As mentioned in Part 1, there are several things I'd do differently if I had a chance to revisit some decisions I made 10 years ago. I’m sharing these missteps and lessons here in the hopes that my hard-won knowledge can help you find a shorter path to success.
#3 - Failing to Examine Processes for Gaps and Legacy Thinking
Your team depends on your ability to step back and see the whole picture, examining which parts of your business aren’t as functional as they can be. I look back at my first years of ownership and recall multiple encounters with a process that we had carried out multiple times with poor or inconsistent results. However, everyone involved in that process felt like they had little power to change anything, “because this is how it’s always been.”
If I could go back to 2009, I would tell myself to encourage regular discussions about process review and assign responsibility for key process outcomes to specific people.
Lesson Learned: When a process has a written standard, and a person accountable for the results of that process, everyone in the company will have a way to engage with that process and improve it. If the process still fails to produce the results your business needs, you can direct your corrective actions to the clear owner of that process.
#4 - Underestimating the Power of A Regular Business Meeting
I can remember so many terrific, focused business meetings in my first few years as an owner. But what I cannot recall is why I let them be singular events and didn’t even try to regularly schedule meetings with a key group of people who could help work alongside me to collaboratively identify issues and work to solve them. It took me far too many years to set up a regular cadence of meetings focused solely on improving overall business function.
Lesson Learned: All businesses need focused time and a team to work on improving outcomes for the business and the customers they serve. These meetings are when some of the most durable, important work is accomplished to ensure the long-term viability of the company. Make sure you capture actionable tasks in these meetings and see to it that the tasks are consistently completed within 1 week of the meeting discussion.
Everyone has their own unique challenges and struggles, both personally and professionally. And all leaders come into their position with gaps that only experience can fill. I do hope these key insights above, each of which I only just barely touched on here, spark some thinking for someone out there who is struggling and unhappy with how their business is working for them. If you would like to chat with me and unpack further any of the lessons above, please reach out to me directly via LinkedIn.