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Consultants Highlight Priorities in Customer Relationships

Monday, August 1, 2011
The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® has asked its global members to recommend techniques and best practices to evaluate progress and accountability. "Strategy is not solely for the beginning of the year, nor post-mortems for the end," says SAC® CEO Alan Weiss, PhD. "Do you know how you’re doing at the moment?" Here is a summary offered by two members expert in the field.

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach and member of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is the president of Working Resources, a boutique strategic talent management consulting and leadership coaching firm in San Francisco, California. He offers a few insights:

"Does your organization have zombies? A frequent character of science fiction novels and movies is the zombie—a soulless being with vacant eyes who wanders around purposelessly. The statistics on workforce engagement are shocking. According to research, only 29 percent of employees are motivated and energized. What, then, is happening to the other two-thirds of the people working in organizations? This is an even worse scenario than the old joke in which a manager is asked how many people work in his company and he responds, "About half of them."

Dr. Brusman notes, "Measuring employee engagement is critical for executives to analyze their business for the remainder of the year. Since 1997 the Gallup Organization has surveyed over three million employees in three hundred thousand work units within corporations. This survey consists of 12 questions—called the "Q12" — that measures employee engagement on a five-point scale indicating weak to strong agreement. The analyses of survey results show that those companies with high Q12 scores experience lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, better customer loyalty and other manifestations of superior performance."

"Mid-year provides a fitting accountability checkpoint," says John Carroll, growth strategist and president of Unlimited Performance, Inc. in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. "All the planning in the world has little or no impact until someone in the organization checks the batting averages on implementation.

"By inspecting what they expect, leaders and managers create a strong action orientation, encouraging, recognizing, and rewarding top performers and exposing those trying to escape results-based evaluation. Spending substantial one-on-one time with high productivity individuals further displays what leaders truly value and complements a strengths-based culture. Putting low performers on a tight clock to accomplish specific short-term objectives, ideally 30 days or less, signals strong accountability. With targets met, productivity can increase, while targets missed indicate need for reassignment or separation.

"Keep on planning, of course," Carroll says, "and continue to check plan progress at every opportunity. Key people will get the intended message and climb aboard the results express."

Weiss concludes, "We see a definite weakening of resolve in mid-year, especially in the northern hemisphere summer months, that significantly impacts year-end results."

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