Sunday, January 30, 2011

THE Performance Dimensions

This blog is for any of us who work for a company or who own a company. (Those set-for-life/not interested in ever working again folks can go back to sleep...)

The key part of improving you/your business is knowing what to look for to determine what direction you're moving. Here's the good news: Your checklist has arrived!

What do you get when you cross-reference the most admired organizations with the most successful companies (Fortune 500), then survey executives, board members and analysts from the 24 industries represented? You get an amazing insider's view of what dimensions to focus on when planning or measuring your improvement process.

Here are the 9 dimensions:
  • Innovation (How creative are you in breaking new ground - both internally and externally?)
  • Quality of management (leadership throughout your operation)
  • Quality of products & services (what impacts your ultimate customer experience)
  • Long-term investment values (Are you connected/committed to the long haul?)
  • Social responsibility to community and environment (Making a difference beyond your bottom line creates meaningful purpose)
  • Ability to attract, develop, and retain top talent (The best talent exists - the goal is to create an environment that they passionately want to join)
  • Financial soundness (Are you healthy/balanced in access to liquid funds?)
  • Use of corporate assets (Are you responsible with how you use your resources?)
  • Effective in doing business globally (How connected are you to people beyond your borders?)
Use this list to stimulate discussion with YOUR work team. Think about -and take ACTION on -your business differently: adopting a better strategic approach will lead to the kind of proven success the best world-class businesses enjoy.

YOU deserve the best results for your best efforts. Time to step up, step out, and break through.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guaranteed Breakthrough

Ever notice that sometimes, even in the midst of a long-term improvement effort, you hit a phase where things seem to stall? Sometimes we get so caught up in achieving a specified goal that we miss the real opportunity - AND the meaningful breakthrough. Consider this catalyst to shake things up:

Rather than continuing to fixate on your pre-determined, measurable outcome - take some time revisit why you are making the effort and then (perhaps) shift to different options that will make it better.

The key here is (re?)discovering what your CUSTOMERS think is "different" & "better".

  • Different: What is your competition doing? What are they not doing? Is your brand (personality of your company) distinctive? Is the customer experience unlike anything else in your industry?
  • Better: What does your customer value in regard to your industry's product/service? Speed? Dependability? Quality? Why does your product/service even exist? Improve in that area, and you will gain a competitive edge.

Too often, organizations get so caught up in delivering action items and tactical plans, that they fail to stay engaged with the more relevant perspective.

Bottom line - becoming different & better, as defined by your customers, will always be an improvement (always!), and will draw the attention you need to eventually move your business (and you!) to the top.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Where Do You Go Right?

After a life stumble, we often hear someone say "Where did I go wrong?" Good to do. Obviously, making mistakes is not the preferred outcome - but it happens. Repeating a mistake, however, is a completely unnecessary waste. If we are paying attention and care enough to make the effort, we can learn from every mistake we - or others - make...and forgo that avoidable wrong.

Another question - rarely asked - is equally important: "Where did I go right?" Examining successful decisions (ours or others) actually help us repeat success.

Consider this: In every success story, there is a moment when things shifted for the better. The successful person did something differently to start down a different road leading to a better result. Here's the bottom line - and it is pretty simple:
  • If the path you are currently on is not leading to the ultimate goal you want, then you must change what you are doing to achieve what you desire. You may not know exactly what to change, but you DO know that life as usual is not it, so your "do nothing/the same" option is NOT the right one. (If you don't know what you want, then THAT just became your new task.)
  • The longer you stay on your existing path, the longer you are moving in the wrong direction. (The whole "where did I go wrong?" thing - yes, you just answered that question. You're choosing it every day you stay on your current path.)
  • You must take action to see the results. Planning is nice, but it doesn't count as an action step in regards to actually improving. Yes, taking action risks failure (that is why most do NOT take sufficient action), but by definition, the path you're on is failing you already.

The real question then, is not "Should I do something differently?", but "What should I do? (experiment with whatever needs improving until you start seeing results) and "When should I do it?" (Now. It's the first step that keeps most people from optimizing their results. Once you've taken that first step, the second becomes easier, and the third easier still - until you break through to become part of the successful group that began doing things right.)

You have the choice to make NOW the answer to the question: "When did I go right?" All it takes is that first step. Are you choosing to take it, or continue settling for less in your life?

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!