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Your smartest investment in 2020

December 16, 2019Mark Rhodes

It’s the end of the year, traditionally a time of reflection, planning, anticipation, gratitude, and giving. Raise your hand if you’re not busy enough to make an investment for your future.

An element throughout my career that has been common to higher performing teams and companies is the value given to reflecting, learning and making an investment. At this time of year, you’re likely focused and busy with 2020 budgeting, your company’s busy season, or wrapping up the latest project. But it is a perfect time, and so critical, to take the time to reflect on your year. Gather your team(s) now and review them. There are numerous models for these exercises, but no need to make it complex. Identify what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what to do to improve next time (if you’d like a name for this, one is plus/minus/delta). A popular and easy-to-understand model that is a slight twist is Start/Stop/Keep (what should we start doing, what should we stop doing, and what should we keep on doing).

A couple of cautions: Again, keep it simple – you don’t have time to get fancy right now, and it will just deflect your team’s focus. Call a meeting in a comfortable setting, share the purpose and expected outcomes, and jump in. Also, keep these gatherings positive – it is crucial that they are not perceived as a blame session. What has happened has happened – let’s be smart and learn and do better next time. To remove the emotion it’s sometimes helpful to have someone who was not involved with your team or project facilitate this reflection. I want to return to the idea of identifying action items as well; these reflections are pointless without identifying AND implementing actions for improvement. Why waste everyone’s time if you’re not committed to improving? Beyond that, good luck getting honest input from your team next time if they know nothing will result anyway.

You know another highly valuable and powerful discussion to have? Gather your team and discuss how well your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central / Dynamics NAV system is supporting your company’s needs. Where are folks struggling to find information and why? Where are errors occurring and why? Where are workarounds needed and why? When does your team spend more time in the system than they should and why? Do this not just with your team, but watch the powerful conversations unfold when you gather a cross-functional team from across your company. Considering the hard- and soft-dollar investments you’ve made and continue to make in your D365 Business Central / NAV system, and all the collective time your organization “spends” annually working with it, and I hope it’s obvious that spending a few minutes identifying gaps and opportunities for improvement can generate real and significant ROI (and by the way, we can help you do this – see our schedule of 40+ classes next year or give us a call to help assess how well your system is supporting your company).

Two final thoughts: 1) You do not have to wait until the end of the year for these reflection activities, and 2) regular gatherings (try quarterly or even monthly) can foster real change and an understanding by your team that your company cares about continuous improvement.  And once that starts to become part of your company’s culture, your team will feel like they matter and the company is invested in their success too. What a powerful gift to give them at this time of year.

 

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The experts at New View Strategies are experienced Dynamics NAV and Business Central trainers and business process consultants who have walked in your shoes as former Corporate Controllers, Directors of IT, and Solution Architects, and believe increased utilization of your business systems is critical to the continued success of your company.
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