Spring has sprung and it’s a great vantage point to assess how well we’ve done so far, giving enough time to make changes that will ensure we get to where we want to go by financial year-end.
I like the word ‘tactic’ because it implies action, doing, making things happen. I like that. Strategy has its place, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for strategy. We need strategy to plan and map out how we will summit the peak. But, tactic means we’ve laced up our boots, strapped on our backpacks, and we’re climbing, map in hand.
So, what is a tactical spring clean? To stick with our hiking analogy, imagine you’ve climbed the greater part of a mountain. Your legs are aching, you swear someone added 5 kilograms to your pack when you weren’t looking, and you’re desperate for a breather.
So, you put down your backpack, take a sip of water, wipe the sweat from your eyes and survey where you’re at. You might take this time to re-adjust some straps on your backpack, move that annoying thing that’s been poking you in the back for the last half hour, take the pebble out your shoe and enjoy the view while you’re at it. After that, you feel a bit more refreshed, so you hoist your pack, put your head down and trudge on again.
Related: Unearthing the leadership style that will work best for you
That’s what I mean by ‘tactical spring clean’. Here are five questions that will help you freshen up your tactical approach:
1. Am I on the right path?
Always go back to your map - your strategy. If you don’t have a purpose and a clear vision, you will be swayed by every opinion, client brief, supplier mood and staff issue. If you have a clear goal you know which tasks you need to do, and which you should walk away from.
More than a long-term vision for the business, try give each day a mission or vision – set yourself a goal of completing two important tasks for the day. That way, your diary will become a lot more productive and purposeful. Plus, you might just find that you can leave the office at a normal hour.
2. What must I adjust?
There are always better ways of doing things. Learn to be nimble. More importantly, get real with yourself, and ask yourself what can stand improvement in your business. Perhaps make it a group discussion with your team. Be prepared for the answers. Saying, ‘We’ve always done it this way,’ is a sure-fired way to drive your business into irrelevance. Still using spreadsheets to create orders and invoices? Change that. Still taking three or four days to do month-end reports? It’s time to find a better way.
3. Who is walking with me?
If you are only focused on the bottom line, then you are quite possibly overlooking your most valuable product: your employees. These guys deal with your customers on a daily basis, they handle your projects and services, and ultimately represent your brand. Recognise excellence, reward innovation, pay their salaries before your own, and give them time off. They, in turn, will take very good care of you, and your business. You want the best to walk beside you.
Today’s top talent is often wooed by flexible working arrangements more than just financial perks. By offering your employees some work flexibility you’re likely to see your employee retention statistics improve, making your company that much stronger. As a business owner, the fear is real that you will lose control of what is happening in the work day if some of your team work from home, that’s why I like BOS for its excellent remote productivity tracking, and my peace of mind.
Related: Top tips on how to efficiently manage your remote team
4. Do I need the help of a walking stick?
Delegating is a real trust exercise, but if you intend to make it up the mountain in one piece, you need to learn to delegate. Embrace the fact that leaning on someone else is not weakness, but a practical necessity. At its core, delegating is a talent and systems question, not a control issue.
Hire the right people, people you can trust, and then trust them. Also, invest in the right business operating software to give you full clarity into what’s going on in the business.
5. Do I take time to enjoy the view?
The trap is that we believe that the busier we are, the more successful we have become. However, tests have shown that healthy, rested people get more done, and do it better, than tired, overworked people. You’ve already come this far, take the time to enjoy your accomplishments. Looking up from the trudge is also a great opportunity to set your sights on the next mountain peak you want to climb.