All of us long for the go go days. We want action. We listen for the hum of the office. Is it a good hum with good action? Or is it quiet? The stock market has rebounded. Profits are soaring. Small business? We are optimistic. We see things getting slightly better. We have customers. We have problems to solve. But where does real momentum come from?
I grew up in sales. I knew momentum came from action. One new customer made the phone weigh next to nothing. I could not wait to get to another prospect or to make an afternoon of introductory calls. Give me a stretch where I have not talked to a live person in a while; where it has been hard or difficult to set an appointment. I lose my way. The phone starts to feel like it weighs a hundred pounds.
Today, twenty years later I look at my company and I talk to my clients. We all wonder where momentum comes from and how you can sustain it once you have it. I think I have the answer and know why many companies never find it. Great strategies are best executed by making small and incremental improvements every day. Just leave your business a little better than the day before and BAM! One day you wake up and your company is like a snowball rolling downhill – nothing can stop you.
That is fine when things are looking up. But when it feels like things have ground to a halt…what can you do?
1. Have a daily huddle. 10 minutes a day where people can get connected, seek help and hear what is going on. Nothing builds camaraderie and momentum faster.
2. Make a change on the team. I do not mean you have to fire someone. New assignments or a new project can really invigorate. If you do find yourself needing to hire, there is something wonderful and dynamic about how teams come together to help the new person come up to speed. (By the way if your culture does encourage helping one another, stay tuned for my next blog).
3. Make something happen. Leadership is about seeing things as they are, analyzing well and then taking action. Are you stuck planning or over analyzing? If your team needs a boost make something happen.
4. Focus on the fundamentals. Teach and train. If staff can do their jobs better or learn something, they have more confidence and that breeds greater productivity and outcomes.
The key? Add value. Show your employees and your customers that you have something of value. Momentum is an intangible. It can be a feeling. If you are from Philadelphia or a sports fan just look to the Flyers, our beloved hockey team. They were down 3-0 in a seven game series and came back to win 4 games in a row. They got the breaks. They worked really hard. They have a great leader in their coach and a great captain on the ice. By the end of the series their confidence and energy were contagious. No one player wanted to let down another. The team played well together and refused to fail. The fans got excited. The city got pumped up. And when they played their next game in the next series? More of the same and another victory.
How does this relate to business? Sometimes there is one event that catapults your business. A major account or a great hire. It is consistently doing the little things all of the time and some breaks along the way. Momentum, will you know it when you see it?
Just ask the Flyers…