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Articulate and group your goals
Articulate and group your goals

Happier and more productive leadership

Last month, DOUG FLEENER recommended switching your ‘to-do’ list to a ‘to-don’t’ list! Here, he concludes his two-part series, discussing how to transform work styles to achieve ultimate efficiency.

Last month I wrote that it’s not usually the evolution of a business that causes an owner or manager to be stressed or overwhelmed, but the lack of evolution in the way a person approaches his or her job. I covered four ways to be a happier and more productive manager. These were as follows:

Accept that your work will rarely be done; time management is neither the problem nor the solution; what you have to manage is not time but priorities; and delegating more isn’t enough.

Now, it’s time for the fifth and perhaps most crucial tip, and that’s to take your work and leadership to a new level.

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed is a sign that it’s time to make changes. Owners start out doing everything in their store but they switch it up as the business grows – they bring on more people and adjust how they work. They’re more successful but they’ve stopped evolving, while the business evolves around them. Soon, stress sets in.

Store managers go through the same type of experience when they are promoted to the next management position.

Any new levels should be dictated by what you need to achieve, not the tasks and jobs you do. Here’s my five-step approach.

1. Articulate your goals

Identify the outcomes you must drive to be successful in the future. These could be increasing sales by seven per cent, expanding a product line or introducing a new one, getting fully-staffed for the holidays, increasing Facebook followers by 200 per cent or something else entirely.

Write until you have nothing left to write. Don’t worry about feeling overloaded, as the next step is to scale the list down.

2. Group similar outcomes
"Removing your barriers could mean hiring another employee. Yes, that costs money but not achieving your priorities is costing you more"

Take a step back and look at which outcomes and results relate to each other. For instance, increasing your email capture rate, Facebook followers and transaction rates might all go together.

Name these groups of related goals with titles like, “Achieve all sales targets”, “Improve merchandising selection and presentation”, and “Increase teamwork and staff morale”.

Try to keep your goals to no more than four or five groups.

3. Define your actions

Identify three to five actions you must take to achieve these ‘group goals’. If possible, attach dates to each action. As an example, under “Achieve all sales targets” you might identify the following:

  • Teach a class on how to increase ADS (average daily spend) by $70 next month.
  • Launch a buddy programme for top-producing employees to help other employees be more productive.
  • Run at least two contests or games each week.
  • Launch five-minute ‘product of the day’ training for sales staff.
  • Spend at least 45 minutes each day on the floor, coaching sales skills.

These are your priorities – the things you need to make sure happen. It doesn’t mean you’re doing every task associated with them but you’re responsible for delivering on these actions.

4. Identify distractions

Identifying what’s keeping you from your priorities is essential. Keep a daily work journal. At the end of the day, rate out of ten how well you met your priorities.

Be happy any time you give yourself a seven or higher. It’s retail so we’re always going to be pulled away from one task to deal with something else.

When you score below a seven, identify two to three causes. Do this for two weeks and you’ll easily see the barriers to your success. It could be that you’re spending too many hours on a newsletter. Sometimes the cause can be as simple as not carving out time in your office.

5. Remove the barriers to success

Now you need to determine how to remove those barriers. Some people jump to this step but if you don’t identify and attack the root causes, you can’t make a lasting change.

Removing your barriers could mean hiring another employee. Yes, that costs money but not achieving your priorities is costing you more. If you don’t control staffing, ask others on your team to start taking on more responsibilities. This isn’t delegating; it’s actively changing roles and staff structure.

I guarantee that whatever it is, you control the changes you need to make. You just have to understand exactly what has to happen in order for you to work at a higher level. Are you ready?

Doug Fleener

Contributor • Sixth Star Consulting

Doug Fleener is the author of a new book titled The Day Makes The Year (Makes The Life). Learn more:

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