7 Steps to Take Your Business to the Next Level

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At some point, all CEOs or managers have to ask themselves, “How do I get to the next level?”

The answer could cover a daylong workshop.

Luckily, seven simple steps or business tools provide a jumpstart to finding those answers. Follow these and get what you need now to move your business forward.

1. Set Clearly Defined Directions

Establish clear, meaningful goals and milestones. Define what the next level looks like and then determine the strategies, tactics and goals that will get you there. Use employee perspectives to analyze how clear your current direction is. Answer the following:

  • Do your employees know where your organization is headed?
  • Do they understand what actions they need to take to move in that direction?
  • Do they know if you are on track to achieving the most meaningful results?

2. Communicate Everything

Regular, reliable communication of information, feedback and support creates trust, and trust is essential to accomplishing high-performance, superior results. As a business leader, the need for communication is even more important.

  • What communication tools do you use to create and reinforce trust?
  • How do your employees interpret your communications?
  • What is missing that forces them to “fill-in-the-blanks”?

3. Mind the Numbers

Need an example to illustrate the importance of data tracking? Imagine playing a competitive sport with no access to statistics or scores. You’d have no way to know if you were winning, or to make helpful changes. Before you can begin tracking data for business tools, determine which methodology is best.

  • What are you currently tracking?
  • Are you focused on the right result drivers?
  • How do you ensure that you’re tracking meaningful information (and not just numbers)?

4. Anticipate the Future

Evaluate past and current results, and anticipate the future so you can make it happen. Determine whether you are incorporating the future into your business equation by answering the following:

  • How well are you identifying opportunities and threats?
  • How reliably can you project results?
  • What business tools do you use to get the most useful feedback?

5. Identify Top-Performing Players

Processes are critical, but it takes the right players to make your team truly successful. As a leader, it’s crucial you know how to place (and coach) your top-performers. Jerry Goldress, the turnaround superstar, talks about getting results by “putting your best players in the game-changer positions.”

To form a winning team of your own, keep the following questions in mind:

  • What are your game-changer positions?
  • How do you ensure you get A-players in those positions?
  • How frequently do your key people receive coaching?

6. Keep Improving

Now it’s time for optimization, or making your system or process as effective as possible. Small changes often add up to big results, as followers of the Japanese concept Kaizen (“continual improvement”) know. Analyze your current structure to find ways to improve by considering the following:

  • What tools do you use to create processes that produce better results?
  • What tools do you use to improve your processes?

7. Celebrate Successes

Employee morale is vital, and you must ensure your employees feel valued and appreciated. As Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says, “If we keep our employees happy and engaged, they will keep our customers happy, who will reward us with their loyalty. That repeat business helps our bottom line and creates value for our shareholders.”

  • How can you make the excitement for winning a part of your culture?
  • Are you and others in the organization having fun?
  • Are you measuring employee and customer satisfaction?

These steps will help you develop the vision for your company’s future. Whether your next actions involve improving profitability, acquiring new businesses or opening offices overseas, you will have the knowledge and experience you need to tackle any growing pains headed your way.

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