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Using Visibility to Drive Performance

Clear visibility will drive the changes that matter. What if you could use visibility systems to positively impact your profitability? 

If you’re the kind of leader who has every employee already aware of exactly what high performance looks like, with complete visibility on how every employee is doing on the critical things that matter, stay tuned because I’ll share with you another higher level of performance enhancement.  

If instead you don’t know how every employee is performing every week, and if the ones who look busiest aren’t the ones that drive profit, you’ll enjoy knowing that you can take a lot of risks out of the organization. Low performers cause high performers to lead, even if you can’t see who was struggling to perform.  

And if you already have one or two visibility systems in place, you’ll find out how having interconnected systems creates the magic that can sustainably transform your performance.  

There are, however, a few challenges to putting accountability visibility into your organization. 

Unlike most traditional systems that measure the wrong things, you need to understand that the right leading and lagging indicators make it happen. Let’s face it since approximately 87% of your customers have a negative impact on your profits, who cares how many new customers you get this month? It’s the wrong metric.  

In contrast to most attempts to bring visibility metrics to your organization, where they overcomplicate and don’t drive performance, you need to understand that information is not communication. You don’t need metrics; you ultimately need performance breakthroughs driven by the right metrics. And when you bring visibility to low performance, you could lose many team members who if given the proper education and tools could instead be rockstars. So, getting visibility ahead of the proper education, progress, and results can be a corporate culture disaster. 

If you have one or more of these three challenges, consider yourself normal.  

There are three things that you can do to create an accountability system that optimizes results and drives sustainable performance improvement, as opposed to mass exodus, guilt and shame:  

Step one – Unlike so many performance dashboards, you must realize there is a pace and progression of ever-increasing improvement tied to what matters that must be followed. Cultures are vulnerable.  

Almost every organization has a few employees who come from an organization that did accountability but did it all wrong. And when you bring the expectation to hit metrics ahead of the clear path of winning, panic sets in. They freak out because they don’t know that what you’re doing is entirely different, empowering instead of deflating, but until they know that people start looking for the door.  

Step two – Roll out an interwoven system of visibility in the appropriate progression.  

Ever advancing daily huddles, weekly radio reports, quarterly celebrations, and other optimized systems need to be blended in the right order. Each of these serves a different purpose and must have an advancing level of what is reported on as people learn more. Then progress is made with their effectiveness and execution.  

If you get things out of order, as most companies do, they create a bigger mess.  

Step three – Understand that traditional stack ranking has proven to lower performance in all industries. Guilt, shame, and fear are not the right emotions to build a performance. That said being able to celebrate breakthroughs, top-performing individuals and teams, and positive reinforcement is imperative to performance breakthroughs. So, here’s how to start:  

One – Do not start with the performance dashboard or you can blow this whole thing into a mess of epic proportions.  

Two – Instead, create a grouping of interconnected accountability systems, make results visible, and make sure that you sequence the advancement of expectations tied to ever advanced, blended outcome-based learning.  

Three – Create a mechanism that celebrates top individuals and teams and breakthroughs from others, and still has accountability for those under the performance line without humiliating or embarrassing them.  

In our next video, I will show you how to create a raise the bar performance improvement system. It’s the same one that systematically skyrocketed the performance of hundreds of our clients.  

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Teaching Every Employee How They Tie to Profit

 

What if every one of your employees doubled productivity? Sound far-fetched? Buckle up because I’m about to share with you a process I’ve used repeatedly, to double but often quadruple the profit per employee within a few years.  

If you’re the kind of executive who feels like your people are already performing well, you’ll be delighted to see that often these people are the fastest to double or quadruple their productivity. 

Or maybe you are one who believes some of your people are on corporate welfare, and you’ve had it.  Great, because you will have a process to make sure none of your people hang out as tourists on the trip to more remarkable results.  

Or perhaps you are one who has some high performers and others who underperform. If that’s the case, you’ll love knowing that you can bring up the consistency of performance for all. Where there are solutions, there are problems.  

In this case, three recurring challenges get in the way of helping people understand how they are tied to profit: 

First, new employees tend to get trained by the person who had the job before him. That person was not likely a top five percent performer for that position. As result, your high potential person is not realizing high performance, they weren’t trained for it.  

Second, if your team members are normal, they don’t understand which customers provide all the profit. When we work with community banks, we have found that 50 to 140% of their profits come from their top 100 customers. Every industry is similarly impacted. Since most team members don’t understand who the most profitable customers are, or how to identify your next most profitable customers, they have no plan of how to best spend their time and effort to get in keep more of those top 100 customers.  

Third, your operations people probably don’t think that they have a role that ties to profit. They don’t understand that they too need to do their job better, and by doing that they can substantially move the profit needle.  

Every organization seems to have these same challenges that keep them from even higher profitability. So, I’ve come up with these three steps that will help you get some traction over the next few weeks, on aligning each of your teammates to profit.  

Step one. Unlike much of what is taught as conventional wisdom, the best way to improve efficiency ratio is not tightening salaries, laying off people, or cutting marketing, travel or training expenses. You can lower your efficiency ratio by over 20 points in a few short years, which drives profit up by getting your people to do the most important most profitable things and doing those things in the most effective way.  

Step two, in contrast to thinking that the next gadget, software, or tool will lead to more profit per employee, realize that there are top 10% activities for every job in your organization. If people knew what they had to do to perform their job in the top 10% of performance, your efficiency ratio would plummet as a miraculous impact on the profit, and your people will feel great about themselves because they will go home each night feeling like superstars. 

Step three, unlike most attempts with employee performance improvement, where there’s a whole project that is done at one time and rolled out, start with the fastest path to the money, the highest revenue producing jobs. Give these people the skills and the clarity of what success looks like in their position.  

If a salesperson can increase their sales from $15 to $35 million of new business per year and also command premium pricing on that business, that’s a massive impact move, and more impactful than improving the quality and quantity of the lower-level positions that are perhaps in operations.  

To sum up with clear action items: 
 
One – Stop cutting travel, salaries, and marketing expenses, the things that will tank your future potential. Instead, help people clarify what matters and how to do each of those things.  
 
Two – Help each team member understand what their top 10% activities are and get them the skills to radically improve how they do them.  
 
Three – Start with those positions that can have the most profound impact on your profitability fast so that you can drive improved profits within a quarter instead of a year.  

In the next video, I’ll show you that without a proper visibility system, one that doesn’t create guilt and shame, you can’t ever achieve sustainable accountability to what matters, critical data that you don’t want to miss.

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Accountability Culture Addressing the Core Issue of Confidence 

 

Do you believe hard work should be rewarded with financial gain?  
 
What if you could get more accountability from your team members for the things that move your profit needle?  
 
Are you the kind of leader who has been preaching from the mountaintop to your team that they need to get it together on accountability? 

Do you feel like you might be mocked as the village idiot soon because it’s just not working? Then you’re going to love this because you can break that pattern. No more getting angry or looking silly when your requests are unmet.  
 
Maybe you are one who has already made good progress with your team on accountability, in which case, you’re going to enjoy knowing that there is always more progress to be made faster by implementing these ideas.  
 
Or perhaps you want to get your organization to the Top 5% of performance. And keep it there. If so great, because I’ll give you a proven formula that has helped hundreds of organizations dramatically increase the profit per full time equivalent.  

There are three big issues that make a great argument for bringing an even higher level of accountability into your organization.  
 
First, psychologists tell us that out of all the archetypes the victim archetype is the one humans most often play out. While blame, excuses, and pretending not to know are not very attractive in adults, that doesn’t mean you don’t see people do it every single day. 
 
Second, we live in a distracted world where it’s getting worse every day. Joe Dispenza, PhD and author of Evolve Your Brain says that the younger generation in the workplace has altered brain chemistry due to video games and rapid screen changes on television. It’s extremely difficult for them to focus on what matters at work. Alignment with outcomes can therefore be a struggle.  

Third, most people are busy doing the job the person who had it before them was doing without the benefit of knowing what a high performer would be doing instead. Even if they are accountable, they’re still doing the wrong things.  

Every business out there struggles with these same challenges. So let’s get to work.  

I’m now going to give you three steps that will help you create some fast breakthroughs around accountability in a matter of a few weeks:  
 
Step one: Unlike so many well intentioned attempts to set clear goals and strategies and then rally team members to follow them, you have to realize that the core issue isn’t always that they don’t know what to do, it’s that they don’t believe that they can do it. You have to acknowledge that or you can’t possibly get traction.  
 
Step two: Understand that confidence is built by small successes planned on an  

ever accelerating path to improvement. You used to be a person who couldn’t tie your own shoes—it was an overwhelming challenge at one time. That is what you face with every stage of heightened responsibility that you ask of your team members.  
 
Step three: Plan a sequence of rollouts of ever more challenging skills. Along with that once a rollout moves a needle, you need a system to keep that needle up so you don’t have a series of this too shall pass initiatives.  

Three steps straightforward. Number one, realize that it isn’t a training issue, but a confidence issue.  Two, be aware that many of your requests for change seem overwhelming based on current competence levels. And three, plan your sequences to create a pattern of homerun needle movements and an ever increasing set of advancements of skilled demonstrations, the kinds of skills that move the profit needle.  
 
By doing this, you can begin to get people far more focused and elegant in their execution of the advancement behaviors that tie them to top 10% of profitability activities.  
 
Make sure you tune into our next session to learn how to better help your people understand how they each tie to profit. 

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Whiners Vs A Players

 

Do you recognize the whiners, and complainers? Most employees know when others are disingenuous about not doing their job on time, or up to expectations. 63% of working Americans think that when people complain that they don’t have enough resources to do their jobs, the real problem is that they just don’t want to figure out how to do the job. A disdain for underperformers exists across generations.  

Gen X and older millennials are more likely than younger generations to associate underperformers with blaming others instead of taking accountability or delivering results instead of excuses. Gen Z is more likely than older generations to associate underperformers with using noncommittal statements like “I’m working on that” or “I’ll get back to you.”  

High Performance cultures make it more difficult for underperformers to turn into long term employees, because high performers embrace responsibility and accountability in the workplace and expect colleagues and peers to perform up to the expectations as well.  

So, what about the other extreme? Is there a silver lining? Let’s cut to the chase.  
 
80% of working Americans agree that their company’s culture motivates their performance. Even more executives and managers recognize cultures’ impact on performance, almost nine out of 10. Team members, across the board, acknowledge the importance of culture and its influence on performance. So what does that tell us? Simple, the vast majority of employees want to work in a high performance culture.  

What does that look like? It breathes life into the workplace. It encourages everyone to strive to become better and evaluate their own performance against clearly communicated performance metrics. It means everyone understands that performance not only drives profitability but moves everyone ahead as a team.

So, what’s your charge? Build a high-performance culture? It will pay dividends for everyone. 

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Accountability and Clear Metrics

 

This may come as a shock to you. 84% of American workers believe accountability creates a positive work culture. Not only that, but 67% of working Americans are encouraged and supported by pointing out a lack of accountability at work. Younger people are more likely to want to quit their jobs if leadership doesn’t hold people accountable for living the defined values of the organization.  

Employees are significantly more likely than managers to associate underperformers with blaming others instead of taking accountability for their performance. This demonstrates a clear consistent call for a culture of accountability.  84% is more than a simple request. It is an appeal to leadership to give specifics to a high-performance culture that encourages all employees to realistically evaluate their performance against well-defined and clearly communicated expectations. It really should come as no surprise that employees want to feel good about their performance.  

Everybody likes to win the game. Here’s the problem. They can only do that when they clearly understand the game plan. They want to know what the target is so they can figure out how to hit it. Almost eight out of 10 employees wish companies had clear performance metrics for all positions so that all team members would know how to win. 76% of older millennials think unclear work expectations hurt both the companies and the employees.

Instead of wishing for poorly defined performance metrics that will make it easy to slide by employees want to know what is expected, where they stand, and what they need to do to be the best. Well defined metrics are not only important to employees, but they are also essential components for a high-performance culture.

Who knew accountability and clarity around metrics—what a combo! 

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