How to Improve a Low-Performing Business
3/9/2010In today’s current economy, low-performing businesses can’t afford to “wait out the storm” until circumstances recover. A slow economy and increased global competition leaves little room in the marketplace for low-performing businesses. Below are three keys from two of CIE’s leadership team on how to start transforming your low-performing business into something more engaging, dynamic and successful.
- Initiate clear internal communications
A leader’s first responsibility to their team is to clearly and openly communicate the state of the business—the good and the bad. Good leadership requires the ability to clearly communicate the performance of your business. “Here is how we are doing….We must do better than this.” Only when your employees understand what is at stake and the changes that they must commit to will they be able to rise to competitive performance levels. By communicating openly with your team you make them part of the solution. They become stakeholders in both the work at hand and the success of your shared endeavor.
- Inspire your employees with a clear vision
Teams need a vision that sets the stage for “what could be.” Once upon a time, in the infancy of the theme park industry, Walt Disney said to his workers: “We are in the happiness business—we make magic.” This is a perfect illustration of turning the goal at hand into an inspirational vision. Had he merely said, “Let’s put a few rides in that orange grove over there and charge people to ride them,” Disneyland may have never become a reality. This vision paved the way for every experience at a Disney park.
A leader must communicate the reality of where the business stands today, but also provide a picture of something greater than themselves—a vision for tomorrow. And how each person’s role fits into the equation. When your employees understand how their individual contributions elevate a greater vision, they are more likely to apply the fullness of their skills and expertise to improving business.
- Hold individuals accountable
For many, “accountability” is a dirty word. It often translates into placing blame on whatever (or whoever) isn’t working. Instead it should represent an opportunity for accepting responsibility and repercussions. According to Heather Stagl, founder of Enclaria, LLC, accountability is a promise to yourself and others to deliver specific, defined results with consequences. Instead of thinking about blame, accountability offers individuals the opportunity for empowerment, to demonstrate ability, and to achieve.
Accountability starts with determining what result is vital then determining who will be accountable for achieving it. Teams aren’t accountable – individuals are accountable. Leaders must be clear of the expectation and the rewards and repercussions associated with the results.
Measurable goals make it possible to recognize when and how performance improves. When it does, praise those who are accountable.When it doesn’t, ask : “Why isn’t this working?” “How can we make this better?” To improve the performance of your business, accountability is crucial. Individuals must be held accountable for results.
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