7 Questions to Ask Right Now to Double Down on Finishing the Year Strong
Good companies kick off the second half of the year with a Q2 business review to make sure that KPIs are trending in the right direction and every level of the organization is aligned on who needs to do what by when.
Great companies take that review a step further: they challenge assumptions, assess individual performance, strengthen systems of accountability, and identify inefficiencies that could stall progress.
Discussing these seven questions with your leadership team and CEO coach can help you go beyond your raw numbers and accelerate your growth trajectory for the rest of the year.
1. Did Our Business Growth Align with Our Mission and Vision?
An excessive focus on exceeding short-term KPIs — and profits — pull some companies away from what matters most to their long-term success. You’re not going to stay BIG for very long if you’re cutting corners on quality, overworking staff, or diluting your brand just keep your numbers up for the quarter. Likewise, if you’re missing your growth targets, these kinds of panic moves aren’t going to right the ship before the end of the year. Your business’ mission and vision should be the driving force behind everything you do. Reassess that alignment regularly to make sure you’re growing the right way for the right reasons.
2. Are We Holding Ourselves to the Highest Standards of Performance and Execution?
No CEO can afford to sit on the sidelines during this historically fierce battle for top talent. Grab a sheet of paper and rate all of your direct reports: A, B, C. Can you coach up the Bs to As? And why are you settling for Cs? Your A leaders should perform the same exercise for their direct reports, and so on down. Investing more resources in training could reset your company-wide baseline for performance and accountability and inspire underperforming workers to go up a level. It might also be time to dip into the global talent pool and start investing in the superstars you want seated in your company’s future org chart.
3. Which Competitors Are Nipping at Our Heels?
The best CEOs often have a healthy sense of paranoia. Keep one eye on your rearview mirror and you’ll have a more complete grasp of industry trends, potential tech breakthroughs, and shifts in market demand and customer needs. You might also identify a competitor that’s threatening enough to take seriously but still small enough to target with an M&A growth strategy. Remember: once upon a time, Blockbuster could have bought Netflix.
4. Which of Our Existing Key Relationships Needs More Love?
Your sales and customer service teams are responsible for keeping customers happy at the point of sale. But how you handle your relationship-building responsibilities as CEO determines who just stays a customer and who becomes a devoted superfan. Likewise, as the face of the company, it’s your responsibility to keep bankers, board members, and government officials in the loop whether today’s news is good or bad. A friendly lunch, a cup of coffee, or a handwritten birthday card can go a long way towards keeping key stakeholders on your side.
5. What Skill Sets or Knowledge Gaps Do We Have?
Assessing your AI strategy should be item one for this discussion point. Investigate how you can use tech and an influx of talent to close the gaps between your existing capabilities and emerging opportunities to reduce costs, gather and analyze more data, and free your best people to personalize and humanize your service.
6. On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Well Are We Innovating and Staying Ahead of the Competition?
A low score here might look insignificant if your growth KPIs are BIG. But if you’re not innovating, then you’re standing still. And key customers and top talent tend to get bored with stagnant companies faster than stagnant CEOs can imagine. It’s not too late to fire a few bullets before the end of the year, whether that means a small market trial of a new product or service or a new marketing campaign aimed at an underserved niche. If you miss, you’ll at least gain valuable data to feed into your AI funnel. If you hit, you might discover a path to get BIG faster or more efficiently.
7. If We Started a New Company to Compete Against Our Own Company, What Would the New Company Do to Put Us Out of Business?
When CEO Coaching International’s Don Schiavone was the COO of Grasshopper, he asked his leadership team this question. The discussion created a blueprint for an innovative new company that Don liked better than the current one. So Grasshopper followed that blueprint, transformed itself, and grew 10X, eventually selling to Citrix for $170 million.
Considering that you’ve had to deal with inflation, rising interest rates, jumpy markets, and anxious consumers, the growth you’ve achieved so far this year is worth celebrating. But no matter how positive your numbers look right now, don’t let the snapshot of where you are today distract you from where you want to be in six months. Use your answers to these questions to fight complacency, keep growing, and keep Making BIG Happen.
About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.