I’m a believer in the power of measurement, which is why it’s one of the important tools that Small Fish uses with clients.
It’s been said that Peter Drucker stated that “What gets measured, gets done,” but it appears that may be stretching his words a little. Nevertheless, I’ve directly experienced the power of measures and metrics in many different contexts.
The business world might have you believe that it’s all about measuring the money – particularly, revenue, margins, and profit. I don’t have a problem with those, but they often don’t give much guidance for day-to-day decisions.
Should your front-line employee give a refund under somewhat questionable circumstances? If they do, revenue and profit will go down in the short term. But revenue and profit might go up in the long term, because that customer is out giving testimonials to their friends.
But the employee isn’t sure, so she’ll seek help from your company policies and guidelines, or her supervisor, or perhaps from you. Maybe that’s one reason why you’re running around addressing a thousand little trivial decisions all day.
You’re frustrated, perhaps. You thought you’d captured this in the employee training, yet you’re still getting these kinds of questions.
Oddly enough, this might just be fixed if you measured the right things. What if:
· You knew that employees understood and internalized the employee training?
· Your employees knew that their personal success was linked more to customer satisfaction than to the daily sales total?
· You made a big deal of every customer-satisfaction success in front of the employees?
These are exactly the kinds of conversations I have with my clients, as we search for the right balance of measures which powerfully represent the goals of the business. Every company is different, because the goals are different.
Just don’t get too many measurements in place. Each one represents work and expense, and having too many sends the message that you’re not focused on anything in particular.
How do you measure your progress towards success in YOUR business?
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If you want your teams to work better together, I have an incredibly simple tool which will quickly create great relationships: Have them succeed at working on something together.
Maybe a little more explanation will be helpful.
I’ve had many occasions to pull together disparate teams, often people who’ve never even met each other. Or they’re in partner organizations, but haven’t had to create relationships. Now all of a sudden, they’re supposed to put aside their personal points of view and start trusting the others they’ve been thrown together with.
Trust takes time. But you can help accelerate it.
So you pull the new team together, even if it’s just two people, and talk with them about their new shared goal. Next, you do an exercise which might last 30 minutes or 3 days. This exercise has meaning, but isn’t high risk. Not trivial, not zero risk, because that will reduce its significance. But something where people actually have to work together to achieve the common result, and will feel good about having achieved it together.
In some sense, it almost doesn’t matter what the exercise is, because the important outcome is that people feel good about having worked together. But part of feeling good is that the task has some meaning and importance. Just figuring out where to go for coffee may not carry that weight.
Back in my school days, the teacher sometimes assigned group projects. It wasn’t uncommon for this to drive the kids apart, because some would end up doing all the work, and resenting those they saw as the “slackers”. Not a well-designed exercise.
What does a great exercise look like in the work environment? Here are some examples:
• Create a high-level plan of action which is reasonably complete but not rigorous
• Pull together a presentation which incorporates all the points of view
• Capture and articulate some surprising things that people learned about each other
The idea is that everybody should make a contribution, the task should encourage people learning about and supporting each other, and there should be a shared result that people can feel good about.
Then the team can get down to the real work!
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Coaching has grown rapidly over the past few years, and there is a reason... it works! We can tell you this every time we see you... In fact it is listed right on our homepage, about why it works. Let us refresh your memory: Read More »
If you are achieving nothing stop working! Get outside, head to a café, take a nap – do something to clear your mind. Sitting at your desk berating yourself for not achieving is a complete waste of (nap) time.
Be realistic about the amount of time tasks take to complete. If a task is more than two hours consider breaking it down into smaller chunks so you don’t feel bogged down by one massive job.
Take a lunch break. Working through lunch because you are too busy to stop is a crock! I guarantee that even a 15-minute lunch break will increase your productivity in the afternoon.
Stop micromanaging – if you are constantly watching and questioning what everyone else is doing, stop! It is a waste of your time and does nothing for the productivity of the people around you. Plus it is just plain irritating…
Outsource the jobs you are crap at. Why waste hours trying to balance the accounts if a bookkeeper can do the job for you faster and more accurately.
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Conflict can come from numerous fronts- from home, from your business partner or from clients; but from my experience the biggest issue and the one with the most potential for damage or destruction to a business is from business partners disagreeing.
This can become a cancer for the business if not eradicated.
So why is there conflict?
- Differing personalities?
- Differing opinions on the direction of the business?
- Power struggles?
- Lack of defined roles?
- Imbalance of workloads and ‘fairness’?
- Inequality in remuneration or benefits?
So what do you do? One approach is to understand how it is you deal with conflict in the first place, as we all deal with it differently. One great model is the TKI Model, or the ‘Thomas- Kilmann Instrument tool.' This identifies where you sit in the 5 various conflict management styles by the use of a simple survey to rank your status. The ranges are shown in the diagram below. Read More »
How many roadblocks do you have in your business? A roadblock is something that you use as an excuse as to why you are not getting the important stuff done. The important stuff is the money making stuff! That means getting on the phone to drum up sales or book appointments, or starting that big project that could help grow your business.
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I meet a wonderfully wide range of people in a typical week, and this one has been no exception. Despite the huge differences, a common theme has been emerging – the phenomenon of Energy Sucking Black Holes. We all have things we know we should do, but haven’t acutally done yet. There is a variety of reasons for this – we’re busy doing other things, the job is not something we enjoy doing or the project is just too big and scary to even think about. Sounding familiar?
So this job sits on the ‘to do’ list… glaring at you! It starts to haunt you – it interupts your sleep and invades your private moments of solitude and reflection. It begins to take on a life of its own. As a consequence, whatever the reason you haven’t got around to doing this thing seems to become more real also – if the job was scary yesterday, its terrifying today! If you might have found 5 minutes to make a start on it yesterday, there’s no way you can do that today… you're just too busy!!!
You know the job is important, or else you would have crossed it off your ‘to do’ list days ago. Bad things will happen if it doesn’t get done. That makes you afraid. Fear breed paralysis. And saps your energy. Before you know it… you’ve created an Energy Sucking Black Hole. To an outsider, they’re easy to spot. The person your talking to is distracted. They’ve got 100 good reasons why the job hasn’t been done yet. They are busy doing other stuff. But you can see the energy being drained and performance drops. The spiral is self-perpetuating.
STOP! Step outside yourself for a moment, stand next to me and look at the situation as an outsider. We don’t have the emotional baggage, things are much clearer from out here. How to tackle this sucker? Here’s a few techniques to get you started.
Forget an A+, you just need a ‘Pass’. Perfectionists often set themselves very high standards. Often, this is a good thing. But not when it makes the bar so high you’ll never get over it. Aim to get the job done… just done. Nothing fancy, just finished. There is more good in a project finished to a reasonable level than the best project in the world never getting off the ground.
Take a different approach. If the idea of walking into your office, turning on your PC and writing that report fills you with dread, don’t do it. Put on a Hawiian shirt, grab the laptop and find yourself at a table at that cool café on the beach. Or take some fancy note paper and a purple fountain pen. We’re after a result here, it doesn’t matter how it gets done.
We all know how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. So make your first step breaking this huge, scary monster of a project down into cute little bite sized pieces. Read More »
...whipping your staff admin processes into shape!
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