Kick-Ass CEO, part 1:

How to Create Inspiring Objectives that Drive
your Company Forward.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Spinning Wheels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...
“

9

out of

10

companies fail to implement strategies

effectively.” – SAP

Spinning Wheels
You can have all the power ...
Enthusiasm
Despite what instincts might tell us, most
employees are enthusiastic about the
company for which they work. Th...
Traction
Taking an effective strategy and making it work is about traction. It’s about having the right
tread on those tir...
Think of each employee as another tread on the tire of your company’s forward
progress. The more employees that are confid...
Prioritize the Goals
Every company should have short-term and long-term
goals. Your long-term goals should fall within a t...
Now, your goals should fall somewhere
Within 4 main categories:
•

Service

•

Growth – relating to expansion of the compa...
Alignment/Unity
Consistency is a … well, consistent theme and that’s because it is critical to strategy
implementation.
Cr...
Do you know what the active interests
are of your top level employees

?

When it comes to business, most employees have v...
“81% of workers do not feel strongly

When you develop
goals and form a
strategy to
implement it,
determine where
each asp...
When you’re company is cruising down the highway and you want
some fresh air moving through the vehicle, you wouldn’t ask ...
Communicate Effectively
You know how to communicate, but
is everyone hearing the same thing

?

During your career, you ha...
As CEO, you may feel as though you’re in the driver’s seat of your company, but in reality
you’re the passenger. You need ...
The CEO is often viewed as a figurehead within the organization, an individual with whom
most employees rarely hear from o...
These are just a few ideas. Once you determine the best method for communication, ensure
that everyone understands the mis...
Invest in Your Goals
It may seem obvious to state that goals are important. However,

‘85% of management teams spend less ...
Be Consistent
If youre goals and strategies are not consistent with one another or with the
company’s mission, then they a...
Accountability
In order to

effectively
measure and
maintain track
of the goals,
you must
establish
accountability.

It is...
As a result, you will have already established a task
for each individual.
The issue (and where most companies fail in imp...
What about CEO accountability?
The fact remains that while you may be the CEO of the
company, and you have plenty or respo...
While all of the company’s employees need
to be held accountable for the success of
the short and long-term goals, it’s ju...
Potential Pitfalls
If your employees aren’t committed to the goals or the company’s mission, then how can you
expect them ...
However, accepting the common pitfalls means that you can take steps to avoid them. There’s
no need to bury your head in t...
Monitoring Results
As CEO, you have plenty of priorities. You can’t possibly spend time monitoring every
individual’s effo...
What happens if performance lags early in the quarter?
What if questions arise in the beginning of the quarter and aren’t
...
Reporting/Measuring
When it comes to reporting, there are many ways to achieve the same goals. Direct, face-toface interac...
Feedback
Employees are human; they require feedback. Even the most
confident worker could use some reassurance or guidance...
Responsibility
As CEO, it’s your responsibility to set and communicate the
company’s goals. If 9 out of 10 companies fail ...
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Kick-Ass CEO, part 1: How to Create Inspiring Objectives that Drive your Company Forward.

  1. 1. Kick-Ass CEO, part 1: How to Create Inspiring Objectives that Drive your Company Forward.
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Spinning Wheels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Enthusiasm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Traction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Prioritize the Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Alignment/Unity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Communicate Effectively . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Invest in Your Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Be Consistent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Accountability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Potential Pitfalls. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Monitoring Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Reporting/Measuring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Feedback. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Responsibility. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 2
  3. 3. “ 9 out of 10 companies fail to implement strategies effectively.” – SAP Spinning Wheels You can have all the power you want under the hood, but if your wheels are stuck in the mud, you won’t go anywhere. Running a business comes complete with more responsibilities, obligations, and demands on your time than there are hours in the day. You develop plans and strategies, invest in them, and propel an enthusiastic charge through your employees, but if those strategies are not implemented, your business could be spinning its wheels. www.kaptasystems.com 3
  4. 4. Enthusiasm Despite what instincts might tell us, most employees are enthusiastic about the company for which they work. They want their company to succeed. They strive to follow through and do whatever they can –working nights, weekends, and any other time that’s necessary- to get the job done. Too often, though, even as they understand the strategies and goals you set forth, they don’t possess the tools, insight, or information necessary to recognize where their work contributes to its success. www.kaptasystems.com 4
  5. 5. Traction Taking an effective strategy and making it work is about traction. It’s about having the right tread on those tires, and sometimes it’s about using a little elbow grease to get moving. It’s important to: • Focus (on the goal) • Plan (develop the strategy) • Align (the goal with the company’s mission) • Forecast (stages of success) • Monitor (each step of the process) • Report (consistently and effectively) Do your employees understand the company’s goal? How many could recount the Mission Statement if asked on the spot? www.kaptasystems.com 5
  6. 6. Think of each employee as another tread on the tire of your company’s forward progress. The more employees that are confident and fully invested in the company’s mission and goals, the more traction your strategies will gain. “90% of well-formulated strategies fail due to poor execution.” – Harvard Business Review. So how do you get your company moving in the right direction ? How do you propel your strategies ? www.kaptasystems.com 6
  7. 7. Prioritize the Goals Every company should have short-term and long-term goals. Your long-term goals should fall within a timeline of three to five years. Short-term goals should be designed with the specific intention of achieving the long-term goals. In other words, both long-term and short-term goals should be congruent with one another. Goals should be articulated in the company’s mission statement. If you establish goals that don’t align with the mission statement, you will create confusion among employees. Confusion leads to wrong turns and becoming lost, directionless. Consider your long-term goals as being your final destination of a road trip. The short-term goals are the key roads that you’ll take to get there. www.kaptasystems.com 7
  8. 8. Now, your goals should fall somewhere Within 4 main categories: • Service • Growth – relating to expansion of the company. • Profit • Social/Community – relating to philanthropic, ‘good will’ projects. – relating to customer satisfaction and retention. – relating to increasing revenue. Once you establish and prioritize the goals, it’s vital to convey them effectively to all employees. Any breakdown in communication leaves the goals subject to failure. www.kaptasystems.com 8
  9. 9. Alignment/Unity Consistency is a … well, consistent theme and that’s because it is critical to strategy implementation. Creating unity among all of your employees is the goal. In order to achieve the right level of unity (where each employee is committed to it), the goals need to create a sense of purpose. If you establish a goal, for example, ‘We will strive to double our revenue next year so that the CEO can cash in on a significant bonus,’ then where will the purpose be for the employees. Reducing energy consumption by more than 50% within three years, on the other hand would likely appeal to a high number of employees, establishing a purpose within them. The more purpose you provide for your employees, the more traction you provide to the company goals. www.kaptasystems.com 9
  10. 10. Do you know what the active interests are of your top level employees ? When it comes to business, most employees have vested interests in the work they do. They have come to work for your company for a reason and in most cases, it’s more than just about money. As CEO, it is your responsibility to determine what these interests are and how the goals of the company can align with them. As there will be numerous stages to any specific goal within a company, there will be a number of ways to align them with your key employees. When you assign a task to a key level employee that is alignment with their passion for the work they do, they will be more invested in its success. In other words, they will devote more energy to ensuring that the company achieves its goals. www.kaptasystems.com Too often, when employees believe that their company no longer aligns with their goals, they will either seek to find a different company to work for or become less devoted to their work and only move through the motions. 10
  11. 11. “81% of workers do not feel strongly When you develop goals and form a strategy to implement it, determine where each aspect of the goals, and which tasks, align best with certain employees. committed to the company’s top priorities.” –From Fake Work by Brent D. Peterson. Imagine what would happen if that number was reversed. Imagine if 81% of workers within your company felt strongly committed to the company’s top priorities. They would become more invested in the success of the company and would devote more energy toward ensuring that its goals were reached. Employees today are more career-oriented, rather than company oriented. They will do whatever is required (within reason) to ensure that their career moves forward. Too often, though, this desire to self-fulfillment is not fostered by companies in an effective manner. www.kaptasystems.com 11
  12. 12. When you’re company is cruising down the highway and you want some fresh air moving through the vehicle, you wouldn’t ask your employee assigned to opening doors to solve the problem. You want the one who controls the windows to do it. The former will certainly invite fresh air in, but there will be a tremendous amount of resistance. You want to uncover the path of least resistance when aligning goals with employees’ interests and passions. In order to address the alignment issue, have the employees write down, in their own words, how their day-to-day work and goals align with the company goals. www.kaptasystems.com By asking them for their input, you create empowerment and that provides the launching point for true and meaningful alignment. 12
  13. 13. Communicate Effectively You know how to communicate, but is everyone hearing the same thing ? During your career, you have most likely developed a keen sense of language within your company and the industry. While you may be used to a specific style of communication or terminology, that doesn’t mean your employees are on the same page. In fact, you may be surprised to discover that there might not be a congruent level of understanding throughout the company. www.kaptasystems.com 13
  14. 14. As CEO, you may feel as though you’re in the driver’s seat of your company, but in reality you’re the passenger. You need to be sure to effectively and consistently communicate to the driver (employees, from top to bottom) where you want them to go. As CEO, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone receives the same message. Do not assume that what you set forth will be conveyed down the chain in the same manner. Upper management may grasp the strategies and ideas better, but there may be an equal number of middle management and lower level employees who don’t understand the goals, and this number could be quite low. Your managers down through the ranks will tend to filter your message, altering it –though inadvertently- and by the time the message reaches the lower levels, it could be confused, inconsistent, and ultimately meaningless. www.kaptasystems.com 14
  15. 15. The CEO is often viewed as a figurehead within the organization, an individual with whom most employees rarely hear from or communicate directly with. Strategies more often fail because of this breakdown in communication. This can be done a number of ways. Create a cogent and reasonable plan to communicate your message directly to your employees. • • • • • • • • • All-hands-on meetings One-on-one meetings with your managers Conferences Seminars Video conferencing Video production Email memorandums Online platforms Internal social media tools www.kaptasystems.com 15
  16. 16. These are just a few ideas. Once you determine the best method for communication, ensure that everyone understands the mission, goals –both short and long-term. You can accomplish this by creating questionnaires, similar to quizzes. Anyone who doesn’t understand the strategic goals is a potential weak link in the chain. If you have one employee turning down the wrong road in your trip, you could end up at the wrong destination. www.kaptasystems.com 16
  17. 17. Invest in Your Goals It may seem obvious to state that goals are important. However, ‘85% of management teams spend less than one-hour a month on strategy issues,’ according to The Higher Ed CIO. If your management teams are investing less than an hour every month toward your strategies, then how will your company even reach them? How can you effectively and accurately measure whether you’re on the right track? If your team, if your employees cannot devote the time to your goals, then perhaps they aren’t as important as you would want them to be. Anything that is important to your company requires the appropriate investment. www.kaptasystems.com 17
  18. 18. Be Consistent If youre goals and strategies are not consistent with one another or with the company’s mission, then they are bound for failure. For example, if you have a goal of “achieving the highest customer satisfaction rate in the industry” while also achieving “greatest profit margin,” then something has to give. You will also need to continually communicate the goals to your employees. Setting them forth in January then checking in on them in June will likely lead to failure. If the goals are important, repeat them. Not only do you want to continually repeat them, but you also want to make sure that when you do repeat them they are identical to what they were before. If something has changed with regard to goals, then highlight these changes If you fail to do the latter, employees may become confused again or may get the false impression that these goals are not necessarily as important as you claim them to be. and explain why they changed. If you fail to do the latter, employees may become confused again or may get the false impression that these goals are not necessarily as important as you claim them to be. www.kaptasystems.com 18
  19. 19. Accountability In order to effectively measure and maintain track of the goals, you must establish accountability. It is common to assign tasks to specific teams, but when you are working on company goals, you want individuals to be accountable for their contribution and responsibilities. Why don’t teams work as effectively as you might have assumed in the past? After all, isn’t your entire company built upon the foundation of teams? Actually, no. A company is built upon departments. When you begin to assign tasks to teams, then how do you know who is responsible for each assignment aligned within those tasks? A team leader would assign them to individuals. www.kaptasystems.com 19
  20. 20. As a result, you will have already established a task for each individual. The issue (and where most companies fail in implementing their strategy) is that only teams are held accountable. Make individuals accountable to their personal assignments and monitoring becomes much more effective and efficient. A is accountable for determining the roads to take to reach point X, then Employee B is responsible for determining the best route to point Y, you’ll When Employee find that each one will invest in getting the entire organization to its destination properly. www.kaptasystems.com 20
  21. 21. What about CEO accountability? The fact remains that while you may be the CEO of the company, and you have plenty or responsibilities already, you need to be held accountable to the goals just as any other employee. Ask yourself the following questions while you are implementing the strategies (and not just once, but over and over and over): • Have you communicated the goals effectively? • Did you paint a picture that everyone can see and understand? • Are you certain that they understand? • Are you following up regularly (weekly or bi-weekly) with management to ensure that all tasks are on target? • Are all facets of the strategies and goals still effective? Or are adjustments required? • Are you interacting from time to time with key employees? • Are you reminding the company of the goals regularly and consistently? www.kaptasystems.com 21
  22. 22. While all of the company’s employees need to be held accountable for the success of the short and long-term goals, it’s just as important that you remain held accountable as well. You may wish to assign a VP or other executive to hold you accountable (for example, the VP of HR can fit this role well). The more people who watch the road, the less likely you are to hit a pothole, or take a wrong turn. Reinforce the key messages consistently. www.kaptasystems.com 22
  23. 23. Potential Pitfalls If your employees aren’t committed to the goals or the company’s mission, then how can you expect them to work toward them? “70% of middle managers and more than 90% of front-line employees have compensation that is not linked to the strategy.” – The Higher ED CIO. No matter how passionate an employee may be for the company or the work that they perform on a daily basis, there is no better motivating factor than money. When you establish some level of connection to performance and accomplishing company goals to compensation, whether in the form of bonuses or other compensation, then you create inspiration within every employee. The general thinking shifts from, ‘What difference does it make to me?’ to ‘If we achieve our target goals, then I will be rewarded with …’ If you feel as though you’re stumbling through a mine field, then that’s exactly what you will deal with when setting forth company goals and priorities. www.kaptasystems.com 23
  24. 24. However, accepting the common pitfalls means that you can take steps to avoid them. There’s no need to bury your head in the sand and hope that they don’t trip up your company. “53% of workers think that the work they do doesn’t count for anything.” – from Fake Work by Brent D. Peterson When people believe that their effort makes a difference, they are more likely to press forth with more consistent effort. They will be more determined to contribute to the common good of the company. Determine how you can convince your employees, individually, that every single one of them are important. You won’t achieve this with 100% of your employees, but the closer you get to 100%, the more likely the company goals will be achieved. www.kaptasystems.com 24
  25. 25. Monitoring Results As CEO, you have plenty of priorities. You can’t possibly spend time monitoring every individual’s effort and results. However, that’s what your management team is there for. Once you’ve set forth the short and long-term goals, and once you’ve effectively communicated these to your employees, measured understanding and alignment, and set forth accountability, monitoring is a much simpler process. What about quarterly reviews? you might inquire. Aren’t these enough? Is that really enough? Does a review every three months really place these goals in a high priority frame of mind? Will checking in every few months make much of a difference? www.kaptasystems.com 25
  26. 26. What happens if performance lags early in the quarter? What if questions arise in the beginning of the quarter and aren’t formally addressed until the review period? By the time you manage to discover these underlying problems, it may already be too late to recover. The company has turned down the wrong road and you’re heading in the opposite direction from your goals, lost and becoming even more lost. Weekly reviews within departments will help to keep all employees aligned with the goals set forth. Have team review sessions and have those results reported on up the chain of command. Establish peer reviews in which one department evaluates the achievements of another. This can help avoid covering up shortcomings within a department. While the goal is not to target one particular department, when you have C-Level managers glossing over miscues or employee failures for fear of being reprimanded, accountability breaks down. You need to become ‘maniacal’ about your monitoring practices. There is a significant difference between monitoring and micromanaging and it’s important to understand the difference. When monitoring, you are ensuring that the company stay on course. When micromanaging, you are directing how everyone should be accomplishing their goals. www.kaptasystems.com 26
  27. 27. Reporting/Measuring When it comes to reporting, there are many ways to achieve the same goals. Direct, face-toface interaction, email, surveys, and software programs are just a few. For a company with hundreds or thousands of employees, face-to-face contact is not feasible. Email can become a nightmare, and surveys tend to offer diluted feedback. Software has become an important aspect up internal communications within major companies. The risk, though, is that direct interaction becomes less of a priority. If you choose software to help in reporting and measuring where each task is within relation to completion, it’s important to make sure that managers continue to work closely with the rest of the employees. www.kaptasystems.com 27
  28. 28. Feedback Employees are human; they require feedback. Even the most confident worker could use some reassurance or guidance from time to time. Provide regular and consistent feedback to your employees, from upper management on down the line. When tasks are on target, let them know that and acknowledge their effort. If they are off target, provide guidance that can help them steer back in the right direction. The goal is to constantly improve performance and the only way to effectively accomplish that is to provide feedback. Of course, the only way to provide the right level of feedback is to have effective reporting and measuring avenues. www.kaptasystems.com 28
  29. 29. Responsibility As CEO, it’s your responsibility to set and communicate the company’s goals. If 9 out of 10 companies fail to implement their strategies and goals properly, who has failed? You could certainly blame the employees or the economy or management or any number of other forces, but it still comes back around to you, the CEO. When you know how to implement strategies effectively, and you understand what your responsibilities are, you will be in a better position to lead your company in the direction (toward the goals) that you set forth. Accomplishing the goals you set forth is about traction. For some, when they’re stuck in the mud (or ice and snow), they’ll rock the vehicle back and forth. Others may tend to press the accelerator to the floor. These rarely work. The best strategy to avoid getting stuck by keeping everyone focused and committed to the goals and aligning them with the company’s mission and your employees’ strengths and ambitions. When you manage that, your goals will be more likely to succeed. www.kaptasystems.com 29

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