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Looking Ahead, In Retrospect

Thea Dudley Growing Your Business
January 4, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.

RCS Influencer Thea Dudley says that 2021 planning starts with self-reflection on what you learned this year.  

The holidays are such a wonderful time of the year.  We are all a little nicer, filled with spirit of the holidays and goodwill towards everyone.  This year, along with everything 2020, is a little off. If 2020 were a Christmas movie it would be “The year without a guide.”  For most of our industry, it has been ‘jingle all the way’ with no slow down.  Challenges, changes, adapting, material shortages, you name it, but shortage of work was not one of those challenges.   

Just about every company I know has grown.  But it got me thinking, as busy as we have all been, what does this growth really look like?  How am I going to capitalize on it, use it to my company’s advantage, what about my team, my employees and myself?   

Growth comes in many shapes and ways, beyond the bottom line.  What am I doing to help my team grow, how am I challenging myself?  What am I personally, really doing to help the people, the team and the company, I support?   

To quote a friend of mine, “One hailstorm does not make you a great leader, be humble, be aware.”  We can change that hailstorm line for “essential business in a pandemic” but the philosophy remains the same.  How do you continue to grow in the “time of pandemic” and the aftermath?   

Time for some hard self-reflection.  Think of it as the end of year reality check.  On you, your business and your people.  Emphasis on YOU and the people who make up “your neighborhood.”  The people who make your company what it is.   They are the ones holding you up as the leader so if they have issues, you have issues.   

Ask yourself: 

  1. Am I using our data to create new insights? 

  1. Have I remained open minded to new ideas, ways to approach our work, systems, processes? 

  1. Are we changing our processes to meet the needs of what is going on NOW, to continuing to do the same thing, the same way 

  1. Am I ready to change my mind if new or better information comes along? 

  1. Does everyone on my team do something above average? 

  1. Am I keeping people on my team that are not contributing up to expectations (be honest, this one is one of the most difficult)   

Knowing what we know now that many jobs can be done from home, leveraging technology is a NOW thing not an optional program, improving your systems, meeting can be done by WebEx effectively.  This knowledge opens a whole new side of business that many have put off.  Some people on your team will do well embracing the changes, some will not.  Hard conversations, decisions about how to move forward and deep dives into the processes are all part of growth.   

You are in an outcome-driven world, you have to be honest with yourself.  One final question to ask yourself: If not now, when?   

Thea Dudley is an expert credit and collections officer, having spent 30 years in the construction field working for contractors and distributors. See her full bio here. 



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Karen Sharples
January 5, 2021
I loved this!

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