A CEO has many responsibilities, and among the top is ensuring the company has a sound plan and budget going into each new year. Seasoned CEOs have likely developed a trusted method for getting this done. Sometimes it’s as simple as estimating organic growth by applying a reasonable percentage to this year’s numbers and maybe adding additional revenue for a new product or channel. There might be a review of the current year’s spending by department to estimate the new year’s needs—adding a little here and cutting a little there—and, of course, there will be an Annual Planning Meeting that brings the management team together to have strategic discussions, gain alignment and hash out the details. As with anything, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things the same way year after year, especially if it’s been working for you.
Do you spend more money on going away parties when someone leaves the company than you do welcome parties when someone joins? This was a question posed by Jack Daly a few years ago at one of the Fortune Growth Summits. Our team really connected with the idea of treating a new employee’s first day like a celebration, and over the past few years we have created an internal process called “Great First Day" as a critical part of their employee onboarding process. How do you make employees feel welcome from their very first day that they join our team?
“Are you kidding me? Have a meeting every day! We already have way too many meetings. The last thing my team wants to do is add another morning huddle meeting..... every day.”
Yep, that was me about 12 years ago when my coach, Dan Weston, suggested we implement the daily huddle meeting in my company. I was reluctant, but he made me promise to give it a try. My team was reluctant at first too, but in time, this became one of the most important rhythms in the company. And, not only did the executive team huddle, but the design team huddled, customer service and sales huddled, the engineers huddled and the front line supervisors huddled daily.
So, how’s your Daily Huddle meeting going? Over time, it’s easy for this habit to begin feeling a little stale, and you might even start wondering if anyone would miss it if you killed it. They would! And they probably don’t even realize it (so don’t bother polling the team to ask). Instead, be the leader and huddle on!
Sometimes the benefits of Daily Huddles are so subtle they go uncelebrated, but the truth is, the habit of huddling daily with your team might be the most valuable 10 minutes of your day. The next time you feel like it’s an inconvenient interruption or someone tells you they’re too busy to huddle, keep these benefits of the morning huddle in mind.
So, how’s your huddle? I’ve written about huddles before and honestly believe they can be a breakthrough component in building high-performance teams. A ten minute daily meeting with your team can dramatically increase the speed of your execution, improve communication, reduce time spent in all your other meetings, align people and resources, and build relationships.
Topgrading is a methodology of recruiting, interviewing, selecting and retaining top talent developed by Brad Smart and Geoff Smart designed to increase your likelihood of hiring and retaining A players. We’ve been recommending this method to Rhythm clients for many years. We even use it ourselves, so we know firsthand the power of Topgrading. You can find a lot of great (and free) resources on their website. When used in conjunction with Job Scorecards, an enhanced version of job descriptions, you can better attract and retain the A-Players you need to hit your growth goals.
“We need more accountability around here.” “We need to hold people accountable.” This is one of the most consistent themes we hear from clients when asked what they would like to achieve or improve in their business. It’s a worthy goal, but the path to success is not simple. You can’t mandate accountability. Accountability is a choice. Here’s a formal definition of Accountability: the willingness of an individual to account for their actions, accept responsibility for them and disclose the results in a transparent manner.
We often think that by applying negative consequences, or calling people out, we’ll be able to enforce accountability. Who wants to be the accountability police? Our time as leaders is much better spent figuring out what we can do to create an environment that encourages accountable behavior, a culture where people are willing to account, accept, disclose, and even ask for help when needed. Before you jump straight to consequences, make sure you’ve done your part to create an environment where people will choose to be accountable.
Whether you are an executive team member, a department leader, or a member of the team, the role you play in the company is unique and important. You are there for a reason and you want to be successful. In order to be successful, you have to understand your purpose, what you are responsible for, how success will be measured, the skills you might need to develop, and the values you must uphold. Role clarity is key to your success, and Job Scorecards are a great way to achieve role clarity.
At our annual Rhythm Systems Breakthrough Conference in Charlotte, we had the opportunity to survey our audience of over 150 mid-market executives and ask the question, “What are the top 8 business challenges for mid-market companies?” The term “mid-market” refers to the size of a company based on its annual revenue, usually between $10 - $500 million. It may seem like a big swing to go from $10 million to $500 million, but not so big when you consider that only 3% of all companies ever make it past the $10 million mark.
Recently, I’ve noticed that many of our clients are involving more and more people in the planning process. As they head into Annual Planning, in addition to the 8-10 people on the senior executive leadership team, many of our clients are eliciting ideas and contributions from the next level of leaders as well. Involving these leaders can help ensure the voice of the customer and those employees closest to the customer are heard. However, having so many people in the room can be a challenge for the facilitator.