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Resolve to make your business better: The Whiteboard

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This is the time of year when we make our New Year's resolutions. We promise ourselves we'll exercise more often, adopt a healthier diet or maybe just try to be a better person. What about your business? If you had to make a New Year's resolution for your business, what would it be?

Think about each person in your organization. What is their greatest weakness and what can be done about it? Perhaps you can invest in a training class or give a person a special assignment that will help them grow. If you take the time to not only identify weaknesses, but also to identify ways to mitigate them, it will only make your business better.

Think also about each person’s strengths. Are people being given the opportunity to use their strengths in meaningful ways? If not, what can you do to change that? After all, if people’s strengths could be better used in your business, why wouldn’t you make that happen?

Maybe 2019 should be the year when you finally get around to doing something about that product or service that should have been discontinued by now, but which you just haven’t had the heart or stomach to prune.

We know that it’s as important to identify what we should stop doing as it is to identify new things we should start doing. But it seems to be as difficult as losing unwanted weight. It will never happen unless we resolve that it will happen. Articulate it. Taking that first step of articulating what must be done is critically important.

In 2018 a bright light was trained on a number of societal issues such as pay equity and sexual harassment. If you want to focus on the way your business addresses these or other issues, now would be a good time to make a resolution about that. It can take a lot of time and effort to change a culture. It can be so daunting that the first step is never taken. Making a time-bound resolution to make progress in 2019 can be that first step.

If you are a business owner, where do you go to get advice from people who don’t have a personal agenda? An advisory board is not difficult to set up. It can give you access to outside subject matter experts whose only agenda is to help you. Many owners talk about an advisory board, but never get around to it. So get around to it. Make it a resolution.

How about a succession plan? That is another important thing that every business owner should have. Unfortunately, far too few have one. It can take a great deal of time to put a good plan in place. Sometimes a successor candidate doesn’t exist in the business. Sometimes an existing candidate needs extensive training, preparation and seasoning. It’s another thing that is easy to let slide.

The lack of a good succession plan puts a business at risk and it puts the owner’s family at risk. If you don’t have a plan, think about a resolution to get the planning started in 2019. Do it for all the stakeholders in your business.

These are just a few things I think are important. You may have more. If you’ve been putting things off that should be addressed, make a resolution now. Write it down. Let those affected by it know that you’ve made a resolution. Put a little pressure on yourself to carry through, and have some fun making and carrying out your resolutions.

Richard Randall is founder and president of management-consulting firm New Level Advisors in Springettsbury Township, York County. Email him at info@newleveladvisors.com.

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