As we approach a new financial year in Australia, now is a great time to ensure that your business has clarity on what the key priorities are for the year ahead. This means that your team members understand exactly what they are doing and that there is certainty on who is going to do what. Doing this will mean that your business is “AAA” rated because it will have a clear Action plan which the team is Aligned with and that people are Accountable for. The other benefit it will give you is a clear link between your long term strategy and goals and the day-to-day reality of your business which is a constant dilemma because of the ever present tension between future vision and today’s issues. Giving your team a clear benchmark for what success looks like in the year ahead helps them understand and know what they are responsible for. In turn, this will drive engagement and results in your business as it enables them to appreciate their part in the bigger picture.
A is for Action Plan
At its core, strategy is the art of choosing what not to do. This is why the first step in becoming AAA rated is being clear on exactly what priorities you and your team will focus on, to make a real difference to your business in the year ahead. When I talk about priorities, I mean exactly that. What are the 5 Big Things that, if you achieved in the next year, would make a fundamental improvement to your business today? From improvements in quality, safety or customer service, to the perfect execution on a big capital project, innovation or winning a new piece of business, there will be a multitude of choices. You need to choose wisely and be prepared to explain why.
A is for Alignment
You need to ensure your team understands your priorities and why these priorities are important to your business. This is so that they understand the benefits they will bring and how they can contribute, which is the next step in being AAA rated. Alignment at its very heart is about tapping into that essential human desire to be part of something bigger, and understanding what part you can play. Taking time as a leader to ensure that everyone in your business knows what you are focused on, why you are focused on it and what they can do as individuals to contribute will drive engagement levels in your business. It will also encourage above and beyond the day job behaviour that highly motivated employees deliver. Sustaining these efforts over the longer term will depend on ensuring people are recognized for doing what they said they would, and that they get coaching and support when they need the extra help. This requires you to track their progress, and communicate to them their accountability.
A is for Accountability
What gets measured, gets done. This is an undeniable reality of business, which is why accountability is the third pillar of being AAA rated. Knowing who is responsible for what, whether they are on track and, if not, what coaching and support they need is where you bring a real sense of urgency as a leader. Whether you measure progress weekly, or use a 30/60/90 day process, ensuring people are doing what they said they would do at the standard that is required and in the time they committed to, is a prerequisite to success. It is imperative you have a measurement system in place, track results relentlessly, support as required and then continuously communicate progress. This includes recognising success across the wider organisation to make the most of the AAA process. It doesn’t matter whether you run a small or a large business, a manufacturing site or a sales team, making the effort to ensure it is AAA rated for the year ahead will mean you are focused, your team fully engaged and the business is better placed to deliver the desired outcomes.