As we reflect on what has hopefully been a strong professional (and personal) year for each of you so far, I think about a quote shared by our founder, Mike Jacoutot.
"Good is not a permanent place."
Mike shares an anecdote from his wrestling days in which he is speaking to the coach of a wrestling team that had several returning players and mentions, "looks like your team is prepped to have a great year next year." The veteran coach paused for a moment and then replied, "I guess that depends on how much better the other teams get."
Nothing in life is static, and, especially in a year of dynamic business challenges, if we want to continue to experience positive, sustainable outcomes, we must identify the adjustments required of ourselves and our teams for an even more successful 2022.
Below are three key steps to take now for ongoing achievement and continuous improvement.
1. Have your team complete a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
One of the ways to help our teams grow and prosper is to truly understand where each individual views themselves related to the skills required to be great at their role. It is also a key to being an effective leader in creating a culture of engagement, fueled by your desire to demonstrate to your team that you will do everything possible to help them reach their personal goals and career ambitions.
What makes SWOT especially powerful is that it can help to uncover opportunities that you may not otherwise have spotted with a bit of thought. And by understanding weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward.
Below are a few questions in each SWOT category to get the ball rolling for your team members:
What advantages do you have that others don't have (skills, certifications, education, or connections)?
What do you do better than anyone else?
What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths?
What will the people around you see as your weaknesses?
Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest?
What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, disorganized, have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress)?
What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them?
Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes?
Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling?
What obstacles do you currently face at work?
Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing?
Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
2. Create a personal strategic action plan based on your SWOT analysis
What is it that you want to accomplish in life? What goals do you want to achieve that you feel will advance you personally and professionally? These could be a myriad of things such as:
i. Exceed quota by a certain %
ii. Gain certification of some type
iii. Buy a house
iv. Make your company’s achievement Club
v. Be part of a project team for new solutions within your organization
What leadership or team support do you need to stay accountable to your plan? Identify an accountability partner, perhaps a colleague or good friend, and agree on a regular time to check-in and share best practices and/or ask questions to support your goals.
3. Professional Development and Learning Opportunities
"The only thing that remains constant is change. The ability to change requires an ability to learn. Become a learning organization.”
There are a few things to consider when assessing professional development opportunities:
Start Right, Stay Right
Establish the right on-boarding structure to provide the tools, training, and resources they need to do their job well. This should be practiced from the initial starting day and reinforced along the way by creating a knowledge base or shared drive of critical information and best practices. You must create a more deliberate environment for your remote or hybrid employees for these same areas and carefully structure your plan for these folks.
Create a culture of coaching managers
Recalling the personal SWOT from above, what does each of your team members need from you to create sustainable success. Where do they view themselves from a skills development perspective? How will you support each team member where and how they need the most assistance? One way to accomplish this is by asking the right questions at the right cadence. Below are a few questions you can start asking your people every week during your formal 1-on-1s:
What’s going well in your role? Any wins this week?
What challenges are you facing?
How are you feeling? What’s the morale around you? (Related blog: How Are You Today? No Really, How Are You?)
Having intentional conversations regularly will help you form deeper connections with your people. These discussions will also contribute to building a more psychologically safe environment for employees to be open and honest.
Strengthen skills and providing the right training now. From vILT programs to eLearning courses available 24/7, invest in yourself and your people. We welcome the time to discuss your challenges, share the options available, and have the opportunity to help your company and people grow. Contact us to learn more.