Last year sure got under people’s skin, didn’t it? I think this is the first time in it’s 127-year history that the Wall Street Journal actually published a guide – no kidding – to “night spots…throwing parties to capitalize on widespread bitterness about 2016.” While losing Mohammad Ali and David Bowie certainly means 2016 had it’s downside, let others search for reasons to be “bitter.”
As a business leader, you have a responsibility to think positively, and 2017 will reward fresh thinking to a greater degree than any recent year. In the United States, the once-in-a-century recession that cratered the economy almost a decade ago gave way to the second longest bull-run in history, with the stock market going up every year since 2009. That’s great and that’s what was needed, but the real fun begins when earnings hit a steady pace of growth, too. That’s happening now, giving “investors more reason to believe the stock market will keep climbing in 2017.” Earnings growth means more buying and more hiring. More business activity. And since a rising tide lifts all boats, a lot of business owners will think about how they can get their share.
But not you. You’re not satisfied to just wait for the tide while you’re sitting in the boat you have now. You want to know how and why earnings started rising last year. Because if you can manage your business the same way, then as the tide rises, you’ll be able to buy a bigger boat, or several boats, and really advance you business.
Now is the time to make your move. So how did large corporations manage to increase their earnings? It all comes down to efficiency and openness. They’re two sides of the same coin. Efficiency feeds your earnings, so you want as much of it as possible. But to get it, you have to have an engaged and focused team who can think about your business processes and customer interactions with the big picture in mind.
Much of this is new thinking in management, especially the openness part. Refining a process doesn’t get you all the efficiency gains you could have. Refine the process with the people who will execute it, and you’ll get more. Start that process by clearly communicating why the process even exists in the first place, tying it to your company’s strategic goals and your ambitions for the coming year, and you max out what is possible with that team.That’s how the corporations did it. They’re the ones who paid for a lot of those studies. Their conclusions will work for you, too, and they’ll work right now.
The tide is rising. Get up in the bow with a smile on your face and confidence in your gaze, and show your team where you’re going. This is your year.