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Rhythm Blog

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Leadership Development: Is There a Payoff?

Cathy McCullough Tue, Jul 16, 2019 @ 11:42 AM

In a study by McKinsey & Company, developing leaders at all levels has been ranked as a #1 priority by 500 executives, and organizations throughout the U.S. are spending approximately $14 billion annually on leadership development. The expense of a custom-designed leadership development program can be very costly. The question, then, becomes: Does developing these leaders (executive-level, division heads, and emerging leaders) have a payoff?

The answer is: Yes…if

Yes if...your leadership development efforts are designed appropriately. All too often, companies simply delegate the development of a leadership program to their HR professionals. While this is good, it’s a tactical check-mark that “we’re doing t

hat leadership development thing.” What your high-level directors of talent and culture need is your support to do it right.

Personal Productivity Essentials

Paige Wilcox Thu, Jul 11, 2019 @ 01:34 PM

In an effort to Keep Smart — which is one of our Core Values here at Rhythm Systems — I recently attended a workshop on "Personal Productivity Essentials" to get some new tips and perspectives from Austin Bristow.

Austin talked a lot about personal discipline, and although "discipline" is a word with some negative connotations, it really should be seen as a process that gives you more freedom—freedom to focus on the things you want to do, freedom to maximize your time, freedom to say "no," etc.

Leadership Skill: How to Delegate Effectively

Ted Skinner Wed, Jul 3, 2019 @ 01:15 PM

Managing the daily, weekly, and monthly workload is a challenge for team members and leaders alike, but in very different ways. Teams have their KPIs and know what tasks they need to complete in order to achieve those goals. Team leaders and managers have the added tasks around team goals, team KPIs, other issues and other team projects that round out their to-do lists. The difference is that leaders have people to delegate to on their team that can complete the task.

Process Implementation: How to Implement a New Process at Work in 5 Steps

Tiffany Chepul Sun, Jun 30, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

As companies grow, the need to strategic establish implementation processes to help you scale to meet your business goals becomes inevitable. We've all reached a place in our role when the way we used to do things no longer works and we have to innovate. Necessity becomes the mother of invention - there's really no way to avoid it in a healthy growing company.

The truth remains, however: implementing new processes at work is hard. It's some of the most difficult work that teams do. Some teams struggle with change itself - it pushes people out of their comfort zone and sometimes there is resistance. Other teams struggle to develop the processes themselves - they can't agree on the best way to proceed to improve the business process. Even if you can define a new process and make some headway on changing people's mindsets, there is still the uphill battle for implementing the key processes that turn plans into action. Management teams can help their employees to implement a new business process in five simple ways.

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

Alan Gehringer Sun, Jun 30, 2019 @ 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 in their work environment. Employee engagement is the key to creating a high performance manufacturing culture.  Being fully engaged means different things to different people, but here are some key approaches to consider for manufacturing workers.

KPIs, Culture, and Habits to Improve On-Time Delivery

Alan Gehringer Fri, Jun 28, 2019 @ 11:05 AM

I previously wrote a blog titled 21 Production KPI Examples to Improve Manufacturing Performance, and many people were interested in learning more about how to measure and improve on-time delivery, one of the specific KPIs I mentioned. I am often asked how to improve on time delivery in manufacturing companies.  The on time delivery KPI time as one of their most important Key Performance Indicators as it is directly related to customer satisfaction and repeat orders.  So, let’s dig a little deeper into this topic. 

5 Steps to Integrate Your Culture After a Business Acquisition

Alan Gehringer Fri, Jun 28, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

You just completed an acquisition in business, time to celebrate and break out the champagne. For some companies, acquiring businesses is their top growth strategy. Unfortunately for most companies, acquisitions fail to meet their objectives in the first year if at all. This can also be one of the most difficult ways to grow your business. That said, failure is not imminent if you do the right things to make the acquisition a success. One of these things is to focus on integrating the culture of the new company with the mothership. It sounds easy and straightforward, although integrating cultures is one of the biggest challenges and failure points after an acquisition. It takes a lot of time and effort to do it right. This is one reason that you should do your best to acquire companies that have good alignment with your Core Purpose and Core Values already to make the merger integration of the target company happen more smoothly.

Weekly Adjustment Meetings vs. Weekly Status Meetings (Infographic)

Jessica Wishart Fri, Jun 28, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

Establishing the right meeting rhythm with your executive team is key. Many executives spend the majority of their days in one meeting or another; when you consider their salaries and the many other demands on their time, you want to ensure you are doing everything possible to only have meetings that add value.

Many executive teams are in a rhythm of meeting weekly to update each other on the status of projects and priorities.  While it is important to have clear communication and keep each other in the loop on these important topics, the time you spend with your executive team would be far more valuable if you replaced boring weekly status update meetings with Weekly Adjustment Meetings that energize your team around solving problems before it is too late to hit your quarterly goals.

Weekly Problem Solving Meeting (Adjustment Meeting)

Your weekly problem solving meeting should be the most powerful problem solving meeting you have. Your team should be looking forward to working with each other to capture opportunities and helping each other get unstuck.

80% of your time should be spent on creating solutions, problem solving and making adjustments to your plan.

Recommended Agenda for a Weekly Problem Solving Meeting

1) Start with a round of good news

2) Discuss solution for KPIs that are off track

3) Discuss solutions for quarterly rocks, priorities and OKRs that are off track

4) Share your week sync note with the team.  This is your person plan for the week and promotes organizational alignment 

5) Review action items that are overdue or have the team stuck to come to a solution

6) Share client and employee feedback

Download the effective weekly meeting agenda.

Adjustment meetings are focused on the future and how the team can use their dashboards to have the right discussions to make necessary adjustments.  Rather than individuals presenting updates, the whole team is contributing ideas and working together on solutions to achieve the company plan.

Status meetings only give a picture of what has already happened in the past that you can’t change.  The focus in a weekly status meeting is on one individual giving a presentation of results or progress.

Think about the time you could be spending solving problems if you upgraded your weekly team meetings to problem solving meetings to make adjustments to your plan.

  • Every quarter, you have 13 weekly meetings with your executive team
  • Most teams meet for 2 hours for their weekly meeting.
  • The average executive team member spends 26 hours each quarter in this one meeting.
  • If 70% of that time is updating status, they’ve spent 2 full work days on updates.

Weekly Status Meeting

Status meetings are boring and a waste of time. They just don’t work. People come to them because they have to, not because they want to or find value in the time spent. They don’t think it helps them get the real work done. That doesn't mean that you should spend some time updating the team, but only in the context of what they need to improve the metrics for the company and aligning the team.

An effective status meeting can only work if you also spend time thinking about how the current status affects the actions that you will take in the future to make the project a success.  The meeting facilitator should make sure that we don't get too bogged down in the details of the status and put any necessary information into the meeting minutes.  The team leader should make this sharing of information productive and focus on how these learnings can help the future of the project.  The purpose of the meeting isn't project management, meetings are ineffective if they cover ONLY status during the meeting.

80% of your time is spent updating your colleagues on the status of your projects, rather than solving problems in your weekly meeting.


The infographic below is a comparison of Weekly Adjustment Meetings and Weekly Status Meetings. 

What’s Your Customer Engagement Strategy?

Jessica Wishart Thu, Jun 27, 2019 @ 11:03 AM

Regardless of what kind of business you are in, your customers pay for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You probably have a strategy for growing your business and growing your team; you better also have a strategy for your customers. In most cases, the cost of acquiring a new customer is far greater than the cost of retaining and growing the revenue from your current customers. According to an article in Forbes, “Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profitability by 25% to 95%.” Turning your customers into advocates can also result in referrals and generate new logos for your company as well. According a study cited by John DiJulius, customer experience leaders outperform the market, generating a total cumulative return that was nearly three times greater than companies who lag in this area; “We now have proof that [customer experience] is actually one of the highest returns on investment a company can make."

The Link Between Communication & Organizational Accountability

Cathy McCullough Tue, Jun 25, 2019 @ 11:04 AM

Sometimes, you just have to slow down to speed up.

Communication Leads to Better Connectivity and Team Accountability

Communication is a very powerful thing, yet we talk about it so lightly. We toss the word ‘communication’ around as if it’s a catch-all for…everything. Yet, it is communication that aids us in the confirmation of the truth in certain scenarios and it is communication that provides clarity, definition, and intention to our words. The challenge with communication is that everyone’s communication truth can be taxing. Determining how to communicate to bring out individual truths (yours and your team’s) can be a powerful tool in developing higher levels of accountability and can lead to better connectivity throughout your organization. Knowing the people you’ll be speaking to and having an awareness around individual communication preferences is the most effective way to align individual and corporate truths.