DO’S AND DON’TS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS IN 2021
Like many of us in NZ I enjoyed my time away over the festive season break and got to do those things that fill my tank in relation to hanging with whānau and friends. Coupled with that I enjoyed doing the things that I see as holiday differentiators – catching waves, doing dive-bombs, reading books, and enjoying a sundowner.
This time away also gave me plenty of opportunities to engage with a myriad of businesses, who still are yet to have a break (thank you bakeries, airlines, dairies, cafés, etc.), but are making hay while they can in these uncertain times, especially after an often tough 2020.
While switching off for a few weeks was awesome, I couldn’t help reflecting on all of these interactions and in the unpredictable year that we are starting, contemplate what we need to be focusing on as business leaders/ owners.
And because I am still getting used to wearing shoes again and stringing together meaningful sentences, I thought some musings on Do’s and Don’t would be a good way to start a discussion on what we need to be considering as we almost enter the second month of 2021.
DO continue to challenge the way you have done business, whether that’s how you engage with customers, through to allowing employees the flexibility to be as productive as possible at both work and home.
DON’T expect the pendulum to return to where it was – is it reasonable to expect people to lose multiple hours EVERY day to commutes and customers to return to your store front when a click will do?
DO articulate a compelling ‘why’ and what’s in it for the members of your team if you want to reach this aspiration.
DON’T just expect your employees to be automatically onboard with where you are heading, they have a choice and they need to feel a connection to where you are looking to go.
DO challenge the value you deliver as a business. Is it really helping you to meet customer needs or just creating unnecessary noise and distraction? (yes an ice cream at a takeaways works, but arguably not in a chemist – love small town NZ!).
DON’T prioritise work activities based on what may have worked pre-Covid and even during 2020, but rather where you see the customer need moving forward.
DO continue to capture robust customer information and insights to guide decisions and increase the speed of implementing those decisions.
DON’T leave it up to historic relationships, the way it had always been done or a felt understanding of your customers – behaviours have had to change.
DO continue to create the required clarity around roles and responsibilities, especially while going through transformation (whether growth or reduction focused).
DON’T expect people to continue to expend discretionary effort without some clarity of focus on what they are doing (and WHY).
DO build the right team around you, involve them in discussions, give them the skills to contribute and empower them to be a part of the future.
DON’T drop into the detail, becoming the task master, steamrolling people and not reflecting on unintended consequences of your actions (now is the time when talent will up and leave).
DO praise the team. Everyone is playing their part in delighting customers (seen all over NZ’s holiday spots). Even though you may go a little further with high performers, everyone needs to know they are important.
DON’T tolerate poor performance. Get on to it early and while it can be tough, the consequences on customers (e.g. the variance in customer service across NZ is extreme) and employees isn’t worth delaying the inevitable.
And just because I was particular moved by David Attenborough’s latest book/ documentary:
DON’T jump straight back in your car or on a plane.
DO continue to challenge the impact we are having on the world and commit to doing things that protect our beaches, lakes, bush and rivers.
Happy 2021 everyone, those were my early thoughts around influencing some of the things I can do to set up for a successful year.