Assess Your Company Mid-Year: Finish Strong

gino-wickmanThe following is a guest article from Gino Wickman, author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business:

2014 Halfway Point: Are you positioned for a strong second half?

We’re at the halfway point of the year, and just as the first half flew by, so will the second. I urge you to take the Organizational Checkup to make sure that you’re firing on all cylinders and positioned to finish the year strong.

2013 and the first half of 2014 have been great. Clients are experiencing double-digit growth. Things are good. That leads to one thing: high-class problems. It’s a very different time compared to the last 14 years of working intimately with multiple companies. There has always been a relatively common theme, and right now, there isn’t one. I am always fanatical about keeping my ear to the ground with what’s going on with small businesses and their leadership teams, and in asking every business owner I interact with what their top three challenges are. I usually see a pattern, and right now there isn’t one. It’s just a multitude of high-class, growth-related issues.

That leads me to the main point of this Clarity Break. When the challenges are so varied, there’s clearly one big overriding issue: your ability to solve issues.

Here’s the question to ask yourself during your next Clarity Break: How good is my leadership team at taking our most important issues, setting them up, and knocking them down? Please know that an issue isn’t only a problem or bad stuff. Issues are everything: ideas, opportunities, obstacles, and barriers – anything that needs to be discussed and resolved.

What are your top three issues right now? Is your team focused on them and solving them well?

You must stay sharp with your problem-solving skills and avoid the overconfidence that existed prior to the 2008 downturn and the shock that occurred with people getting caught by surprise. “When the tide goes out, it reveals who’s been swimming naked.” Don’t get caught with your pants down. My business mentor, Sam Cupp, taught me that in a 10-year business cycle, you will have two great years, six good years, and two terrible years that can potentially put you out of business. He told me this 20 years ago, and it has held to be true. Don’t atrophy in these good times.

Your problem-solving muscle needs to be strong, and you need to be prepared for anything. One of the great principles that Jim Collins teaches us in his masterpiece Great by Choice is that great leaders who choose to be great have a productive paranoia.

I recommend two muscle-building remedies:

1. Read Decide!

Read Decide! It’s a short, free, and easy-to-download e-book that will help you and your leadership team become masterful decision makers. It covers four vital aspects of great decision making:

  1. You must have clarity of vision – how to gain it.
  2. Good decision making requires clarity and confidence – how to get it.
  3. You must avoid ten bad decision-making habits – what they are.
  4. Not all good decisions are made at the same speed – what is your team’s decision-making tempo?

2. Follow the Issues Solving Track

Make sure that you’re following the Issues Solving Track (also known as IDS – Identify, Discuss, Solve – and covered in Decide!) in your weekly and quarterly meetings. This means that, with your leadership team, you openly and honestly build your issues list, then identify and prioritize the top three. Starting with the most important issue, you then follow the Issues Solving Track:

I: Identify and state the real issue before discussing.
D: Openly and honestly Discuss the issue-get it all out on the table.
S: Push to Solve. The only reason your lips are moving in the meeting is to get to a conclusion and decide, then move onto the next issue.

Hope this helps. Also don’t forget to take the Organizational Checkup. Finish strong!

I’m also excited to announce that we at EOS Worldwide have reached a major milestone. As ofJune 1, our team of 80 world-class EOS Implementers have taken 1,000 companies through the EOS process. We thank you for all of your support and belief in EOS.

Call if we can help.

Stay focused,

Gino Wickman

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