Def. Crucible: a situation or severe trial in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new Often, non-profit organizations lack the apprehension about the future and a sense of urgency typically found in for-profits. There are exceptions, such as non-profit healthcare organizations whose customers have multiple choices in the marketplace. But, those
It is either in my DNA or sourced in an early childhood experience, but I am a compulsive helper. It was my role in our family and ultimately a mainstay of my leadership approach. An Ivy League masters degree in business/public administration afforded me no knowledge on how to lead people. It was (is it
Employee Engagement – def. from Wikipedia – An “engaged employee” is defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests. An engaged employee has a positive attitude toward the organization and its values. In contrast, a disengaged employee may range from
By Erin Bellotte (Note: this is the 2nd of two posts on PA tools and theory) While the specific journey and the outcomes for each Process Advantage project will look different, the system Professional Growth Systems codified drives the results in a consistent manner. Utilizing the theories and tools gleaned from the leaders we studied,
By Erin Bellotte (Note: this is the 1st of two posts on PA tools and theory) “There has got to be a better way.” Anyone who utters this phrase, knowingly or unknowingly, is on their way to becoming a Process Improvement aficionado. While there are multiple theories to choose from, including Lean, Six Sigma,
PGS’ Discovery Assessment is gaining momentum with a variety of clients for a variety of reasons. We wanted to take a step back and look at why leaders are choosing it so that we know when it can add the most value for other organizations in the thick of things. First a quick primer. The
By Andrea Garrels, PGS Consultant I have worked with PGS for over 30 years. 28 as a team member, and 2 years prior to that as a client employee. For the last several years, however, I have added to my resume a job at a university near my home in Tennessee. As part of that
The Question Method® is the process described in the book Creating High Performers that turns your direct reports into loyal, dedicated and highly effective employees. But the process does not focus on what employees need to do or how they need to change. Rather it is the mindset and the approach of supervisors that gets
The other day I was asked by an eager board member to lay out the process for how the group can get stronger. I have worked with them on and off for years and have some familiarity with their challenges. My answer actually surprised me, well, the 4th Step did, and I want to share
Def. – Servant Leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the goal of the leader is to serve…. A servant leader shares power, puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible…the leader exists to serve the people (Wikipedia) One of my wife and my favorite spots
The University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF) has been a long-standing client of our Process Advantage® (PA) toolbox. They have utilized PA since 2011 generating a long list of successful projects. We are proud of the work they have accomplished over the years and know that their insights on the challenges and successes they encountered along
In our last post, we introduced the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and their long term, highly successful change management program using PGS’ Process Advantage® (PA). In that post, we highlighted their keys for preparing an organization to undertake change management successfully. In this post, we move forward into the change process itself. Once you have
Among my favorite (and there are many) maxims from my noted friend, Ken Blanchard, is “give up being right, you’ll end up dead right.” His point is that if your mission or purpose as a leader is developing others, as it should be, focus on reinforcing others being right or nearly right. Get your ego,
By Erin Bellotte, PGS Consultant Going into the third year of this pandemic, successful organizations have shown their ability to quickly react to a multitude of different threats: employee and customer safety protocols, supply chain disruptions and the Great Resignation. When organizations are looking to survive a difficult season, changes are made rapidly and process
We have completed Process Advantage (PA) with countless client teams over the years. As anticipated, organizations and teams come away with the benefits of improved cycle time for the targeted system, financial savings, employee time savings and improved morale. But time and again, teams have noticed some unexpected benefits that are even at times more
The 2nd edition of Creating High Performers, contains an expanded Chapter 4 discussing why a change in the supervisor role is needed and the importance of owning this change for yourself if you are in the supervisor role. To overcome whatever baggage and cynicism your employees may have about supervisors, you must agree that there
Reflecting on my life, I have always been about helping others reach their potential. Nothing brings me down quite like witnessing aptitude and abilities not being realized in personal and professional relationships. It remains something I battle with myself, but let’s leave that aside for now. About three years ago, I urged that Professional Growth
As a leader, you are making decisions that impact your customers, your employees, and the organization’s future. Basing those decisions on fact is essential. Identifying problems and finding the right solutions is critical. Choosing the right strategies is key. What tools are out there that dig out the facts, identify the real problems, and point
Why The Failure of Supervision Having addressed the failure of supervision in an earlier blog, I thought it would be beneficial to examine the root causes of this failure. Understanding the root causes and addressing them is the pathway to improving people management performance, e.g., reducing unwanted turnover, increasing employee engagement, and improving organizational culture.
The Failure of Supervision The supervision practice first appeared in the early 1900s in three arenas: social work, teaching, and business. The pioneering theorist was Frederick Taylor, known as the “Father of Scientific Management” in the business arena. Taylor’s theory was that management should be responsible for finding the best methods for completing work and
In our previous posts, we touched on strategic planning keys to success. The first focused on the keys for creating the plan and the second post targeted the keys for successful implementation. But we never quite directly addressed the “why” of planning. Why invest the time, money and energy into creating and implementing the plan
In our previous post, we looked at the essential keys to a successful strategic plan that are part of the creation of your plan. In this post we will check in with seven keys to keep in mind while you are implementing or doing the work of your plan. Many in our list below have
The value of strategic planning has always been a subject of some controversy. The final verdict in management literature is that it is invaluable if done well, not so much if not. Over three decades ago now, PGS designed its Vision Navigation® (VN) strategic planning system to address some of the pitfalls of existing strategic
Recently, we introduced a small series of posts titled “Facilitator Basics”. The posts include the tools and techniques that we have utilized time and again over nearly 40 years of consulting, i.e., those that have benefitted our clients the most both inside and outside of the facilitated PGS session. Our first post covered what is
Over our 40+ years of consulting, What I Feel Like Saying (WIFLS) has proven to be one of, if not the most powerful tool for building high performance teams. It is an amazingly simple tool for its effectiveness, and it works in groups of 2 to as many as 15, though the sweet spot is
Employee engagement surfaced in the management lexicon in the early ’90s. Since then, it has become an established concept as numerous studies have linked the level of engagement to both employee and organizational performance. One study comparing the performance of engaged vs. non-engaged workforce revealed a 200% increase in performance when workers are engaged. Gallup
PGS’ founder and author Bill Dann has just completed a 2nd edition of his popular book: Creating High Performers, 7 Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports. We have started a series of short posts to introduce the new book and give our readers a few takeaways they can use now while they wait for the
In our last post, we highlighted Bill’s 2nd edition of Creating High Performers: 7 Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports. We want to give a brief introduction for our blog readers to several of the keys you will find in the book, with some takeaways you can put into practice now. In this post, we
Our PGS founder and author Bill Dann has just finished the 2nd edition of his book Creating High Performers, 7 Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports. We asked Bill for the scoop on the new book as well as for a few takeaways that our blog readers can apply now while they await final publication.
Do you have a strategic plan in place? Regardless of whether or not you are using Vision Navigation®®, you should be meeting regularly to assess your plan and identify changes, progress and challenges. It is the ideal way to keep the plan alive and moving forward. This article will define and describe the Vision Navigation®
Last month we revisited the Dann Principles of Management. His original list was the result of his work starting and leading organizations as well as working alongside others doing the same. In the time since then, Bill has spent nearly 40 years consulting in organizations big and small, for-profit and not-for-profit, government agencies, etc. He
As we near the end of what has been a most challenging year for all, it is worth reflecting on what has been learned from coping with these challenges. For me, one of them is a renewed sense of the value of relationships and the importance of investing in growing and maintaining them. As we
40+ years ago, our founder Bill Dann, created the Dann Principles of Management based on his experiences both leading organizations and watching others lead. He posted a blog several years ago, listing the 9 principles and defining them for our readers. At the time, he wrote “Some of the principles still hold very true, some
My friend Ken Blanchard, author of 60 books focusing on leadership, credits his long-time colleague Rick Tate with the famous quote, “Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions”. It refers to how important honest feedback to employees is to their performance. That advice and my own experience prompted me to include “Do you get feedback on
Vision Navigation® strategic planning has been the flagship product of PGS for almost 40 years. Although there have been many revisions, additions and updates, the main component of VN, the Vision Navigation® chart has remained largely unchanged. Why? The vision, purpose and main strategies to grow the organization can be easily seen on one sheet
PGS’ Founder, Bill Dann, met recently with a friend and consultant David DiPerri of Prosper CI, to be interviewed for Mr. DiPerri’s book he is writing for business owners. Bill touched on four concepts in his interview that all play off each other in a fascinating way, and that made for an interesting post to
During this pandemic, we are all using virtual conferencing with video to try and stay connected. Not long ago, I was asked to review a video produced by the CEO of a large organization. Its purpose was to inform employees how the organization was performing and coping with the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis has put
By Andrea Garrels I am currently in a Master’s Degree program in K-12 education. It has been 35 years since I took a college course, and much in the realm of higher education has shifted tremendously in that time frame. I am reminded of those changes all around campus, from washing machine apps that tell
By Bill Dann This leadership series has explored what leadership is, what are the keys to success, who determines success and much more. As I ponder what to write about this month, I keep thinking about the choice before myself and our readers who are US citizens – the upcoming November Presidential election. As we
In this post, we are bringing you some tools that can help you navigate the stress in the workplace. In particular for the time we are writing, we are focusing on stress caused by the pandemic, though stress at work has been a factor for far longer than COVID-19. Positive work environments support the building
By John Gregoire There are moments when your expectations shift because everything is changing and is outside of your control. How you respond dictates the cost or benefit that moment will create in your own life and that of your work and organization. Change has abruptly happened to us all, and you can respond by
By Bill Dann Like all of you, we at PGS have been hunkered down. We have shifted delivery of our services to virtual platforms, using the phone or videoconferencing. Surprisingly, the transition has been relatively easy for ourselves and our clients. Despite obvious limitations, working virtually has already taught all of us a good deal.
Strategic plans can be a challenge to keep active and at the forefront of a management team’s efforts in their day to day work. This is particularly true in the midst of all that has happened worldwide in the last few months with the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you inspire and motivate employees to continue
by Bill Dann Recently we had a leader in the banking world complete a micromanagement assessment on our website. The question echoed one I have heard many times before, so felt the response might be valuable for sharing with our readers. The primary area of concern with the board in question was their failure to
By Andrea Garrels, PGS Quality and Product Development Staff With the COVID-19 virus impacting schools, workplaces, travel, entertainment, etc. worldwide, there are many articles and tips floating about on how to successfully navigate working virtually. You can quickly learn how to set up your work station, how to separate home life from work life, the
By John Gregoire, CEO Like most of the world, I entered my office two weeks ago to a completely changed business environment. At first, I did what any responsible business owner would do and cancelled or postponed all meetings and events for the next 30 days. Calling people to cancel resulted in a day of
The following post was originally a newsletter a long while back for our BoardGrowth subscribers. We pulled it out, dusted it off and retooled it for today’s technology and the current COVID-19 crisis in which virtual meetings are a temporary requirement. We realize that, since this post was originally written, virtual meetings have become common,
Many of you may be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Having to convert to virtual operations and loss of revenue are the most likely impacts. So, how does one survive this with the least amount of damage? The formula for how to manage during emergency or danger conditions is actually counter-intuitive. Most managers consider
In prior blogs and newsletters, I have made the case that having a “3 legged stool of effective governance” (comprised of the strategic plan, sound policy and the right data for evaluation) is the secret to avoiding the dreaded micro-management that derails so many board-CEO relationships. What I hadn’t talked about before is how these
My consistent experience as a leader and consultant is that what I don’t see is what is killing me. If I can’t or won’t see it, I can’t confront and solve it. It continues to bedevil me. I first came upon this when trying out an organizational diagnostic tool I was considering using with clients.
This is the 3rd post in our current leadership series. To catch up with the previous installments check out “The Importance of Clear Accountability” and “Policy Setting and the Tyranny of the Minority”. Now on to this post, focusing on advice for the CEO. Though our author, Bill Dann, targets the new CEO, his eleven
Hygiene? What prompted this? I recently spent a day with a board who had concurred with their CEO that the working relationship had deteriorated to a point that threatened the stability of leadership in an organization that had been prospering. I went through the usual steps of trying to assess what the source of the
Disagreements among board members are healthy. In fact, they support the purpose for having a board in the first place. That is, insuring that multiple viewpoints are heard and that no vital viewpoints are missed in reaching decisions for the group being served. What keeps these differing viewpoints moving forward positively is commitment to common
Among the high priority weaknesses observed in organizations is poor structure, which encompasses the organization chart and job definitions. Among the impacts of poor structure is a lack of clear accountability for results, which creates a significant barrier to performance. I will leave the subject of the gaps and missteps in the organizational chart to
Your success as a governing body and the future of your organization will rise and fall based on the strength of the mutual trust between the CEO and the board. CEO’s that don’t trust their boards don’t bring them the truth. Board’s that don’t trust their CEO tighten policy to restrict CEO authority, don’t support
As I have expressed often in these posts, vision plays a critical role in an organization’s ability to achieve high performance. But there is a balance that must be maintained in order for the vision to fulfill that role successfully, whether the vision is on the organization’s strategic plan or a small departmental project. We
Bill is diving into a new series in our blogs. His topic: Leadership. Here in post 1, he tackles Policy Setting. My take is that, if given a choice, we humans prioritize avoiding harm over taking a risk that could bring success. For example, refusing to ask out the popular ladies in my youth for
By Bill Dann Recently, I delivered a workshop on governance. Attendees were board members, CEOs, and healthcare providers. I had the group think through the following: Recall a time when, as a board member, you were uncertain about what to do. Examine the circumstances surrounding the problem. Formulate and ask a question about it. Four
Strategic planning continues to be the #1 topic of interest for our readers for a wide variety of needs and interests. Why? Our experience has shown that the investment in strategic planning is underperforming for many, and our readers are looking for help to turn that around. Naturally, as strategic planners both for our organization
Following on from my recent blog regarding John Timpson’s approach to management, I wanted to relay some particular tips and innovative techniques that this highly successful businessman employed to take his organization to its full potential, as well as the pitfalls he tried to avoid. The following are the ones that particularly caught my attention.
What is consensus? Well, first, what is it not? Consensus does not mean agreement by everyone or unanimous consent. Instead, the dictionary defines it as “an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole or by majority will. General agreement or accord”. So, there is no standard in terms of what percentage of
Bill was recently asked to identify the most common problems boards have with strategic plans, and how to solve them effectively. Below are his top 6 problems and, more importantly, the solutions. Problem: Looking backward, instead of forward – The first responsibility of a governing board is to assure that the individual they have selected
In a recent article, we addressed the critical need for established communication cycles on a project and how you can do that well on multiple levels. In this post, we tackle what happens when communication goes wrong on a project and how to fix it. What are the key struggles in project plan communication?. Problem:
Completing a CEO evaluation is a basic fiduciary responsibility of a board of directors. It is also an invaluable tool for preventing micromanagement, maintaining the CEO/board relationship and avoiding a costly CEO transition. The CEO evaluation is a tool in which the board assesses and scores the CEO on his or her major duties, providing
Is what you are doing truly adding value? Not long ago I came across a wonderful quote from Peter Drucker, probably our most noted management author. He stated “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Doing what should not be done at all is another definition
A few years ago, my wife and I visited Scotland and stayed in the flat of some good friends here in Anchorage. It was located in the small town of Monifieth (near Dundee). We were advised to go to the Milton Inn for some excellent pub food. It was a great recommendation and we ended
This post #2 sums up our recent post regarding small investments that net big gains. Both posts are the result of a meeting I was in where the speaker mentioned “small investments that net big returns”. I was intrigued, so asked our staff for what they saw as small investments for big return. Not returns
I was in a meeting the other day, and the speaker asked a question that sparked my imagination beyond the topic of the meeting. He was discussing marketing, but the question really was relevant for any department or task in an organization…or your home for that matter. The speaker asked “What are the small investments
One of the aspects of micro-management (the #1 complaint of CEO’s about their boards) is overreaction to a crisis or non-crisis. Frequent scenario: A juicy rumor is received by a board member, who contacts other board members, which then leads to a call for an emergency meeting. Is it a crisis? Now, there are conditions
Those of you who are or have been in a chief executive position know well that the demands are overwhelming. One of the major challenges for CEO’s is the demand that they simultaneously maintain a) an effective growth strategy, b) protection from external competitive, political and regulatory threats and c) assurance that operations are consistent,
I ran across an interesting article in CIO magazine the other day that caught my eye, because it seemed to conflict both with what I have learned and what we teach our clients and blog subscribers. The article was titled 12 Best Practices IT Should Avoid at All Costs, by Bob Lewis. What caught my eye
We recently interviewed Bill Dann on his tips, tricks and lessons for managing your employees. His answers were terrific, and have been converted into two blog posts. Here is the second of Bill’s thoughts on managing well. To read through the first set of questions, click here. Question: Where do you see the most challenges
I sat down to interview Bill Dann on how to manage well, a subject near and dear to the heart of the author of “Creating High Performers”. We covered a lot of ground, so have chosen to divide the interview into two blog posts. In each, he offers lessons, tools and thoughts you can apply
Consultant Jen Jarvis, penned parts of the blog below for her website GoJenJarvis which she created in preparation for a month long sabbatical to pursue fitness and mixed martial arts training in Phuket, Thailand. Though her post and her upcoming adventure focus on fitness, the theory behind the Highest and Best Use applies to many
The following is from consultant Jen Jarvis. When I was managing a local healthcare non-profit in Anchorage, I had some real struggles with my supervisor who was located in Idaho. I was fortunate to have a mentor who coached me through my new role as I both managed others and was being managed. I asked
Guest post by Erin Sedor of Black Fox Strategy So here are some rather frightening Small Business Administration statistics that you may already know: 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail in the first three years. The primary reason cited by the SBA for small business failure is lack of management skills,
Did you ever hear the famous quote of Thomas Merton, “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” What about Stephen Covey’s extension of that thought, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right
Doug Johnson has a marvelous quote he often shares. “Plans don’t get things done, people get things done.” It is a simple concept, yet is often overlooked. Of course you need a good plan with solid rationale for the strategies you are embarking on – the mechanics of the plan. But you also need to
Many of us have heard the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” But if that is true, why do so many organizations with a sound plan in place still fail or at least struggle mightily? Having a plan is actually only half the battle, without sound execution of that plan, you
We wrote in a recent blog (Weighing Risks) “we recommend that leadership develop and adopt a policy on the criteria and standards it will use in considering new investment decisions”. We then briefly introduced a tool we use to do just that within PGS, the Priority Matrix. There was interest from our readers on learning
I’ve previously written a series of articles on elements and keys to success in strategic planning, but mingling with the real world out there, I am finding that I need to back further out to discuss what exactly is a strategic plan. Why you ask? We continuously come across organizations that believe they have a
In a recent blog (Weighing Risks), we wrote “we recommend that leadership develop and adopt a policy on the criteria and standards it will use in considering new investment decisions”. We then discussed the tool we use both for ourselves and our clients, the Priority Matrix. There was quite a bit of interest from readers
One of the most frequent questions we are asked by those tasked to manage a complex project or strategic planning initiative is “what are your tips for good project management?” We decided that it was high time to offer some tips learned from working with project managers over the years. First, a framework for project
Policy is critical, but… Policy is critical. Yet, there is a balance between too much and too little, and it’s essential that you understand this balance when you develop and implement policy. Too much policy stifles creativity, innovation, building of sound judgment and morale. It can sap the energy out of an organization. Too little and
Level of risk Every individual, and thus every group, has a certain level of tolerance for risk. For example, there are those of us who are gamblers, and there are those who hate to lose and never go near a slot machine or gaming table. Risk tolerance is usually determined by one’s experience with having taken
In my last post, I focused on the value of using a consultant, i.e., identifying the situations in which a consultant can come into the organization and truly add value. I finished that post with a list of 10 results that would tell you that your organization did indeed get value from the consulting engagement.
There is nothing quite like meeting a stranger at a cocktail party and responding to the inevitable question, “What do you do for a living?”, with “I’m a consultant”. You can see the pictures of charlatans, snake oil salesmen and other vermin coming into their head. It usually is a short conversation. Why? Well, “consultant”
Capitalize on low hanging fruit to identify a ballpark value added activity to beta test.
In my experience, self-discipline tops the list of challenges for governing boards. Discipline for what? Ethics violations, destructive behavior in meetings, and abuse of power outside board meetings, are the common ethical problems that only the board, itself, can identify and confront. Other issues, like poor decision-making, and the lack of clarity of direction, are
One of the promises that planning fulfills is making the seemingly impossible become possible. When confronted with a challenging goal, if a team has had disappointments in past attempts to reach such heights, they may go into apathy at the prospect of tackling the challenge. It is akin to staring at the summit from the
Duty of Care: def. – a legal obligation that requires individuals (board members, in this case) to adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing acts that could predictably harm others. Why do we need experts? One element of the legal standard for duty of care is that board members follow the advice of
In the last several blog posts, we have covered the struggles with common organizational structure paradigms and described a linear system of defining and understanding the functions of an organization instead. This post, the last in the series, drills further down into the functions to the individual hats or jobs of the individuals tasked to
In the first of our posts in this short series, I looked at the impacts of poor organizational structure. Next I outlined symptoms to help you diagnose if structure is a problem in your organization. In this post, I begin a 2 part examination of the fix to a structure problem. First step, and what
In the first blog of this series, I talked about the impact that poorly defined structure can have on an organization. Now, I want to turn attention to how to know that you have a structure problem. Let me begin by stating there are two components to this discussion: 1) identifying that you have a
Simply stated, the management function of organizing entails determining how the work of the organization, both strategic and typical day-to-day tasks, is to be accomplished. Organizing entails defining jobs, authorities, reporting relationships and the processes to be deployed to get the products and sub-products of the organization produced. In Creating High Performers, three of the 7
Performance improvement is a much sought after goal of pretty much every organization. Unfortunately, the secrets to one organization’s successful performance improvement are usually as unique as the organization itself. However there are common themes throughout successful improvements that can be applied to a wide sweep of organizations. One of these is better utilization of
Boards are criticized by their CEOs and staff for holding too many meetings. They’re also criticized for holding too few meetings. How can this be? What is the correct number of meetings? How do you know? First, meeting requirements State corporate law generally requires only an annual meeting to remain in good standing. Your own
In a recent post, we answered questions from a governing board on issues common to a board of directors. That exchange prompted us to look back over questions that have come in to us from our website and share them here. We know that when one person shares a question, there are usually many others
In honor of the Alaskan Federation of Natives Conference held in Anchorage this month, we are addressing questions posed to us by an Alaska Native Corporation board. The board participated in a Policy & Procedures and Robert’s Rules of Order training given by our own PGS Board Chair and designer of the training, Bill Dann. The
As we work through metrics from top to bottom at PGS, and continue to pursue a data driven culture, we have had a lot of discussion about lagging vs leading indicators and how to use them to both understand and manage an organization. We thought there would be value in sharing some of that discussion
PGS is in the process of defining metrics for each division and hat in our organization. Why? We talked to Theo Hunt, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt expert, to explain the process and benefit of spreading metrics throughout the organization instead of keeping them all at the top. Here is what she had to
I talked to consultant Jen Jarvis about a comment she made in passing once that intrigued me. Referring to her previous role as the executive director of a local healthcare non-profit, she said, “I credit a high percentage of the success we had to my drive to transform the organization to a data-driven culture. Empowering
Readers who have participated in one of my board training sessions or have read our previous board-focused materials know that I believe board development to be one of the best investments an organization can make. The rationale is simple. Boards that don’t add value are a drain on the organization. Research continually shows that boards
Those of you who are already users of our Vision Navigation® planning system know that we advocate for using the plan chart as a communication tool. Below are the best practices for effectively using your strategic plan to communicate with a wide range of constituents. Utilize one or more best practices to gain the most
We have written before about one of the essential keys to VN success – hatting a champion. We take that one step further with this post with an interview on best practices of the champion with a past VN champion, Jen Jarvis. What is the most critical role of a strategic planning champion? The biggest
The definition of operationalize is to put into operation or use. So what does it mean to “operationalize” your strategic plan? It means you have made the plan a living, valuable part of the way you operate your organization. From the C-suite down to front line staff, strategic plans are the back bone of organization
Strategic planning is designed to look out toward the horizon and visualize what your organization will be in 5, 10, 20 years, and then scale back to what you are going to do this year to start moving in that direction. You investigate a wide array of potential opportunities. Which will move you toward your
Governance literature in recent years has moved succession planning and risk management to top priorities for boards. Succession planning is now considered a multi-year and hefty initiative to avoid the risks associated with succession of leadership, e.g. loss of momentum, lack of continuity, etc. etc. What’s the Risk? But, there is a largely unexamined risk
A solid succession plan is much more than knowing who will replace your CEO upon retirement. It includes staff development, alignment to strategic goals, recruitment strategies, etc. Below is a quick look at the components in an effective succession plan and why each component belongs on the list. Component 1: A Strategic Plan What is
Complete the following exercise. Consider the first person that comes to mind when you read the next sentence: Who is the most vital player in your organization? Do you have her/him in mind? Now imagine you just received a phone call telling you this most vital player was gone without notice. Try to imagine the
Succession planning is more than just “who takes who’s spot when they retire”. Change and loss are difficult no matter your position in the organization. Therefore, the organization’s ability to acknowledge the difficulty of change for their employees at all levels and to coach them through it is essential whenever there is a leadership transition.
This is our last post in a series of posts on systems and policies, how to implement them, revise them and communicate the changes. For this post, we touch on a few of the keys in the culture of an organization that make all this system and policy work possible. The following post is from
We are winding down the series on systems and policies and how to keep them evolving and improving in your organization. We began with a look at clearly defining systems and the policies to support them, then introduced a great tool for making changes in those systems as your organization evolves and grows. Today we
We are in the midst of a series of posts on systems, policies and keeping them relevant and fresh. We are tackling the topic from 5 angles: Defining a system or process Outlining keys for sound policy to support your systems Improving and fixing established systems Clearly communicating changes to systems and policies so that
In our last post, we began a series on improving your organization from 5 angles: Defining a system or process Outlining keys for sound policy to support your systems Improving and fixing established systems Clearly communicating changes to systems and policies so that the changes stick Creating an organizational culture that supports all the above
We are beginning a short series of posts on fine tuning the internal workings of your organization, primarily the systems and the policies behind them. We worked with Bill Dann to create the series as he is the initiator of much of this work within PGS. Our series covers the topic from 5 angles: Defining
The challenge facing board members in serving their organization is finding the middle ground between micro-management (too much control) and blind trust (not enough control). Why is this issue so important? Most boards aren’t in control. Why? Several reasons may be at play: they aren’t directly involved in operations they may not meet often enough
Bill’s recent post on the internal assessment has spurred us on to discuss other key elements for a solid strategic plan. Our last post looked more closely at the strategic assessment. In this post we focus on taking the internal and strategic projects defined in the two assessments and turning them into a set of
A good strategic plan incorporates two types of assessments with the ultimate goal of creating an organization that can has the capability and knowledge to move successfully toward the vision. Those assessments are the strategic and the internal. Bill focused on the internal assessment in his recent post. The internal assessment is an essential part
Since we first published our initial article on the value of an internal assessment, a couple hundred additional assessments have been completed for clients and some additional lessons and insights have been learned that are important to share. The Context You can think of an organization of any type as consisting of the following elements,
We interviewed Theo Hunt, a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, to get a clearer understanding of what Lean Six Sigma is and how to take her knowledge and turn it into some steps our readers can take to move metrics forward in their organization. What is your designation, and what does it mean? Theo: I
A recent experience at a meeting of the board of directors of a client gave me a fresh insight into how leaders in all walks, in this case a board chair, get into pickles. Also, how they get out of them. The chair of this group is very committed, well-intentioned and experienced, much like the
We have been targeting metrics that matter recently both in our blog and at PGS as an organization. Last week, we spent three hours reviewing and improving our own internal Instrument Panel. Out of that process, we are bringing you some keys on knowing what to measure within your own organization. How many measures? To
Occasionally we will see boards or leadership teams surprised because the financial performance of their organization is not matching the projections adopted in the plan/budget for the year. Because they have not peeled below the projections to understand the assumptions behind them, they don’t know how to fix the problem. “What did we miss and
When moving through a board meeting agenda, effective use of time is crucial. The board needs to be able to make quality decisions based on solid, complete information. When presenting an agenda item, therefore, an organized format is essential. The following is a sample of a recommended format for presentation. Agenda Item: Change in health
Ironically, one of the practices associated with a high completion rate of our clients on their strategic plan’s tasks and projects is that high performers revise their plans 3-4 times in their twelve-month plan year. When we explain this, however, some clients feel it is counter-intuitive. Their view is that if the plan needs to
Assisting the University of Alaska find its way to a more efficient, effective institution in midst of an economic downturn, and observing how the State of Alaska is approaching the same challenge offers up food for thought on how best to meet such a challenge. What is clear is that top down solutions rarely go
PGS is welcoming consultant John Gregoire to the team. Below is a post from John on training metrics – one of the many areas of expertise he brings to the table. Hope you enjoy it! Early in my career I built the perfect training event. My participant feedback was excellent, it was a huge success,
Ever sat in a meeting or been part of a team where you suddenly felt the temperature in the room rise, the tension become thick and the air heavy? So have we. That is the reason behind this post. How do you handle difficult situations or challenging people in a meeting or workplace? Here is
This post from Bill is directed to our many readers who are either on a board of directors or work closely with the board of their organization. Bill is focusing on fixes for an all too common issue with boards – attendance. Here is his look at the problem and solutions. Recently I was reminded
For years, we have tracked the completion rate of our strategic planning clients on intended outcomes in their plan. Our philosophy is that if we don’t positively impact that completion rate, then we have truly added value despite the quality of the plan/strategy itself. Improving the completion rate ultimately involves improving the time management and
“Getting to No” is a play off the title of a dated but excellent book on negotiation entitled Getting to Yes, by Bruce Patton, Roger Fisher, and William Ury. It is about the importance of agreeing on principles that you share in common in a negotiation that can guide to an agreement vs. beginning with
I recently observed a phenomenon with a client that warrants sharing with you. I would welcome hearing from you as to whether you have observed the same or contrary as this is a new insight for me. I have a client of long-standing that this year made a strong commitment to becoming more data driven
Have you ever participated in an executive or board meeting when the conversation around the table became divisive or charged? Ever felt like you were watching a ping-pong match between two real enemies? Rarely is anyone declared a winner in such situations, except perhaps the loudest speaker. And usually everyone comes away with a distinct
Awhile back, we started a blog a month on the most common problems in organizations as seen on our clients’ internal assessments. The internal assessment is designed to analyze the issues that employees and the executive team list as those that keep the organization from running optimally, i.e., the problems. Then they prioritize those issues
How do you know that the work you are doing is moving you toward your long-term vision, 15-25 years out? It’s a good question – one we have looked at in three sections: Knowing what to do today Staying motivated over the long haul Knowing that what you are doing is working We covered the
Both my reading of the governance literature and my own experience tells me that often board members and CEO’s agree that boards are not adding value to their organizations. This is particularly the case in the non-profit arena. However both for-profit and non-profits alike lament that there is high turnover of board members. Some have
There is a wide variety of ways to display data for an Instrument Panel, but line and bar charts are straightforward, easy-to-understand tools for organizations that aren’t accustomed to using charts and graphs to help manage and make decisions. They are also the two most common charts on our client’s Instrument Panels. So, since we
There is increasing evidence that the annual performance review – as it has been practiced – is not only lacking value in companies, but is actually doing damage. General Electric, often cited as a prominent proponent of such review, has recently announced that they are abandoning them. The same is true for Deloitte, Accenture, and
In one post each month, we are targeting the top internal issues that our clients have identified as preventing their organization’s ability to run at its best. In this post we examine policies and procedures. Policies and procedures are necessary for a smooth and efficient organization with less conflict and rework. However, there is often confusion
We started a short series awhile back on reaching your long term vision. Our first post focused on knowing what tasks to do today that will keep you moving in the right direction. Today, we tackle motivation to reach your long term vision. In doing a little research to prepare for this post, we found
A central component of our Vision Navigation® strategic planning process is an internal assessment. During the process, we ask the management team to identify those issues that are preventing them from optimizing the organization. What issues are dragging them under or keeping them floundering? (For an in-depth look at internal assessments, click here) Recently we
Micromanagement, the absence of trust I define micromanagement as a pattern of someone in authority interfering with people, projects, or initiatives in a way that hampers progress — without adding any value. It can mean slowing down, or even losing, opportunities for progress. Where boards of directors are concerned, micromanagement causes this interference while failing
Much has been written on the impact of failures, but a recent interview got me to thinking a bit more about this and I thought I might pass along what I came to in my thinking on it. In an interview the other day, I was asked about mistakes I had made and what I
How do you look at your long term vision, 15 – 25 years out, and determine what you do today to make sure you get there in 25 years? It’s a good question – one that has three components to the answer: Knowing what to do today Staying motivated over the long haul Knowing that
Early this month I was interviewed on the Stu Taylor (www.stutaylor.com) radio show out of Boston. He asked very good questions, among them the following, “what do you see as the two biggest mistakes that managers make?” I hadn’t given thought to that particular question previously, but after wrestling with the question some more, wanted
Those of you who have used our Vision Navigation® strategic planning process know that we include in each project the question of whether the effectiveness of the strategy can be measured. We call this part of the process “defining a metric”. What we are trying to do here is not measure whether or not you
I have been spending some time lately researching how to help our strategic planning clients continue to improve the completion rates on the projects they set out to accomplish. One of my threads of research had me looking more closely at the distinctions between accountability and responsibility. Depending on which website you look through or
Here’s a valuable question to ask before you start your planning process: How do you keep the momentum of your strategic plan throughout the course of the year? The common criticism about strategic plans is that they become the book that “collects dust on the shelf” while the organization goes on about its day to
A recent meeting with a newly-appointed executive in the public sector reminded me of a subject I have wanted to write about for some time: How can one successfully supervise in the public sector? Before we look at public sector supervision, we need to consider two causes of supervisor apathy. First, the challenge caused by
Doug Johnson, Executive VP of Professional Growth Systems, is joining our blog this week. He has great interest and passion for start-ups, so wanted to share some keys start-ups need to address when beginning their journey. He writes: There are three critical elements that a start up company must address to insure success. The first
The strategic agenda is that precious list of initiatives you believe are needed to insure a brighter future for the organization. That agenda should be limited to 3-7 projects. Why? Because the time and resources you have available for new initiatives is scarce indeed. As one of our clients describes it, “one gets overwhelmed by
Once your planning process is complete, how can you make sure you are successful at implementation? We reviewed strategic plans within our own organization and those of our clients to find out. Among the many themes that influenced success or struggle, one stood out. A “strategic plan champion”. What is a champion for a strategic
Bill Dann was interviewed recently and asked “What are five key elements that every small business owner needs to address in their strategic plan?”. We thought the question and Bill’s answers would be valuable to share with our blog readers. We know many of our regular readers are looking to add value to next year’s
Servant leadership as a philosophy The concept of servant leadership was first talked about by Ancient Chinese philosophers such as Lao-Tzu, then found in the Christian teachings of Mark and was popularized in modern management writings by Robert Greenleaf in a 1970 essay. To me it is more of a philosophy of value system than
An organization’s success is measured by the value delivered to its customers. How do you get everyone focused on the results that matter?
From the numbers of folks who have downloaded our article on metrics, we know it is a topic of interest to our regular readers. We have had the question asked several times “How do I build a metric”. So we thought it was time for us to tackle the steps. We will take you through
Managers typically do well designing and managing the physical side of change, but lack tools and skills to manage the human side of change.
Over the last year, I have had extensive, first hand exposure to the inner workings of political leadership at the chief executive level, while simultaneously studying behavior via broadcasts covering political analysis. I have noticed a fascinating pattern at play that stagnates productivity – one that can be paralleled in the business world. This post
Recently, CEO Bill Dann was interviewed by the Alaska Dispatch News for a piece in their “Innovator Magazine” due out in July. Many of the questions paralleled those that our clients have asked us over the years in reference to their organizations, so we thought we would share some of his answers in the next
Minimize the impacts throughout the organization from a change in ownership with communication, listening and a focus on culture.
Honest dialogue with employees In this post, I discuss a frequent question that comes up for those trying to implement Dann’s 7 Questions as their key tool for manager/subordinate relations, particularly performance evaluations – how do you know when you are hearing the truth from your direct reports. (For more on the 7 questions, I
Measure the key drivers of performance, and you will gain better predictability of future financial and organizational performance.
A recent discussion reminded me that I should jot down some thoughts regarding leader overwhelm (def. bury or drown beneath a huge mass). I have experienced this twice in my career and the effects can be debilitating. For me and other leaders I have known, it leads to an inability to act. One just sits
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review echoed the theory we have in our Process Advantage® product, and I wondered if it rings true for you. The article is titled “Innovate Without Diluting Your Core Idea” by Jon Campbell, and the premise is that an innovative idea loses much of its luster as the
A strong set of core values actively lived by an organization significantly improves performance and provides a much needed sense of purpose.
Recently, Bill Popp, President & CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, reported to me that he was “all in” with putting the 7 Questions staff evaluation method and recommended job description format from Creating High Performers to work. He had recently completed a round of meetings with his staff using the Questions, and I
I promised to tackle the elements of a good job description in my last blog post about structuring jobs in a start-up organization. Although the focus in that post was on which jobs were key to success and which were overkill in a fledgling organization, this post addresses any and all jobs in both new
How are new employees brought on board successfully? Learn 5 key pieces to bringing your new employees on board and up to speed.
There a numerous factors contributing to the high mortality of start-ups. Two of them revolve around decisions on what jobs are needed initially and how those jobs are structured. Mistakes here can lead to lack of execution or unsustainable overhead, both of which can be fatal. The challenge is to commit to the proper lean
A post we added about a year ago, “A Stretch Vision“, recounted the story of a CEO friend of mine who blamed the organization’s tough times in part to an aggressive vision. As I read through it, I was reminded of another piece, a newsletter from several years back for governing boards, about the power
Some of you know by now that I recently published the 2nd edition of my book Creating High Performers – 7 Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports. This is the story behind the book as well as how you can use the questions to improve your organization. How it started Well, first of all, graduate
Recently, thanks to good friend and associate, Sarah Barton, I was exposed to Otto Shermer’s Theory U model for reaching generative consensus from widely divergent viewpoints. The theory tracked my own experience and learning about how it is that people come to agreement. The model is depicted below and begins with openness and active listening
Defining products based on your customer’s needs Our Vision Navigation® strategic planning process includes asking leadership to define the products of their organization. We do this because often organizations see their products through their own eyes rather than through the eyes of their customer. Growing a business or fulfilling the purpose of a non-profit entails
Change impacting employees In 1992, I was selected to bring the Deming quality program to a small rural hospital in Alaska. Bill and Doug at PGS were my consultant coaches, and the leadership of the hospital was on board. Everything was positive from the outset. The program was fairly straightforward. I worked with teams of
Without clarity and integrity of core ideology, no organization, plan or project will go forward successfully. Learn how to reinforce your organization’s core ideology here.
One of the phenomena I experience as a consultant is the response at a cocktail party or similar gathering, i.e. any networking opportunity, when I announce that I am a consultant. The look on the face of those I am communicating with emanates, “Ah, a snake oil salesman”. It’s more a look of aversion than
Recent experience has given me some insight, or rather affirmed what I knew instinctively, about factors that lead to improvement or deterioration in a work relationship. There are the usual suspects: being truthful, delivering on what you pledge to do, willingness to truly help, whether you enjoy working together, see the world in the same
I recently did a seminar for CEO’s of a set of fifteen rural hospitals, specifically Critical Access Hospitals. I tried to make the point that true strategic planning is vital at this moment in the health care industry and then get into how they might enhance the value of strategic planning for their organizations. Unfortunately,
Has your strategic plan truly added value to the organization? We look at root causes and fixes to a suboptimal plan in this newsletter.
What does a successful strategic planning process include? In our experience, a strategic planning process absolutely must contain 3 key elements to be successful. Additional pieces certainly may add depth, clarity and ease – and they do have a valued place in strategic planning. But without the following 3 key pieces, your process and resulting
Corporate culture is not linear and its not left brained or logical. It comes from the heart, can’t be copied and makes you highly competitive.
The following is an excerpt from Bullseye by William Schiemann and John Lingle. The conversation here took place during a senior team meeting to determine the appropriate measure for “client retention”, identified as the key driver to revenue growth. The proposed measure being discussed was “percent of clients who renew their contracts each year”. Executive
Our company’s stated purpose is “To achieve extraordinary results with our clients”. One of our core strategies is to “…build relationships and partner with our clients”. We focused on the concept of partnering about ten years ago upon reflecting on what were the keys to really making a difference for our clients. Partnering with consultants
Strategic planning corrections at the halfway point For many of us, the dog days of summer mark the mid to waning months of a year-long strategic plan. We have written before about how to maintain your momentum throughout the course of your strategic plan (see Maintaining Strategic Momentum). Now we turn our focus to a mid-course
How would you define success in your organization? More revenue? More customers? Funding to expand services? More profit? Optimizing performance? I would suggest to you that the quickest route to many of these is to focus on optimizing the performance of processes through one or more successful change initiatives. Better processes translate to lower costs,
The obvious question: What’s a strategic analysis? Not only what is it, but why do you need one? The strategic analysis or assessment is an examination of the external environment the organization operates in, i.e., the economy, competitors, cultural dynamics, customers, etc. Why do you need this examination? Well, when planning, you first determine a
No sexist intention here, this also applies to women. Just using the term of art. Well, what am I talking about then? The Value of Honoring Agreements The failure of my wife’s nephew to show up for two promised sessions to work the yard reminded me of an axiom that I have found increasingly true
Following on the heels of my recent post on leadership – I was watching Fareed Zacharia’s Global Public Square (CNN) on Sunday. He was opining about Obama’s newly announced policy on use of military force. Fareed then went on to talk about leadership in general and told a story. The story was one told by
The dictionary definition of lead includes “to show the way to by going in advance, to guide or direct in a new course, to guide the behavior and opinion of or to inspire the conduct of”. The first depicts the role of a scout, the second that of a commander and the last that of
There is an old adage among trainers that the learner learns what they want to learn, when they want to learn it and from whom they wish to learn. National statistics on the success of training are not good. Why is that? My take is that it is because the prerequisites described in the old
Data based decisions for management Fact: a real occurrence, event Opinion: a belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof W. Edwards Deming, the father of continuous quality improvement, was a statistician who believed management decisions should be driven by data. He opined that there are only two mistakes
How to accomplish the work of your strategic plan One of the challenges we see most often with completing the work spelled out on a strategic plan is that leaders don’t hold their team accountable for the results. Instead, they succumb to the old habit of accepting rational explanations for why things do not get
Great leaders are willing to take worthwhile risks, even at high cost Wikipedia: Small ball is a baseball offensive strategy employed in which high value is place on individual runs and attempts to score them without requiring extra base hits, or sometimes without base hits at all…. Well, maybe a great strategy for baseball, but
Do middle managers have a pivotal role in strategic plans? Absolutely. They carry the message to the employees and create alignment to the plan.
Successfully managing conflict in the workplace Recent experience completing conflict resolution work for a long-standing client brought to mind that I ought to write something about how this gets started, continues and ultimately gets resolved. It is my belief that with the exception of a small percentage of our race, we humans are largely well
What value does strategic planning add to the organization? Often prospective clients end their initial phone call with the question, “What is this going to cost?”. My reply is always the same, I can’t tell you without meeting with you to understand what you really need and want, design a solution that fits, etc. The
This post is the seventh in a series on management “gurus” who have influenced and shaped the products and services we offer at PGS. To start with post one, click here. Michael Porter and his five competitive forces We have taken some detours, but it is finally time for our last installment of “Who Gave
As Black Friday looms in the near future and the holiday rush kicks into full swing, I thought I would join the call of those wishing to “keep it simple”, but with a different spin. How do you keep it simple in your meetings or in the boardroom? Those of you familiar with my approach
This post is the sixth in a series on management “gurus” who have influenced and shaped the products and services we offer at PGS. To start with post one, click here. Managing Transitions with William Bridges I can’t remember how I was introduced to Bridges, but it was a wonderful fork in the road. We
This post is the fifth in a series on management “gurus” who have influenced and shaped the products and services we offer at PGS. To start with post one, click here. The next iteration of Lifecycles When completing due diligence on Ichak Adizes, his former partner, Gerry Faust surfaced. Because I was not comfortable entering
Having worked with countless non-profit organizations over the years, I have noticed that they typically perceive themselves in a different light, one that can have a detrimental impact to their customers. Non-profits operate in a vastly less competitive world than for-profit entities. In fact, using the word “competitive” is outside the comfort zone for many
Maintaining Strategic Momentum I decided to share one more blog post before returning to our “Who Gave You That Idea” series. Many of our clients are scheduling the work to create their next year’s strategic plan. So it seemed a good time to refresh folks on the keys to achieve what they set out to
Taking a short break from our “Who Gave You That Idea” series to tackle a topic dear to my heart – customer service. In particular, customer service in the healthcare setting. Now, if you aren’t in healthcare, don’t shy away from this post. I intend there to be customer-related takeaways for you. But if healthcare
This post is the fourth in a series on management “gurus” who have influenced and shaped the products and services we offer at PGS. To start with post one, click here. The influence of Ichak Adizes and his work on corporate lifecycles The fourth in our blog series on “influencers” of PGS and our products
This post is the third in a series on management “gurus” who have influenced and shaped the products and services we offer at PGS. To start with post one, click here. Gary Hamel and Innovation The third in our blog series on “influencers” of PGS and our products features a slightly more controversial management “guru”,
Fairness is an unwritten contract between employer and employee. However, we are also prone to greed. Read about the interplay in business here.
This post is the second in a series on management “gurus” who have influenced and shaped the products and services we offer at PGS. To start with post one, click here. How to best use metrics, charts and data in planning In order to successfully evaluate a key process or outcome, it is essential to
Are your employees objects or team members? We have been in a “mini-series” of blog posts sharing with you the influencers of the past 30 years that have shaped the work we are doing at PGS. If you missed my last post on Quality, Deming and Juran, you can find it here. And you can
This is the first in a 7 part series on the key influencers who have impacted our work with clients over the years. At the end of this post, you will find links to our other “gurus”. Deming, Juran and the quality movement At PGS, we are indebted to some great leaders in organizational theory
Policy is critical. Yet, there is a balance between too much and too little, and it’s essential that you understand this balance when you develop and implement policy. In my last post, I covered when it is important to set policy. I wrote that the rule of thumb for more policy is when one of
What is too much vs not enough policy? My first management position was with a government agency, and I learned how setting too much policy stifles creativity, innovation, building of sound judgment and morale. It can sap the energy out of an organization. At the other extreme is Nordstrom, whose early success was built on
What makes a sound strategic planning metric? A sound strategic planning metric is one that measures whether or not a strategy on your strategic plan is working. Is your project to enhance customer loyalty doing just that? Is your initiative to branch into new markets effective? How do you know? Metrics give you these answers.
Good two way dialogue is one of the most important attributes that employees use to gauge whether they are valued in their organizations.
Is using an outside consultant for planning really necessary? This past week I was asked by an acting CEO for one of my clients how long I thought the organization would need to depend upon me to do strategic planning. “The organization should ultimately be able to do it on its own” was his comment.
A strong sense of purpose impacts culture I spent the weekend conducting a strategic planning retreat for a client of long standing. We had defined a clear purpose years ago, and the organization has remained steadfast to that purpose ever since. Those of you with whom I have worked know that I place great importance
There are times when moving out of your regular meeting space enhances both the meeting and the results you achieve. Getting away from the office or boardroom setting is important when you are doing strategic planning or having a retreat on a major question that requires a different level of thinking or innovation. Having said
In a nutshell, consistency requires integrity. Would you take the same action for any employee? If not, rethink your actions. Read more here.
I wrote this newsletter for BoardGrowth, a governing board oriented site, but felt it had valuable information for anyone working to assess the health of an organization through using metrics. Therefore, I offer it to our blog readers as well. Hard data vs. stories Those of you with whom I have worked know that I
In leadership and the rank and file, no one really likes getting away with dishonesty. Great relationships, work or otherwise, depend on honesty.
We recently completed a survey of a governing board I am a member of. We were seeking to identify the unanswered questions of board members as well as their ideas on how the board experience could be improved. There is a good deal of national data that supports that overall, board members are dissatisfied with
Who are the stakeholders on a change management initiative? What happens when they do not support the change? Learn how to win your stakeholders here.
Over the weekend, I had a chance to visit with one of the leaders I most admire; a man I have worked with for nearly 20 years. He was bringing me up to date on some of the players in his organization as I had not worked with them in six years. Some had blossomed,
The Boston attack has us all deep in thought. One of the most profound commentaries I have seen comes from my beautiful and devout niece Elizabeth, who sometime ago converted to the Muslim faith and was expressing frustration with apologists for terrorist activities. She was railing against those who would explain away this attack by
An organization is only as great, and its employees only as committed, as they interpret the leader to be. What is needed? Leadership integrity.
Blaming Middle Management As a consultant, one often sees leadership blaming middle management for the ills of the organization, especially, when the culture of the organization is not what leadership desires. In fact, consultants make money on this trend, e.g. “Go train them to…”, “go fix…”. Recently a leadership group I was working with remarked
Designing a Cascading Planning System In designing planning systems for clients, I am often asked whether planning should cascade (def. a process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is successfully passed on) up or cascade down. My answer; BOTH. At the level of strategic planning, the few changes (three to seven) that are vital for
Over time, employees will only work as hard as their ultimate leader and/or the lowest performer among supervisory or even peer group.
Effective Meetings Make a Difference Working recently with a management group to help build them as a team reminded me of how vital effective meetings are to teamwork. The impact of meetings is never neutral, they are either building relationships and morale or eroding them. What do I mean? Meetings erode relationships when members don’t
Learning to love the lag I can’t remember where and when I first heard this one. It is a somewhat dated adage about the need for leaders to be patient in making changes if they are to survive mentally and continue to confront challenges. I was reminded of this recently while working with a client,
Organizations, like life, are full of “politics”, which employees assess every day. The result? Huge impacts to morale and commitment to work.
Reviving Leadership A recent meeting with a client CEO reminded me of a story from my own journey as a CEO that I thought I would share. Among the many challenges for leaders is maintaining a positive outlook. Why challenging? Because leadership is a steady diet of a) risk taking (every decision represents a cost
Work recently with highly motivated cross-functional process improvement teams reminded me of the importance of corporate culture to gaining improvement in performance. Leadership had picked great team members; bright, committed, hard working. The two groups blazed through the tasks of documenting problems with the current processes, identifying innovative breakthrough strategies and then designing a detailed
We live in a world and a business climate that demand more and faster change from each of us. Keep up with technology, social media, competitive threats, changes in customer wants/needs. Do more. Do more. Do more. Well, there is a limit, and if you go beyond it, it can be crippling. I once was
What is, is. Leadership’s effectiveness is strengthened when they include other’s perspective on the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of the day, leadership is determining/deciding what must be done, and then assuring that it is done. Simple to say, challenging and draining to do well, to be sure. Throughout my leadership career, I have weathered challenges to this basic premise. Although I believe that effective leaders should focus on the personal
No matter how wise leadership is, they need to include the perspectives of their staff. When they are dismissed, valuable information is lost.
When subsidiaries overstep their bounds Met with a prospective client today and heard some familiar and distressing themes. It involved what is functionally the equivalent of a family owned corporation, although in this case it involves shareholders from a given community, but it is a small community dominated by a few families. Their concern was
All the political noise re. Bain and Company as well as some recent experience with clients has prompted me to take a look at whether there, indeed, has been a shift in American business and how that might impact the success of U.S. businesses going forward. Source Energy Ichak Adizes in his seminal work (Adizes,
The most often overlooked facet of leadership There are three distinct leadership responsibilities to the role of the CEO: 1) assure market position or growth (for profit) or increased client/stakeholder satisfaction and sense of value (non-profit), 2) assuring that the organizational climate is safe for employees to grow and prosper, and 3) assuring that operations
What are the Principles of Management that remain timeless and true over the years? Here are our top nine. Do they ring true for you?
Dr. William Bicknell taught us critical lessons on true professional success throughout his career in public health. Here are my top twelve.
What are the strategies that lead to superior performance on your strategic plan? Our work on hundreds of plans has surfaced 7 keys.
Do you have a productive working rapport between your board and management? If not, look at the CEO-Chairman relationship to begin improving.
How do you empower truly great work? We have a key performance evaluation tool that answers that question while giving yourself keys to improvement.
Why middle managers often struggle with leading their troops and a tool to overcome the struggle.
Execution of a strategic plan by leadership is as essential as its quality. What are the strategies to improve execution on your plan?
Teamwork is essential for real results. But how do you build a culture of teamwork? Integrity and honoring your agreements
Accountability means doing what I say I am going to do, and it starts at the top. What happens when leaders are truly accountable?
A key element linking performance management and strategic planning? Accountability. Learn how accountability in your plan impacts performance.
The first of two newsletters on aligning strategic planning with performance management. This month’s focus is on the big picture, while next month targets accountability.
What incentives truly motivate employees? What does a lack of incentives cause? A recent trip to Europe drove home their importance.
What keeps the work from getting done strategic plans? Often it is the tool itself. Try these keys to a great strategic planning template.
The strategic plan is a promise of management to its board, but there is also an implicit contract between a management and staff at play here.
Good performance management is defined as making continual progress in positively impacting the key indicators of your business. Here’s how.
Failing to have management support in a change initiative can derail the whole process. Learn what support looks like and how to gain it.
Managing the human side of a change initiative, i.e., helping staff through endings and new beginnings, is critical to improving a process.
Change Management article #12: one of the most valued tools in change management is a good implementation plan to coordinate the various tracks of work
Process changes that are quick to implement and bring a noticeable result are low hanging fruit. Find them in your change management project.
Breakthrough strategies are those that reduce a process from 15 steps to 5 or 20 minutes to 4. Learn how to find and implement breakthroughs.
Processes are full of variation and workarounds. For successful change, clearly understanding the current process is critical to improving it.
Most organizations have little or no data on the performance of vital processes. In change initiatives, this data is critical for success.
Most people are more stuck in their ways than they think. How do you then get real innovation in a change initiative? We will show you how.
In order for a change initiative to be successful, you must have support of those with authority, power or influence – the key stakeholders.
People will not actively work toward their own destruction or harm. Learn how to create a win for all staff in a change initiative for greater success.
Empower employee teams now doing the work to design and implement the new process in your change initiatives. Watch your success rate go up!
CEOs lose patience with change projects because of high costs, unknown returns, and their often slow pace. Fix this with a discovery process.
One of the greatest causes of failure in change management is not getting the whole team on board. Sell the “Big Why” to gain commitment.
The first in a series of change management articles. The focus of this edition: overcoming resistance to change with customer feedback or data.
Strategic Planning provides your vector, while your processes determine your velocity. Want to improve? Change management is the tool.
Personal planning is the last of 4 levels of a sound strategic plan. Learn more about this critical piece in executing the organization’s plan.
Final key to success? It’s the “I want to work there” factor. It’s about teamwork. This is the fourth and oh, so important, final secret to superior organizational performance.
This article addresses the third of the four essential keys to superior company performance: continually-improving systems.
Accountability is the second of four essential keys to superior company performance, i.e., excuses must no longer be an option.
The essential role of leadership during change is defining the gap between the current condition and the target condition.
When a company makes real strides in becoming more productive, there are four essential factors present. I introduce these key factors here.