10 questions business leaders should ask to kick-start the new year

Refresh your business strategy and make this year your most productive yet with these 10 essential questions.

A new year is the perfect opportunity to reflect, analyse and improve. We all make personal resolutions and changes, but what about in business?

The team at business membership network  Vistage UK has come up with the 10 essential questions business leaders should ask to kick-start the new year and achieve more.

1. Are we attractive to the best talent?

With a thriving gig economy and record numbers of start-ups being founded (80 per hour in the UK in 2016, according to Startup Britain) it’s no surprise that companies are investing more in recruitment. But while finding talent might seem like the end goal, retention can be equally challenging. So how do you keep talent once you’ve found it?

2. Is our recruitment process comprehensive and effective?

Taking the time to find exactly the right candidate for a role will save you time and money in the future. Get it wrong and you could be back to sifting through CVs a few months down the line..

3. Does my business have change at its heart?

Embracing change has always been pivotal to both success and innovation, but in this fast-paced age, ongoing development has become a do-or-die imperative. Whether you initiate change or not, outside factors like marketplace competition or advancements in technology will always force it to happen. Preparation is key to survival.

Making your business more agile and preparing for the unexpected makes it more likely you’ll weather any unexpected storms.

4. Does my business promote a culture of success?

Creating a culture of success is about people; chiefly communication, appreciation and ownership. If you want everyone to work towards a common goal, you need to share that vision clearly so each employee understands their objectives. And make it a two-way system – ask your staff for regular feedback on their progress and how they feel things can be improved.

5. Is my business riddled with zombies?

As much as we hate to act as doomsayers, the answer is probably yes. A study by Gallup showed that only 17 per cent of the UK workforce are actively engaged; 57 per cent are not engaged and 26 per cent are actively disengaged.

So how do you mobilise these ‘zombies’? By using the human touch.

6. Is my business as productive as it could be

If the answer is no, there are simple steps you can take to improve productivity.

First of all, you need to establish the problem. Once you’ve found the underlying issues in your organisation, creating systems and solutions which are repeatable is essential for long-term maintenance. And, critically, creating a culture of positivity and reward is essential to improved employee productivity. When people are happy, they are more engaged and ultimately more productive.

7. Do I have the support I need to run my business?

Making decisions every day which affect your business and the welfare of others is difficult. Apart from the mental challenge, you can be left wondering if you’re heading in the right direction. An effective way to receive support and advice is a peer advisory group.

8. Have I got an exit plan?

While succession or exit planning can be a challenge in business, it is a necessity. Not only does planning avoid drama and anxiety later on, it will also make your business more attractive to prospective investors. To take the sting out of it, break it up into simple steps.

9. Is diversity an important part of my business?

If the answer is no, then make it a priority to become a more diverse business.

While it’s often viewed as something which is required rather than something which elicits change, diversity can improve your business in many ways, one being profitability. A report from McKinsey shows that companies in the top quartile for diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.

10. Am I happy?

The billion dollar question. And perhaps the most important one. As much as we all try to keep our personal and work lives separate, it’s impossible for them to exist in isolation. So how do you stop one from damaging the other?

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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