(As published on Stuff on January 24, 2022)
You can read the article HERE
Here we go — a new year, with new challenges? Will 2022 be more of the same as 2021? You’d have to assume so. As they say, “information is power” so knowing we are in for more of the same, what do you need to change up to get through 2022 in top shape, both business-wise and personally?
My biggest learning from last year is that you need to look after yourself even better than you did pre Covid. Many of us think we are invincible and grind out the hours — to the detriment of our health, family and overall wellbeing. Given 2022 will be like 2021, the number one thing I will be doing better is ensuring I get real downtime to switch off from the 24/7 grind of business. How good are you at truly switching off and getting enough downtime to not feel stressed? No checking your emails, your phone, thinking about the business… It also means looking after your health so for me that means there’ll be no more 5-course desserts, a lot more consistent daily walking and making my PT Matt super proud, as well as getting to enjoy more work-free weekends (challenging when you have workaholic tendencies and love what you do but I’m up for the challenge!). Our recent trip to Hokitika reminded me of how beautiful NZ is so I’m keen to see more of it this year (lockdowns permitting!)
Beyond my #1 learning around wellness, I thought I’d share the greatest hits of what I learnt from my clients this year. We have many very successful Business Changing clients and are lucky to learn from them (thanks all!).
Ultimately your success will come down to all the mini habits and behaviours you live, day in, day out. I’d say the majority of human beings are weak in the face of temptation which means they never get to the heights they could and should. I believe it is our duty to help our team to become better: better in their job and better in life beyond work. Help them to aspire to even greater heights. True story: my most successful clients have teams filled with motivated people — it really makes a difference. This is not the norm though — most new clients we work with have some issues around how motivated and engaged their team are. There are so many ways to improve the motivation and abilities of your people, starting with a yearly plan to excite and inspire them. Next week on Monday (January 24th) we are running a 3-hour personal development workshop online. We are very excited about what we’ll be sharing and the learnings and plan that attendees will walk away with. It is for everybody: employees, managers, and business owners. So if you want to help your people have a great 2022 (which means you increase the chances of your business having a great 2022), consider enrolling them HERE. We have some clients who have enrolled their entire team (smart!). Remember: you are only as good as your team so how can you help your team improve? Answer: this workshop.
Business success starts with leadership. It’s amazing how many businesspeople (meaning owners, managers, team leaders etc) are just not that flash at being a leader. They don’t lead by example. They aren’t brave. They can’t have the hard conversations. They are unsure of how to be the best leader and manager possible. In these days of the reduced talent pool and supposed ‘great resignation’, 50% of people who resign from their job do so because they do not like their boss – and I’d hazard a guess to say they don’t like their boss because their boss is an average to poor leader. Something we can all work on.
Stating the obvious here: you need a good (preferably great) culture for your business to really thrive. The simplest way to have a great culture is to have super strong, living, core values. The biggest way to bring core values to life is to agree the behaviours that feed into these values being alive. If you don’t have written core values (and/or behaviours) for your business, make it a priority. I see superior financial performance all the time with my clients who have a winning culture — the ROI is huge. Don’t be like the typical business who may have written core values but that is where they end. How can you make the core values in your business even more well-known and “lived” in 2022?
I was very aware of the need to be innovative (doh!) however this is an area I personally did a lot of formal learning in over 2021. The profit of companies who truly have innovation baked in is around 50% higher than a normal ‘good’ company. And remember: innovation is not all about new shiny things – it also includes improving existing things. What I learnt is that innovation is a process. If you apply the right innovation process, you are likely to come up with more ideas and give yourselves more of an opportunity to have game-changers, compared to having an ad hoc approach to innovation. Your culture is a huge determinant as to how innovative you will be. Note: an innovative company does not need to be ‘tech’; innovation can happen in even the most traditional industries.
While innovative companies are the most profitable, the second most profitable are those with a great customer experience. While we are all aware of the need for good customer service, we really don’t put enough time into how we can take our customer experience (CX) to the next level. Certainly your culture will be a huge driver of CX. We have some amazing companies as clients who we benchmark and rate as being top 2% to 4% of all companies for their CX and they all have common themes… It’d be interesting to know how your customer experience stacks up against the best!
Of course, you need a well defined, nimble business plan. Without a plan you will never get to the success level that was truly possible for your business. We wrote some interesting blogs around business planning just before Christmas and had good feedback on them. Check them out HERE. If you have not done our 2-day business planning and strategy workshop, you are missing a treat… How will you ensure that you have the best-defined business plan possible for your business in 2022? The clarity and accountability a decent business plan will bring is immeasurable.
My last key learning to share today is around efficiency and systems. So much time is wasted due to bad systems. So much potential is wasted due to bad systems. What systems in your business are letting you down? Where are you wasting too much time on average systems and fighting too many fires? We only have so much time — you’d possibly be shocked if you got a true breakdown of how much time you were putting into productive, value-adding things vs fixing and fighting fires and just being generally unproductive…
I apologise that there’s nothing here that’s revolutionary and ground-breaking but my overall learning from 2021 that I want to leave with you is that you don’t have to be revolutionary or ground-breaking to be successful in business and achieve your goals. Just tweaking and improving on the key points I’ve shared above will really make a difference to the performance of your business in 2022 and beyond. Do the important things and do them well!
We wish you a great year and look forward to being more prepared for another year of upheaval – make sure you do as well. And don’t forget to book your team member into that personal development workshop as it runs on Monday — book in HERE!
Zac and the Business Changing team