Coming Back from the Dreaded Yellow Status

By Tiffany Chepul

dateWed, Aug 14, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Here we are at the halfway mark for Q3 - it's hard to believe!  I'm just finishing up the mid-quarter analysis on my clients' Rhythm EnergyMaps, and am noticing a trend - so many Yellows! 

We all know how to celebrate the Greens and SuperGreens.  We all know major adjustments need to happen to right the Reds.  But what's the protocol for those ho-hum, middle of the road, "maybe it's stuck and maybe it's not" Yellows?  How do we escape mediocrity as a team?

The good news is there are still several weeks left in the quarter.  Acting now will still leave enough time to reap positive rewards on those Yellows.  They key is focusing on the right things.  Below is a process for solving Yellow Priorities:

Solve Yellow Priorities

- Pick your battles.  At the next weekly meeting, instead of discussing every Yellow on the board, pick one or two for a deep dive discussion.  Which ones, if they were Green, would have the largest impact on your Critical Numbers or Quarterly Theme?

- Plan your attack.  Once you've picked  1 or 2 Yellows to focus on, discuss deeply as a team and map out the path to Green.  Who needs to do what by when?  Call on all brains in the room and record Who, What, Whens with Due Dates in Rhythm for accountability.

- Follow through.  Continue to focus on those items for the rest of the quarter.  At weekly meetings, hold the team accountable to the plans you made.  Look at the data.  Are your assumptions holding true?  Do you need to adjust?

If you are battling mediocrity in your KPIs, you can certainly deploy the method above.  However, it might be helpful to use another KPI to help solve the problem. 

For example, your # of New Customers KPI is consistently Yellow.  It's not Red, so it's been flying under the radar and, quite frankly, has not gotten much attention. Your #1 Critical Number is Revenue, however, and it too is just missing the mark. The team decides to solve the # of New Customers Yellow in hopes of reaching their Revenue target.  You've decided where to focus, developed a plan and recorded some action steps for improving the # of New Customers.  Now, do you have the right leading indicator KPIs in place to provide you an early warning system to confirm your plans are working?

In this example, the team decides the way to increase New Customers is to launch a referral program with existing customers through social media.  In order to tell if their plan is working, the team establishes a temporary KPI to help them: # of Referrals.  Referrals are a leading indicator of # of New Customers.  If Referrals go up, New Customers should also go up.  If Referrals go up, but New Customers don't, the team knows they need to try something else.  It is key to face brutal facts, test your assumptions, and be nimble.

Patrick Thean's Book: Execute Without Drama

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Tiffany Chepul


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