It's always the same story. Every year, company executives, board members and senior leadership teams huddle together in top-floor offices to develop a new vision for the future. That vision takes the form of a corporate strategy, complete with quarterly objectives, growth goals, high-level KPIs, and mission statements that are published on company websites and distributed to every level of the organization. But when those executives meet after the first quarter to check the numbers, they find that all of their goals for skyrocketing sales and operational performance with breakout financial success have gotten lost somewhere in the day-to-day rush of running the business.
To drive growth and create real, top-to-bottom change, companies need to develop a thorough management system. Companies need a robust strategy deployment plan, an effective goal deployment plan and aligned KPIs that take the whole enterprise into consideration, not just the high-level objectives or bottom line results. It requires executives to set their sights a little lower than the financial tip of the iceberg in terms of monitoring and responding to company performance. Goal statements, posters and new KPIs aren't enough.
Business leaders need to help people understand how they can improve their areas and the potential impact that will have on the business. Managers need to take the ideas and concepts of the strategy and turn them into something that will inspire action, something that will change the day-to-day business enough—without disrupting customer service—that aligns every associate of the organization to the new goals. Goals that directly result in the kind of changes corporate leadership wants to see. To do that, however, companies need the right systems and processes that will make those numbers real. That starts with a basic understanding among employees of how they did this hour, how they did today, and how they did this week. Not just a final tally at the end of the month.
Everyone from the assembly line, in work cells, sitting at call center desks, needs to know whether or not they succeeded today. Such clarity is only possible with a robust management system that links the performance of every associate from line supervisors up to the CEO, a management system that puts sound action plans with the right KPIs in place and keeps workers focused on the right activities to ensure they are delivering and winning. It tells workers that when they move the needle of a KPI it will have a clear impact on the performance of the business. An effective management system is really about improving your probability to execute flawlessly and win. It increases the probability that you will be able to execute and successfully meet customer expectations and other stakeholder’s expectations, and it helps everyone in the organization know if they’ve won, or not.