Senior executives in most organizations have spent the better part of the last month putting the finishing touches on their respective strategic plans for 2011. Before they finalize those plans, best-selling business author Ken Blanchard recommends that leaders take one more look at their strategies and goals to see if they have covered off on the four key traits common to all successful organizations.
In his book, Leading at a Higher Level, Blanchard recommends that leaders have specific goals in each of the following four areas:
1. A focus on three bottom lines instead of just one. In addition to financial success, leaders at great organizations measure the satisfaction and engagement levels of their employees and their customers also. Leaders at these companies know that in order to succeed they must create a motivating environment for employees, which results in better customer service, which leads to higher profits.
2. A focus on customers. To keep your customers today, you can’t be content just to satisfy them. Instead, you have to create raving fans–customers who are so excited about the way you treat them that they want to tell others. Companies that create this emotional connection with their customers enjoy the accelerated growth generated when customers brag about them to other prospective clients.
3. A focus on employees. You can’t treat your people poorly and expect them to treat your customers well. Treating your people right includes setting clear, meaningful goals, providing day-to-day coaching, and finally, setting up performance reviews so that there are no surprises.
4. A willingness to turn the organizational chart upside down. The most effective leaders recognize that leadership is not about them and that they are only as good as the people they lead. In successful organizations, once a vision has been set, leaders move themselves to the bottom of the hierarchy, supporting and removing roadblocks for the people closest to the customer.
If leaders take care of the people who take care of their customers, profits and financial strength will follow. Make 2011 your best year ever by implementing a strategic plan where people and profits both grow and thrive.