One of the best parts about my job is getting to see clients have that "ah-ha" moment in Rhythm - the moment the software and the methodology come together and the client just gets it and sees the tremendous value. However, it takes some clients longer to get to this moment than others. In trying to figure this out, I've come to realize that part of it is human nature. Like any new process or software system, implementing Rhythm requires the team to make some changes. People struggle with change, even positive change.
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?
I recently heard Charles Duhigg, author of the best seller The Power of Habit, speak about the science behind his book. It’s really fascinating how our brains work, and how we can use his work to create healthier habits for ourselves and for our teams. We all know that change is hard, and changing behaviors that have become automatic (aka habits) is even harder.
You’ve done all the research. You’ve compiled a spreadsheet full of requirements, Googled until your eyes crossed, talked to sales reps, done demos and free trials, worked out a budget, created the business case, made recommendations to your team, and you are ready to pull the trigger on a new software solution. Now, the decision is made so the hard part is done, right? Wrong!
The reality is that rolling out a new system, tool, or discipline in your business can be a headache. Even if it is something that will help your team succeed in the long run and end up saving them lots of time, change is hard. Organizational change management is not an overnight process. New habits take time, and the temptation is always there to fall back on what’s familiar—those well-worn, neural pathways have a comforting draw. According to an article in Forbes, "For the brain to rewire itself, it requires sustained practice of a new behavior..." Sustained practice takes discipline—that's not easy. As a leader, you have to take the long view and find ways to bring the rest of the organization along with you. Effective change management requires a leader to navigation all four stages during the change management process.
How many leaders think about themselves as corporate athletes? How many of us spend time sharpening our saw, as Stephen Covey taught? How many expect our teams to deliver high performance?
If we want to be highly successful and productive, we have to be intentional about how we go about achieving peak performance and creating the right environment for our teams to perform at the top of their potential. Whether it is taking care of our physical bodies by getting enough sleep, exercise, and good nutrition; staying mentally sharp and smart; practicing stress management and team building; or keeping ahead of the competition by innovating, eliminating waste, or expanding into new products or markets, there are many paths to achieve peak performance.
Most leaders intellectually understand the importance of creating an empowered team. They can see the upside of being called upon less frequently to put out fires for others and the connection between empowerment and accountability and between employee engagement and productivity. According to an article in Forbes, "Employees who felt a low level of empowerment were rated with engagement at the 24th percentile, whereas those with a high level of empowerment were at the 79th percentile.” Those empowered employees also reported significantly higher discretionary effort; "only 4% of employees are willing to give extra effort when empowerment is low but 67% as willing when empowerment is high.” Most leaders agree empowering the team is important.
At Rhythm Systems, I have had the opportunity to work on several exciting cross-functional projects to help our company move forward. I’ve been part of the team that built our Certification program, part of a team that evaluated, selected and implemented a new CRM, part of the team that’s wrote our best selling business book, Predictable Results, to name just a few. While juggling these growth priorities with my day job can be challenging, these projects typically bear amazing fruit and deepen my relationships with coworkers in other departments. I view them as a way to challenge myself, improve my current skills, and develop in new areas. Based on my own positive experiences with cross-departmental teamwork, I was surprised to read the results of Behnam Tarbrizi’s study in the Harvard Business Review: “75% of Cross-Functional Teams are Dysfunctional.”
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. 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.
It sounds so simple. But, I was just discussing scaling up meeting rhythms with one of my colleagues, and she told me that it took her last company three years to get into a cadence of meetings that actually accelerated their team's progress! They learned through a lot of trial and error (and probably a lot of wasted time in meetings that were unnecessary and some productive time lost catching up in hallway conversations when a meeting was needed but didn't happen).
At Rhythm Systems, we are all about helping companies and teams achieve their dreams and goals.
We have the right systems and skills to help them remain focused, aligned and accountable to getting things done. Developing accountable leaders and teams is a big piece of the puzzle for companies that want to consistently achieve their growth goals. You can be lucky for a while, but for sustained, predictable success, you need the right people operating off the right playbook.