At our annual Rhythm Systems Breakthrough Conference in Charlotte this year, we had the opportunity to survey our audience of over 150 mid-market executives and ask the question, “What are the top 8 business challenges for mid-market companies?” The term “mid-market” refers to the size of a company based on its annual revenue, usually between $10 - $500 million. It may seem like a big swing to go from $10 million to $500 million, but not so big when you consider that only 3% of all companies ever make it past the $10 million mark.
Rhythm Blog | Accountable Leaders & Teams
by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team
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 day or half-day meeting is your key to building the team, learning together, solving problems, working on specific issues, and reinforcing your company’s culture, initiatives and goals.
CEOs are constantly being pulled in a million directions - they have shareholders, partners, investors, employees, customers, industry groups, community stakeholders and other constituents (not to mention family and personal relationships) to answer to on a daily basis. Even if you are somehow balancing all of these demands, running a successful business, and leading your team effectively, you still may not be doing everything you need to do as a CEO. According to a recent study by Harvard researchers, “It’s vital for CEOs to block off meaningful amounts of uninterrupted time alone, to give themselves space to think, reflect, and prepare.”
This idea of spending alone time “thinking” is counterintuitive to many CEOs, who may have gotten where they are today by working longer and harder than those around them. Taking time out of the rat race to think could be considered a weakness by some executive leaders. But, on the contrary, the research clearly indicates that this think time is an absolute necessity for CEOs.
We've all heard it... "Why doesn't Jane just do what I've asked her to do!?" or "How can I hold Tom accountable?" Chances are, if you lead a team, you have had similar frustrations. More often than not, the Janes and Toms of the world aren't coming to work everyday looking for ways to disappoint their bosses. Typically, they are good, hard-working, smart people or you wouldn't have hired them in the first place. So, where's the disconnect? Why are they causing you such frustration?
As a leader, it is your responsibility to create a culture where accountability can thrive. You have to build and reinforce the right conditions for your team to be able to succeed. As individuals, the Toms and Janes also have to do their part - to be willing to take responsibility for their results. But they can't do this if you don't do your part to be an accountable leader.
When I was in college, I took a course called “The Meaning of Work” and enrolled in a corresponding internship program following the course. As part of the program, I met weekly with a small group to discuss the work we were doing and reflect on its meaning. I earned a minor in “Faith and Work” as a result and gained experience in the non-profit sector and higher education through my internships. As a Millennial, I was fully indoctrinated in the belief that where I spend the majority of my waking hours should be meaningful in some way and, like many in my cohort, I entered the workforce craving something deeper than a paycheck. As they say, life happens, and my career hasn’t been what I imagined it would be as a 22-year-old college graduate (no surprise there!). But, I do still believe in the importance of finding meaningful work, the critical nature of doing work that matters, that has some purpose deeper than feeding my family and paying the bills. And the research backs me up on this, too.
Studies have found that “employees who derive meaning and significance from their work are much more likely to stay with organizations."
My previous blog shared about how people issues might be mistaken for execution issues. There are a number of reasons why it is difficult to solve people problems in growing companies. Most of these reasons come from an emotional place of fear. Fear paralyzes us even though logically we know that people issues don’t go away with time. They don’t work themselves out. In fact, they usually become much worse. These baby elephants grow quickly into large elephants.
Where should we go to dinner? What time are you waking up? Where do you want to go on vacation? Are you going to the gym before work? Should we pursue this or that business opportunity? How many people should we hire next year? Should we acquire this new company or sign with this new partner? What is our sales goal for next quarter? Should I fly to New York to try to save our biggest client account? How should our team devote our energy for the next 90 days?
Life is a series of decisions, big and small, that impact our lives, families, teams, and companies. If you follow our blog, you know that we talk a lot about the importance of developing and growing as leaders.
If you’re from southeastern USA, you know full well how delicious a hot Krispy Kreme doughnut can be. The anticipation of that sweet savory melting-in-your-mouth moment is something to look forward to.
Recently, while enjoying a long weekend in Boone, NC, my wife realized she had received a coupon from RetailMeNot, an online coupon company from Austin, TX. The coupon was for a free lemon-glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut. I was intrigued. I had never considered a lemon-glazed doughnut, but it sounded like it might be good. Besides, I might get lucky and find the “Hot Doughnuts” sign lit. So off we went. As we approached, “Eureka!” I thought to myself, the “hot doughnuts” sign was lit! This guarantees a great experience just like I remembered.
You go to your doctor every year for a physical, but you rarely do this for your business. As you prepare your team for Annual Planning, it’s a great time for your annual check-up!
Do you feel like there might be some underlying issues as to why your team consistently falls short on execution? Or, that holes in your strategy might be contributing to things just feeling “off” at your company?
We work with hundreds of companies to help them find and address gaps in their strategy and execution using the Think-Plan-Do methodology.