Do You Speak the Language of Success? ©
By Terri L. Norvell, Business Coach & Consultant

A key to success as a business professional is the ability to balance a variety of interests. You may have diverse ownership, specific company priorities, your personal values and certainly the public evaluation of your performance! This sometimes can feel like a juggling act and requires keen concentration. The answer to transforming your focus from "survival to success" lies in your ability to speak fluent "bottom-line"…and teach it to your entire team.

Step Into the Company's Shoes
Speaking fluent bottom-line begins with your understanding of your company objectives. All budgets and business decisions should be made with these results in mind. Personal values and perspectives are important, yet your plans and actions should support the direction and timetable of your company. You’ll need to ask questions and clarify these objectives since the focus may run the gamut from priming the cash flow pump to stabilizing operations.

Action Application
For maximum results it is important to clearly communicate the objectives to every person involved in meeting them. If you’re thinking, "Everyone in my organization can impact performance," you’re right on track. Put these goals in writing, including priorities and timelines, then consider how these objectives can be measured and monitored. Provide specific examples of how your front line team can make decisions in their own areas to support these objectives. Lastly, empower your team to achieve success!

Get Your Front Line to Think Bottom-line
Great ideas often come from surprising places. Success stories from other industries can often be adapted for winning results in your business. Great ideas can also come from sources much closer to home. Speaking fluent bottom-line is also about listening to your team members’ perspectives on how to make things better. When communicating your company objectives, get input from your team on they think they can be achieved. Getting front line input on how to do things better, faster or cheaper can take place formally in meetings and also during informal walk-throughs. Ask yourself, "Who in my organization might have the best ideas on how to gain efficiencies?"

Action Application
Do you take regular walk-throughs of the organizations you manage or supervise? If you are just inspecting projects in process, you are missing a great opportunity to speak bottom-line with your front line. Make sure your walk-throughs include more "talk-throughs." Make sure everyone on your team understands your company objectives and encourage their input on improvements. If you cannot speak to everyone directly, at least be certain to speak with your supervisors and regional teams. Make sure they are presenting the objectives, as you have outlined them, and are actively soliciting feedback from their teams. Ask this question, "If this were your company, what would you do?"

"Adding Value" is About Addition
In any industry, businesses can achieve a competitive advantage if they devise new ways for customers to benefit from their products or service. When you want to propose a value-added service or new program, demonstrate how the value of the proposal adds up. Think of ways to measure and quantify the results of making a particular action. When building a proposal, always include numbers that can be tracked and present ideas in a way that speaks directly to the objectives. Remember to use the SMART test (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Trackable).

Action Application
Teach this approach to your entire team. When proposing any changes in your services or presenting new programs, adding personnel with particular expertise, cross-training your team, or considering new ancillary income, think and speak bottom-line impact. Before recommending any proposal, do the math. Then, investigate the resources required to make a change and project what measurable gains will result from this course of action. Also, consider statistics from other organizations that have made similar changes or solicit expert advice.

Making your way through potential business obstacles and detours may seem as difficult as navigating through a foreign country. There is no single answer for all situations, but you can assure yourself of greater success when you speak the language…bottom-line!

Terri Norvell is a national business coach and consultant
for fast growing and entrepreneurial businesses.

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