Rhythm Blog

Jessica Wishart

Jessica Wishart
Jessica is the Training & Innovation Expert at Rhythm Systems. She has experience in Client Services and Rhythm software technical support. Her background is in Community Counseling.

Recent Posts

Are Your Employees Feeling the Love?

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Feb 9, 2021 @ 11:03 AM
As we celebrate Valentine's Day this year, are your team members feeling the love? How's your company culture holding up in today's world where change is constant? Stanford quotes the late, former Zappos CEO Tony Hseih saying, "Our whole belief is that if you get the company culture right, most of the other stuff — like delivering great service or building a long-term, enduring brand — will just happen naturally on its own." 
Read More

Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

2021 Meeting Audit: Design Your Team's Meeting Rhythms Now

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Feb 3, 2021 @ 11:03 AM
As we head into 2021, now is the perfect time to step back and take a hard look at your team's meeting rhythms. Much like your junk drawer at home, some of us collect meetings over time—a weekly team huddle, a 1:1, a coffee break, a project meeting, a recurring training session, a retrospective, a cross-functional alignment meeting, etc.—and then our schedules are full and we forgot why we ever thought we needed those things in the first place (ok, the drawer thing might not be a perfect analogy, just an unrelated personal problem for me to deal with). Anyway, the point is that your new year is a new opportunity to take a hard look at your meeting calendar and do a meeting audit.
Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

Key Performance Indicators for Employees in 2021: Employee KPI Examples

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Sun, Jan 31, 2021 @ 09:00 AM

It is no secret that your people are instrumental to the success of your business. In order to have a great company, you not only have to hire the right people and get them in the right seats as Jim Collins says, you also have to work to retain and engage those people once you have them.  The best companies use key performance indicators for employees to drive performance and ensure that they are getting the most out of their most important investment - their employees.  Having the right set of quality metrics can greatly improve your performance management in creating a high-performing team.

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Zoom Icebreakers: 55 Pro Tips to Energize Your Virtual Meetings

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jan 29, 2021 @ 10:59 AM

As I was scrolling through my social media feeds this week, I noticed a trend that more tech companies are announcing a permanent move to hybrid or even a “remote-first” approach for the indefinite future. As companies look to 2021 and make their make budgeting and resourcing decisions, it’s not a mystery why many are choosing to reduce investment in physical spaces and double down on the remote work infrastructure if their business model allows it. That means many of your meetings will be moving online to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Skype or any of the video conferencing applications available.  As the experts in effective weekly meetings, we have compiled a list of the best Zoom Icebreakers for you to increase engagement and productivity at you next team meeting.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

How to Make Staff Meetings More Engaging: 5 Tips to Increase Engagement in Team Meetings

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 11:02 AM

In your next weekly team meeting, take a moment to look around. What are you seeing? Are your team members engaged—are they looking at each other, leaning forward, nodding, and exchanging ideas? Or, are they staring at their computer/phone or leaning back with arms crossed and eyes glazed? If you are on a virtual meeting platform, have everyone turn on their webcam so you can observe the non-verbals. However, you might not even need to do this to know that people aren’t really “there.” It is usually pretty obvious when everyone has muted their line and proceeded to work on something else, daydream, or run errands during your meeting.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

12 Tips to Engage and Keep Top Talent Infographic in 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Many successful mid-market companies have cracked the hiring code. Perhaps you use a hiring method like Topgrading to ensure that you bring in only the best people - the ones who are superstar contributors and a good fit for your culture and Core Values. But, then what?

In our current economy with the extremely low unemployment rate and the rise in popularity of contract work, your top talent has more options than ever. And, according to Gallup's latest State of the American Workplace Report, 51% of employees say that they are actively looking for other opportunities. You have to give them compelling reasons to stay, or you will just keep wasting resources to hire and train for the same positions over and over again.

Read More

Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Business Competencies Examples: Using Company Core Competencies to Innovate in 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

In our fast-moving world of innovation and disruption, some leaders may wonder if it is no longer beneficial to hone core competencies over time. Are business core competencies - those unique combinations of capabilities and resources that make your business operationally different and give you a competitive edge - a strategic tool of the past?

Download our free Strategy Connector Tool to help you.

It takes years and a lot of focused energy to hone these diverse skills, activities, and technologies to near perfection, or to the point that they would be too difficult to replicate by competitors. So, is it still worth it to play the long game in our rapidly changing marketplace?  Here are some great business core competency examples to help you define yours.

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth

Align People in 2021: Getting Everyone on the Same Page to Drive Alignment

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Sounds like a simple concept: Alignment.  What makes this so hard to achieve?  The fact is, if you are hiring the right people, you will have a lot of smart people on your team who disagree with each other.  This is a good thing.  Alignment doesn’t mean that everyone starts on the same page; if that were true, then you’d just have a bunch of robots running around who all think the same way and who never challenge your ideas or come up with anything creative, interesting, or groundbreaking.

Difference of opinion among your team members is a key ingredient in developing the right strategies for your team, the ones that have been analyzed from different angles and debated in your planning sessions. However, when the dust settles and the decision has been made, this is where alignment takes over from diversity of viewpoints as the key to your strategy’s success or failure.  

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

What to Listen to in 2021: 8 Great Podcasts for CEOs

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Dec 22, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

This has been a banner year for new podcasts! It seems like there's a new one launched every week. I suspect people who found themselves suddenly unable to travel or with more time on their hands due to the pandemic turned to this alternative medium where you don't have to be in person to be connected and reach an audience.

If you are heading back into the office in the new year and looking for some interesting and informative podcasts for the commute -- or, if you're like me and still working from home but looking for something to listen to as you aimlessly walk your neighborhood streets for the thousandth time, you'll find something in this list!

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth

Clear Expectations: How Your Employees Know What Success Looks Like

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Dec 21, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

For many, it's time to roll out those 2021 plans and kick off some new initiatives to help your company build back or accelerate growth in the new year. This may present additional challenges in the current environment in which many teams are working remotely or in hybrid scenarios where some are in the office and some are not. Truthfully, even if your team is all together in the same room, getting aligned around your company's new initiatives can still be a big challenge.

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

How to Retain & Grow Customers in the Time of COVID-19

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Dec 18, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As you strategize for the year ahead, there are a lot of unknowns. One thing is certain: keeping and growing your customers has never been more important. What are the best ways to retain and expand your existing customer base mid-pandemic? We all know that it is much more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep the ones you have, so regardless of what you are planning to help you grow revenue in the future, you need a plan for your current customer base.

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth

Zoom Facilitation: Host a Virtual Meeting Like a Pro

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Dec 16, 2020 @ 11:08 AM

Think about the last in-person meeting or conference you attended. Close your eyes and visualize the space. Was there a stage? What was on the stage? Was there a notepad or a glass of water at your seat? A tablecloth? What was the lighting like in the room? What was the temperature? Who was sitting at the head of the table? Was there a whiteboard or a big screen?

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

How to Pressure Test Your Plan

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Dec 9, 2020 @ 11:01 AM

This year, our expert consultants have been recommending a more agile approach to strategic planning; rather than hunkering down for two days in a conference room and emerging with a fully fleshed-out plan for next year, we've advocated for several shorter sessions with some time between each to gather more data and see what you can learn from the constantly evolving market conditions. As the year comes to a close, however, it is time to put some stakes in the ground and make some decisions about what to focus on in the coming months. Now's the time to ink a few clear objectives, which can always be adjusted as we learn more down the road.

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Company Culture Checklist for Remote & Hybrid Teams

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

We’ve known for a while that an increase in remote work was coming, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Many workers are eager to return to offices (some have already), and many more want to continue working from home for the foreseeable future. Gallup found that 2/3 of the people who have been working remotely due to the pandemic would like to continue doing so.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

CEO Secret Weapon: Simple, Proven System for Success

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Dec 2, 2020 @ 11:39 AM

For over a decade, our consultants have worked with client CEOs to help them exceed industry standards and build great companies. Having seen thousands of business plans and helped hundreds of CEOs around the world, some very clear patterns emerge in our work. We’ve distilled the most important factors to building a great company of aligned teams who execute flawlessly into a simple system. I say “simple,” because the concepts are easy to understand; however, they can be challenging to implement—just as the concept of exercise and balanced diet are easy to understand but be difficult to achieve.

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

Manufacturing KPI Dashboard: 25 KPI Examples (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

Because Rhythm strategy execution software acts as a framework for pulling together into one single system many improvement initiatives and management tools that are popular among manufacturing companies, many of our most successful clients come from the manufacturing industry. One area that our clients come to us for help with is determining the right manufacturing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for their manufacturing metrics dashboard to drive performance.  Some production managers are not sure where to start, and many are measuring so many things that their manufacturing metrics are just noise, not driving action or change to drive your operating efficiency and product planning KPIs and KRA (key results areas.)

Download our free KPI Guide to help you drive results with KPIs.

Manufacturing KPI Examples

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Strategic Planning During COVID-19: Business Planning for 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As the summer comes to an end and fall looms with more uncertainty, it can be tempting to sit back and see what comes next—but if you aren’t careful, you’ll be stuck in reactionary mode and never make forward progress. To successfully weather the storm and recover from the pandemic, you need a strategic plan. You may not know what’s coming around the bend, but you need to be proactive in planning for the future so you don’t get left behind.

There are a range of possibilities for the future which are currently unknowable. How long until the spread of the virus slows? When is there going to be a vaccine? Will there be another round of shut downs? Will there be additional support for individuals and businesses from the government? How long until consumers can resume their old routines, and what will their new routines look like? How long until business travel ramps back up? These aren’t questions any of us can answer right now.

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

Weekly Staff Meeting: Time for a Meeting Makeover in 2021 [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Weekly Team Meetings…we’ve all got them. Conventional business wisdom has proclaimed since the beginning of time that the weekly staff meeting is a necessary evil. Lately, ditching the time you spend in meetings is a popular productivity hack, but without the regular time to collaborate with your team, you miss valuable problem-solving time and run the risk of everyone working in a silo—potentially on the wrong things.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

40 KPI Examples for the Service Industry (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 10:26 AM

Research shows that our economy is largely being driven by middle-market firms, especially those in the service industries. Key Performance Indicators (KPIS) are one of the most effective tools for service companies to manage their growth, cash flow, customer retention and customer satisfaction.  According to a press release from American Express: 

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Job Scorecard Examples and Template (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

According to Gallup, only about half of workers in companies worldwide “strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work.” If they don’t know what’s expected, how can they possibly achieve performance goals? If you are a manager, you need to help your team set and achieve goals, and you need to help each person on the team understand exactly what’s expected from him or her. And, you should know exactly what’s expected of you, as well. This is why we recommend doing Job Scorecards (or Employee Scorecards) for each person in the company, starting with the members of the executive team.

Read More

Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

How to Conduct an Effective Annual Planning Meeting Agenda for 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

You can make an argument that your company’s annual planning meeting is the most important thing you do all year. It is where you have your entire leadership team discusses all of the key issues facing your company and industry.  Each of your quarterly execution plans will anchor off of the decisions you make during the yearly planning meeting, and those quarterly plans are what drive the focus of your team’s weekly and daily execution. Plus, your Annual Plan has to move your company’s long-term strategic goals forward and be aligned to your core foundational strategy. Not to mention that you usually have your company’s most expensive leadership team in the room for one or two days - the cost is high and there’s a lot riding on this important business planning meeting.  Don't worry, we have over a dozen years of experience in strategic planning meetings, and we can help get you on the right track.

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Annual Targets 2021: How to Set & Test These Metrics

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

As Chris Cosper detailed in a previous post, we have the ability to record 3 types of metrics in our Rhythm cloud based strategy platform:

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards

Virtual Strategic Planning Sessions: 7 Tips for Great Strategic Zoom Meetings

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Sun, Nov 29, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

If you are like many of our clients, you may be considering adjusting travel plans for your team in the midst of the concern surrounding COVID-19. This will obviously have a big impact on most businesses, which makes it more important than ever to prioritize your team’s quarterly planning meeting. You’ll need to spend time thinking about the impacts to your team and your business, so even if you are canceling travel, don’t cancel your session!  This is likely to be the most important virtual strategy session in the history of your company - even if you can't meet face to face.  You need to be agile to respond to the ever-changing market conditions while creating your 3-5 year strategic plans.  

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

OKRs vs KPIs: What’s the Difference and Why You Need Both. [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 @ 11:20 AM

As a training and on-boarding expert at Rhythm Systems, I know a lot about KPIs. Recently, I’ve also learned a lot about OKRs. Many of my newer clients have come to us for a systematic way to implement their OKRs. As I help these clients map their goals into our software, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether the KPIs I know and love have a place in this world of Objectives and Key Results. I’ve come to the conclusion that while KPIs and OKRs are different, there’s a clear benefit to having both.  They are both instrumental in goal setting and performance management.

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

How to Prepare for An Effective 2021 Strategic Planning Session [Video]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

At this point in the year, many companies are gearing up to plan for the next year as part of their strategic planning process. 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 strategic objectives and really think about where you may need to make additional investments to grow your business over the next year in this strategy meeting. 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.  The strategic planning session is an important part of your annual meeting to ensure your plan will help you hit your goals.

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

KPI Audit: Measure What Matters in 2021 Audit KPIs with Examples

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Nov 25, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

It may still feel like the middle of winter to some, but you might find that it is time to do some spring-cleaning when it comes to your KPIs. We recommend tracking no more than 8-12 KPIs at a time for each team, but we’ve noticed that some of our clients get trapped by what we call “KPI creep.” They may start with a list that makes sense for their business, and then over time, the KPIs just get rolled over from one quarter to the next and one year to the next, and they keep adding to the list as they develop new critical numbers or want to move the needle on different metrics. Before too long, their KPI dashboard is like that nightmare closet; you know, like your teenager’s closet, when you open the door and stuff falls out on your head because it is just so full and disorganized.  If this is happening to you, you need to perform a KPI Audit to get back to measuring what matters.

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Brand Promise Examples: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Your Brand Promise is the commitment to your customers that really matters to them and differentiates you from your competition.  It is one of the most important building blocks help you win more of the right customers by helping you focus on how you sell your product/service to your Core Customer. 

What makes a Brand Promise “good” is not only its appeal to your Core Customer and its ability to help you close sales with them, but also your ability to consistently deliver on that promise.  It will let all of your customers know what to expect from your company.  You'll find that most of the brand promise examples listed below you are already familiar with as they clearly define the what the brand promises the customer and is used heavily in their marketing as it completely aligns with their brand.

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth

What We Learned about Remote Meetings by Planning a Virtual Conference

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 16, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

The feedback surveys are still rolling in, but I can say without a doubt that our first virtual conference was a success! Our amazing clients (and our generous CEO who matched contributions) raised enough money for Samaritan’s Feet to provide shoes and COVID kits for 1,200 children. We heard inspiring keynotes and gained insights from client speakers sharing stories on everything from the future of the physical office to the challenges of innovating during a crisis. We had some fun, and we learned a ton—and not just from the content.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

Focus: How to Keep Your Teams from Being Consumed by Countless Distractions

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Nov 3, 2020 @ 11:12 AM

For many, our current environment is more distracting than any other time in our work lives. With a pandemic raging, a U.S. election looming, and economic uncertainty lurking, there are lots of competing priorities for your employees’ time and attention. If your employees are working remotely, they may be working in uncomfortable spaces without the right equipment, navigating remote learning challenges with children, or figuring out shared schedules with partners or roommates. Even if your team is back in the office, they are likely distracted by new protocols for social distancing and mask wearing, worrying about the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones, concerned about being furloughed or a myriad of other distractions. 

Read More

Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Write an Inspiring 2021 Annual Plan Using a Destination Postcard (Infographic)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Sun, Nov 1, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

I bet you’re not going into Annual Planning this year thinking, “Gee, I’d really like to have a pretty slow year where our company doesn’t accomplish much.” I bet you have big dreams for the year ahead - important initiatives you want to kick off, lofty revenue goals you’re shooting for, new products you want to launch or customers or acquisitions you can’t wait to land.

Read More

OKR vs KPI vs MBO: What the Best Goals Types Have in Common

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Oct 30, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Businesses looking to implement goal setting best practices are often drowning in a sea of acronyms that can be hard to navigate. What’s better - MBOs or OKRs? Where do KPIs fit in? Should I have SMART goals or stretch goals or something else? There are lots of tools and frameworks and different acronyms out there, but there are some key elements of effective goal-setting that underlie all of the most effective business and performance management goals.

First, let’s clarify the terminology a little bit. I’ll give a brief explanation of what MBOs, OKRs, and KPIs are and what the pros and cons may be for each.

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Top 10 Business Problems CEOs are Facing Today [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Oct 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

At Rhythm Systems, we specialize in helping middle market companies achieve their dreams and goals. We believe that we can make a big impact on the world by helping our clients be successful in bringing their vision to life. We do this by using our methodology, experts and tools to help clients break through barriers and remove obstacles to their success.

In order to understand those obstacles better, we collected insights from over 900 CEOs about their biggest business challenges. We wanted to know what was keeping you up at night, and we found the results fascinating.

Top 10 Business Challenges Facing Today's CEOs:

Growth

By far, the most common business challenge reported is related to growth.  CEOs worry about managing growth and growing predictably.

People

Next, CEOs are concerned about hiring, employee engagement, accountability, leadership and performance management.

Profit

Maintaining profitability and healthy cash flow is another very common theme from our middle market CEOs.  

Sales and Marketing

Consistently delivering sales and marketing results came up frequently as a top challenge.  How do you get the team to work cross-functionally?

Execution

Successfully executing new strategies, projects, and plans.  How do you organize and lead the change initiatives across the company?

Alignment

CEOs also report that aligning business units and people is a significant struggle.  Getting on the same page is hard and staying on the same page in the fast paced business world is even harder.  You need a system to keep the team aligned.

Planning

Developing the right strategic plan for future growth and effectively facilitating an effective planning meeting were among the top concerns.

Communication

CEOs additionally reported internal communication and collaboration as significant business challenges.  This is even more challenging during the times of remote work, where communication and alignment also suffer if you don't have an operating system for your business.

Focus

Focusing on doing the right things to achieve clearly defined results.  Priorities often change with changing business conditions, but management doesn't get their teams focused on the priorities for today, causing lots of re-work.

Strategy

Developing and executing the right product, customer and growth strategies is also a top of mind as a challenge for CEOs.  Many find extreme benefits in hiring a strategic planning facilitator for their expertise in getting an actionable strategy for the company and plans how to get there.

Read More

Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Preparation is Key: 21 Quotes to Inspire Your Planning Process

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Oct 29, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Over the last few months, my husband and I have been re-watching AMC’s Mad Men, a show we started a long time ago and never finished in the flood of other enticing streaming content and demands of life with two small kids. While there is plenty of workplace behavior on this show that I by no means endorse, every once in a while, Don Draper drops in with a quote that makes me think. For example, in one episode, he says to his apprentice, Peggy, who’s struggling to come up with an idea for a client, “Just think about it deeply. Then forget it. And an idea will…jump up in your face.”

It got me thinking about how critical it is to prepare well for strategic planning, especially as most of our clients are in the midst of Q4 and Annual Planning. You can’t just show up in the meeting and hope inspiration will strike, and you’ll create the perfect strategy for navigating this challenging environment filled with uncertainty. You need to put the time in to really think, prepare well and clear your head in advance. Maybe then, with the right preparation and when you least expect it, inspiration will strike.

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

How to Conduct a Meeting Audit to Eliminate Waste

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Oct 29, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Take a look at your calendar. If you’re like most executives, you’re booked up with meetings weeks in advance. As we all know, meetings can sometimes be a real waste of time. At Rhythm Systems, we help our clients establish the right rhythm or cadence of meetings and use best practices to ensure the time spent in meetings is valuable. We believe that our Daily Huddles, Weekly Team Meetings, Monthly Meetings, Quarterly Planning, Annual Planning, and ongoing think rhythms help your company (and each of you) work more effectively, solve problems more proactively, and make critical adjustments so you can achieve success. That being said, you probably have some meetings on your calendar that you wonder, “What’s the point?"

Read More

Topics: Strategy Execution, Effective Meetings

Breakthrough 2020: Key Insights and Takeaways

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Oct 27, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

One of the best parts of our annual Breakthrough Conference is getting our Rhythm community together to live our core values of Keep Smart, Be Appreciative, Family is a Blessing, No TDC (Thinly Disguised Contempt) and Go the Second Mile. This year’s conference looked considerably different—while we weren’t able to showcase our southern hospitality by having our guests come to Charlotte and enjoy time together in person, we did have an amazing virtual learning experience last week.

Our first virtual conference was a whirlwind of amazing content, and I’ll be thinking about some of the presentations for a long time to come! We heard from amazing speakers and learned a ton from the attendees, as well. In the spirit of our Keep Smart core value, I’m here to share some of our audience’s key takeaways.

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

The Psychology of Goal Setting & Why You Can't Skip Planning

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Oct 8, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Many companies are tempted to power through the end of the year and see what happens. That approach could prove catastrophic for your business. Your people need to set goals for themselves; you can’t skip the planning process and hope to end 2020 successfully. As we head into 2020, be sure to slow down and engage in a team planning process to set goals together or you risk squandering focus and engagement in addition to missing the opportunity to end a difficult year on top.

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Improve Team Mental Health with Your Weekly Meeting

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Oct 6, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

A recent survey from SHRM found, "Work-related concerns left more than 40 percent of employees feeling hopeless, burned out or exhausted as they grapple with lives altered by COVID-19.” The survey found that younger workers (Generation Z) and women were more likely to report symptoms of depression, and only 7% of those experiencing symptoms had reached out to a mental health professional for help. As a leader in your company, your team’s mental health should be a top concern; your company can’t emerge from this crisis strong and ready for the future without a team that’s mentally fit.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

How to Keep Team Productivity High While Working from Home [VIDEO]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Oct 1, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

In March, when many teams moved to work from home for the first time, I heard a lot of questions from clients about how to know if their teams were still producing. After all these months, the results probably speak for themselves—as in, you know by now if team members have found ways to work productively outside of the office, and you hopefully have addressed performance issues with anyone who hasn't.

The questions are different now; the focus has shifted from, “How do you know if they are productive?” to “How can we keep them productive for the long haul?” As the reality sets in that many workplaces will remain at least partially remote well into next year, leaders are wondering about how to keep workers healthy, happy and productive in their new work environments over time.

Read More

Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Why are KPIs Important? How to Choose the Right Key Performance Indicators

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Measuring the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is vital to the health and success of your business. However, when we onboard new clients, we find that some of them are uncertain about what they should be measuring and how they can use these powerful tools.  They often ask "Why do we need KPIs?" or "Why use KPIs?" or "Why are KPIs important" as they think their way of doing things isn't broken.  Effective KPIs are important metrics to make sure that you can accomplish any business objective.

Read More

Topics: KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution

Monthly Meeting Agenda Template [Updated]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

One of the many things I get to do in my role here at Rhythm Systems is work with our CEO Patrick Thean to coordinate and run our monthly management team meetings. This monthly meeting is a key component for our leadership team’s success; it gets us all aligned, it reinforces and enhances our company culture, it engages and re-focuses our leaders, and it is a great way for us to learn together each month.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

Breakthrough 2020 Goes Virtual: What to Expect

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Sep 23, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Our first-ever virtual Breakthrough Conference is just a few weeks away! Here's a sneak peek so you know what to expect from this can’t-miss event.

Read More

Topics: Increasing Sales, Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Strategic Planning: Examples of What to Start, Stop and Keep Doing for 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Sep 17, 2020 @ 10:03 AM

It may seem daunting to tackle your Strategic Annual Planning session for 2021. With so much uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic, economic crisis, and upcoming election, it may be tempting for some company leaders to postpone planning. The temptation is understandable; nobody wants to waste time crafting a detailed annual plan that will have to be scrapped in Q1, which happened to many of us in 2020.

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

Done! How to Close Out a Quarter

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Sep 15, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As we wrap up Q3 and move on to Q4, I’ve had a lot of conversations with clients and my team about the best practices for closing out a quarter. Typically, we focus a lot of time and energy on planning for a new quarter…but what about closing out the one that’s finishing?

In order to get better at planning and execution, it’s a critical step to pause and reflect on the goals you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the quarter. How’d you do? Was your plan too ambitious? Not bold enough? What adjustments would you make if you had it to do again?

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Communication and Empathy Are Key to Leading Mid-Crisis

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Sep 11, 2020 @ 11:04 AM

I have two small children sleeping quietly (for once) as I write this a little before 6 am. While the COVID-19 crisis has been hard for everyone—especially those who have been sick or lost loved ones or livelihoods—I know firsthand just how challenging it has been for working parents with small children. In the early days, when preschool and daycare were closed, I was trying to distract them with a movie long enough to get through a Zoom call or two and that would inevitably lead to a game of “push mama’s buttons,” both figuratively and literally, in which I’d have to hold the computer above my head so they didn’t hang up the Zoom.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

A Players: Attracting, Engaging and Keeping Topgrading A Players

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

If you read our blog often, you know that we are fans of Topgrading, and we frequently talk about hiring and developing A Players. In a previous post, I gave an example of one of our clients who did an audit of all of their employees and created a KPI for “% of A Players.” If you aren’t familiar with Topgrading, you might be wondering about this term - “A Players.” What does it mean?

Read More

Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Big Hairy Audacious Goals: Classic BHAG Examples (Still Relevant in 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

I recently re-read the classic HBR article entitled "Building Your Company's Vision" by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, and I was struck by the great examples they gave to illustrate different types of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). If you are asking yourself "What is a BHAG?" or struggling to come up with an audacious goal for the first time, these examples will help you get started as it is a powerful tool to align your company around a single mission statement. These may also be helpful if you are working with your team to reset after accomplishing your 10-25 year visionary goal. Don't let your team fall into the trap of complacency after reaching the finish line of one BHAG (pronounced bee hag); celebrate your success, and then reset. Having a long term, a visionary goal is a habit of successful companies that becomes the unifying focal point of effort that aligns your team and gets everyone excited is the only way your company will continue to grow with purpose and increase team spirit.

Download a free BHAG guide to help you create and align your company around a  single strategic vision

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth

How CEOs Prepare for an Effective Quarterly Planning Session

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Excited. Ready. Anxious. Eager. Let’s go!

Worried. Tired. Stressed. Done. Overwhelmed.

At the end of a meeting, we usually recommend closing with an exercise where everyone in the room shares one word on how they are feeling leaving the meeting. When you get to the end of your next Quarterly Planning Session, you don’t want to hear the second set of closing remarks. You want the team to leave feeling energized and ready to take on the next 90 days. Successfully achieving your strategy may hinge on it.

Read More

Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

OKR Spreadsheet: Why You Should Upgrade Your OKR Game

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

I’ve just finished reading John Doerr’s book, Measure What Matters: OKRs - The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth, and it is full of really practical goal-setting tips and great stories from real companies like Intel, Google, and even a few smaller companies. What struck me throughout the book, though, is that the companies in many of these stories rely on spreadsheets, documents saved in company intranets, or even Post-it Notes hung up in their offices (and in one story, by the toilet) for communicating the goals. Using a spreadsheet or paper-based process for OKRs is like parking your Ferrari on a busy street under a tree on garbage day. Why would you risk ruining something so beautiful as a well-written goal with poor communication and accountability?

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth

Daily Huddle Meeting Template and Examples from Real Companies Just Like Yours

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

What is a huddle meeting?  The daily huddle meeting has been common practice for many companies for ages. No matter your industry (manufacturing, healthcare, technology, etc.) or size, a daily team huddle can be a good idea to increase alignment, communication, and productivity for your teams. According to an article in Inc magazine, huddles "keep companies focused on the same strategic goals, ensure timely answers to pressing questions, and enforce team accountability because everyone knows what everyone else is up to."  The face to face time every 24 hours keeps team members aligned and on task.

Read More

Topics: Effective Meetings

Why You Need a Facilitator to Drive Your Virtual Strategic Planning Process [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Aug 18, 2020 @ 10:55 AM

Many unknowable things can happen between now and the beginning of 2021. One thing we do know is that when next year hits, you will need to hit the ground running on your company’s strategic plan. Whether you are in a position to capitalize on new opportunities or looking to survive cuts and turn the ship around, this could not be a more critical time for your business. Your planning process for 2021 may be the most important one you ever undertake.

Read More

Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

End of content

No more posts to load

Book your personalized demo

Or Pick a Date Now