Rhythm Blog

Using Zoom to Facilitate Your Strategic and Execution Planning Meetings for Stellar Results

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Fri, Feb 12, 2021 @ 11:03 AM

As in the past many years, I entered 2020 with a full schedule of strategy and execution planning work with my clients. Then the pandemic hit, and I was not sure what that was going to mean and how I was going to take good care of clients. The good news is that nearly every session went forward virtually. Other consultants in our firm had the same experience. I give our clients a lot of credit for having the trust in us to run the sessions virtually using Zoom, and the courage to work with their teams this way. A couple of CEOs expressed concern and doubt up front, but they knew that moving forward with planning was mission critical; their teams needed to work on their strategies and develop strong execution plans that would ensure people would execute on the right priorities.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

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

2021 Meeting Audit: Design Your Team's Meeting Rhythms Now

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Feb 3, 2021 @ 11:03 AM
As we head into 2021, now is the perfect time to step back and take a hard look at your team's meeting rhythms. Much like your junk drawer at home, some of us collect meetings over time—a weekly team huddle, a 1:1, a coffee break, a project meeting, a recurring training session, a retrospective, a cross-functional alignment meeting, etc.—and then our schedules are full and we forgot why we ever thought we needed those things in the first place (ok, the drawer thing might not be a perfect analogy, just an unrelated personal problem for me to deal with). Anyway, the point is that your new year is a new opportunity to take a hard look at your meeting calendar and do a meeting audit.
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Topics: Effective Meetings

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

Don't Let Your 2021 Annual Plan Fail by Using Spreadsheets to Run Your Company's Strategy

Posted by Ted Skinner on Sun, Jan 31, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

Many companies have strong Annual Plans but fail to execute on them and miss their targets year after year. They know that they are missing something, but they aren’t sure what. There are many reasons why nearly half of all companies fail to meet their annual targets, but one of the most important reasons is that they fail to implement a strategic software system to drive company execution. As more employees work from home, they need to have an operating system for the business to stay aligned for the full year.  It's time to ditch the strategy execution spreadsheet and upgrade to a system that can help your remote teams collaborate around common goals with complete alignment.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

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

Agile Business Planning: Create an Agile Business Plan in the Age of COVID-19

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

Business is moving faster than ever before, and these days your business needs to be as nimble possible to respond to the rapidly changing business landscape. In today’s nonstop global economy, there is always somebody, somewhere trying to capture part of your market and your customers. This has only increase with the global coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, you need to be able to pivot faster than ever.  You need to create an organization able to respond to the changes in the market more quickly than ever, or you will lose market share to the competition. Unfortunately, many of the legacy software tools that businesses use don’t adapt fast enough to work in today’s cutthroat global economy and need to be modernized. Software teams realized this decades ago and quickly shifted from the outmoded Waterfall methodology to the Agile software development framework; it is time for the traditional business planning to catch up to this advancement when implementing business strategy.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Strategy Execution

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

The ROI of Replacing Strategy Spreadsheets with Systems

Posted by Ryan Walcott on Fri, Jan 29, 2021 @ 11:08 AM

Spreadsheets are a powerful tool and very inexpensive. Compared to most software, they seem nearly free. That's why most businesses use a spreadsheet as their tool of choice for working to solve most problems and run many of their strategic projects. Companies use them for project management, financial management, data analytics, task lists, and so many other purposes that I can't even list them all. While spreadsheets are inexpensive and easy to get things started with, they pose a problem for our businesses as we grow.  Have you outgrown your strategy spreadsheet? What is the ROI of replacing it with a system?

The problem with spreadsheets is that while they seem inexpensive and convenient, the labor involved in creating and maintaining them is not. Spreadsheets don't just magically do whatever you need them to do. They are a blank canvas that a spreadsheet artist must craft. To truly get that spreadsheet right takes time from your most expensive assets: your people.  Even the most detailed excel templates require hours of customization.

You must build them, craft formulas and references, format output, and maintain them as the business changes. This takes time and that time costs money. Lots of money. If you start adding up the cost of that time daily, weekly, and monthly, you will find that you are spending more on your spreadsheet creation and maintenance than you would on best-in-class software crafted to solve your specific business problems. I've worked with clients where staff members devote several days a week of their time creating and maintaining spreadsheets. Several days a week! That's nearly half a work week for a highly paid, highly skilled team member.

Not only that, you need to factor the opportunity cost of this time. What growth goals could you have achieved with the time your people spent creating and maintaining your spreadsheets? Instead of programming rows and columns, they could have been formulating and executing against strategic
growth goals for the business. Wow! What a change in mindset that would be!

A spreadsheet is a computer program. They are usually created informally and lack the core elements of professionally developed software. Elements like good requirements gathering, design, and testing for quality assurance by multiple parties. They also lack documentation and product roadmaps for future improvements. So when the staff member who created the spreadsheet leaves, all that problem domain knowledge goes with them.

So that's enough about the problem. What do we do about all the spreadsheets we have and run our business on today? How do we break free from spreadsheet slavery and direct our energy and time toward growth?

I suggest searching out systems that replace what your home-grown spreadsheets are doing for you. Invest in good project management software, good financial management software, good CRM software, a good Business Execution platform like our Rhythm System. You may think that the cost is too high to buy software, but you are fooling yourself. You are actually paying much more in payroll cost, productivity loss, and opportunity cost than you ever would for professional software license fees.  Spreadsheets have their place, but strategic plan execution isn't one of them.

So, start working on a plan today to understand the spreadsheets you are currently using and why. Then put in place software and processes to replace what your spreadsheets are doing for your business. You will see immediate ROI in your investment in these systems and processes and free the minds of your team to direct their energy and time to achieve your goals and dreams of growing the business.

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Topics: Strategy Execution

3 Things to Do when Planning for the New Year

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Fri, Jan 29, 2021 @ 11:03 AM

 

2020 was an extraordinary year on many fronts. Most people I know are very glad it is behind them, and now that it is and we are a month into the new year, it is the perfect time to reflect and make sure you are poised to make 2021 a great year.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

How to Facilitate A Strategic Planning Session [With Strategy Session Agenda]

Posted by Ted Skinner on Fri, Jan 29, 2021 @ 11:03 AM

As strategy planning experts, we often get asked how to run a strategic planning meeting, as great strategic meetings don’t happen by accident. They happen because someone is committed to  THINKING through the purpose and outcome, PLANNING all of the details in advance, and DOING the hard work of running the meeting. This is the role of an excellent virtual planning facilitator that can help you better define your strategy, create a winning annual plan and leave with an action plan to get your annual initiatives done. In order to facilitate a planning session, there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done.  These same techniques should be used for in person sessions and virtual strategic planning sessions with your management team.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Zoom Icebreakers: 55 Pro Tips to Energize Your Virtual Meetings

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Jan 29, 2021 @ 10:59 AM

As I was scrolling through my social media feeds this week, I noticed a trend that more tech companies are announcing a permanent move to hybrid or even a “remote-first” approach for the indefinite future. As companies look to 2021 and make their make budgeting and resourcing decisions, it’s not a mystery why many are choosing to reduce investment in physical spaces and double down on the remote work infrastructure if their business model allows it. That means many of your meetings will be moving online to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Skype or any of the video conferencing applications available.  As the experts in effective weekly meetings, we have compiled a list of the best Zoom Icebreakers for you to increase engagement and productivity at you next team meeting.

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Topics: Effective Meetings

21 COVID-19 KPIs to Monitor Now

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Thu, Jan 28, 2021 @ 12:03 PM

These are crazy times we find ourselves in right now. I have heard more than one person say that they have never experienced anything like this in their lifetime—and a few of the folks are a bit more senior than me! That being said, I am so proud of the companies I work with and the friends that I have that run their own businesses. Everyone is doing everything they can to take care of their employees and service their customers to the best of their abilities. Most are doing a really great job despite the social, environmental and supply chain challenges.

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Increase the Value of Your Weekly Team Meetings with Expert Coaching & Feedback

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Thu, Jan 21, 2021 @ 11:03 AM

There is no way around it—the quality of your Weekly Team Meeting makes or breaks your Quarterly Plan. Most teams simply update each other on the status of their various projects, rather than problem solving the biggest challenges keeping you from your goals.  Whether you are new to leading a weekly meeting or a 10-year veteran, everyone is vulnerable to the dreaded weekly meeting rut.  Don't worry as experts in strategy execution we have decades of experience helping teams just like yours make their meetings productive.

I have seen it at one time or another at just about every company that I have had the pleasure of coaching.  It starts out as a few people falling behind on their Weekly Meeting Preparation process —missing statuses, Comments stop going in and some Actions become overdue. Before you know it, a Weekly Adjustment Meeting gets cancelled here and there, attendance drops and there's no chance of an effective weekly meeting. The Weekly Adjustment Meeting devolves into a status read-out with only a few people talking. Next, people start saying the meeting is a waste of time. Quarterly Plans start getting missed, and the snowball is already halfway down the hill.

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Topics: Effective Meetings

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

Executive Meeting Agenda: Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Weekly Leadership Team Meeting

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 11:29 AM

Executive Weekly Meeting Team Size

For the most effective weekly team meeting, your weekly leadership meeting team should consist of 8-10 people. If your group is too large, consider who truly should be part of the executive team meeting. Perhaps some people should participate at the departmental team-level weekly staff meeting only if they aren't part of the strategic planning process.  You can always invite them into the executive meeting when they have an important project that you need to discuss when it is time for an important update or discussion.  Your goal is to avoid unproductive meetings by inviting too many people for the entire executive meeting, when they might only be relevant for a portion of the meeting.

Executive Meeting Framework

Also, the executive team should be using your Quarterly Plan as the framework for the meeting. The plan should consist of 3-5 Strategic Company Initiatives and 3-5 Personal Priorities each. Owners of those Priorities should have statused them Red, Yellow or Green prior to the Weekly Leadership Team Meeting.  You need to discuss long term growth initiatives, not just the "urgent" items from your daily firefighting that need to go through the executive decision-making process.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

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

How to Make Staff Meetings More Engaging: 5 Tips to Increase Engagement in Team Meetings

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 11:02 AM

In your next weekly team meeting, take a moment to look around. What are you seeing? Are your team members engaged—are they looking at each other, leaning forward, nodding, and exchanging ideas? Or, are they staring at their computer/phone or leaning back with arms crossed and eyes glazed? If you are on a virtual meeting platform, have everyone turn on their webcam so you can observe the non-verbals. However, you might not even need to do this to know that people aren’t really “there.” It is usually pretty obvious when everyone has muted their line and proceeded to work on something else, daydream, or run errands during your meeting.

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Topics: Effective Meetings

21 Manufacturing KPIs and Metrics Updated for 2021 to Improve Production KPI Performance

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 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 plants, 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 manufacturing metrics drive the results.

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

Here are some of the most effective manufacturing KPIs and metrics:

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

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

2021 Annual Planning Meeting - 5 Step Process to Create an Annual Plan with Agenda

Posted by Ted Skinner on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Did you know that nearly half of all companies fail to meet their financial targets? Much of this lack of success can be traced back to poor annual planning sessions. Perhaps you talked about the targets and set them, but you failed to create an action plan to get there. I understand - there is an amazing amount of work that goes into facilitating a winning planning session. We know how hard it is, as our Rhythm experts have facilitated thousands of successful planning sessions to set our customers up for success. This blog will give a high-level overview of the five keys to creating a winning annual plan for 2021.  To have an effective planning meeting make sure you and your leadership team follow the five steps highlighted in this article to have an effective planning meeting.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Business Competencies Examples: Using Company Core Competencies to Innovate in 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

In our fast-moving world of innovation and disruption, some leaders may wonder if it is no longer beneficial to hone core competencies over time. Are business core competencies - those unique combinations of capabilities and resources that make your business operationally different and give you a competitive edge - a strategic tool of the past?

Download our free Strategy Connector Tool to help you.

It takes years and a lot of focused energy to hone these diverse skills, activities, and technologies to near perfection, or to the point that they would be too difficult to replicate by competitors. So, is it still worth it to play the long game in our rapidly changing marketplace?  Here are some great business core competency examples to help you define yours.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Align People in 2021: Getting Everyone on the Same Page to Drive Alignment

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 @ 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: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

What to Listen to in 2021: 8 Great Podcasts for CEOs

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Tue, Dec 22, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

This has been a banner year for new podcasts! It seems like there's a new one launched every week. I suspect people who found themselves suddenly unable to travel or with more time on their hands due to the pandemic turned to this alternative medium where you don't have to be in person to be connected and reach an audience.

If you are heading back into the office in the new year and looking for some interesting and informative podcasts for the commute -- or, if you're like me and still working from home but looking for something to listen to as you aimlessly walk your neighborhood streets for the thousandth time, you'll find something in this list!

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

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

M&A KPIs: The Right Merger and Acquisition KPIs and Metrics to Prevent Failure

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Mon, Dec 21, 2020 @ 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.  

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards, Mergers & Acquisitions

How to Retain & Grow Customers in the Time of COVID-19

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Fri, Dec 18, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As you strategize for the year ahead, there are a lot of unknowns. One thing is certain: keeping and growing your customers has never been more important. What are the best ways to retain and expand your existing customer base mid-pandemic? We all know that it is much more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep the ones you have, so regardless of what you are planning to help you grow revenue in the future, you need a plan for your current customer base.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth

Zoom Facilitation: Host a Virtual Meeting Like a Pro

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Dec 16, 2020 @ 11:08 AM

Think about the last in-person meeting or conference you attended. Close your eyes and visualize the space. Was there a stage? What was on the stage? Was there a notepad or a glass of water at your seat? A tablecloth? What was the lighting like in the room? What was the temperature? Who was sitting at the head of the table? Was there a whiteboard or a big screen?

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Topics: Effective Meetings

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

How to Pressure Test Your Plan

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Dec 9, 2020 @ 11:01 AM

This year, our expert consultants have been recommending a more agile approach to strategic planning; rather than hunkering down for two days in a conference room and emerging with a fully fleshed-out plan for next year, we've advocated for several shorter sessions with some time between each to gather more data and see what you can learn from the constantly evolving market conditions. As the year comes to a close, however, it is time to put some stakes in the ground and make some decisions about what to focus on in the coming months. Now's the time to ink a few clear objectives, which can always be adjusted as we learn more down the road.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

How CEOs Succeed - Achieve a Top Valuation through Strategy Execution [Client Spotlight]

Posted by Patrick Thean on Sun, Dec 6, 2020 @ 11:05 AM

Congratulations to Jeff Berstein, and the ImageFIRST Team! Calera Capital, a private equity firm, acquired a majority share of ImageFIRST, allowing Jeff and his team to successfully achieve their dreams. This unique win-win deal provides the following for key stakeholders:

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Strategy Execution

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

CEO Secret Weapon: Simple, Proven System for Success

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Wed, Dec 2, 2020 @ 11:39 AM

For over a decade, our consultants have worked with client CEOs to help them exceed industry standards and build great companies. Having seen thousands of business plans and helped hundreds of CEOs around the world, some very clear patterns emerge in our work. We’ve distilled the most important factors to building a great company of aligned teams who execute flawlessly into a simple system. I say “simple,” because the concepts are easy to understand; however, they can be challenging to implement—just as the concept of exercise and balanced diet are easy to understand but be difficult to achieve.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning, Effective Meetings

Quarterly Planning Session in 2021: 10 Tips for a Successful Meeting

Posted by Melissa Enriquez on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 01:10 PM

Quarterly Planning is just around the corner, are you prepared to create a winning plan this quarter with your team?

Here are 10 Quarterly Planning tips to get you started:

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

Power SWOT: Harness the Power of a 2021 SWOT Analysis!

Posted by Alan Gehringer on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 12:31 PM

A common tool used in planning sessions is the SWOT analysis.  The acronym SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  The tool was developed by Albert Humphrey of the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960’s.  Although we typically use this tool for strategic planning purposes, it can also be used to evaluate a person, product, market, industry or business opportunity.  Typically during quarterly planning, we focus on the external market by looking at opportunities and threats to ensure we are looking outside the organization as we plan and develop priorities.  During annual planning, it is more common to conduct a full SWOT analysis by also looking at the strengths and weaknesses internally to aid in our organizational development and strategic thinking. 

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

Management Meeting Agenda: Make Your 2021 Zoom Management Meetings Effective

Posted by Ted Skinner on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

In my last blog, I talked about how most meetings suck. Now, I want to focus our energy on ways that we can fix them and have effective meetings. One of the biggest complaints that I hear about bad meetings is the lack of an agenda or getting it two minutes prior to the meeting. While having a meeting without an agenda is horrifying, I have attended several bad meetings that had a detailed agenda sent well ahead of time! The problem was that the agenda didn’t cover all of the areas that the company needed to discuss in order to grow their business. It isn’t just having an agenda; it is about having the right management meeting agenda template focused on solving problems facing your organization.

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Topics: Effective Meetings

Manufacturing KPI Dashboard: 25 KPI Examples (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 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 and product planning KPIs and KRA (key results areas.)

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

Manufacturing KPI Examples

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Staffing KPI Examples: The Top 27 Staffing Metrics (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Ted Skinner on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:04 AM

At Rhythm Systems, we work with clients to ensure they are measuring the metrics that matter to allow them to achieve their dreams and goals. Our strategy execution software allows you to create KPI dashboards to ensure team accountability, alignment, and execution-ready quarterly plans. The staffing industry KPIs for recruiting that we have compiled below represent many of the metrics that can be measured. However, make sure that you pick the top recruiting KPIs that work for you and your team.

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Strategic Planning During COVID-19: Business Planning for 2021

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As the summer comes to an end and fall looms with more uncertainty, it can be tempting to sit back and see what comes next—but if you aren’t careful, you’ll be stuck in reactionary mode and never make forward progress. To successfully weather the storm and recover from the pandemic, you need a strategic plan. You may not know what’s coming around the bend, but you need to be proactive in planning for the future so you don’t get left behind.

There are a range of possibilities for the future which are currently unknowable. How long until the spread of the virus slows? When is there going to be a vaccine? Will there be another round of shut downs? Will there be additional support for individuals and businesses from the government? How long until consumers can resume their old routines, and what will their new routines look like? How long until business travel ramps back up? These aren’t questions any of us can answer right now.

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Topics: Strategies for Growth, Annual & Quarterly Planning

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

Top 22 KPI Examples for Technology Companies (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Tiffany Chepul on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

It can be intimidating to sit down to a blank slate and begin working on your company’s first official KPI dashboard! Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of technology and software companies doing just that - beginning their KPI journey in Rhythm. So how do you get started?

First, it’s helpful to think of your business in terms of 4 key areas: Employees, Customers, Processes and Revenue. In order to have a clear high-level view of the health of your company, you should have visibility on all four areas. What can you measure to give you the proper insights on the health of your employees, customers, processes and revenue?  

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

If you are still stuck, we’ve compiled the ultimate KPI cheat sheet for software companies! Below are some of the most common KPIs we’ve seen from technology companies using Rhythm for each of the 4 key areas:

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

Weekly Staff Meeting: Time for a Meeting Makeover in 2021 [Infographic]

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 11:00 AM

Weekly Team Meetings…we’ve all got them. Conventional business wisdom has proclaimed since the beginning of time that the weekly staff meeting is a necessary evil. Lately, ditching the time you spend in meetings is a popular productivity hack, but without the regular time to collaborate with your team, you miss valuable problem-solving time and run the risk of everyone working in a silo—potentially on the wrong things.

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Topics: Effective Meetings

40 KPI Examples for the Service Industry (Updated for 2021)

Posted by Jessica Wishart on Mon, Nov 30, 2020 @ 10:26 AM

Research shows that our economy is largely being driven by middle-market firms, especially those in the service industries. Key Performance Indicators (KPIS) are one of the most effective tools for service companies to manage their growth, cash flow, customer retention and customer satisfaction.  According to a press release from American Express: 

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Topics: KPIs & Dashboards

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

How to Conduct an Effective Annual Planning Meeting Agenda for 2021

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

You can make an argument that your company’s annual planning meeting is the most important thing you do all year. It is where you have your entire leadership team discusses all of the key issues facing your company and industry.  Each of your quarterly execution plans will anchor off of the decisions you make during the yearly planning meeting, and those quarterly plans are what drive the focus of your team’s weekly and daily execution. Plus, your Annual Plan has to move your company’s long-term strategic goals forward and be aligned to your core foundational strategy. Not to mention that you usually have your company’s most expensive leadership team in the room for one or two days - the cost is high and there’s a lot riding on this important business planning meeting.  Don't worry, we have over a dozen years of experience in strategic planning meetings, and we can help get you on the right track.

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning

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

Annual Targets 2021: How to Set & Test These Metrics

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

As Chris Cosper detailed in a previous post, we have the ability to record 3 types of metrics in our Rhythm cloud based strategy platform:

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Topics: Annual & Quarterly Planning, KPIs & Dashboards

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