The start of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate where you’ve been, and what you want your business to look like going forward. Reflecting on four years of writing Monday Morning Wake-Ups, I offer you the following no-compromise resolutions for 2012.
- Stop tolerating the intolerable: Period. There’s funky stuff going on in your company that needs to go away – and it’s your job to get rid of it. The funky stuff has to do with behaviors, thinking, entitlements, double standards, cliques, missed opportunities, procrastination, missing or failing systems, inconsistent customer experiences, indifference and so on. You complain about it all the time, but you continue to tolerate it every day. Do you want to drag all that stuff into this beautiful new year? It’s time to go no compromise.
- Leave nothing unsaid: You’re wrapping up a performance review. You discussed a whole bunch of stuff and hit on some important issues. But there’s one big elephant in the living room that’s been driving you crazy – and you end the review without mentioning it. You blew it. Leaving things unsaid enables inconsistent and unacceptable behaviors and performance. It’s the leader’s job to leave nothing unsaid because that’s the only way to coach an employee to reach his or her full potential. Do it with respect, integrity and commitment to achieving the right outcomes. It’s time to go no compromise.
- Everyone is responsible: “They” isn’t on your payroll. The instant someone on your team says or thinks, “It’s not my job,” that employee has made the choice to be dispensable. It takes commitment, tenacity and courage to be indispensable. Build a culture based on “everyone is responsible,” and you’ll redefine your definition of efficiency, productivity, sense of urgency and teamwork. It’s time to go no compromise.
- It’s only about the dream: Your team may respect and be loyal to you, but it’s the dream – your dream – that they hitched their wagon to. Over the years, I’ve been hired to figure out why a company became stagnant only to find that it’s the dream that went dark. It became all about the numbers, hitting goal and sticking to the budget. All that financial and performance reports do is measure progress to making the dream a reality. I don’t work hard for the money. I work hard for the dream I have for building an extraordinary coaching and training company. If I do that, the money will come. All the reports do is chart progress – and my effectiveness as a leader. It’s about the dream. You still remember how to dream extraordinary dreams, don’t you? Close your eyes. Without constraint, allow your wildest dreams of success for your company to manifest in your mind. Is the impossible really so impossible? It’s time to go no compromise.
- The relentless pursuit: Are you leading your company on the relentless pursuit of average or mediocrity? I think not. But how much of how you lead and how your company performs minimize its potential? Average is easy. In business, average reeks of compromise. Reread resolution #1. It’s time to go no compromise.
- Let it flow: How many of your employees know exactly what the immediate and most critical objectives are for your business? How many know what needs to be accomplished this month, this week — today? How many clearly understand your expectations for their individual performance? Would you describe your company’s “sense of urgency” as fast or slow? The common denominator for each of these questions is “information flow.” With it, there is focus, urgency, efficiency and productivity. Without it, there is frustration, fragmentation and missed opportunities. It’s time to go no compromise.
- Get off the eggshells: Learn to identify the first “crunch.” The moment you hear the first crunch of eggshells, it signals that you are allowing your personal emotions, insecurities and fears to take you out of leadership mode. Leading is not about you – it’s about doing what’s best for the company and your employees. Keep off the eggshells. It’s time to go no compromise.
- Your company’s attitude: Replacing the term “culture” with “attitude” simplifies the understanding of company behaviors. To understand culture, you must delve into the collective behavior of groups of people and organizations. To understand attitude, all you need to do is look at the faces and behaviors of those you work with. More importantly, don’t forget the face you see in the mirror. Engaging, inspiring and optimistic leaders lead engaging, inspiring and optimistic teams – and that’s the attitude your customers encounter. Grumpy leaders lead grumpy teams – and that’s the attitude your customers encounter. It’s that simple. It’s time to go no compromise.
- Impatient for profit: Profit is proof that your business model works. Profit built on integrity, purpose and high values is proof that you are worthy of being a no-compromise leader. Profit shows that you’re paying attention to the company’s financial reality. A history of profitability shows that growth opportunities are consistently weighed against the potential risk. Generating profit in tough economic times shows that the company is capable of making and executing tough decisions. Lead your company to be patient for growth and impatient for profit. It’s time to go no compromise.
- Compete on value: Competing on price is exhausting. Competing on extraordinary value is bold and empowering. It’s a commitment to be best in class, to stand out in a crowded marketplace. What’s the worst that could happen if you competed on delivering extraordinary value? What would happen if the next time you were tempted to lower a price to make a sale, you shifted to adding value instead? Would it be the end of the world if you walked away from a deal because you wouldn’t cave in on price? No-compromise leaders are not afraid to be bold. It’s time to go no compromise.
Wishing you and all our fans of Strategies and my Monday Morning Wake-Up, a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.
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Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership
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