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Strategic Planning for the Upcoming New Year

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Though it’s only October, there’s no denying that the new year is coming swiftly upon us. Soon enough, business owners will be wrapped up in the whirlwind of the holidays. While spending time with loved ones is important, so is strategic planning for next year.

Getting a head start on evaluating your business will let you enjoy quality time with family and get a great start in 2019. Check these 5 items off your to-do list:

1. Perform a SWOT Analysis

Take time at the end of the year to complete a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and use the data to drive your strategic planning. Compare the results to the strategic plan you set at the beginning of 2018, then decide what parts worked and what parts didn’t. Take an honest look at where you are, where you want to be, and how you plan to get there. The safest way to take a journey is with a great roadmap, and a SWOT analysis can help you create one.

2. Make a Plan to Renew Your Knowledge

If you’ve already had training in strategic planning, or you’d like to start from scratch, the new year is a great time to seek out resources, trainings, and conventions to help you get started. Working with a business coach can give you incredible access to expertise, as well as a sounding board dedicated to helping you achieve the goals you’ve set for your business.

3. Keep an Eye Open for New Talent

Around the holidays, other business owners can start to get distracted. Stay sharp and keep an eye out for talent that would be swooped up quickly any other time of year. Make a real hiring push during the holidays, and you’re sure to see talented recruits that are looking for work.

4. Create Your Budget

This one’s pretty obvious. At the end of the year, create your budget for the following year. Spend time looking at where your money went the year before, and if those expenses were worth the investment. If not, the new year is the perfect time to start weeding out unnecessary expenditure.

5. Make a Resolution to Roundtable

Though it seems cliche, the magic of the holidays just might be what it takes to follow through on your 2019 resolution. One of the best resolutions you can make for yourself and your business is participate in a business owner roundtable. The goal of the business owner roundtable is to bring together a small peer group. Once everyone is laser-focused on the goals, the focus shifts to the hot topics on every business owner’s plate, including demystifying financials, developing key performance indicators, and strategic planning.

Want to make a professional resolution that will change your life? Work with a business coach. Catalyst Group ECR can help you get off on the right foot in 2019, with advice and coaching for every strategic planning decision that you make. Get in touch and learn more about how a business coach can improve the life of your business.

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Professional Business Coach

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Professional Business Coach

Are you ready to take the plunge with a professional business coach? Taking the next step can be a big decision, but one that’s worth your time if you’re willing to put in the work.

While a professional business coach can help you become a more creative, well-rounded manager, they’re not right for everyone. There are pros and cons to taking on any kind of coaching. See if you’re ready to make the jump:

Pros:

  • A business coach can help you become more empathetic and understanding, which can lead to a healthier business culture. Having a deep and meaningful understanding of the struggles and triumphs of every level in your business opens doors to a more cooperative working environment.
  • Coaching can help you become more open to feedback. When you work with customers, feedback, both positive and negative, is inevitable. The ability to dissect and grow from that feedback is an absolute necessity if you want to continue to satisfy those who do business with you.
  • The lessons you learn with your coach can spill over into your personal life. Being a business leader isn’t all that different from being a leader in your own life. The ability to quickly make decisions, find creative solutions, and compromise has endless applications outside of the office.

Cons:

  • You shouldn’t expect your coach to be a miracle solution or a quick fix. Coaching with any skill takes time, effort, and resources from both parties. While any coach worth their salt is going to give you their best every time you meet, you must be willing to reciprocate. A coaching call once every 3-4 months just isn’t going to cut. You have to keep to a schedule that allows for results.
  • If you’re not willing to open up about your struggles as a manager, you’re not going to benefit from a coach. No business leader is perfect. That’s just the facts. We all have issues and weaknesses that should be assessed, discussed, and improved upon. Entering into a successful coaching situation requires a close relationship.
  • You must be able to define what coaching success looks like for you. It’s not an indefinite service. It should have a definite ending date, with the goals that you hope to accomplish by that time. If you can’t communicate what you’re trying to get out of the relationship, you’re going to have a hard time getting started and an even harder time seeing clear results.

Think you fit the bill for help from a professional business coach? Give Lori Moen a call and get started on improving your abilities as a business leader.

 

Coffee cup on top of goal setting calendar

5 Categories of Leadership Objectives for Goal Setting

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We’ve discussed quite often the necessity of setting clear goals for yourself and for your business. Without goals, it can feel like you’re constantly reacting to situations as they occur, without a clear path for where you’re going next. That’s why major publications, like Entrepreneur, commonly puts out articles about the importance of setting goals and doing so the right way.  Catalyst Group ECR can not only help you set those goals, but also with narrowing down exactly what your leadership objectives should be. There are hundreds of different skills that business leaders could work on, but we’ve narrowed it down to 10 that we feel can be implemented quickly and easily.

1. KNOWLEDGE

Grow your personal database of knowledge and resources about your sector. Read the most recent information on data and trends using Google Scholar to find academic articles. Pick up the latest business “self-help” book to figure out what others are doing and finding success with.

2. PRODUCTIVITY

Work with your team to find the most common causes of workplace distraction and discuss solutions for eliminating those distractions. Unproductive workers cost the company valuable time, money, and resources, but sometimes the problem is in the system, not in the worker. If mandatory weekly meetings conflict with ongoing deadlines, that’s something that management needs to know about and improve upon.

3. COMMUNICATION

Work with a coach to find better ways to speak to your team and your clients, both verbally and in writing. The art of using words to communicate ideas comes down to more than what you say- it’s about how you say it. You may be completely unaware of the messages that you’re giving with your tone and body language, and becoming aware can have a major, positive impact on the way that you express yourself.

4. COACHING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

You’re not the only person who could benefit from the expertise of advisors and coaches, like Lori Moen of Catalyst Group ECR. Work with your team to figure out what skills they are interested in growing and set up coaching appointments to help them do that. Allow ownership of the coaching process, without interfering too much with choosing those skills. You’ll find that your team grows in confidence when they feel that they are in charge of their professional development.

5. VALUES AND CULTURE

Sometimes, though it can be difficult to admit, our team’s level of motivation comes from the culture of the business. Taking the time to nail down the values, principles, and culture of your company can help everyone remain accountable. Remember, though, that you are just as responsible for maintaining that culture as everyone else. If one of your values is that everyone treats the other with respect, you must also be willing to follow that rule.

4 Steps for Setting Attainable Leadership Goals

Once you’ve hired a business coach, it’s time to get down to the brass tacks: Setting goals and achieving those goals. It’s not enough to simply state that you’re going to be a better leader. You need to think specific and think within the realm of possibility. Here’s your guide to setting attainable leadership goals in 4 steps:

Step 1: Dream

Where are you and where do you want to be? Of course, the first step requires evaluating what your strengths and weaknesses are as a leader prior to beginning your training. While it can be difficult to be honest and candid with yourself and with your leadership coach, it’s important not to sugarcoat your skills, as it will not provide accurate data and feedback.

Step 2: Measure

Determine how you’ll measure your progress. One way to do this is quantifying your data. Rank yourself on a scale of 1-10 for each of your goals in terms of how skilled you are at them. Continue to rank yourself throughout the term of your growth, then chart and compare. It can feel amazing to see a tangible piece of evidence that says, “You’ve done it!” or “It’s time to get it together.”

Step 3: Set Goals

Choose goals that motivate you. It’s no use picking goals that you’re not passionate about. It is incredibly difficult to be motivated to do something that we hate and convincing ourselves that our success should be measured on how well we do a hated activity isn’t quite fair. Instead, choose goals that you’re excited to engage with. For example, someone who loves numbers might set a goal to become better at sharing enumeration data. Someone who loves to work a crowd might set a goal to be more engaging for his team. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s important to YOU.

Step 4: Be Accountable

Share your goals with others to help maintain accountability. One of the best ways to do this is to be open and candid with your work team. Share with them that you’ve been working on becoming a better leader and that you’d like to get some feedback on how you’ve been doing. While not every comment or suggestion will be what you want to hear, understanding an outsider’s perspective on your progress is one of the most valuable ways to determine that the change is happening.

Get in touch with Catalyst Group ECR to start setting attainable leadership goals!