As a small to mid-size company or a division of a mega corporation, does it make sense for January to become the month for accountability by re-establishing targets, objectives and goals for every employee in your company starting with yourself?

It’s a new year, and with expenses, Obamacare, employees wanting raises, promotions, 401 contributions, open employee reqs, rent, new equipment and fuel costs on the rise how do you cope? Consider the first day back as a way to welcome in the new year. Have  each of your direct reports on down to the newest employee write down their top 3 measurable tasks or objectives for January. Imagine having everyone in your organization on the same page, with the same thought process creating a team-building culture that if you stay with it, will be sustainable throughout the year and hard for your competition to beat.

Quick hits for a fresh start

What are the company benefits of a “fast start” initiative for 2014? Increase sales, redefine key objectives, personnel effectiveness and efficiency increases, increase profitability by reducing redundancy, overtime and turnover. Use those yellow sticky squares and have everyone in their own handwriting create and PRINT their own and fill a wall or walls in the break room with everyone’s thoughts. You could have bold BIG POST ITs with each key department i.e.; Accounting, Manufacturing Operations, Production, Sales, Transportation, etc. and place employee smaller post-its under each in a funky special, individual way to create excitement, or a little friendly department competition.

Your management or leadership team could see what the do’ers are doing and where effort is being spent and directed. In the months to come, Personal Improvement Plans or PIPs can easily come from this “Fast Start” initiative. What a fun way to start the year and use this team building exercise to establish a year-long accountability & productivity theme.

The use of measurable key performance indicators in chart and graph format on the employee bulletin board, break room wall or sales department creates a transparent and internal culture that we are all in this together. Your Core Values should be visible through out your office provided you are walking the walk.

My last thought as we bring in the new year is the importance of one-to-one monthly accountability sessions with your direct reports. It’s one of the most important times you will have with those that own operations, sales, marketing, HR, production, manufacturing and business development. Create a one-page form or template that your direct reports fill out and bring 2 copies into the 1-2-1:

  • A report out of what has happened in the past 30 days – score carding department and people performance
  • What is expected to happen in the next 30 days – the good, the bad and the ugly – discussion and step needed to be taken
  • Do you accept surprises?
  • What’s working and what isn’t and what is needed to be on or over plan
  • conversation around the next 90 days, a rolling “look around the corner”
  • Personnel review – right people right seat discussion – who’s a 2 or 3 out of 5 and is your direct report having a CA (corrective action) discussion which is an exit strategy or a PIP (personal improvement plan) discussion because this employee has attitude, talent and skills you need
  • Personal discussion – is your direct report having fun, what does he or she do well and what do each of you see that needs attention or fixing
  • A 1-2-1 is your authentic praise time as well as your time to coach, council and create conviction
  • 1-2-1 are also a good time for you to ask, what can I do more of or less of to be a better leader and role model

As an owner, president or CEO, your sustainable revenue and profitability comes from leveraging those that work for you. Are you maximizing your ability to create the greatest leverage possible?

Have a joyful New Year and let’s hit the ground running on January 6, 2014.

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