Do you ever look at something going on in your business and decide that, whatever it is, it’s “good enough?” As any successful manager will tell you, “good enough” never is. You have to set the bar higher, both for your big picture goals and for the details of your day-to-day operation. It’s often the fine brush strokes, after all, that distinguish a work of art from discount prints. The same principle holds true in business management.
Examples of details going unchecked abound. If you’re like most managers, you can find a shortcoming or two in your own operation. And that’s exactly what you should do – break out the figurative white gloves and closely critique your operation. Take these steps to address what you discover:
Write it down. Take note of everything that needs to be done, no matter how large or small. Don’t worry if the list runs on and on. Think of each item as an opportunity to improve your operation. As the old saying goes: “If you can get 1% better every day, where will you be in 100 days?”
Form a plan. Once you’ve finished the list, arrange the tasks in the order you want them completed. Determine deadlines for each item and spread them out evenly over several days, weeks, or months, depending on the magnitude of what needs to be done. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Successful business management takes perseverance.
Get your team involved. Don’t lecture employees or send the impression that you’re not pleased with the work they’ve been doing. Be positive and upbeat. Emphasize the importance of managing the details, using concrete examples and anecdotes from your own experience. Give the people who need to be involved specific tasks. Follow up and, for ongoing tasks, set interim checkpoints that will help you monitor progress.
Reward jobs well done. Identify the resources you’ll need to meet those deadlines. As tasks are completed, compliment the appropriate employees in private and in public. What gets rewarded gets completed. Consider establishing an incentive that also reinforces productive behaviors.