Reflections From #Balance on a Recent Webinar Series That Requires Your Attention if You Are a Small Business Owner!

I recently did a 3-part webinar series on Strategic Planning, Change Management and Leadership.  As I started to put the material together for the PowerPoints, I quickly became excited about bringing this value to the business world.  Each next session just naturally flowed from the other and at the end provided the seed for future work.  The feedback from the event was inspiring, kept me motivated and left me ready for the next challenge. 

I did not want to leave the last webinar without having action for participants to take.  We have all attended training sessions, got back to our work, and undoubtedly got busy catching up from the time away that we lost the feelings and did not do anything with the information.

I felt the same about myself, so wanted to ensure I took some time to reflect on my takeaways from delivering this series.

Strategic Planning

In the session on Strategic Planning, we first defined what it was and why they do not work for so many organizations.  We went over principles of planning, showing what makes a good foundation, and gave keys to get started. 

The main point is to have fun with it.  Dream big.  Go internal and make sure it is aligned with your mission, vision, and values.  Really understanding why you are in business, why you exist is so important in this process.  Then breaking this down from long term, 5 years to intermediate, 3 years and short term, 1 year makes it manageable chunks.  The specific actions that you need to take are then defined as SMART goals. 

Of course, looking at your current human resources and future needs is an integral part of this planning, regardless of if you are a solopreneur or a large organization.  Recruitment, retention, and succession planning all require budget considerations. 

Tracking your actions and adjusting as needed will bring success!

In the last 15 months or so since the global pandemic hit, people have struggled.  Although a lot of leaders may know what they need to do, they have not been as motivated to do it.  Also, with changes to how businesses are operating, many have been left needing to focus on getting the skills and resources to continue the business i.e., social media training or new technology.  There is a lack of confidence that is snowballing the already negative effects of the pandemic on business outcomes. 

This really makes me sad.  There are so many great people and great businesses that are not thriving during this time.  My goal is to help show them that we all can be successful during this time.  Do not let the pandemic take over and win!  Cut the time-wasting notifications right now!  Break through!  Stay motivated! Let us focus on what is most important to you!

Change Management

During the session on Change Management, we defined what it is, when you need, consequences of not having a Change Management plan, important decisions and things to consider, and how leadership plays a key role (hence the last session 😊). 

I spoke about external and internal causes for a Change Management Strategy and how it is important to do checks to ensure you are still relevant and competitive in the market.  The reality though is that organizations do not change, people do, so working through the people impacts is a large piece of your strategy being successful.  How are roles and responsibilities going to change?  How can you ensure the people understand why things need to change?  How will the change make their lives easier?  People need to trust that leadership has considered them and feel secure in their futures with the proposed changes. 

There are also several process impacts.  To ensure the new processes are understood and executed, leadership needs to ensure proper training and documentation for quality control. 

My main message was that with the pandemic and its impact on the business community, RIGHT NOW EVERY BUSINESS SHOULD HAVE A CHANGE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY!  I have seen an increase in the number of positions posted right now for Change Management Consultants and I am happy that businesses are understanding the importance of doing things right and the stakes of not. 

The common theme with all three sessions was the importance of communication!  Communication needs to be consistent and therefore having a communication plan will ensure the messages and updates happen as decided. 

Leadership

The other common theme was the importance of leadership skills through these processes for success.  Leaders need to be agile, identify and mitigate risks, communicate effectively with their teams, use more of a coaching style, celebrate and reward milestones, and accept failure.  The intention of coaching through these processes is to help people work through the implications of the changes themselves, without telling them what to do. This helps them create the change for themselves, and thus become co-creators of the change. People are more likely to support what they themselves create.

Everyone wants to be seen as a leader and not a manager.  However, I broke down what each mean and how they need to be both inspirational leaders but also task focused managers for success.  There are also different leadership/management styles, and each come with their pros and cons, but an agile leader will move through the different styles depending on the situation.

Leaders need to lead by example, delegate, and motivate their teams. Managers need to execute and track results, eliminate obstacles, hold people accountable and have tools for resistance management.  To do these responsibilities, they need to align themselves with the mission, vision and values while also dealing with increased issues of social justice.  They also need to have courage, integrity, trust, be resilient, and vulnerable while continuing their own personal development and development of others. 

So, it is not surprising that the focus of leadership right now is to ensure they are taking care of their own mental health and wellbeing to be able to do and be all that for others.  This seed will be the focus of future sessions!

This 3-part webinar series is going to be offered again and coming up are sessions on mental health and wellbeing for leaders.  If you are interested in getting more information, click here

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