Tag Archive: meetings

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!



The Importance of Being Top of Mind

July 30th, 2018

 

Last week, I led my Ontario ProVisors group meeting.  It is a top notch group of trusted advisors that I’m thrilled to lead – not only is it a great group of people (professional, smart and funny) but they also provide my clients with “just what they need when they need it”.  It is surprising (and exciting) how often a client will ask for a specific (oftentimes obscure) resource or question, and I can help him/her because I know the best person to answer his question or fill his need.  If you have a need, please feel free to contact me.

Last week, we were brainstorming the best ways to be visible so that clients can find us and the idea of being “top of mind” came up.  I have certainly found being top of mind important as clients need to remember you when the issue arises.

It is quite surprising how visibility plays into success.  I had a few core group members I thought I would NEVER forget because they were awesome, integral to the success of the group and helpful to me personally.  Both moved away/took a different job of sorts.  Fastforward two years later: when I was asked for a referral, they didn’t pop to mind first.  Hard to believe when I realized how true it was!

Later that night, I went to another ProVisors meeting.  One person mentioned that although he sees me on LinkedIn, when he saw me in person, he remembered he had clients that needed my expertise.  Glad I was top of mind!  Are you?

One tip to implement this week:
No matter your role, it is important to be top of mind for your customers, clients, Board members, peers, and more.  Do you purposefully find ways to be top of mind (in a positive way of course)?

For example, do you check in on your key customers every month, week or whatever time frame is appropriate?  Do you send your key supplier a card for an important occasion?  Do you find a way to remember key dates related to your employees, peers etc.?

CRM isn’t required.  Use Outlook.  Write it down on a piece of paper.  Pick up the phone.  The great thing about being top of mind is that it doesn’t require money and resources.  Instead, it requires a little effort!  Do you appreciate the effort others take when you are top of mind to them?  Return the favor.

 



Are You Asking Good Questions?

May 23rd, 2017
asking good questions

If you are struggling to improve operations, you may be missing the obvious answer – asking good questions.

There is a shocking number of clients and colleagues that struggle, gather teams, run kaizen events and do all sorts of other activities (and throw good money after bad more frequently than anyone cares to admit) to improve operations (improve the customer experience/service levels at greater profit and margins levels) while missing the most obvious answer — asking good questions.

We’ve found that asking good questions can be the “secret weapon”. Thus, we’ll ask questions about asking questions…

1. Before leaping to a standard toolkit such as “run a kaizen event,” have you asked common sense questions? Is common sense uncommon in your company?

2. Before scheduling more meetings to discuss topics (several of my clients run from one meeting to the next ALL day, every day), have you thought about asking if anyone has gone to “see” the issue? What did he/she see?

3. Do you think there is an art in formulating a question? If you’ve ever talked with an effective questioner, you’d know there is more to asking questions than just asking questions. What thought have you put into your question?

4. Do you think about the objective of your question? If you try it for a week, do your questions and meetings become clearer?

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:
Lessons Learned: Asking Questions Isn’t Enough

Project Success is All About the People

 



A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

June 29th, 2016

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After meeting with my international advisory board in the beginning of June in Sydney, I took the opportunity to tour Australia and New Zealand. One of our favorite spots was Milford Sound, New Zealand. It is undoubtedly one of the most majestic, beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Since it is impossible to do it justice, I’ve included one of the best pictures of a boat ride through the fjords. Can you imagine how I could have communicated this beauty through words alone?

visual

The same is true in business. One simple graph or hand drawing on a white board or flip chart will communicate more than a 1000 words. I cannot tell you how many executive meetings I’ve sat in where a simple chart would have ended an hour-long discussion. And, more importantly, a simple visual will help communicate effectively so that you get the business, get the money (from the Board, CEO, etc.), get the resources, etc. In my experience, the wasted hours and days (and even months) that go into these requests could be dramatically shortened with a powerful yet simple process visual.

One tip to implement this week:

So, what can we do this week to make progress on this topic? Think about something you’d like to communicate that you think will have a significant impact on your company’s success. Start with something in your functional area. For example, one of my clients is focused on whether they start production orders (work orders) on-time. If you start them on-time, it is likely you’ll complete them on-time. So, in their case, we needed to communicate how well we performed with on-time starts yesterday — and preferably the trend for the week and month. Talking about lots of detailed orders is important to improving the metric but wasn’t nearly as impactful as a simple trend graph with an accompanying pie chart of reasons for late starts.

Don’t worry about your artist and graphics skills. Start by thinking about what to communicate. Come up with one picture, graph, or chart that would help communicate it. That is sufficient for this week; however, since speed is the name of the game, once you have decided what will be meaningful, start by drawing it on a piece of paper or ask your team for help. Don’t get bogged down in graphics or Power Points. I’ve seen hand-drawn pictures be sufficient for multi-million dollar ideas.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”