Focus On Growth

Nicola Cook // December 3 // 0 Comments

Have you picked a theme yet? And I don’t mean for your Christmas party’s fancy dress code – rather a theme that unites and focuses your business on the challenges of the year ahead.

I’m often quoted as saying that “sales is a culture – never just a department” but one of the biggest challenges facing any business owner, irrespective of whether you have a dedicated sales team or not, is how to disseminate and unite your team around your current strategic sales objective to adapt and change in order to stay ahead of the market.

I see it as everyone’s responsibility in an organisation to increase revenue and deepen profits, whether you are in finance, warehousing, account management, production, operations, or customer service. Every single person in your organisation can find ways to save pennies and make more pounds, but often they are not empowered to take these initiatives or make suggestions to improve customer experience and customer lifetime value. They stick to their silo and accept that they are a small insignificant cog in a big wheel.

One way to unite your organise on a common medium-term goal, (because, of course, your vision and values is your North Star for your long game), but if you want to add some thrust your to collective effort – one way to do this is to introduce a theme for the coming calendar year.

What do your people need to keep front of mind as they go about their day-to-day roles? What is one overarching idea that encapsulates all of your strategic objectives for the next twelve months?

They may feel like a small insignificant cog in a big wheel, so name the wheel. Give it an identity that everyone can relate to. For example, a couple of years ago one of my clients introduced the theme ‘Going Global’ as their theme for the coming year. It was announced at their opening team meeting in January. It’s worth noting, they were already trading internationally at this point (around 5% of turnover), but their core strategic goal for the next phase of growth was to increase export to 35% of turnover, so ‘Going Global’ became their constant reminder to everyone to keep asking “Is what I’m currently doing helping us ‘Go Global’?” They went to great expense and purchased two blow-up beach-ball type globes which they hung from the ceiling in the centre of the main office. They wrote the words ‘Going Global’ at the top of every whiteboard in the business, created an internal logo for it and added it to the bottom of every internal document. Over the coming months it became ingrained in their culture and part of their everyday language. And yes they achieved their objective.

I’ve had other customer’s who’ve had themes of ‘The Year of Action’ – and the MD gave everyone a mini Action Man toy as a memento. Many of
the staff kept these on their desks as permanent anchors. Or another had a year of ‘Shine and Sparkle’, where the aim was to outshine their competition. (That theme was particularly well received when the MD handed out mini bottles of sparkling champagne when it was introduced
– again many employees kept the (now empty) bottles on their desk as a reminder of their purpose and focus. If you asked them why the bottles were there, they would respond, “Because it helps remind me that we want to outshine our competition in the eyes of our customers.”

If you want to go one step further, once you’ve discussed and agreed your upcoming core objectives invite your team to put forward their ideas for a theme and either take a unilateral vote or whittle the suggestions down to a short-list and then vote.

My team have come up with some crackers over the years. We’ve had “Refining our Engine” which reflected a year when we were very focused on improving our internal processes and deliverability of our CX experience, or “The year of growth” when we had all the pieces in place and just needed to sell more and increase our market share. (My suggestion that year that went into the pot and was promptly vetoed by the team was … ‘Just hit the f-number!’ Clearly, they went for something much more appropriate to share company-wide – and quite right too!)

So, as you look ahead for the next period – what overarching theme can you introduce that will reflect your next 12 month’s core objectives?

The original article appeared in the Northern Insight Magazine – Business

About the Author Nicola Cook

Nicola Cook is an award-winning entrepreneur and twice published international best-selling author on professional selling and personal & business growth. She is CEO of Company Shortcuts, a business devoted to improving business results by injecting skill, passion and strategy to help those entrepreneurs and sales enthusiasts achieve the sales results they desire.

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