Are you considering a mid-year review?

 

Times are uncertain, but a mid-year business review can still be a great chance to evaluate employees, see what’s working in your team and what’s not, as well as make plans and try to deal with change.

 

And suddenly…it’s July. How did that happen so fast?

Here at Leading Edge Life Skills we are continually taking stock, livestock that is, especially horses, so we are big advocates of a mid-year stocktake or business review. Not because we are likely to misplace or lose one of our horses (haha), but because we think any successful business needs regular evaluation, even if they don’t have physical stock.

While this year has panned out in a completely different way to how any of us were expecting, it’s still important to stop once in a while to look at where we are and where we’re going next.

Below are a few points I think are important if you do decide to do a mid-year review of your team or business.

Check how your people are doing

Earlier this year, we took on a younger horse, Darcy, for the first time in a while. We usually look for a new equine team member with more life experience, but Darcy had something special about him that we thought would enrich our team. And we were right – Darcy brought some nice diversity to the group. We need to regularly evaluate how he is fitting in and realised that while he is going well so far, he needs a lot of attention to ensure that he continues to get the experiences he needs to fulfil his role in our team.

Like with our youngest member, a mid-year stocktake can be a great chance to check up on any newer employees and see how they are fitting in. And don’t forget your long-timers either – just because they continue to do their job without complaint doesn’t guarantee they are happy. We have to also be careful of this with our longer standing team members as well. Our mare, Kylie, who has been an amazing team member for several years will remind us that we cannot take her for granted. It may be that they are getting bored and need more stimulation or want to upskill in order to take on new responsibility.

And similar to our team, diversity is important and it’s worth regularly looking at the make-up of yours. Is it working well? Do you have enough different perspectives? Skillsets? Backgrounds?

Checking on how employees are going is especially important in the current environment. Boston Consulting Group recently released the findings of a survey of more than 1,000 of its employees. Three-quarters said COVID-19 had thrown up barriers to their work, particularly those with young children at home, but at the same time almost as many said it had a positive impact on their work. Employees who work remotely want to keep doing so, but not every day.

In addition to these high-level findings, BCG also warned “there are a wide variety of personal situations, and employee needs, each one often very different to the last”.

So, in other words there is no one-size-fits-all solution. All the more reason for a detailed stocktake considering all employees!

Evaluate (the best you can)

I don’t think any of us would say 2020 has turned out the way we were planning. Despite this, there is still value in business evaluation to see how us and our team has performed.

Being the end of the financial year in Australia, you may have to deal with taxes and other financial issues. However, using that as a base for a broader review of what is working and what is not has the potential to give you a clearer picture of the impact of the past few months. Not to mention make plans for the rest of the year (and beyond.) Who knows, there may be opportunities that have arisen since the beginning of the year – and if you don’t jump on them competitors will!

The midway point can also be a great chance to evaluate your own leadership. You are probably aware of your strengths and weaknesses but how are you handling them? How are you coping with change?

Have a plan…but be flexible

Plans in the time of coronavirus…not easy. Here in Australia, restrictions are easing in some states, while other areas, such as some suburbs of Melbourne, are experiencing tighter restrictions. And just as some state borders open, others close. An uncertain economy makes it hard to predict what will happen – even the Government has delayed the budget until October.

Yet we have to keep making goals – after all, a business needs some direction – while also being prepared for the possibility of everything changing again.

Coping with change, especially unexpected change, is an important skill we bring into our leadership programs. In addition to working with the horses, one of my favourite ways of doing this is using a proprietary card game called, ‘The Future is Coming’, in which you draw cards to give a random mix of settings, challenges and timeframes to envision future states. You then have to make them into opportunities on the spot. It’s a great way to learn flexibility, enhance forecasting and creative problem solving skills, and foster resilience and innovation. Essential skills at all times!

 

Have you done a mid-year stocktake? Let me know in the comments. And for more information on Leading Edge Life Skills email info@leadingedgelifeskills.com.au

 

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