In a time where everything moves rapidly and is constantly evolving, it can be easy to lose track of what’s happening in the day to day of your company. It’s important to know what’s going on within your team, your customers and your industry so you’re aware of the state of the business both internally and externally.
By staying on top of the following five areas, you can keep your finger on the pulse driving both continual success and the bottom line.
It’s important to be aware of your customers, in particular your top ones. They are a driving force for your company and it’s essential to build good relationships with them. Checking in with them on a regular basis is important – whether it’s a monthly phone call, or taking them for a beer on a Friday, keeping in touch reassures them that their ideas and challenges are being heard.
It’s equally important to be aware of customers from an internal perspective. Spend time with your customer service team understanding the feedback and challenges they are facing in their job. Whether it’s emails, phone calls, social media or in person, you should be aware of the feedback that’s coming through to the business. It’s not all negative though – doing so can help you understand customer ideas and positive feedback, as well as the challenges. Every piece is important to understand the bigger picture.
Surround yourself with a team that is open and honest with you and will tell you the truth. It’s important to have people who are willing to share their ideas and challenges – and ensure that you listen to them carefully and with an open mind when they do so. Seeing these people on a regular basis is also crucial. At realestate.co.nz I have weekly WIP’s with my direct reports as a channel for regular communication. Seeing them in person is also important as it allows you to get a gauge for how they are doing with the workload as well as life in general. Over the phone it’s easy to miss signals that in person would be easy to read. They don’t have to be long, a quick half an hour coffee is enough to touch base and get a feel for how things are going.
Reference checks and exit interviews
When it comes to reference checks and exit interviews it’s easy to let recruiters do the work for you, but it’s more valuable to do these yourself. Receiving reference checks of potential candidates versus speaking to someone yourself are two very different things. Speaking to someone allows you the opportunity to read further into the situation and ask the right questions to ensure you’re getting the right fit for the role and your business. The same goes for exit interviews – it’s easy for someone to say one thing but mean another. If you do these yourself, it allows you to read the situation and ask the questions you want answers to. Keep in mind you won’t always be the best person though – if it’s one of your direct reports it’s best to allow another trusted and honest team member to take this on for you, so that you receive honest answers.
Attending a variety of conferences within and outside your industry allows you to keep up with what’s happening in the world and how it can impact your business. Inside your industry conferences allow you to network with like-minded business people and explore trends and ways forward for your business. Outside your industry is important as it provides a different perspective and allows an opportunity for lateral thinking. The insights gained can be applied to opportunities or challenges within your own business.
Read and listen
You can never read too much. There’s no excuse for not taking the time to educate yourself on trends and what’s happening in the industry, as it’s available everywhere. It doesn’t just have to be books – it can be websites, news articles, LinkedIn posts or audio books that you can listen to on your commute to work. Again it’s important to look past your industry or job specific content. The more you read outside of what you know the more you broaden your thinking. Look for a variety of authors, topics and trends to give yourself a big picture view of your industry and beyond.