KPI Development: When to Use Ratios

KPI Development: When to Use Ratios

One of the best-loved classics viewed during the Christmas season is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (see summary here), a story centered around a selfish and unfriendly old man who hates Christmas named Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a story that has been recreated for film, television and the stage more than two dozen times and offers many valuable leadership lessons.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Past

There is an urban legend regarding an incident about a young pilot in the U.S. Navy who crashed his $38 million F-14 Tomcat and had to appear before the Investigation Board. After providing his perspective on the details of the crash, the young pilot asked an Admiral who was sitting on that Board if he would lose his wings. The Admiral stared at him for a moment and then stated, “Why would we take your wings when the U.S. Navy just spent $38 million dollars training you?”

Good leaders learn from past mistakes and don’t repeat them in the future. Sometimes the best lessons learned come from our mistakes and failures. In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge saw the mistakes he had made and the opportunities that had passed him by. While unable to change the past, he still had the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and ensure they were not repeated in the future. There is no value in berating employees or constituents on what happened yesterday, as you can’t change it. Objectively and honestly analyze your successes and failures and try to learn the lessons that each have to offer.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Future

Many have attempted to predict future events throughout history. Sometimes, a few got some of it right, but the vast majority missed the mark substantially. The one thing you can be certain about regarding the future is uncertainty. With the rapidly changing circumstances, technology, social reforms and everything else requiring attention in today’s world, an organization must be proactive if it wants to survive in the long-term. As the predictability of future events is generally a best guess based on past history, predictive analysis and other tools, organizational agility and flexibility are essential for success in today’s ever-changing environment.

Are you growing your employees? Are you equipping them with the skills, abilities and freedom to innovate; to be creative and involved in decisions that form the basis for the future of the organization? Is succession planning a viable part of your strategy? Are you grooming the right people to take the leadership reins of your organization in the coming decades? Have you studied and learned from the past? Are you doing things differently based on what you have learned? Is your organizational culture one of empowerment and change, focused on the future or stuck in the past doing the same things, in the same way, buried in layers of bureaucracy and mediocracy? Scrooge didn’t just learn from the past, he applied that learning to his future. He was willing to make the changes necessary and provide others with the support and encouragement necessary to succeed.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Present

Recent studies show approximately 64% of executives struggle with work related stress. This impacts their ability to sleep, relax and their health. If this is true for executives, it is reasonable to suggest that many employees below the executive level of an organization also struggle with similar issues. Holidays are often a mixed bag when it comes to stress at both work and home.

In this season of Christmas, carve some time out of your schedule to relax without the worry of work. Spend additional time with your family, friends, colleagues and employees. Turn off the cell phone and don’t worry about emails for a few hours or a few days, if possible. The holidays will be here and gone before you know it and once gone, they are in the past. Make some warm memories with the ones that you love. Be kind to one another and be generous to those in need.

From all of us at the Strategy Management Group to all of you, we wish you, your family and friends, a wonderful holiday season.

Sources
A Christmas Carol Summary by Charles Dickens. Retrieved from: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/christmascarol/summary/

Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Retrieved from:
https://www.aircraftcompare.com/aircraft/grumman-f-14-tomcat/

The Stressed Executive: Sources and Predictors of Stress Among Participants in an Executive Health Program, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6196623/

 

 

4 Ways Your KPIs Remind Me of Our New Puppy

4 Ways Your KPIs Remind Me of Our New Puppy

One of the best-loved classics viewed during the Christmas season is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (see summary here), a story centered around a selfish and unfriendly old man who hates Christmas named Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a story that has been recreated for film, television and the stage more than two dozen times and offers many valuable leadership lessons.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Past

There is an urban legend regarding an incident about a young pilot in the U.S. Navy who crashed his $38 million F-14 Tomcat and had to appear before the Investigation Board. After providing his perspective on the details of the crash, the young pilot asked an Admiral who was sitting on that Board if he would lose his wings. The Admiral stared at him for a moment and then stated, “Why would we take your wings when the U.S. Navy just spent $38 million dollars training you?”

Good leaders learn from past mistakes and don’t repeat them in the future. Sometimes the best lessons learned come from our mistakes and failures. In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge saw the mistakes he had made and the opportunities that had passed him by. While unable to change the past, he still had the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and ensure they were not repeated in the future. There is no value in berating employees or constituents on what happened yesterday, as you can’t change it. Objectively and honestly analyze your successes and failures and try to learn the lessons that each have to offer.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Future

Many have attempted to predict future events throughout history. Sometimes, a few got some of it right, but the vast majority missed the mark substantially. The one thing you can be certain about regarding the future is uncertainty. With the rapidly changing circumstances, technology, social reforms and everything else requiring attention in today’s world, an organization must be proactive if it wants to survive in the long-term. As the predictability of future events is generally a best guess based on past history, predictive analysis and other tools, organizational agility and flexibility are essential for success in today’s ever-changing environment.

Are you growing your employees? Are you equipping them with the skills, abilities and freedom to innovate; to be creative and involved in decisions that form the basis for the future of the organization? Is succession planning a viable part of your strategy? Are you grooming the right people to take the leadership reins of your organization in the coming decades? Have you studied and learned from the past? Are you doing things differently based on what you have learned? Is your organizational culture one of empowerment and change, focused on the future or stuck in the past doing the same things, in the same way, buried in layers of bureaucracy and mediocracy? Scrooge didn’t just learn from the past, he applied that learning to his future. He was willing to make the changes necessary and provide others with the support and encouragement necessary to succeed.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Present

Recent studies show approximately 64% of executives struggle with work related stress. This impacts their ability to sleep, relax and their health. If this is true for executives, it is reasonable to suggest that many employees below the executive level of an organization also struggle with similar issues. Holidays are often a mixed bag when it comes to stress at both work and home.

In this season of Christmas, carve some time out of your schedule to relax without the worry of work. Spend additional time with your family, friends, colleagues and employees. Turn off the cell phone and don’t worry about emails for a few hours or a few days, if possible. The holidays will be here and gone before you know it and once gone, they are in the past. Make some warm memories with the ones that you love. Be kind to one another and be generous to those in need.

From all of us at the Strategy Management Group to all of you, we wish you, your family and friends, a wonderful holiday season.

Sources
A Christmas Carol Summary by Charles Dickens. Retrieved from: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/christmascarol/summary/

Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Retrieved from:
https://www.aircraftcompare.com/aircraft/grumman-f-14-tomcat/

The Stressed Executive: Sources and Predictors of Stress Among Participants in an Executive Health Program, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6196623/

 

 

How Do You Plan for a Disruption Like THIS?!

How Do You Plan for a Disruption Like THIS?!

One of the best-loved classics viewed during the Christmas season is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (see summary here), a story centered around a selfish and unfriendly old man who hates Christmas named Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a story that has been recreated for film, television and the stage more than two dozen times and offers many valuable leadership lessons.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Past

There is an urban legend regarding an incident about a young pilot in the U.S. Navy who crashed his $38 million F-14 Tomcat and had to appear before the Investigation Board. After providing his perspective on the details of the crash, the young pilot asked an Admiral who was sitting on that Board if he would lose his wings. The Admiral stared at him for a moment and then stated, “Why would we take your wings when the U.S. Navy just spent $38 million dollars training you?”

Good leaders learn from past mistakes and don’t repeat them in the future. Sometimes the best lessons learned come from our mistakes and failures. In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge saw the mistakes he had made and the opportunities that had passed him by. While unable to change the past, he still had the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and ensure they were not repeated in the future. There is no value in berating employees or constituents on what happened yesterday, as you can’t change it. Objectively and honestly analyze your successes and failures and try to learn the lessons that each have to offer.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Future

Many have attempted to predict future events throughout history. Sometimes, a few got some of it right, but the vast majority missed the mark substantially. The one thing you can be certain about regarding the future is uncertainty. With the rapidly changing circumstances, technology, social reforms and everything else requiring attention in today’s world, an organization must be proactive if it wants to survive in the long-term. As the predictability of future events is generally a best guess based on past history, predictive analysis and other tools, organizational agility and flexibility are essential for success in today’s ever-changing environment.

Are you growing your employees? Are you equipping them with the skills, abilities and freedom to innovate; to be creative and involved in decisions that form the basis for the future of the organization? Is succession planning a viable part of your strategy? Are you grooming the right people to take the leadership reins of your organization in the coming decades? Have you studied and learned from the past? Are you doing things differently based on what you have learned? Is your organizational culture one of empowerment and change, focused on the future or stuck in the past doing the same things, in the same way, buried in layers of bureaucracy and mediocracy? Scrooge didn’t just learn from the past, he applied that learning to his future. He was willing to make the changes necessary and provide others with the support and encouragement necessary to succeed.

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Present

Recent studies show approximately 64% of executives struggle with work related stress. This impacts their ability to sleep, relax and their health. If this is true for executives, it is reasonable to suggest that many employees below the executive level of an organization also struggle with similar issues. Holidays are often a mixed bag when it comes to stress at both work and home.

In this season of Christmas, carve some time out of your schedule to relax without the worry of work. Spend additional time with your family, friends, colleagues and employees. Turn off the cell phone and don’t worry about emails for a few hours or a few days, if possible. The holidays will be here and gone before you know it and once gone, they are in the past. Make some warm memories with the ones that you love. Be kind to one another and be generous to those in need.

From all of us at the Strategy Management Group to all of you, we wish you, your family and friends, a wonderful holiday season.

Sources
A Christmas Carol Summary by Charles Dickens. Retrieved from: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/christmascarol/summary/

Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Retrieved from:
https://www.aircraftcompare.com/aircraft/grumman-f-14-tomcat/

The Stressed Executive: Sources and Predictors of Stress Among Participants in an Executive Health Program, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6196623/

 

 

Are You Holding Employees Accountable?

Are You Holding Employees Accountable?

How many times have you tried to implement what seems like the perfect strategy only to fail because you can’t seem to get your employees to make it happen? Oftentimes the success of a strategy execution or performance management system hinges on whether leaders can create a culture of accountability in their organization.

Dr. J. Ed Barnes summarizes two approaches to accountability below. Even though the lists, taken together, read like a simple management 101 reference, I have found that many accomplished leaders and mangers are simply not very good at many of these key skills. The punitive approach is an instructive straw man for how NOT to approach accountability, while the second list outlines basic motivational methods for creating accountability.

 We’ve also created a simple assessment based on the above lists that anyone can use to assess how well your organization is at creating a culture of accountability. Any leader or manager can assess his/her performance by simply reviewing the statement and assigning a score between 1 and 10, with 1 being low.

If you scored yourself low on the formulation or communications of goals and expectations, you might investigate our Balanced Scorecard Professional program. If measuring success or reporting progress is a challenge, you might consider our KPI Professional program. If you score yourself low across the board, you might consider our Strategic Leadership course.

 

 

Which Tax Change Means Reassessing YOUR Strategy?

Which Tax Change Means Reassessing YOUR Strategy?

Tim Johnson noted in his recent strategic planning article that 85% of Fortune 500 companies from 1955 no longer exist today. This is because they failed to keep up with a changing world. The assumptions upon which they based their strategy on were no longer valid due to a change related to either market demands, customer needs, or technology. If your organization wants to avoid a similar failure, it is critical that you periodically evaluate the strategic environment that you work in and make sure that your strategy is not based on similarly invalid assumptions.

The new tax law that was passed in December 2017 in the U.S. offers an example of a change that could possibly disrupt a key assumption you might have made when you developed your strategy. While most organizations will not make any major changes in this case, it still helps demonstrate the types of strategic questions that you might be asking yourself if you work in certain sectors.

Do you work in the non-profit sector? Since the standard deduction has been raised significantly, some fear that there be a decline in charitable donations. This aggravates the problem that has arisen with the generational change happening across our society, where those who have been the strongest donors in the past are aging and passing on to a new generation that likes to give in different ways. The strategic question you may ask is, where can we make up for projected shortfalls in revenue? How must our contribution mix be changed in the future?

Do you sell luxury goods? One accountant I spoke with who had done a year-by-year comparison said that clients that make more than $750k per year were getting quite a windfall, while the middle brackets were coming out close to even. Another friend I know who does million-dollar home remodeling said that he as already seen an uptick in business. The strategic question here is, how can we tap into the increase in capital available across certain industries?

Do you work in, or sell to, the Federal government sector? Non-defense spending is down for multiple reasons already – a huge reduction in revenues will likely only reinforce this trend. The strategic questions might be how can we increase our efficiency or improve our quality to reduce our cost structure? Or should we refocus on different sectors?

Are you an accountant or a tax lawyer? At least in the short term, some folks can plan for a big boost in business as they help everyone figure out what to do. The strategic questions here are, where are the biggest targets of opportunity? How can we align our services and branding to align to these changing market conditions?

Is your business connected to divorce, education, or the moving industry? Do you sell meals and entertainment to corporations? Do you sell depreciable property? Specific issues have been highlighted in the news that could affect very specific industries: alimony deduction rules have changed; 529 College Savings Plan’s can now be used for education other than just colleges; moving expenses are no longer deductible; rules for corporate meals / entertainment expenses and deductions for depreciable property changed significantly. Any of these changes could have an impact on certain organizations. In all these cases, the strategic questions revolve around, how can we succeed considering these changes?

Are you an architect or engineer? You’ll need a team of certified tax lawyers to help you decipher the new pass-through portion of the law, but I’ve already heard of organizations trying to add engineering services to their product line to gain certain tax advantages. Maybe this opens the door for partnering opportunities, or maybe a new consulting service offering to help organizations navigate in a new market place for them?

The point of this blog is not to educate you on the new tax law, as this is just a few highlights of the change. The point is that you might need to reassess your strategy depending on your organization and the assumptions on which you have based your strategic priorities. If any of the considerations listed above are relevant for your organization, I’d recommend you talk to a tax lawyer about the details and then consider what changes might be needed. There might be implications for some of the KPI targets you have set as you emphasize one strategy over another. There might be initiatives that need to be added or removed from your priority list. In some rare cases, there might be reason to refocus your efforts on a different strategy altogether. The key is that you continuously assess your strategic environment to see if any of the assumptions that were made to formulate strategy have changed, as you don’t ever want to be one of those organizations that gets left behind by a changing world.

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