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It’s the time of year when many of us have (almost) finished our planning for the year ahead and are getting ready to communicate our plans to our team.

However, before you do, I would suggest there are 6 important questions you should ask yourself as the answers might well mean making some changes to your final strategy plans.

  1. Are you leading your company or running it?

The difference here can be profound. Those who are simply running a company are so enmeshed in the day-to-day issues they have no time to lead, to strategise or to develop their teams. It’s simply jumping from one urgent thing to the next, often ignoring the important issues.

If you’re running the business, it owns you, rather than you owning it. Can you turn your phone off when on holiday?

  1. Do you spend more time fighting fires or preventing them?

This is related to the previous issue – firefighters generally are those running their businesses, while the business leaders are spending much more time preventing them.

For example, if your top sales person resigns, do you have a list of potential candidates to hand and a process you follow to ensure you get a great replacement, or do you pick up the ‘phone and start calling recruiters to get you candidates?

Are you a firefighter or a fire prevention officer in your business?

  1. Think about your team – do you have more participants or contributors?

Contributors are those who actively seek for ways to add value to the company, the people you can rely on to get things done even when times are tough. Participants, on the other hand, are normally those who simply arrive at work, perform their tasks, and leave.

Remember that HBR survey I wrote about in June which found that just 15% of employees work at their full potential? Participants really are not!

Businesses where contributors dominate are those with great company culture – it really does matter, boosting revenue, profitability and business value significantly.

  1. How many problems in the business have not yet been fixed?

A key factor with successful businesses is that when problems arise, solutions are put in place quickly. This is generally down to well-defined decision-making processes, devolved to the lowest level practical, and a culture of action.

One of the biggest fears of many leaders is that of making a wrong decision, and this typically leads to “analysis paralysis.” Moving forward is essential – you can always adjust direction if necessary.

  1. Do you have a well-documented set of systems and procedures?

Something that’s often overlooked – not just in new companies, but even some larger ones too, is the need for systems, processes and procedures to be well documented, and those documents kept up to date.

By having these in place you are assured of smooth transitions when somebody does leave, you’re better able to decentralise decision-making and so speed things up while reducing your own burden, and – of course – you can spend more of your own time working ON your business rather than in it.

And, if that’s not enough, you can rely on not being disturbed when you are taking some R+R time out! See Temptation #6 here

  1. Do you have a functional, effective board with regular meetings?

This is at least as important for small businesses as large ones – those with proper boards and governance exhibit significantly faster growth, better profitability, lower costs and valuations up to 40% higher than the norm.

Remember, too, that the board is responsible for the business of the company, and owns, in effect, the strategy. If you don’t have an effective board, how good is your strategy and are you putting your own assets at risk, too?

Bonus question – Put yourself at the end of next year and ask yourself, “What would have made the past year truly memorable?

Imagine yourself at the end of next year, with your goals achieved. What were the highlights of the year? This will help you understand what’s needed to achieve them. Looking back to look ahead can really be valuable.


Think about these 6 important questions, and your answers. Do your current plans for next year ensure you:

  • Are able to lead your company?
  • Prevent fires, rather than just fighting them as they arise?
  • Have a contributor-rich team?
  • Respond quickly when problems do arise?
  • Have a complete, up-to-date procedures manual?
  • Have effective, regular board meetings with a well-defined board calendar?
  • Have a clear idea of what will have made 2022 memorable when you look back at the end of it?

If they do, you’re well placed for great success.

If not, there’s still time to adjust your plans to set the business on the road to the success you deserve.


#BusinessFitness #2022 #Board #Business #CEO #Coaching #Excellence #NewYear #SmallBusiness #Strategy #Success #Teams #Winners


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