Let’s take a look at how to set your expectations. You want your expectations to be specific, and worded in a way that will help you start coming to productive conclusions about your data. This requires an assessment overall of your business.
Framework for Your Vision
What’s the framework for where you see your company going? Consider all the working parts of your company, how they operate and what group should be delivering what kind of results. If you haven’t done so already, set this out on paper. If you have, take a look at it. Take stock of the results and the work your company is doing right now, as well as your future insights. You should have specific indicators of where your company is at present, and goals for where you’d like to go from here. You’ll need a time frame so that you can understand where to be at different points in your collection of data.
Break your goals down into steps by thinking about how you’ll get to them. Your time frame is one way to do this. You should also have other concrete, measurable markers. What kind of information do you expect to see, hope to see and consider an especially bad sign?
It then becomes much easier to find out what information you need. What data will tell you where you are in your goals? If you know your team well and you understand how each part works, it will be easier to find out where to go for specific information. If you’re unsure, now is the time to clarify that. Each part of your business should be deliberate. You and your employees should understand what the pieces are that make up your business, the different departments and their obligations, as well as any kind of crossover they have with each other.
Identifying Key Systems Needed for Success
A system produces desired results consistently. It is something you set in play to improve your business and streamline it. Systems create improvements across the board, from customer service to marketing to, of course, data collection and analysis.
The first step in creating a system is essentially to recognize the repetitive motions within your business. The most successful businesses have systems in place for any actions that their employees must do more than once. There’s even a system for writing systems. Your systems address a need for efficiency. All those repetitive motions you’re able to put into a system and streamline make more time and space for creativity in your business.
The next step is to consider the success that you’re after. Success means something different for different people. It will even mean different things to your business at different times. What does success look like for you right now, and what does it require? For example, you might have certain aspects of your business operating extremely well, exceeding expectations. It is unfruitful to spend time looking for new ways to do those things. You want to continue doing those well, but your image of success likely also involves improving upon aspects of your business that aren’t doing as well.
Once you know this information, you can get into steps required to reach those goals, and the systems that will get you there. An understanding of success and what it means to you is a critical first step.
Systems in Management
Within your management team, there are a few especially critical systems for your success. You already know that you need to have access to information, to address the needs made evident by that data and to fix problems. How does all of that get done? You guessed it: systems.
Have Access to Information
As we discussed earlier, in order to make decisions based off of data, you have to collect the data in the first place. There are different ways to do this, and therefore different systems you might develop to fit the needs of your company. How can you make data come to you reliably and systematically? You should sit down and come up with an answer to that question. It will show you what steps you need to take to create a system that uses the least amount of time from your employees to offer the most useful amount of information.
Read and Interpret the Information
You can turn that information into a process for looking at and analyzing it. What is your process for reading the information? Who do you turn to if you need help understanding what the numbers mean or how they’re presented? How often do you look at the data? Creating these steps for yourself will help you establish the most productive habits for reading and interpreting your data.
Address Needs and Fix Problems
The next step is to take action. Whatever your results tell you, there will be action to take towards improving your business. At a basic level, what do you do if your results tell you more or less than expected, or are the same? What are the first steps you take here? Maybe you write down what you’ve found and what the initial implications of that are. There could be brainstorming, communicating with your staff, celebration of progress or reassessing goals for the next quarter or year. If what you’ve been doing is working, how do you continue that and do it even better?
Write Systems for Systems
One final note is that creating systems, as you may already have seen within your business, doesn’t just come automatically. If you aren’t in the habit of being deliberate about writing them, simply making a decision to start isn’t going to be enough. You have to set aside time, to involve your employees, and to develop this new habit with practice. In order to implement these steps into the way your company operates, you have to start with a system to write systems.
As the head of management, how will you organize your time around the difficult initial steps of implementing systems where there are none? And it is time-consuming at first. However, in the long run you’ll see tremendous improvements in your business. Eventually, as these systems start to become second-nature to you and your employees, you’ll find your schedule opening up in ways you never thought could happen for you as a business-owner.
Your new systems will create organization that your business was severely lacking. Implementing systems will help you delegate better. Many business-owners find themselves feeling overdrawn at some point. They get caught up, as can so easily happen, in the hundreds of small, daily tasks and micro-managing. Often, this is just a problem of not having the right systems.