Money Matters: The executive’s guide to navigating the end-of-the-year rush
Getting through the end of the year is a delicate balancing act: Businesses and their clients are rushing to meet their fourth-quarter goals as their employees use up the last of their PTO, with December being the most popular month of the year for employee vacation time. With work in high demand and man-hours in short supply, executives are hard-pressed to navigate the end-of-the-year rush successfully.
When it comes to navigating the end-of-the-year rush, the successful executive is a disciplined decision maker. You can succeed by focusing on your strengths, prioritizing your client list, and rewarding your employees’ hard work. Let’s explore each tactic.
Focus on your true strengths
Not too long ago, my daughter came home from her dance studio with a difficult decision. Her dance instructor had announced that the dance team would be going on a cruise, during which the dance team would provide entertainment. There was only one problem: My daughter was also committed to her gymnastics team.
So the studio forced a discussion, and my daughter had to ask herself some difficult questions: “Where do I want to spend my time?” “What am I better at?” Both dancing and gymnastics are great endeavors, but both require a high level of commitment and discipline to choose a craft and become great. And when she was fully honest with herself, she realized that her true strength was in gymnastics.
In the end, my daughter chose gymnastics. By focusing her attention and energy on a single pursuit, she went on to have a great season, and the level of dedication she put toward gymnastics will pay dividends in the long run.
In running a business, the better you can optimize your strengths and know what your strengths are, the more patterns you can double down on. If you know where you are performing really well, recognize those talents and optimize them. Whether it’s business or athletics, spend your time, effort, and energy on what you’re best at. That’s going to create your highest level of fulfillment.
Prioritize your client list
The end of the year is the perfect time to reevaluate your client portfolio and decide which clients need and are ready for more support. In 2022, the growth rate for the top 500 start-ups was up 1,820% from 2021 as identified by Inc. That is an astronomical growth rate for businesses just getting started. Organizations in the growth cycle of their business have more resources with which to work and are the clients you want to be working with. Identifying these clients should be a priority for any business.
How do you know which clients to prioritize? Look for the following growth behaviors:
- The company has a positive cashflow.
- The organization is hiring new employees.
- The business is seeing an increase in revenue.
- There is an increase in press or “buzz” about the organization.
Businesses and clients in this phase are looking for ways to become more effective at what they do. Your products and services may be exactly what they need to make that happen. Identifying and then focusing on these clients will help you maximize your resources and give you a higher ROI with each client.
Compensate your employees’ effort
As your business turns its focus to its strengths and best clients, your teams will naturally become more productive. After all, you’ve eliminated distractions for them and allowed them to do what they are best at. However, don’t take that boost in productivity for granted. If you want to maintain that productivity, you have to reward it.
The worst compensation plan is a plan that doesn’t reward effort and only rewards successes. “You have to encourage innovation,” says Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “One of the counterintuitive things is companies become more conservative as they grow. You have a lot more cash. You have a lot more resources. But companies tend to become more conservative in their decision making. And so [encourage] the company to take risks and innovate and be OK with failure and reward effort, not outcomes.”
As the end-of-the-year rush gets truly underway, things will get harder. Stay on top of the grind by focusing on your strengths, prioritizing your client list, and rewarding your employees for sticking with you. Do that, and you’ll be ready for the new year, stronger than before.
Peter Ord is the founder of GUIDEcx, a client implementation and onboarding project platform based in Lehi.