What are TODAY'S real top priorities for both you and your company? They may
have changed since you last looked.
If you're busy slaying daily dragons, priorities can change without warning.
And you may not even notice -- until it's too late to do something about
it. Instead of dragons setting the agenda for you and your company, invest
ten minutes on this pop quiz.
Because either you, or your daily dragons, WILL control your Agenda for
It won't take long to review which of these thirteen major issues are the
most critical ones to your future. It's not complicated. Either print out
this page using your web browser software and circle them -- or just jot
down on a sheet of paper which ones are top priorities for you.
Biggest Problems Currently:
Almost by definition, your five biggest problems are those that are specific
to you and your company. Invariably, most, if not all, will be top priority
issues. Limit yourself to the five biggest ones here -- even if the list
seems much bigger.
Best Opportunities Currently:
Like the five biggest problems above, your best current opportunities are
going to be specific to you and specific to today. But are you really
giving them the top priority they deserve? Or, are your daily dragons
preventing you from focusing on them? Or, distracting you to the point
of even spending enough time to identify which are your five best current
New branches or stores
Growth can be positive or negative. Up or down. What, specifically,
have you planned for growth, or right sizing, that reflects today's
and tomorrow's reality for your company? Which of these issues,
if any, should be a top priority for your company today?
- Next month
- Next quarter
- Next year
- If you were to set goals today, which of these would be your
highest priority? Hint: one of these SHOULD be a top priority.
When was the last time you looked critically at yesterday's
goals to see if they still apply to today's reality?
Marketing & Sales:
- New products / markets
- Company image
One, or more, of these issues are usually top priorities
for nearly all of my clients. What proactive steps did your
company implement this month to measurably increase revenues
over the next six months? To introduce new products or
services? To identify and attack new markets for your existing
products or services? To compete more effectively? Caution: complacency
here can be fatal.
- Cash flow
- Capital formation
- Banking / credit
It isn't unusual for every
one of these issues to be a top priority item for
many of my clients. That's not surprising since inattention
to these issues, more than most others, will determine
if your business STAYS in business. Beyond meeting
this week's payroll, what exactly are your going
to be doing about these same issues six months from
now? To keep them from being on going problems? To
keep them from becoming a lethal dragon attack?
When was the last time you focused on potential,
major changes in your corporate goals? Issues
like these that could dramatically change the
way you do business? These may, or may not, be
applicable to your company. But stop here long
enough to give each at least a twenty second
mental review of their potential impact on your
Agenda. Are any of these issues top priority
- Legal issues
- Ticking time bombs
These are dragons that might look small
now but can take a fatal bite out of you
and your company. Some of them show up
on the balance sheet, some don't. Do you
have ticking time bombs in your company
that you know about? Ones you don't know
about? If so, when do you move them to
a high enough priority to solve them or
prepare for them? How long before detonation?
- Prospective investors
- Securities issues
- Going public
OK, so you now have investors, or want them. Or,
you have gone public. Are you prepared to deal with investors? To keep them
informed? To provide information that complies with securities law? Or, has
it already hit the fan? Which of these, if any, should be a top priority
for you? Have you been ignoring it, or them, anyway?
- Facility requirements
- Real estate issues
- Systems & procedures
These are some of the nit picky details of operations that may already
be major time eaters for you -- and a lot of your staff.
Are there more efficient ways to deal with these issues so you
can keep new dragons from hatching? Often, my clients find that they
don't have the in-house expertise or resources to address all of
these issues -- especially when the company has experienced significant
changes in the organization from either fast growth or down sizing.
What about your company? Which of these, if any, should be a high
priority issue? Which ones are costing you more money than they
should? Which ones properly reflect today's, and tomorrow's, reality?
You have dedicated and focused a lot of your recent life on
making your company survive and thrive. You have fought off all
the dragons, so far. But what is YOUR agenda for the future?
What are your long term plans and goals, personally, and
what are you doing to accomplish them? Are you personally taking
home the compensation that pays you for your effort? Assuming
the dragons don't get you first, what are you going to be
doing five years from today?
- New ideas
How do you stimulate your own creativity these days?
Do you still set aside time to really brainstorm
and facilitate new, fresh ideas? Should this be
a top priority for you? Do you ever have the time, or
help, to implement the best ideas you come up with?
Or, do they just sit on a shelf gathering dust until
your competition does something first?
Other Specific Agenda Items:
These are issues that
are totally specific to you and your company that
aren't covered in this Agenda otherwise. If you
can't think of anything for here, just remember
which dragons you had to fight during the last
couple of weeks. Which of those should be top priorities
on your list?
I hope you found this Agenda
for the Future both stimulating and worthwhile.
How many top priority issues ended up on your Agenda?
How are you going to tackle all of them? Do you
have the time, personally, or the internal resources
necessary to accomplish all of them in a timely manner?
With all these issues to worry about, no wonder they say it's lonely
at the top. Would it be worthwhile to you to have an additional senior level
resource available for only a five hundred dollar per month increase in your
current payroll costs? A service that you can cancel at any time? A resource
that can help you, the top executive, directly?