Throughout the year, I have discussed various topics of strategic planning, defining the job roles within an organization, recruiting, hiring, coaching for improved performance and focusing on the right metrics inside the organization. In my consulting work and the educational events I lead throughout the year, I challenge leadership teams of companies to make the investment into a full-time data officer on their staff. The data inside a company is gold. The Return on Investment (ROI) from extracting the data and turning it into useful information to manage the business can be 10-fold if utilized and implemented the right way.
I engage with a lot of different businesses that service various customer channels. No two companies seem to be the same. However, most share a common complaint. The biggest challenge they face is their “people problem.” As I investigate the deeper root cause of the perceived “people problem,” it stems from poor communication.
There is a fundamental breakdown in communication between the leadership and the front-line workers. There is a disconnect between the company’s objectives and goals, and the front-line worker’s objectives and behaviors. In most cases, the disconnect is not intentional. It is due to a lack of awareness for the people in the trenches. The front-line workers are not provided clear expectations of what the primary goals and objectives are for the business. In most situations, these same employees are left to their own accord to figure out the priorities and how to best contribute to the company. This communication gap forces the front-line workers to make their own translations of what they should focus on in their jobs and how they should perform their job. To further add to the problem, these front-liners are usually playing blind because they have no visibility (awareness) to the results of how they are performing in their roles. Left to translation, human nature would suggest most workers will feel as though they are doing fine in their jobs. Would most managers agree their subordinates are preforming well?
Over 70% of the companies surveyed in a recent virtual seminar where I presented, which was organized by the Natural Stone Institute and Stone World, stated they do not track or share individual performance metrics for the people working inside the organization. Over 73% of the companies also provided no formal onboarding process for new hires outlining the key objectives for the roles they will be charged to perform each day. Houston, we have a big problem.
The net results from this communication gap are unjustifiably positioned as a “people problem” in management’s eyes.
- Management becomes frustrated with an individual’s performance.
- Front-liners have no awareness of their performance.
- Employee turnover is high and constant.
How can management teams be frustrated with their subordinates if they did not take the time to create accurate and clear expectations with their people on the frontend of their employment?
I sympathize with the front-liners. In most cases, they do not know what is expected from them on the frontend and they do not see the results of their performance on a regular basis. No wonder why employee turnover is off the charts. We would all seek greener pastures if we were playing in the dark each day. Frankly, I grew numb from listening to the same management complaints in every conversation.
It does not have to be this way. For the past six months, I have been developing a tool to help stone fabrication companies solve their biggest problem. I was confident I could help them bridge the communication gaps each day, improve their performance, drive positive results, and most importantly, help solve their “people problem.” The MVP was born. The Most Valuable Partner is all about communication and awareness, which drives engagement. The NOW1 MVP tool takes data and turns it into powerful information that is displayed and shared with the team. This tool is geared towards generating engagement and driving the right behaviors of the front-line employees, which are aligned with the company’s objectives.
As a stone fabricator for 20 years, I witnessed firsthand how powerful a company’s data can be when deployed into an organization. Although many managers have the best intentions to interact with their teams daily, often they do not have enough capacity to effectively engage and communicate with the entire team. Unfortunately, as you know, the stone fabrication industry is far from perfect. Every day becomes its own organized dance of chaos. Unintended disruptions, last-minute changes and a constant need for real-time communication to survive.
Several companies are currently testing the NOW1 MVP tool. Time will tell if they can win by design on the frontend, bridge the communication gap and engage their teams like never before to drive the right behaviors. Stay tuned!
Cheers, E. Tryon