Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the eighty-seventh issue of CEE News! .

I took a hiatus from writing this message last month to celebrate my wedding anniversary with my husband of 20 years. We spent a week exploring ancient sites in Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Antioch (now Antakya), then another week at the seaside town of Alayna where our in-laws have a vacation flat.

Honestly, Turkey has never been on my bucket list. But, I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to research and experience the rich culture, ancient history, beautifully preserved archeology, geography, and food that Turkey has to offer. We stayed two nights in Istanbul just steps away from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.

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Sticky Solutions

Sticky Solutions

Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges


Question:
Three weeks ago, I started a position as the Director of an underperforming sales team.  I was brought in because of my background in delivering results, but I’m already feeling pushback when I try to share my ideas about changes that need to be made.  Do you have any advice for how to gain the traction I need to get the results I was brought in to make?

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Sticky Solutions

Sticky Solutions

Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges

ManagerCont
Question: 
I’m celebrating my 6-year anniversary this month at a 160-person commercial real estate firm in Indianapolis. I have a Bachelors degree and have gone through the company’s management training program which helps me with my team management needs. For the rest of the year, I’d like to focus on building a new skill outside of the traditional management training program. Do you have a recommendation on one area that I could focus on?

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How Deep Into Your Org Chart Do Employees Connect With Your Organization’s Strategic Goals?

How Deep Into Your Org Chart Do Employees Connect With Your Organization’s Strategic Goals?

By: Sheri Nasim, President & CEO

This year, I had the opportunity to work with two major clients to help them refresh their strategic goals. One organization chose the old school method of having business unit and operational leaders gather in person at a multi-day retreat to share their first pass plans with one another, then refine those plans over the next two months and lock in their goals for the next fiscal year along with OPEX and CAPEX budgets. The other organization (which, ironically, is a department of an Ivy League school) chose to refresh their strategic plans iteratively over a five-month period. They wanted to involve more stakeholders in the planning process, which would ideally result in shared accountability for delivering on the goals.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both strategic planning methods that my clients chose. But both were wise enough to skip drafting and editing 30+ page strategic plans. Instead, both walked away with a set of actionable, measurable goals that could be cascaded to the individual contributor level. As authors Kenneth Carrig and Scott Snell state in Strategic Execution (Stanford Press, 2019), three out of every five companies rate their organization as weak on strategy execution.

As I’ve written in multiple posts over the years like – 3 Proven Ways to Move from Strategic Planning to Strategy Execution – the sooner you can connect your strategic objectives with the goals and rewards of individual team members, the better chance you have of turning that theory into reality. Strategy execution happens with true goal alignment from top to bottom, regular monitoring of progress, and linking individual incentives with organizational performance.

I’m fortunate to work with leaders who understand that the days of the written strategic plan are past. Whether you choose the multi-day, retreat style method or the multi-month stakeholder model of refreshing your strategic goals, you’ll be far more likely to achieve those goals when you help your team members connect their goals to the big picture.

Question: What ways have you found to bridge the gap between strategic planning and strategy execution?

Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the eighty-fifth issue of CEE News! .

 

This year, I had the opportunity to work with two major clients to help them refresh their strategic goals. One organization chose the old school method of having business unit and operational leaders gather in person at a multi-day retreat to share their first pass plans with one another, then refine those plans over the next two months and lock in their goals for the next fiscal year along with OPEX and CAPEX budgets. The other organization (which, ironically, is a department of an Ivy League school) chose to refresh their strategic plans iteratively over a five-month period. They wanted to involve more stakeholders in the planning process, which would ideally result in shared accountability for delivering on the goals.

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Sticky Solutions

Sticky Solutions

Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges

 

Question: During my performance review this year, I received “Did not meet expectations” for two projects that I was responsible for. When I told my manager that I had completed everything that I could, but I avoided asking my colleague for the help I needed to finish because our relationship is strained. My manager told me that I had two choices: learn how to navigate uncomfortable conversations or rely on her to advocate for me. Choosing the latter was the easier path, she said, but unless I learned to overcome my fear of constructive conflict, I would not grow with the organization. Can you give me some advice about how to speak to my colleague about working together more effectively?

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Business in Focus: Bearaby

Business in Focus: Bearaby

A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence

Four years ago, Dr. Kathrin Hamm was among the 68% of Americans who say they have difficulty sleeping. Hamm was working as an economist with the World Bank, and, due to an increasingly demanding travel schedule, she suffered from chronic insomnia. She was burning out fast, and decided to matters into her own hands. After reviewing medical journals, Hamm learned about how weighted blankets were frequently used to bring comfort to children with sensory disorders and autism. She ordered one from a medical specialty store and it worked wonders to improve her sleep, but it was far from perfect. So in 2018, she took an entrepreneurial leap and launched Bearaby, determined to make weighted blankets that were cozy, beautiful and breathable.

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Farewell and G’day to WD-40’s Outgoing CEO Garry Ridge

Farewell and G’day to WD-40’s Outgoing CEO Garry Ridge

6.5 years ago, when a San Diego-based client asked for our help to codify their core values, I immediately reached out to WD-40 CEO Garry Ridge. I was first charmed by Garry when I heard him speak at a leadership conference. His Australian accent, the catch in his voice when sharing a story about balancing the weight of leading a publicly-traded company while making time to be a good soon to his aging mother, the self-deprecating humor, made Garry one of the most approachable speakers I’d heard. And when I emailed Garry to ask if he would be willing to host my client for a “culture field trip” to WD-40, his response was an unqualified yes.

I explained to my client that in order to accelerate their work, I wanted them to experience what it looks like when a company’s core values are hard-wired into their behaviors and, ultimately, organizational performance. This basic connection is true for every organization. The key difference is that a few leaders like Garry Ridge take personal responsibility for codifying the connection between culture and performance. They don’t outsource it to HR or delegate to Marketing. They live it and model it every day.

When I showed up at the WD-40 headquarters with my clients to learn about this culture connection, Garry Ridge personally met us at the door and led us through a one-and-a-half-hour tour. Here are three of the top takeaways we heard from Garry on that culture field trip:

  1. Create a learning environment. When Ridge was promoted from within as CEO, he knew that growth was being held back partly due to deep silos within the organization. “Those who knew the most about how things worked guarded that knowledge, which gave them power,” Ridge said. He immediately set to work to define the concept of learning moments. Over time, he built trust in the concept by showing that no one would be punished for trying something new and sharing knowledge about what worked and what did not. At today’s WD-40, knowledge is shared and information moves easily.
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  2. Personalize accountability and responsibility. In Helping People Win at Work, a book co-authored with Ken Blanchard, Ridge shares the unique WD40 performance review system. Employees develop measurable, achievable goals that will help the company reach its annual strategic targets. They describe what ‘A’ work looks like, rate their own progress each quarter, and review these ratings with their manager. The manager’s role is to help employees achieve all As. Ridge says, “If you help your people get As, your performance management system will ignite them to blow away your customers with outstanding service. Because people who feel good about themselves want to return the favor.”
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  3. Get your values off the wall. WD-40 doesn’t just want good performers, it wants good performers who are also good citizens. Ridge believes that values must be at the core of your business model, not just words engraved in a plaque on the wall. Not only does the company have six, clear-to-understand values, but they are ranked in order of importance. He explained, “Life is about values conflicts. When these conflicts arise, people need to know which value to focus on.” Employees are taught the values at orientation, assigned to ‘tour guides’ to help explain values in action, and hold themselves accountable for demonstrating the values, which make up 30% of their performance review.

WD-40 Garry RidgeOn August 31st of this year, Garry is stepping down as CEO of WD-40 after 25 years of service. He plans to launch a consulting practice called The Culture Coach. I, for one, look forward to supporting Garry in this next chapter just as he has so graciously supported mine. So, farewell to Garry as WD-40 CEO and G’day to your new, exciting role!

Message From Our Founder

Message From Our Founder

Welcome to the eighty-fourth issue of CEE News! .

 

6.5 years ago, when a San Diego-based client asked for our help to codify their core values, I immediately reached out to WD-40 CEO Garry Ridge. I was first charmed by Garry when I heard him speak at a leadership conference. His Australian accent, the catch in his voice when sharing a story about balancing the weight of leading a publicly-traded company while making time to be a good soon to his aging mother, the self-deprecating humor, made Garry one of the most approachable speakers I’d heard. And when I emailed Garry to ask if he would be willing to host my client for a “culture field trip” to WD-40, his response was an unqualified yes.

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Business in Focus: him & hers

Business in Focus: him & hers

A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence

Digital health is an industry on a stratospheric trajectory. The coronavirus pandemic has only bolstered its ascent, lifting the prospects of companies that can offer virtual health services at a time when patients, and especially those at highest risk, simply can’t afford to go into a medical facility that’s filled with potential COVID-19 patients. Andrew Dudum was ahead of the curve on this one. While Hims (technically now Hims & Hers), began as a digital health startup geared toward men, it has since expanded its footprint to include women’s health via Hers, with telehealth services and products spanning mental health, primary care, and a variety of specific conditions ranging from erectile dysfunction to hair loss, acne, and beyond.

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Sticky Solutions

Sticky Solutions

Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges

 

 

Question: I’m a manager at a major agricultural company. I was recently chosen to be a part of our company’s mentorship program. My mentor suggested that part of her career success has been to stay up to date on the latest nonfiction books. Since graduating from college and starting in my profession, I haven’t spent much time reading, but I’d like to take my mentor’s advice this summer. Can you recommend any nonfiction books that have been released in the past year that I could download to read during my break?  

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Ten “A-ha” Quotes from My Work with  Clients This Summer

Ten “A-ha” Quotes from My Work with Clients This Summer

By: Sheri Nasim, President & CEO

This summer, I’ve had the privilege of working with teams from Ivy League Schools to government contractors to startups spawned from UC Berkeley labs. I’ve partnered with a 31-year old CEO/Founder to discuss how to build a leadership team, I’ve facilitated training for high-potential employees and senior leaders interested in mentorship, and I’ve worked with teams to refresh their 3-5 year strategic plans.

Regardless of what I’m asked to help with, leaders from organizations of all types and sizes are searching for answers to improving communication, getting better traction through aligned goals, and managing change. Throughout these meetings, there are usually one or two “a-ha” statements that serve as a catalyst for moving from what is to what is possible. Here are ten such quotes that have resonated with my clients, that may inspire you as well:

  1. If you have 100% of the information needed to make a decision, you’re not actually making a decision. You’re just stating a foregone conclusion.
  2. Your power as a leader does not lie in having all of the answers. Your power lies in your ability to ask the right questions.
  3. The need to change is not an indictment of your past performance but a recognition that you are farther than you have ever been but not yet where you want to go.
  4. Strategy without execution is meaningless; execution without engaged people is impossible.
  5. One of the hardest lessons we learn as change agents is that we have to change ourselves first.
  6. A change in a belief occurs before a meaningful change in behavior.
  7. Uncertainty and possibility are two sides of the same coin.
  8. People are down on what they’re not up on. Communication matters.
  9. Strategic goals are not aspirational. They’re about having the discipline to make good tradeoffs about what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do.
  10.  Surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.

I hope you find a statement or two from this list that resonates with you. Write it down. Share it with your people. The lessons learned through others can be extremely impactful on your journey.