Although this sector necessarily overlaps with other three it requires special attention. Here we look at the quality and quantity of our people. Do we have too few or too many? Who are our best performers? Are our best players playing the right positions? Do we have team players playing the key positions? How good is morale? Are we developing our people, making them better? Do we evaluate them regularly and fairly? Do we have the right structure for our company?
This may seem like a lot of items to consider, but if you talk them through with your colleagues you will be surprised how much consensus there will likely be. From here we, again, we chart a direction, planning the implementation of changes in the personnel arena.
Where are we in sales and customer service? What is our current client base, and how well are we serving them? Do we have a sufficiently tight grip on those clients or could they leave us quickly? What are our sales projections for the coming year? What should they be?
Basic to this process is a specific assessment of our current sales and customer service departments in size and effectiveness and action plans for making necessary improvements.
On the equipment front, we need to know what we have, what condition it is in, and what we need and can afford. Clearly, this sector must mesh with finance and sales because the three are interdependent.
You Make The Call
Once you have gone through these steps here is what you will get: Consensus on many items; some variation on others; and some without any thread of common agreement. What you will definitely get is some insights that you did not have when you started. You will hear some things—good or bad—that will be news to you and that you needed to hear.
In many instances the consensus will make decision-making easy. In other cases, crying for a determination you will have to put on the pants and make the call. Try to build support but let everyone know that there will be spots in which they will all have to back a decision only you can make.
Obviously, you can spread the workload and streamline the assessment process by having the various managers of the sectors prepare reports for presentation and discussion. Nonetheless, be sure all participants contribute to the review of each area. The aim is unity of purpose--one company business plan.
Once done, schedule monthly meetings with your team to assess progress. These "accountability" sessions both enable your people to stay focused and committed, as well as allow you to make necessary course corrections along the way. Be careful of the latter, however, because if you start fiddling with the plan too much it will disappear in substance and significance like that once large Thanksgiving turkey.
Finally, wherever possible, share the business game plan with the rest of the company. Remember, in many respects you are mainly the coaches, they are the players. They need to know the game plan. They are the ones who are going to win it for you.