It’s a new year, which means we get to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. But where do you start when so much needs to be done? Here are my top five picks on how to boost profitability in 2010.
Pick one idea and move forward
If you are like most executives, there are at least 20 ideas on your 2010 ”to-do” list. Picking the perfect place to begin can take weeks or in some cases months. That’s just time wasted. Pick one idea from your list and move forward. Don’t second guess yourself for even a minute or you will be right back where you started.
Put the majority of your resources behind this idea so that you move one thing forward a mile, rather than move ten things a quarter of an inch. At first you may feel uncomfortable abandoning everything else on your list. This discomfort will dissipate as you see how quickly you are able to achieve results by remaining focused on the task at hand.
Drop the dead weight
I’m not talking about the few pounds you might have put on during the holiday season. I’m talking about your non-performers whom you’ve been hanging onto because you didn’t want to fire them at Christmas time. Then, of course, you didn’t want to let them go for a myriad of other reasons throughout the year.
This is the year to be lean and trim. Excess weight slows down the organization and in some cases can be the death of companies. Don’t let this happen to you. Identify the people or positions that must be shed and then make it happen. You will be surprised at how easily you can outrun the competition now that you are in shape.
One of the most common complaints that employee surveys keep bringing to light is the lack of communication between employers and their employees. Employees want to do a good job for their employers, yet they feel like they are operating without a roadmap. They no longer know which direction the company is headed, and are having a difficult time figuring it out on their own.
The price to increase communication has dropped substantially over the years. You no longer need to hire a PR firm to craft messages, nor are company intranets only reserved for Fortune 500 companies. Companies of all sizes are using technology to get their messages out to their employees. Some are using webcasts or weekly teleconferences. Others are using a company blog on their intranet that allows executives to immediately post messages to ensure employees stay connected. Finally, do not discount the importance of face-to-face meetings, which are affordable for organizations of all sizes.
Connect with a trusted resource
It is no secret that 2009 was a tough year for most, and it looks like 2010 will be starting off the same way. As you probably have figured out by now, it can be very stressful trying to work through challenging times without a trusted resource or a peer group with whom you can share your thoughts and ideas. Why go it alone when resources are available?
Find a CEO group, an executive group, or whatever group will have like-minded people in attendance. Ask a trusted colleague for a referral to an executive coach or a mentor. Just do something so that you have access to a trusted resource to help push your thinking to a whole new level.
Be the leader everyone wants to follow
How liberating it must be to be a company like Google or Apple. You are so far ahead of the competition that you don’t even have to look in your rearview mirror before changing lanes. Few companies ever reach this position because they are so busy trying to catch up with the competition. These companies move slowly, analyze everything to death, and kill innovation before it even has a chance to germinate into something big.
Imagine what your organization could accomplish if you charged ahead with little regard for others in your industry, took calculated risks, encouraged innovation, and rewarded employees who joined you on this ride. You might create a product others have only dreamed about or build a brand as strong as Coke. You could accomplish some amazing things, which sounds a lot more exciting than breathing the exhaust fumes from your competitors as they zip by you.
A new year is a gift. We have a chance to begin again and to do things differently. How will you proceed? Here’s to a great 2010!
© 2009 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (www.yourhrexperts.com) and has been helping companies align their people assets with their business goals. She is considered an expert in generational workforce issues. Roberta publishes a monthly newsletter “HR Matters” http://www.yourhrexperts.com/hrjoin.cgi which is jammed with resources, articles, and tips to help companies navigate through sticky and complicated HR workforce and leadership issues. Roberta also has a blog on Generation Integration http://generationintegration.typepad.com/matuson/. She can be reached at 413-582-1840 or Roberta@yourhrexperts.com.