As the years went by and my moving and storage company grew, so did our leadership team. I learned that as an organization grows, its leaders and leadership tools must also grow.
For many years, I met one-on-one with each member of our leadership team mostly weekly to review progress of projects and goals.
Even though our business continued to grow, I was consistently being challenged to be patient with the leadership team on our progress to achieve results with excellence.
Our first COO
That was until we hired our first COO (Chief Operating Officer) in 2004. He was truly an A-Player.
And we worked very well together because we complemented and completed each other…
- His strengths covered my weaknesses.
- My strengths covered his weaknesses.
We both sang each other’s praises – externally and internally, and even though I owned the business, we did not care who got the credit for the great things that were occurring because it was our people who made the great things happen.
We worked hard, and at the same time, we had lots of fun doing so.
One of his strengths was his project management approach to our business. And he could keep “more plates spinning” than anyone I knew.
Also, one tool he brought with him was his experience with what we came to call our “Business Reviews”.
Over the years, my observations have led me to understand that organizations are formed to get results.
People are hired to get results. Managers and supervisors are recruited and promoted to get results and to assist others to get results.
Goals and controls
There is work for us to get done and goals to be achieved…results are essential.
Once the processes for establishing measurable performance goals are done, then the process of following-up and following-through on the goals is needed – controls.
This requires frequent and regular reporting on the progress of those goals – again controls.
Every leader can use Business Reviews to successfully achieve goals and establish controls by understanding the answers to the following three questions.
1-What is a Business Review?
A Business Review is a monthly forum to drive continual improvements throughout the organization.
The basis of a Business Review is to continually revisit two questions:
- What is our goal?
- Are we making progress?
It is a simple, open forum for updates/reporting, questions, and discussion. It results in learning, understanding, and action steps that will lead the entire organization toward the desired direction and goals in the most efficient and effective manner.
2-How does it work?
Each month our COO had “the meeting before the meeting” the day before our Business Review with each leadership team member responsible to report.
His desire was to help and to encourage people to have an excellent presentation regardless of the results (good or not so good), and avoid any surprises (i.e.- red face moments!).
Here’s the breakdown of a Business Review:
- Who – Either the leadership team member or someone from their area of responsibility was to do the presentation.
- What – Usually the Controller would go first to report the previous month’s financial results. Followed by reporting from the various product/business units (e.g. consumer, government, corporate accounts) and/or organizational functions (e.g. marketing and sales, operations, IT, human resources).
- When – The Business Reviews usually occurred around the 8th of each month (the day after the financials were completed).
- Where – They occurred in a room large enough for the attendance of the leadership team and any employee interested in or involved with the presentations.
- How – The first couple of times, it took two days to complete the presentations. Then we got it down to one day, and by the time I sold the company in 2011, we held it to a half of a day. One person electronically recorded any action-item assigned to a person for reporting progress at the next Business Review.
3-Why is it important?
Insight: When each leadership team member was held accountable in front of their peers in a Business Review verses my previous one-on-one sessions, our people quickly achieved significant organizational-wide results with excellence.
Business Reviews are NOT…
- Business as usual.
- A time to “shoot the messenger” or a spring a “gotcha” on someone.
Tip: Praise in public and criticize in private.
- Use a coaching style as an opportunity to facilitate and motivate progress.
- Create a team approach culture – We’re all in this together.
- Review progress, identify variances in project results and measurable goals, and understand why.
- Take corrective or preventative actions before any results/goals are missed and adjust timelines or request additional resources, if necessary.
- Expand a project or goal once more information is gathered from other sources.
- Focus people’s efforts on the organization’s most important goals to execute.
- Strengthen accountability of projects and measurable goals that are visible organization-wide.
- Create a culture of continuous, positive change.
- Celebrate and reward people so they will move beyond past accomplishments toward new opportunities, goals, and achievements.
The emphasis in our Business Reviews was on the progress of our tactical plans. But I continually coached our people on how the progress showed us living out our Values, and how the progress tied back to our Purpose, our Vision, our Super-Objectives, and our strategic objectives.
Do you have monthly Business Review process? What has been the impact on your organization? Could you share your experience <here> and share this blog post with a friend and co-worker?