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Rhythm Blog

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

3 Year Strategic Plan Examples

Jessica Wishart Tue, Jun 2, 2020 @ 11:25 AM

Many companies I work with have an Annual Plan and some foundational strategic elements, like Core Values, Core Purpose and Mission/Vision/BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). However, these companies often don’t take time to define goals on the 3-5 year time horizon. This is an important step, because these 3-5 Year Plans form your base camps on the way to achieving your longer-term strategy. They allow you to brainstorm big ideas that will help you grow beyond just this year.

Working on your 3-5 Year Strategic Plan is a best practice during your 2-day annual planning session, but what should the outcome of that time look like? What do you need to accomplish in that time?

15 Zoom Tips and Tricks for Your Virtual Meeting

Jessica Wishart Fri, May 29, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

At Rhythm Systems, we’ve been using Zoom for many years as a way to share screens, audio and video with our clients who are all over the world. About half of our team also works from home, so we’ve used it for our internal meetings as well. However, though I am far from new to Zoom, even I have been taken aback by how ubiquitous it has become in the last two months. In addition to all the regular work calls over Zoom, I’ve also been to a few Happy Hours, some playdates and story times, an Easter celebration, a birthday party and even a gender reveal party virtually with Zoom.

For many of us, Zoom is going to be part of the ongoing landscape of how we communicate—personally and professionally. With that in mind, now’s a good time to ensure we are using it well.

7 Tips to Be Your Best, Most Productive Stay-At-Home Self

Jessica Wishart Thu, May 28, 2020 @ 11:44 AM

Many leaders and team members have found the stay-at-home orders draining—and prolonged weeks of this inherently stressful situation can take a toll on our ability to focus and perform well at work. For many, this is the very time when your business may be facing challenges that require you and your team to be more focused and creative and productive than ever. The stakes are high, and our physical, mental, and psychological reserves are low. Even as many places prepare to go back to work and stay-at-home orders are lifted, there are lingering questions and lurking stressors that will take a toll on our productivity unless we manage our energy more proactively.

What can you do to tap into the energy you need to live a more focused, happy and productive life, regardless of quarantine status? Here are some tips, many of which come from the classic 2007 “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time” Harvard Business Review article by Tony Schwartz, adapted, of course, for this particular moment in time.

Drive Your Remote Team's Morale, Maintain Productivity and Win

Barry Pruitt Thu, May 21, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

History is the ultimate reality TV show; it's getting a first-hand view of people's bad decisions, conflicts, trials, and successes. We can learn a lot from these stories. They teach us that ‘this time’ is never really different—at least not any more than Hallmark movies are different. Sure, you can insert new actors and actresses, change the location, etc. The story is typically the same, though.

In the same way, ‘this time’ for us is a slightly more evolved version of all the leaders and businesses who came before us. We’re susceptible to the same mistakes, so while your people are adapting to the temporary pandemic, there is danger of rapid declines in productivity, customer service, morale and more. The longer this goes on, the greater chance for decline. It’s your responsibility as a leader to drive team morale, maintain productivity and win while your team works from home.

Alignment in a Virtual World

Jessica Wishart Wed, May 20, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Getting and staying aligned with your team is a challenge even when you are all in the same office. When everyone is remote or working from home, how do you know you are all still rowing in the same direction and working on the right projects? How can you be sure you are aligned to achieve the most important goals to help your company survive, recover, and thrive in a crisis?

With all the distractions in the current environment—from the seemingly endless stream of bad news to constant interruptions from kids and pets—it can feel more challenging to align your team around common goals than ever. That said, if you don’t have all of your best people working hard on the right things, your company’s future could be at risk. The stakes are high, and you need a way to be sure everyone is contributing their best efforts (whatever that looks like) to the right things.

How to Know Your Remote Team is Productive

Jessica Wishart Fri, May 15, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Whether it is trying to figure out how to do more with less, frantically converting in-person business to a virtual model, working to save customers, or using this time to improve processes and reduce waste in your operations, there’s plenty of work to be done for most of our clients during this time. Therefore, many of our CEOs and executive leaders find themselves wondering, “How do I know if my people are still being productive? How do I make sure they are working on the right things to help our business survive and thrive?”

There are many challenges to remote work, but there are also many companies who have successfully employed remote workers for years and many studies showing the benefits of this type of work. As a matter of fact, Rhythm Systems has had almost half of our employees working remotely for over a decade, so it can be done—and done well.

Cash is King – Do You Know Where Your Cash Is?

Barry Pruitt Thu, May 14, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

It was the 2007-2009 recession, and markets were uncertain. Things were generally OK with my business, yet with years of experience through many types of crises and emergencies, I knew I had to take asset and crisis management inventory. As I mentally ran through my checklist, I felt pretty good. I had a cashflow runway of four months, some additional ways to raise money. I thought some customers would make early payments in exchange for discounts and that there were some unused assets that might be sold. In a worst case scenario, there was the consideration of pay reductions or layoffs.

On a personal level, I considered my HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) as part of my fallback plan. I was mentally relieved that I had put it in place in 2004. It was $60k, had never been used, and based on the current lower home values, I was still in good loan-to-value position. I had a fallback plan and could sleep well at night.

Does Your Daily Huddle Need a Makeover?

Jessica Wishart Wed, May 13, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As many of our clients find themselves leading remote teams of people who are working from home for the first time or spreading out shifts so that they can better practice social distancing, the Daily Huddle is making a big come back. Even for teams who previously did not find value in the practice are adopting the daily sync-up as a necessary way to stay connected and aligned in this rapidly changing environment.

If you’ve been doing huddles for years, or even if it is a new habit over the last several weeks, now is a good time to evaluate how well your Daily Huddle is serving your team. I recommend starting the process of evaluating your huddle by writing an objective statement. What are you trying to accomplish with the huddle? Once you are clear on the purpose, you can better answer the question of whether your current practice is satisfying your goals.

Discipline is the Key to Success

Ryan Walcott Tue, May 12, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Working from home can certainly be a challenge. I've been working from home for the last 12 years, and over those years, I learned a key to success that has helped me greatly, especially in this time of sheltering at home during the COVID-19 crisis. That key to success is: DISCIPLINE.

I read Jocko Willink's Discipline Equals Freedom, and in that book, he provides thoughts on the topic of discipline that are very insightful. One that caught my eye is on the idea of motivation vs. discipline. He point out that, if we aren't careful, we can put too much stock in being motivated to do work to achieve our goals. Motivation is fickle; it comes and it goes. It is unreliable, and when you are counting on motivation to get your goals accomplished, you will likely fall short. So don't expect to be motivated every day to make things happen. You won't be. Count on discipline instead.

Essential KPI for Remote Teams: Employee Health Index

Jessica Wishart Fri, May 8, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Managing a remote team is challenging, even in the best of times. In our current environment, it is really tough to keep the team engaged, focused and contributing to the company’s ability to survive and thrive.

Frequent check-ins are critical. Having 1:1 meetings with your team members, team huddles, and weekly meetings will help keep you on track. You need talk time with your team, and they need to hear from you often. This generates a lot of meetings, and for a team leader who is talking to a lot of different people all day long, it can be hard to keep track of the information you are gleaning from various team members.