Christine Comaford, Contributor @forbes
Bob’s business was growing by a consistent 30% per year.
Then it stopped.
Two of his key sales people had left, followed by his VP of Marketing. A handful of his most promising emerging leaders were moving toward the door too. Bob’s revenue had flatlined. I was called in to stop the exodus and turn things around.
Sue’s business was growing by 100% per year. The speed at which the company was expanding was barely manageable. At any given time her company had 20+ job searches under way.
And there was no sign of a slowdown.
Until her people’s performance started to falter. Accountability became wobbly. At 5pm the office was a ghost town. The previous palpable energy in the office now was dull and dreary. Everyone looked burned out and tired.
Both Bob and Sue had the same problem: no People Plan.
What Inflection Point Are You Headed Toward?
In my 30 years of helping CEOs build highly profitable businesses, I’ve consistently correlated company challenges to what I call Inflection Points. At each Inflection Point your business is reinvented–there are profound people, money and business model changes. The people ones are the hardest. Without mastering them, the money and business model become irrelevant, because your business isn’t going to make it.
The business world is moving too fast to tolerate CEOs who don’t prepare for their next Inflection Point. Let’s look at the Inflection Points then we’ll lay out your People Plan.
Image Credit: Copyright Christine Comaford Assoc 2012
How’s Your People Plan? 13 Questions To Ask Now
Rate yourself on the following questions. Answer each with Yes or No, then total them up at the end.
1-Is your revenue growing as quickly as you want it to?
2-Is your profit growing as quickly as you want it to?
3-Do you have the right people in the right roles doing the right things?
4-Are you retaining or losing your superstars?
5-Are you using specific proven techniques to help your executive team lead better by seeing into their blind spots, overcoming challenging behaviors, expanding their vision and ability to elevate others?
6-Have you identified your next generation of leaders?
7-If so, are you following a specific proven process to cultivate them?
8-Would you like to get more accountability, communication, execution from your team?
9-Are you navigating rapid growth or turnaround where internal priorities are frequently shifting and the team is challenged to quickly adapt and stretch?
10-Are you frequently resolving conflict between key executives or team members?
11-Does your culture have a prevalent victim mentality where problems are focused on versus outcomes?
12-Do you know how to scale and allocate your human resources to get more done with fewer people?
13-Are you keeping your finger on the pulse of the culture and implementing programs to increase emotional equity?
If you have five or more “No” answers you likely have no People Plan. Keep reading to remedy this.
4 Key Components of Your People Plan
People Plans evolve over time. The reason most CEOs want one is three-fold: greater profit, greater revenue, greater retention and development of their key team members. With an effective People Plan you’ll get:
- 35% more productivity from your team members
- Close sales 50% faster
- Double revenue or net income annually
For version 1 of your People Plan you’ll need the following:
1-Individual Development Plans: Each team member across your company should know their next two possible evolutions (promotions imply a raise/title change, which may not occur)—whether they are up, across or within. The “within” evolutions are when their current role takes on significant new responsibility or acquires a new skill set. Think of a customer service rep who has now been trained in up-selling, down-selling, cross-selling and thus can now receive performance bonuses when their new skills are demonstrated. Plan out 1 year at a time.
2- Leadership Development Programs: Every team member in your company should have the opportunity to apply for a Leadership Development Program. This program is a six month training and coaching intensive where the person develops significant new skills and changes previously limiting behaviors. Your next generation of leadership will come from the people who graduate from this program, and everyone who participates needs to “pay it forward” by mentoring a person in your company on enhancing their own leadership.
3-Lean Training: See my blog on Crushed Culture to learn the four short and sweet trainings (2.5 hours each or less) every staff member on your team must receive. Don’t assume since Joe works in the warehouse that he doesn’t need training on smart skills (aka management skills). Au contraire. One of our clients had a warehouse worker named Marv. He took our Neuroscience of Leadership training and one month later had optimized warehouse efficiency and reduced costs by over $300,000 per month. Needless to say Marv has been promoted.
4-Accountability Structures and Rewards/Consequences: I covered super effective accountability structures in my Accountability Blog, so I won’t repeat it here. The main point is everyone must know their key “Needle Movers” for the year, quarter, month and be delivering results consistently. They get rewards for results and consequences when they miss them.
Don’t let your growth grind to a halt. And don’t tolerate a Crushed Culture like United Airlines and Hilton Hotels–two brands that I used to love–now have. (Hint: surly employees and inconsistent quality are huge signs).
Both Bob and Sue now have a People plan. Their cultural chaos is a distant memory. Bob’s growth is now at 42% annually, Sue had another year at 100% growth then we moved our focus to cranking up her profit and operational efficiency.
Christine Comaford has created and implemented People Plans at many of America’s most successful companies for the past 30 years. She’s also the author of the NY Times bestseller “Rules for Renegades.” Follow Christine on Twitter: @comaford