All posts in “Performance”

3 Ways to Ensure Your Strategic Plan Doesn’t Collect Dust

Congratulations! You just returned from your annual strategic planning summit. You gathered economic, competitor, and market data. You compared the strengths and weaknesses of your organization with external opportunities and threats. You decided where to tweak your services, how to reach new markets, and ways to generate higher profits. Now what?

 

If your strategic plan is in a 3-ring binder sitting on a shelf collecting dust until time to work on next year’s plan, it’s really no more than a theory. The sooner you can connect your strategic objectives with employee goals and rewards, the better chance you have of turning that theory into reality.

Here are three proven ways to keep your strategic plan from collecting dust:

Break it down. Many strategic plans focus primarily on financial metrics. Most employees don’t connect on a day to day basis with metrics like operating margins, net profit and EBITDA. They don’t see how making a decision about how to handle a customer leads to achieving a desired profit margin. And when employees get to see key performance metrics, the gap between when their performance occurred and the metrics is far too great to have any real meaning.

What kinds of metrics help people connect? Things like improving customer satisfaction, speeding up response times, reducing waste – just about anything that ties directly to the tasks people perform on a daily basis. When employees can see what winning looks like in ways they can relate to, they make better decisions in support of the plan.

 

Monitor progress. Throw out the old paradigm of the annual Performance Review. That pattern traditionally goes like this: set goals, file goals, pull goals out after 12 months, beat employee about the head for not achieving goals. Instead, change the annual performance review process to one of continuous review and adjustment throughout the year. Why? You don’t want to save up negative feedback until the employee fails. Employee failure means organizational failure.

Link performance to rewards. Employees should feel that when the organization has been successful, they share in the rewards. Conversely, when the organization has been unsuccessful, they should feel some of the pain. Incentive and reward systems should link directly to organizational and individual performance. Don’t be afraid to move all employee performance reviews to coincide with the release of annual performance results.

Strategy execution happens with true goal alignment from top to bottom, regular monitoring of progress, and linking individual incentives with organizational performance. Help your employees move from obliged to engaged to turn your strategy into reality.

Here’s a short parable to summarize the importance of true goal alignment:

There once was a Pharaoh who went out to inspect the progress of two pyramids. The first pyramid was a mess! The blocks were uneven, the ramps were unstable, oxen were milling about… The Pharaoh stopped a nearby worker and asked, “What is your job?” The worker replied, “I move stones from this pile to that pile all day.” At the next pyramid, the Pharaoh saw much greater progress. The blocks fit together perfectly. Teams of oxen were moving evenly up the ramps. This pyramid was really taking shape. When the Pharaoh asked a worker, “What is your job?” the worker replied, “I am building a pyramid!”

 

Question: How deep into your org chart do employees connect with the organization’s strategic goals?

 


Winter is coming! Need a roadmap to turn your most important goals into results? 
Whether you’re a startup or need a restart, we can help you develop a strategic plan and help your employees connect the dots.  Click on the link above or email me atsnasim@executiveexcellence.com directly to set-up a free 30 minute consultation.

3 Best Ways To Overcome Resistance

Sitting in the queue for takeoff from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, a father spoke softly to his son who was gripping the armrests in white-knuckled terror. Though I could not hear their exchange, I recognized the look on the boy’s face. It’s the same one I often see on my clients’ faces when they are getting ready to make a significant change.

Overcoming Resistance

My clients get excited when talking about the goals they want to achieve. But, in order to reach those goals, they must strap themselves in and, like the boy, face the fear of G-force acceleration and climbing 2,000 feet per minute through bumpy air pockets in order to reach cruising altitude.

Resistance. It’s the invisible force that you feel any time you try to make an improvement in your personal or professional life. Want to write a book? Start a business? Innovate? Be prepared for resistance. As soon as you declare your goal, you can be sure that fear, uncertainly and doubt will not be far behind. They will come from you, from your friends, from your colleagues, from the world.

The next time you face resistance, recognize that it is a natural part of the process required to reach new heights. In keeping with the flight theme, consider these three lessons from The Wright Brothers as documented by Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough.

Wright Brothers Overcome Resistance

 

1. Don’t focus on what you lack. The Wrights grew up in a house with no electricity, no running water, and no indoor plumbing. Yet, they did not feel disadvantaged because their house was filled with books. They were encouraged and stimulated to read and to write by their father. They took advantage of what they had to feed their curiosity.

 

2. You can’t take off unless you face the wind. The brothers tested their aircrafts at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. They chose Kitty Hawk for two critical elements. First, soft sand dunes made for softer landings. Second, the constant wind added the lift needed for their craft to take flight. To quote Wilbur Wright, “No bird soars in the calm.” If you want to take off, you must harness the power of the wind.

 

3. A setback is a setup for a comeback. They never gave up. They crashed, they got sick, and they were ridiculed. They had every single thing you can imagine go wrong on their way to achieve their goal, but they would not quit. Orville was nearly killed and was crippled — they thought for life — but he came back and was still flying well into his forties. How we handle failure and setbacks is directly correlated to our success.

Our goals are too important to let the resistance stop us. The resistance is real. But when we recognize that it is a natural part of the process, we can overcome it, instead of letting it overcome us.

Question: If you could recognize resistance as part of natural process of climbing to new heights, what could you make happen?

Join me on November 18th at 9am PT for my free leadership webcast. I will talk about what you can do when challenged with bottlenecked communication, idea stagnation, or growing silos.

Are Your Values Off the Wall?

If I were to walk into your company today, where would I find your corporate values? Are they tucked in a bookshelf next to the Employee Handbook? Are they under the protective custody of HR? Are they engraved in plaques on the wall? Regardless of where your values are documented, filed, or engraved, they are little more than empty platitudes if your leaders are not modeling them through their daily behaviors. Instead of hanging on the walls, your values should be walking the halls. Read More

The Power of Stories in High Performing Cultures

The strongest organizations in the world achieve sustainable success largely because they understand the value of culture as a competitive advantage.

Let’s face it. Culture can be hard to define and difficult to measure. Senior executives tend to shy away from investing in initiatives with fuzzy ROI. Yet, whether you measure it or not, you have a culture. It may be empowering or toxic. Either way, the results are showing up on your bottom line.

Read More

13 Rules of Leadership by Colin Powell

“Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.”  This is one of many quotes attributed to legendary public statesman and former Secretary of State Colin Powell Read More

6 Truths About Change Management

For the past month everything around us has been changing. Temperatures are falling and the sun is setting earlier. Leaves are changing to vibrant reds and deep yellows.  There’s no denying that fall is here and winter is just around the corner.  As humans, we are hard wired to accept the inevitability of seasonal changes.  Although we can manage the extreme weather changes of four seasons a year, we are not so adaptive when it comes to organizational change. Read More

A Pharaoh Walks into a Bar

There once was a Pharaoh who went out to inspect the progress of two pyramids. The first pyramid was a mess! The blocks were uneven, the ramps were unstable, oxen were milling about… The Pharaoh stopped a nearby worker and asked, “What is your job?” The worker replied, “I move stones from this pile to that pile.” At the next pyramid, the Pharaoh saw much greater progress. The blocks fit together perfectly. Teams of oxen were moving evenly up the ramps. This pyramid was really taking shape. When the Pharaoh asked a worker, “What is your job?” the worker replied, “I am building a pyramid!”

Congratulations!  You just returned from your annual strategic planning summit.  You gathered economic, competitor, and market data.  You compared the strengths and weaknesses of your organization with external opportunities and threats.  You decided where to tweak your services, how to reach new markets, and ways to generate higher profits.  Now what? Read More