Are You Operating Your Company on Autopilot?

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Do you ever wonder what your company would look like if you had to start over from scratch? As year-end approaches, this is a healthy question for you and your team to consider. The world is in a constant state of flux. The U.S. economy has slowed, global markets are in chaos, financial requirements are more stringent and debt is harder to secure; employees are seeking more work/life balance and costs are rising. All of these things have an impact on your business. If, you are not continually evaluating the landscape and reengineering your business to meet the needs of your customers, you run the risk of losing market share to your competitors.

As part of your annual planning process, consider devoting time to research your customer’s needs and perceptions about your products and services. Evaluate your market position. Is it appropriate? What actions are your competitors taking to strengthen their value proposition with your customers? Are you providing the products and services your customers desire? Do you have the right people with the right skill sets on board? Is your organizational structure aligned with your business strategy/financial plan?

Uncovering answers to these questions requires time and effort and should be supported by data and fact, not gut feeling or people’s perceptions. Assign specific research to each team member. Expect that time will be spent prior to the planning session to gather data, summarize and evaluate results. Expect recommendations for consideration based on the findings. Only after this information is known and understood are you in a position to utilize it in the development of your strategy.

In addition to providing a solid foundation for strategy development, this exercise provides an opportunity for employee development by strengthening the leadership skills of those involved in the activity. It provides an opportunity for employees to challenge the status quo and enables teams to bring an innovative and fresh approach to the business which should substantially enhance the company’s position in the market.

Disengage your autopilot today. Challenge your leadership team to become active participants in the process and watch your company soar through 2012!

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