As business owners and leaders it is important to see what is working in your business and what is not. Since we know business performance is not a straight line and we have to deal with the unpredictability that occurs. I’ve spent many hours over my 20 year career in corporate sales roles reviewing business performance, whether this was on monthly or quarterly basis, either way it was to provide various insights to learn and strengthen the next season ahead. And still as a business owner I conduct reviews of my own business performance, however I have developed an approach that goes deeper than just looking at binary KPI’s, I call it my 4R’s.
However, before we dive into them, we need to set some time aside, depending on what timeline you are covering will dictate the time you need. So for example, I recently did a quarterly review of my business, so I set aside half a day in the woods (another point, think about the location, I get really inspired in nature) to conduct the review. I would also encourage, if you are part of a team, to do it as a team session, allowing everyone to contribute to the process, such value beyond the review.
In some way this is the binary approach, we do need to take stock of those measures we have put in place, whether this is sales, profit, client numbers or workshops delivered, use the metrics that are important in your business. Take time to review what has been working, and how you could strengthen it and make it even better. Consider activities that have not worked, what have you learnt from it and could you adapt so that it does work.
I have used the STOP START CONTINUE in the past, ‘Stop’ – something that’s undermining performance, ‘Start’ – suggestions for things that will make a more significant contribution to the business and ‘Continue’ – to carry on with what is working.
This is going deeper than just top line activities, it is more about what is going on inside of you, what are your motivations, how do I show up to clients, processing the wins and challenges. This is to connect the dots in understanding the drivers of performance and under performance, often this can be facilitated by a coach, but you can do this yourself. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
> How would I summarise the quarter/year?
> Where was the majority of my time and energy spent?
> What areas can I take a step back from?
> Were those goals we set really that important?
> Did the goals we set get us closer to our vision?
> How have my accomplishments or goals aligned with my business values and vision?
> How did I implement work/life balance successfully this quarter/year?
> What would a successful next quarter/year look like to me?
Based on your review and reflection of the business in conjunction with a reminder of the team or company vision/purpose, ensure that all forward goals and activities are going to get you closer to this. You could also think about your values, ensuring that your approach and behaviours are also aligned to these.
Now you have reviewed, reflected and realigned, it is time to get creative with what the future could be. This could be doing some visualisation of the future and expanding your horizon to what is possible all rooted in the overall purpose/vision of the company. May even be taking those goals that are set to complete in a year and re-imagining them completed in 6 months – why not?
Also, use this creativity to question what do I need to change, how will that look, ways of working that I need to adapt to enhance my business, what new narratives am I going to be telling myself.
In conclusion, I would encourage you to carve out the time to really assess the performance of your business or team to ensure that the forward actions are going to make a difference.