Thursday, 23 May 2024 04:39

5 principles that sharpen your business edge and boost performance

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In marketing and PR, competition is fierce, and leaders are always looking for a strategic edge. As a CEO, I've seen firsthand how the right practices result in massive ROI, and I wanted to explore the elements that have helped me and my agency stay ahead.

That's why I met with Jake Thompson, top-ranking podcast host and founder of Compete Every Day, an organization that helps leaders maximize performance. He shared several essential principles that are applicable not only to my industry but to any competitive business environment.

Combining his insights with my industry experience, here are five best practices for honing your competitive edge until it's razor-sharp.

1. Embrace Continuous Improvement

This isn't just about embracing a mindset of relentless growth or consistently refining your company's offerings. While those are important, your business and employees must be agile enough to adapt.

For example, a worldwide survey revealed that 74 percent of marketers are using AI to improve their search engine results page ranking and 80 percent are using it to improve user experience. That means companies that aren't integrating AI risk falling behind. 

What's more, if you want a competitive company, you need to retain motivated, engaged talent. In a world where 90 percent of organizations are concerned about employee retention, providing employees with learning opportunities is a crucial component that encourages them to stay. 

(By the way, if you're wondering where to start, four of every five people want to learn more about using AI in their profession.)

2. Cultivate Leadership at Every Level

Jake explained that 63 percent of Millennials – the generation that makes up most of the workforce--feel their leadership skills aren't being developed. As he put it, "Doughnut days or ice cooler giveaways don't move the needle for most people."

Developing a culture that allows everyone to feel engaged, empowered, and valued is essential. Have weekly one-on-ones, make time for upskilling, and provide access to free and paid development resources. 

By cultivating top talent, you'll see a ripple effect extending throughout your organization and into the quality of your offerings. 

3. Establish Clear, Reasonable Goals

Have you heard about the Harvard goal-setting study? It claimed just 3 percent of its graduating class had recorded specific goals for their futures, and 20 years later, those 3 percent were earning 10 times more than their peers.

It's a popular urban legend. That study doesn't exist. 

However, one of the researchers who debunked it, Gail Matthews of Dominican University, did produce a goal-setting study. It revealed that people are 42 percent more likely to achieve goals when they're clearly defined, written down, and specific.

So, don't just invent goals that sound good --establish clear, realistic objectives. To do this, consider incorporating a goal-setting framework like SMARRT (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, realistic, and timely).

4. Promote Resilience and Wellness

Last year, 72 percent of leaders reported feeling burned out by the end of the day. Burnout at the top has a permeating, negative impact, influencing productivity, turnover rate, and more. And nearly half of employees who experience burnout start looking for a new job.

So, leaders need to develop resilience and carve out time for self-care (employees, too). Equally important, with only a quarter of US workers operating under the belief that their organization cares about their well-being, it's crucial to demonstrate your commitment to helping employees thrive.

For example, people are 30 percent less likely to feel burned out when leadership helps them manage their workload. This means it's essential to have involved, knowledgeable managers who understand workflows and deliverables. And avoid isolating people into silos--people are less likely to experience burnout if they have a sense of camaraderie at work. 

Build a supportive work environment that offers competitive salaries and wellness packages, like mental health resources, flexible working hours, and robust PTO (at my company, it's unlimited).

5. Champion Constructive Feedback

Customer and employee feedback is crucial. For example, 32 percent of U.S. consumers switched brands last year specifically because of sustainability practices. Do your customers care about green initiatives? You won't know unless you ask (and listen).

Internally, implement a feedback system that encourages employees to feel safe to share, such as anonymous forms. And personally model how to accept constructive criticism by accepting feedback with grace and positivity. 

Final Thoughts

How people feel about their jobs is deeply tied to the investments companies make in them. Let employees know they're an integral part of collective success by committing to their growth, an effort that can increase productivity by 18 percent and profitability by 23 percent. And while these insights are among the best ways to optimize performance, it's not just about the numbers – it's about doing right by the people who make your company strong.



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