Strategic Planning in a Recovering Market (3 of 3)

October 12, 2010

Here are some of final insights from a NIWeek 2010 Alliance Day presentation given by Don Roberts, Exotek. He is a principal of a consulting and operations-support company focused solely on the systems integrator.

Objectives and Measures

The end result of good strategic planning is a set of goals considered critical to the future success of the organization. Each goal is accompanied by specific objectives clarifying what must be done and what is critical to success. Just as important, are defining the measures that will track the accomplishment of the objective? The measures should be:

  • Linked: Measurements communicate what is strategically important by linking back to your strategic objectives.
  • Repeatable: Measurements are continuous over time, allowing comparisons.
  • Leading: Measurements can be used for establishing targets, leading to future performance.
  • Accountable: Measurements are reliable, verifiable, and accurate.
  • Available: Measurements can be derived when they are needed.

Examples

  • Over the next six months, delivery times will decrease by 15% through more localized delivery centers.
  • By the year 2013, customer turnover will decline by 30% through newly created customer service representatives and pro-active customer maintenance procedures.
  • Un-billable time will get cut in half by cross training front line personnel and combining all four operating departments into one single service center.

Plans into Actions

As you put your plans into actions, determine who is the right person or team to accomplish these goals. Consider all people that influence change, including outside contributor or perhaps even a facilitator. Then, decide what the appropriate timing is. A major plan may take more than a year, but should have quarterly or monthly reviews.


Performance Management

June 17, 2009

Since hiring doesn’t seem to be the biggest issue right now, I thought I’d jump to managing the performance of your existing employees.

Setting goals

In First Break all the Rules, the authors challenge some of the conventional wisdom with respect to management. General philosophy is that people don’t change much. So, don’t waste time trying to put in what is not present. Instead, try to leverage what is already in. That is hard enough

For instance, when selecting the ‘right person’ for a job, you might think that finding someone with the prior experience, the right level of intelligence, and the necessary willpower would be most important. But, the book asserts that talent is more important.

Based on this philosophy of hiring people for their talents then drives how you set their goals and objectives. You should focus on the right outcomes and let your talented people define their own path. But, this does not mean let them do anything that they want, still follow required steps.

Motivating people

Also based on the revelation that people don’t fundamentally change, you are better off finding out what motivates an employee rather than pestering them about their shortcomings. Position them to use their strength to their advantage and adjust, as necessary, to compensate for their weaknesses. This defies the ‘golden rule’ of treating everyone as you would have them treat you. The manager is challenges to customize their style to elicit the maximum performance from the individual employees. Also, a bit counter-intuitive is the strategy of spending time with your top performers rather than fixating your attention and time on others.

Climbing the ladderThis perspective also then shapes how you develop your organization. You can’t simply assume that it is best to promote people to the next rung of management. You’ll end up putting employees into roles that they don’t want and in which they won’t succeed. Instead, find positions in which individuals can be successful and ‘create heroes’ by recognizing them for excelling at what they are good at. Also, create ‘safety nets’ that allow people to try new responsibilities without fear of failure.