50 days till Christmas, how is your 2018 strategy coming?

50 days till Christmas is the total amount of days left yet how many working days are left in the year?  How is your strategy coming?

There are 38 working days left in the 2018 year.

So before time turns the hands of the clock, now is the opportunity to review your strategy you wrote in January and see how close or far you’ve come.

Whilst most people are feeling the weight of the year, now is the opportunity to finish strong and start 2019 with a bang.

This article provides some management review questions to help “checklist” your efforts.

  • Past, Present and Future
  • Performance tools
  • Leaving it better than you found it

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Past, Present and Future

A glance over your shoulder

So in January you had a strategic plan for the year, right?  Maybe a little later in the year?  No?!

Don’t worry, it happens many managers.  So now is the time to correct the issue.  Take 30 minutes out of your day and here’s your checklist.

  1. Risk register
  2. Operational performance
  3. Disruptors

This is your past present and future sense check.

With 50 days left, you can get a head-start on 2019 or if you have been disciplined you have 32 days to clear the decks strategically.

If you want to know more about a risk register, here is a description.

 

50 days till Christmas, where you are now

Operational metrics give you the ability to instantly peer into the business to see where things are.

The first thing you should be able to do is inspect your operational numbers without the need for someone to generate you a report and send it to you.

Modern Software as a Service solutions mean you should be able to instantly see where the business is.

With 32 days left, now may be the time to get a system that lets you have that visibility.

 

If you have that visibility can you compare month on month how you’ve been performing?

With month on month performance, where can operational enhancements be realised.  Metrics are key to this.

Now that you’ve inspected the metrics you already have access to, step back and become an actor.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and sense check, do my metrics measure the bits that are important to my customers.

 

What’s round the corner

Whilst if you were going to ask Santa for something this year ask for Clairvoyance, the ability to see the future.

If that isn’t an option, trending and disruptors are the most enlightening while you still have 50 days till Christmas.

Quality assurance programs will help you trend your business and see how things are progressing.

 

When you want to be able to see what is coming market research can ask your customers what they want.

Market research doesn’t have to be an enormous complicated task but it can make your strategical planning in January 2019 far more effective.

You have time left to accomplish these tasks and today is the best day to start.

If you want to try a new idea, put it in your sandbox and get ahead of your idea development.  Why not build a prototype?

 

Performance tools

Being captain of the ship

As a manager people look to you and ask “where are we going?”  So having an idea of a road trip not only helps you but also your team.

There are four areas before you go on a trip to consider:  With 50 days till Christmas you have 32 days * 8 working hours = 256 working hours left this year.

You can choose to start your journey in 2019 or you can get a quick sprint in with the time you have left.

  • Health of your equipment
  • The state of your crew
  • Your passengers mindset
  • What is on the route ahead

 

Health of your equipment

This year saw the introduction of GDPR and its associated regulations.

Are all your systems keeping themselves tidy?  Is everyone concentrating and keeping themselves tidy?

Don’t waste time spring cleaning when you could come back to work and it clean and ready to use in 2019.

Use your 50 days till Christmas to get ahead.  Is all your data flowing into your data warehouse before people in January come looking for data.

If you need better tools for 2019, now is the time to research whats available.

 

Quite often people believe that as you approach the end of the year, with less hours of daylight, everything is a bit slower.  That is not true for technology.

How long does it take for your computer to boot up in the morning?  Minutes?  With solid state hard drives your machine should boot in under 60 seconds.

Tidiness and maintenance like that on your car is due your PC.  Tools like CCleaner are free and can massively help speed up your machine.

Have your servers been tidied / cleaned and prepped for optimum performance.

 

FolderSize is a visual tool which lets you know where all the files are in your machine are.  With a bit of review you end up asking… “why is that folder so big?”

Throughput shows how much data has gone through a database, web server, application server.  Has your throughput gone up this year.

Will it continue to rise, if so, what’s the plan for either the slow down when you hit capacity or increase your capabilities.

 

The state of your crew

50 days till Christmas are staff champing at the bit to get out of there?  Why should your team want to be away from you?

How will your team think of you as a manager and your business over the Christmas.  January is a time for introspection and examining the job market.

Plant the seeds of “you want to be here” so that over the Christmas they sprout when no one is around.

 

Most people will be looking forward to the Christmas party.  The annual outing where the team can let their hair down and build memories other than desk side ones.

Often managers concentrate on equipment and technology and what the customers think.  When was the last time you ask the crew what they think?

Post It note exercises allow staff provide management with honest feedback and can be your greatest source of inspiration and planning for 2019.

Coming up with individualised training plans by staff shows you care as a manager and will reap the rewards of improved delivery.

What is in your suggestion box?  What the company notice board been reviewed and what will it host to start 2019?

 

Your passengers mindset

Customers are your life blood.  They choose to be with you and they choose to pay you for your services and products.

Saying thanks is the least you can do.  CES and NPS programs can give you an idea of what your customers think about that specific interaction.

50 days till Christmas… panic… buy everything.  The Christmas shopping rush and present planning are all on your customers mind at the moment.

Hassles and joys of family Christmas’s can dominate a lot of minds.  Yet you need to think about personal interactions over the festival period.

Are you going to have promoters or detractors?

 

Remember that when you go to wish your customer’s a merry Christmas, you can also ask them for their opinions.

“We appreciate your business in 2018.  What could we do for you in 2019?  Where can we go together?”

Give your customers something to mentally look forward to in 2019 and a positive outlook about over the Christmas.

Don’t leave it to a last minute quick Christmas card which appears as an afterthought rather than the opportunity to chat Christmas gives you and your business.

 

What is on the route ahead

Staying ahead of the game is not just 50 days till Christmas, it’s about what next year holds.

Your Risk Register is a great place to start.  What risks can you mitigate within your means?

 

Your market research of just chatting to your customers and your staff could be a massive source of inspiration.

 

For what is possible then tools such as Gartners and Forresters research papers are a good place to read.

Magic Quadrants for the tools you have and use are so useful to sense check against what we can / can’t do.

 

It’s industry award season at the end of the year, so find your industry awards and look at who won what… but more importantly … why?

Consequently, if you’re not leading, you’re losing.  There is only one 1st place… what did they do better?

Come 1st?  then what did your competitors do that you didn’t.

 

Leaving it better than you found it

Finally Robert Baden Powell was a soldier, writer and founder of the world Scouting movement.

As a former scout leader he left me with a long lasting quote.

As part of his “Last Message” in 1941 he writes

“Leave this world a little better than you found it.”

 

You have 50 days till Christmas.  If you need better tools to help, now is the time to get them ready for 2019.

So if you can leave 2018 a little better than it started, when 2019 comes you will be able to look back with pride and know you finished strong.

You have time, the question is what are you going to do with it?

If you need a dig out… ask… your team, your management, your company or me.  Ask and finish 2018 strong.

If there’s anything in this article you’d like to chat to me about you can contact me here or on social media.

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