Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Startegic Plan for Your Strategic Planning?

A Strategic Plan for Your Strategic Planning?
By Talmar Anderson

Have you heard the following words but thought it sounded like something lofty that only big or super successful companies do?  Company retreats. Quarterly strategy sessions.  Meeting with an advisory board.  Are these words you hear but think…”Oh I can’t WAIT until I have the luxury to spend a WHOLE day planning!”….errr, bummer.  “Bummer?”, you ask. Why am I disappointed for you? Because you have missed the understanding that making this time is a discipline…not luxury.  You are missing the concept that without purposefully creating a safe space to sit, think and consider…change cannot come.  Certainly not as easily or quickly as if you applied purpose and intention behind it! Strategic planning is the “HOW” to your “What” for goals and vision.

Having said that, strategic planning sessions can be less than useful if you do not have a focused idea of where the meeting needs to go.  In a seemingly conflicting idea, the best strategy planning sessions allow for the fluidity of conversation and inspiration to take the lead.

In great strategy sessions you may come up with some brilliant new concept. In that same meeting you and your team may talk it completely out of implementation. And that is OK!  If coming out of a strategy session leads to understanding where your business IS NOT going you have created clarity, saved resources and can more easily focus company messaging.  That is progress!

Regardless of stage of growth, strategy planning is when we look at our current goals to consider how they are working, what possible changes we could make and which direction to move forward.  Often goals are refined or even changed. These can be annual assessments. Quarterly sessions work for some, including Talmar It Up clients.  This allows us to piece out concepts and not try to do it all at once.  One quarter it may be diversification and possible new incomes strategies.  The next quarter it might be shifting independent contractors to employees.  The next may be about analyzing and understanding workloads and true profitability. Maybe the forth will be brainstorming on strategic partnerships for the next year. All those sessions would support an annual goal that includes doubling net income and positioning for a second office within 3 years.

Committing to the time and scheduling these meetings create intent and permission to NOT be working on client needs, sales conversations and other traditional day-to-day profit driving actions.  Prioritizing a client need of an earlier delivery deadline is actually hurting you company.  You can easily set a reasonable client expectation that can be calendared around your strategy sessions. It is up to you to prioritize this company need of space and focus. In the end you will serve this client and all of your clients much better!

Strategic planning is where you get to STOP letting your business control your days, stress level and time sucks. You get to schedule a chunk (I use a minimum of 3 hours with my clients) that brings together controlled surroundings, brains and an agenda.

If you are using strategic planning, make sure you are getting the most out of it! Try these Talmar It Up requirements:

  • An agenda…it can be as simple as a concept but KNOW what you want to be focused upon. If you have a long list then prioritize what needs to be completed first. Do not move on until fully considered.  Some sessions will only address one topic. This is the meeting where you do NOT speed through the agenda.
  • Other brains. This could include your staff, a mentor, a coach or a full group of experts that act as you advisory board. The benefit of having different experiences and perspectives is priceless. Sincerely.
  • A set timeframe. You can talk circles around any topic.  To be productive, a time limit will create an ending and thus decisions!
  • Documentation – At Talmar It Up, we record the audio AND create written action plans for all of our strategy sessions. This creates a resource to help re-focus or clarify in times of stress.

And the number one MUST do for successful strategy planning sessions…

  • Follow up and implementation. One person needs to be in charge of creating movement for the company on these strategic plans. I am looking at you!  CEO/ Founder / Head Everything. This is the job description.

Strategic planning is the discipline and commitment that allows you the opportunity to create a business and life that includes luxury! ***mic drop***

 

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Telecommutting Productively or Eating Bonbons?

Telecommuting Productively or Eating Bonbons?
How Do You Know?

By Talmar Anderson

When working with clients to define their organizational structure and hire strategically, my clients all want to know how to manage telecommuters efficiently! While we all make sure to hire the right candidate with strong skills and train them on our companies policies and procedures, we must eventually turn them loose to do the job. But then the business owner’s devil on the shoulder wonders, “Am I really getting what I am pay for?  What if they are really eating Bonbons and Doritos while watching a documentary on hoarders?  What if they have kids under their feet when they are billing my company and clients? How do I know that they are doing what they say they are doing?’  Control issues much…? I COMPLETELY understand!

The desire to attract employees and build a company that includes freedom does have to come with a vigorous hiring process and a healthy dose of faith on YOUR part.

  • Faith that your employees want to be productive.
  • Faith that they will always do their professional best.
  • Faith that they will prioritize your business needs equally with their personal needs.

Even the best reference checks and a consistent weekly management meeting schedule can sometimes lose out to that inner voice of doubt that all entrepreneurs’ share. You have two options if this is constantly running around in your head. And yes, this is about managing YOU but will require a strategic decision for your business model.

You can stop offering telecommuting and start creating an office space.  There ARE great benefits to having a collaborative working environment that houses all the employees under the same roof.  Often times, company and staff communications can be stronger. There is also a higher probability of achieving a successful culture that “feels like family”. However, this is counter to the “ideal” some business owners feel driven to offer when flexibility is a part of their core values.

If managing telecommuting employees is a business model you are drawn to, there are a few steps you can take to create consistency, customer service and keep YOUR sanity.

So here are my 3 tips for successfully building and managing your telecommuting staff:

  • Clear roles and expectations –
    • When they will work, how they will communicate, accountability buy in and specifically assigned responsibilities help here.
  • Reward performance instead of hours logged –
    • Consider salaries based on the value of the end results as opposed to how long or how quickly a project takes (This does NOT relieve you from managing and understanding the workload required for delivery of your products and services!)
  • Care less about face time! –
    • Instead of worrying that you did not SEE how the sausage was made exactly, get comfortable with the sausage being delicious, delivered on time AND one less thing that YOU have to do. Consider the value to your business that it is finished well and on time?

The decision to use telecommuting roles in your business model requires you to look into how you not only want to see your company’s daily operations work but also how to build a company that can meet your clients’ needs while reassuring yourself that your employees are on the same mission as you.  Freedom still needs to include satisfying the business owner that everyone is operating at peak performance. Know yourself well enough to know if you will be satisfied paying for the employees to meet your deadlines EVEN if they were eating bonbons. If you have the right team…YOU need to be able to let go.

Now GO! Grow!

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