You successfully started your business and now it’s growing. You may be wondering, “Are we as productive as we could be despite the fact we’re hiring more people?”

It’s not enough to run and grow your business.  Your ability to sustain wellbeing is key to your success and fulfillment.  As Michael Gerber states in his book The E-Myth, it’s imperative to work on your business as well as in it. In addition to other areas, you have responsibility for your staff’s social and emotional intelligence, engagement, productivity and leadership development. In my work with clients, I educate them on five elements needed to ensure a healthy business.  They are:

  1. REQUIREMENTS GATHERING
  2. HUMAN SYSTEMS ANALYSIS
  3. PROGRAM DESIGN
  4. IMPLEMENTATION
  5. TESTING AND MAINTENANCE

In this first of five articles, I support you in understanding the first step:

  1. REQUIREMENTS GATHERING

Defining your business objectives helps you and your leaders build determination. My goal is to help you refine your existing plan for growth and wellness or gain clarity to support a transformation process if one is needed to improve the health of your organization and the engagement of your staff. Questions to consider are:

  • Do we have a clearly defined purpose or why for our business and what we intend to cause?
  • Do we have a clearly defined set of values for how we must operate to achieve our purpose?
  • Do we understand what type of company culture promotes high performance and quality?
  • Have we determined our human systems to positively influence how people think, feel and act?
  • Do we have a strategic direction and organizational growth/wellness plan?
  • Is our leadership team cohesive, including understanding and approving of our strategic direction and growth/wellness plan?
  • Do our leaders understand what outcomes we commit to achieve over the next few years and the milestones for reaching them?
  • Do our employees understand, approve and support our purpose, values and leadership team plans to accomplish over the next months and years and does each know his or her goals and role in the plan?
  • Do we regularly budget for and offer professional development to support increased leadership, accountability, intrinsic motivation, caring behaviors, trust and emotional intelligence as top priorities?
  • Do we have a schedule for training and mentoring each employee so they are supported in taking full responsibility for their relationships, productivity and engagement?

The ability to clearly define and communicate your strategic objectives, including performance targets is foundational to leading your organization to success. Chances are, you’re committed to mindfully growing your company and have a strong vision for its greatness. You want to thrive rather than simply survive. Yet at times, you feel you’re shoring up one side of it and then running to another area to fortify it there.  Often the last thing you want to consider is how to create business health. Yet, Steven Covey was right in his book Seven Habits for Highly Effective People; the priority first habit is: Be proactive.  Consider the questions I’ve presented here and begin to draft your answers.  In my next article, I’ll help you understand why and how to analyze your human systems. Call me if I can help!

Judy Ryan (judy@LifeworkSystems.com), human systems specialist, is owner of LifeWork Systems. Her mission is to help people create lives and jobs they love. She can be reached at 314-239-4727.

As published in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, November 2013