How Rhythm Helps You to Control Execution and Stay Focused

By Patrick Thean

The job description of a CEO seems endless. He or she is responsible for the company’s vision, strategy,Rhythm_Execution people, recruiting, product or services, sales, customer satisfaction, and on top of all that usually has to report to a board or group of investors. Wow. No wonder we don’t get much sleep! What if we viewed our responsibilities a little differently? What if we focused on the 2 most important levers we have as CEOs and allowed the rest of our executive team members to lead the company?

I believe that the CEO should focus on two things: First, recruit and retain the best people that are best suited for your company. Second, know your vision or strategy and how it translates to good execution plans. If there is poor communication and execution, that’s when you end up spending all your time putting our fires all over the company.  

Game Changer for CEOs

At a recent quarterly planning session, a client of mine, Jeff, shared with me that Rhythm was a game changer for him. I know our software is powerful and our consultants are amazing, but I was curious to know what made it a game changer for him. He shared with me the following Rhythm capabilities that streamline execution and improve communication to free up time to focus on the right things: 

  • Rhythm allows him to review and collaborate with his executive team and General Managers every week in just a couple hours.
  • He is able to quickly identify issues and obstacles and focus his energy to remove them.
  • He is able to collaborate with team members across the United States by using comments and asking questions to solve problems and remove obstacles.
  • Rhythm also allows him to drill in further to see what other team members are doing and either point to the right manager to help them when they are stuck, or even ask them some questions in Rhythm to help get them unstuck.

Jeff didn’t discover this overnight. He got there by working with his executive team every quarter to build a 13-Week Race and communicating that plan to his General Managers and Division Heads to make sure everyone knows their role in achieving their quarterly goals. Then, every week everyone provides an update to forecast whether or not they are on track to achieve their goals for the quarter. 

They use a few simple communication processes to bring teams together to collaborate and solve problems, and they do this cross functionally.

Here are a couple of their communication processes:

  • All priorities or KPIs that have been statused red or yellow must be accompanied with a comment to share what the problem is. If you have a suggested solution, provide that as well.
  • When you have been alerted to a comment, you must reply and begin a discussion to help your teammate get past the obstacle.

These two processes help to hold everyone accountable and open clear lines of communication. It’s not about whacking heads if you encounter obstacles and have red or yellow statuses. It’s about reacting quickly to obstacles and issues as a team to get unstuck. it’s about focusing as a team on what has to happen for everyone to be successful and working cross-functionally to achieve success together.  

Jeff spends a couple hours every Monday reviewing every executive’s dashboard and comments. He gets all of his management work done and keeps everyone accountable in a couple of short hours each week, which frees up the rest of his week to think and work on his two levers - developing stronger people and thinking about how his firm’s strategies can be achieved.   

If you could manage your team this way, how would you spend your extra 20-30 hours a week?  Are you spending your time and energy on your people and executing your vision? You need to recruit and develop your people and proactively continue to build your culture. The company vision isn’t something you assess once a year during your annual planning. You need to stay on the balls of your feet monitoring trends and communicating your vision to the company to make sure all departmental goals are aligned.  

If you are a CEO, what can you do to streamline your management and execution to achieve great performance so that you have lots of energy for people and strategy? Jeff found his game changer in having a strong rhythm of execution. Ready to for your game changer? Give us a call, we’d love to help!

Executive Summary from Patrick Thean's book Rhythm


Photo Credit: Flickr User Sebastiaan ter Burg, CC License

Patrick Thean


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images