If your company is meeting its forecast and running as effectively as possible, then you don’t need to read any further. However, this would infer that your company is perfect; and I don’t believe a perfect company exists.
Why is meeting a forecast “not good enough”?
Unless your company is doing everything “right” and there’s no room for improvement, why not try to exceed expectations? At some point, there’s almost certainly going to be a rainy day. There will be a time that you are convinced that your company is going to win a contract award…and your competitor wins instead. Exceeding forecast expectations one time can help offset not meeting them another time.
If you strive to exceed expectations, you are setting an example for employees. You are setting an example that while meeting expectations is good, exceeding expectations is better. Who doesn’t want a staff that tries to excel? And who as an employee, doesn’t want to be challenged?
Perhaps the biggest reason to exceed expectations is for the company to increase, achieve, and/or maintain high staff morale. This is often the building block for how and why goals are met. Of course, how companies can improve is highly individual. Below are a few items to reflect on and better yet, discuss, not only with fellow Executives, but mid-level and lower level employees.
- Review processes throughout the company (Accounting, HR, BD, Contracts, etc.). Are the processes redundant? Do they still make sense for the company? If a process should be changed, make a project plan about how/when the process will get reviewed and/or revised with realistic due dates. Make sure to listen to everyone’s suggestions and comments who is affected, even if indirectly. It is vital that Project Leader doesn’t “forget” anyone. This in itself sends a strong message.
- How can communication be improved? In my experience, communication is often the weak link in an organization. When I talk with Executives, they often outline how they communicate with other Executives and dismiss mid-level and lower level staff. It is difficult for employees to feel invested in the company, if Executives are not investing in them by at least sharing information. While this costs time, it does not cost money excluding salaries. I understand that not everything can be shared throughout the company. However, in my experience Executives underestimate how much can be shared or what can be shared if some details are omitted. If you are sharing information, are you also listening and receiving feedback? Entire books have been written on this topic, however, from my perspective, it is still something companies do not address often enough.A successful and popular supervisor once shared with me how much she learned by talking with staff at EVERY level and particularly the lower level employees. This was one of her tricks of the trade that lead to her becoming a Vice President.
- Is there staff that are under-utilized? Meet with him/her and ask if he/she has recommendations? Does he/she have a secondary skill-set? Check with other departments to see if they need help. After all, hopefully the company has invested in the employee by training and teaching. If there are no other tasks that he/she can perform, make a decision. Does the company need him/her full-time? If not, offer him/her a part time position or lay him/her off. While I do not want to appear unsympathetic, by allowing someone to get paid for 40 hours when he/she is not working 40 hours, it’s hurting other employees’ morale which in turn hurts the company. Perhaps you have met your forecast; and the person earns a relatively low salary. It still is frustrating and de-motivating to others who are working hard and trying to excel to have others on-board who are not fully contributing.
- Last, but not least, are expenditures and vendors carefully considered on a semi-annual or annual basis? This means that the response to “Why are we ordering this?” should not be “Because XXXX (fill in the name) wanted it last year”. Memberships, association fees, etc. are wasted money if they are not utilized. The sort of question I would ask anyone requesting a membership or association fee is, “How are you going to use it?”, “How will this benefit the company?”, “With your workload, how often will you attend? While it may be difficult, everyone should be asked these questions, regardless of Ownership and status. In the end, the Owner makes the decision, but at least he/she makes it armed with knowledge.
Contact Streamline Government Contracts to work on exceeding expectations with your current contracts.