Somehow, the first quarter of 2023 is already underway. January brings with it inundating messages of newness and change. Advertisements for gyms and diet plans conjure ideas of entirely new, rigorous routines. Organizational storage and cleaning products go on sale as if the messier among us will be forever changed with just one purchase. And stores’ office supply sections are stocked with planners and sticky notes, making us hopeful that organization levels will be perfect for the entirety of the next 12 months.
As executives are finalizing their company’s objectives, strategy, and initiatives that will drive their business forward, we implore leaders to not let that unrealistic, “new-year-new-you” messaging creep its way into their work. At the start of a new quarter or new year, it can be tempting to strive for perfect performance and immediate progress toward goals, but we know that doing so will lead to burnout and disillusionment by March. Our advice as the new year kicks off? Assess your company’s current level of effectiveness, as it is now, so that you may better understand your readiness and ability to accomplish all that you plan to in 2023.
To achieve its highest potential, your company and its executive office need to be operating effectively. The best way to begin assessing the state of your effectiveness is to set aside goals and “not yets” and instead consider how your executive office is now, without its KPIs and ambitions for the future. Think of each member of your executive office, take stock of their responsibilities. Ask yourself how they perform under stress, and how often that stress occurs. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses present on your team and then examine how those strengths are being utilized in the work at hand, or how weaknesses are impeding productivity.
If you’ve identified gaps in your team’s strengths and abilities, contemplate which team members are poised to grow, strengthen their skills, and fill those gaps. Additional training and development will aid your employees in achieving your company’s goals and may also be a boon for future promotions. Perhaps your team is already stretched and developing as best they can. If that’s the case, it may be appropriate to increase the size of your team. There are many roles to consider adding to your company’s executive office; you could create a new role or duplicate a role that already exists. For example, some offices utilize the power of two or three executive assistants rather than just one. It’s possible that the goals you have in mind for your organization would be best met with additional people and proficiencies present.
Next, shift your attention to the processes and technology your office uses. Are the processes useful and non-complicated? Is your office’s software up to date and well-understood by its users? Ask yourself, when a member of your team encounters a problem, are they able to troubleshoot with other colleagues or are you always the go-to? Consider how old your processes are and if their originator is still present in your executive office. Some processes endure because of their genuine usefulness, but others can hang on simply because no one has ever thought to improve them. If you find your office’s processes are inefficient or that your technology isn’t as powerful as it once was, it may be prudent to focus on making relevant changes before tackling the ambitious work you’ve laid out for 2023. How your team achieves its objectives is just as important as the objectives themselves.
The makeup of your team, its structure, and the tools and technology your team uses are some of the very first things Prime’s advisors analyze when they begin working with a new client. We bring these topics and questions to our clients’ executive teams and listen closely to their responses, asking follow-up questions and seeking multiple perspectives to ensure our keen understanding.
Once these initial conversations have completed, we provide our clients with the Effectiveness Diagnostic—a tool that scores our clients’ effectiveness. The diagnostic collects data on how your team spends time, uses information, and communicates. Combining both qualitative and quantitative information, Prime’s advisors identify the areas where your executive office can evolve. If we find that individuals are struggling or stagnant in their work, we pinpoint where and how the challenges are originating so that our recommendations capture every facet of their circumstance. Prime’s advisors often identify members of executive offices that are ready for additional or changed responsibilities. It is also possible that your team is comprised of effective, stand-out professionals who simply need better tech and processes to be successful in their work.
Assessing your effectiveness can be discouraging and uncomfortable. Many executives often feel overwhelmed with the information they gain during an effectiveness assessment. However, most executive offices have at least one or two areas that would benefit from attention and improvement and doing so will aid in the achievement of your team.
January is often thought of as the ideal time to dive into productivity and hastily seek improvement. With a combined 49 years of Chief of Staff experience, Prime Chief of Staff views the new year as an ideal time to pause, carefully assess, and make thoughtful adjustments before the critical components of the year’s work begin. The best work is done by teams who are equipped with flawless tools and processes, led by executives who are confident in their effectiveness.