Archive for August, 2012

Employee-Oriented Metrics

August 27, 2012 1 comment

What are the key metrics that you use to manage your business? Undoubtedly, they include the “big three” of sales, profit and cash flow but do they include any metrics to measure employee related items. In a world where many companies profess that “people are our most important asset,” most companies are shockingly devoid of any metrics about the mindset and welfare of their self-proclaimed most important asset, their team members.

Does your company regularly monitor any employee-oriented metrics in its regular reporting?  Now I am not talking about some sophisticated survey of the employee base that takes a lot of time and costs a lot to properly design and execute. I’m referencing metrics like: Employee Turnover, Quick Turnover Cost as well as safety metrics like Lost Workday Injury Rate and Total Injury Rate.

Please share with your fellow VIA members what employee-oriented metrics work best for you and why.

Categories: Uncategorized

“How to Get Them to Pay Attention”

I came across this article written by Paul Hellman, founder of Express Potential.  Among other accomplishments, he is a business consultant and executive coach, helping businesses improve performance and productivity, which is why his message caught my eye.  It’s called “The 7 Laws of Attention”; it’s well-written and on target!  Laws # 3 and 5 especially resonated with me.  Please read the article and see if you agree with Paul’s message.

1) It’s easy to get distracted.

When Jimmy Carter was President, he was criticized for micro-managing requests to use the White House tennis courts.

You can see how tempting that might be—easier than negotiating with Congress, or dealing with tough foreign situations.

The challenge is to focus. What are you paying attention to? What should you be paying attention to?

In the last hour, my avoidance behavior has included checking email, scheduling a haircut, and eating almonds.

I don’t even like almonds.

 2) Your attention shapes you—and others.

“When a pickpocket walks down a street,” says a proverb, “all he sees are the pockets.” 

The boundaries of your life are determined by your attention. Sometimes we obsess about small things; we get small.

And if you’re a leader, others pay attention to you. What you say, and what you do define what’s important.

What do you say is important?

 3) Assume non-attention.

Attention spans are shrinking. There’s too much information, too much noise. So just because you said something, doesn’t mean anyone heard it. 

Imagine, the next time you talk that, instead of info, you’re delivering a truckload of furniture. Here’s the problem: the other person’s house is already fully furnished. 

Where are they going to put all your stuff?

They don’t even hear you ring the doorbell. They’re out back, in the swimming pool, drowning in information.

 4) Attention is a scarce resource; people kill for it.

We forget the value of paying attention to others. Managers, when coaching employees, often think they have to provide advice and make suggestions—and sometimes that’s useful.

But there’s power to just listening. Listen well, and others will say you have “presence.”

Are you present?

5) It’s not enough to pay attention.

You’ve also got to look like you’re paying attention.  “I was surprised,” a manager told me recently, “to discover how negatively people viewed my texting during meetings.”

Maybe you can multi-task, maybe you can’t (neuroscientists say you can’t), but either way, the optics are bad. 

6) Attention can be practiced, and developed. Could make you happier.

“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” say Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert.

Their research (http://www.trackyour suggests that focusing on what you’re doing, even if it’s just washing the dishes, correlates with happiness; mind wandering, not so much.

 7) Your attention needs to be refreshed. Often.

Take frequent breaks—shift your attention to here-and-now sensory experience. Stand up and stretch, go for a walk, listen to music.


Categories: Uncategorized

Paralysis of Analysis

August 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Did you know, many companies are now being held back by the “paralysis of analysis.” Maybe it’s time to jettison some of data analysis and return to conventional thinking and develop a more creative vision for action. A sense of urgency and the ability to make prophetic decisions, not necessary data driven decisions, may end up being the difference between being successful and unsuccessful in a competitive world.

John Silver

ITT Technical Institute