Identifying key triggers is paramount for successful leadership

What separates an exceptional leader from a complacent one? According to the Reno Journal Gazette, it's possessing the drive to make changes and develop a work culture of continuous improvement.

“Strive to be better,” columnist Aaron Boigon writes for the news source. “Be the best at what we do. Be exceptional, never complacent. These statements reflect principles adopted by today's most successful business leaders.”

Improvement is never something that's easy to achieve, mainly because of how varied these efforts can be. As the saying goes, there are multiple ways to skin a cat, and that applies to business as well. Reducing costs, adding new services, bolstering efficiency, boosting capacity, expanding operations, hiring better talent, buoying customer satisfaction – these are all means to improve a business and there is no one way of accomplishing it.

So there are a variety of ways to improve a company, but that doesn't mean some initiatives will be more effective than others. For example, a company might already offer really lucrative hiring benefits and attract top talent as a result. While leaders can still improve those further, they may be better off adding value to other areas of their operations.

How to determine what needs to be prioritized

The news source suggests looking at key triggers to get the most value out of potential business opportunities. These triggers include: Financial planning, strategic planning, metrics and reporting and customer surveys.

Financial planning is a cost-reduction strategy that is apparent when an organization is considering its financial planning.

Strategic planning involves discovering means to expand or modify existing services to increase competitiveness and bolster relevancy.

In regard to metrics and reporting, the news source notes: “Business reports are perhaps the most common way to identify areas of weakness, under-performance or change. Be sure reports are meaningful and analyzed by people capable of creating action-items based on the information provided.”

Finally, customer surveys cull feedback from clients, which could provide valuable insight on how a company could change its approach to improve relevancy.

Companies across the globe are looking to employ continuous improvement to bolster their bottom line. In fact, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters recently noted this strategy as a difference-maker between successful businesses and ones struggling to weather the recession.