Strategic, innovative leader with a proven track of record of building successful businesses
Archives

5 Ways to Establish a ‘Quick Win’ Culture in Your Company

20141229201258-set-plan-new-employees-keep-them-around

We all want to win big. We want to create a success story — something that crosses boundaries, gathers speed and lasts a lifetime. But a success story can’t be formed in one go; it needs to be written line by line and chapter by chapter.

You can use quick wins to write your success story in a way that connects your employees to their own progress within your company. In fact, recent research has found that when people see incremental progress in their work (and celebrate those small successes), they’re more productive, engaged and creative.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Before winning the Nobel Prize in 1962, Francis Crick and James Watson were just two scientists trying to build a DNA structure. But along the way, they found their daily attitudes influenced by the amount of progress they’d made. This phenomenon — which researchers later deemed the “progress principle” — asserts that “making progress in meaningful work” potentially increases motivation more than any other factor.

By leveraging the progress principle, you can help your employees feel connected to the larger success of your company, which, in turn, will encourage them to work harder and be more personally invested. But how can you bring a culture of quick winning into your company? Here are five things you should be doing:

1. Lead with transparency.

It’s your responsibility as a leader to make sure the “hows” and “whys” of each quick win are communicated and understood. People may be dubious of change, especially when it involves a newfound love of performance metrics. They may feel their their every move is being tracked and judged.

So, show your team how the changes you’re making circle back to efficiency and profitability. Make sure you fully explain each new metric as you introduce it, and above all, prove that the “quick win” process works before you start expanding it.

Related: 4 Ways Innovative Companies are Celebrating Their Employees 

2. Test quick-winning within one department.

Test out the process of measuring and celebrating quick wins by starting with one department within your organization. Start with your financial team or your marketing team, for example. This will let you set up your dashboards and get into a rhythm in a controlled environment. Then, you can observe how the small victories within that department contribute to larger wins over time.

3. Identify your agents of change.

You shouldn’t be leading this powerful “quick win” machine by yourself. Rather, appoint a collaborative team of quick winners to work behind you. Identify teammates who get excited about change and are eager to improve company processes. They’ll become your best ambassadors — special agents you can trust to use the first few trial wins to build a “quick winning” culture.

4. Create layered projects.

Establishing a “quick win” culture in your team is possible only if you can set up your projects with multiple levels of wins. Each business goal you lay out needs to be comprised of layers so your employees can easily see their incremental progress.

Make each layer visible by employing analytics dashboards and data-visualization tools. And communicate each quantifiable progression to your whole team so you’re building a healthy sense of competition and collaboration as you go.

5. Use quick wins to tell a story.

Giving your teammates the chance to pause and celebrate after small victories allows them to start building a narrative toward their goals. This recognition can create momentum and meaning, which will create not only the internal story that will propel your team forward, but also the story that you will tell the world.

Use “quick win” milestones to build your company’s story. Host celebrations, and record the evidence. Perhaps you can hire a photo booth as HubSpot did to celebrate its brand journey at its annual INBOUND conference.

Remember: Success stories are made in small increments. Start telling yours by introducing a “quick win” culture to revamp the way your team works and enact positive change in your entire organization.

5 Tips For Keeping A Pulse On Your Tech Team

142099709-copy-426x242When most people think about the departmental structure of a business, the tech team is often regarded as the strange stepsibling. It serves a purpose — though not everyone is entirely sure what that is — and it often works independently from the cohesive family unit.

But for your businesses to lead its industry, you have to change the perception of the tech department starting from the inside. As a leader, this means communicating the tech team’s role in the company’s big-picture goals to incite their participation and unify the organization.

Empower your tech team

Tech teams are enablers; they make things happen. Once tech employees are educated on a company’s mission or a project goal, they can take that information and transform it into something other departments can see, understand, and even monitor. But your tech team can’t build a foundation of information for your business if it isn’t given the necessary tools to do so.

Many companies don’t include their tech teams in every aspect of their business, which creates a division between tech and other departments. What’s worse, tech departments are commonly misconceived as being cost centers — draining the company of resources — rather than revenue centers. But a properly assimilated tech team can be incredibly impactful in building revenue when it sees its role in helping the company accomplish larger-scale objectives.

Here are five steps business leaders should take to redefine their tech teams and maximize their growth potential:

  1. Establish a vision

A clear understanding of a company’s vision is vital for both departmental and overall success. Unfortunately, the tech department is often left guessing at the company’s overarching goals. Make sure your tech team can comprehend and articulate your company’s biggest aspirations. Team members should also be able to see how their work moves the needle.

  1. Facilitate team engagement and communication

Members of the tech team should be involved in every stage of success. Too often, companies stress the five pillars of success (strategy, methodology, technology, implementation, and adoption) but only involve the tech team in the last three pillars. Placing tech employees in executive positions at every level of business will ensure they’re involved in the strategy and methodology conversations as well.

  1. Incentivize performance

Tie your technical team’s compensation to performance metrics and the company’s performance as a whole. That way, members will feel invested in the end goals and be motivated to create tech that performs and improves the company.

  1. Embrace change

Disconnected employees might see the tech department as a burden on the company’s resources. But the progress it makes should excite employees. Help everyone understand how the tech team works and how innovation generates revenue and grows the company to shift this mindset.

  1. Open communication

Once all of these steps are complete, open up communication lines between tech employees and all other departments — especially those in leadership positions. Make sure any jargon or confusing language is explained so everyone can understand what’s going on.

Amplify growth

Heightened competition in the business world has made it crucial for companies to forge a close partnership with their tech teams. Companies that align their tech teams and metrics and embrace a technology-enabled business structure position themselves to not only increase innovation and revenue but also become industry leaders.

Take Zappos, Netflix, and Facebook, for example. These companies use technology to generate revenue by actively investing in employee ideas and rewarding tech teams for uncovering bigger and better business concepts. Similarly, Wells Fargo started a financial tech accelerator program that presents tech companies with real business challenges to solve in exchange for a minority share investment.

Another great example is the Google X Rapid Evaluation team, which has given tech teams the power to discover and test new products and ideas along with the necessary time to work through the inevitable kinks and flaws. As a result of this trust and teamwork, Google X is responsible for projects including the driverless car, Google Glass, high-altitude Wi-Fi balloons, and glucose-monitoring contact lenses.

As more companies begin empowering their tech teams and incorporating tech employees into all levels of the business, new innovations and fresh approaches to business will emerge and transform the traditional business structure. As a leader, you can develop a relationship with your tech departments that will build a foundation for your entire company to solve problems, improve communication, and increase revenue.

This Data Expert Shares the Secret to Growing Your Company With Big Data

Data can be powerfully helpful or powerfully destructive to your business. Learn from a data expert how to make data useful.

CREDIT: Getty Images

CREDIT: Getty Images

Big data, data analytics, data management–in the past, these were areas of concern for enterprise companies. Today, both large and small companies can benefit from the extensive increase in data gathering. There is data available that can answer almost any question we care to ask. That is if we can access it in a way that makes sense. Many companies purport to know how to harness data for successful growth, but there are lots of phonies.

During a recent episode of my podcast, YPO 10 Minute Tips From the Top, I interviewed data expert Asha Saxena, the CEO of Future Technologies, Inc. Saxena’s company has been busy offering products and service in data management for healthcare, media and finance clients.

Saxena, a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), explained how companies are struggling to take advantage of the abundance of data today. If managed well, data can be powerful. Used incorrectly, it can take you down a rabbit hole or eat up precious resources. Here are Saxena’s tips on how to get what you need from data so you can grow.

  1. Ask the right questions.

Just collecting data gets you nowhere if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Saxena recommends setting up a plan with specific questions that you want the data to answer. “Collecting data will not magically turn into more sales. The data that is collected is only as good as the questions are being asked around it,” says Saxena. “When collecting data, companies must start by asking questions and what they are trying to obtain and solve from the data.”

  1. Collect data relevant to answering the questions.

Once you actually have the questions in place, then it is crucial to collect data that is relevant to answering those questions. There is simply no point in getting data that will not help you solve your problem. “There is so much data available more easily and companies are collecting everything but don’t know what to do with it. The companies that are growing are those that understand the data correctly and not collecting volumes for the sake of collecting it,” adds Saxena.

  1. Analyze the data to find the answers.

Once the right data has been collected, companies must analyze the data in order to find the trends that it reveals about the questions you asked. “For the data to be useful, it has to all tie together,” she adds. “A company must look to see if they have collected the right data so ‘it’s not garbage in and garbage out.’ This will help to adopt and embrace the data.”