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Commentary & Analysis

Power up for a Profitable New Year Part 2


By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: February 14, 2007

--- Special Feature Power up for a Profitable New Year - Ten Ways to Get Your Employees Focused on What Really Matters - Part 2 See Part 1 by Dottie DeHart February 14, 2007 -- Yesterday we listed the first five of ten ways to transform your business by getting your employees as focused on your business as you are. Here are the next five. Let your employees evaluate you to see if what you are doing is really helping them. When your company's numbers aren't great, your first thought is to point the finger at employees. What if you, also, are a source of the problem? Perhaps there are things you're doing that you think are helping employees when in reality they aren't. Employee evaluations can be a real eye-opener. Create an evaluation form that your employees can fill out anonymously, which allows them to tell you a) what you are doing that helps them, and b) what you are doing that simply is a waste of time. Let your employees tell you what they really need from you in order to improve their performance. There's no better way to find out what you are doing wrong than by asking those your actions affect the most - your employees "We see it all the time in organizations," says Giannetto. "CEOs who think they are king, who are unwilling to take a look at what they are doing that is hurting their company more than helping. For it to work, the Grid has to be implemented at all levels. That means CEOs will have to do their part to improve performance. If CEOs are still bogging employees down with ineffective meetings and numbers that don't mean anything to them, problems will continue. There's no better way to find out what you are doing wrong than by asking those your actions affect the most—your employees." Encourage them to sell more to existing customers. Here's a simple way to increase revenues: Companies often create complicated objectives in order to create new customers, while neglecting those customers that are often the easiest sell—the ones who are already buying your product or service. Your company is bringing a value to these customers or they wouldn't keep coming back. Are there new products/services that would benefit them that you have been directing only toward new customers? "Taking time to examine your customer base will help you to determine how best to bring value to your existing customers," says Zecca. "When you know what your current customers value, you will know how to sell to new customers who value the same things." "When you know what your current customers value, you will know how to sell to new customers who value the same things." Emphasize the importance of daily tasks and how they will shape the organization's success as a whole. In your one-on-one meetings with your employees, you'll start to see that it can be difficult for them to do their jobs because of issues and "fires" that crop up during the day. You'll see that much of their daily effort may be expended on activities that add little or no value to the achievement of your organization's efforts. Employees may be busy as bees, but their actions often fail to provide any lasting benefit. They should be focused on the key actions that they can affect, performing the tasks that drive them toward the company's objectives. "Pyramids were built using only pulleys, ropes, and a strong, unified purpose," says Giannetto. "It's a lesson we've learned with manual labor, yet one that largely escapes us in modern corporations. By utilizing the Power Grid and its unifying power drivers, management can tell employees, 'This is what is important. This is what you are responsible for.' It adds clarity to daily activities." Give employees what they need to excel at their jobs. Maybe you have been withholding making improvements within the company to save money during these tough times. But what if you're withholding equipment and software your employees need to be more successful? Are your employees working on outdated (slow) computers that are constantly crashing and slowing down their work pace? Are they using old versions of computer programs that were improved months or even years ago? If you aren't giving them the equipment they need to be successful--new computers, new programs, new machines--then your efforts to save money are actually costing your company money. "Updating your company's computers and other gadgets won't be a one-stop problem solver, but it will play a big role when your employees start re-focusing their efforts," says Zecca. "It also shows your employees that you do care about them and their needs. And who isn't excited about getting something updated? These will energize your employees as they start executing their new responsibilities." Employees should be focused on the key actions that they can affect, performing the tasks that drive them toward the company's objectives Keep them on their toes. When companies are meeting and exceeding their goals, employees have a tendency to celebrate and relax. Instead, they should be asking, Is there something taking place we can take advantage of to drive sales even higher? Or, Is there something that we have to do to make sure we meet this increased demand and still provide superior service? "Using the Grid, your employees will already be focused on those things that drive your company," says Giannetto. "But it can never hurt to give them a little extra motivation. Implement friendly competition by rewarding your top sellers. This will give your employees a little extra motivation when you are doing well. When your company is powered by the Grid, your employees are constantly prodded to drive the company to greater success." "By simply following these ten steps, what was chaos and confusion suddenly clears up," says Zecca. "The fog of business is lifted. Instead of repeating the same actions, managers now adjust their performance to fit what is actually happening. Instead of dwelling on the past, they see the future. They can now do something about bad trends. Personalities, office politics, and the ability to smooth talk or evade responsibility are all diminished. The truly effective managers emerge." "We have seen the transformation in other companies," adds Giannetto. "We witness it every day in our own. We have created the Performance Power Grid and then tested it in diverse environments, refining it along the way. We have seen that the methodology applies everywhere, regardless of industry, the current status of the company, or the challenges a company is facing. Take the necessary steps and the Grid will jolt your company back to life, re-energizing your employees, improving your profits, and ensuring that 2007 is your best year yet." About the Authors David F. Giannetto is the director of Cohn Consulting Group's Enterprise Performance Management Practice. He is responsible for helping client organizations improve operation efficiency, management effectiveness, customer satisfaction, and systems integration through the implementation of the latest performance management methodologies. Prior to this, he was an operations manager and quality auditor for Airborne Express Freight Corporation (currently DHL) at locations throughout northern New Jersey and New York City. Anthony Zecca is the partner-in-charge of Cohn Consulting Group, a division of J.H. Cohn LLP, one of the country's largest accounting and consulting firms. An expert in driving corporate performance, developing business intelligence systems, and creating highly functional management teams, Tony has worked with top management to assess overall organizational effectiveness and strategic alignment, and to improve management effectiveness, profitability, and cash flow. He has served as the chief operating officer (COO) for several companies building the strategies and concepts consultants talk about, but rarely implement. About the Book The Performance Power Grid: The Proven Method to Create and Sustain Superior Organizational Performance (Wiley, 2006, ISBN: 0-4700514-4-2, $27.95) is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit http://www.performancepowergrid.com./



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