Monday, April 28, 2008

Confusion in the Ranks

I have read article after article regarding the importance of employee retention. I have also read in a recent survey the American Society of Training and Development that the following are ranked according to how the best companies measure performance; 1) Productivity Improvement, 2) Ability to Retain Essential Employees, 3) Quality of Products and Services, 4) Customer Satisfaction, 5) Employee Satisfaction, 6) Sales and Revenues, 7) Overall Profitability, 8) Cycle Time Reduction or Improvement and 9) Other.

In another article, “The Hidden Talent Retention Strategy” by Michael Laft, which appeared in Training and Development (December 2007 Issue) stated that 75% of managers are unaware of a retention strategy in their office. Appearing in the December 2007 issue of Training and Development, it has been shown that even when companies are making an effort to engage workers or make them happy, the managers are not aware of the company’s actions and this is not being communicated to them.

The number one non-financial reason why workers leave their jobs is an opportunity for advancement, followed closely by work-life balance and more interesting work. This was noted in a survey conducted by the International Association of Business Communicators.

Even though most articles written for the HR circles are telling everyone to align your people with your business strategy, they are not telling the management team of the respective company to do the same. Almost every article on employment is demonstrating that there will be an imminent shortage of executives and that most companies expect competition for talent to intensify. Senior executives have frequently acknowledged their failure to pay attention to these issues and now seem to understand that their retention strategies cannot focus solely on the top performers but all employees. We need to engage workers of all ages, nationalities and genders who want to work for your company and remain there for as long as they can.

The problem is that managers treat talent in a most reactive manner. Managers and companies alike must think of the workforce as a collection of segments that actively create or apply knowledge. Companies need to make sure that performance reflects the workplace expectations of both the worker and the company. Companies need to instill a deep commitment to its employees. A commitment must start at the top and should cascade downward through the ranks. Managers must try to integrate a hiring and retention program with their strategic business plan and communicate this integration to all employees on a daily basis. These employee retention strategies must be incorporated into the culture of the company and be expected in terms of core value or competency.

When we find that talent is being nurtured at all levels of the organization or company, we can be reassured that we have been successful in creating a real retention plan that exhibits the real values of company and its commitment to its people and their values.

Contact Innovative Leadership at your convenience for information on our integrated Hiring and Retention Process that can make a difference in motivating, retaining, and even hiring your next top producer or “star” employee. or 609-390-2830.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Business @ the Beach Expo

Wednesday - April 23, 2008

Cape May County's Premier Networking Event

Admission is Free to the Public, Free Parking, Free Food, and a cash bar!

Join Innovative Leadership and many other businesses at the networking event, Business @ the Beach Expo. From the Chamber: Come check out the who's who of the Cape May County business community as over 90 vendors display their latest products and services at the 20th annual Business @ the Beach Expo. Explore the opportunities - discover new ways to grow your own business by networking with the exhibitors.

Last year hundreds attended to seek out the newest trends in business and technology. Get a jump start on yout competition. Each individual who attends the Expo will be entered to win the Grand Prize. . .a 2 hour office party for 20 at the Rio Station Restaurant in Rio Grande!



Cape Bank

J. Byrne Insurance Company

The Press of Atlantic City
Wildwoods Convention Center


Atlantic City Electric Company

The Coast - 98.7FM

Commerce Bank


Rio Station Restuarant


Innovative Leadership

Fitzpatrick, Bongiovanni, & Kelly, PC

Atlantic Cape Community College

AT&T Mobility

Copiers Plus

Crest Savings Bank

Kindle Auto Plaza

NIA Group Associates LLC

Rich Services

South Jersey Energy Solutions

State Farm Insurance - Rob Gleason, Agent

Sun National Bank

Monday, April 14, 2008

Top End Turnover

Corporate Executives are on the move…..out the door. CEO turnover increased by 50% in 2007 compared to the previous year. Nearly a third of the departures were against the CEO’s will. The average tenure of CEO’s is down almost 25%. Tradition reasons accounted for some of the terminations but non-traditional reasons accounted for majority of departures. Turnover was highest in the telecommunications industry and financial services businesses. It should also be noted that this group also includes companies involved in the sub-prime meltdown.

In a separate survey printed in the Philadelphia Bizjournal (October 26-November 1, 2007), the CEO’s were asked to rate their own strengths and weaknesses with the following results:

Strengths Weaknesses
Vision 1 6
Sales and Marketing 2 (tie) 5
Product Innovation 3 3
Managing People 2 (tie) 4
Information Technologies 5 2
Financial Strategies 4 1

It appears that the CEO has the vision but doesn’t always get there. I question whether or not the CEO has created a “dashboard” for himself that reflects both strengths and weaknesses and is using metrics to formulate benchmarks and to consistency re-evaluate his plan of action and implementation process along the way. It seems like many CEO’s are stuck when it comes to both the planning and implementation process. The statistics tell me that the CEO has a strong sense of awareness but for some reason the plan and implementation process are not giving the CEO the desired results.
I wrote a previous Blog on the formation of “dashboards” and this data tends to lend credence on the fact that CEO’s may not be focused on not only the “things that matter most”, but also don’t measure and monitor the metrics or trends that define the success of the organization. It could also relate that other key members of the executive leadership team are focused on the results that their departments contribute to the overall success of the organization. Sounds like our alignment with strategic objectives must be off or even non-existent. IF the disconnect occurs between the CEO and the people who work in the organization, then the end result is a “disconnect” between the CEO and the Board of Directors resulting in termination or resignation. Basically, we are back to the old adage, “Is it the People or the Process?” You can blame it on one or the other, but it is usually a combination of performance and people resulting in an ineffective process of measurement.
CEO’s better learn how leading companies measure performance and offer a goal and results-oriented culture. Ok, CEO’s, “Start your engines, monitor your dashboard, and stay focused on the finish line”…

Monday, April 7, 2008

Are You Focusing on Your Dashboard?

I am working with an organization today that is creating a Decision Support Department to integrate all the data and information available to assist in making the “best” decision. Most small businesses and mid-size companies do not have the financial capabilities or available people to create such a department. All companies have the ability to manage data, monitor progress, and formulate benchmarks…..but they don’t or, let me be kind, don’t do it well.

Let’s compare companies to automobiles. All managers and supervisors, no matter what vehicle they are driving, need to glance at the dashboard periodically and it hopefully will reflect some sort of information that will be valuable in determining how the vehicle is performing and assist them in their decision-making processes relative to good car care.
The number of gauges available to you will vary according to your role and responsibilities associated with the vehicle. Some of the managers or supervisors will be driving “Mini-Coopers” while others may be driving “Chevrolet Malibus”. Senior management may drive a “BMW or Audi”, while the CFO and CEO will drive “Mercedes”. Remember, the difference in vehicle relates to the size and sophistication of company they work for while the dashboard enables them to view their performance at any point in time with the vehicle running.

Dashboards (a millennial business buzz word) should be popping up in most businesses because we need to get back into a goal-oriented environment. Competition is hotter than ever, great employees are scarcer than ever, knowledge pools are retiring at a rapid pace, and technology is moving faster than a speeding bullet. In other words, we better have a pulse on the performance of our vehicle to make sure it can handle the long trip or the excessive weight of the trailer. We need to make sure we glance at our gauges every few minutes to make sure we don’t overheat or ruin the engine by not adding oil.

One of the competencies that are needed by the leader of a company today is forward thinking. It relates to the ability to focus on the desired outcome and formulating a plan that can be implemented to achieve that specific outcome. Outcomes are only as good as the metrics you have incorporated in the plan and measured during implementation and define the desired outcome… other words, metrics allow us to measure our performance.

There are all kinds of fancy software that can make your vehicle’s dashboard look like a Mercedes. Or, there is a simple screensaver program that allows you to put the Dashboard right on your computer screen. We need to get back to basics. We need to focus on the things that got us here and monitor the things that are going to get us where we want to go. By clearly establishing benchmarks and monitoring our progress by recognizing what we do that makes a difference, we will continue to be highly competitive, profitable, and here for years to come. CEO’s and Business Owners, start your engines and watch your gauge . . .you need everyone in the company to focus on your goals!