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The end of December is a good time to reflect on the year that transpired. At our companies, I like to look at our wins and our losses, review what were the big lessons learned, where can we improve, and start setting objectives for the next year, which are known around the office as BHAGs or Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

I like to explain to the team that if you make your goals something you can achieve with your current capacity then you didn’t give yourself room and reason to grow. But if you give yourself a goal that is beyond you, you force yourself to stretch.

When you attempt audacious goals, things that elicit a “You're crazy!” response, you instill courage and perseverance. This is a great way to ensure that you and your team grow.

I also like to remind the team that these aren’t Big Hairy Audacious Wishes or Big Hairy Audacious Ideas. Our objectives are our goals, meaning, we will deliberately do whatever it takes to achieve these goals, including investing the necessary time, energy, and money to succeed.

Speaking of investments, the end of the year is also when we work on our budgets. I’ve been spending a lot of time in meetings with our leaders crafting their budgets with them and teaching them how to breakdown the significance of each expense. This is an exercise I’m glad my leaders forced me to do.

Making budgets, being mindful of the year’s performance, the coming year’s goals, and the projected investments not only helps us estimate how much we’re going to need, but it also helps us appreciate the cost of each item and the importance of each expense delivering a return. Since our leaders are young, walking them through each line item and each expense has made the concept of “scarce resources” and “optimization” more real.

When going through the budgets with our leaders, I like to make it a point to highlight one particular thing for all our budgets. Whether it’s business development, marketing and sales, customer support, operations, creatives, administration, no matter the department, I like to highlight a recurring pattern I see in companies and their budgets. That thing is this: The single biggest item that can make the most difference in a company’s results are its people.

It’s many times the single biggest expense and should also have the responsibility of delivering the biggest returns. This is why I consider people development to be the single best investment a company can make. When I look at all our wins, I can easily connect it to great people who made it happen. When I look at our losses or failures, it also boils down to having the wrong people. The impact of one amazing person is incredible but so is the impact of someone messing up.

Technology Management

5 Investments to Focus on in 2016

Business owners and managers always say that people are their most important asset yet when we look at the investments many times we find that we don’t put our money where our mouth is. For 2016, I’ve decided to take our Human Resource (HR) activities to the next level, particularly in the following areas:

Recruiting

This literal meaning of this word is “strengthen”. A lot of people think recruiting simply means to hire. But it’s deeper than that. Companies today need to be more deliberate about “strengthening” their teams by recruiting people who will embody the values and contribute to winning. For us, at our companies, this means we define what we’re looking for in each position and invest in technology (such as Kalibrr’s suite of recruitment tools) and techniques to help us assess people well. This also means that we continue to raise the standard of excellence throughout all our organizations so that we will attract people who desire excellence.

Onboarding

For us, this means laying a strong foundation for each and every one of our team members to succeed. There are 3 foundations I believe every employee should have starting from Day 1:

  1. Foundational Values - they should know what’s non-negotiably important to the team;
  2. Foundational Objectives - they should know what their objectives and key results are so that they know what’s expected of them and how they’re measured; and finally,
  3. Foundational Skills - they should be given training to have the required skill level to achieve their objectives.

If you want to know more about our onboarding and our workshops for Building an Onboarding Program that Works. Email our Head of Learning, Cholo Lojo, at [email protected]

Training (ongoing)

Training isn’t a one-time thing. All the best sports team do constant training in season and off season. Many times, our employees get introductory training and everything else from then on is ad hoc, or worse, accidental.

Training is the only way to improve a person’s performance. Companies that are serious about improving performance must take a page from sports teams and train train train.

To help other companies with developing training programs for modern business and Generation Y, you can email Cholo as well. Cholo is going to have a busy 2016.

Performance Management

So you’ve formed a dream team, laid a strong foundation, and have invested in ongoing training. The next step is to see how well your team is doing. The proof of whether you have the right team and developing them right can be seen in group and individual results.

Performance management for us means looking at three things:

  1. Objectives - are they hitting their targets;
  2. Growth - are they progressing and improving; and
  3. Behavior - are they embodying our values.

Measuring performance is a key part of building a highly effective team. If you want to know more about how I have my managers do performance appraisals you can email me at [email protected] I encourage you to do give quick feedback and stop relying on annual appraisals to have performance conversations with your people.

If people are truly the most critical assets of a company their contribution should be measured accurately.

Rewards (and Consequences)

There’s the basic stuff that attract people like pay, perks, and privileges, but top performers like working in companies that offer growth and high rate of learning. Building a rewarding experience for our own people is one effective way to turn every single person in our company into an influencer. Just as we spend on external marketing to win customers, we’ve pioneered what we’re calling “internal marketing” which has the goal of empowering team members to live our their dreams by performing well and sharing their experience.

There are more things we’re planning for the year, particularly in the area of HR. We’re also more than willing to share what we’re doing and helping other companies building amazing organizations that are rewarding for the people around them, their people, their customers, and the communities they affect. If you’d like to know more details or want to exchange ideas on how to build better organizations, please email me at [email protected]

Have an amazing New Year!

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