2022 – From little things, big things grow
We ended 2021 (and 2020 for that matter) with great expectations of a bright new year ahead. However, here we are again in crisis mode, with thousands catching COVID every day and even more going into isolation, our offices closed and holiday plans dashed.
So, at the start of the new year, are we just going to batten down the hatches and go into survival mode again? Are we just going to spend another year look inwards rather than outwards? Do we have the energy to rethink the way we do things and set ourselves up for growth, both for our personal life and our business life?
Porter, Kotter, SWOT…. SNAP!
I have spent many years preaching the virtues of setting a strategy, doing a business plan, and then setting up projects and programs to deliver on the plan. I’ve lived SWOT analysis, five forces, business model canvas’s, Kotter’s 8 steps and multi-year roadmaps for a long time. The question is arising in many circles – do we throw these traditional methods out and start something new? Is it even possible to have long term plans for things anymore?
Well, not entirely. But…
For quite some time, in our blogs and other content, we have been focussed on the how the small steps matter, the “small bets” that you can make on your business or personal outlook that may end up making a big change. The “WHY moments” that might result in making a downcast colleague smile, or deliver a task on time, or just make you feel happier in a relationship, personal or business.
Small deeds, done dirt cheap
This is a good way of looking at improvements in your business. Instead of the huge transformational change that will span many years, how about starting small?
Let’s face it, your cash reserves may be pretty low anyway, after the last two years, so why not try something more experimental with less investment. For instance, one of my clients has finally trained their business partner in using the company CRM, saving an assistant sales position, and allowing that person to be more out on the road, growing business. Another client has moved from doing manual proposals in Word to a professional electronic proposal management software, and has been able to move their business towards commoditised “cash cow” services, as well as more profitable bespoke ones.
Vintage or non-Vintage? Just give me the juice!
This doesn’t have to be tangible business activities either – you can think about micro-behaviours in yourself as a leader, and with your team. The last few years has heightened the important but often overlooked traits of leadership in:
- Not being the hero with all the answers
- Listening to your team
- being flexible and adaptable in your approach and style.
No one model of leadership, either modern or traditional, can be relied upon for success.
For instance, how long is it since you have had a session with your team about what they think and feel about you, and even what you think and feel about them? How long is it since you have done a DISC or a FACET 5 or something similar, that would give everyone some valuable feedback on where they are today, and perhaps what they need to work on to improve themselves?
Another breakfast? Yes you can!
Another way you can look at business growth is by taking an external view, being more of a network leader than an internally focussed one.
How many structured business networks are you involved with? How much effort are you putting into having stronger networks with suppliers and key customers? With local community groups? Do you have a business coach to gain an external, independent opinion on your business and where it is going?
A colleague of mine hated the idea of coaching and mentorship, but recently went to a group coaching session and loved the connection and the learning of how different businesses are coping though COVID. She is now far more invigorated about 2022 than she thought and can’t wait to make changes to her real estate business.
So, going back into our shell again for 2022 is not a great option. But making major changes to the business may not be an option either, given the emotional, mental and physical debt we are all carrying. So why not take a “small change is better than no change” view and improve your business one step at a time. Don’t throw out your big hairy goals, but maybe you can achieve them in different ways, by taking a more gradual, manageable and affordable approach.