To be successful in today's extremely complex and unsteady business world, entrepreneurs must do all that they can to simplify. Checklists make every aspect of life easier. So, an executive checklist is in order. Here are ten quotes from The Executive Checklist: A Guide for Setting Direction and Managing Change, my most recent book on the subject. Besides providing you with a good idea about what can be found in the book, these ideas can be tailored to become the underpinning of your personal executive checklist:
1. Create a Vision that People Can Relate to:
"Corporate transformation begins with a dream. It provides the context for every other change concept or improvement initiative that will follow. It is a leader's responsibility to dream the dream and re-imagine what the organization is about and how it will conduct its affairs and execute its mission well into the future."
2. Build Trust to Build a Great Business:
"High trust work settings are efficient. All the focus is on results and not on each other. Work is done well and quality is high in such environments. High trust businesses are resilient, as well. Trust provides strength against adversity within an enterprise. People just seem to pull together when they trust one another. Problems are addressed head-on--with no excuses made or expected."
3. Create a Strategic Plan that Translates Vision into Action:
"Strategic Planning is one of those things that every company claims to do, but, few do it well. Most mistake annual budgeting for strategic planning. Because of this, many organizations are ill-prepared for the competitive demands that lie ahead and they lack the discipline and rigor needed to identify, organize and execute the appropriate work in any sustainable way."
4. Engage Staff in the Change Effort:
"Workforce dynamics are radically changing in ways that we have never witnessed in the past. The situation can be best characterized as a melding of the old and new. Older personnel are extending their careers because of the financial pressures brought about by shrinking retirement savings and the systematic dissolution of employer sponsored pension plans...Couple this trend, with the fact that the next generation of younger workers is entering the workplace with a new set of assumptions about how work is to be done, and, are subsequently insisting that significant changes be made in exchange for their commitment and loyalty."
5. Manage Work as a Portfolio of Projects:
"Strictly speaking, one can think of a project portfolio as a device used to administer an organization's strategic plan. There is better alignment of strategies and implementation effort within a concern when a project portfolio approach is used as a means to direct and control strategic initiatives. Execution is made easier because project portfolio work brings with it a set of methods and disciplines that enable improved project planning and monitoring."
6. Continuously Transform to Remain "Of Choice"
"Whether stated deliberately, or otherwise, every executive wants their organization to be "of Choice," which translates into becoming the Organization of Choice, Employer of Choice and Investment of Choice within their enterprise's niche, market and industry. To be "Of Choice" underpins virtually every strategic initiative that a management team imagines, staffs, funds and executes."
7. Seamlessly Integrate Technology into Your Business:
"For the past two decades, computer gurus have predicted that computing technology will become so ubiquitous that it will one day be consumed as a utility, just like electricity and telephone service. That day is quickly coming upon us--made possible by advances in the Internet and mobile computing devices, and all of their related offshoots and requisite supporting substructures."
8. Transform Your People for Success:
"Training, measurement and reward are three pillars on which the platform for staff transformation is shaped. Each of these pillars is equally important and mutually supporting of the other. If one of the pillars is weak the transformation effort can tumble; if one of the pillars rises past the others the whole change process can be jeopardized."
9. Create Communication Transparency:
"Open and honest communications is a vital ingredient for success within the modern day work setting...Staff members must be able to readily access all relevant information and know-how, wherever it exists, in the format desired, and have confidence in its quality in order to use it. Hence, a renewal of communications practices is not only in order, but, is essential to remaining competitive."
10. Build New Organizational Structures to Remain Vital
"...it just may be time to re-imagine the organization and deem the command and control organizational model, and all of its offshoots, obsolete. A shift to more cooperative-based models make better sense because they provide greater autonomy and freedom of choice in the way work is managed and executed."
Having an executive checklist can make a notable difference in your business. As any regular Inc. reader will attest, there are many fantastic articles about businesses, like yours, instituting these ideas. It is my wish that by bringing the best thinking together--first in the book and, now, here--we can leverage these ideas to help realize a bold and exhilarating new vision for tomorrow's businesses.