Tag Archive: eagle eye

Rapid Assessments for Success

August 12th, 2014
rapid assessments for business

Focus your eagle eye on making an honest assessment of your business to make change and motivate your team.

I will be rolling out a new diagram/ graphic next month that depicts how my service lines “work together” to dramatically improve performance.  In the interim, I thought I’d talk about the first step which is rapid assessments that deliver success.  A few tips include:

1. Take a cross-functional view – Only assessments which cross functional lines will provide significant value as no function works alone.

2. Look for connections – It is where the various functions, systems, processes, and people cross that is essential.  Focus on these areas.

3. Focus only on those areas impacting the critical objectives – Too many assessments take forever and end up in binders covered in dust on your desk.  Throw that thinking out and go for the practical – what really matters to your organization?

4. Consider priorities – How are you determining which items are most important? Take a step back and think about whether it is 1) urgent.  2) significant in impact  3) getting better, worse or staying the same on a daily basis

5. Keep best practices & fundamentals in mind – An easy way to rapidly size-up where to focus is to think about the current state vs. fundamentals for the type of business vs. best practices.  When all is said and done, where do you come out?

6. Capabilities – The best plans are useless if the team is incapable of understanding the plan or how to execute it.  Incorporate your capabilities and provide recommendations to fill gaps.

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What is Eagle Eye Strategic Focus?

 



Eagle Eye Execution

November 5th, 2013
In supply chain management and other industries that require collaboration, eagle eye execution is what you need to make it happen.

In supply chain management and other industries that require collaboration, eagle eye execution is what you need to make it happen.

In my experience as a global business consultant and former VP of Operations, I’ve yet to find a business that failed solely due to a poor strategy; however, I’ve seen many die a slow (and sometimes sudden) death due to poor execution.  Execution is an often overlooked secret to success – it isn’t glamorous or exciting to discuss (at least not in comparison with the latest fads); however, it is the bedrock essential to delivering bottom line business results.

Even though I typically am called into clients to help elevate business performance derived through topics such as supply chain and operations management, my technical expertise on those topics rarely if ever relate to why the preponderance of my business is repeat business; instead, they call me back because I partner with them to ensure results occur.  I’ve often termed this “making it happen” – and recently updated it to “eagle eye execution.”

The following strategies are of upmost importance when it comes to execution: 1) Leadership and Culture, 2) Focus, 3) Exemplars, 4) Follow-up.

1.   Leadership and Culture:  Have you ever seen a successful company with weak leaders?  Doubtful.  I haven’t.  Undoubtedly, solid execution requires exceptional leadership – no exceptions.

What does this entail?  Leaders must start by conveying where the company is headed (vision), why it’s of importance, and how the employee adds value and contributes to the vision.  Additionally, collaborative goals must be established, performance management systems should be in place, immediate feedback (both positive & constructive) is a must, training, development & career paths should be a natural part of the discussion………and the list goes on.  Leaders must ignore the temptation to focus on inputs (# of hours worked, tasks and activities); instead focus on results.  Help employees develop plans, gain resources and overcome roadblocks to achieving the results.  Celebrate success.

Culture shouldn’t be an afterthought unless you’d prefer failure.  What set of beliefs govern behavior?  What does your culture support?  Does your culture appreciate collaboration or individualism?  For example, are you compensated and rewarded for team contributions or individual contributions even if at the expense of the team?  Do leaders say one thing and do another?  Don’t bother executing until your leadership and culture are in sync with your goals.

2.  Focus:  It’s amazing what focus alone can accomplish.  For example, a few of my clients have suffered for years with nagging problems.  Of course, they tried many alternatives to resolve the issue and were frustrated.  After we were able to resolve the problem working together, they often said that although they thought my technical skills would help to resolve the problem, it had little to do with it.  Instead, focus was the secret weapon.

Once focus is placed on a select few root causes, seemingly insurmountable roadblocks disappear.  The interesting thing about this is that it is as simple as it sounds but it is not as easy to implement as it sounds.  Why?  Designing and improving processes and leveraging systems and technology requires focus; however, aligning people takes an exaggerated focus.  How do we align disparate functions and people with conflicting goals and managers with a common focus?  Go back to point #1!

3.  Exemplars:  Another secret ingredient to execution success is to identify exemplars.  Who are the influence leaders in the organization?  Who sets an example that others will follow?  They’ll come from some seemingly strange places – certainly not in positional power oftentimes.  Take a step back and find them – once you watch and observe, you’ll wonder how you missed it before.

Bring the exemplars into the fold.  Ask them to trial the new program or process.  Incorporate their feedback. Ask for their support.  Empower them.  Soon the rest will follow.

4.  Follow-up:  I’m fondly known as a pit terrier when it comes to follow-up.  We can attribute or blame this on my mom!  However, it is a key reason for my success; I cannot count the times I’ve succeeded through determination alone.  If you’re interested in execution success, follow-up isn’t an option.

A few tips from the pit terrier gene pool:

1) Start with a solid plan.

2) Ruthlessly identify priorities.

3) Ask questions about the priorities.

4) Listen to the answers (sounds obvious but isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds).

5) Do not shy away from roadblocks and messy issues.

6) Continually improve your communication & presentation style as it’s essential in handling the messy issues.

7) Be upfront and trustworthy.

8) Track metrics but only focus on noteworthy ones.

10)  Remain vigilant.

Execution is essential in today’s new normal business environment.  Improving business performance can be a constant struggle.  Thus, what could be more important than being known as a rare person or company who consistently delivers results in a collaborative and engaging manner?

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Strategy Doesn’t Fail in Formulation; It Fails in Execution



Organization Essential to Strategic Focus

August 8th, 2013
Order from Chaos with Lisa Anderson, LMA Consulting Group

Bring order to chaos – organize and redefine your priorities.

Organization is one of the key tenets required to be successful with an eagle eye strategic focus so that you can rapidly assess strategic priorities. I’ve yet to run across an organization with just the right amount of priorities – have you? Here are a few strategies to improve your organizational abilities:

1. Keep lists – don’t get caught up in the latest techno gadget on how to track your to-do list; instead, just make sure to keep a simple to-do list. If your list is long, put a star by the items required immediately. I find it to be simple yet invaluable.

2. Keep a calendar – again, it doesn’t matter whether it is a piece of paper or on a cell phone – each will work effectively or become a total waste, depending on how it’s used. I prefer using a calendar on my phone; however, I’ve found it depends completely on the person as to what is most effective.

The most important factor is to keep your calendar updated and accessible. Do not over-schedule your time – add time between appointments, for breaks, etc.

3. Categorize – One way to organize is to find ways to categorize – develop categories and use them as it makes sense for grouping like-items together for quicker and more efficient decision making and follow-up. For example, consider storing your documents by the project, type, follow-up date etc. – choose a method that works for you.

4. Make it visual – one of the concepts of lean is also critical for organization – making it visual. Contrary to popular theory, consider NOT putting all your papers away in files/ drawers. As soon as I put something away, it’s forgotten. Instead, prioritize and keep at least the upcoming, critical priorities with associated paperwork in clear sight. Track progress visually as well.

5. The environment – yes, it is true that a clean and well lit environment is more conducive to success. There is no need to go overboard though – focus on your environment to the degree that you can find what you need when you need it. And, it might be surprising but good lighting can make a huge difference.

6. Accountability – as usual for achieving success, create an environment of accountability.