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Rhythm Blog

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

Align Your Leaders and Engage Your Employees with Monthly Meetings

Jessica Wishart Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 12:30 PM

For many companies, the idea of the monthly management meeting can feel like a burden in an already overly scheduled calendar. Why is this meeting, in the midst of so many other meetings, important?

This monthly leadership meeting with employees is your key to building the team, learning together, solving problems, working on specific issues, and reinforcing your company’s culture, initiatives and goals. 

How to Leverage Your Business Core Competencies to Create a Competitive Advantage

Alan Gehringer Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

I have helped many companies identify and leverage their core competencies through the years, and doing this can really make a difference in the products or services you provide to your customer. Core competence is a concept introduced by C.K. Prahalad, professor at the University of Michigan, and Gary Hamel, management expert and founder of Strategos. They define it as “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace.”

25 KPI Examples For Manufacturing Companies (Updated for 2019)

Jessica Wishart Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 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.

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

Manufacturing KPI Examples

Classic BHAG Examples (Still Relevant in 2019)

Jessica Wishart Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

I recently re-read the 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 align your company around a single  strategic vision.

The Value of Strategic Thinking and Planning: A More Robust Annual Plan

Cathy McCullough Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 11:30 AM

Regardless of size, all businesses require strategic thinking to grow. Many leaders consider strategic thinking (and the subsequent execution of their strategic plan) as one of the most challenging leadership tasks. So many times, though, leaders confuse strategic thinking and strategic planning with being tactical and task-oriented. 

While strategic thinking involves these two principles, it is not restricted to them. Rather, strategic thinking is the process of thinking, planning, and doing the work that will lead your company toward your preferred future. 

21 Production KPI Examples to Improve Manufacturing Performance (Updated for 2019)

Alan Gehringer Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

It is important to grow the top line of your business on an annual basis, but you also need to make sure the bottom line is healthy which can help fund that growth. This is particularly important if you are a manufacturing company and need to be efficient in your production process. In most cases, the two biggest expenses in your manufacturing business are labor and raw materials. There are exceptions, of course, in machine intensive automated manufacturing environments, but let’s focus on the former. So how can we make sure the production line is running at peak performance? One very effective way is to put the right balance of production KPIs in place. Some of these are leading indicator KPIs that help provide insight into future performance and some are results KPIs that tell you how you have done. It is good to have both, although I always prefer giving my production managers a good set of leading indicator KPIs as these drive the results.

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

Here are some of my favorite KPIs and metrics that I used when I ran or set up manufacturing companies.

The Right KPIs to Prevent M&A Failure

Tiffany Chepul Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are not for the faint of heart. Any CEO who has navigated those waters will tell you it is a tremendous challenge to blend cultures, systems, processes and teams successfully. The statistic is 70-90% of M&A's fail -- that's a scary number! Instead of focusing on that metric, let's talk about numbers we should be measuring around M&A.

Every acquisition deal starts with an incredible amount of due diligence. Are the cultures and values compatible? Do the product lines and customer bases support each other? Do the numbers work and take us down a path of growth? Ultimately, if the deal goes through, benefits have been seen by both parties. Now, it's up to the newly-merged company to both preserve the current value of the organization and meet growth projections. It's a delicate balance.  

Effective Goal Setting 101: How to Write an Effective SMART Goal [Infographic]

Jessica Wishart Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

Successful SMART goal (priority) setting is an essential skill for both personal and professional success. If you aren’t setting goals, you’re likely not making progress. However, research by the University of Scranton found that 92% of people who set New Year's resolutions never achieve them.

Business goals don't fare much better; 67% of great strategies fail due to poor execution. Writing an effective goal will increase your chances of successfully achieving that goal, or quarterly rock. Fortunately, goal-setting is a skill that you can learn and improve.

Here are 6 Easy Steps to Writing Effective Goals and Priorities:

Do You Know the Difference Between Manufacturing Productivity and Efficiency?

Alan Gehringer Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

Two key concepts in manufacturing that often get misconstrued or even used synonymously are productivity and efficiency. Do you know what the difference is? Despite these two words pertaining to improving the production process of a manufacturing, agriculture, or service sector company, they refer to different things. Once you think about the differences, you can better utilize productivity and efficiency in your business. 

4 Steps to A Great Skip-Level Meeting and 17 Questions to Ask

Ted Skinner Sun, Mar 31, 2019 @ 09:00 AM

What is a skip-level meeting?

As defined in an article by Jared Lewis, "In a skip-level meeting, upper-level management bypasses mid-level management to talk directly to non-managerial employees. Although there's not typically a special position known as a 'skip-level manager,' senior managers conducting these types of meetings are considered skip-level managers."  The manager meets with employees to try to better understand their team members, build trust in the organization and get a better sense of the work environment challenges facing your front line employees.  Skip level meetings for employees are just as important as they are for managers, and both should be well prepared prior to the meeting.