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Crash Course - Improve Company Performance with MBOs

Posted by June 25, 2014

 

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4 Essential Company Performance Tracking Techniques

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
June 24, 2014

To get where you're going, you've got to know where you are.

Tracking company performance against strategic goals is one of the most important, yet difficult responsibilities of the CEO and other executive leaders. It isn’t enough to define and share goals, management must also lay out a clear path to success and keep an eye on the mile markers along the way. If progress toward goals is measured only quarterly, or worse, just when it’s time to make next year’s strategic plan, company performance tracking becomes impossible and outcomes are difficult to predict. Here are some techniques for making your company performance tracking accurate and painless.

Choose Your Destination

It’s true that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. That’s why the bedrock of company performance tracking is the definition of “performance.” It starts with outlining the organization’s overall strategic goals and objectives. Most companies will have revenue and bottom line goals, but other important achievements should be defined as well. Goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Invite Everyone Along for the Ride

Effective company performance tracking does not happen behind closed board room doors. Successful companies are those that are able to align the work of each individual with the company’s must-hit targets and goals. This means that every employee needs a clear understanding of what is expected and how their contributions matter. It is helpful to break each corporate goal down into department, group and ultimately individual objectives.

Use GPS

Simply distributing assignments is not enough to facilitate company performance tracking. The effort needs structure and tools that help gather feedback along the way. Both a paper map and GPS software can show you your destination, but only the GPS can tell you exactly where you are now. That information lets you know if you need to speed up or change your route to get to your destination on time. Company performance tracking software is like a GPS that helps you make decisions every step along the way.

Enjoy the Ride

In our quest to hit our targets, it is easy to forget to celebrate each milestone and recognize and reward those who help to move the team forward. With the right tools in place, in addition to company performance tracking, you can track and manage individual performance as it relates to the overall objectives. This helps reinforce the importance of alignment and engages each individual in the larger mission. When executed with a positive, constructive attitude this type of performance measurement can actually improve employee morale and productivity.

The road to success isn’t always smooth. There will be traffic and pot holes you didn’t see coming, but as long as you know just where you want to be, understand exactly where you are and have your co-riders are all onboard, you’ll reach your destination right on time.

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Dr. Frankenstein’s Prescription for Your Status Report Process

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
June 20, 2014

While reasonable people may disagree, I’m pretty sure that Young Frankenstein is Mel Brooks’ masterpiece. In case you missed it (if so, you can fix that), the spoof of the Frankenstein legend involves Fredrick Frankenstein, played brilliantly by Gene Wilder, and his attempt to repeat the re-animation experiments initiated by his late father. In the film’s most dramatic scene, Dr. Frankenstein is ready to pull the switch and rouse his monster, he yells to the heavens, “Life! Do you hear me? Give my creation life!” If you are like many business leaders, your status report process could use a visit from the good doctor.

Assess the Patient – Is Your Status Report Dead?

Clearly we’re using the word “dead” loosely, but here are a few ways to tell if your status report process is dead:

  • Employees hate filling it out
  • It is done via email with no associated business process
  • Status reports get done religiously for a while, then taper off
  • They result in no action
  • Every department does them differently (maybe some, not at all)
  • You know you need a status report process, but aren’t sure why
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CEO Best Practice #4- Communication

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
June 19, 2014

CEO Best Practice Series

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How To Ensure Employee Accountability. Also, Love.

Posted by June 18, 2014

In order for any organization to be successful, employees must be held accountable for preforming their jobs and meeting goals and key objectives. In most companies, every single employee is critical to the overall mission in some way. However, even though managers know this, they are often daunted by the task of ensuring employee accountability while keeping up or even improving employee morale and retention. Fortunately, accountability and morale are not opposing forces, in fact they work in concert in organizations with clear alignment and communication. It is possible to implement solutions that support employee accountability and have your staff love you for it.

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The Growing Case for CEO Software

Posted by June 13, 2014

 

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Lies People Tell About Employee Engagement

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
June 9, 2014

The path to becoming a manager of people in businesses often begins with competence as an individual contributor. People who are good at what they do and have the basic skills necessary to lead others are given an increasing amount of responsibility and, eventually, directly supervise others. Very few people actually study employee management. We learn from doing and watching others. So, it’s no surprise that certain ideas are passed from one manager to another without much critical analysis. Anecdotes get extrapolated into universal truths and repeated as gospel. There are lots of examples. Today, we shake the tree a bit and examine some of the tall tales we’ve heard about employee engagement.

Lie #1 – Employee Engagement Isn’t That Important

Achieving employee engagement takes effort. It’s much easier to dismiss it as not very important, but organizations that take this approach might want to reconsider. According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. The Bureau of National Affairs reports that up to $11 billion annually is lost to employee turnover. It turns out that employee engagement is actually a really big deal.

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Why Use Corporate Goals?

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
June 6, 2014

Why oh Why Corporate Goals?

Today’s business environment is about driving performance, corporate alignment, success, and being able to guide a company through the unknown. Many companies fail and only a few reach successes. What separates the Googles of the world from the rest of the companies that fail? It’s the vision set forth by a leader, the constant communication and dedication, and sometimes a little luck.

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Organizational Alignment– Management Fad or Business Necessity?

Posted by June 4, 2014

 

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6 Reasons Employee Morale Improvement Programs Fail

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
June 3, 2014

70% of employees either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged.

Broadly speaking, the state of employee morale in the United States is grim. In Gallup’s most recent poll, a distressing 70 percent of those surveyed either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged. Yes, 70%! What’s worse is that 18 percent classified themselves as actively disengaged or, as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton said, "roam the halls spreading discontent." This morale problem isn’t confined to water cooler grumbling. According to Gallop it costs US companies an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion per year in lost productivity, stolen goods, and absenteeism.

Given the gravity of the situation, it is no wonder that executive teams across the nation have scrambled to introduce employee morale improvement programs. Companies have added monthly awards, perk point programs, engagement committees and Hawaiian-shirt Friday. They’ve offered Ping-Pong tables, bean-bag chairs and free Cup-a-Soup. Unfortunately, if the Gallop numbers are to be believed, it isn’t working. Why? Here are six common reasons why employee morale improvement programs fail.

Reason 1: Management Sets a Poor Example

Employees look to their direct managers and the executive team for clues about the direction of the company and management’s commitment to employee happiness. Disgruntled, disengaged or ineffective management sends a clear message to employees that all is not well. Employees are very astute at picking up on pessimism and low morale among superiors and are often a mirror reflecting the outlook of upper management. Management teams looking to boost employee morale would do well to start in the boardroom and examine their own level of commitment and engagement.

Reason 2: The Approach is Not Sincere

Your employees can tell if a program or incentive is intended to really make their work lives better or if it is designed to cover up a problem or stop grumbling. Intention is important, especially when attempting to address the human emotions that make up employee morale. The most troubling examples of insincere employee morale programs are those that give something to employees with one hand and take away something with the other.

Reason 3: The Program Doesn’t Address the Underlying Issues

Employee morale drops for a reason. Implementing a happiness program without understand what’s causing the unhappiness in the first place is a doomed strategy. Often this happens because management is willing, but simply unable to address core issues. If this is the case, open communication is the key. A pool table in the break room is not going to resolve long term understaffing or wage hike freezes. An honest conversation about why the situation exists, how long it is expected to last and what the company can do together to make it better will go much further.

Reason 4: It Ignores Employee Feedback and Input

Will your employee morale program work? I don’t know, but likely your employees do. When trying to address morale issues managers often overlook their most useful source of advice - their employees. Your team may be highly inventive when asked how they would respond to an environment of low morale. Their suggestions maybe more insightful, surprising and inexpensive than you imagine. An added benefit of getting employee feedback and input when addressing employee morale issues is that they become more invested in the outcome when they are involved in the genesis and implementation of the strategy.

Reason 5: Management Sets Impossible Goals

Nothing is more devastating to contentment and optimism than being given unattainable goals and, predictably, failing to achieve them. People thrive on shared achievement and will weed out people with poor attitudes on their own when they are given difficult, but reasonable goals and the tools necessary to achieve them. The best employee morale booster of all is joint success. The best leaders stretch the capabilities of their team while providing the opportunity to triumph.

Reason 6: It’s a Process, Not a Program

Perhaps the fundamental reason employee programs fail is because they are programs. Think about the difference between making substantive lifestyle changes and going on a diet. Employee morale programs are a bit like diets. They work – sometimes – for a while – until they don’t. When companies have an aligned mission, clear goals and open communication, proscribed employee morale programs are far less necessary.

Employees are engaged because they have participated in setting their objectives and have what they need to achieve them. They clearly understand the company vision and know exactly what is expected of them. When offered consistently and liberally, empowerment, communication and recognition of good work are far more effective than any other style of employee morale program.

 

 

 

 

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Improving CEO's Weekly Status Report - Stripping Time Out & Adding More Value

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
June 2, 2014

Status Report

When it comes to appraisals and productivity within the workplace, a weekly status report is important.

Offering an efficient way of communicating in-between tasks, it allows the CEO and senior executives to see who is getting the most and least done in regards to various projects. It offers numerous benefits for everyone in the organization, because it helps address workplace dependencies, aligns focus with manager expectations and provides an in-depth record of efforts and outputs.

Who Can Benefit from a Weekly Status Report?

An employee will provide the manager with this updated report, regardless of the functions, industry, and company size. A critical communication within the reporting relationship is represented with this information, which accurately summarizes forecasting insights, details about urgent matters, and employee activity.

Let's take a look at who benefits from the report:

  • People Managers - Those who manage a team can use weekly status reports to plan and forecast insights, develop a catalog of employee activity, access urgent matters instantly, and welcome new views into the business. Great work never goes unnoticed and can be recognized straight away with this minimalist approach to management.
  • Employees - Some employees, particularly in large organizations, may feel like they don't really have a voice. However, when a weekly status report is introduced, they gain an opportunity for recognition. It could be described as a platform to share their perspectives, because it provides a detailed record of outputs and efforts. What's more, it aligns focus with manager expectations and makes addressing workplace dependencies that much easier.
  • Executives and Owners - It can sometimes be challenging to gain insights across different departments but with status reports, business owners can overcome this obstacle with ease. As a result, this makes for a happier workforce, creates a powerful tracking tool and gives everyone in the workplace a bottoms-up view of the business.

What Is Included in a Weekly Status Report?

Managers and supervisors operating within your business will rely on the weekly status report to keep them informed about ongoing software projects. Project start and completion dates will be included, as well as the following vital details:

  • Percentage of Project Completion - When you know exactly how much work is left to complete, you can stay on track and avoid missed deadlines.
  • Milestone Achievements - By monitoring milestone achievements, you can make sure that employee productivity is on the rise.
  • Employee Accomplishments - Improve employee satisfaction by acknowledging those who have accomplished something that is worth mentioning.
  • Meeting Attendance - What meetings are in the pipeline? Who should attend? You can find this out when you view the status report.
  • Workplace Problems - If anyone encountered or resolved a problem, it will be detailed on the weekly status report.

Conclusion

For teams to achieve goals, the weekly status report must be monitored, and with a CEO software system, it is easy to do this. With a weekly snapshot of what has been happening within the workplace, team leaders can work towards getting particular jobs done, explore new areas for business growth, and save time. Staying on top of things with a web-based document management software frees up time to be more productive. A software project can be utilized by project managers, project stakeholders and team managers to make sure everyone is doing what they should be on a daily basis.

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