This question is more than an article title. It is the theme for this year’s series. To accomplish everything you would like to do, you must be sure of your strategy; you must ensure that your team understands and lives your strategy; you must find a way to manage your continuing evolution.
The title is the question that you must ask yourself every day if you are serious about improving your company. Every day that you don’t remember to ask yourself this, you will quickly be swamped under the usual flood of demands on your time. The urgent items will push the important ones aside, then the phone will ring or your emails will demand attention. Even when your staff is large enough to accept some of these tasks, you will still find your day full of requests.
Many of your colleagues and contemporaries will arrive at work early and faithfully keep the door closed for half an hour to give them time to think. You can do that also if you have the extra morning time. Or, if you are really well-disciplined, you can stay home and use the extra half hour there. Either way you get some much-needed reflective time.
But be careful now. Don’t fall into the trap of day-dreaming or even day planning. You need this time for your most important job as owner or general manager or division manager: planning for the continued survival and growth of your organization. Your task now is to be able to clearly articulate your strategic goals and determine if the people in your organization are aligned with the goals: you determine the corporate DNA of this living, breathing organism. As you continue the steps to confirm the current stage of your organization’s evolution, you will begin to observe anomalies, differences between affirmed goals and strategies and those that are practiced every day by those around you.
How do you manage your firm through the changes that will come? What can you do to keep everyone on track?
First, take stock of your company’s current culture as demonstrated by people in action while you keep evolving your plan. Since culture is most easily described as “the way we do things around here,” take the time to ride the trucks, walk the warehouse, and speak to those on the production lines. And be sure to take as much time with the people in the back office as with those in the front office. Think about their responses to your questions: how are things going, what changes have you seen already, what are your perceptions and expectations?
Assure them that things are proceeding to plan, that you will personally keep them informed about all coming changes, and your sincere hope that they will participate.
Next, you will need to reaffirm your mission and strategies and then follow that with a specific and formal alignment of your strategies to your goals.