Management Article

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

When asked a direct question, telling the truth is always a good option, so is giving a direct answer. That being said, sometimes a parable is worth a thousand words.

“The kind of seed sown will produce that kind of fruit. Those who do good will reap good results. Those who do evil will reap evil results. If you carefully plant a good seed, you will joyfully gather good fruit.”

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
—Matthew 13:33 New Living Translation

Ken Koenemann’s picture

By: Ken Koenemann

As a business leader, you spend a lot of your time figuring out how to win. With good reason: The most crucial job of every executive is to align efforts at every level of the organization to deliver wins for the week, for the quarter, and for the year.

The people at the front end of the business—the salespeople, the customer service reps, the machine operators, warehouse staff, and IT specialists—work deep inside everyday business processes. They often have no idea if they are winning, or what the score is, let alone how their actions affect the company’s overall success.

Failure to make such connections can dramatically hinder the performance of the entire business. Without support from the front lines, no top-level plan has a chance. That’s why you need to have a structured process for communicating current performance in ways that empower everyone to strive for wins every day.

That process, like so much else today, begins with data.

Ken Koenemann’s picture

By: Ken Koenemann

In my first article on relevant metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), I explained why limiting management’s strategic planning to high-level goal setting is doomed to failure. For strategic goals to be realized, they have to be translated into daily KPIs that are meaningful to everyone in the company. At my company, we approach this goal deployment process in three parts.

1. Cascade from the top, plan from the bottom

Goals always start at the top with companywide annual objectives. But when it comes time for deployment, business leaders must think from the bottom up about how the organization as a whole is going to meet those goals. Take a five-percent corporate cost reduction target as an example. Management’s first task is to break that five-percent figure down into specific tactics and actions throughout the company to achieve the target at the front end of the business.

Ken Koenemann’s picture

By: Ken Koenemann

During annual strategic planning meetings, the temptation is always to spend most of the time working on the business, discussing the big-picture strategic plans and breakthrough developments that are critical to the future of the company. But just looking at long-term plans ignores a critical part of the planning process: defining the annual goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be relevant in the day-to-day running of the business for turning those high-level goals into reality.

This exercise may seem too detailed to make it a big part of your annual strategy meeting, but it requires just as much focus and attention as your big-picture plans. Too often when business leaders present the annual goals, they simply send them down the line as blanket targets that they will use to evaluate the progress of every department. When they check back after the first quarter to see if everything is on track, it’s usually not and no one can explain why.

DeEtta Jones’s picture

By: DeEtta Jones

Do you ever feel overwhelmed as a manager? Being overburdened by the responsibility of having to figure out what the people on your team want and need from you is a familiar feeling shared among leaders. Fortunately, there is a “best practice” for obtaining just the kind of information needed to increase your leadership effectiveness—ask them what they want.

The following 10 traits have emerged when front-line staff, supervisors, and middle managers have been asked to describe the traits they look for in a boss. As you read through their “wish list,” think about the kind of boss you are, you want to be, and what you look for in a good boss yourself.

Employees want bosses who are:

1. Innovative
Good bosses have good ideas but their role in innovation is more as facilitator than consummate mastermind. They are not threatened by the talent of their employees, and cultivate a working environment that allows each person’s creativity to come forward. They facilitate innovation.

Mike Roberts’s picture

By: Mike Roberts

Editor’s note: A webinar on this topic will held on Nov. 19, 2013, at 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern. Register here.

And previewing the webinar, Matthew Littlefield will be a guest on Quality Digest Live this Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, at 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock that doesn't get Wi-Fi for the past two decades, you know that social media has significantly affected both consumer behavior and the way businesses interact with consumers. But what does that mean for quality management?

In contrast to several decades ago, today’s microblogging capabilities and short-form content provide everyone who has an opinion and access to an Internet connection with the option to publicly communicate his thoughts at the click of a button. Impressively, across social media channels, the number of such instances has grown exponentially, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Gallup’s picture

By: Gallup

In the intense competition to attract and retain top talent, U.S. employers are vying to offer the most alluring perks imaginable to their workers. Companies such as Google are leading the trend, hoping that happy employees are more productive, creative, and passionate workers.

On the surface, it’s hard to argue with this approach: A free lunch, a siesta in the nap room, or a massage at work would probably make anybody happier. But happy doesn’t necessarily equal productive, or even loyal.

Gallup recently studied the relationship between workplace policies and employees’ engagement and well-being and found that indulging employees is no substitute for engaging them.

Gallup’s picture

By: Gallup

Many companies measure employee and customer satisfaction without much to show for it. That’s because their surveys—whether one magic question for customers or 100-plus-item monstrosities for employees—often focus on the rational and exclude the emotional. However, it’s vital to measure emotional factors because with customers and employees, feelings are facts.

You can significantly boost your company's performance by measuring, managing, and focusing on your customers’ and employees’ emotional engagement, Gallup’s research shows. We call it the “engagement premium” because that boost in performance is extremely lucrative.

Engagement premium = higher business performance

Recently, a large Asia-Pacific financial services company asked Gallup to survey its employees and customers in 80 of its retail banking branches, using Gallup’s HumanSigma framework. This approach works by measuring the rational and emotional drivers, needs, and perceptions of employees and customers, enabling managers and staff to apply learnings and insights from this measurement to maximize performance.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

If loyalty is defined as being faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution or product, then there seems to be a certain amount of infidelity in the workplace these days.

Consider some recent studies: MetLife’s 10th annual survey of employee benefits, trends and attitudes released in March 2012 puts employee loyalty at a seven-year low. One in three employees, the survey says, plans to leave his job by the end of the year. According to a 2011 report, 76 percent of full-time workers, while not actively looking for a new job, would leave their current workplace if the right opportunity came along. Other studies show that each year, the average company loses anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of its employee base.

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