Following on from last week - Murray explores the next activity from this chapter of Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. 

Point 3 - Set Clear Expectations and Provide a Line of Sight

MURRAY'S KEY POINTS                                    

  • From within your business, think of the core values you exhibit, its brand promise, and the purpose of your business.
  • Think of what KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) your individual employees (and you) need to focus on to achieve the goals of the business. 
  • A great manager will give employees autonomy to find their own way of achieving their own goals/KPI's (within the boundaries of the core values and brand promise that exists within your business).
  • Identify quarterly priorities that need to be addressed to keep employees focused on achieving their KPI's.  Communicate these priorities with your employees and update them regularly so that they can clearly see progress is being made.
  • Identify a "Critical Number" that each employee or team can focus on fixing/achieving during a quarter.
  • Can your employees explain how what they're doing helps deliver on your company's purpose, strategy, and Brand Promise?

Read the Except

Great managers explain how their people's work contributes to the greater objectives of the company and then help them align their individual priorities with those of the firm. This is what Jack Stack, author of the book The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company, calls "line of sight," an important concept to create engagement and a sense of purpose. Can your employees explain how what they're doing helps deliver on your company's purpose, strategy, and Brand Promise?

Once people understand their role and contribution, great managers set clear and consistent expectations about the outcomes of their team's work. By defining the 'what 'and not the 'how', great managers give employees the autonomy to find their own way of achieving these goals. Feeling the liberty to figure things out for themselves and apply their own style is very important for people since autonomy is one of three main drivers of human motivation, as Dan Pink explains in Drive.

Many managers struggle with defining adequate and measurable targets for their people. Gazelles' execution planning methodology and the One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP), detailed in the "Strategy" and "Execution" sections of the book, will help. Specifically, column 7 of the OPSP provides space to define for each quarter:

1.       KPIs – Two of three key performance indicators that objectively signal people on whether they had a productive day or week. At MOM's, says Nash, the company will explain what these measures are – for instance, there might be a particular sales goal for a section of the store – and then tell a manager: "Here's the goal. You have to figure out how to get there, either on your own or with others help." Nash adds, "If they don't meet KPIs, we sit down with them right away and get a plan."

2.       Priorities – A handful for the next quarter needed to achieve the Critical Number and improve on a KPI.

3.       Critical Number – The main bottleneck that each employee or team must fix during the quarter.

Defining these individual outcomes in the context of the OPSP assures alignment with the company's strategy and its long- and short- term goals.

 Should you would like to discuss this article or ways to grow your business,

contact Murray Kilpin on  5592 3644

Verne Harnish is an author (Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Scaling Up, and The Greatest Business Decisions of all Time); lecturer in entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-founded Gazelles Growth Institute, a strategic planning and executive education company. 

Reprinted with kind permission: Scaling up: How a Few Companies Make It….and Why the Rest Don't, Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, 2014