(As published in the Sunday Star Times, December 20, 2015)
By Zac de Silva
Christmas is fast approaching – you are hopefully knocking off work or your business pretty soon, if not already. Think back on the year that has been and your performance around what you are accountable for… Give yourself a score out of 10 – be realistic rather than generous or harsh in your score. I wonder what you will score yourself? Think on this now…
Ok, now you have scored your past year’s performance, why don’t you think about the score you would like to give yourself in a year’s time if you were looking back from the future. No doubt you will be aiming for higher than you have scored for 2014. Henry Ford said, “Do what you have always done and you’ll get what you have always got”. So what are you going to do differently to get a better 2015 score?
I thought it would be apt to summarise the greatest hits of business lessons I have written about in 2014. They’re all things I find my most successful business coaching clients do well. You can hopefully take them as reminders of things that might be applicable to your performance and your business so you can be different in 2015 and get even nearer to a 10 out of 10 score – good luck!
Lesson One: If you have to do something, do it about 2% better than expectation, as in, go the extra mile – both as a business selling to a customer and as an employee delivering internal service. When you stand out, the word of mouth will be a huge positive impactor on your business (or your career). Everybody needs raving fans.
Lesson Two: You need to take your productivity and focus to another level to be the greatest. This means delegating more (what can you stop doing and delegate?) and also being even better at prioritizing. To-do lists are good in theory but if you do not have your focus points prioritized, then you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. Remember do not just do the easy things and leave the hard things – often it’s the hard things that will make the biggest difference.
Lesson Three: 99% of the time, there is no magic that suddenly makes you wildly successful. Success comes from constantly reviewing what you are doing and how you can do it better. This means being brave and innovative. Of course make sure that whatever you do will make it better for the customer too.
Lesson Four: Studies have shown that about half of people leave their jobs as they do not like their boss. So if you are a “boss” you need to be constantly improving as a leader and manager. There will be a hundred things you could do but some of the best include improving teamwork, giving your team (and business) goals, truly walking the talk, holding people accountable to deliver and making sure that internal communication is great. Sound easy? We can give you a hand to get there, if you need it. It’s worth doing – if you are a good boss, your company has way more chance of succeeding.
Lesson Five: Do you look and act like the best? I know it sounds superficial but it is the truth – people want to deal with successful people and businesses (of course subject to price). Are you looking the part in all ways that your business and employees communicate to your customers and potential customers? Hopefully your website is the best around as that is the first port of call for almost everybody these days when they are making a buying decision.
Lesson Six: Truly know what you are really good at in the eyes of your customer (it might be different to what you think) and then make the most of this. Learn how to communicate this so it makes you even more trustworthy and stand out from the crowd of competitors even more. Remember your points of difference are not hygiene factors, they are the things that you do that are world class and set you apart from others.
I wish you all a great holiday period and look forward to sharing more thoughts with you in 2015.
Zac de Silva owns www.businesschanging.com and is a business coach, director and speaker. He was just awarded International Business Coach of the Year 2014.