Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 02:02 PM

Beware of stretch goals backfiring

Wells Fargo & Co. fired four senior executives this week - part of the continuing fall-out from their sales-practices scandal (see The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2017). The WSJ article describes “lofty goals that led some staff to engage in improper behavior.”

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Tue, Feb 07, 2017 @ 02:00 AM

Missing trends can blind-side you

In the practice of helping companies with strategic thinking and execution planning we regularly set time aside to look at trends. For example, a residential carpet cleaning client saw that the trend toward hardwood floors in homes and workplaces, and was prepared for the impact on its business. Or take McDonald’s or anyone in the restaurant space. They have all had to adjust to changing dietary preferences.

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Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 08:56 AM

Using active customer reconnaissance to reduce risk

Not seeing and hearing from customers, directly and frequently

In the early stages or when there are fewer than twelve employees or so, it is easy to know what customers are feeling. Leaders are still doing. They are still selling, servicing and probably collecting.  Feed-back is a natural by-product of their day.

As an organization scales, the leader’s attention is necessarily drawn in to internal (people and process) issues inherent with adding people. The leader's market facing orientation turns inward.

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Fri, Jan 27, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Traps to avoid boring huddles

When huddles don't seem productive

One of the time-saving communication enhancing habits we promote is the daily huddle. It’s the regularly scheduled eight to twelve-minute stand-up meeting.

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Sun, Jan 22, 2017 @ 11:40 AM

Faulty SWOTS – A powerful exercise needs rigor

The SWOT built on sand. Accepting faulty SWOT assumptions

The SWOT exercise is a staple of strategic planning sessions. The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses (which are internal to the company) and Opportunities, Threats (or things external to the company or about its industry or competitive landscape).

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Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 02:22 PM

New thinking on employee performance management

This week The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on yet another large company making changes in how they review and manage their people.  According to the newspaper's August 22nd article, Kimberly-Clark is getting away from “backward-looking, once-a-year reviews framed largely as a compliance requirement – a paper trail for potential job cuts and salary decisions – to a process that is real-time, continuous and focused on helping people meet ambitious goals…”

In the last year, a number of business news articles have reported on moves away from annual performance reviews and toward more frequent, forward-looking one-on-one conversations. These changes have been characterized as a shift to what’s called Performance Management (PM). According to the WSJ, “in the past year firms including Accenture PLC, and General Electric have dropped annual performance reviews. The WSJ notes that Adobe Systems scrapped its annual review in 2012 in favor of frequent “check-ins.”

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Mon, Sep 23, 2013 @ 08:32 AM

To get better employee accountability: Do ask, don't tell

The challenges and pitfalls to fully executing business plans are well known and commonly experienced by managers. Most CEO’s will admit they’re much better at the planning process than with what happens after the off-site.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013 @ 05:41 PM

Executing Strategic Plans: 5 Guiding Principles

The Dallas Business Journal had a story about FITCO, a twelve year-old company.  In the August 2013 article, CEO Jason Kos said his goal is to take his $20 million company to $100 million in the next six years. What’s his game plan? “We want to make sure people are in the right place doing the things they want to focus on to enhance their engagement and their life. We want our employees to feel like the company really cares,” Kos told the DBJ.

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Thu, Nov 29, 2012 @ 04:12 PM

Maximizing Your Return on Luck: The Key Strategic Insight

By Verne Harnish and Tom Krekel   Hunkering down in year-end strategic planning sessions, you and your team are probably thinking hard about what’s next for the economy and how that will affect your business. Slow down. You should really be laser focused on maximizing what Jim Collins, in his book Great by Choice, calls your “return on luck” – what we consider one of the most important business concepts ever articulated.   

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Mon, Jul 16, 2012 @ 01:50 PM

Improve your business startup odds

Did you know that odds are better that a Nik Wallenda can walk over Niagara Falls on a cable than the chances of a business start-up lasting five years?  Past experience at least suggests that would be the line in Vegas.

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