Rhythm Blog | Jessica Wishart

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Why CEOs Need a Leadership Path of Progress

Jessica Wishart Thu, Oct 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

CEOs are constantly being pulled in a million directions - they have shareholders, partners, investors, employees, customers, industry groups, community stakeholders and other constituents (not to mention family and personal relationships) to answer to on a daily basis. Even if you are somehow balancing all of these demands, running a successful business, and leading your team effectively, you still may not be doing everything you need to do as a CEO. According to a recent study by Harvard researchers, “It’s vital for CEOs to block off meaningful amounts of uninterrupted time alone, to give themselves space to think, reflect, and prepare.”

This idea of spending alone time “thinking” is counterintuitive to many CEOs, who may have gotten where they are today by working longer and harder than those around them. Taking time out of the rat race to think could be considered a weakness by some executive leaders. But, on the contrary, the research clearly indicates that this think time is an absolute necessity for CEOs.

6 Tips for Accountable Leadership [Infographic]

Jessica Wishart Thu, Oct 11, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

We've all heard it... "Why doesn't Jane just do what I've asked her to do!?" or "How can I hold Tom accountable?" Chances are, if you lead a team, you have had similar frustrations. More often than not, the Janes and Toms of the world aren't coming to work everyday looking for ways to disappoint their bosses. Typically, they are good, hard-working, smart people or you wouldn't have hired them in the first place. So, where's the disconnect? Why are they causing you such frustration?

As a leader, it is your responsibility to create a culture where accountability can thrive. You have to build and reinforce the right conditions for your team to be able to succeed. As individuals, the Toms and Janes also have to do their part - to be willing to take responsibility for their results. But they can't do this if you don't do your part to be an accountable leader.

Purpose: Why It Matters

Jessica Wishart Thu, Oct 4, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

When I was in college, I took a course called “The Meaning of Work” and enrolled in a corresponding internship program following the course. As part of the program, I met weekly with a small group to discuss the work we were doing and reflect on its meaning. I earned a minor in “Faith and Work” as a result and gained experience in the non-profit sector and higher education through my internships. As a Millennial, I was fully indoctrinated in the belief that where I spend the majority of my waking hours should be meaningful in some way and, like many in my cohort, I entered the workforce craving something deeper than a paycheck. As they say, life happens, and my career hasn’t been what I imagined it would be as a 22-year-old college graduate (no surprise there!). But, I do still believe in the importance of finding meaningful work, the critical nature of doing work that matters, that has some purpose deeper than feeding my family and paying the bills. And the research backs me up on this, too.

Studies have found that “employees who derive meaning and significance from their work are much more likely to stay with organizations."

Leadership and Levels and Styles of Decision Making [Video]

Jessica Wishart Mon, Oct 1, 2018 @ 09:00 AM

Where should we go to dinner? What time are you waking up? Where do you want to go on vacation? Are you going to the gym before work? Should we pursue this or that business opportunity? How many people should we hire next year? Should we acquire this new company or sign with this new partner? What is our sales goal for next quarter? Should I fly to New York to try to save our biggest client account? How should our team devote our energy for the next 90 days?

Life is a series of decisions, big and small, that impact our lives, families, teams, and companies. If you follow our blog, you know that we talk a lot about the importance of developing and growing as leaders

How to Prepare for An Effective Annual Planning Session [Video]

Jessica Wishart Fri, Sep 28, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

At this point in the year, many companies are gearing up to plan for the next year. Before you lock down your budget for your next year, ensure that you spend a few days with the executive team to assess where you are on your strategic plans and growth targets and really think about where you may need to make additional investments to grow your business. Your annual planning session is a key part of your business rhythm; this is where you develop and advance your 3-5 year growth strategies or Winning Moves, map out the annual initiatives to get you there, and create your blueprint for your entire year of execution. In order to get maximum value out of this expensive time with your team, it is critical to have each person in the room prepare well.

Mastering a CEO's Most Important Skill: Listening

Jessica Wishart Wed, Sep 12, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

If you are a CEO or founder, you’ve likely gotten where you are today because of your ideas - you are probably passionate about your company or industry and have gained a lot of experience and wisdom that make your insights incredibly valuable. Which is why what I am about to suggest can be so difficult for many top executives - as the CEO, your most important job may be to stop talking and just listen. I’m not suggesting that you should sit on your best ideas forever or that your contributions aren’t the most important ones in the meeting. Perhaps they are… but that’s missing the point.

How to Manage Your Time Effectively as a CEO [Infographic]

Jessica Wishart Thu, Sep 6, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

CEOs are being pulled in a million different directions by several important constituencies. They have to answer to direct reports, employees, investors, customers, partners, vendors, industry groups, community stakeholders, and in some cases politicians and the media as well. And, that's not including family, friends, and significant others.

Even the most extraverted CEO will come to find the job exhausting, especially since so much of it involves the need for the CEO to have carefully thought through strategy and people decisions. When are you supposed to have the time to think about the future of the business when you're in meetings all day? Not to mention, when are you supposed to sleep?

Recently, Harvard researchers conducted a detailed study of how CEOs are spending their time, both at home and at work. The results are interesting.

Why Personal Productivity Can Only Get You So Far

Jessica Wishart Thu, Aug 30, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

I like to think of myself as a highly organized and productive person, and I like reading about and experimenting with tips and methods for improving my productivity and time management skills. Truthfully, however, being personally productive can only get you so far - it’s only one piece of the puzzle for most of us. While being effective and personally accountable to accomplishing your top goals may be all you need as an entrepreneur or freelance worker, if you work in an organization (either as a leader or an individual contributor), you may be as personally productive as humanly possible and still not be effective.

The CEO's Roadmap to Organizational Alignment Bliss

Jessica Wishart Wed, Aug 22, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Alignment can be elusive for even the smallest start up companies, never mind mid-market companies that have multiple divisions, departments, or business units, different locations, new acquisitions, or remote employees. The more successful you are in growing your company, the more complex your organization becomes, and the more challenging it is to communicate effectively and attain alignment. And, as the CEO, aligning your company to succeed starts with you. According to an article in Harvard Business Review by Oxford University’s Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe, "Large, diversified, and geographically dispersed enterprises, in whichever sectors they compete, require the greatest amount of strategic effort by their leadership to be aligned.”

What do I mean by alignment? An article in IndustryWeek quotes Fred Smith, Chairman of Federal Express, as saying “Alignment is the essence of management,” and goes on to say that “Alignment reflects an active ownership on the part of team members, not simply the absence of disagreement… Alignment is an agreement on the goals of the organization and on the process of allocating resources to achieve these goals.” The HBR article I mentioned earlier describes alignment in this way: winning through a tightly managed enterprise value chain that connects an enterprise’s purpose (what we do and why we do it) to its business strategy (what we are trying to win at to fulfill our purpose), organizational capability (what we need to be good at to win), resource architecture (what makes us good), and, finally, management systems (what delivers the winning performance we need). 

How to Make Data-Driven Adjustments to Hit Your KPIs [Example]

Jessica Wishart Thu, Aug 16, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

For many CEOs and executive leaders, the idea of having a system in place to allow you to see where you are off-track with the company’s goals or heading for a train-wreck so you can make adjustments before it is too late sounds appealing. Having a dashboard where you track KPIs is a great way to accomplish this, but in order to make the right adjustments to hit your goals, you need to follow a process to set yourself up for success—having the dashboard isn’t enough.

Simply seeing that the numbers aren’t coming in the way you had hoped won’t automatically fix the problem. Once your dashboards alert you to a problem or opportunity, you have to do the work necessary to course-correct and hit your goal. You need to be clear about your goal; you need to identify the levers that could potentially help you get there; and you need to gather the necessary data, have the right discussions, and make adjustments along the way.