Execute Strongly by Being Accountable. Use Dashboards on a Weekly Do Rhythm

By Patrick Thean

Guest Satisfaction Scores. Hotels live and die by them. Hotel management and operating companies like White Lodging even more so. Dave Sibley, CEO of White Lodging Hospitality Management, understood that every hotel’s GSS (guest satisfaction survey) score was a key leading indicator for the success of that hotel. “We know the GSS score is key. But with 160 hotels and multiple layers of management, it just seemed like a huge challenge to get everyone focused on it. And we didn’t really know if people were taking actions quickly when things got off track.” Bryan Hayes, their COO, concurred “We were reporting the GSS scores every week and we thought they were going to get better, but we were not sure exactly what was being Rhythm Systems Weekly Meetingsdone at each hotel to get better.”

This was before White Lodging got onto a consistent Do Rhythm. They now have a consistent rhythm to systematically review how things are going compared to their plan and to make adjustments to keep the plan on track. They do this every week. And they do it with dashboards!

These weekly meetings are not status meetings. These are Weekly Adjustment Meetings. These are meetings to do the work and make decisions. This is an important shift. You’re probably already spending this time having ad hoc discussions and meetings in hallways. But you aren’t getting to the most effective decisions efficiently. These meetings allow healthy teams to work together and reach solutions faster than working on their own. You don’t have to meet about the work. You meet to do the work.

At White Lodging, their Weekly Adjustment Meeting now equips their teams with the ability to prevent fires instead of engaging in fire fighting. If you practice this rhythm, you will make adjustments in the fourth, fifth or sixth week of the quarter instead of fighting the fires of crisis in the tenth or eleventh week of the quarter. As managers and leaders, we need to do the hard work of holding our team accountable to get the work done. It is our job to inspect what we expect. And it is hard work! The Do Rhythm coupled with dashboards will help you focus your team and keep them accountable to do the work and deliver results. 

Using dashboards to track and share your progress also promotes self-accountability. Everyone should be accountable to keeping the plan on track for the quarter. Everyone needs to remain focused in order for the team to win their 13-Week Race (read about the 13-Week Race in a previous blog post). Self-accountability is key to an effective Do Rhythm. To build self-accountability in your team, you must be transparent about how the work is coming along. To do this, make sure that you have clear Red-Yellow-Green success criteria for every priority. Then, use dashboards as a tool to achieve results. Focus on developing solutions when any status turns yellow or red. 

Red-Yellow-Green (RYG) success criteria and dashboards are the foundation of a process of accountability and adjustments. Why do I use the word "foundation"?  With RYG, we can agree with our teams on what success and failure looks like for the agreed priorities in an objective way. With dashboards, we can then communicate status on priorities transparently. Combined, the two (RYG and Dashboards) allow us to have discussions and help each other solve problems by taking the right actions or making the right adjustments. Think about accountability as the process that allows us to compare where we are to the plan so that we can help each other make the right adjustments and succeed. When we do this as soon as we discover a problem, we give ourselves the best chance of having a successful quarter. When you think of dashboards as action-oriented tools for making adjustments, not head-whacking clubs, your teams catapult to a new level of performance.

I believe that teaching self-accountability in a low-drama way is one way that leaders can help guide our team members to think about solutions to problems. Here are a couple of tips to help you:

  • Encourage transparency, no matter what: If it’s Red, it’s Red. The faster the team learns its Red, the faster the team can work toward making the adjustments and getting the priority or KPI back into healthy Green. When roadblocks arise, encourage people to status red or yellow early instead of hiding the problem and trying to solve it alone. Everyone should status objectively, according to the RYG criteria, not on how he or she feels about the priority.
  • Focus on the problems, not the people: It is hard to encourage transparency when you are whacking the head that was transparent. People are not Red. KPIs and priorities are Red—or Green or Yellow.
  • Use a Business Management System with dashboards to automate and provide you with the discipline needed to have a strong weekly rhythm. A good system will provide you with a simple way to build your weekly rhythm of reviewing, discussing and doing the work based on insights coming from your dashboards.

Learn to build focus, alignment and accountability; read Execute Without Drama by Patrick Thean

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Patrick Thean


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