strategy

What Really Matters to Your Audience

What’s more powerful as a motivation for changing: recognizing the consequences of our actions on ourselves or the consequences our actions may have on others? Adam Grant, in Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World, suggests the latter may be more important.

As you probably know from prior research (e.g., The Checklist Manifesto), hospitals have discovered that they can substantially decrease the incidence of patient’s negative health consequences with one simple action: getting doctors and nurses to wash their hands In a study he and David Hoffman conducted, they wanted to know which of two signs (displayed near soap and gel dispensers), would encourage the health care providers to wash more often:

  • “Hand hygiene presents you from catching diseases”
  • “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases.

The first focused on consequences for the provider; the second for the people that the provider serves.

The first sign had no effect. The second increased medical professionals washing 10% and led to 45% more use of soap and gel.  Why?  Understand the logic of the consequences. In the first, the doctor/nurse thinks about their situation:  “I spend a lot of time in the hospital, I don’t always wash and rarely get sick, so they doesn’t affect me.” In other words, we know ourselves, tend to overestimate our invulnerability.  In the second case, the question is what should a person like me do in a situation like this?’ The cost-benefit equation isn’t only about one’s probability of getting sick, but what’s right and wrong: do I have a professional and moral obligation to care for patients, especially those I can’t monitor as often as myself.

What’s the implication for you?  When you’re presenting a message to the audience – whether in an ad or a presentation – you need to think not just about the immediate message but what else your audience cares about how the message may trigger additional considerations. We saw this phenomenon recently in an ad that Pepsi produced starring Kylie Jenner that upset many people and led them to pull it immediately (see).  It’s critical that you go through a two-step process: figure out what you want to say – and be prepared to deliver an authentic message, and then consider the “mental setting” of your audience (be audience-driven) before designing the actual pitch.

Have you gone through similar experiences? Are you concerned about one in the future?  Share with us so we can help you deal with your audience’s sensitives.

Is Your Company a CILO?

What is a CILO? A Continuously Improving Learning Organization. It creates a learning culture that enables each person to grow as they contribute strategically to the overall success of the company.

A little background.  Several years ago, I had the privilege of working with a new organization, now called ETW – Execute To Win, where I learned about a new management operating system. It was started by Lee Benson, a CEO who belongs to Vistage Worldwide in the Midwest. (I chair groups in New York City.) It’s based on the principle that if the work each person does is aligned with the corporate strategy and performed well, it’s a win-win for each employee and the company. At the time, he showed it to Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, who loved it so much that he became a partner in the project. Over the years, it’s evolved into a system used by large companies focused on launching new strategic efforts and helps everyone on the team focus on doing their part in concert with the whole. I

In the meanwhile, I adapting it (www.eval2win.com) to help CEOs of $5M – $1B companies with whom I work, to focus on achieving personal/corporate strategic goals and forging a culture of continuous improvement. The focus is on the employee-supervisor dyad, not just the employee. Each dyad collaborates to ensure that the employee can achieve the strategic objectives she/he has which lead to the achievement of the company’s strategic goals. (e.g., my actions, lead to sales, which are my contribution to the corporate revenue goal. The system requires that the dyad meet regularly to discuss how the employee is doing and can improve and create a document that:

  • Identifies the major responsibilities of a person with time allocations to each one to account for 100% of the person’s commitment. (E.g., a Controller may have specific financial functions, supervises people, provides Exec Team with advice and data, leads the budgeting section for new business proposals, etc.). Many have 5-8 major areas of responsibility.
  • Defines the key activities within each of these responsibilities. (e.g., collect, publish and analyze monthly financials; identify and guide career paths for each employee).
  • Creates KPI for measuring (e.g., close each month within 3 days and provide a report, highlighting key issues of concern).
  • Identifies areas of improvement for the employee within most of the areas of responsibility (e.g., investigate a few finance courses to take online), schedule the activities themselves and develop KPIs to measure progress (e.g., pick the course, take it, and achieve at least a B).
  • Schedules the next review.

As you can see, in a CILO, continuous improvement is a fundamental job responsibility for the employee and the system to achieve it is collaborative – not imposed on anyone. Moreover, the scheduling of reviews is triggered by the goal of continuous improvement – not just a calendar.

For a new employee with a stable set of job responsibilities, the dyad meets each month for the first three months to help the employee “onboard” and do the job correctly. If all is fine, the next review will be in three months; if there is a problem, monthly meetings continue as long as needed. Once things are fine, the intervals between reviews expand from monthly to quarterly to semi-annually to annually.

However, most people’s jobs change! Imagine you’re a graphic artist or sales person or marketing for retail and been promoted to take on new responsibilities, such as managing the graphic team, providing sales training, supervising social media e-commerce marketing. Since this is new, the cycle of reviews for these new jobs starts over; you get support immediately (e.g., training and direction) to perform the new job correctly. In this way, the Peter Principle is eliminated – people aren’t promoted to a new job where they lack the skills and the problem is only discovered later; problems are identified immediately.

As you can see, this system also encourages people to take on new responsibilities to advance their career by learning what they need to know and getting the support and feedback to do it well.

Is your company a CILO – encouraging continuous improvement through learning, feedback and support (by people and systems)?  If so, share your model. If not, let us know how we can help you become one!

Disrupting Retail: What Will Happen?

What do you do when you’re “marked” for execution? You can either adapt – and possibly live for another day – or find ways to significantly change the game. Unfortunately, in the retail business, most of the disruption is taking place by the disrupter itself, and not those marked for extinction.

Several years ago the Bespoke Investment Group, created a listed of companies which it believed were marked for “Death By Amazon” (AMZN)  and created an index of these stocks. It includes such swell known companies as Best Buy (BBY), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), and Macy’s (M). As we noted in my classes this week (I teach business strategy for CUNY), several additional companies recently announced closings of physical stores  – including the entire chain (e.g., Bebe, Payless, Radio Shack). As I understand it, the projection is for over 8000 retail stores being closed this year about four times last year’s number.

So the challenge is how to change the retail model.  Many companies are looking to integrate e-commerce into its operation – as the proposed $300M purchase of men’s clothier Bonobos would do for Walmart. Target and other bigger stores are working on shrinking their stores to increase productivity and profit per square foot. Many are adapting customer-friendly  practices to optimize the number of customers still using their stores; omnibus marketing strategies, collaborating with manufacturers to improve margins and cut costs, embracing social issues that customers care about, and increasing end-customer personalization. Whether these will result in long-term success remains to be seen.

The final challenge is who can do it better and faster. Will these individual and/or cumulative changes enable the retail stores to reverse their sales and profits slide, or will Amazon, with its potentially transformative approaches to retail (e.g., Amazon Go) give it a competitive advantage.  For people with creative new ideas on how to transform purchasing and selling practices that integrate online and physical shopping, these can be exciting times.  What are your ideas?

Create a Culture of Execution

The hardest part of strategy is execution. To implement a strategy, people need to change their behaviors and/or values and consistently act in support of the strategic priorities. In other words, you need to create a culture of execution to support individual’s implementation strategies. Recently, I was asked to contrast two approaches to execution, and realized that both “operating systems” complement each other very well.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) is a new and popular approach to achieving corporate goals. Developed by three consultants, Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling, it’s founded on the premise that the greatest distraction to adopting new goals is the need to cope with the “whirlwind” of activities and responsibilities of ongoing activities. Thus, the four disciplines are:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). Since the whirlwind keeps you from doing all the things you might want to do, focus on a few WIGs and leverage their achievement to accomplish more.  o
  2. Act on Lead Measures. All actions aren’t equal; therefore focus your energies on those that lead to the goals (e.g., prospecting leads to sales presentations which leads to closing sales), rather than lag indicators which report on the final result (e.g., total sales).
  3. Keep a Compelling Scorecard. People need to see how they are doing to stay engaged in achieving a goal. Create a scorecard to give them feedback on how they are doing.
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability, which means hold people accountable for the actions they commit to do by reviewing progress regularly, such as at brief weekly meetings. Otherwise, you’ll get be distracted by the normal whirlwind of activities, and use that as an excuse for missing the goals.

Evaluate To Win was developed by a CEO (Lee Benson) who wanted to increase the extent to which all employees focus on and achieve corporate strategic priorities. Articulating corporate strategy isn’t enough; effective execution only takes place when corporate values and goals are translated into specific employee behaviors that can be measured, and when reviewed, used for spur continuous improvement.

The heart of ETW is a computer based tool used by managers and their employees to identify, create scoring criteria, measure achievement (e.g., 1-10 scale) monitor and evaluate improvement over time when it comes to those things that will:

  • Increase alignment with the company’s value system and mission
  • Improve employees’ performance in taking actions which will achieve the strategic priorities
  • Enhance leaders’ skills in getting people to focus on and achieve the strategic priorities

Each manager-employee identifies the best criteria and scoring system for evaluating employee’s actions. Progress is monitored regularly (e.g., monthly, quarterly, annually), so each employee knows what’s necessary for improvement, and then reset the scoring system. Since data are computerized, it provides senior management with benchmarks for judging teams and people for future job positions.

The result has been six consecutive years of 20%+ plus growth. Jack Welch (former GE CEO) endorsed the system, and Lee decided to make it available to others. (See.www.eval2win.com)

4DX focuses on implementing new strategic priorities (WIGs) management wants the company to achieve, in the face of the whirlwind; ETW focuses on ongoing day-to-day execution of strategic priorities whether they are new or ongoing. But from there, they share similar perspectives of what’s necessary to execute effectively:

  • Both with senior management identifying the strategic priorities of the company and articulating what behaviors will be needed to achieve the goals.
  • Both require that the employee’s behaviors (lead indicators) that produce desired consequences be identified and criteria and a scoring system for measuring them..
  • Both recognize the importance of constant communication for accountability and improvement( 4DX has weekly meetings; ETW has formal reviews and projections of changes needed in the future which are documented.)

What’s your biggest challenge with execution? Is it introducing a new set of strategic priorities while maintaining the business? Is it getting everyone from top to bottom, focused on how they can improve on meeting the strategic priorities and adhering to the corporate values?  Share your experiences with us?

Presentation Training Workshop

Be the Best Presenter You Can Be
Tuesday November 7, 9AM to 5PM

More Info
Win More Bids! Get our e-book:
Present To Win The RFP
.

Need a Speaker for Next Event?

Request Today
Let us know your needs
For Business Owners & CEOs
Be an Even Better Leader
Outperform Your Competitors!
Learn why 21,000 leaders
belong to Vistage Worldwide

Does Your Website Attract
New Businesses?

In any industry, your site
can sparkle - and sell!

Request Evaluation
Get 15-minute review of your website from MarketSmith, leave with 2-3 game-changing insights.

Market Your Company More Effectively!

Request free Book
'The Growth Gears'

Request today!
from Chief Outsiders

"Better Way" Webinars
View Many of Our Past Webinars

Learn, Enjoy and Prosper
youtube.com

Watch Some Executive Breakfast Club Presentations

Watch Video
executivebreakfastclub.com
HR. com recognized the Presentation Excellence Group
for leader excellence in the Leadership Partners & Providers category.

Calendar

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031