Tag Archives: strategy

Wij lezen voor u: Happy Profit – Herman Toch


Happy Profit - Herman TochIs het nog OK om als bedrijf voor winst te gaan in een tijd waar de hele wereld elke actie van je volgt? Is je bedrijf voldoende transparant in wat het doet en waarom? Hoe kan je de klanten betrekken om jouw droom waar te maken en tegelijk de wereld beter achter te laten. In Happy Profit bekijkt Herman Toch hoe het anders kan. Streven naar duurzame groei via winstoptimalisatie en tegelijk zorgen dat je écht impact hebt.

Er zit spanning op het concept winst en groei. Als je te hard groeit, te hard naar de wolken reikt, dan is de weg terug vaak sneller dan heen. We kunnen hier naar enkele beursbubbels verwijzen om dit te staven, maar onze Nederlandse taal kent op zichzelf al genoeg spreekwoorden om hetzelfde te bewijzen.

Alles wat ons jarenlang succesvol gemaakt heeft, zal niet meer werken in de nieuwe, steeds veranderende wereld. De verhouding tussen organisatie, klant en stakeholders is gewijzigd. De klant wil betrokken worden, wilt zichzelf herkennen in het merk. De organisaties willen stakeholders die in het bedrijf geloven en op lange termijn investeren, niet op korte termijn winst nemen.

Toch blijft streven naar groei goed. Groei is namelijk iets natuurlijks, een levensvoorwaarde. In 270 bladzijden legt Herman Toch uit hoe het anders kan. Hij velt hierbij geen waardeoordeel, maar probeert te tonen hoe het in de nieuwe wereld wél kan door uitdagingen als opportuniteiten te zien.

Happy Profit kijkt op een fundamentele andere manier naar winst: winst is een beloning, geen doel. Het is de combinatie van zaken doen en (im)materiële waarde genereren, en dit op een manier waardoor je een betere wereld nalaat. Maximalisatie van winst- en shareholder value is niet duurzaam in de tijd. Daarom is het belangrijk te zoeken naar wat je organisatie meer doet, dan enkel winst maken. Winst is een middel, geen doel. In de toekomst zullen we moeten stoppen met het winnaars-verliezers model: winstmaximalisatie gaat ten koste van anderen en zal niet langer meer werken in de nieuwe wereld. Moeten we winst dan over boord gooien? Nee, we zullen evolueren naar winstoptimalisatie in plaats van -maximalisatie.

Auteur Toch beschrijft een circulair Happy Profit transformatieproces in vijf stappen.

1/ In contact komen met jouw kern

Waarvoor sta je? Waar geloof je in? Consumenten willen echte en authentieke bedrijven. Fakers vallen door de mand. Hoe kan je het merk (terug) naar zijn essentie brengen, vaak te vinden in de dromen van de oprichter?

2/ Transformeren is anders leren kijken

Transformeren gaat over het zien in nieuwe perspectieven en oude dominante logica los te laten. Herman bespreekt 5 fundamentele nieuwe paradigmawissels die leiden tot nieuwe economische denkrichtingen. Voort blijven werken vanuit een topdown machtsrelatie is iets uit het verleden: je moet rekening houden met alle relaties, ook met de stakeholders en consumenten. Het concept “een sterk ik in een sterk wij” door te leven op een hoger bewustzijnsniveau en het bouwen van een nieuwe identiteit.

3/ Het merk in zijn kracht zetten

Bedrijven en merken zullen een nieuwe identiteit moeten opbouwen in de nieuwe wereld. Deze merken laten zich leiden door innerlijke kracht en niet vermeende opportuniteiten. Merken hebben sterke, ambitieuze dromen.

4/ Negen Happy Profit highways

Er zijn negen manieren om een bedrijf te laten groeien in/naar Happy Profit. Voor elke highway bespreekt Toch de issue, de opportuniteit en de (im)materiële waarde. Deze highways kan je niet allemaal tegelijk doen. Het is belangrijk om te kiezen welke het meest geschikt zijn in de situatie van jouw organisatie.

5/ Doen

In een laatste hoofdstuk wordt aangespoord om het niet te laten bij de theorie, maar in actie te schieten. Er is al veel tijd gespendeerd aan het “waarom”, maar niet aan de “hoe” en “wat”.

Ter illustratie: wanneer je als organisatie wilt groeien op CSR vlak, kun je mooie slogans, marketing en plannen maken, of je kunt ook effectief iets realiseren. Het “waarom” wordt dan ondersteund door feiten in het “hoe” en “wat”. Van story telling naar story doing dus.

Besluit

Ik had al veel gehoord en gelezen over duurzame groei, ook in onze organisatie. Happy Profit is voor mij een eerste kennismaking met hoe dit in de praktijk zou kunnen. Er worden vele interessante concepten en business modellen uitgelegd.

Het moeilijke aan het lezen van dit boek zijn de lijstjes in de lijstjes en de structuren in de structuren. Regelmatig vervalt de auteur in een opsomming van alle mogelijke opties en modellen, bv. nieuwe business modellen, geschikte leiderschapsmodellen. Niet eenvoudig om de rode draad dan terug te vinden. Daarom vraag ik me ook af of Toch zelf heeft afgetoetst of hij met dit boek zijn in het boek vermeldde grafschrift (cfr. Stephen Covey) kan waarmaken, namelijk fundamenteel wijzigen hoe men naar winst kijkt.

Het boek is een aanrader om meer te leren over duurzame groei en winst, maar kon zelf meer naar zijn essentie gebracht worden.

Meer lezen

Happy Profit

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Leiderschapslessen van Rock Werchter


Rock WerchterAfgelopen maandag was er in het programma Bel Pop op Canvas een documentaire over het ontstaan en de groei van het wereldberoemde festival. Rock Werchter zit al sinds de oprichting onder leiding van Herman Schueremans en uit de reportage blijkt al vlug dat deze organisator alles goed op een rijtje heeft. In deze blog enkele lessen die we uit de ervaring van Herman Schueremans en zijn team kunnen leren.

Heb geduld

In de begin jaren krijgt de organisatie niet de gewenste artiesten op het festival. Het festival is te klein en daarvoor komen ze niet uit Engeland af. Herman geeft het niet op en zoekt minder bekende artiesten. Hij rekent op groei en wacht zijn beurt af.

Herken opportuniteiten

Buitenlandse artiesten in België krijgen voor één optreden/festival was niet gemakkelijk. Maar ze passeerden wel allemaal via België naar de andere landen. Herman zag dit en ging samenwerken met een organisatie in Torhout en zo ontstond Torhout/Werchter. Een tweedaags festival waardoor het voor de buitenlandse artiesten wel de moeite werd om eens te stoppen in België.

Later wordt samen met een partner het bedrijf StageCo opgericht dat podia bouwt voor wereldwijde tournees van topartiesten zoals U2 en Metallica.

Hou een hoge kwaliteit standaard

Eén van de verwijten die de organisatie krijgt, is dat er te weinig Belgische groepen op het podium staan. Herman is hier echter heel duidelijk in: Rock Werchter kiest voor kwaliteit en als de Belgische groepen op dat moment dit niet kunnen waar maken, zullen ze geen plek op het podium krijgen. Eén van de eerste Belgische groepen die er wél in slaagt, zijn The Scabs. Later worden ze snel opgevolgd door Channel Zero en dEUS.

Respecteer je personeel

Rock Werchter staat er voor bekend om zijn artiesten goed te behandelen: er zijn betere accommodaties en het eten wordt gesmaakt. Alle artiesten zijn zeer tevreden over hun behandeling en promoten het festival.

Investeer op lange termijn

Herman heeft altijd de kans gegeven aan jonge groepen om zich te bewijzen. Zo stonden groepen als Simple Minds, U2, dEUS en Placebo in hun beginjaren al op het grote podium. Door de bekendheid van het festival worden de artiesten internationaal gelanceerd. Een investering die zich later goed terug betaald omdat de artiesten deze aangeboden kans niet vergeten zijn. Midden jaren ’80 doet de nummer 1 band Simple Minds opnieuw een bezoek aan de wei te Werchter.

Durf beslissen

In de beginjaren is er de combinatie Torhout/Werchter omwille van logistieke redenen: er zijn bijna geen festivals in België en ze willen de artiesten toch op hun podium krijgen (zie “Herken opportuniteiten”). Wanneer de festivalmarkt in België groeit tot één van de grootsten ter wereld, is de competitie hoog en Torhout/Werchter verliest bezoekers. Er geen nood meer aan de samenwerking en Herman neemt de moeilijke beslissing om enkel verder te gaan met Werchter.

Neem risico

Mag een rock festival synthesizer bands toelaten? Deze vraag is zeer actueel wanneer Depeche Mode op het podium staat. De media zeggen nee, maar de menigte zegt ja. Het tijdperk van de elektronische muziek wordt ingeleid door een moeilijke beslissing om zulke bands van een club naar een festival zoals Rock Werchter te verplaatsen.

Durf differentiëren

Door de jaren heen is de affiche van Rock Werchter gegroeid van een echt rock festival naar een gedifferentieerd festival met vele soorten muziek. Er is voor iedereen wat wils en een breed publiek vindt haar weg naar het festival.

Luister naar wat de klant wilt

Rock Werchter heeft altijd nauw samengewerkt met Humo. Deze samenwerking heeft vruchten afgeworpen en het bezoekersaantal vergroot. De redactie van Humo heeft echter een bepaalde visie over wat tot muziek gerekend wordt en wat niet. Herman is hier niet mee akkoord en besluit om de vraag van de klant te volgen door bands zoals Metallica te programmeren. Het wordt een ongezien succes. Met de intrede van het danstijdperk bewijst Herman voor een tweede keer dat Humo er langs zit en maakt een belangrijk besluit: wij programmeren wat de klant wilt horen.

Blijf vernieuwen

Elke tien jaar wordt het festival herbekeken. Onder het moto “stilstaan is achteruit gaan” probeert Herman met zijn team telkens zichzelf heruit te vinden.

Durf jezelf in vraag stellen

Als je het beste festival ter wereld wilt blijven, moet je jezelf ook in vraag blijven stellen. Rock Werchter hoort toch in Werchter door te gaan hé? Niet als het aan Herman ligt: elk jaar bekijkt hij opnieuw of de terreinen in Werchter nog steeds de beste keuze voor zijn festival zijn.

Tagged , ,

Translate strategic directives into actual behavior


The FutureWhen it’s these days all about vision, mission and strategy, we tend to forget that these are only the first steps in process. When you don’t get to the level of concrete behavior, your message will stay high level and abstract. And your people will not act according to it.

So one of the challenges is how to translate strategic directives into concrete behavior that can be distributed as behavioral anchors or guidelines.

An example

Let’s say you get a new team leader at work and with him, a new vision and mission. Everybody is different and he wants to leave his mark on the team, on the work delivered.

In the kickoff meeting of your team, the team leader explains the reason why there’s need for a change and how we are going to do it. “That seems to make sense”, you think. As strategic focus he gives: empowerment and client focus.

The first question that probably raises in your mind is: “What does he mean?”. ‘Empowerment’ can be interpreted in many ways and perspective. For some it recalls positive memories, for others bad experiences or disbelief.
The same is valid for ‘client focus’. Just take a moment to reflect: do you know any organization where the client isn’t the focus, where the client isn’t important? So what does it imply? What does it mean for us in our specific situation?

Tip: take the time to reflect with your team upon the values and the strategic focus.  If the message comes from the hierarchy above, you can do two things: wait for higher management to explain it to you, or make up your own mind what it means in your situation.

The next step in your thinking process will probably self-reflexion. As we all want to do a good job, we take ourselves up for consideration and ask “What are we already doing (good) in the area of empowerment? Ah, but we’re already doing … and last time we also …”. This is normal. Even as a new team.

Tip: start with the things you already do well. Appreciative inquiry taught us that starting with a positive mind will improve your creativity and lead to better and more creative results. Also confirming that some behavior is already good will have a positive effect on the feelings of the group.

The next logic step would be thinking the other way around: “What can we do to get better?”. People that are not convinced by the need of the change will not make it to this step.  They will be in resistance and rather reluctant to take their own behavior into consideration.

Tip: Asking these questions will generate a lot of feedback & output, so your need will need to set focus. Which items are most important and will get priority? You cannot take up everything at once.

After you acquired the goods and the bads, the actual work still needs to start! It’s time to assign tasks and setup workgroups for the bigger ones.

Let’s do it in a workshop

If you work out these steps into a process, you got yourself a workshop:

  1. What does (eg.) empowerment mean in your specific situation?
  2. What are you doing good in this area? (what doesn’t change?)
  3. What can be (even more) improved?
  4. Set priorities in the ideas gathered.
  5. Create an action plan and assign owners and target dates.

Tips

  • Make sure you communicate the desired output/result in the beginning of the workshop. To quote Steven Covey: “Begin with the end in mind”. It will increase your chances of actually getting to this output.
  • When there are many strategic directives to discuss, pick your Must Win Battle.
  • If it’s appropriate, you can let the group choose which strategic directive to focus on. It will increase their involvement.
Tagged , , , , , , ,

The big fat cat of lazy strategy


The big fat cat of lazy strategyWhen an organisation is doing great and achieving its results year after year, after a while the organization and the people running it will get complacent. The results are ok, the numbers are there… why should we change? Why should we evolve? The markets are probably changing a bit, but we’re still with the best ones in class, right?

You can compare this with a domestic cat that has been around for years. Let’s call him Felix. In the early years Felix was quick, agile and playful. Once in a while he would catch a mouse or a bird and bring it to your door. No matter the weather conditions, Felix was always outside, keeping guard, discovering and hunting. But Felix is not stupid: after a while he understands that every day his care taker will bring his food, a cup of water, and also the house is always kept at a nice temperature.  Even when they’re off to work! “Look at all those dumb cats outside”, Felix smirks, “getting dirty and cold and all.” He turns on his back, belly up and falls asleep before the window in the warm sun.

Felix might not have noticed it, but the world outside isn’t changing so slow. New cats are born and the young males are checking out the yard behind the house. On the other side of the glass, Felix confirms with a quick look around the house that he is still master of the house: the dog is no competition at all, some of the other cats were scared of him since they were only little kittens and for younger ones he was considered to be a mentor. Felix was searching for and found confirmation that he’s still doing ok. He sighted, petted his own back and went back for a quick nap in the warm sun behind the good side of the window.

Felix isn’t aware that there will come a day that conditions will change. This day may even come very unexpected, let’s say a new owner, or maybe just and agreement with the children that the cat needs to be outside when the family is out. When Felix will be put outside it would be too late for him to change, to catch up with the other cats. He’s out of shape, he forgot to daily sharpen his claws and “why does the pavement feel so rough today?”, he thinks, and notices his paws lost their callus. Felix is up for a hard time in the new world, but most of all: he is overwhelmed.

When his master returns from work at five, Felix is happy to quickly sneak back into the house with him. “Pfew, back to the good life”, he thinks, but decides no more to stand idle with his current situation. He call in a local pet meeting and shares his story. The cats conclude that with only internal benchmarking their capabilities and current situation, they can not keep up with the changing conditions outside.  To keep up they still need to check inside the house for internal improvements, but also outside! What is happening outside? Is there a new, hipster cat on the block? Are the other cats forming clans to take over their territory? Are we kind enough to our clients, the masters of this house, or are we taking them for granted? How can we keep the good food coming, but avoid the painstaking trips to the vet?

After a long night sharpening his claws at the side of the sofa, Felix took a deep sigh and fell asleep in it. He was going to need more than one local pet meeting to figure this one out.

 

Thanks to my colleague Piet for the metaphor.

Tagged , , , ,

Create order out of chaos – the importance of content strategy


Last week I attended a seminar hosted by Cypres Leuven about content strategy. Speakers were Sue Davis and Nancy Duin from The Thing Itself.
I was kind of new to the area of content strategy, but since I changed function to Corporate Culture & Change Officer, it looked like a good idea.

I got some good insights during the seminar and the careful reader might have noticed that this blog site is change recently. I would like to dedicate this blog post to sharing some insights.

Content is meaningful content in a specific context

This saying is almost the same as “without meaning you have only data, with, you have information. One of the diseases that came along with the Internet was too much and non-verified data.

A good tip Sue and Nancy gave here, was to start with building the content, before you start with building the design and technology.
Further, it is also better to write 10 high quality blogs, then hundred of mediocre ones.

Build only what you can maintain

Many web pages have hundreds of pages, but because there are so many, the host looses track of them and they get out of date. The key is to reduce your website to an irreducable core, which is maintained and kept up to date.

A Voice Of the Customer is possible without meeting the customer
Sometimes it’s not possible to meet, interview and attune with your customer, but you still want to make sure his wishes are covered. Sue and Nancy described two techniques for this: create personas and an empathy map. These will be discussed in a next blog.

Avoid vanity content

There is no use in bragging about how good you are. Your visitor is not interested in that.

Create once, publish anywhere

Keep your content nimble and ready for every medium. Avoid fixed structures and device dependent settings. Compare it with how they use Lego blocks: if they would put labels or figures on the blocks, you can only use it for one purpose.

Perfect is the enemy of good

Avoid working years to get the perfect content ready, when it is, it is probably out of date already. It is better to publish quickly and update along the road. Mention the updates on the pages and your customers keep coming back because they know the content improves.

Evolve from reactive and tactical to strategic content writing

A reactive content strategy follows what other writers are doing. Creat a strategic or proactive content strategy by looking up special events and providing content related to that. Eg. mothers day, valentine, etc.

Involve others

Team up: invite other content providers to join. Use your Twitter account strategically. Provoke more reactions by asking controversial questions, try to provoke feelings.

Additional reading

Content strategy

Cypres Leuven

The Thing Itself

Tagged , , , , ,

Pay it forward with appreciative inquiry


Yesterday the second theme evening of the new company strategy discussed Empowerment.
Speakers were Dr. Ronald Fry and Wim Croonen of Gemzyne Geel.

Empowerment is kind of a buzz word used for some years, so it deserved some extra attention to the “how” and “why” of it.

The main topic was appreciative inquiry, which is, in short, focusing and leveraging the good items to great, instead of only focusing on the norm and the gap between your performance. We humans tend to focus more on the negative, the gap to, then the positive and this has negative effects on the company, the culture, the employees and the results. When applying principles of appreciative inquiry Dr. Fry proved positive effects in organizations, measurable in earnings before taxes and retention rates.

Dr. Ronald Fry applied his own theory in practice by sharing success stories of organizations like the US Navy, British Airways and the OSHA mill.
The story about the OSHA mill that Ronald Fry told, was eye opening for me.
It all came back on a very simple principle: to talk about it [security in this case] in a positive way.

They applied the principle used in the movie Pay It Forward, where a child tries to improve the world with one simple rule:

If somebody does a good deed you, you have to do it for three other people.
In no time the world starts improving.

Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward

At OSHA they did the same: they raised three questions in a positive way about security:

  • What is your positive experience with security?
  • What is your dream image of security?
  • If no constraints, what are the three things you would change about security?

(not sure about the exact phrasing)

These questions spread all over the company and even before the main ideas were captured and procedures were worked out, the positive effect was already showing in the number of accidents per month.

This principle is easy to translate to spreading a new strategy.

Start with describing your positive experience with the new strategy and expected behavior, and the person that receives it, pays it forward to three other colleagues.
The positive message will spread like fire!

So, why wait?

My positive experience with empowerment is that as Lean Coaches we are engaged to get the job done. Our
performance is evaluated by results and measured by the targets we’ve set for ourselves and some with our team.

We have autonomy for finding out the how and when to do it. To evaluate our work, we ask our customers (our coachees) and team colleagues for feedback.

This is one of the things that keeps me coming back to my work every morning 🙂

Please share: What is your positive experience with empowerment?

Tagged , , , , ,

Work fascinates me, I can watch it for hours.


Werk fascineert me, ik kan er uren naar kijken

Werk fascineert me, ik kan er uren naar kijken

“Work fascinates me. I can watch it for hours.” During a gemba, I came across this statement at the back of a Hoegaarden beer mat which was attached to a whiteboard.

Sometimes we are so absorbed by our work that we forget to take a step back once in a while. A step back to observe the process, to observe the work delivered, to look for improvements, to adjust the strategy, …

The disadvantage of not being able to take a step back is that it’s perfectly possible to start working very efficient, doing non-effective (read: non-value contributing) work. Like they say: doing the wrong things in a very efficient way.

Toyota

The rumor is that the ability of taking a step back is one of Toyota’s criteria for acquiring people. During the job applications they leave the job applicant waiting somewhere in the production line/hall for half an hour. Afterwards they ask him what did he see during the waiting time and what could be improved.

Step back, look forward

Step back, look forward. Start, pause, stop. Evaluation. What’s in a name? It are all initiatives to taking the time (and courage) to take a step back and evaluate the current situation and progress.

The challenge is that when times get hard, it’s extra difficult to take the time for this review moment. Nobody has time for a step back moment when shit hits the fan. However, it could help that to build in review moments into your calendar and into the process.

Let’s take a look how Agile did this.

Agile and retrospectives

Agile is an iterative and incremental method used to develop software. (More about Agile in “GAP analyse: Agile projectmanagement en de PMBok aanpak voor kennisgebieden Project Integration, Scope en Time Management”)

In contrast with the familiar waterfall approach, Agile works in bursts. Short sprints of 4 to 5 weeks after which a working piece of software is delivered.

Agile has it’s step back moments build into the process in the name of retrospectives.

After each sprint, the team and customer get together to evaluate their last team effort. What went well? What could go better? It doesn’t matter which technique they use: brainstorming, root cause analysis, … The principle of taking a pause to observe the current efforts and see how the team can improve will positive effects on results, commitment and team mood.

Plan – Do – Check – Act

There’s no use for a step back moment when you’re not taking action. So design a method for assign and follow-up on actions and progress. Use the action list in your next retrospective. See if you made any progress (see also blog entry “A daily sense of measurable accomplishment”) and act upon it when it’s not working.

So, when are you planning your next step back moment?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Find your crisis



Elephants can build up a memory over the years and hold on to it.

The lead elephant plays a key role and because she has time to build up a social knowledge, the others depend on her.

The female may remember good feeding places which can replaced by crops in time, and this is how human-elephant conflict emerges. In the end, the elephant always loses.

The text above describes exactly the same way as our brain works (see blog entry “Creasophy – the teachings of creativity“). During the years we have learned ourselves a special way of working. When success is accomplished our brain rewards us for it. After several years we have created our own neural highways to success.

The same is valid for organizational behaviour. When different people are grouped together, a culture arises. This culture is formed from different aspects like country, religion, education, personal and work experience. Every new member that joins the clan will add something to the culture, but in the end a moderate(d) organizational culture is born.

Organizational growth and market changes, amongst others, imply and need organizational changes. But changing the culture is hard. Many books are written about the subject and everybody will go for a ride through the honeymoon cycle (with some of them being aware of it).

Burning platformHow can you get people out their comfort positions? Create or find a crisis, look for a burning platform and use it to get everyone on board.

A burning platform comes from the oil industry. Platforms on oil rigs in the sea do catch fire sometimes. In these situations there’s no time to check agendas, book a meeting and discuss all options. There is a decision needed. There is change needed. And it is needed now! You can choose for a certain death by fire or for a dive in the ice cold sea.

Your platform can catch fire by accident, eg. an economic crisis, a hostile takeover, a new market entry, changing competitors, … But your platform can also be set on fire. The latter is sometimes needed to create a crisis. To get people moving.

So how did your platform catch fire?

Additional reading

Burning vs rusting platform http://blog.publishingtechnology.com/blogs/burning-platform-boiled-frog-rusting-platform/

More about management and elephants in blog entry “Management and elephants

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Find your best fit KPIs


Best fit KPIDuring a KPI workshop we were thinking about which KPIs we could measure. Typical KPIs for measuring the project management triangle (scope, time, budget; aka. project management triple constraints) were easy found. The fourth one, quality, often put in the middle of the triangle, gave us a harder time.

What defines quality?

I always say (or quote?): “Quality is in the eye of the beholder”.

This means: if you want to measure quality, you need consult the one evaluating it. In most cases this will mean you need to consult your customer (VOC), but also your superior or his superior (VOB).

What does “doing good” mean?

And then it hit me: we were having a hard time to find best fit KPIs, because we were doing it wrong. Before we can measure how the project is doing, we first need to find out what “doing good” means for every party.

We need to find our goal for using KPIs. Why are you measuring? Because you want…, you need …, your customer needs, … Once you have defined the goal for measuring, you can start with the how of measuring (ie. which KPIs).

The goal for measuring

Back to quality. Since the customer defines quality, you need to do a Voice Of the Customer and check what is important to him. Will it be timely delivery, zero incidents or a 24/7 service with answer by email in 1 hour?

Next step is to find out what quality means for your organization (Voice Of the Business). What is important for your organization? Do you get carte blanche for servicing your customer in every possible way? Probably not: you will need to balance the needs or the organization versus the needs of the customer. No need to rack your brain over it: just ask. Ask your superior. Check the strategy of your entity.

Use KPIs that inspire

When you did a VOC and VOB survey you know what is important for your customer and your organization. But you are not there yet. I recommend adding a flavor of team motivation to your KPIs. KPIs like cost/income ratio, customer satisfaction, project budget, on-time-in-full, … will not motivate your team. (Remark: I’ve actually seen customer satisfaction as an exception to this when working with a mature, customer focused team.)

Find out what makes your team go the extra mile. What really, truly motivates them?

For example, in an ICT project environment, we typically define KPIs like project budget, number of defects, percentage of reopened defects, customer satisfaction, … But these KPIs will not keep your team awake at night.

In a mature ICT team the goal of the project was to optimize the currently used custom tailored software. They studied the customer’s vision statement and picked up that cost transparency and production costs are important. So they started measuring them.

The costs were measured by the bill that was send each month.

For measuring production costs they went a step deeper and selected KPIs like CPU time, number of database transactions and data traffic in Megabytes. These KPIs are leading for the cost KPI, but even more: these KPIs express how good the IT people are doing their job.

These KPIs were good motivators for the team because it really meant something to them.

Budget or production incidents will not inspire them, but measuring the core aspects of the job they liked did.

Summary

To summarize: when selecting your KPIs:

  1. Do a VOC: what is important for my customer?
  2. Do a VOB: what is important for my organization?
  3. Pick KPIs that motivate your team
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Create plans for your strategy in action


Die Hard 4

Die Hard 4

Last night I was watching Die Hard 4.0 for the first time and one scene triggered some thoughts with me.

(Detective John McLane and Farell (nerd) are after the bad guy in one of the final acts.)

Farell (nerd): “Do we have a plan?”

McLane: “Findy Lucy [his daughter], kill all of them.”

Farell (nerd): “I mean more of a way to do that.”

First of all, McLane was emotionally involved and only thinking of the end result, not considering all risks. Further there was actually a goal, but not a plan.

Companies and their according departments create a vision, a mission and a strategy. But sometimes they forget what this implies for them. Vision and mission are defined at company level and further translated down the hierarchy. In best case, the entities lower in the hierarchy will not just copy the vision and mission, but will translate it into a version of their own and add their own interpretation, additions and departmental specifics.

Strategy means your actions and action plan for accomplishing your long term goal, your vision. This implies that you need to go further than creating a strategy house and distributing it in your entity!

How will you avoid that the strategy is deduced to hollow words and slogans? You do need to go one step further and ask the questions: how will we fill in the strategy?

If your strategy contains “we want to give the customer the best experience” ask yourself: What does a “best experience” mean for us? What does it mean for our customer? How will accomplish it? What are we going to do about it?

These actions will probably not be accomplished overnight, so you need a plan: an action plan, a commitment plan, a steps to milestones plan, … If you create a plan, you need to provide a way to check if you’re on target: define actions, set intermediary milestones, find measurements (KPIs) and plan a strategy follow-up meeting every six months.

Don’t forget: if you fail to plan, you plan for failure.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: