Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Gazelle's-Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

Our executive team at Ivara just completed going through a 2 day course that was put on by a Company called Gazelles. We had a great facilitator by the name of Les Rubenovitch who described us as an executive team with diverse positions on things and a healthy (I think he was being nice) appetite for debate. I think this was his polite way of telling us that we labour on points for way too long instead of getting to the heart of the issue, making a decision and actioning it. Spending a couple of days as a team in this way has several benefits:
1. I thought the course and materials presented in the Two Day session was very useful. Some of the topics that we discussed that we as an organization will attempt to implement over the next 90 days include:
-daily huddles (which are daily team meetings that never exceed 15 minutes and have a standard agenda that includes "What's Up", a "Daily Metric" and "Where are you Stuck"
-employee performance measurement (the details of this require a separate post but understand where your real talent is in the organization is and filtering out the "C" players is a must for high performing companies...Topgrading is a great read I would recommend.
-business dashboard (we came up with the metrics we feel are critical for our success and now will be implementing a dashboard system-not software based yet-to assist us with leading indicators alerting us when we are going off line)
2. The second benefit was actually getting some feedback from a strong facilitator of what they view as some of the strengths and weaknesses and general health of our exec. We all have areas where, as a team, we could work better but having a facilitator work with the group for two days really exposes the goods and bads of the group dynamics and presents opportunities for improvement. One of our takeaways from the session was to read The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni and we have blocked off an hour as an Exec to go through what we need to do after reading the book to become more effective.
3. Getting away with the Exec team for a couple days always leaves me feeling energized , refocused and part of something. All our days are busy and tied up with the tactical details of running a business. Stepping back and refocusing on what the overarching strategy is, what is changing, realigning priorities is really key in a small business. Getting lost in the details and to-do's is important but sticking your head up once a quarter to make sure that you are still driving in the right direction is really important. I hate to pick on them (again) but Twitter appears to be a prime example of this from the outside looking in. Clearly while they were busy running the business a funny thing happened to them. Their user community grew beyond their (at least preliminary) plans and used the product in ways and at a rate that they did not anticipate and before they knew it the architecture no longer was aligned with the needs of the users and now you have a major problem.
For a lot of reasons the two day session was great for us as a group but my call to action for you is to STOP.
-stop the day to day (I honestly do understand the difficulty this poses) at least once a quarter
-get out of the office
-get a really STRONG facilitator and try to keep the same one
-review and revise your strategy
-re prioritize your top 3 priorities for the next quarter
-assign timelines, responsibilities and accountability's
-START executing
-STOP in a quarter and repeat
If you want more details or want to discuss further please feel free to contact me directly.

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