DreamCatcher (Conclusion)

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(Image licensed by Ingram Publishing)

Diana Vollmer |

Catch your dream yet?

SAN FRANCISCO — To uplift a company, owners, leaders and CEOs need time to think and dream.

They need time to visualize the company of the future and time to determine the steps needed to transform the current organization into that better, more profitable future version.

According to Wikipedia: “Leadership is a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.

“The Chief Executive Officer is the person who makes all the decisions regarding the upliftment of the company, which includes all sectors and fields of the business like operations, marketing, business development, finance, and human resources, etc.”

One of the biggest drains on this visualization and planning time is the day-to-day operation of the business.

What if managers managed themselves in a way that the business could self-manage, too? The time to actually perform the primary CEO duties could magically appear on the over-scheduled calendar.

Self-management is not as elusive as it may seem when you are battling the alligators snapping at your ankles with your left hand and putting out fires with your right.

TO THE CORE

Your vision for your company may be crystal clear in your mind.

For example, you may want your fabricare company to increase sales to $8 million in three years with profitability of 25%. Involving your team in sharing that vision and possibly improving upon it will be the focus for gaining their commitment and understanding that you are in business to make a profit and consistently improve upon the current status.

Clarity of guiding principles is more challenging than it appears on the surface since it is designed to underlie every aspect of a business by solidifying a set of jointly held beliefs and standards.

These core value statements “become the deeply ingrained principle and fabric that guide employee behavior and company decisions and actions — the behaviors the company and employees expect of themselves,” says Eric Jacobson, a former executive who writes about management and leadership.

Create these values by answering the following questions and condensing the answers into concise statements:

  • What does our company stand for?
  • What values do our employees hold?
  • What do we contribute to the world (products, services, values)?

For example, the online retailer Zappos famously holds these 10 core values: 1) Deliver wow through service, 2) embrace and drive change, 3) create fun and a little weirdness, 4) be adventurous, creative, and open-minded, 5) pursue growth and learning, 6) build open and honest relationships with communication, 7) build a positive team and family spirit, 8) do more with less, 9) be passionate and determined, and 10) be humble.

Wegmans Food Markets lists their Who We Are values as: Caring, high standards, making a difference, respect, and empowerment.

With these values in place, the team knows what is expected both internally and externally and is more likely to act accordingly.

ROAD MAP

With the future vision of the company and the guiding principles firmly in mind, the management team can move on to goal-setting for the long term.

This is the road map for achieving the company of the future that you envisioned together and the specific directions to move to goal completion: Long-term goals will direct the short-term goals, which direct the specific action plans and the time frames within which to accomplish them. Remember, numbers are measurable, feelings are not.

The next phase: Action teams are formed with leaders and members assigned specific tasks for which they will be held accountable on a defined timeline. The team leaders direct the members to develop step-by-step plans and hold them accountable so you only need to hold the team leader accountable.

Accountability is the key to an effective management system. There should be rewards for success and consequences for failure to perform the assigned responsibilities that contribute to the success of the whole company. Success takes coordinated effort.

Deadlines are essential to the efficient project management required to move many efforts forward simultaneously.

There are many simple manual systems for accomplishing smooth project management. More frequently, electronic versions (many with free versions) are used to keep everyone informed and integrated into their own project crew. If you don’t have a favorite, try One-Page Project Manager or a similar user-friendly option.

By having the entire management team meet regularly for mutual updates, they are held accountable to their responsibilities and deadlines, and learn from each other’s successes as well as the things that didn’t work so well. They also know if the projects are moving forward at the planned pace.

Comparing actual performance to desired goals allows you, as the CEO, to be informed about all the initiatives and assess if they are moving forward in a coordinated way. It also helps you manage by exception to shore up the weak links and develop both your strong and weaker managers to meet their maximum potential.

Perfect plans don’t exist, so most plans require revision along the way as planning meets reality and dynamic markets change. Be prepared to be flexible and adapt to unforeseen circumstance.

Creating a comprehensive management structure, a sound process and monitoring system and providing the tools to perform the responsibilities will give your staff team-building opportunities, and give you better managers, more effective employees, more time to be the CEO and, most importantly, will help your company prosper.

To Read Part One, click HERE.

About the author

Diana Vollmer

Methods for Management (MFM) Inc.

Managing Director

Diana Vollmer is managing director of Methods for Management (MFM) Inc., a consultancy specializing in drycleaning businesses. You may contact her at dvollmer@mfmi.com, 415-577-6544.

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