Accountable Leaders & Teams Resources

Are Your Employees Feeling the Love?

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Feb 9, 2021 @ 11:03 AM
As we celebrate Valentine's Day this year, are your team members feeling the love? How's your company culture holding up in today's world where change is constant? Stanford quotes the late, former Zappos CEO Tony Hseih saying, "Our whole belief is that if you get the company culture right, most of the other stuff — like delivering great service or building a long-term, enduring brand — will just happen naturally on its own." 
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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

How CEOs Sustain Team Alignment in a Constantly Changing Environment

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Mon, Feb 1, 2021 @ 11:03 AM

In 1998 I was traveling on I-95, just south of Cocoa Beach, Florida, where brush fires burned along the highway. When I arrived in Fort Lauderdale that night, I watched a news story recounting a chief in the middle of the crisis who was attempting to help his team. The chief identified a need for his team and called in for supplies. A few hours later a box truck arrived at command central. As the driver emerged and then opened the back, the chief happened to be walking by. As the driver began unloading cases of bananas, the chief asked, “What’s that?” The driver replied, “Bananas. Can you believe that in the middle of this mess some idiot ordered cases of bananas?” The chief shot back, “Can you believe in the middle of this mess that some idiot misheard bananas instead of bandanas?” Clearly there was misalignment in the midst of a crisis.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Accountability in Leadership: Build Leadership Accountability with the 5 C's Framework

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Sun, Jan 31, 2021 @ 09:00 AM

From a leadership perspective, there’s a real thirst for increasing leadership accountability. Executives have recently asked me various questions that linger over the concept of building team accountability to help them achieve their strategic plans while creating high performing teams:

“How do I build accountability in teams?

"How do I increase accountability in leadership?"

What else can I do to get people to do what we need them to do?”

“How can I hold a team member to be held accountable and still be seen as a good leader?”

"How do I balance leadership accountability and personal accountability when building a team?"

"Creating a culture of accountability is hard, how do I provide constructive feedback without being the bad guy?"

Building team accountability requires that we understand a few dynamics because it’s more complicated than we might recognize.  It goes beyond the responsibility for the outcomes, which is obviously important, but effective leaders know that they need a culture of accountability in their teams that provide the inputs needed to achieve the expected team performance.  Holding people accountable is one of the most important things that a successful leader does, but it is also one of the hardest.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams, Mergers & Acquisitions

Employee Engagement and Motivation: How to Increase both Motivation AND Engagement

Posted by Ted Skinner on Sun, Jan 31, 2021 @ 09:00 AM

In working with middle market CEOs and their employees and they often wonder about their employee productivity and professional development.  I often find that they are overlooking one of the biggest components of productivity, are your employees engaged or are they motivated?  The team members may be motivated by a bonus and they will be productive, but if a team member is also engaged with their work - and its purpose - they are almost a third more productive.  Let's talk about employee motivation and engagement, as they aren't the same thing.

As an employer, you want your workforce to be both engaged and motivated. With employee engagement at around  15% worldwide and 34% in the United States according to Gallup, it is important to know the difference between employee engagement and motivation.  Engaged employees will decrease your employee turnover rate and you'll have much happier and longer tenured employees!  This reduces training and recruiting costs to help the bottom line over the long term

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Key Performance Indicators for Employees in 2021: Employee KPI Examples

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Sun, Jan 31, 2021 @ 09:00 AM

It is no secret that your people are instrumental to the success of your business. In order to have a great company, you not only have to hire the right people and get them in the right seats as Jim Collins says, you also have to work to retain and engage those people once you have them.  The best companies use key performance indicators for employees to drive performance and ensure that they are getting the most out of their most important investment - their employees.  Having the right set of quality metrics can greatly improve your performance management in creating a high-performing team.

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Lack of Accountability in the Workplace is Costing You

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

In a recent client conversation, a CEO said to me, “He’s really (really) smart, but it’s just hard to hold him accountable. On top of that, he isn’t approachable because he gets really defensive and reminds us all that he knows what he’s doing.” But in reality, the rest of the executive team doesn’t really know what this executive-level leader is doing. His goals are vague, his metrics aren’t really solid measures of success, and he statuses everything “Green” in preparation for their weekly executive team meeting. And, no one wants to challenge him.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

The ROI of Business Coaching: Executive Coaching Statistics (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

My last blog, 6 Excuses for Avoiding an Executive Coach (and Why You Should Think Again) talked about all the negative internal chatter (aka, excuses) we give ourselves for not wanting to have an Executive Coach. That blog also pointed out some of the key business benefits of Executive Coaching. What do some of those benefits actually look like and how do I know if I need executive leadership coaching?  More specifically what is coaching ROI?

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

12 Tips to Engage and Keep Top Talent Infographic in 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Many successful mid-market companies have cracked the hiring code. Perhaps you use a hiring method like Topgrading to ensure that you bring in only the best people - the ones who are superstar contributors and a good fit for your culture and Core Values. But, then what?

In our current economy with the extremely low unemployment rate and the rise in popularity of contract work, your top talent has more options than ever. And, according to Gallup's latest State of the American Workplace Report, 51% of employees say that they are actively looking for other opportunities. You have to give them compelling reasons to stay, or you will just keep wasting resources to hire and train for the same positions over and over again.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Clear Expectations: How Your Employees Know What Success Looks Like

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Dec 21, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

For many, it's time to roll out those 2021 plans and kick off some new initiatives to help your company build back or accelerate growth in the new year. This may present additional challenges in the current environment in which many teams are working remotely or in hybrid scenarios where some are in the office and some are not. Truthfully, even if your team is all together in the same room, getting aligned around your company's new initiatives can still be a big challenge.

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Your Journey to Great Execution in 2021

Posted by Ryan Walcott on Fri, Dec 11, 2020 @ 11:01 AM

How much did misalignment cost your organization in 2020? Misalignment comes from poor planning, and it results in poor execution and missed numbers. The missed numbers happen in many categories: poor customer delivery, lost revenue, employee frustration/bad morale, great people leave the company and the loss of great customers. You don't want your team looking like this one.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution, Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Company Culture Checklist for Remote & Hybrid Teams

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Dec 4, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

We’ve known for a while that an increase in remote work was coming, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Many workers are eager to return to offices (some have already), and many more want to continue working from home for the foreseeable future. Gallup found that 2/3 of the people who have been working remotely due to the pandemic would like to continue doing so.

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Topics: Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

5 Coaching Insights You'll Gain from the Best Executive Coaches

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

The famous mountain climber, Phil Powers, said it best during an interview on NPR’s "This I Believe” segment: “Concentrating on how I move through the world is important. It’s why I reach mountain summits and life goals with energy to spare.”

As a best practice, Powers uses a concept taught to him by his mentor, Paul Petzoldt. Penzoldt recommended a ‘rest’ (i.e., a slight pause) with each climbing step taken. It allows a climber to move swiftly, yet still find a brief pause in every step. The cadence of this sequence creates, in the end, a higher degree of forward-movement with what seems like less effort.

Most leaders dive into leadership without a second thought. I love the optimism that comes when people find themselves suddenly leading people (vs. tasks and initiatives, they’ve been responsible for completing). The problem, though, is that most leaders simply don’t see the impact their leadership approach has on those around them (positive or negative). They don’t pause while climbing the mountain of business objectives for a rest step. They don’t give themselves quick moments of pause that allow for slowing just enough to gain the energy to keep moving forward.

Couple this lack of ‘pause’ with how fast everything moves in today’s world. Every motion, every thought, every piece of information we gain in a 24/7 world makes the concept of ‘pause’ seem ridiculous. It can even make us feel unworthy, lost, and unproductive and some senior leaders aren't wired to slow down to speed up.  Senior leaders learning to skill to stop to think and focus on long term strategy is a huge part of their leadership development.  Executive coaching, and the coaching relationship, is a good way to hold yourself accountable to developing these new habits.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Job Scorecard Examples and Template (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

According to Gallup, only about half of workers in companies worldwide “strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work.” If they don’t know what’s expected, how can they possibly achieve performance goals? If you are a manager, you need to help your team set and achieve goals, and you need to help each person on the team understand exactly what’s expected from him or her. And, you should know exactly what’s expected of you, as well. This is why we recommend doing Job Scorecards (or Employee Scorecards) for each person in the company, starting with the members of the executive team.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Productivity vs Efficiency in Manufacturing: What's the Difference in 2021?

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 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. Read this blog to better understand productivity vs efficiency and how it impacts your manufacturing business. 

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

The 10 Best HR Employee Engagement Metrics and KPIs [Updated for 2021]

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

After recently reviewing thousand of Annual Plans and Quarterly Plans, I can say without a doubt that improving employee engagement seems to be top of mind for everyone this year. How on earth do you keep today's dynamic and diverse employees happy, engaged and productive? It's the million dollar question that we ask ourselves year after year.

According to Gallup, companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147%. Gallup also concluded that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. So, how do you know if your company is on the right side of those statistics?  You need to start measuring employee engagement KPIs this quarter so that you can keep your A Players and reduce employee turnover.  This is not just a function for the human resources department, the best team managers measure employee satisfaction KPIs on their teams.

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Creative Skills - The Top 10 Skills in 2021

Posted by Liz McBride on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

With the emphasis on core subjects in budget crunched public schools, art programs are being asked to pack their paint brushes and go. Isn’t it interesting how creativity has moved from #10 to #3 in the list of Top Skills for 2021, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report?

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

The Test of True Accountability (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Patrick Thean on Sat, Nov 28, 2020 @ 11:45 AM

This happens all the time. You are holding someone accountable to get something done. Yet you find yourself checking in and chasing for an update on what is going on. Constantly. And if you do not remind them to report the current status to you, they continue to mosey on and forget about reporting in. So frustrating! But they are supposed to be truly accountable, right? So why are you chasing them around as though you are the one that is really accountable?

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Engaging Remote Employees: How to Engage Employees That Work from Home

Posted by Ted Skinner on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Employee engagement for remote workers is a huge topic in the market today, especially with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) limiting travel and forcing a large part of the working population to work from home that don't typically do so, throwing their work life balance into chaos. It is difficult enough to engage employees that are in the same office as you, let alone engaging employees virtually. In today’s hectic and fast-paced work environment, organizations need to do everything they can do to create an engaging workplace that helps find, attract and develop A-players no matter where they are located.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

What Should a CEO Focus On?  How CEOs Should Spend Their Time.

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

“Time is an inelastic resource. No matter how high the demand, we cannot rent, hire or buy more of it.”
-Peter Drucker

A Quick Note: This is a lengthy blog, but if you read it you’ll already be spending your time in an area where you should be spending your time (as you’ll see toward the end). So sit back, give yourself the gift of time, and enjoy the read.

A primary focus of my job is to help middle market CEOs and their Executive Officers increase their efficiency while also (and more importantly) increasing their effectiveness. Most all CEOs I work with tend to agree that there’s never enough time in a day to do everything that needs to be done. As their companies grow and hit various ceilings of complexity, CEOs find that they, too, hit their own ceilings of complexity. This realization is all-consuming and inundating, with the end result being a string of behaviors that play out to result in focusing on what’s in front of them—on what they perceive deserves their time and attention at that moment in time (and many times, this intense focus also leads to long—very long—work hours). Interestingly, Harvard Business Review researchers found that the most effective leaders aren't the ones who constantly work a ton of hours each week, but rather the ones who are the most attentive and focused while at work. The intent of most all CEOs is to be attentive and focused, yet the hunger to simply work long hours so they can do more can be a massive beast that slowly devours the most valuable resource CEOs have: Time.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Strategic CEO Coaching for Busy Executives: 6 Excuses to Avoid

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 @ 10:04 AM

If you believe the adage, ‘time is money,’ then you’re saying that the concept of time (and the elapse  of that time) costs you and your company money. Therefore, maximizing that time and using it in the right way matters. Most executives don’t need to work on their literal area of business expertise (although continuous learning is important), but what many fail to recognize is that leadership, too, is a skill. The minute you became a leader, everything shifted. At that moment, you didn’t just have to do the tasks you’ve always done; now you had to also lead people to do what they do best, every single day.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Skip-Level Meeting Questions and Agenda [Updated for 2021]

Posted by Ted Skinner on Fri, Nov 27, 2020 @ 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 "skip level meeting."  Done properly, the skip level meeting is an effective tool to improve communications across your organization. 

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Topics: Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

How to Be a Fit Mid-Market CEO for 2021 and Beyond

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Thu, Nov 26, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

To give your business an edge against the competition in 2019, you might be considering some ways to level yourself up in the process. Instead of looking for extra hours, more meetings, and hiring new personnel to help you tackle it all, have you considered using fitness to your advantage? The benefits of being physically active and healthy are many, but for the business-minded, the boost in mental productivity, creativity, and optimism are three tools you need to increase your success in the coming year. 

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Job Scorecard vs. Job Description: What's the Difference in 2021? (Video)

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Job Scorecards (or employee scorecards) have been a hot topic recently. Many companies are looking for a way to provide more constant and balanced feedback and coaching to employees while scaling up, instead of just an annual review.   The scorecard approach allows company managers to achieve their strategic objectives.

The truth is traditional annual performance reviews can be riddled with anxiety. Many times, employees perceive a connection to salary or a raise, which is stressful for everyone. The true value of a performance review - an opportunity for development and coaching - is often missed.  The role and goal clarity that the employee scorecard provides enables managers to be more involved in employee performance.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Focus: How to Keep Your Teams from Being Consumed by Countless Distractions

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Nov 3, 2020 @ 11:12 AM

For many, our current environment is more distracting than any other time in our work lives. With a pandemic raging, a U.S. election looming, and economic uncertainty lurking, there are lots of competing priorities for your employees’ time and attention. If your employees are working remotely, they may be working in uncomfortable spaces without the right equipment, navigating remote learning challenges with children, or figuring out shared schedules with partners or roommates. Even if your team is back in the office, they are likely distracted by new protocols for social distancing and mask wearing, worrying about the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones, concerned about being furloughed or a myriad of other distractions. 

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Top 10 Business Problems CEOs are Facing Today [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Oct 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

At Rhythm Systems, we specialize in helping middle market companies achieve their dreams and goals. We believe that we can make a big impact on the world by helping our clients be successful in bringing their vision to life. We do this by using our methodology, experts and tools to help clients break through barriers and remove obstacles to their success.

In order to understand those obstacles better, we collected insights from over 900 CEOs about their biggest business challenges. We wanted to know what was keeping you up at night, and we found the results fascinating.

Top 10 Business Challenges Facing Today's CEOs:

Growth

By far, the most common business challenge reported is related to growth.  CEOs worry about managing growth and growing predictably.

People

Next, CEOs are concerned about hiring, employee engagement, accountability, leadership and performance management.

Profit

Maintaining profitability and healthy cash flow is another very common theme from our middle market CEOs.  

Sales and Marketing

Consistently delivering sales and marketing results came up frequently as a top challenge.  How do you get the team to work cross-functionally?

Execution

Successfully executing new strategies, projects, and plans.  How do you organize and lead the change initiatives across the company?

Alignment

CEOs also report that aligning business units and people is a significant struggle.  Getting on the same page is hard and staying on the same page in the fast paced business world is even harder.  You need a system to keep the team aligned.

Planning

Developing the right strategic plan for future growth and effectively facilitating an effective planning meeting were among the top concerns.

Communication

CEOs additionally reported internal communication and collaboration as significant business challenges.  This is even more challenging during the times of remote work, where communication and alignment also suffer if you don't have an operating system for your business.

Focus

Focusing on doing the right things to achieve clearly defined results.  Priorities often change with changing business conditions, but management doesn't get their teams focused on the priorities for today, causing lots of re-work.

Strategy

Developing and executing the right product, customer and growth strategies is also a top of mind as a challenge for CEOs.  Many find extreme benefits in hiring a strategic planning facilitator for their expertise in getting an actionable strategy for the company and plans how to get there.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Level 5 Leadership Examples- How to be a Level 5 Leader

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Fri, Oct 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

The Level 5 Leadership Stage is Set…

Have you ever had this "strange" feeling that you just couldn’t shake? I recently went through that. It was after a two-day Annual Planning Session with a newly formed executive team (the company had been through a major transition). It was a great two days but the reality is that as the session began, the “stage” was a bit of a mess because the executive team was fractured in their vision for the company. In spite of that, alignment and clarity of vision were created over those two days. But after the session, my reflective thinking left me feeling suspended inside. It was a strange feeling.

The strange feeling actually began to linger as the two day session ensued; it was just something I noticed but I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around what it was. It was subtle, non-obtrusive yet politely prominent. It just lingered. Upon reflective thinking after the session came the epiphany. It was the CEO. Yet, I still couldn’t pinpoint anything. So, I asked myself: What is it about this CEO that I can’t grasp? What is it? 

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Breakthrough 2020: Key Insights and Takeaways

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Oct 27, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

One of the best parts of our annual Breakthrough Conference is getting our Rhythm community together to live our core values of Keep Smart, Be Appreciative, Family is a Blessing, No TDC (Thinly Disguised Contempt) and Go the Second Mile. This year’s conference looked considerably different—while we weren’t able to showcase our southern hospitality by having our guests come to Charlotte and enjoy time together in person, we did have an amazing virtual learning experience last week.

Our first virtual conference was a whirlwind of amazing content, and I’ll be thinking about some of the presentations for a long time to come! We heard from amazing speakers and learned a ton from the attendees, as well. In the spirit of our Keep Smart core value, I’m here to share some of our audience’s key takeaways.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

How to Keep Team Productivity High While Working from Home [VIDEO]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Oct 1, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

In March, when many teams moved to work from home for the first time, I heard a lot of questions from clients about how to know if their teams were still producing. After all these months, the results probably speak for themselves—as in, you know by now if team members have found ways to work productively outside of the office, and you hopefully have addressed performance issues with anyone who hasn't.

The questions are different now; the focus has shifted from, “How do you know if they are productive?” to “How can we keep them productive for the long haul?” As the reality sets in that many workplaces will remain at least partially remote well into next year, leaders are wondering about how to keep workers healthy, happy and productive in their new work environments over time.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Tactical Leadership vs. Strategic Leadership: Which Management Style Are You?

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

We read a lot these days about strategic leadership and tactical leadership (as we should). Leaders find themselves up against a multitude of scenarios and situations, all of which they’re supposed to magically handle in the right way with the right methods for each situation. When you study leadership, you quickly discover the massive complexity that surrounds it. So let’s take just one slice of strategic vs tactical leadership and dissect it for the purpose of your own reflective thinking about what kind of leader you tend to be and the pros/cons that surround each of these tendencies. 

The slice of leadership we’ll look at is the tactical leader vs. the strategic leader. Both are needed, but when you’re trying to lead a team (or teams) of people toward a common endpoint and/or if you’re trying to grow a company, understanding the differences between these two management styles is imperative. Without a sense of understanding around your own leadership tendencies, you can’t move the needle on much of anything let alone work towards achieving a strategic plan or objective.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Breakthrough 2020 Goes Virtual: What to Expect

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Sep 23, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Our first-ever virtual Breakthrough Conference is just a few weeks away! Here's a sneak peek so you know what to expect from this can’t-miss event.

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Topics: Increasing Sales, Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards, Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Communication and Empathy Are Key to Leading Mid-Crisis

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Sep 11, 2020 @ 11:04 AM

I have two small children sleeping quietly (for once) as I write this a little before 6 am. While the COVID-19 crisis has been hard for everyone—especially those who have been sick or lost loved ones or livelihoods—I know firsthand just how challenging it has been for working parents with small children. In the early days, when preschool and daycare were closed, I was trying to distract them with a movie long enough to get through a Zoom call or two and that would inevitably lead to a game of “push mama’s buttons,” both figuratively and literally, in which I’d have to hold the computer above my head so they didn’t hang up the Zoom.

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Topics: Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

5 Simple Ways To Nurture Leadership Skills In Your Growing Team

Posted by Guest Blogger on Thu, Sep 10, 2020 @ 11:08 AM

2020 has been a disastrous year in general, and the business world has certainly suffered major losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic: lockdown protocols (though entirely warranted) saw many businesses close their offices and mothball their operations due to their inability to cope. But things haven’t been so bleak for everyone. Some companies have continued to grow, being able and willing to roll with the unusual circumstances, and are currently thriving.

Perhaps you’re in that fortunate position. While others struggled to adapt to remote working and shifts in supply and demand, you weathered the storm and remained on an upward trajectory — and due to that success, your team is still growing. Most likely it’s expanding even faster now that there are so many more talented professionals looking for work.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

A Players: Attracting, Engaging and Keeping Topgrading A Players

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

If you read our blog often, you know that we are fans of Topgrading, and we frequently talk about hiring and developing A Players. In a previous post, I gave an example of one of our clients who did an audit of all of their employees and created a KPI for “% of A Players.” If you aren’t familiar with Topgrading, you might be wondering about this term - “A Players.” What does it mean?

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Create a Virtual Plan for Grief during COVID-19

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Fri, Aug 14, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

This Saturday, my aunt will be buried. She's the last of my dad's generation for my family. She passed due to complications of cancer, and my grief is further complicated by COVID-19. I had to make the gut-wrenching decision to not attend the funeral in Stephenville, TX. I have great memories of that little town, but I wonder if I’ll ever return. We all need a virtual plan for our varying experiences with grief during this time.

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Topics: Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Leadership Meetings: Align Your Team and Engage Employees Monthly with this Agenda

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 12:30 PM

For many companies, the idea of the monthly meeting can feel like a burden in an already overly scheduled calendar. Why is this leadership 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. 

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Topics: Effective Meetings, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Organizational Alignment: 3 Step Organizational Alignment Playbook

Posted by Ted Skinner on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:15 AM

Verne Harnish notes in his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits that the difference between organizational vision and organizational alignment as drivers toward success is a whopping 99%. He demonstrates that vision = 1%, while team alignment = 99% yet few organizations put as much effort into creating organizational alignment as they do creating their vision statements, BHAG, 3 year strategic plan and more.  The truth is aligning your organization around your strategic plan enables your team to execute against its goals and scale up the company. 

Think about the power of that assertion for a moment. Why is it that organizational alignment (or organisational alignment) is exponentially more important to success than vision?  The importance of organizational alignment, can't be understated - but how do you achieve it?  How can I increase the level of organizational alignment in my company culture?  What type of work structure allows you to achieve increasingly better business performance?  You need to get into a Rhythm of 3 Year Strategic Planning, Annual Planning, Quarterly Execution Planning, and Weekly Team Meetings.  Teams work more effectively when they know what their role in the company plan is, so make sure that you communicate that effectively and often

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Developing New Leaders: Leadership Development Tips for New Leader Training

Posted by Ted Skinner on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:04 AM

How an employee moves through the ranks and advances in a company usually starts with them developing new leadersbeing an exceptional entry-level employee. The manager recognizes the talent, the perseverance, the alignment to core values, and develops that employee towards a promotion. This employee continues to dazzle — they hit all of their KPIs and grow revenue by leaps and bounds. They reach their targets each quarter. They’ve earned a promotion to Senior Employee as part of their career development.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Coaching Accountability: How to Improve Accountability by Coaching Your Team

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:01 AM

Many leaders find personal accountability comes naturally - often, it is a muscle they have strengthened  significantly through years of practice. Being personally accountable is likely part of the skill set that propelled them to the point in their career where they became leaders. Being reliable, achieving predictable results, communicating expectations and results effectively, accepting responsibility for their actions, etc. are all things that got them where they are. But once you become a leader, personal accountability won’t cut it anymore. Now, you also have to cultivate an accountability culture in your team with accountability coaching.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Effective Leadership Development [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Leadership development is a growing concern for middle market companies. Growing your leaders is a challenge - whether you are succession planning, thinking about the future of your executive team as your company grows, or struggling to fill mid-level management positions within your company. Right now, employers are looking at the largest number of job openings ever - currently there are more open jobs than unemployed people to fill them. Plus, middle market companies face unique challenges in recruiting and retaining talent. Growing leaders from within your company may never have been more important than it is now.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Company Alignment: The CEO's Roadmap to Corporate Alignment

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Alignment can be elusive for even the smallest start-up companies, never mind mid-market companies that have multiple divisions, departments, or business units, different locations, new acquisitions, or remote employees. The more successful you are in growing your company, the more complex your organization becomes, and the more challenging it is to communicate effectively and attain alignment. And, as the CEO, aligning your company to succeed starts with you. You need to have a company alignment strategy so that all levels of the organization know what is expected of them.  According to an article in Harvard Business Review by Oxford University’s Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe, "Large, diversified, and geographically dispersed enterprises, in whichever sectors they compete, require the greatest amount of strategic effort by their leadership to be aligned.”

What do I mean by alignment? An article in IndustryWeek quotes Fred Smith, Chairman of Federal Express, as saying “Alignment is the essence of management,” and goes on to say that “Alignment reflects an active ownership on the part of team members, not simply the absence of disagreement… Alignment is an agreement on the goals of the organization and on the process of allocating resources to achieve these goals.” The HBR article I mentioned earlier describes alignment in this way: winning through a tightly managed enterprise value chain that connects an enterprise’s purpose (what we do and why we do it) to its business strategy (what we are trying to win at to fulfill our purpose), organizational capability (what we need to be good at to win), resource architecture (what makes us good), and, finally, management systems (what delivers the winning performance we need). 

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Plan Your Personal Quarter to Deliver Predictable Results

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

We talk a lot about plans - annual plans, quarterly plans, team plans, project plans. But what’s your plan for the next 90 days? What are you doing? How will you deliver predictable results with your individual plan?

We all know that Rhythm strategic management software is about focus, alignment, and accountability. While most of the consulting I do is with teams, I love it when I get the opportunity to work with someone one-on-one. They are usually struggling with one question: How do I gain personal focus while still supporting my team’s plan?

Here are some great ways to center yourself, prioritize your own personal 13-week race, and set yourself up to deliver predictable results.

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Personal Accountability Exercises - How Does Your Team Stack Up?

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 09:30 AM

Quite a few years back, a good friend of mine introduced me to John Miller and his book “QBQThe Question Behind the Question.”  I had the opportunity to hear John speak and have referred to his book off and on through the years.  John has built a complete program on this concept and has helped companies exercise more accountability throughout their organizations.  Since we work with our clients at Rhythm Systems to get focused, aligned and accountable, I thought it was worth looking back through the book to see if there were some nuggets of wisdom to share. 

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Don’t Get Stuck on Your Job Scorecard (Template)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

One of the priorities for our Consulting and Client Services team here at Rhythm Systems this quarter was to nail down Job Scorecards (or Employee Scorecards) for each team member.  Some of us had Job Scorecards when we were hired (some of us have been around longer than the tool!), but as our company has grown and changed, so have the roles we are all filling.  Additionally, we are looking to hire for new roles on our team that we have yet to clearly define, so it was necessary for us to revisit this tool this quarter.  Read this post if you are confused on job scorecard vs job description and when to use the right tool.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Building Accountability into Your Culture: Does Your Team Have an Accountability Problem? [Download]

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Most clients I’ve worked with say they understand the key role accountability plays in making a company operate more efficiently (and therefore more effectively). They see the relevance of team accountability and its place in the bigger scheme of things. And the research backs up what they think. Performance cultures have higher levels of personal accountability and as a result, they also have higher levels of overall company performance, employees feel a higher level of commitment to their jobs, and employee morale is higher (U.S. Office of Personnel Management).

As leaders focus on defining their core business strategies, as they work to clarify the company’s longer-term vision, as they encourage innovative thinking and more, they dream of empowering their people to do the work that needs to be done to accomplish the company’s overall strategic intent. 

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Team Accountability Begins with a Personal Accountability Model

Posted by Cathy McCullough on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

I love what I do for a living. I meet the most incredible people who are building amazing companies. Most recently, I was sharing this observation with a client CEO and he responded with, “Well, if I could only do it without people!” I had to laugh.

The “problem with people” is pervasive. After all, a single human being is complex. Multiply that by a lot of human beings (aka, your employees), and you can have one huge complicated hairball of an organization. So how do you get to this thing called, “High Performance?” Indeed, the Path of Progress toward high performance is a journey. Let’s focus, though, on how to begin the journey of accountability in the workplace to drive team performance and help you achieve your goals.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Topgrading: 10 Expert Tips for Topgrading Interview Questions

Posted by Chris Cosper on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Topgrading is a methodology of recruiting, interviewing, selecting and retaining top talent developed by Brad Smart and Geoff Smart designed to increase your likelihood of hiring and retaining A players. We’ve been recommending this method to Rhythm clients for many years.  We even use it ourselves, so we know firsthand the power of Topgrading. You can find a lot of great (and free) resources on their website.  When used in conjunction with Job Scorecards, an enhanced version of job descriptions, you can better attract and retain the A-Players you need to hit your growth goals.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Delegation in Leadership: How to Effectively Delegate as a Leader

Posted by Ted Skinner on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 @ 08:29 AM

Managing the daily, weekly, and monthly workload is a challenge for team members and leaders alike, but in very different ways. Teams have their KPIs and know what tasks they need to complete in order to achieve those goals. Team leaders and managers have the added tasks around team goals, team KPIs, other issues and other team projects that round out their to-do lists. The difference is that leaders have people to delegate to on their team that can complete the task.  The challenge for any leadership style is finding the right person for job, and it doesn't always have to be you.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Getting Your Remote Team's Mojo Back During a Lockdown

Posted by Paige Wilcox on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

With the pandemic disrupting expectations for projects and revenue goals for many this year, it's no surprise that a major focus for this and last quarter has been (not so) simply whatever it takes to survive. This survival focus may be manifesting as changes to your business model; keeping heads down—and all hands on deck—on sales and retention; and making unexpected cuts to budgets and personnel.

While this focus is absolutely warranted, it's easy to let company culture fall into the "nice to have" bucket rather than the "need to have" one. During a client's recent Q3 planning session, most of the day's discussion was around priorities that would drive the company's bottom line after a very difficult Q2.

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Topics: Accountable Leaders & Teams

Adaptive Leadership Theory: Adaptive Leadership Framework

Posted by Barry Pruitt on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

As leadership guru Jim Collins tells us, organizations go from good to great when personalities step aside and let purpose become the focus. Essentially, great organizations are purpose-driven versus leader-driven.

So how can you be an adaptive leader in your organization, and still stay purpose driven? First you must understand these adaptive points:

  • Adaptive leaders create change incrementally.
  • Learning can be painful, so you should anticipate and counteract reluctance.
  • You must continuously connect change to the core values of the organization.

So what can you do to embrace adaptive leadership?

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Accountable Leaders & Teams

Online Training Best Practices: 5 Tips

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

As head of training at Rhythm Systems, I’ve had a busy year creating all the training content to accompany our latest software release - Rhythm 4.0. We’ve got two great online learning platforms for clients, Rhythm Certification and Rhythm University. As part of updating our content to bring the latest and greatest information to our clients, I also did some research about online learning in general. For those of us used to the more traditional classroom learning environment, shifting into the online learning landscape requires a bit of a paradigm shift.

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Topics: Strategy Execution, Accountable Leaders & Teams

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