A CEO Gut Check

5 Simple Ways to Guarantee Improved Profit in 2013 – A CEO Gut Check
Date : January 2013
Category : Management and Strategy
By : Joe Zente, TAB Austin

Two-thirds of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year. Approximately 5 percent of those who make resolutions actually keep them. In other words…19 out of 20 fail!

Independent of whether or not you make resolutions, most results-oriented people do set goals and view December as a time of renewal and optimism. Business owners plan to achieve new growth and profit targets. Salespeople set their sights on exceeding their quotas.

This year is going to be different. We are REALLY going to achieve our KPIs THIS year.”

This year, we are going to stay focused and blow away our numbers.”

Sound familiar? Unfortunately for many CEOs, it isn’t long before reality sets in. By springtime, many businesses have already fallen behind their plan and are strategizing about ways to close the execution gap. Also, many salespeople and sales managers are formulating creative excuses for mediocre performance and forecasts.

The fact that 95 percent of resolutions are consistently broken, and that most businesses consistently fall short of their goals, all stem from the same set of fundamentals. The following five tips will improve your chances of achieving your 2013 goals, be that a more profitable business or a personal resolution.

Change your internal dialogue: All transformation begins with self-talk. The conversation that you have with yourself is more important than the conversations that you will have with your team. Self-talk dictates one’s beliefs, behavior, communication and effectiveness. Organizational transformation begins with highly committed, future-based, assertive dialogue from the leader. Make a declaration and unconditionally commit. Declare to yourself (and to your team) that you have decided and committed to transform your business and to exceed your (crystal clear) goal. Failure is not an option. Make it clear that you are “all in.” Write it down, make it big and bright to everyone. Then expect to succeed.

Create a compelling WHY: Human beings behave the way they are currently behaving because they CHOOSE to do so. However, the same humans can achieve practically miraculous feats if they have a compelling reason to do so. The problem is that most people hate to leave their comfort zone. They will not leave their happy place unless they have a highly compelling reason to leave it. In most cases, financial incentives (especially small or moderate ones) are not compelling. Neither is hoping that an employee will change and leave their comfort zone. Create a compelling reason for the change you want to see; then make sure everyone understands it and can relate to it from their viewpoint.

Eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary: Prohibit its use throughout your company. “Trying” is less than all in. In fact, trying is a built-in excuse and will almost guarantee failure. It provides unbridled permission for an employee to return to their comfort zone. Given this permission, they will be back there in a heartbeat. Say goodbye to accountability.

Remove the past from the future: I often ask business owners what they want. They often answer by telling me what they are currently doing or have done in the past. The past does not equal the future, but human beings have a self-limiting tendency to superimpose last year on next year. This tendency destroys creativity, productivity, innovation, effectiveness and profit. You can certainly learn from the mistakes and successes of the past, but make sure to plan the future on a blank slate.

Don’t fly solo and don’t re-invent the wheel: Help is everywhere. Mentors, business coaches, profit-partners and experts are abundant. Whatever your challenges or goals, there are many highly successful people who would love to help. Set a personal goal (with a deadline) to create a success team. Choose carefully. Find people who have been there, who walk their talk, and who have achieved a great deal of success. An accountability partner and business owner peer group (such as TAB) can help immensely. Investing in yourself and your leadership development in this way will have a huge impact on your organization, your growth, your business valuation and your profit.
By following these simple steps, the journey can be as rewarding as your destination, and you will succeed at meeting some, or even all, of your goals.


6 Ways To Recharge Your Business

While the New Year is already underway, most of us painters are entering the heart of our slow period. What better time to take a step back and recharge your business before the start of spring and the onslaught of work. But don’t take my word for it…

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

For the entrepreneur, this time of year typically means a mad dash to wrap-up remaining projects, close deals, and squeeze in time for family and friends. As the days get shorter, it starts to feel like time accelerates faster than ever — leaving you less and less time to accomplish your year-end goals.

However, amidst the holiday chaos, it is possible to stay grounded and set the foundation for a successful year to come. Here are six ways to help you recharge your business in the New Year.

1. Get your priorities in line: Time management is a year-round challenge for business owners, but schedules get even tighter during the holidays. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know your priorities. Set a stopwatch for 20 minutes and write down everything that needs to get done. Then, give yourself another 10 minutes to assess which of those tasks are the most important to yourself, your business and your family. Keep that list in mind as you start each day — and make sure all your activities are centered around those core priorities.

2. Ditch the New Year’s resolutions: A FranklinCovey survey found that 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions will break them. And a third never make it to the end of January. If you’re one of the many people who have left a string of resolutions behind, it’s time for a new approach.

Rather than creating your resolutions for 2013, use the end of the calendar year to reflect on your business and market. What were some of the best things that your business accomplished this year? What were some of the biggest mistakes? Don’t rush to begin planning the new year until you’ve celebrated your wins and acknowledged your mistakes.

3. Evaluate your year as a business leader: In addition to reflecting on your business, this is a good time to reflect on yourself. After all, as an entrepreneur, you don’t exactly get a yearly performance review. Being as objective as possible, write down your strongest characteristics as a leader — and your weakest. Then, think about how each of these characteristics impacted your business, team members and partners during the year. This type of objective self-assessment can help you pinpoint areas to improve in 2013.

4. Build important connections: As a good entrepreneur, you’re looking out for interesting opportunities around every corner. And the end of the year offers a bevy of parties and events. Make some time to take advantage of these networking events and meet new people. Sometimes a simple party is the key to a great new client, collaboration or partnership that will pay dividends in the new year.

5. Show the love: During this hectic time, it’s all too easy to become inwardly focused — where you’re thinking more about crossing things off your list than what (or who) really matters. Of course, holidays are the time for family and friends, but I’m also talking about the professional relationships that matter to you.

Think about the most important people you’ve worked with throughout the year — whether it’s a devoted assistant or a colleague who keeps introducing you to great contacts. Then, let them know just how much you appreciate them.

6. Unplug and recharge your batteries: No matter how busy your schedule gets, every entrepreneur should take some much-needed time away from the office and digital devices. Take advantage, since this is often the one time of year when people expect you won’t be working (unless, of course, you’re involved in some kind of seasonal business). Downtime is the only real way to hit the reset button, both personally and professionally. And it will open the door to fresh perspectives and new inspiration.