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Did You Have a Good Day at Work?

Imagine going to a football game that doesn’t keep score. Crazy! Who wants to go to THAT?

We all want to know: Are we winning or losing? Yet, we subject our employees to that craziness if we don’t give them clear success measures. THEY want to know if they are winning or losing.

How do your employees know if they’re winning or losing?

That is the essence of the 9th Rockefeller Habit…Can all employees answer quantitatively whether they had a good day or week? Here are four items on the Rockefeller Habits Checklist that can help:

  1. 1 or 2 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are reported on weekly for each role/person.
  2. Each employee has 1 Critical Number that aligns with the company’s Critical Number for the quarter (clear line of sight).
  3. Each individual/team has 3-5 Quarterly Priorities/Rocks that align with those of the company.
  4. All executives & middle managers have a coach (or peer coach) holding them accountable to behavior changes.

If your team doesn’t have meaningful KPIs, they may as well be playing football without keeping score.

Want facilitation? We’re here to help.

*Verne Harnish created the “Rockefeller Habits” based on the leadership and management principles used by John D. Rockefeller. #9 of 10 Rockefeller Habits.

How Clear is Your Strategy for Your Executive Team?

On a scale of 1-10, rate the alignment of your Executive Team on each of these: Your BHAG? Your Core Customer(s)? Your Brand Promises? Your Elevator Pitch? Gutsy?


Ask your team if they can articulate each of these key elements of your company’s strategy from the 8th Rockefeller Habit:

  1. Does everyone know your company’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)? Is progress tracked & visible?
  2. Is everyone clear on who are your Core Customer(s)? (The ones who you love to serve, deliver your best margins, pay on time, & refer you to others.) Can they articulate what they look like in 25 words or less?
  3. Can everyone articulate your 3 Brand Promises? (Primary & 2 Secondary) Do you have KPIs tied to these & are you reporting on them weekly?
  4. How aligned are they on your Elevator Pitch? (A compelling response to the question, “What does your company do?”)

If you’re happy with the results, congrats! If you aren’t satisfied with the results, there is HOPE. You must make alignment on these foundation stones of your company a PRIORITY. It doesn’t just happen on its own.

Want facilitation? We’re here to help.

*Verne Harnish created the “Rockefeller Habits” based on the leadership and management principles used by John D. Rockefeller. #8 of 10 Rockefeller Habits.

Core Values Can Be Your Superpower

Core Values & Purpose: Dead words? Or, are they so alive that they are your company’s “superpower”?

As the CEO, the difference is YOUR responsibility, not HR’s.

A fast way to tell how “dead” or “alive” they are in your company: Ask yourself & your team these challenging questions from the 7th Rockefeller Habit:

  1. Have your Core Values been discovered & has your Purpose been articulated? Are both known by ALL employees?
  2. Are all of your executives & middle managers referring back to the Core Values & Purpose when giving praise or reprimands?
  3. Are all of your HR processes & activities aligned with the Core Values & Purpose (hiring, orientation, appraisal, recognition, etc.)?
  4. Are actions identified & implemented each quarter to strengthen the Core Values & Purpose in the organization?

If you’re happy with the results, congrats! If you aren’t satisfied with the results, there is HOPE.

YOU & your team can have a massively positive impact on your corporate culture AND on the lives of SO many. You must be deliberate. It doesn’t just happen on its own.

Want facilitation? We’re here to help.

*Verne Harnish created the “Rockefeller Habits” based on the leadership and management principles used by John D. Rockefeller. #7 of 10 Rockefeller Habits.

“Can you give us perfect “10s”? “If not, why?”

Some customer surveys seem so selfish. They annoy me. HOWEVER, when was the last time you & your management team directly asked your customers about how they are doing?

How about their perspective on your company’s competitors? Now THAT is engaging.

It’s amazing the valuable information you can uncover if you simply change the questions & ask your clients DIRECTLY vs. outsource customer feedback to the marketing department.

Here are 4 game-changing questions from the 6th Rockefeller Habit:

  1.  Are ALL of your executives (& middle managers) having a 4Q conversation with at least one end user weekly?
    • a) How are YOU doing?
    • b) What’s going on in YOUR industry/neighborhood?
    • c) What do you hear about OUR competitors?
    • d) How are WE doing?
  2. Are the insights from customer conversations shared at your weekly executive team meeting?
  3. Are all employees involved in collecting customer data?
  4.  Do you have a mid-management team responsible for the process of closing the loop on all customer feeback?

If you are actively addressing these, congrats! If not, we’re here to help.

*Verne Harnish created the “Rockefeller Habits” based on the leadership and management principles used by John D. Rockefeller. #6 of 10 Rockefeller Habits.

Feel like the weight of the organization is all on your shoulders?

Working longer hours than ever? Has complexity increased while freedom & fun have diminished? CEOs & management teams: It’s time to distribute the load!

Identifying & assigning accountabilities throughout the organization is critical to lightening your load. Here are a few items found in the Rockefeller Habits Checklist that deal with Habit #4: “Every facet of the organization has a person assigned for ensuring goals are met.”

  1. The Function Accountability Chart (FACe) is completed (right People, doing the right things, right).
  2. Financial statements have a person assigned to each item.
  3.  Each of the 4-9 processes on the Process Accountability Chart (PACe) has someone that is accountable for them.
  4. Each 3-5 year Key Thrust/Capability has a corresponding expert on the Advisory Board if internal expertise doesn’t exist.

Insight CXO helps bring clarity and alignment to people, strategy, execution & cash flow in measurable sprints across the organization — from the management team on down.

*Verne Harnish created the “Rockefeller Habits” based on the leadership and management principles used by John D. Rockefeller. #4 of 10 Rockefeller Habits.
Effective CEOs

Six Disciplines Of The Most Efficient CEOs

Effective CEOs

Whether you are an entrepreneur running your own company or you were brought in to take a company to the next level, as a CEO, there are many forces at play that try to prevent you from performing at your best. And as a leader and chief executive, if you are not performing at your best, your team and company will suffer the same fate.

As a coach, I get the opportunity to see what is really going on in the minds of entrepreneurs and CEOs. Often times, it looks like a blender running at full speed. There are so many competing ideas, priorities, deadlines, people issues, etc. that want your full attention right now, and without discipline, they could prevent your company from scaling up.

Here are six critical disciplines for becoming the most efficient CEO possible: a breakaway CEO.

1. Accept that conflict is part of the role.

The mental energy CEOs spend working through conflicts can slow down decision making more than anything else. All CEOs have conflict management built into their role, it’s just important to determine what the conflict is about and how much of it is present. Becoming more aware of the different forms of role-related conflict is crucial for CEOs to make the best decision quickly.

For example, there are people-related conflicts, such as an underperforming key manager, resource conflicts or constraints within the company, or time conflicts, like managing the strategic versus the urgent or helping a manager solve a problem versus stepping in yourself. Accept these conflicts as part of your role and leverage them as learning opportunities for you and your team.

2. Differentiate the people and operational sides of the business.

There are two sides of the business that drive growth. One side, the “spirit side,” is related to people. This is company culture, how employees show up mentally every day, and the values and standards that teams live and make decisions by. The opposite, “mechanical side” is more operational. It relates to meeting functionality, agendas, company process and procedures.

Breakaway CEOs focus on always improving both the people and the mechanical side of the business in a balanced way. Being able to step back and ask, “Is this issue really a people-related problem or is it more of a process-related problem?” is a powerful way to make better decisions. Don’t let poor processes and a lack of routine create drama on the people side of your business.

3. Develop your leaders.

As CEO, you have an immense influence on how works get done and by whom. You have the authority to command and direct people and resources in an instant to take advantage of an opportunity or solve a problem. Breakaway CEOs know they must develop leaders before they step into leadership positions and continue their development once in that role.

A lack of true leadership in a company that’s trying to scale up creates a chaotic organization in which culture crumbles and operations slow down due to lack of trust. Though it takes more time and energy in the short term to develop someone into a leader, it pays off in dividends later when you really need it.

4. Put your own mask on first before helping others.

The body and mind are connected, and an unhealthy body leads to an unhealthy mind. I see a strong pattern of CEOs who don’t take care of themselves, and the overall health of their organization suffers as well.

Breakaway CEOs know they have the power to prioritize their agenda and personal well being. This all comes down to discipline. There is nothing worse for a company than a stressed-out CEO with his or her mental blender on full speed.

Even if you feel you can’t step away from the business to work on yourself, know that your team members will support it. They see and feel the benefits themselves.

5. Align your agenda with the company’s priorities.

The No. 1 trap CEOs fall into is becoming the fixer. Fixing problems creates immediate results, but the price is slower team development and ultimately slower company growth.

Breakaway CEOs know their agendas need to closely reflect the company’s short-term and long-term initiatives. Don’t let day-to-day issues creep in excessively to slow down advancement. Your calendar should reflect initiatives that support growth.

6. Understand how your behavior drives the business.

How you do things is equally as important as what you do. Breakaway CEOs know that the key to driving culture, values, trust and influence rests on how they behave on a daily basis.

How are major issues handled? What is the public persona of the CEO? What values and frameworks drive the big decisions?

If you are going to be a CEO, be a breakaway CEO. The result is a company that scales faster while being more fun to run along the way.


Article originally seen on Forbes.com

Forbes Coaches Council

Show Up

Six Ways To Truly Show Up To Your Next Meeting

Show Up

I rediscovered a powerful concept this year that has changed my frame of mind every day. My entrepreneurial journey began in college with my first company, and I became a professional-level athlete later in life. I turned pro as a mountain biker at age 40 and now, at 47, I’m focusing on offroad motorcycle racing, each race lasting a grueling two to three hours long. In my first two seasons of motorcycle racing, I had one win with many second and third place finishes. This year, I’m winning a majority of my races. Same motorcycle, same fitness and same competition. What’s the difference?

Simple but very powerful: I changed my mindset on how I show up. I show up to win. I give myself permission to go for the holeshot off the line. I imagine what I want to feel like during the race — the feeling of flow, efficiency, clarity and speed.

The result? I won my first three races of the season and have won the majority since then. By the end of this year, I will move up to semipro status and will have crushed every goal I had coming into this sport less than three years ago.

The reality is our mindset determines the outcome of just about everything we do in our professional lives as well. We hold ourselves back much more than any external factors ever do. Where I find this concept most useful is in my interactions with people, whether it is a one-on-one meeting or a two-day strategy session with an executive team. I’m intentional about the mindset I have when I show up to any meeting. Here’s how it works.

1. Determine what the objective is for the meeting and what a win would look like for the other person or team. Just plowing through to advance your agenda is not as powerful as helping someone else create a breakthrough on their own.

2. Make sure you show up to the meeting fully present. Try to compartmentalize whatever might be going on with yourself personally or professionally so you can be fully focused on the conversation about to happen. This is a great way to practice emotional intelligence. I call this “showing up clean.”

3. Give yourself permission to ask questions that you don’t already have the answers to. This is very powerful and where many breakthroughs occur. Though it can make you feel vulnerable and unsafe, you’ll learn that some outcomes can be so much greater because you created space for co-creation.

4. Realize how much influence you have in how productive your meetings are by your energy, thoughtful questions and your state of mind when you show up.

5. Be on time. When you are late for a meeting, you are telling the person or team that something else was more important. A pattern of not starting meetings on time erodes trust over time. A pattern of lateness makes it harder for other people to have a great meeting because they start off worrying about being backed up or missing other deadlines.

6. Carry your own bag. What I mean by this is control your own experience. Whether you are running the meeting or not, you have the power to make it a great one. Don’t blame someone else for a bad meeting or expect someone else to carry the meeting. If everyone shows up expecting someone else to make the meeting great, I can promise it will not be.

Be intentional about your mindset and control how you show up to everything you do — how you enter a meeting at work, how you show up for a race or how you walk in the door when you get home. You’ll be surprised by how the wins start to stack up!


Article originally seen on Forbes.com

Forbes Coaches Council

What’s Keeping Your Company from Scaling?

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Is there something going on in your company that is slowing down growth, making it not fun to come into work, or creating tension within your team? In my experience, when things don’t go as planned, what usually happens is everyone starts pointing fingers at other people. When everything feels more difficult than it should be, it’s easy to place the blame on someone else. I have found that in almost every instance, there is a root cause and it’s not your people. It’s your processes. And not just any processes, it’s what I call your Core  Processes.

What really trips up most companies are the big cross-functional processes that are truly core to the business. In order to get certain things done, some projects or tasks require that they are routed through several departments. This is the major source of the repetitive heart burn.

Whenever a process jumps across departments, there is usually a missed hand-off and the gears quickly become out of sync.

The Solution:
Work with your leadership team to create a list of about four to five Core Processes that define the company. These should only include the cross-functional processes.

  • Assign someone to be accountable (preferably a volunteer) for each process. This gives the process a voice and a hand that can be raised during a meeting to address when things that are not working right, or the ability to coordinate a meeting when things need to be streamlined.
  • Define the key metrics for each process. How are they measured? How do we continuously lean them out and improve them? How do we do them better, faster, and cheaper?
  • Pick one process to work on first. Which process will provide the most benefit the fastest? These are big processes, so don’t try to fix an entire process at once. Select a section and start there. You’ll be surprised by how much easier it is to fix the full process by looking at one section at a time. Additionally, by working on one section at a time, you won’t stress out your team.
  • Start documenting, with as much detail as you can reasonably handle. Don’t go overboard, there should be just enough to see the process and speed up training. I like to say a documented process is the foundation for continuous improvement.

As you scale, your processes will break. It’s imperative that you build Core Process work into your quarterly planning cadence. Pick one process per quarter and get to work. This allows you to revisit each Core Process annually before big problems arise. In business, it’s much easier to prevent heartburn than to treat it as there is no pill to take to eliminate the pain.

One of the biggest benefits of process work is that a majority of the people-problems seem to disappear. Bad or dated processes drive people crazy and the good people in your company will leave over time if the processes aren’t corrected.

If your company seems out of sync and tensions are high, go to the root cause and see if your current process, or lack of processes, is causing the problem.

(Image: Ju Zheng Bam / flickr)

Let Routines Set You Free

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Life is crazy and it conspires to make us and our teams as inefficient as possible. Constantly chasing people, chasing information, chasing prospects, etc., gets tiring and old pretty quick.

But that is the whirlwind most companies have created for themselves. Most entrepreneurs hate structure – or at least the feeling of being locked into one. After all, part of the entrepreneurial dream is to have the freedom to do what you want and when you want. But the lack of structured routines is a problem.

Leveraging the proven Scaling Up framework of meeting routines is one of the most effective processes you can implement to stop the constant-chase mode and turn your company into a prediction machine – one that does not chase, but controls.

Routines To Calm the Whirlwind

Establish the following regular meeting schedule and you’ll find yourself back in control.

  • The routine of the Daily Huddle. This is the number one way to synchronize your team every day and get ahead of the things that might otherwise cause problems. No chasing people through the day. You’ll be able to have a quick connection each day without interruptions.
  • The routine of the Weekly Meeting. The primary benefit of this meeting is to leverage collective intelligence to discuss an opportunity, issues that keep coming up in the Daily Huddles, get the Quarterly Plan back on track, work on Winning and BreakAway strategy moves, etc.
  • The routine of the Monthly Meeting. This meeting looks at metrics, KPIs and financial performance and integrates learning into the company. Struggling to find a day and time to teach the team the new CRM system? Need to get everyone up to speed on the new sales and marketing plan? The monthly meeting is the perfect place for this.
  • The routine of the Quarterly Planning Session. Each quarter, review the last quarter, create goals for the next quarter and the Rocks/Priorities/Action Items to get you there. Keep in mind as you do Quarterly Planning that you need to give thought to the Annual Plan and the Winning/BreakAway Moves.
  • The routine of Annual Planning. This should be one to three days, offsite if possible, to re-evaluate the company’s foundational principals and long-term strategy, backing down into a solid one-year plan.

Companies with a serious focus on Scaling Up should create a routine of Strategy Development and Execution meetings. This should be with a small handful of senior leadership and should meet twice a month. Digging deep into strategy gets difficult with four or more people. Having solid strategy ideas going into Quarterly and Annual Planning makes the sessions much more effective. You’ll spend less time brainstorming ideas and place more focus on vetting and prioritizing solid ideas.

Routine will set you free and give you and your team much desired control. Stop chasing!

(Image: PDPics / Pixabay)

Growth-Related Chaos? Take A Step Back

chaos-485493_1280-geralt-960x720Rapid growth is exciting … and chaotic. When your growth strategies start paying off, the processes that worked well when you were smaller can break down as you add clients, revenue and employees to your business. As you get more decision makers, with differing opinions on how to do things, your processes can become so cumbersome that they threaten to slow your business and increase your risk.

This was the situation faced by one of our clients, a global pharmaceutical services company that saw an enviable 880% organic growth rate over the last four years. Its employee headcount and active customer list were growing beyond capacity, and they had a serious case of growing pains. They knew their processes weren’t working anymore, and they asked us to help them retool to both absorb growth and continue doing what produced their steep growth in the first place.

Take a Step Back

Anytime you’re looking for new, better ways of doing things, you must first define how you’re currently operating to figure out what’s really causing your problems. This process of defining your core processes – a group of related activities that transform various inputs into an output that adds value to the customer – is the best way to ensure that the solution you adopt is a Breakaway Move that supports your overall strategy.

To get there, step back and 1) look at processes to see how things are currently done; 2) determine if new systems would improve efficiency; and 3) challenge your processes and see where there might be opportunities to make them leaner.

Here’s what that looked like with the pharmaceutical services company we’re working with.

First, we had to get clear direction on what problems needed to be solved. We had to get the team laser-focused on the outcome and make sure we didn’t try to “boil the ocean”– to try to do more than was realistic or necessary.

Next, we defined the cost of poor quality – the things that could be negatively impacted by not making changes (for example, customer satisfaction, employee effectiveness, compliance).

Then we recorded all of the existing processes. When we began, the team thought they had 10 processes, but once we really dug in and challenged the team and each process, we found there were over 20 different processes in place, with multiple touch points and people involved. We got there by breaking each process down by the following components:

  • Define the process: What 1-2 sentences does the process owner use to describe it?
  • Inputs to the process: What steps, actions, templates or tools are needed for the process to start?
  • Process steps: What is the activity and/or transformation that takes place?
  • Outputs: What is the result of the activity and/or transformation taking place?
  • Controls: What manual or system controls are in place? What’s on your wish list for the future?
  • Risks: What risks are in the existing process?
  • Regulatory requirements: Are there any U.S./international regulatory or compliance requirements that must be considered?

Finally, we took the team through a “wish list” exercise to capture all areas of potential opportunity the client didn’t have capability for, but hoped to see after they made changes.

Potential solutions were weighed against a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that what they chose to adopt (and their priorities for adoption) would provide the biggest payoff in terms of alleviating problems and making processes better, faster and cheaper.

When your processes are causing a lot of business pain, it may seem like a lot of time and trouble to take a step back to define your core processes, but it’s the most effective way to implement processes that are more than a Band-Aid, but fix your problems for the long run.

Image: Geralt / Pixabay