Several of my clients have recently shared with me how, with today’s competitive job market, job candidates are increasingly asking potential employers about the future and where they plan to be business-wise in the next few years. Both prospective and current employees want to see a clear plan of how the business will really get there, and the typical answer of a traditional 3-5-year financial plan isn’t cutting it.
I welcome this trend! You should want employees who are interested in your company’s direction. This means you as the employer should have a solid and specific answer at the ready to stay competitive in today’s job market. In my opinion, if you can’t produce a 3-year detailed plan with clear goals you can achieve, you will fail to attract and retain the next generation of business leadership.
Cultivate Your 3-Year Highly Achievable Goal
The book 3Hag Way by Shannon Byrne Susko took proven ideas and concepts from top thought leaders and developed her own step-by-step framework for business success. The goal is to help you accelerate your company’s growth through the creation of a highly achievable 3-year plan you can discuss in detail.
Of her 12 steps, I feel four are the most critical in how you create and discuss goals with millennial employees:
1) Create a Key Process Flow Map
Identify the core functions at your company with these three questions:
Which ones are key to making money?
How can you improve them to increase efficiency?
Where do you have strategic advantage compared to your competitors?
Draw a diagram mapping those key processes:
Identify the one person accountable for each function.
Identify the key metrics each function needs to produce.
Color-code each function as to how it is performing today (green, yellow, red).
Fix what’s red and yellow.
Laying out this simple map can help you determine where and how to focus your goals.
2) Determine Your Core Customer
The foundation for everything your company does should be your core customer. This is not the person who merely buys your product or service. Instead, this is the subset of your customer base who delivers value to you because you delivered value to them first. Your core customer should a real person with emotional needs and concerns, not a concept created by demographics and research.
3) Develop Clear Differentiators
In 1996, Michael Porter turned strategic thinking on its head with a watershed paper entitled “What is Strategy.” I subscribe to his stance that we don’t need to compete to be the best – we should compete to be different.
You must first determine the unique value only your company delivers and then find the core customer who needs can only be served by your company. Highly successful companies call this their “white space” – and you must find yours to succeed in a crowded marketplace.
1) Locate Your “Swimlane”
The most important step of all, it ensures you reach whatever 3-year goals you developed. Once you locate your business’ swimlane, you can predict where you will be in three years and then take quarterly steps to that goal. Knowing exactly where you’re going shows confidence to your employees, your company, your board, and your potential acquirer.
Using 3Hag Way to drive your business strategy will give you a believable story to tell the millennial interested in your company. They will respect and resonate with the tangible methods for how your company sets goals and develops long-term plans.
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