Every organization hits a ceiling at some point. Some figure out how to break through it, some linger there longer than they like, while other businesses simply fizzle out. I know because I've seen it in my own businesses and others as well.
The question becomes, what to do about it. How do you push through successfully and how can you head it off in the future?
Here are six key components of every business, and to the degree you can solidify all six, it becomes easier to see those ceilings coming and address them (or avoid them) in the future. The brilliant Gino Wickman discusses these in his book, "Traction" and they are definitely worth exploring.
1. Get a clear Vision.
Work with the executive team to set a clear vision for where the organization wants to go and get everyone on the executive team in agreement. Set clear values for the organization that are not "pay to play" values like trust and honesty - everyone should have those coming in to your organization. Set values that go deeper and give examples of how people can demonstrate them.
2. Create Right Bus and Right Seats - then select the Right People for the Seats.
Quite literally, in that order. Toss the typical org chart, think like a strategic Board of Directors and create a totally new "bus" not based on the people who you currently have but the organization you need for the future. Then design the "seats" then choose the right people for them. This is an eye opening exercise and you may find that some of the people that got you where you are now are not the ones who will take you into the future.
3. Get Clear on Data.
What data points about your business would you need to look at weekly, in order to know the health of your organization? This one throws people for a loop, but it's a great exercise. We're not talking financial statements that you look at monthly or quarterly. What weekly data do you need to see to know all is well in your business?
4. Deal with your Issues.
Many meetings are spend rehashing the same issues over and over and over. It's important to clearly identify the root cause of the issues, discuss it thoroughly, solve the issue and assign it to someone to take care of. The sooner you master this brilliant process, the more time you will have to tend to your business.
5. Know your Core Processes.
There is a saying that 20% of your business processes produce 80% of your revenue. Do you know what those are? Identify them, document them, share them. Note I didn't say 100% of your processes, just the key 20%.
6. Get Traction Throughout the Organization.
By setting a clear vision, getting the right seats and people placed, by having clear and transparent data, dealing with issues, and documenting core processes, your organization can gain significant traction - which means getting everyone on the same page and accountable to each other.
The program Wickman has designed is called the Entrepreneurial Operating System, or EOS. We found it years ago and it is truly a proven, elegantly simple set of tools and processes to consistently identify when the ceiling is coming and how to punch through it successfully. By strengthening each of the six key components you can propel your organization to greater success. We help organizations by facilitating the EOS process.
Curious to learn more? Click here to get details! Or join us at one of our Rocket Fuel Events!
As a start-up you look for the right people then create a roll for them because there is plenty of work to do. But as you business grows and matures, you have to think differently about your business design and look at getting the "right seats" in mind first, then getting the right people in the right seats. If you're dealing with this issue right now it's a good sign that your business is growing! What does the inside of your bus look like? Here are four steps to redesigning your "bus"...
Step 1: Examine the future design of your organization is to step outside of your business. Pretend for a bit that you are actually on the Board of Directors or a business advisor sitting outside of your organization looking in.
Step 2 is to ask yourself, what is the right structure for the organization as you take it forward? Don't look back to how you've done it in the past, keep your eyes focused on the future. What does the leadership structure look like? Every organization has a leader (we call it an Implementor) and some have a Visionary - or both. There are at least three groups under the Implementor and they tend to be some variation of Sales/Marketing, Operations (Product/Service), and Finance/Accounting. Identify these first, then build out the organization from there!
Step 3: once the "Right Seats" are defined, give each role 3-5 primary job responsibilities that are unique for each "Seat". This gives those seats accountability for specific roles and functions within the organization. No two people should have the same bullets at this point.
Step 4: put the right people in the right seats. Ensure the individuals are still a great fit for your organization's culture, that they understand the new role and "get it", "want it" and have the "capacity to do it". We call this GWC.
Ultimately we call this an Accountability Chart because it clearly identifies the rolls of responsibility for every seat, and thus every individual, in the organization. When one pair of eyes is responsible for a function within the company, it is much easier to get more done in less time and with fewer resources.
Questions? Just contact us and we're happy to share more!
"Indeed, companies spend more than $2 trillion on acquisitions every year. Yet study after study puts the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions somewhere between 70% and 90%." Harvard Business Review
2013 has proven to be quite the year for re-evaluation and assessment of where current business stands. Whether it is a part of a growth or exit strategy, many entrepreneurs, CEOs and executives have had the conversation "what do we do next" and the concept of a merger or acquisition most certainly crosses the minds of most. But, are you ready for it?
It is common knowledge to recognize the importance of the legal and financial aspects of a merger or acquisition but few consider the third piece of this puzzle, the people. If your business value is based on the output of the knowledge, talent and skills of your people for its success then this third leg of the M&A stool has to be not only considered but needs to be a major focus of your efforts.
People and Culture. This is the third leg of the M&A stool that wasn't factored into industrial age acquisition plans for M&A advisory firms. The result is the 70-90% M&A failure rate of the 21st century. The reality is, in 2014 and beyond, the knowledge economy is a very different beast and requires a savvy and wise approach to the entire M&A process, a fundamental shift in how mergers and acquisitions have been done in the past.
Here are five things to consider assuming the finance and legal aspects have been addressed:
In the end, successful mergers and acquisitions need solid legal and financial advice but they ALSO need a strong (and real) evaluation of your people and culture to be a part of the 30%. Best of luck!
It's that time of year where we start thinking about 2014 and what we want to accomplish during the 365 days that make up 2014. But before you get to that, start with the "What I'm NOT Doing in 2014" list.
Why, you ask? Try this 10 minute exercise and you'll see why this could be the breakthrough to your productivity and happiness in 2014.
The 4 Steps to Creating a Better 2014
Your Q1 Action Plan
If you really want 2014 to be a transformational year for you, try this approach.
ACTION #1: Spend 60% of your time in January & February delegating/outsourcing all of the items in #4 above. Once those are delegated/outsourced move to the next step.
ACTION #2: Spend 50% of your time in February & March transitioning items from #3 above. Once those are delegated/outsourced move to the next step.
ACTION #3: Spend one day in March (typically in the 3rd week) completely away from the office and away from all distractions to plan your activities for Q2 of 2014 focusing on nothing but your strengths identified in step #2 above.
Watch for more posts on this Q2 planning session and how to make 2014 enormously successful for you and your executive team!
Regardless of whether you are a large or small organization, a company or non-profit, here is a list of 6 things executive teams should be focused on in 2014 in order to help you grow, scale up, and prosper in 2014 and beyond.
One of the big questions we get from our CEO clients is as the business grows what is the real role of a CEO? What should they really be focused on to take the organization to new levels, because most are focused on the day-to-day aspects of the business.
A great conversation was started in the association community by Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor to Associations Now. His post "A Better Job Description for CEOs" asks the question, what should CEO's be focus on. The question is a really good one and I think the bigger question is what should the roles be for the Executive Team, the Integrator (#2 of an organization) and the Visionary (#1/CEO).
My friend and colleague Jamie Notter posted his top four for the CEO as Culture, Strategy, People, and Business Model, but this is still too much for a CEO to focus on. I also believe it muddies the role of the Integrator and the Executive team with the true role of a CEO who wants to scale and grow the organization.
Here are my thoughts on the roles of the Executive Team, the #2 (COO/Integrator), and the #1 (CEO/Executive Director/Visionary).
The Executive Team of any organization needs to be focusing on six core aspects of the "business" which we call Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process and Traction.
1. VISION: Getting everyone in the organization 100% clear about where you're going with the organization.
2. PEOPLE: Surrounding yourself with great people because you can't achieve a great vision without great people.
3. DATA: This means cutting through all the feelings, personalities, opinions and egos and boiling your organization down to a handful of objective numbers that give you an absolute pulse on where things are.
4. ISSUES: With 1-3 above addressed and clear it makes it much easier to identify and tackle the real issues within an organization and make them go away.
5. PROCESS: This is the secret ingredient in any organization. This means “systemizing” the organization by identifying and documenting the core processes that define your way to run your organization – getting everyone on the same page with what the essential procedural steps are in your core processes and then getting everyone to follow them so you create consistency and scalability in your organization.
6. TRACTION: This means bringing discipline and accountability into the organization – becoming great at execution – taking the vision down to the ground and making it real.
The Executive Team focuses on these six core components of an organization. By strengthening all six of those core areas, organizations can become more efficient and scalable.
The #2 person in the organization we call the “Integrator” but their job titles vary (COO, Executive VP of Administration, etc.). This person’s focus is ensuring that the Executive Team has all of the resources it needs to tackle those six components. The Integrator is also responsible for executive of the Business Plan and P&L (but this is not the CFO).
This leaves the “Visionary” or CEO/Executive Director owning and guiding the Vision and long-term growth of the organization. To grow the organization, the CEO should be focused on:
1. Ensuring the Executive Team, Board, Staff, and Members are clear on the vision of the organization. This means continually working with these teams and individuals to ensure what they are doing is clearly aligning with where the organization is going.
2. Developing and deepening the Key Relationships of the organization. This does not mean others are not involved but it does mean taking an active role in the identified "Key" relationships for the organization.
3. Emulates the Culture that supports the Vision. One of the biggest issues we hear about most often is the perception that the leaders of an organization are saying one thing but doing another. The CEO needs to be the one keeping a pulse on this.
What we we see too often is that the “Integrator” and “Visionary” are trying to mix and match their roles instead of letting each do what they do best. The profile of a successful Integrator (one who likes being in the weeds) is very different than that of an Visionary (one guiding the future of the organization). And many times others have the expectation that the CEO needs to do both. Yes, the CEO needs to know what’s going on in the organization with regards to operations, but the CEO should not be responsible for its day-to-day work if the organization is going to scale and grow. They CEO needs to focus on the Vision, Key Relationships and Culture in order to take the organization to new heights.
Oracle/Taleo published a great PDF talking about survey results on the perceptions between CEOs, CFOs, and HR. It's a great info graphic to look at. Click here for "The Relationship Between C-Suite & HR".
Several years ago I spoke at a SHRM chapter event about HR vs HC and who should be in the C-suite. I'm so pleased to see this gaining traction now!
The PDF shows a few interesting trends, none of which are too surprising:
So none of these are a surprise, right? We have traditionally groomed HR people to be almost solely focused on transactions and process. These skills are inherently clear to any one who hires and works with heads of HR. In these times of regulation we need individuals who can focus on the transactions and process to keep companies compliant. So why would CEO's and CFO's, and other c-suite executives, look to the head of HR to be in the c-suite? It takes a totally different skill set to manage and balance the strategy of people and business.
Enter - the Chief People Officer
This is the individual that C-suite executives need to bring to the table, a new breed of individuals who understand business and its drivers but also understand the issues around people strategy, not just the process and procedures found in HR. The CPO works WITH the head of HR, but is a completely different function. The CPO, like their other c-suite executives, works cross functionally in an organization, looking at the macro people issues (HR being only one of those). The smart CPO is watching global industry trends, understands the business and its key drivers, works with leaders throughout the organization and is not "tied" to the HR organization alone. Some of the key responsibilities of the CPO include:
These key functions, along with other ones, should be the key focus on the Chief People Officer. Just like the emergence of the C-Technology-O, the C-Marketing-O, or any other relatively new "C" position, the Chief People Officer is not the Head of HR, but a new emerging position that the C-suite needs to consider.
Really - it's new. The "human capital" space, if you take out the HR (transactional) aspects of human resources...the idea of 'human capital' is really still very new. We are going through the exact same industry life cycle as the eLearning space did in the late 90s and early 2000s. It's rather interesting in fact to see just how similar it was.It started with the term 'eLearning' and now our term 'human capital' and what does that really mean? Many are still trying to define it.
Then it moved into learning metrics and measuring the effectiveness of eLearning....now we have human capital metrics conversations. But the first eLearning metrics were really about capturing 'butts in seats' and 'page clicks' and 'course satisfaction'. All of that has moved into much deeper analysis of effectiveness of training, multi-modal learning, and all sorts of awesome things that people like Elliot Masie and others spoke about in their "Future of Learning" type sessions in the late 90s.
At the same time that the metrics concept was emerging, so was the incredible boom of eLearning technology companies, LMS systems, and the like. Both delivery systems and tracking systems are popping up by the dozens.
Then the mergers & acquisitions began... HC companies buying each other...then the integrations of LMS companies with human capital systems too. The SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors, then the Learn.com platform (eLearning system) acquired by Taleo (HC system), which was then acquired by Oracle - that's just one example.
Then I would say, the calm settles in and true growth begins. Social media and other ancillary applications are integrated into this more robust systems. But what is truly great is that really cutting edge technologies emerge. The eLearning space has some amazing high tech applications with virtual reality training, things resembling Google glass....really cool, really immersive learning. It connects people in ways we never imagined and just look at what eLearning has done to higher education, home schooling, and even public schools now.
So what does this mean for the human capital space? My prediction is this... by 2020, human capital transformations are going to impact the business world in ways far more significant than eLearning has transformed education. The HC growth curve is going to be steeper and more impactful on business management than eLearning has been for education. I'll write some thoughts on my predictions soon.
In my lifetime, I've been blogging since July 2005. My first business was Amy Smith Consulting, LLC - an eLearning strategy firm which I kept for six years (2001-7) and loved. Here is that first blog post from Association eLearning on Email-based Learning (holy cow! how far we've come)
Through that business I met some fantastic colleagues, we called ourselves "Five Independent Thinkers" and we co-authored a blog in 2006 that we purposefully turned into a book called "We've Always Done It That Way: 101 things about associations we much change".
Many of us are so busy right now, and just finding time to post current material on our blogs can be time consuming, trust me I know this well. But, re-reading old posts reminds me of just how far we've come. How terminology has evolved, how technology growth and life cycles are growing then dying, how we shift thinking as things emerge. It's all fantastic really - and a great way to remind ourselves of how far we've come is to simply read our old blog posts. I've done a few of the "did I really say that back then?" Always worth a few laughs.
And now...here we are..with HCM2020 and our new blog. I will migrate over some of the content from my previous blogs just for history sake, but really, I like starting over fresh, clean slate so to speak.
I welcome anyone who is interested in guest blogging on topics around human capital or people in the workplace to message me. I love idea collaboration, though sharing, especially in an industry that is really still at its early stages, because really...we have a very long way to go in the human capital space.
Those who know me know I've been writing about HR metrics and data for years (see April 2011 HR Armed with Data). It's been a topic on my various blogs but I am really happy to finally see the topic has spread throughout the business and HR worlds. Today you can find plenty of information on the topic.So what has me writing another blog post on the topic? ...the conversation has finally shifted from the boring, and not-so-telling, metrics of time to hire and butts in seats, etc. to things that are meaningful to business leaders...people.
Yves Lermusi (@YvesatCheckster), wrote a blog post back in early June entitled, "The Quest for Quality of Hire". It was an ERE Conference session with speaker Rob McIntosh (@TheRobMcIntosh), senior vice president of global talent acquisition and recruitment of Avanade. All I can say, it's a great start to the conversation about HR metrics.
My take on the entire topic of HR metrics? It's a necessary evil that I have a fascination with. Why? Because metrics help us ground ourselves in reality, something that has been greatly lacking when it comes to people in the workplace. And without getting myself too worked up about that, metrics - data- real information - gives us a "real" picture about where we stand. The other big reason is that business loves data points, and as long as your data sources and methodology can be explained, the data can be useful to help get additional resources for human capital. Oh yes...and things like M&A, etc. want data...yes that too!
So back to our topic on QoH!
Quality of a Hire (QoH) is really a key, universal business driver. This one metric will tell you a lot about the quality of your recruiting organization BUT it also tells you a lot about hiring manager expectations and the communication around that. So the QoH metric is a multi-function, multi-departmental responsibility; which, I would argue, you want as an executive.
This metric can tell you several things (this is not an exhaustive list):
I could come up with more, but these are the first that come to mind.
The dilemma of determining the QoH metric is that for every question above, can you determine a quantifiable number?. It requires standardization of what are typically subjective measures of success (i.e. performance reviews, for example but pick any of the 6 above and you see what I mean). [Side note, yet another reason I greatly dislike the concept of using performance review data in business analytics.]
If your organization is looking for a key HC metric, start by working on this one first. How is a "quality hire" measured in your organization, and by whom? How could it be measured, what parameters are collected or would need to be? There are a lot of great questions that surround this. Lermusi points out that setting clear expectations of hiring managers ahead of time is one of the biggest obstacles to quality hire success because most managers know they need a person in a position but can't articulate exactly "what" they need...or at least in a meaningful and quantifiable way.
At HCM2020, we use a series of tools called the "Kolbe Wisdom" to do just that...identify in a meaningful and quantifiable way, the expectations of the hiring manager. We can then map a candidate's likelihood for success based on another Kolbe Index, to determine whether the candidate's natural way of working matches with the expectations of the hiring manager. Again, we can get quantifiable data measured during the hiring process and again at intervals throughout the candidate's first year of employment to show alignment or misalignment.
There are other numbers that would be factored in the QoH metric, and those have to be tailored to individual organizations, but I am so thrilled to finally see meaningful conversations about one important metric, the Quality of Hires.
Thanks to Rob for sharing his thoughts at the ERE conference and thanks to Yves for continuing the conversation!
Amy Riccardi is the Chief People Officer and Founder of HCM2020. She's a guest lecturer at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and works with executive teams and CEOs to help scale and grow their business.