Not the top, Not the bottom: Strategy for Middle Management

The First Strategy Hire people in the middle who have aspirations, who want to grow and develop and are mobile. Thus you have leaders who are eager for opportunity. They are attracted to moving and working in a new location is attractive for them, and they are excited about establishing a new beachhead for the company. Create a process in which, as one of its yearly goals and objectives, top leadership has to develop and take courses. In one company I worked with, if you could not demonstrate to the CEO that you had improved your skill set and thinking abilities in the last year, you were not eligible for a raise no matter how well you had performed. In another company, if you aspired to be a director, you had to get an MBA. These policies can supported a company in dramatically growing both revenue and profits. For more information about CMI’s process for improving your leadership team click here....

Concluding Words for Building Performance Oriented Cultures

So there you have it – four steps towards building a high performance culture:  staffing, teams, mission and values, and planning.  Any movement up the slope to establishing these cornerstones will prove valuable.  You will also learn by doing – so do not contemplate your next steps…get going!  Let us know how you do and what you are learning and developing. Please leave your comments below or email...

Planning: The 4th Cornerstone of Performance Oriented Cultures

Strategic planning creates the platform for a healthy company. Strategic planning is a critical part of growing a successful business. A high performance work culture needs a system that makes sure that employee goals are aligned and everyone is focused on the right stuff. The fact is that many small- to mid-sized companies do not have a structured process from which to conduct strategic planning. This is like many adults who do not exercise, despite knowing it’s good for them. Perfect health isn’t guaranteed by regular exercise, but the likelihood of attaining good health is dramatically increased. Strategic breakthrough business guessing/planning works for businesses in much the same way as exercise works for the individual. The process should take place over two to three months and take three to four days. It is predicated on White Papers and dialogue. Listening and understanding are critical. Better research ensures better debate and thinking. “What is a White Paper?” you ask hysterically. A White Paper is a three- to five-page paper that addresses the critical issue. The paper should deal directly with the issues. It is, with research and analysis, the “answer” submitted by the smaller group to the entire planning team. Once you have created the plan, you need to make sure it is acted upon. Monthly meetings of one to three hours and spending time on objectives and action plans will ensure focus. Then, once a quarter, the planning team should meet offsite, preferably with a coaching resource like yours truly. (Bonus points if the coach is bald-headed. It makes the coach smarter and buffer…really.) At the session, the group...

Mission & Values: The 3rd Cornerstone of Performance Oriented Cultures

Create corporate mission & values that employees are aligned with. The foundational material—mission and values—of a company can be critical to the overall success of the organization – but they’re often forgotten. The corporate mission and values are created by the senior leadership team, captured on posters, and strategically tacked up around the building. Meanwhile, how does a corporate citizen react to this phenomenon? They see it as “Horse manure!” Whatever is in the mission or values statement is not seen as relevant to the organization’s day-to-day operations. In other words, the organization’s behavior is not congruent with its declaration of ideals. However, at their best, a mission (or “Reason for Being”) and values give an organization a future to live into. This potential future galvanizes and focuses the organization. Whether or not goals are met entirely, movement toward them develops teamwork and is valuable to the company. So how do organizations get to this point? Some of the following thinking and exercises were inspired by an article called “Building Your Company’s Vision,” by Collins and Porras, the authors of Built to Last. In the article, the authors describe how to write a reason for being and values. When thinking about your company’s mission, think about purpose. Ask participants in your session to consider the following: What is the purpose of your organization? What would be lost if the organization ceased to exist? What kind of organization would you work for regardless if you got a salary or not, etc. Now onto values. In this process, when I say “values,” I mean the right behaviors that will support the...