The start of the new year is a great time to examine your team’s key metrics. What key performance indicators do you watch? Are they the best things to pay attention to?
Too often, the easy things to measure give us the impression that they’re the right things to measure. Built-in dashboards in software tools and even in complex machinery make it easy to focus on those metrics — so, we do.
And, those easy, built-in systemic measures may not give us the whole story on team or team member effectiveness.
For example, a catalog printing client of mine had very expensive, high-speed offset printing machines on their plant floor. The embedded technology ensured that every imprint — every piece printed that came through a machine — was carefully counted and presented on a built-in high-definition monitor hung next to the operator’s station. These dashboards monitored the number of impressions (at impressive speeds, up to 50,000 impressions per hour), color registration and the like. (read more…)
In a recent blog post, marketing guru Seth Godin asked, “How much does it cost you to avoid the feeling of risk?” He wasn’t talking about actual risk, only “the feeling that you’re at risk,” that mental checklist that we all review before making a decision. Godin concludes, correctly, that we rationalize that avoiding risk is a “no cost” option and something that is perfectly acceptable.
“Hey, at least I won’t lose.”
The reality is that risk avoidance is the greatest impediment to progress, personally and professionally. We have been conditioned for self-preservation; as a result, we can easily justify the mitigation of risk with well-worn excuses, such as “I didn’t want to lose.” Yet this is hardly a zero-sum game. Avoiding risk means passing on opportunity, and that is costly.
Opportunity, like time, is perishable. Miss an opportunity to move your business forward because of risk avoidance and a competitive advantage could be lost. (read more…)
The end of the year typically brings holiday cheer with celebrations alongside family, friends and, often, colleagues. We humans connect with people we enjoy and value, reflecting on the past year and planning for the year to come.
We seek inclusion with others during the holiday season. We also seek inclusion every other month of the year, and sometimes don’t find it.
One of the gaps I consistently discover when working with leaders on their team, division or organization’s culture is the perception of favoritism. When this occurs, employees have a belief that there is an “insider” group that receives preferential treatment — and people outside that circle see unfairness everywhere they look.
Folks on the “outside” feel excluded from knowing details and context that will help them in their daily work. They feel “out of the loop,” and it doesn’t make them feel trusted, valued or respected. This problem appears in some form or another on teams of all types and sizes: small teams, global agencies, whole plants — everywhere. (read more…)
This post is an excerpt from the Snippet e-book “Culture that Works: How Getting Serious About Culture Unlocks New Performance” (November 2013) by Jamie Notter. Notter is a consultant, speaker, and author who helps organizations perform better by strengthening their culture. An accomplished blogger, author, and speaker, Notter has written three books, including his most recent hardcover (with Maddie Grant), “Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World.”
One reason organizational culture does not make the priority list of leaders is that it is hard to define. It’s squishy. It’s complex. Sometimes it’s even contradictory. Employees will experience your culture in different ways and even describe it differently. With all the other challenges your business faces, I can see why culture takes a back seat. It turns out, however, that the complex nature of culture actually drives its power.
Having the best product or making the perfect strategic move doesn’t buy you much time at the top. (read more…)
Today, most consumer-driven companies are playing catchup in a rapidly changing world. We see mistakes made by their leaders and unexpected changes in companies’ strategic directions. The retail industry has suffered not only from badly thought-out decisions but also from the increasing pressure of online retailers.
While retail companies are trying to catch up and win back customers, I’ve decided to look at the issues from a leadership perspective. What has changed in the capabilities and skills of successful retail leaders? Who can turn things around? Who can be a future game-changer? Mark Cohen, professor at Columbia Business School and former CEO of Sears Canada, helped me with answers to these questions.
Lilia K. Staples: Let’s start with challenges. Today, in your mind, what are the top three issues of retailing leadership of large corporate enterprises?
Mark Cohen: Insuring that the entire organization is properly focused on the strategy of the company and its execution. (read more…)