Tag Archive: companies

Who Are Your Stars?

July 21st, 2019

In our 14 years of consulting experience and almost 30 years of working experience, we have found that 80% of executives spend the majority of their time with the 20% of employees who do not achieve results. Unfortunately, this means they don’t have time to spend with the stars who achieve 80% of the results. Do you fall into this trap as well? As executives commented in our 2019 predictions document, talent is a hot topic in today’s tight labor market. If you aren’t paying attention to your stars, they will jump ship to someone who does pay attention.

People don’t leave companies. They leave bosses!
As an executive, stop to think about what questions you are asking. Do you ask your direct reports about their stars? Could you identify the future stars of your organization? Or are you just addressing issues as they arise? Key customer issues. Board questions. Performance problems. Etc. If so, undoubtedly, you are receiving information from stars or they could be working behind the scenes, invisible to you. We find that these stars can be easily overlooked because they might not like the spotlight or they are likely to be the person to bring up unpopular topics. Does your culture support these stars or encourage them to stay hidden?

Here are ways to find your stars:

  1. Pay attention to who your leaders go to in order to get information. There is always a star behind the scenes who has the information when you need it. It is likely this person could be several layers below you and so you’ll need to pay attention.
  2. Have you asked old-timers for information or ideas lately? Ask employees who have been around a while. If they feel overlooked, they aren’t going to offer ideas and information until asked. However, when valued, you just might be surprised with some amazing results. We have had countless numbers of clients with this sort of hidden gem! Typically there is at least one person like this in every organization.
  3. Look for someone who might be unpopular in meetings because they’ll bring up issues. Frequently, there is someone who is willing to speak up about issues who becomes unpopular because the rest of the team doesn’t understand or think the issue will occur. This person is also seen as delaying the process. Sometimes, these folks are just problem employees but often they can be your stars. Stars are willing to speak up about issues, and if you listen to them, they will save you from all sorts of problems. Of course, if it was only that easy! Typically these folks might not be the best communicators, so they aren’t seen as stars by their managers. You’ll have to look hard.
  4. Look for the influencers. Although not typically in a position of power, the masses will follow them because they trust their judgment. This isn’t obvious because leaders aren’t involved. Look for who employees go to with questions or look for who they will go to if issues occur.
  5. Ask each employee about his/her ideas and/or create small group discussions. Once you gain trust, you’ll rapidly identify your stars.

Since your stars are responsible for 80% of the results and are the go-to people for any project worth doing, there is a dramatic ROI in finding your stars and embracing them. It certainly seems worth the effort of checking in on a few employees each time you walk through the office. Don’t stop and talk with your favorites or those with which you have common interests. Instead, stop at the first desk that wouldn’t part be part of your routine. Be interested and listen. We’ll bet you learn compelling ideas rapidly. Let us know how it goes and what strategies you find the most successful in finding your stars! We are always interested in this vital topic.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

Employee Performance: Do Not Ignore Your Stars

People Rule!



Are You Leveraging ERP Fully?

December 10th, 2017

LMA Consulting Group elevates business performance.80% of our clients only utilize 20% of their ERP system, and they are not alone.  So, if this is common across typical companies, why do so many of them call to throw out their current system and find one that will resolve their challenges?  It’s a good question!   

Changing Systems and Keeping Service Levels
When clients call with this dilemma, we make sure pursuing a new ERP system makes sense.  It is NO easy initiative to change systems and keep customer service levels intact.  It requires a significant outlay of funds to not only purchase the system but also to implement.  Contrary to popular belief, the software cost is SMALL in comparison to the implementation cost.  Thus it pays to take a second look at whether it would make sense to more fully leverage your ERP system.

There are some situations that dictate an upgraded ERP system.  For example, a few include the following: a recent merger or acquisition; an outdated, unsupported system; a highly customized system that isn’t scalable (and/or dependent on key resources); a system such as QuickBooks that easy to outgrow…  It pays to take another look regardless, but especially at the rest of the scenarios that arise.  Are there ways to leverage your ERP system more fully?  Most importantly, can you leverage the system to support your customer and profit differentiators?  What could you learn from the user group community?  LinkedIn can provide some answers.  

Is it time to take another look at your ERP system?
In our consulting practice, we have seen a few examples of ERP systems that were “hard to imagine” in terms of being outdated and non-functional in terms of basic business tenets.  Even in these situations, there were opportunities to further leverage the ERP system to achieve business outcomes while pursuing an upgrade.  Why not take a second look?  Even if you are above average, you likely have 50-70% opportunity to expand functionality.

Improvement in service levels alone can make a second look well worthwhile.