Stay flexible. Change will be constant. New opportunities will present themselves. Unexpected challenges will throw themselves at you. Be ready to duck, bob, weave, side step, and hop-scotch. Agility is power.
Stay alert to your own environment. Even carefully watching the trends, we can't predict everything that will happen to you and your company. Futurists work at the "30,000 foot" level; corporate leaders operate at the mountain top level. Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground.
Practice "Future Thinking." Always look ahead in everything you do. Anticipate, project. Consider the future consequences of every decision you make. Train and encourage your executives, managers, and supervisors to think the same way. Build this kind of active futures perspective into your company's culture.
Clarify your mission. While consultants have preached the importance of mission statements ad nauseum, a surprising number of companies still have not put their purpose on paper. Involve all your people in the creation-or confirmation-of your mission. Crystallize your reason for being, and your direction into the future. People support what they help to create.
Streamline your company. Sell, spin-off, discard diverse businesses that are not central to your core business. Consider establishing divisions or tangential business as separate businesses on their own, partnering through strategic alliances. Outsource functions you don't need to support in-house.
Raise your standards. Clearly define your standards for employee qualifications and performance. Gain acceptance and support first from your leadership team, then "sell" the standards to everyone. Recognize that some of your current employees may not meet your newly-delineated standards. They may be forced out by peer pressure.
Bring every employee up to--or above--standard. This task may not be as easy to achieve as you might wish. You will be tempted to waive some requirements or let some people "get by." Every time you do this, you risk dropping your standards for everyone. If people are not working up to your standards, you'd be wise to give them a creative career redirection opportunity.
Tighten your hiring practices. No more warm bodies. No more hiring the best available. Every person hired must meet your standards. No exceptions. This practice sends a very clear message that you won't allow anyone who may drag you down to become a part of your organization. By adhering to this rule, you reinforce the high performance of your current employees.
Recruit aggressively. Don't wait until you have an opening to recruit qualified applicants. Always have a list of screened potential employees, ready to call when you have the right opportunity for them. Use internships, co-op programs, and similar tools to subtly recruit and evaluate future employees. Develop your succession planning-for all positions--to assure full utilization of your in-bred potential.
Strengthen your coaching. Educate and train all management people to coach their team members on an ongoing basis. Focus on helping each worker learn how to improve per-formance. Continuous improvement is much more effective than annual appraisal alone.
Critically examine your organizational structure. Is your company structured in a way that is optimal for your smooth operation? Does it support productivity, accountability, and profitability? If not, make the changes that will concentrate your energies for results. Consider engaging an outside professional to give you an objective perspective. Use of Certified Management Consultants can be a valuable investment in your future.
Beware of empires. Guard against any manager building a bureaucratic dynasty that gets in your way of performance. Cross-train your people, enable them to work productively together across departmental or functional lines. Stay fluid and flexible.
Emphasize personal and professional growth. Establish and maintain a learning environment. Use education, training, and development to help every worker become more competent, more confident. Link personal and corporate growth objectives to build the congruency that bonds people to your company. When people can meet their personal needs through their employment with you, they'll be more likely to stay.
Show appreciation. Tomorrow's employees, like today's, are hungry for appreciation. Thank your people every day. Be sincere and specific. Train all your managers and supervisors to follow your example, consistently. Seek creative ways to show you care.
Use contingent workers. Let go of the traditional belief that every worker must be a regular employee of your company. Open yourself to using part-timers, contract workers, leased employees, temporary staff, casual labor, and partnered outsourced companies.
Get closer to your people. Develop tighter relationships with your people, business focused. Share your visions, your dreams, your needs. Learn how your people feel about these issues, and other things that are important to them. Stimulate and support vigorous open communication.