Lessons Learned – the opportunities ahead

improve

As a follow-up to my last post, my recent business trips have allowed me to recognize the positives from the work my team and myself have done while also identifying areas where we can improve. Since today is Monday, it is fitting that we start the work week infused with a desire to improve. The opportunities are ahead of us all. Individually and group wise. When reviewing the areas you can do better you have to look outward and inward.

Let’s start outward
From a group perspective, these tend to be more visible.

What is your group doing that is not working? What items are you spending too much time with but getting little to no return on?
These can be strategies that impact the bottom line, or simple tactics that are falling short of achieving the results you intended. Additionally, what parts of your programs can be improved with different features or revamped thresholds. Since I work in a sales environment, these make sense. But I believe the same can be applied in other areas of work.

One of the best ways I’ve experienced opportunities being addressed is by listing each item and analyzing immediate and long term impacts. Prioritizing your areas of opportunity allows you to create a plan of attack for your takeaways. Additionally, it helps you spend you energy with efforts that will start providing you the results you need. Still, don’t forget to list the things you know you can’t implement or change right away. Knowing what these are will allow you to be clear in your approach and be motivated to take the steps you outlined.

Getting follow-up lists done with your work group will also create accountability with your peers. Providing action items with leaders identified with each effort helps you make progress on what you want to accomplish.

Switching to your inward review can be hard. And this is not just at work as it applies to the home front as well; with your family, at school, with your neighbors.

What is slowing you down? What actions do you take regularly that stir you away from your goals instead of getting you closer?
Each person has it’s own areas to improve and they are unique to oneself but I will share for myself what I know I need to improve. I need to say “no” more often. I need to evaluate my work load reality more often and provide realistic expectations to what I can and cannot do. I’m confident in my performance and I love to learn and grow. Still, too much work can stir me away from the very things I NEED to learn in order to grow in my role and achieve what I’m reaching for.

Looking outward and inward is easier said than done. More than recognizing the areas of improvement, it’s what you do with it that truly drives success.

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Lessons learned – recognizing the positives

lessons learned

Just got back from a business trip to Florida where my workgroup got together to review last year’s accomplishments and look at the roadmap to success for 2014. With the growth of our business our meetings have evolved over the last few years. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in a restaurant having brunch and talking business. This time we had four different sessions spanning from growth opportunities to system enhancements, vendor relationships and marketing strategies. Things have definitely changed and while we still got to connect as a team outside the office, we have truly moved from a start-up mindset to an accomplished business that is legitimately a leader in our industry.

As we closed the last session we took some time to recap our progress over the work we’ve done and what we can do better. Immediately I felt this urge to look at the areas where we are struggling. The areas where we still have much room for improvement. The opportuntities for growth. This is why we met, right? I mean, this is what you would consider a productive meeting. Recognizing what you are doing wrong and address them, right? As each person took their turn expressing their thoughts, I looked at my notes and the faces around the room. It was then that I saw the connection between our commitment, our work and our results. It was time to recognize that we have also done somethings right and we should be proud of our endeavors.

Sometimes, whether at home or at work, we tend to quickly look at the areas we are less impactful. This is especially true in business where it’s almost as if the whole purpose is to find the things you are not doing right. While being productive with planning and review meetings should provide your fair share of tangible improvement takeaways, it’s important to not forget the habits, the tactics, the strategies that you’re applying and with which you are “knocking it out of the park!”

How many times have you addressed the positives? Do you close your meetings that way. Do you recap what you are doing right?

It’s important to have a healthy balance in reviewing both the good and the bad. It sets a tone of motivation and encouragement that fuels the desire to be better and continue to grow. It’s important to recognize and celebrate what you are doing right so you can be confident in overcoming the challenges ahead.