View from the Top: How 4 Area Leaders Set Expectations
How 4 area leaders set expectations
With a new year comes a fresh start—and a fresh set of expectations. But what’s the best way to think through what needs to get done? Four Northeast Ohio small business leaders explain.
Can I grow another 10% or 20%?
That’s the question Steve Petti, president of New Image Media in Warrensville Heights, asks himself at the outset of every year. It’s likely also a similar question other small business owners are asking themselves around this time of year, too. But to achieve that growth, business owners first will need to get their priorities in order and what better time to do that than at the beginning of the year?
Mind Your Business reached out to a selection of top small business owners and entrepreneurs to collect their thoughts on how to prioritize goals for the year so that ultimate goal—growth—is attainable. Here’s what they had to say.
Kimberly L. Jacobs, CEO, Kings Medical Group
At the beginning of each year, Jacobs asks each of her team members to jot down the ideas they have for the next 12 months for their specific areas. Then, the team comes together to discuss everyone’s ideas.
“We rate them on how much will it cost? How much will it generate? Is it achievable in 12 months? Will it require additional resources? Does it align with our corporate culture?” she says. Ideas that don’t meet those guidelines fall to the bottom of the list, meaning team members need to sell their ideas to the group if they want to see them implemented.
“The vetted list, then, becomes our strategic vision for the next 12 months,” she adds.
Jacobs is a big believer in transparency and that applies to setting goals. After the meeting, each of the goals set for the year is given a due date and the team keeps track of how far along they are to reaching the goal. Each of the ideas are revisited every quarter and can be adjusted if the organization’s thinking has changed.
“A lot can change in 12 months and you don’t want someone working on a goal for the sake of working on a goal,” Jacobs says.
Steve Petti, president, New Image Media
Similar to Jacobs, Petti’s thinking around setting annual expectations for his business involve the process of actually writing them down. Seeing the goal in writing makes it more tangible and gives it more weight.
Also similar to Kings Medical, New Image’s goals and expectations center around Petti’s efforts to build his business. “We made an aggressive commitment to grow,” he says.
“We revised our vision statement and prominently posted it on our wall,” he adds. “Our vision is to be NEO’s most recognized name in video for business. We need to remind ourselves daily.”
But saying he wants to grow is one thing. Actually achieving that growth is another. So, what is one action Petti intends to take during 2016 to help him achieve the growth goal he has set for himself?
“Grow our audience,” Petti says. He has faith in his business model and wants to spread the word. A priority for him in 2016 is to get out and attend events—and build as many relationships as he can.
Raquel Eatmon, CEO, Rising Media
After Raquel Eatmon, CEO of Rising Media in Beachwood, has spent time reflecting on her goals for the upcoming year, she then starts the process of thinking about the best way to take action on the expectations she has set for herself.
One important question that runs through her head is: “Do I need to ask for help?”
In her former life as a TV news journalist, she became used to being able to wrap up a story at the end of the day into a tidy report. Such is not the case when it comes to business, as she has discovered.
“I have to go easy on myself,” she says. Eatmon has found it best to pace herself and not get caught up in measuring herself against other CEOs. If she has to, she rolls items over if they need another day to complete.
Lisa Stouffer, president and chief human resource consultant, Cephala Recruiting and Consulting
If revenue growth is a goal for your company in 2016, then there is a good chance that staff growth is going to come into play, too. During a recent COSE webinar, Stouffer pointed to the growing numbers of the millennial generation as a potential source of that staff growth. Companies with growth in their sights should prioritize the hiring of this upcoming generation.
And what’s the best way to attract these millennials? Millennials want to be treated as individuals, so that is a good place to start, she says.
“Do you send out cold, auto-generated emails to applicants?” she asks. “Is it easy for them to check on their application? Is it easy for them to check the application on a mobile app?”
Further, companies should begin drafting other changes to their hiring process. Three things small business owners can be doing right now to appeal to millennials include:
- Communicate your purpose: Millennials want your company’s message to them to be genuine. Explain how prospective employees fit into your business’ architecture.
- Put your culture out front: Show off your workplace on your company’s website. Think about including video testimonials from current employees. You want job applicants to be able to picture themselves working at your business.
- Be proactive: Don’t wait weeks or months to get back in touch with applicants. Reach out as soon as possible. And once the candidate is onboard, consider instituting “stay interviews” to help identify what drives your employees. What’s their passion? What keeps them coming in everyday? “Use this feedback to enhance your company’s benefits and culture,” Stouffer says.
In a recent human resources report, PricewaterhouseCoopers identified several additional tactics employers should use if “hire staff” is one of the expectations they have set.
- Provide flexibility: Give them the freedom to work in the environment that suits them best, even if it means that environment is the local coffee shop.
- Enable growth: Put millennials on rotational assignments to give them a taste of many different parts of your business. Challenge them to come up with new ways to streamline processes.
- Give feedback: Give honest feedback in real time. Don’t wait for annual review time.
Want more? Additional resources for this story can be found online at www.cose.org/myb.