• To MOVE the needle, you’ve got to SEE the needle

    28 February 2016
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    Wellhead Pressure Gauge

    Crafting a dashboard that works

    I’m going to be talking about dashboards on the Rising Leader webinar in March, and as I prep for that session, I’m reminded of why you should create a dashboard in the first place.

    It may seem obvious on the surface, but a dashboard keeps visible and helps you track two things:

    • What in your business will “move the needle” for success
    • What you want to focus your attention on

    Companies with fewer than about 25 people often don’t need a dashboard (which doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from one). At that size, the team instinctively knows what’s important, and the leaders are close to the action.

    Bigger than 25 people, though, and a dashboard is useful. Unfortunately, a dashboard is also harder at that size, for several reasons:

    • There are simply more parts of the business – more things that the company is doing, many of which seem important. What is really important to put on the dashboard?
    • There become several levels of “frames” that can be used to understand the business. There’s the tactical/trenches level (returning a customer’s email), the “strat-tactical” level (customer service), and the strategic level (the customer experience). Once you identify a part of your business that’s important, then you need to figure out if you measure it at the 100-, 1,000-, 10,000- level, or 50,000-foot level.
    • There often is no immediate, easy source of data for issues that are important. For example, most people would agree that employee engagement is important to most companies – but how do you measure that? [Note: there are some pretty simple ways.]

    So, crafting an effective dashboard takes thought.

    Many companies have an annual budgeting process – they recognize that coming up with financial plans is complex enough that they should spend time figuring it out.

    Well, you should also have an annual “dashboarding” process that figures out what’s important to your business and what you want to focus your attention on. Some things will always be important; others will come and go.

    If you’re a middle manager or a high-potential employee, you can join the Rising Leader Program and hear more about dashboards this month in our webinar. Visit phimation.com/start to find out more.

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  • Important hire? Here’s the strategy…

    1 February 2016
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    You don’t need to hire every position with the same approach. Sure, some companies have the same hiring process for everyone, and it often involves spending 6 months on each hire and only hiring A+ people. In theory, that’s what you should do, but in practice, there are some hires that deserve more effort and some that deserve less.

    How do you tell when to invest more or less? I’ll be talking about that on my webinar this month – the 3 different approaches to hiring, and when each one is appropriate.

    For this column, I want to focus in on the highest-investment approach.

    When does a hire deserve a heavy investment? The primary drivers are (a) the impact the position can have on the organization, and (b) the experience your company has with hiring that specific type of position. In other words, you should invest more heavily in your recruiting process when you’re hiring:

    • Executive or key manager positions – because the impact of that position will be a multiple of the costs of even an elaborate hiring process
    • New positions – because you don’t know what you’re looking for, and because you need to train your organization on what the new position will do

    What does it mean to invest heavily in a hiring process? You should spend more time…

    • Planning the position before even starting the recruiting process
    • Choreographing the hiring process – who to include when
    • Building a bigger candidate pool
    • Interviewing candidates
    • Confirming your final choice

    It’s OK not to go all-out on every hire. What’s important for growing companies is having the wisdom to know when a more extensive recruiting process is needed, and having the discipline to invest the time needed when it is required.

    If you do that, you’ll avoid the costs of a bad hire, which can be dramatic – around 2-3x the person’s compensation for a manager, and 5-10x the person’s compensation for an executive.

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