Exceeding business goals can be a real challenge, whether it's sales targets or production quotas. Most business objectives have been carefully calculated, and processes for realizing them have to pass through many hands. People tend to rely on their gut instincts and take gambles, or put in long hours that leave them exhausted. But given each quarter is a three-month window for improvement, the adage "work smarter, not harder" applies. Here are 5 tips to exceeding quarterly goals that you should explore from day one.
1. Get a Data-driven Quarterly Projection
Don't base your plans on guesses or sheer optimism. Your first step should be utilizing historical data to get some scheduling expectations based on past performance for all involved teams and departments. Analyze instances of both what went wrong and what worked. Come up with some "what if" solutions that make sense for sustaining momentum, and get managers on board. Try to come up with day-by-day forecasts together that will give you early warning if things seem to be slipping.
2. Risk Assessment
Every plan should involve a level of risk assessment and risk management. Determine what your priorities are and scale the inherent risks. Pessimism is not a bad thing if it means preparing for the worst, and preparing well in advance. Do your best to ensure there are enough resources in place should things go sour with any given weak point, whether its mechanical failures, waste, or staffing issues. Have contingency plans such as cross-training or reallocation of materials to ensure workflow continues on schedule. Strategically, success is about having enough to get the job done in the right place at the right time.
Motivate and engage your employees. Communicate your vision and let them know their roles, responsibilities, and expectations of performance. Keep them informed of progress by regular updates through meetings, emails, intranets, or any other channels at your disposal. Encourage feedback. Be sure to offer congratulations, recognition, or rewards where they're merited by outstanding effort, ideas, or performance. It's important that leadership ensures that everyone share the same mission and have some incentive to excel.
This is the application of game-like techniques and game principles to non-game situations to stimulate engagement toward greater productivity and satisfaction. Employee gamification has been used successfully in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, financial services, and government. It's also a beneficial approach to brainstorming, innovation, or employee training programs. Contact gamification professionals to see how these techniques can be integrated into employee management platforms to boost productivity.
5. Customer Surveys
The ultimate judges of your progress are your customers, so it pays to get their feedback on any changes and consequent results. Are they happy with promptness of service? Quality? Support? If they aren't, you're losing sales and the best employee efforts won't matter. Make sure your vision is not having an adverse effect on customer satisfaction or company branding by constantly conducting interviews, surveys, or asking for online feedback via forms or social media. How well your business visions align with customer expectations is an important factor in determining their value.
In the end, it's about the bottom line. Motivations and strategies that exceed goals are of far less value if they require too much investment in man-hours or materials, or undermine other aspects of business. It's often a fine balancing act, which is why many solutions need to be data-driven to provide justification and measure progress. Yet anything that leads to more efficient, better-motivated employees - and happy customers - is bound to have a positive effect in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed this article on some tips to exceed your quarterly business goals.
Interested in more business management articles?
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Best Of Luck In Business To You All!
Michael J. Schiemer of Schiemer Consulting
Enthusiastic Entrepreneur & Owner of Frugal Business
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