Recharge your business every 90 days — or more often

As a true Aquarian, I often find myself dreaming about doing great things. By great things, I’m talking about endeavors that make a difference in the lives of others. My lifelong passion is teaching, coaching and writing about leadership and growing dynamic companies. One key observation is that every significant gain in business performance can be narrowed down to a concentrated period of vision refinement followed by leadership decision-making and intense implementation. I’m talking about change initiatives big enough to grab the attention of every team member, an all-hands-on-deck, company-wide call to action.

It took General Motors about 90 days to snap out of its “we’re the biggest” stupor and reconfigure itself to compete in a very different economy. Unfortunately, GM needed a major recession as its wake-up call. A crisis is always the perfect catalyst for change, but just ponder the growth and performance opportunities if you built one or more significant recharge initiatives into your yearly plan. The magic of an entrepreneurial business is its agility to adapt and change quickly, if its leader is willing to initiate and lead the charge. Are you?

Here are some no-compromise thoughts for regularly scheduled company recharges:

  • Business routines get stale and slow: New projects and change initiatives fuel a company’s sense of urgency. But new project and change initiatives eventually become just part of the daily routine – if they don’t die along the way. When was the last time you grabbed everyone’s attention by intentionally rocking your company’s boat? If it’s been six months or more, the sense of urgency and excitement is pretty much gone. If it survived implementation, it is now just part of the routine. True, you may have gained measurable results, but how long will the momentum last? It’s time to recharge.
  • Recharge what? Maybe what needs to be recharged first is you. It’s easy for leaders to coast a bit or even “check out.” Are you showing up every day as the leader of your company or something less? Are you at the helm steering your ship or letting it run on autopilot? If someone else is steering your ship, is it going in the direction you want it to go, as fast as you want it to go? I’ve seen too many leaders disengage or get so wrapped up in “their” work or projects, only to find their companies drifting aimlessly. I bet there’s a big project waiting for you on that procrastination back burner of yours. Go for it.
  • It doesn’t matter how successful your company is right now, there are one or two things that have been poking at you to address. Maybe it’s a productivity challenge, budging or cost-cutting initiative, revamping your company’s information flow systems, or an overhaul of your customer service systems. Fact is, you’ve got a fine laundry list of projects to tackle that can recharge your company. It’s OK to rock the boat a little every 90 days or so. It wakes people up and energizes your company’s performance. Most of all, when planned recharges become the norm, resistance to change becomes a non-issue. That alone is reason enough to recharge.
  • Push it across the finish line in 90 days. When you channel team efforts to complete a major change initiative within 90 days, it creates a natural sense of urgency that breaks through barriers that slow, stall or kill a recharge effort. Come on, push it. Rock the boat.

These are crazy times to be in business. The landscape is changing daily. Everyone is Tweeting their message. Facebook is the new global meeting where your employees and customers and competitors are making friends and having conversations. Competitors are just waiting for you to let your guard down so they can scavenge your market share. If your company isn’t recharging every 90 days or sooner, it’s losing momentum. Time to rock the boat.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click the Comment button above.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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