Inconsistency is among the most rampant problems in business today. And while I think a lot of us pay lip service to process, we’re not as good at applying it to our business practices.
This is how so many otherwise good plans go by the wayside. Countless organizations establish annual or quarterly goals, and many of those goals never approach fruition. Because if you want to meet a long-term goal, you need managers who can provide effective, regular attention to the end goal.
What I typically see happen when a team realizes it’s off track is that they’ll throw new, unrelated theories and practices at the problem that have no relation to the big picture goals. That's how you end up with things like crash sales, contradictory marketing campaigns, and drastic shifts in product pricing. Unfortunately, the end result is rarely more than an increase in meetings and unimportant reporting.
Believe me, I know; I’ve been guilty of this more than once.
Instead of acting, maybe the solution is to back-track and look at how things got off the mark. Were your management practices tied to the behaviors you needed to get where you were targeting? Did you fail to do the behaviors, or were you wrong about what they would accomplish? Perhaps you and your team never really changed what you were doing and instead just hoped it would work out better?
If you are doing the right things but it is not working out as quickly as you wanted, can you live with that? A good plan done in 14 months beats the wrong plan done in 12.
If you had the wrong goal from the outset, it’s time to readjust and aim for something more attainable. This time, try to make sure that your management is consistently working toward that new goal.
But whatever you do, don’t just settle for being on the wrong path but walking faster! Because inevitably, you’re going to start down a new, faster path, and then you’ll find a third path because the first two weren’t fast enough, and before you know it, you have no idea where you’re going. Make sure your primary plan is valuable and within reach, and you’ll find it much easier to stay consistent in your business.
As we all learn to adjust to living through a public health crisis, I see the question of remote work popping up more and more. How do you make sure people are still doing their jobs? How much monitoring is too much? And how do I keep morale up when we’re all distracted by the coronavirus?
A lot of people treat these as new problems, but at their core, these are all hiring issues. Not sure how to make sure your employees are actually working? Well, if you hired people who are good at what they do and have proven themselves to be trustworthy, then this isn’t a major concern. I’m a firm believer in hiring the right people then getting out of their way, and I don’t see that working from home has changed much in that regard.
But how can you be sure that they’re actually working? I like to live by the adage: Trust, but verify. You should give your team the space to do their usual work, but as a leader, you also need to do your usual work of checking up on projects. However often you were checking work at the brick and mortar office is exactly how often you should check work done remotely. No more, no less.
I know that there’s a lot of concern that people will get distracted by daily life while working from home. And honestly, maybe that will happen. But we all know that office chit-chat happens too, and a large portion of the work we do in offices isn’t essential to the important stuff. So maybe your employees might load the dishwasher or chat with a family member for a few minutes while “on the clock.”
Small interruptions won’t derail your work, but micromanaging can drain your team of morale very quickly. My advice? Keep to business as usual, let your team enjoy working from home, and you’ll find that their spirits and productivity are staying up even as we all navigate life with COVID-19.