Sweet Smell of Success

How do YOU measure YOUR success? Is it by the amount of money you earn each year? Is it the ability to purchase large ticket items such as a larger home, a boat, or a vacation on a tropical island? Or is it reflective of the amount of time you can spend with your family?

No matter how you define your "success", in order for you to keeping achieving it, you must realize what works to motivate you to strive for that success.

For instance, gardeners may measure their success based on the health of their plants and flowers. They may ask "How many buds and blooms can I get my roses to produce this year?" "What will qualify me for the largest bloom award this year?" They will pay attention to what has worked in previous years such as types of foods used, water supply, light regulation, and maintenance of chemicals; then they will create a plan based on the past information to come up with a plan of success for this season.

Owning a business is really no different. Whether your business is small or large, if you want to ensure continued success, you must be able to discover what actions and motivations were used by your company in the past to produce positive results and how can they be encouraged to keep that focus for now and the future. So with your team in place, talk with them about the following key points and decide together on a plan you all can agree on:

  1. Have each person define what success looks like for their part of the business. Be able to communicate your ideas effectively with your teammates.
  2. Define what motivates each person to work towards the success of the business. Why do they want to see this business succeed?
  3. Write down any actions that have worked in the past. Instead of focusing exclusively on what problems exist, remember to keep the positive elements in place. These actions will help the team create goals for the company. Then add to the conversations about how to address concerns and challenges.
  4. Provide a timeline by which to measure the "health" of the goals. Revisit the goals periodically and remember why they were created - what was the end result to be achieved?
  5. Determine how you are going to keep yourselves accountable when working towards the goals. You may need to keep reminding each other that the goals exist for a reason and they are an important part of achieving your success.
  6. Feel good about any positive trend in achieving your goal. Completing the short term goals are very gratifying and can contribute to keeping the team motivated and feeling confident in themselves.

If anyone feels they have lost sight of their goals, of course it is time for some readjustments to get back on track. For instance, the gardener may need to change his chemical formula if the roses are being affected by a disease or insect not previously encountered. He may need to consult with a horticulturist to help identify what he could have done in the past to prevent this issue. I bet he will learn to account for this problem next time as well!

A business coach's job is similar to that of the horticulturist. The coach uses their expertise in business planning to help companies face and overcome challenges as well as keeping teams focused. Be willing to consult with a coach - it may be worth your time and money!

Once you get close to achieving the goals and ultimately the success you are striving for, remember to thank and reward your team. Everyone enjoys feeling appreciated for their efforts! As challenges come along, and you need to make specific changes, be careful about how drastic those changes are. Make sure they are well calculated and well thought out! Otherwise your rose bushes may not last through the next season!

Annette Wray, C.H.B.C.

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