As business leaders it is natural to want our employees to maintain a clear focus on company direction and their priorities. However, we know we too struggle to maintain focus and discipline even though it is our company and responsibility. This is why many business leaders call upon their CFO’s (internal or virtual) to develop and maintain effective company scorecards to retain focus and staff motivation.
However, although scorecards are often the single most effective strategy for keeping teams in synch and focused, they require time and effort to get right and this article focuses on other strategies that can provide help on the focus front.
In addition to company scorecards there are several effective and timeless ways to keep companies and their employees focused and accountable:
Let’s begin with one that took me a long time to buy into but I became a big believer in as I began to coach and mentor a lot of companies. Company Vision helps to align the organisation on a clear focal point. Too often in my earlier career I saw Company Vision Statements used poorly. More accurately, they were created, written, published on a few placards and new employee documents and never distributed further.
If you want your employees to stay energised and focused on the right topics, ensure you have a vision that is compelling and it is referred to clearly and consistently. Every quarter, the entire company needs to hear it again and see how the leadership team utilises it as a guide for planning and decision making. They say you need to repeat the Company Vision Statement seven times before it is heard for the first time by an employee and then repeated consistently after that. Time and again I have found this to be accurate as a business coach.
If you are feel your current Company Vision Statement is no longer applicable it is time to dust it off and figure out a compelling reiteration for the business. If that angle doesn’t work, try clarifying why the business should exist in the first place, what dent can it make in your universe? You want to find something to stand for – otherwise you won’t stand for anything.
BUILDING FOCUS THROUGH ACCOUNTABILITY
Not feeling the desire to use a Company Vision to rally and focus the troops? A second strategy is a bit more practical and that is clarifying your company’s Accountability Chart. If this terminology sounds unfamiliar, an Accountability Chart is similar to an organisational chart. However, it begins from a clean slate, defining the correct structure of the company, independent of the current staff members and their roles. It then identifies the key deliverables for each department to support the running of the overall company. Here’s an example of a living and breathing accountability chart from one of our clients.
This Accountability Chart definition is a great exercise for business leaders to do when they begin to feel like things are getting complicated or convoluted within their organisations. In fact, it is often our starting point when helping leaders gain more control over their company from a CFO’s perspective.
The final step of the Accountability Chart process is to the attempt to put your current people into the updated company structure and to assign required deliverables. This is often a revealing exercise – especially when you ask yourself whether the person has:
- The capacity to understand the position
- The ability to do the necessary activities
- The desire to do what is required
These three questions should be asked of all of your employees when reviewing the viability of the person within their role. When there isn’t a match weaknesses likely already exist in your organisation. And even if not immediately, as you begin to structure your company correctly these issues will come to light.
Identifying these problems sooner rather than later is a blessing and something a CFO coaching process tries to illuminate. Yes, you will need to have some difficult conversations, but everyone will be happier in the end – I can promise you!
A final strategy to maintain focus is to understand that none of us can remain focused for more than 90 days. We need good-quality planning sessions each quarter to update our required focus for the next quarter. If your staff are going more than 90 days without a strong refocusing session it is nearly impossible to maintain focus and accountability.
Your company should work on quarterly cycles. This is an absolute necessity in business. Few things are as black and white in business and if you are not seeing it, there is a blockage of some sort that we would be happy to aid you in identifying the blind spot. If you feel any resistance or confusion around this concept please contact Better Financial Control to arrange a coaching session for this process.
Any of these three strategies can help you generate more focus and accountability. Improving several of the areas discussed will have a synergistic effect. One of your key roles as a business leader is to help your team maintaining focus and unifying their efforts as one.
Contact Better Financial Control today to learn more ways of optimising your team, your business and your strategies through experienced business coaching.