by Diana Southall | Nov 5, 2018 | accountability, culture
According to a very informative and detailed Harvard Business Journal chapter, there are 8 different and distinct “Cultures” in organizations.
If you are looking to increase your organization’s performance in a positive way, you might choose to shift your culture to include characteristics from both Results and Caring.
Here are some excerpts from the main article, describing both types and how they can be combined:
Results is characterized by achievement and winning. Work environments are outcome-oriented and merit-based places where people aspire to achieve top performance. Employees are united by a drive for capability and success; leaders emphasize goal accomplishment
Caring focuses on relationships and mutual trust. Work environments are warm, collaborative, and welcoming places where people help and support one another. Employees are united by loyalty; leaders emphasize sincerity, teamwork, and positive relationships.
It is common to find organizations with cultures that emphasize both results and caring, but this combination can be confusing to employees.
Are they expected to optimize individual goals and strive for outcomes at all costs, or should they work as a team and emphasize collaboration and shared success?
The nature of the work itself, the business strategy, or the design of the organization may make it difficult for employees to be equally results focused and caring.
Each of the 8 culture types can be effective if properly aligned with strategy and leadership behaviors.
For a small or mid-size organization, much of the direction is set by one or two owners, and based on their personality and core values.
Clarity around the strategy, core values and then the what and how of expected results is imperative for any organization to function at it’s best. That is why many business planning frameworks, such as the One Page Strategic Plan and Entrepreneurs’ Operating System start with Mission, Vision and Values before even defining Strategy.
As Peter Drucker is credited for saying “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast…”
For more inspiration, see this Slideshare overview of 12 Reasons Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.
by Diana Southall | Mar 26, 2018 | accountability, dashboards, planning
How do you know when to fill up the gas tank on your car?
Or when you are speeding above the speed limit? Or your engine is overheating? Or your tire pressure is too low?
Because … every car has a dashboard — a handy visual guide to the key things that matter to operate your vehicle properly. (Geeky history: They have been around since the early days of autos – the speedometer was invented in 1902 and installed in cars since about 1910. My great aunt Louise proudly told tales of driving her dad’s roadster over 100 miles per hour on country roads in the 1920’s.)
So if your $35,000 auto has a dashboard, do you have one for your multi-million dollar business?
Today I continue my 6-part series on coaching for accountability (you can Read Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 here) or see all 6 steps on my 1 minute video slideshare.
Step 4 to Coach for Accountability and High Performance: Develop a Dashboard with your key metrics:
What should you include on your dashboard?
I highly recommend using categories similar to the “Balanced Scorecard” approach.
This means that your dashboard shows key numbers to track and evaluate:
- continue with financial measures (sales, profit, cash)
- add operational metrics (leads, proposals win rate, on-time-delivery, quality)
- include “voice of the customer” (net promoter score or customer feedback)
- employee experience (retention, engagement scores)
You can see the advantages of this concept– if you are focused solely on current sales or cash in the bank, there are other other areas of your business that need tending for future success. If you don’t have leads or are losing work to your competitors, or your service delivery level or employee engagement is dropping, these are warning signs that predict lower revenue and profits.
8 Benefits of Dashboards
1. Visibility: The new field of “Business Intelligence” or BI shows that the more you measure in your business the more you can improve. What is measured becomes higher priority and gives you the tangible target to improve.
2. Maintain quality during growth: If your business is growing, you need to make sure that you are maintaining the quality and customer experience standards and your team is not burning out.
3. Alerts before systems break: When you track leading indicators, you can see issues coming before they happen. For example, if you track pending orders you might see that your current production schedule can’t handle the order volume and will be backlogged by two weeks. Dashboards can alert you to this before chaos ensues.
4. Less stress: When you have a dashboard, you can get timely and accurate data on your business health, compared to your targeted goals and to historical trends. This will allow owners and general managers to feel more comfortable letting go of responsibilities, while knowing they are “watching the store” and things are running smoothly.
5. Basis for accountability: How do you know your managers are doing their job? Easy, just check their department dashboards. Where do they need more coaching? — you will see a lack of improvement or a drop in their key numbers to let you know there is an area to discuss and determine the root cause. This ongoing process improvement conversation increases the business knowledge and the decision making competencies of your managers.
6. Data to make / evaluate decisions: Did that marketing campaign or new training program yield positive business results? If you see improvement in your dashboard numbers, you can see if a project was successful.
7. Creates ownership thinking and alignment: This is especially true when business dashboard metrics “cascade” down to departments and to individuals. Employees and managers start to understand what they can do to increase revenue and customer service and efficiency or reduce costs.
8. Improves revenue, productivity, margins, profits and teamwork. As you can see from the list above, focus and clarity around what is important to drive business value and improve your value to customers will only improve your financial results and operational capacity.
As you can see from this list, implementing dashboards and management review and planning around the data can be the foundation of high functioning, profitable and growing organization.
Next article I will share details on Step 5 “Delegate, Don’t Abdicate” [see all 6]
by Diana Southall | Mar 19, 2018 | accountability, action plans, coaching
This continues my 6 part series on coaching for accountability (you can read Step 1 and Step 2 here).
Step 3 is to start using Action Plans:
6 Steps to Coach For Accountability & High Performance [see all 6 steps on my 1 minute video slideshare].
Most employees (and also most managers) are naturally focused on getting their “day job” done. Their cognitive “time span” and time management skills are typically focused on the next day or next week.
This is a major reason that all your good ideas and wish list of projects for improvement never get very far, much less implemented.
The concept of an Individual Action Plan has personally been an incredible organizing and planning tool for my entire life, and changed the direction of our family business.
When I was in high school, our family business started using a business consultant, who taught every one of our 25 employees how to create and use a personal action plan.
My mother had 3 retail stores, two production facilities and a business services division with hundreds of accounts.
When every person had an action plan and they had “quarterly action plan meetings” they were able to focus on the daily work AND make progress on those pesky projects. It also made it easy to see how everyone was contributing and working together on business building activities.
It made the difference between chaos and progress, and transitioned us from overwhelm to a professionally managed profitable business.
There are two inter-related purposes for action plans-– the first is to monitor and prioritize activities that support major projects or programs. The second is to use action plans as a training and development tool. I say inter-related because when people contribute to projects this contributes to their skill and competency development.
Your employees want and need ongoing reminders and assistance with taking action on bigger projects, so that they make progress and focus on small steps every week.
When they have a written action plan, and they review in your weekly coaching conversations, this helps them stay on track. If you don’t review and hold them accountable to make progress, anything beyond daily urgent work gets forgotten.
Quarterly Action Plans Overview:
Ideally you need to do a bit of design and discovery to begin the action plan process.
- First you need to compile a full list of all active company-wide projects and create an action plan for each, with sections or tasks assigned to the responsible person. [More than 4 projects— prune the list down.]
- Second, you should meet with everyone individually to discuss their desired training and development direction [part of your annual performance conversation.]
- Both of these topics become action steps on an individual quarterly action plan.
What goes on an action plan?
- Specific training for the quarter- aligned with personal interest and business need
- Stretch assignments– areas where this person can enrich or enlarge their job duties beyond the current role
- Delegation items to take over responsibility from peer or manager
- Action items or steps from company-wide or department projects assigned to this person
- Cross-training to “back up” or shadow someone
- Research opportunities– what problem can they investigate possible solutions?
- Outside/ formal training programs or workshops, such as industry certification or a job-related degree
Action plans also need to list specific action items, aligned with a broader goal, who is responsible, and a target date for completion.
They are an integral part of aligning every team member’s work with the business goals, and to leverage the rhythm of weekly coaching with progress on business-improvement projects.
As an added bonus, you will be building trust and the engagement of your team by focusing on the key drivers of retention. With the right topics and agenda, the quarterly action plan meetings become “stay interviews”– a technique that employers are finding valuable to hold onto their high performers.
Watch my 21-minute video training on Action Plans for Training & Development
Next step I will share details on Step 4 “Delegate, Don’t Abdicate” [see all 6], and expect to have a new Guide to Coaching for Accountability by the end of this month.
by Diana Southall | Mar 23, 2016 | coaching, culture
Last week I was speaking with a small business owner who told me “you aren’t telling me anything I don’t know…
but HOW do I get my team working together to grow the business..
HOW do I get out of overwork and overwhelm?”
In a sentence, his firm lacks Accountability.
But what can/ should he do?
To quote an owner who has made this transition: “Knowing doesn’t make the difference.. it is Doing that matters.”
We talk about Accountability as if it is a “thing” that other companies have but we can’t seem to find, an elusive dream, a pink elephant.
Accountability is not something that is “done” to people but a contract between you (as coach) and your team member.
They know the Right Things to do, how and when to do them, what Right looks like, and agree to Get’r Done (said in your best Jeff Foxworthy voice).
It’s a process of being clear, getting people to commit, and then coaching with feedback, re-direction, praise, follow-up and sometimes tough love. It’s the proverbial “holding someone’s feet to the fire” or “inspecting what you expect.”
It’s also important that you have process to setup, agree to and expect Accountability.
The aforementioned owner thought his main problem was “finding better people”– yet a “better employee” will not be much more effective in a team who lacks accountability as a system.
Here are two quick videos from leaders on the accountability front to explain more:
From the Zenger Folkman group’s author Kathleen Stinnett, Accountability Success in Coaching
Great overview from Roger Connors of the Oz Principle: Steps to Accountability- Above the Line and Below the Line
by Diana Southall | Nov 3, 2015 | coaching
Like exercising and eating right, most business owners express to me that they know they “should” be spending more time coaching and training their team members.
When I ask why, the answer I get is “I am too busy” – but what is the real reason?
Yes, even small business owners and managers sometimes don’t “do the job” (a short list from my article 10 reasons why someone doesn’t do the job) —
Which one applies to your situation– why aren’t you coaching your staff?
- You don’t know what to do / or how to do
- You aren’t motivated to do it (you are uncomfortable)
- You think it is pointless
- You believe something else is more important (after all, you do spend your time doing something else)
Let me first address 3 and 4— Coaching is not pointless and nothing else is more important to your company’s success.
If you want to retain top performers and get your team working together to delight your customers and grow sales— only positive coaching for accountability (based on cascading goals) will do this.
Here are four possible solutions for the “reluctant coach” — to increase the amount of coaching and positive impact on your team:
- Design and use a management rhythm— know what to say, when to say it — to clarify expectations and coach for accountability
- Make conversations easy– build trusted relationships (builds on the management rhythm)
- Practice and learn how to be comfortable—do it, learn from it, do it again (and keep it positive and appreciative)
- **Add a layer– Develop a team leader or general manager who will be the People coach, and interact with the team daily.
(You can get updates from this person, and lead weekly team update and rocks meetings to still be active and involved with the team. Just not every day and on every issue.)
(**This is also how you grow the team to stop relying on your daily presence…)
If you are not interested in creating a better process, or learning how to do it authentically and naturally, that is just fine.
Just as long as you start developing a People coach on your team who will.