January 2020 – Something from Mary!

We are sliding into the new decade- the roaring twenties are back!

The new year, and in this case decade, always brings me to a place to contemplate ‘what did we do well and what could we have done better.’ Do you do this?

I have a couple of tools you might consider for your own analysis.

I learned from Steve Gasser, “Keep Stop Start” and have found this to be a great way to review aspects of a business. Will we keep or start doing this program? Do we need to start a program?

It is also an easy language for everyone to use in your business. It may seem simple, but we have found it to be very effective as staff evaluates programs, events, and services. Using it for specific products or product lines, service lines, territories or regions…. It has a host of opportunities for your specific industry.

Keep Stop Start also functions as a communication device when speaking with employees during evaluations or difficult conversations.

Now, you could SWOT it around. SWOT analysis goes deeper than Keep Stop Start. SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths and Weakness are considered internal to the organization, while Opportunities and Threats are external. In an easy four-square-grid you and your team can map out and work through a SWOT analysis. You can do SWOT for several programs, services, products and then overlay the results to see what the common denominators are.

Again, a SWOT session is more in-depth; depending on what you are examining, you may find it helpful or more of a hindrance. Use what works best for you.

Engaging key stake holders…. Employees, into this conversation will do a couple of things. One: value add. Employees who are asked for their input are more engaged, and when they feel valued, they tend to stay.

Two: Many times, managers and owners do not know the ins and outs of a machine, program, or service like someone utilizing it on a regular basis. As a business owner or manager, ask those front-line workers what is and isn’t working. You will learn A LOT, and potentially save money, time, or customers by incorporating your staff in these conversations. Even if you are the owner and manager AND an operator…. Ask employees anyway. You may be very surprised at the responses you get.

If you have never done anything like this before with employees, here’s an idea for you. Along the left side of a post-it note, write Keep Stop Start, and hand it to your employee(s). Ask them to return that to you in two days with one thing they think your company should keep doing, one thing they think you should stop all together, and another thing that should be started. Give them time to think about it. You may find it to be VERY revealing, a great way to start conversations about the work environment, AND crazy enough, make your production increase as you find what is working and what might not be.

These are commonly used tools in all areas of business and you can feel confident in trying them with your business.

I pray you have a blessed 2020. Cheers to the New Year!