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Ken Keller: A 20-day plan to start your new year strong

Posted: December 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Leading up to Christmas, business owners and leaders are not in the mood for anything but the essentials.

Once Christmas passes, there is time to reflect and plan for the new year ahead.

Here is a simple plan to start your 2013 strong; by assigning you a thought-provoking lesson for each of the first 20 business days in January.

If you follow the formula, when the month is over, you be a better leader and have a better organization.

Day One: Make sure your organization has yardsticks to measure performance. Are you measuring the most important things or just what has always been measured?

Day Two: Make a list of your most capable people and make a list of your new opportunities, assign accordingly.

Day Three: Start today, and commit to spending 10 minutes each day to walking around the facility.

Day Four: Assign every employee to write a short work plan that includes their focus, desired results and deadline. Meet with each employee within 10 days to review it face to face.

Day Five: Decide if your organization is delivering the results it should be. If not, review and update the mission statement. If you don’t have one, write it.

Day Six: Ask “Am I a leader who treats my employees as my helpers?” List three ways profits would increase if every employee was encouraged to assume more responsibility.

Day Seven: What results are you being paid to achieve as the leader? List five tasks to eliminate or delegate.

Day Eight: When a decision or change is being made, allow 10 minutes to list everyone who needs to be informed. And another 10 minutes for all those impacted.

Day Nine: Ask every person in management to answer the question “What should my contribution be to the organization?” Give them a day to answer the question in writing.

Day 10: Talk to three customers. Ask them how they see your organization, what they think of it, what kind of company they believe it is and what they want from it. Use this feedback to fine-tune the mission statement from Day Five.

Day 11: Perform a management audit. Use the criteria of whether your managers have made good people decisions; whether they have had any innovative ideas; and, whether any of their goals were achieved on time.

Day 12: Ask yourself how your organization can benefit from e-commerce.

Day 13: Make a list of every employee. Next to each one, mark if these individuals are committed to getting results while on the payroll, or just going through the motions.

Day 14: Does your organization value learning? Ask your managers to make a list of every employee and the training that needs to take place.

Day 15: Make a list of the top 10 reasons why your organization is an attractive place to work.

Day 16: Ask every manager to answer two questions, “What do I get paid for?” and “What should I get paid for?”

Day 17: What are the 10 things your organization does superbly well?

Day 18: Review your organizational chart. Will it fulfill the needs of your company in the year ahead? What needs to change?

Day 19: Answer the question: Is the organization an inventor or an imitator?

Day 20: Create a key indicator report. on a single page, list opportunities, sales, revenues, profits and volume, both goals and track actual performance. Use this for management meetings and one-on-one meetings.

Have a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!

Ken Keller is CEO of STAR Business Consulting Inc., a company that works with small and midsize business owners to grow top line revenue. He can be reached at Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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