Rhythm Blog | Alan Gehringer

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Are Your Annual Plans Really Strategic? Your Results Depend on It [Video]

Alan Gehringer Tue, Aug 7, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

I would challenge you to think very hard about this question as it’s not an easy one to answer based on my experience as a facilitator, strategist and execution coach. Part of my job is to help companies prepare for and have effective annual planning sessions that are strategic to help them reach their long term goals. Too often, time is spent at the operational level, action planning or setting unrealistic targets with no real strategy how to achieve them. It is very important for the team to spend ample time researching, gathering data and preparing for their sessions to get the most out of them. I have said many times through the years that it is not enough for a bunch of smart people to get together in a room for a couple days and expect to come up with great plans. There is a lot that goes into the preparation, and the strategy work needs to continue long after the session concludes.

I think this question is so important, I am developing a workshop for this year's Breakthrough Conference to help companies evaluate how they are doing at strategic annual planning and share ideas on how to get better at planning strategically.

5 Ways CEOs Can Create a Culture of Innovation

Alan Gehringer Thu, Jul 19, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

We have all heard the saying "A fish rots from the head down," right? Not that I am comparing my CEO friends to fish, but it does drive the point home that creating a culture of innovation starts with you as the leader of the organization.

Peter Drucker, one of the fathers of modern business theory, said if an established organization is not able to innovate, it faces decline and extinction. I could not agree with him more, for in all of my years helping companies, I have witnessed far too many that wait until they are in decline or experiencing shrinking markets, stale product offerings or products that are being commoditized to begin innovating. They usually do not have the resources once in decline to be successful, which is why it is important to build a culture of innovation while your business is strong and healthy.

Are Benefits Enough to Attract and Engage the Best People?

Alan Gehringer Tue, Jul 3, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

While a lot of companies say that employees are their most valuable assets, not all walk the walk. It takes a lot of time and effort to find, hire and retain the right people to join your team. It also takes considerable time to onboard and get them to the point that they are making a positive contribution to your organization -- three to six months in many roles. The last thing you want is to lose someone after all this effort and expense. We also want to fully engage these “A Players” so that they are happy and contribute their best. There are a lot of components that contribute to attraction, retention, and full employee engagement.

How Do I Sell More to My Core Customer?

Alan Gehringer Tue, Jun 26, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Great question right? But before we get to that, let’s define what a core customer is. Robert Bloom, author of The Inside Advantage, defines it as the customer most likely to buy your product or service in the quantity required for optimal profit! Your WHO is the customer you can’t live without and who will help you be successful into the future.

So, in order to sell more to your core, you need to clearly define who they are and understand their deepest needs, not just their wants. 

One thing to consider about your core customer is that he or she is a real person, with wants, needs and fears – not a lifeless profile on paper. Your core customer is alive and is just like you and me – AND has specific reasons, emotions and interests in your product or service.

According to a joint study by Bain and Harvard Business School, “(we) showed that in industry after industry, the high cost of acquiring customers renders many customer relationships unprofitable during their early years. Only in later years, when the cost of serving loyal customers falls and the volume of their purchases rises, do relationships generate big returns. The bottom line: Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.”

10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement in Your Manufacturing Company (Video)

Alan Gehringer Mon, Jun 25, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

I grew up in a manufacturing family. My grandmother had her own manufacturing company, and my father was a partner in a local manufacturing company. I still have very fond memories working in and running the business. It was like one big happy family - most of the time, that is. We had employees that stayed with us pretty much from the beginning and that would be close to forty years in some cases. How do you get employees to stay with you for the long term and contribute to the best of their ability? One of the answers is to ensure they are treated with respect, appreciated, and given the opportunity to be fully engaged. Being fully engaged means different things to different people, but here are some key approaches to consider. 

21 Production KPI Examples to Improve Manufacturing Performance

Alan Gehringer Thu, May 31, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

It is important to grow the top line of your business on an annual basis, but you also need to make sure the bottom line is healthy which can help fund that growth. This is particularly important if you are a manufacturing company. In most cases, the two biggest expenses in your business are labor and raw materials. There are exceptions, of course, in machine intensive automated manufacturing environments, but let’s focus on the former. So how can we make sure the production floor is running at peak performance? One very effective way is to put the right balance of production KPIs in place. Some of these KPIs are leading indicators and some are results. It is good to have both, although I always prefer leading as these drive the results.

Download our free KPI Guide to help you drive results with KPIs.

Here are some of my favorite KPIs that I used when I ran or set up manufacturing companies.

10 Examples of Key Performance Indicators That Drive Sales

Alan Gehringer Mon, May 7, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Driving new sales revenue is a common theme that comes up with the clients I work with. In fact, I can’t think of many companies that have more sales activity than they know what to do with, and most are always looking for ways to (build or grow) their sales pipeline. 

There a lot of variables that go into building a great sales pipeline, and marketing plays a big part in developing marketing qualified leads (MQLs), but another big variable is measuring the right behavior that drives the right results. To do this, we must put the right leading indicators in place. It’s one thing to measure results indicators like Revenue booked, but unless the right activities are taking place, you are not going to hit your targets and your stakeholders are going to be disappointed regardless if they are internal or external. You need to develop the right leading indicators for your sales team.

Five Key Leadership Skills Every Leader Must Master

Alan Gehringer Mon, Apr 16, 2018 @ 09:30 AM

I was going through some materials and came across a file that one of my good friends and mentors had given me in a training session a couple of years ago. It was material developed by Bill Bonnstetter, the Chairman of TTI Performance Systems, Ltd. I am a big fan of TTI and have used their services when hiring and to learn more about myself. The great thing about their approach is that everything is based on real world data that they collect, and they just keep re-validating and improving on the work they do.  

As Lao Tse stated, “He who knows other is learned. He who knows himself is wise.”  I think I am still working on the wise aspect, but I always attempt to learn more about human behavior, leadership and myself. I would like to share some of the key points from Bill’s presentation on leadership.

Stay Ahead of Your Competition with Continuous Improvement Efforts

Alan Gehringer Thu, Apr 12, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

How effective are your continuous improvement efforts? 

I focus a lot of my attention on top-line growth these days, but that by no means undermines the importance of improving what you do. I love cars of all types, especially sports oriented cars and exotic cars, but there is one automaker who is the king of continuous improvement and you probably guessed who it is - Toyota, of course. I have owned many of their autos and currently, have two in the stable along with a little something German. (You do have to infuse a little fun into things, right?) Toyota has created the strongest culture of continuous improvement on the planet. They continue to do what they do better every day, and every employee in the organization owns it. I like to tell the story of visiting their plant in Kentucky several years ago and as we gathered in the lobby to prepare for our tour, the person coordinating us asked us to form two lines and arrange ourselves alphabetically so that she could process us efficiently. I had to smile as these guys get continuous improvement and what most of us call Lean practices today. 

What is the Difference Between a Primary and Secondary Core Customer?

Alan Gehringer Mon, Mar 26, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

I have written previously about the importance of identifying your core customer because I have seen far too many companies waste their valuable time and resources selling to and serving the wrong customers. 

Your core customer is the one who values what you offer at a price and quantity that is good for both you and the customer and will take you into the future successfully. This is the individual that uses the product, the one you look in the eyes and can put a name to and the one you can’t live without. Knowing who the core customer is will impacts sales in a positive manner.