Improving the health of your business is something you can and should be working on each day. However, if you’re the boss it can be very easy to get buried working in your business instead of on your business. In fact, this can turn into a form of procrastination.
Create Short and Long-Term Goals
Short and long-term goals help you define the targets for the end of next month, the targets for the end of next quarter and the targets for the end of next year. By setting and hitting your short-term goals, the end result should be to easily make your long-term goals. To make them real, write them down. Write about why you want to hit them. Write down what the first step will be. The trick is to put your energy into short-term goals without losing enthusiasm and motivation because you’re anxious about the long-term goal.
Keep Pushing Improvements
When you’re new to something, you need to toss aside everything you know and begin the slow process of learning. If you notice something isn’t right, don’t wait for it to snowball into something bigger. Stop the process, address the mistake and the origin of the error, and start again. The Toyota Production System is a model for making small, continuous improvements to your product and employees. Let those employees who truly know systems and processes take action if something isn’t right. They can keep making small improvements and make the entire process better.
Promote a Safe Idea Space
A safe idea space is one where it’s possible to share any idea without being shut down or dismissed. If you want your employees to contribute freely, you’ll have to create meetings and other times for sharing when anybody can express their ideas. Think of these sessions as brain-splashing instead of brain-storming. Storms can be dangerous, whereas splashy ideas don’t cause any long-term damage. Your employees have skills that you and the rest of your management team may not have. If they can’t safely express their thoughts, you’ll never be able to put these skills to use.
Learning a language, walking a tightrope and losing 50 pounds all have one thing in common: It takes small changes, day by day, to succeed at any of these tasks. Even more important is to remember that there’s no real finish line to success. Small improvements can keep your business improving all the time.