As the year winds down, it's an entrepreneur's duty to look ahead and plan for what's to come. Input from key players can give you a clear picture of where your company is headed that you could not see otherwise.
With that in mind, we asked a panel of 10 members from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what questions they ask in order to lead their team better in the new year. Their answers are below.
1. What Does Success Mean to You?
It's not fair to assume your employees are motivated by the same factors as you. Encourage your team to define what a successful 2014 would mean to them inside of their role. Could they want to become a better leader? Have a more cohesive team? Increase sales conversions? Helping your employees succeed in accordance with their motivation will increase productivity, happiness and retention. - Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits
Related: "Recognition, celebration, and hoopla are contagious. Are you a carrier?"
2. What Do You Want to Lead?
Responsibility breeds ownership which breeds passion. Every member of your staff should lead their own part of the company. Whether it's a junior employee owning a specific feature or a co-founder leading an entire department, it is important for entrepreneurs to share the wealth, leadership-wise. - Neil Thanedar, LabDoor
3. What New Job Functions Are You Interested in Taking On?
If your plan is to grow (and whose isn't) then the key players will need to be prepared to take on new tasks and roles within the company to help facilitate that process. To better plan your hiring strategy for the upcoming year, figure out what voids an existing employee can fill. They will feel rewarded and trusted as integral members in your organization. - Vinny Antonio, Victory Marketing Agency
4. What Should We Stop Doing?
Companies typically focus on improvement by addition, adding new projects, goals, etc. I recommend using the new year as an opportunity to focus on improvement by subtraction. Ask your team what projects, tasks, processes, should be removed. The results will likely surprise and, more importantly, benefit you. - Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc
5. How Can You Help Us Acquire More Customers?
In order to become a great customer acquisition organization, entrepreneurs have to create a culture around it -- similarly to the culture they create around being a great product company. This requires all key staff to orient their decision making and prioritization on how they can influence the company's customer acquisition capabilities. - Jonathan Berkowitz, Thinktiv
6. What Can I Do?
7. What Are Your Goals for the Next Quarter?
Holding a meeting to discuss individual and team goals for the upcoming months is not only a great way to talk about tasks to be accomplished, but is also a fun way to get your team brainstorming improvements, new ideas and visions together for the new year. - Zach Cutler, Cutler Group
8. How Can I Help Make You More Effective?
An entrepreneur should understand the constraints that are holding a company's team back from doing an even better job. Whether its technology, personnel or some other factor, every aspect of your company could be functioning better. What better way to identify the most important pain points in your business than to ask your team? - Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors
9. What Is Your Top Priority?
It is paramount that your business is aligned with respect to priorities within your business. It is essential that your employees care about the same things the business needs. - Kelcy Pegler, Jr, Roof Diagnostics
10. What Do You Need From Me or the Company to Feel Proud at the End of 2014?
What do you need from me or the company to feel proud of yourself at the end of 2014? Setting and knowing your staffs expectations, professional goals and vision for the year is as important as the company sharing their company vision and goals. It will allow you to better manage them and show them you are committed to them as much as they are committed to the company. - Andrew Angus, Switch Video
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