It is well known that firms with inadequate systems for managing risk are liable to suffer serious breakdowns that interrupt operations and cost the companies dearly in terms of fines, remediation efforts, and damage to their reputations. But firms’ risk management systems are only as good as the data fed into them. What of firms that pay attention to the wrong metrics, employ error-prone data-collection practices, or rely on otherwise misleading data to manage their risks?
IntelliVen will host an hour-long webinar on key roles, and five ways, to drive sales in a services business on December 3 at 1:00 eastern.
Most service organizations dramatically under-play opportunities to deliver more value to existing clients and to deliver for new clients what has already been successfully delivered for another. Attend to learn why and how to get on track to perform better.
Attendees will have the chance to share experiences and explore opportunities to improve performance. Account managers, client managers, project managers, and market leaders are invited to sign up to attend this informative session.
Thesis: In the face of the same data, two rational people will make the same decision.
Implication: When two people disagree on something it is likely that there is something one knows that the other does not.
Strategy: When two people disagree, each should strive to reveal what is relevant that s/he knows and that the other does not until both know everything that the other knows.
Conclusion: Agreement should be reached if both are rational; that is, neither is acting based on self-interest, emotion, fear, etc.
Implication: When you reach an impasse with someone on an important matter, reflect on what is important that you know that the other party might not know and offer to share it. Similarly, ask the other party what s/he knows that is important that you may not know. Continue reading How rational actors can reach agreement.→
SUBJECT: Input on an opportunity to bid for a strategic project
I just got off the phone with the President of the top player in our target vertical market west of the Mississippi:
Opportunity: They are going to let an RFP in two weeks to six or fewer strategy consulting firms.
Scope: Strategy, culture, change management, marketing, and messaging. (Yes; they’ve combined it all; and Yes they want one winner to be their partner as they transform).
Budget: Over $1M in first-year contracted services.
Term: It’s a multi-year award.
Qualifications: It’s right up our alley, the CEO know us (me) but has never been a client, our lack of local presence is a good thing because they want a firm with great experience and NOT just someone local.
Process: Responses will be due six weeks after the RFP is issued, and orals will be in two months with the winner selected by year-end.
Please share thoughts on how to think this through. We want to win as always and this has big implications for our firm if we do win. We have NOT decided to bid. We will do a bid/no-bid process once we see the RFP.
In a traditional performance evaluation, someone is assigned to compile and review with each executive a summary of her/his strengths, contributions, growth, and opportunities for improvement. The traditional process has many weaknesses which are summarized in this article recently published by Flevy.com, such as:
Compiling a quality performance assessment is difficult; consequently it often gets put off to be done at the last minute but it also takes time to do a good job and time runs out.
Assessment content tends to be arbitrary based on ability, skills, and perspective of the reviewer and may not represent the best thinking or interests of the team.
Reviewers tend to avoid raising and dealing with tough matters that should be addressed aggressively because it is uncomfortable and they are not trained or motivated to do otherwise.
A credible organization consistently performs and grows according to a plan. Such an organization will invariably be a system of three systems:
A system of delivery
A system of sales
A system of growth.
It is not uncommon for an early stage organization to be good at delivery and good at growth but stuck at square-one when it comes to its system of selling. Leaders of such organizations often find themselves consumed with delivery and with never enough time to develop and drive a system that generates new sales opportunities.
Interest and competence in sales starts at the very top of an organization. It is in everyone’s best interest for a top executive to own the challenge to determine how to systematically create demand for what the organization offers. Once a leader figures out how to sell, the method can be routinized and taught to others to execute, manage, and scale.Continue reading Sales — whose problem is it anyway?→
Business school students generally head in one of two directions almost from their first day of school: finance or operations. The all important question is which one to pursue because it makes all the difference.
The allure of finance is working with money to buy and sell companies. Success is when a small stake in a large transaction generates a healthy payday in a short time.
The attraction of operations is working with people to build and run something of value that is eventually realized through a sale, financing, or public offering.
Finance looks like the fast track to great wealth and has attracted to top MBA students students for decades. Operations looks like a long, hard road with a massive payday only for the few with enough dedication, talent, time, and luck to pull off a successful start-up from scratch. While the economy needs both financiers and operators, the promise of quick and large returns has left the world short of the talent it needs to drive growth and scale of quality organizations.
When an employee departs voluntarily it is almost always unanticipated and unwanted. Too often, though, leaders rationalize that employees who leave voluntarily were marginal and will not be missed.
To keep the best on board, and to head off after-the-fact rationalizations, ask managers now to identify employees they would least like to lose. Go on to also ask what is being done to keep each and every one of them engaged and on track to success in the organization. Follow up to make sure what needs to be done is actually done.
Before terminating an employee for poor performance, first double and triple check that the real problem is not that expectations are undeveloped, unclear, or not understood and aligned with abilities and interest.
Resist the temptation to reassign the person to another part of the organization in order to not have to deal with the matter. Instead collect, consolidate and review input from the team with respect to what s/he is good at doing, what s/he has recently contributed, how s/he has grown, and what s/he should focus on doing and accomplishing next.
Validate that the assignment is a good match with employee skills, interests, and experience. If it is, but performance lags, it may be due to distractions or lack of drive. Talk through with the person, tweak incentives if needed, and, if lack of attention and effort is the problem, insist s/he focus on what has been asked. Continue reading What to do when an employee no longer cuts it.→