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Rhythm Blog | Barry Pruitt

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

SWOT Analysis During COVID 19: 4 Steps of SWOT Analysis in a Pandemic

Barry Pruitt Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Many planning tools are used on an annual basis—yet, they are often overlooked in the middle of a pandemic like COVID-19. There is an opportunity, now more than ever, in your team's need for direction, a way to focus their action and a bumper rail to keep them moving forward. This will allow you to harness the energy of your team rather than sinking in the quicksand of panic.

Many executives have heard of SWOT but aren’t familiar with how to leverage it for their business plan, much less how to utilize it in a time of crisis. Every business I work with has seen affects from the pandemic—either positive or negative. Let’s look at how to utilize the SWOT approach for either effect by making it a cSWOT (Crisis SWOT). A cSWOT is key to establishing a healthy decision-making capability and communication rhythm in your company during trying times.

Keep Your Company Out of Trouble with a Lesson from Virtual Planning

Barry Pruitt Fri, Jul 24, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

According to FEMA, only 60% of small businesses reopen after a disaster. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues this timeline with the finding that in the two years following a disaster, over 90% of businesses fail. Only 10% of small businesses have the right flexibility, focus, and accountability to make it two years past a disaster. A lesson from virtual planning can help you be among that 10%.

When I talk with leaders regarding disasters, it’s easy for them to think of earthquakes (we don’t live in that part of the country), floods (we aren't in a flood zone), and fires (there’s no history here). Occasionally they think of things that they deem unlikely—like terrorism, war and pandemics like COVID-19. Rarely does a leader think about other incidents—like burst pipes, roof leaks, discovery of black mold, ransomware, computer hacks, etc.—as something catastrophic to their business. Yet any of these disasters may cause business failure.

How to be a Good Facilitator: Top 10 Qualities of the Best Facilitators in 2020

Barry Pruitt Tue, Jun 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Are your meetings the butt of work-related jokes? Why is it that we roll our eyes with disdain when our calendar is loaded with meetings, and more specifically, why do we dread the planning meetings that are so important to our strategic success? Let me ask, have you used senior team members as facilitators? If so, you’ve very likely chosen the wrong person. Save yourself a bad decision before your next planning session. Don’t choose your CEO or an executive team member for strategic planning. If you do, you’ll pay for it all year (or quarter) based on the plan developed and the pain to get there.  Most executives are great at their jobs, but they don't have all of the qualities of a good team facilitator and may not be the best at facilitating a productive discussion.  When you are in charge, it is hard to be an active listener, which is extremely important to bring out all of the great ideas from the team and cover every relevant point of view.

Priority ZERO: Make COVID-19 Part of Your Survive, Recover and Thrive Mentality

Barry Pruitt Fri, Jun 26, 2020 @ 12:58 PM

We all know we need to be prepared for the worst—while striving for the best—when it comes to the effects of COVID-19, and the market has proven that leaders who remain calm and focused are better able to steer their team through turbulence and uncertainty. However, my experience is that many leaders and leadership teams do not know how to do this.

I'm being asked by CEOs worldwide, "What few things must I focus on now?" Even when leadership appears calm like a duck on the surface, many leaders today are paddling like mad underwater with only a finite few that have clear direction.

How the Balanced Scorecard Keeps You Balanced

Barry Pruitt Tue, Jun 16, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

The Balanced Scorecard, originally developed by Dr. Robert Kaplan of Harvard University and Dr. David Norton, can keep your company balanced. They used this scorecard as a framework for measuring organizational performance through a balanced set of performance measures (as opposed to Wall Street’s need for short-term financial performance). Kaplan and Norton’s approach added non-financial measures to the standard financial measure of the time to more accurately focus on a company’s long-term success.

Here’s how they described the innovation of the Balanced Scorecard in chapter one of their book, page 7:

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.

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.

Turn 880 Pages of Complexity into How You Care for Coronavirus Relief

Barry Pruitt Thu, May 7, 2020 @ 11:44 AM

The 880-page CARES Act requires ongoing, focused effort to reduce the complexity to useful information. Just like filing taxes, some are doing it themselves, some have hired the least expensive option, some have found professionals or teams that get the best results, and some are stuck in the process. CEOs and execs shouldn’t take this responsibility lightly, without careful thought, or overlook it just because you’re in great financial shape today. Consider how you will investigate and implement your options, through a team of professionals (internal or external), an internal champion, or a hired outsider.

Practice the Rockefeller Habits to Drive Accountability and Response-Ability

Barry Pruitt Sat, Feb 1, 2020 @ 06:41 AM

Are you fostering an accountability-based team, department, or organization? Accountability takes a step beyond responsibility. Responsibility is a felt obligation to act within an organization's values, whereas accountability adds that you can be called to answer for your own actions.

In an accountability-based organization, the onus is not only on direct reports (and their reports) to be accountable, but also on managers and executives to produce a culture that fosters accountability in its employees. This can be scary at first, but will pay off in the long run.

Targets and KPIs: How Use Them Appropriately

Barry Pruitt Fri, Jan 24, 2020 @ 11:22 AM

I really enjoy learning during client interactions. When I’m working onsite in planning sessions, coaching executives 1-to-1, or working with teams virtually through Zoom web  conferencing, I am often learning as much as helping. Working hand-in hand with smart people and fielding their questions give me the opportunity to guide participants while expanding my knowledge, understanding, and ability to communicate.