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How to Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of Your Business

When your business is small, it’s easy to know what’s going on. (After all, you’re the one on the front lines executing day after day.) But as your business grows, it becomes more difficult to track with all of the smaller developments. The question is, how do you stay connected?

3 Ways to Stay Connected With Your Business

Size isn't everything in the business world. Yes, generally speaking, it’s harder to keep the pulse of a business as it grows. But that’s a general rule of thumb - it shouldn’t be the expectation.

There are owners of small businesses who have no idea what’s going on inside their organizations. Then there are CEOs of global corporations who are so closely connected to their companies’ inner workings that they’re able to make split-second decisions with tremendous accuracy.

Size matters, but your approach matters much more. And if you’re looking to stay connected with your business, here are a few proactive steps that you can take:

Hold Better Meetings

The quantity of meetings you hold must decrease, while the quality must increase. In other words, it's time to reimagine your meetings and make better use of your time (and that of your employees). Here are a few suggestions:

Keep meetings short. There’s an old theory that says work expands to the time you schedule for it. If you give yourself 45 minutes for a meeting, you’ll make it last 45 minutes. But if you only allow 15 minutes, you’ll get it done in 15 minutes. And it’s for this reason that you always err on the side of shorter meetings. People will show up focused, there will be fewer distractions, and you’ll get the same amount of work done in less time. 

Take meeting minutes. There should be absolutely no spectators in meetings. Only invite people who are integral to the content of the meeting. The only exception to this rule is inviting someone who can take meeting minutes. These minutes can then be shared with those who were not invited to the meeting to stay in the loop.

Assign tasks. While he was leading Apple, Steve Jobs was religious about assigning responsibility for tasks and decisions derived during meetings. Every task was given a Directly Responsible Individual (D.R.I) so that nothing slipped through the cracks after a meeting. You should implement a similar policy. (Not only does it improve the chances that the task gets done, but it also gives you a point person to follow up with after the fact.)

You might have other ideas to make your meetings more efficient, but this is a good start. And if you do nothing but apply these four principles to your existing meetings, you’ll see a noticeable improvement in your meetings’ quality. Not only will your schedule become more streamlined, but you’ll feel more in-tune with what’s happening in your business.

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Leverage Dashboards

Sometimes you just need to be able to look at something and conduct a quick analysis of the health and status of your organization. And in today’s data-driven world, a dashboard builder is the perfect place to make this happen.

As datapine explains, “A dashboard builder is a visualization and management tool used to develop and interact with data, created with various graphs and charts that produce a single screen dashboard used to control, analyze, extract, and generate invaluable business insights.”

By creating dashboards for the areas of your business where you need to be able to identify trends and take a quick pulse, you can stay connected to your business without getting caught up in the weeds.

Keep Your Organization Flat

While a tall organization structure keeps you insulated from much of the “riff raff” that occurs at the lower rungs of the business, it also keeps you out of the loop. If you want to stay more closely connected to what’s happening, you should keep your organization as flat as possible.

A flat structure breeds trust, transparency, confidence, passion, autonomy, and an array of other benefits. And at the end of the day, it gives you a more agile business.

Staying in the Know

The more intentional and focused you are in your pursuit of staying connected with your business, the better your results will be. Certain strategies and techniques will flop, while others will stick. The important thing is that you’re constantly iterating and trying new things. You’ll eventually find an approach that works and your business (and leadership) will improve as a result.