In sports, everyone knows what winning looks like: it’s reflected in your score, plain and simple. In many businesses, however, it’s hard to define a win without a single key number. What makes a number “key”? A good one meets three conditions:
• It’s directly connected to the financials. Improve the key number and you get better financial results.
• It’s not imposed from on high. Open-book companies consult with managers, employee teams, and other stakeholders to develop their key numbers. They ask: What are the biggest challenges we’re facing this year? The biggest opportunities? How can each unit best measure its contribution?
• It’s for now, not forever. Companies’ situations change. Sometimes revenue growth is the top priority; other times it’s profitability or cash flow. When a company makes progress on one objective, it may want to set its sights on another the following year.
Adapted from “A Winning Culture Keeps Score” by John Case and Bill Fotsch.
Every time you make a decision — which candidate to hire, whether to delegate a task, even what to eat for lunch — you create mental tension. Our energy to make decisions is limited; stress and fatigue can keep us from making good ones. Use routines to reduce the number of decisions you have to make: If there’s something you need to do daily, try doing it at the same time every day. For example, establish a ritual for preparing for work in the morning. That might begin with checking e-mails and voice mails and responding to the urgent ones first to make it easier to move more quickly to important projects.
Set up a similar routine for packing up to go home at night. Once you’ve put less-important decisions on autopilot, you’ll free up your energy for things that matter more.
Adapted from the HBR Guide to Managing Stress at Work.
The days of the webmaster holding the keys to digital kingdom are long gone; today, most of your people need digital knowledge. Actively reward people who promote others’ digital learning by hiring people with the ability to explain the tools, value, and methods of digital strategy to people who otherwise may not use or fully understand them. And find ways to reward those behaviors, like spot bonuses, high profile projects, or formal recognition programs.
You can also identify a knowledge-sharing goal as a key performance indicator of project success by asking, “How did people working on this project advance their digital capability?” Finally, remind the entire team that successful enablement is its own reward — the more digital skills are distributed, the more the digital team can focus on higher-value work.
Adapted from “Four Ways to Scale Digital Capabilities Beyond Your Team” by Perry Hewitt.
A mail rule tells your email program how to handle certain kinds of messages. Each rule is made up of two parts: the criteria that determine whether a particular message will trigger a rule, and the action or actions that run once the rule is triggered. Rules can have a dramatic effect on your email efficiency. For example, set up a “scheduling” rule to shunt all scheduling requests, meeting invitations, and meeting acceptances to a separate folder for review once or twice a day. You can even write your rule with exceptions so that anything marked urgent lands in your inbox, not your “scheduling” folder.
Adapted from Work Smarter, Rule Your Email by Alexandra Samuel.
No company’s future is completely secure. When your business is facing declining sales, a potential buy-out, or even certain closure, how do you manage people who are likely panicking about their future? Even if it’s clear that your organization is in trouble, you can still help team members stay focused and deliver results.
• Be as honest as you possibly can. Whatever you know, share it with your employees. Don’t try to protect people from the truth or ignore what’s happening. In tough situations, people are on high alert for lies and inauthentic messages.
• Give your team a larger purpose. People want to believe their work matters in any situation. When the company’s success is no longer the goal, you might identify something that employees value personally, like leaving a legacy or proving critics wrong.
Adapted from “Managing People on a Sinking Ship” by Amy Gallo.
To start the Stopwatch function in the clocks app, press the blue button on the left. Pressing the blue button again will record a lap, while oressing the red button will pause the time.
Pressing the red button twice in a row will reset the stopwatch.
Have fun with your iPad!
Scripting exactly what customer service employees should do in every situation drains the initiative out of even the most highly motivated workers. But when you set up a system that enables you to trust your employees to exercise their own judgment and learn from their experience, they may well deliver a far better customer experience.
* Establish guardrails. People handling calls should understand where they have latitude and where they don’t. Within those guardrails, your team should be free to exercise judgment.
* Seek feedback. Ask customers for feedback after each transaction. Circulate the comments to team leaders so they can see where they’re succeeding, where they still have work to do, and what, specifically, your customers point out.
* Coaching and support. Free your supervisors and experienced customer care professionals from some tasks so they can devote time to coaching and getting new hires get up to speed.
Adapted from “Leading by Letting Go” by Rob Markey.