Many of us are accustomed to making resolutions for self-improvement at this time of year, but the transition to a new year is also a great time for mapping out and implementing business changes. With January 1, 2009 looming dead ahead, now’s a great time to set aside a few hours—or even a few days—for taking stock of your team and making plans for the weeks and months ahead.
In the face of the current economic crisis, many in the IT space are adopting a “back-to-basics” ethos. Some firms are responding to the current circumstances by curtailing or eliminating altogether non-essential projects and activities, and re-focusing their efforts on just a select few goals and objectives.
Certainly, there’s something to be said for diversification, growth, and development, but developing your team’s core competencies is a surefire way to shore up your fundamental skill set and help protect your business from the vagaries of economic ups and downs.
Are you ready for a 2009 core competency audit? Whether you’re a techie or a sales pro, you can use this checklist to find out where you stand on these key business basics—and to figure out how you can improve in the coming year.
Communication ability and people skills. Whether your responsibilities lie in troubleshooting technical problems, leading personnel, or transforming interested prospects into satisfied clients, communication skills are very important. Do you have difficulty getting your ideas across? Do your projects and work relationships often falter due to crossed wires and miscues? If so, plan to beef up your people skills in 2009.
Leadership ability. Managerial skills are not just a must for those on the top rung of the organizational ladder—even entry-level employees should have a good handle on leadership basics. If effective delegation, planning, and time management skills are in short supply among your team members, consider hosting a few brown-bag sessions on leadership principles in the year to come.
Strategic and tactical problem-solving skills. Do you have the capability to assess a problem and analyze it from multiple points of view? Can you envision the short- and long-term implications of decisions and courses of action? Revisit your mission and vision statements in 2009 and ensure that all of the decisions you and your team are making flow logically from these objectives.
Attitude and outlook. Circumstances are often beyond your control, but the one thing over which you have complete control is choosing your own attitude. Do your team members tend to fall into the trap of shirking responsibility and playing the blame game? Is morale an ongoing problem? If so, your team might benefit from a refresher course in the power of positive thinking.
Powers of persuasion and conflict management. Persuasive ability isn’t just important for those in sales—everyone from your receptionist to your tech staff should be well-versed in the ability to bring others around to their point of view. Are conflict and needless clashes a constant energy drain in your workplace? This might be a sign that your team’s persuasive skills could use a boost.
How are your business plans for 2009 shaping up? Let us in on your outlook for the year ahead in the comments.