The Top 5 Problems Khorus Solves for CEOs

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
June 2, 2017

The job title “CEO” comes with a set of high-stakes challenges. But unlike every other executive role, the CEO has no dedicated software or system for addressing the unique difficulties of the job and producing reliable results. 

If you’ve ever tried managing companywide performance with Excel and Outlook—which is essentially all the CEO has—you know how frustrating it is.

That’s why I believe so strongly in our mission at Khorus. We’ve built the first system that addresses the real problems experienced by real CEOs in the real world. Khorus reinforces the principles of how great CEOs operate, and the whole organization benefits as a result.

To show you the difference Khorus makes, here are the top five critical problems the system solves for CEOs.

1. Workforce Misalignment 

“I don’t know if everyone’s work is moving the company forward.”

Nothing keeps a CEO up at night like the thought of employees working at cross-purposes and not prioritizing the tasks that matter most to the company. A misaligned organization means wasted effort and resources with no progress toward strategic objectives. What’s the point of that?

cole harmonson endoresement.pngThis is one of the fundamental issues Khorus resolves. The system allows the CEO to input both long-term company strategy and a set of specific, measurable goals for the quarter. From there, every executive, manager, and individual contributor sets their own quarterly goals that align with the priorities above them.

Problem solved: Now the CEO has one system of record for how each part of the organization is “moving the needle.” He can simply pull up Khorus to see the results each person has committed to and how it all comes together in a cohesive game plan.

2. Unpredictability 

“I have no clue if we’re going to meet our targets. 

When a CEO gets fired, it’s usually because company performance under his watch was unpredictable. Everything seemed to be humming along fine when suddenly a major issue reared its head. A revenue number was missed, a product release was delayed, a big deal fell through. Accuracy of forecasting is a major metric boards use to judge CEO performance, so this can mean a quick loss of confidence in the CEO’s ability. 

Obviously, seeing the future isn’t easy. Business will always throw us curveballs. Plus, in the modern organization, it’s impossible for a CEO to walk around the office and see whether people will deliver on time. Knowledge-work is nebulous, complex, and hard for someone who’s not doing the work to predict.

scott sherwood endorsement.pngTo solve for this, we’ve made forecasting and predictability a cornerstone of Khorus. Every week, we ask all employees to log in to Khorus and forecast the likelihood of achieving their goals on time. It’s a simple process that takes less than five minutes. The results are aggregated in the Performance Dashboard, so the CEO (or anyone else) can see at a glance which company goals employees feel confident are on track and which company goals employees feel may not be achieved. 

Problem solved: Now the CEO has real-time insight on whether goals will be achieved on time, and an early-warning system if they won’t. If the collective intelligence of her team indicates that a goal is in trouble, the CEO can act on that early, before the issue deepens. It can be a culture change to get employees comfortable sharing their honest predictions, but once you do, it’s the closest thing to a crystal ball for your business you’ll ever have. 

3. Weak Change Management

I’m saying what we need to do differently . . . but nothing is changing. 

Imagine you’re captain of a huge ship and you need to change its course. You turn the wheel, but the ship keeps coasting forward on inertia, the course unchanged. 

This feeling is familiar to most CEOs. You lay out a change initiative and then . . . everyone goes right back to what they were doing before. A few months later, the big change has been forgotten about, just like dozens of initiatives before it.

misti potter endorsement.png

Not with Khorus. The system functions as a simple but powerful change-management tool. The CEO can break down any large change project into tangible goals to be achieved and ensure that the whole organization is collectively held accountable to achieving them.

Problem solved: Now the team has a common process and tool for understanding the “why,” “what,” and “how” of change management. Everyone sees the company’s priorities—and their own—in Khorus, and they are reinforced weekly. At quarter-end, everyone marks their goals achieved or not achieved, prompting a crucial discussion: Did we achieve what we committed to? If not, how does that affect our objectives for next quarter?

4. Lack of Talent Insight

“I’m not sure which employees give us a true competitive advantage.”

As you’ve heard many times before, your company is only as good as the people it employs. Why, then, do so many CEOs abdicate responsibility for attracting, engaging, and retaining talent in the organization?

This leads to a creeping sense on the CEO’s part that the talent base at the company isn’t as strong as it could be. What if all our best people leave? Do I even know who our best people are?

At Khorus, our philosophy is that the CEO needs to own—jointly with HR—the responsibility of nurturing and growing talent, as well rewarding A-players and ensuring that C-players are either improving or removed.

Problem solved: In Khorus, there’s no question about the state of your talent base. The CEO can pull up the Talent Dashboard to see manager ratings of each employee’s Performance and Potential for the most recent quarter, along with written reviews and goal history. This view makes it dead simple to see who your A-players are and how they’re contributing, and gives you the chance to nurture and grow those individuals. You can now feel confident that the organization has the human capital required to meet its strategic objectives.

5. Bad Managers

"I don’t know if my managers are any good. Are they disengaging employees?"

A single “bad” individual contributor can only do so much harm in your company: they can sit around and waste the money you’re paying them. But a “bad” manager can do a lot more harm. That worries, or should worry, most CEOs. If Kevin isn’t great at the fundamental manager responsibilities, he can demotivate his entire team and possibly other teams adjacent or downstream.

We know that managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement. That means CEOs should make it their business to give managers the training and tools they need to succeed. As the Peter Principle shows, just because you’re a great contributor or have a specialized skill that got you promoted doesn’t mean you’ll be an effective manager.

Problem solved: Khorus gives the CEO’s entire management team a systematic way to manage well. All the management basics—setting expectations, communicating frequently, delivering regular feedback, and more—are baked in to use of Khorus. Now the CEO can rest assured that best practices are being followed, and that if they’re not, that will show up in Khorus.
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Joel Trammell

Joel Trammell

Joel Trammell is the founder and chairman of Khorus Software. He currently serves as CEO of Black Box Network Services. His book, The CEO Tightrope, is a guide to the chief-executive role.

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