sparkler-2017

New Year’s Resolutions? 3 BAM Owners Share Their Goals for 2017

On New Year’s Sunday my pastor asked for a show of hands of all the people who made New Year’s Resolutions. Out of a crowd of 500 people, he counted only three. I was surprised at the extremely low number. Back in the day, everyone seemed to talk about it. Maybe we have finally faced the fact that bad habits don’t turn off when the new year turns on! Gym memberships mentally expire in February, diets last until the next dinner invitation, To Do lists remain undone… although all start with the best intentions.

Even if New Year’s Resolutions are facing extinction, articulating hopes for the year ahead and setting realistic goals definitely should not be – certainly not for BAM company owners! We thought it would be fun to hear from some hard working vision-filled business people who have a lot at stake for reaching their goals this year.

For a business, setting and reaching goals is essential for company health and growth. Business goals that encompass the four bottom lines of business as mission will impact staff, customers, suppliers and the community broadly. The goals shared below are a snapshot from the longer list of goals each company has for the year.

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IT Company in Southeast Asia

What are your “New Year’s Resolutions” – your hopes and goals for 2017 for your company?
In January our company will be introducing our goals and objectives for the year ahead. Besides our regular annual goals and targets for our business, this year we will be introducing a “theme” that we as individuals and as an organization will seek to make a reality. I was recently introduced to this idea of “theming each year” to help create the heart and soul of our company messaging. This theme will also stand as a prophetic statement that God will accomplish this in our lives, at the individual level and in the company as a whole.

This year God has been speaking about the theme of “two are better than one” drawing from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Over the past year, I have realized the importance of never facing life without the support of advisors, mentors, pastors, spouses, co-workers, and friends. I have learned that any success we achieve is of a direct result of the relationships we invest into and that invest into us. God uses the people and relationships in our lives to not only help us reach our full potential but to also mold us into a more perfect representation of Christ.

What barriers or opportunities stand in your way?
As we apply this theme to our lives our greatest barrier to overcome is the basic human nature to want to do things alone, to accomplish success through our own blood, sweat, and tears. Pride is a powerful emotion to overcome. However, the opportunities are endless as we apply this basic theme of “two are better than one”. Imagine if at every level of an organization each individual regularly sought advice from positive mentors, coaches, co-workers, and spouses.? An organization will grow to the capacity of those serving within it.

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Food Production Company in Central Asia

What are your “New Year’s Resolutions” – your hopes and goals for 2017 for your company?
My resolution is to only hire the best people for any role. This means slowing down the hiring process to ensure we have the best employees and thus limiting difficulties down the road.

Secondly, to more clearly evaluate opportunities, we’ll be rating them against internal criteria for success, as well as our long-term strategic plans. We are bombarded daily with “opportunities” that require much time in evaluating, and in our cultural context, it’s a challenge to say no to in a way that is not offensive. This is extremely time consuming and does not help us achieve our long-term goals.

What barriers or opportunities stand in your way?
We struggle with an almost non-educated work force who think they are educated and have all the necessary tools. When we require professional work, or point out how they are not doing well or achieving their goals, they feel very hurt (first) and then angry against managers and owners because they feel we are being unreasonable. Our big struggle now is how to take a great concept and scale it up to multiple locations while operating in a culture where everything is a one-off and improvised.

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Hospitality Company in East Asia

What are your “New Year’s Resolutions” – your hopes and goals for 2017 for your company? 
We’re currently empowering eight nationals in leadership positions in our company. We are called as a company to reach out to and employ people from the local people group, and many of our staff come from very humble backgrounds. We’ve been training them up over the years and many have come to know the Lord and have developed their business skills. These eight have become department managers and now are becoming branch managers. This has taken years of working together, training and trust in each other. I feel like I’ve said all I can say to my leaders, given all I can share! My hope for 2017 is that our leaders really step up. I hope that they learn that mistakes are inevitable, but when there are mistakes, you acknowledge them and grow, rather than fall back on others or shift the blame.

We’ve just finished expanding to a second branch in our city and this has been such a great learning experience for our leaders, they’ve learnt how to start up a business from scratch and they’ve learned so many more practical business skills in the process. We now want to see the missional impact that we’ve seen here multiply to other people and places, so another goal in 2017 is to expand into a nearby city with a branch of our company.

What barriers or opportunities stand in your way? 
I think the biggest barrier is me! I think owners can be the most difficult problem, they can stifle their own business and become a bottleneck. It’s very rewarding to train up leaders, but it takes time and we have to be willing to provide an environment where it’s safe to learn and make mistakes.

When Starbucks expand in Asia, they can go and headhunt the best people. In our company, the mentality is so different, because of our missional calling is to this people group, so we are recruiting and training people at the grassroots. We are working on education, worldview transformation, teaching standards, as well as business skills. Excellence is important for our company, customers feel it right away if you drop quality in the hospitality industry, and attention to detail is essential. It’s important for us to get a good rating on Trip Advisor, and we have been given a Trip Advisor Award for Excellence as a result of that focus on quality and customer service. We have to pull this call to our employees together with the necessity for high standards. It’s easy to say we’ll empower people, but it’s a rollercoaster!

God has been calling some of our national leaders to do BAM themselves in the Middle East. This is a great opportunity and also has been challenging because it was unexpected at first. I am learning that the world says ‘franchise’, but God is saying to me, ‘you open new branches where I am leading your people, my staff’. This is expansion for us now: whatever God puts on our hearts we do. It can be scary!

In reading these New Year’s Resolutions, I am struck by how uniquely different each one is. Every company is in a different place and each leader must look to God for wisdom and understanding in what to pursue in moving forwards.

The IT Company took some bold and necessary steps in the last year to pivot and sharpen their focus. They were headed for failure and had to change course or risk closure. Entering into 2017 they feel confident that this change was strategic for company sustainability. The Food Production Company, on the other hand, has been on a fast growth curve the last few years with an abundance of new opportunities and a desire to expand. Even after years of working in the local culture, this company still needs clarity on how to navigate more effectively with employees. The Hospitality Company has spent years investing in their national leaders and after some setbacks in recent years, had a great year in business last year and are now poised for further growth in 2017.

Whether your business on the brink of disaster or in a growth cycle, taking a few moments to articulate your goals for the year is important. Build in some accountability and stick with them.

Cheers to these three company leaders – God’s speed in pursuing their goals this year – and God’s speed to you as you pursue your vision and goals for 2017.

Amy is a regular contributor for The BAM Review, in conversation with BAM practitioners in Asia.

 

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