As you enter the all-important Q4 and prepare for Q1, it's a good idea to have a solid growth strategy in place.
One of my favorite activities for my companies is a business boot camp. Here are my tips for success.
1. Define your goals.
You can accomplish a number of different things in your boot camp (more on that later), but your growth strategy won't have much of a chance if you don't know what you're aiming for.
Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely), and make sure every boot camp participant is clear on the desired outcomes.
You may know precisely what you want to accomplish, but just in case you don't, here are examples of successful uses of boot camps:
- Preparing for a new product launch. When you have a big new initiative, your business boot camp can push your growth strategy forward by ensuring all your staff is educated and excited about your new offering.
- Learning new skills. Maybe you've been wanting to introduce new software or procedures, but you're uncertain about how to get your team up to speed in a hurry. There's your boot camp goal: Intensive training can get you up and running quickly.
- Team building. Sometimes team building can be dismissed as just fluff. But done right, your boot camp can send you into Q1 as a tight-knit group with a healthy company culture.
2. Have a little fun.
I've seen boot-camp-style corporate events that would give drill sergeants a run for their money. That's typically not the most productive environment for your recruits…um…employees. Build in some recreation and explore ways to make your boot camp both enjoyable and educational.
3. Provide performance incentives.
One of the things I've learned is that it can be hard to motivate employees to go above and beyond.
A growth strategy I've found helpful is to institute performance incentives that range from small to significant. From rewards for highest scores on assessments to bonuses on implementation of new skills or techniques, I've found that the best way to show my staff I mean business is to pony up something of value. And if cost is a concern, try hitting up vendors for rewards.
4. Follow up and evaluate.
Putting on a business boot camp costs money, plain and simple. And unless you want that money to have been a big waste, you absolutely must evaluate your event's accomplishments.
Remember those SMART goals? Now's the time to measure them.
Did your employees learn the new skills you needed them to master? Did your company culture become tighter-knit? Is your staff prepped and raring to go for the new year?
A solid analysis of your boot camp's effectiveness can help you refine future efforts.
5. Solicit employee feedback.
As part of my evaluation of my boot camp growth strategy, I've found it enormously useful to get feedback from my staff. I want to know if they enjoyed the exercise, whether they feel like they learned valuable stuff and how they'd improve the next boot camp. I never fail to get useful, constructive input, and many of my employees' suggestions have made subsequent events more successful.
Staff suggestions on the length of events, time of day, fun activities and even food choices have helped me polish up my business boot camps into powerful, appealing tools that my employees look forward to.
A growth strategy I've found helpful is to institute performance incentives that range from small to significant.... I've found that the best way to show my staff I mean business is to pony up something of value.
The purpose of a military boot camp is to transform raw recruits into the beginnings of successful, organized members of the armed forces. The progress is rapid. It's a dramatic example of culture shock.
Your employees aren't raw recruits who signed on to be berated or go on 5 a.m. runs. But if your growth strategy calls for reinvigorating or retraining your staff, a business boot camp could be just what the drill sergeant ordered.
Read more articles on planning for growth.
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