should also be challenging enough that you really need to work at them. Look at your dashboard of statistics, and take note of a number… it could be any number, and think about what you think you can push this number to at the same point next year.
Setting big, hairy, audacious goals will help drive your team to go the extra mile and strive for more success in the new year, and very few successful organisations operate without them. Get in contact with Next Practice to find out how our coaching can help you set and achieve your big, hairy, audacious goals.
Understand the Five Levels of Market Sophistication
This is something that we’ve covered in a previous blog post which you can access here, but essentially what you’re trying to learn is where your organisation sits within the levels of market sophistication, and this informs how you market your products or services. Effectively marketing your products and services can be difficult if your strategies aren’t grounded in something like the principles of market sophistication. You’ll miss out on the chance of communicating specific messages to specific audiences without having understood them.
Learn About Quality Management Systems like ISO 9001
A recurring theme throughout this article has been customer satisfaction. One of the best ways to ensure customer satisfaction in your products or services is with an ISO 9001 Quality Management System. With ISO 9001, you’re given the framework to improve the quality of your products or services, while identifying areas of potential risk and even potentially discovering new areas in which you can capitalise on.
Running a business in the modern area is high paced, stressful and difficult- there’s a lot of moving parts to take into account. While you’re juggling all of these responsibilities, often the quality of your products, services or customer assistance can slip… and this is exactly what ISO 9001 steps into the equation to tackle.
To wrap up, remember that if you take care of your customers, they’ll take care of your organisation.
Thank you for your continued support of Best Practice, the team and I appreciate it more than you can realise; I’ll see you in the New Year!
Kobi Simmat, Director & CEO of the Best Practice Group.