Silos Can Sneak Up on You: Get Your Departments Aligned

By: Jessica WishartTue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

At Rhythm Systems, we specialize in helping mid-market companies grow with purpose. However, our team is still relatively small. We’re right around twenty people, and we have four departments - a Sales & Marketing Team, a Consulting & Client Services Team, an R&D Team, and a Finance “Team.” I say “team” because we have one person who handles all of our payroll, budgeting, AP, AR, financial modeling - everything. (On a side note, she also does our employee benefits, and she only works part time. She’s pretty amazing.) 

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Topics: Organizational Alignment

Nostradamus Predicts Steve Jobs Was a Bad Model for Startups

By: Barry PruittFri, Sep 11, 2015 @ 08:43 PM

Since the publication of Les Propheties, Nostradamus has attracted loyal followers that, along with much of the press, give him credit for predicting major world events.

Had Nostradamus been into business prophecy, he would have predicted that Steve Jobs was a bad model for a startup business. I know, if you’re familiar with my CEO, I’m in danger just by writing that opening line. Nostradamus’ predictions have always been controversial, but I would like to share some points for you to think about.

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Topics: People, Organizational Alignment

Leadership Team Alignment: When Less Truly Is More!

By: Alan GehringerThu, Aug 6, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

If you have ever downloaded any tools or other resources on our site, you know that we usually ask you about your Biggest Business Challenge in our forms. In response to your feedback, we are featuring a blog series on your biggest business challenges! This post is a response to the challenge “aligning senior team around clear goals."

How much can your leadership team really take on this quarter and accomplish well?

We have all heard the saying, “Less is More.” I try to exercise this concept in my personal life when it comes to toys, although my wife would tell you I am more successful some years than others. I do like the acid test of “will it make my family’s or my life better” when contemplating a new purchase. 

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Topics: Quarterly Planning, Annual Planning, Organizational Alignment

5 Telltale Signs of Trouble and How to Prevent Silos

By: Alison BrownThu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

No one wants to have silos in their company, but even in my short career I’ve seen many companies that do. You need organization and structure, but at what point does structure turn to silos? It’s hard to tell when silos are forming and many times it happens right under your nose. What signs can you look for, and what can you do to help prevent silos from forming in your company?

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Topics: Organizational Alignment, Cascading

Alignment: Getting Everyone on the Same Page

By: Jessica WishartFri, Nov 21, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Sounds like a simple concept: Alignment.  What makes this so hard to achieve?  The fact is, if you are hiring the right people, you will have a lot of smart people on your team who disagree with each other.  This is a good thing.  Alignment doesn’t mean that everyone starts on the same page; if that were true, then you’d just have a bunch of robots running around who all think the same way and who never challenge your ideas or come up with anything creative, interesting, or groundbreaking.

Difference of opinion among your team members is a key ingredient in developing the right strategies for your team, the ones that have been analyzed from different angles and debated in your planning sessions. However, when the dust settles and the decision has been made, this is where alignment takes over from diversity of viewpoints as the key to your strategy’s success or failure.  

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Topics: Strategic Planning, Organizational Alignment, Meeting Facilitation

The Value of Cascade Planning

By: Tiffany ChepulThu, Oct 30, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Looking back at the most recent quarter turnover from Q3 to Q4, I realize that I introduced 14 new cascade teams to the power of Rhythm!   It’s been a busy quarter with lots of learning along the way. Many light bulbs went off and these teams are already seeing the benefit of faster, more aligned execution.

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Topics: Organizational Alignment, Cascading

The "Balance" of Strategic Thinking, Part I: Walking the Tightrope…

By: Cathy McCulloughMon, Jun 9, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Have you ever heard, "We can't do that! We're already bursting at the seams!" If so, you're not alone. I hear it all the time as I work with growth companies to achieve their dream of building an incredible, smoothly operating, mean, lean machine. I'd love to just tell executive teams that it's all about “balance.” But does work balance (or life balance, for that matter) really exist? 

In reality, balance is a frequently misunderstood term. It's not that it can't be achieved. But what’s needed first is to define what “balance” is.

In reality, balance isn't equalization. Even the best of the best don't walk a tight-rope without swaying to one side or the other. The acrobat will frequently be just slightly slanted to one side or the other. 

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Topics: Organizational Alignment

Becoming a Trusted Leader

By: Barry PruittFri, Apr 11, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

Polling data indicates that the public (in general) doesn’t trust those in elected leadership positions – and this mistrust sometimes (unreasonably) spills into the workplace. Becoming a trusted leader doesn't happen by accident often. Instead, it's a decision made during your think time that will still be an accident unless you plan – and, then execute on becoming a trusted leader.

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Topics: People, Leadership, Organizational Alignment

Motivate Your Team to Learn

By: Barry PruittMon, Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:00 AM

During times of organizational flux, it can become increasingly difficult to engage your employees in learning.  Across the country and in a cross-section of industries, training budgets have become tighter than ever. In the midst of these challenges, training employees has become more critical, both to keep the company moving forward and to retain high potential employees. 

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Topics: People, Leadership, Organizational Alignment

The Tough Conversation

By: Cathy McCulloughWed, Feb 12, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

I just finished facilitating a Quarterly Planning session where I observed the executive team maturing before my very eyes. An outburst of frustration (over some very true systemic issues) finally made its way outward (courtesy of one brave soul in the room who dared to say what needed to be said). While the outburst was very loud with “excessive use of language,” in the end, the team was in a much better place. It's not a fairytale; they still have work to do. But the strides they made during that Quarterly Planning session will take them far beyond what they could have ever accomplished had they “self-facilitated” their own session. One team member asked me afterwards: "Are we your bratty little client group that you hate to see coming? I mean, I bet there are days that you really don't like what you do for a living."

My response was an immediate smile and words of assurance that this team will make it...beyond belief...all because they dared to have a meaningful conversation. Is this a healthy way to talk to each other? They yell. They get angry. They yell some more. No, it's not the healthiest way to communicate. But it was nonetheless a living example of how they routinely go about solving their problems. It was also the catalyst that catapulted them toward a healthier future.

The discussion after the outburst was uncomfortable to say the least. It was painful. Some of them even asked if we could just move on and forget it (like they'd done in the past). And then, a systemic issue surfaced at that very moment. They were indeed great planners - none better! But they were lousy implementers. Lack of accountability aided the dysfunction to even higher levels. There are simply times when a discussion around real issues is needed, and this was one of those times. Otherwise, it's like revisiting a poorly written script that's been rewritten over and over…with little to no improvement.

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Topics: Quarterly Planning, Organizational Alignment, Meeting Facilitation