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Interim Executive Advice: Measure Performance and Start Over

IN THIS EPISODE OF CERIUS BUSINESS TODAY WE ARE JOINED WITH INTERIM EXECUTIVE DON LABOWSKY TO TALK ABOUT MEASURING PERFORMANCE.

He shared the different kinds of challenges he typically sees in assignments and how he helps companies solve them. He started off by stressing the importance of working an a team through a major transition in his last assignment:

It’s never just one person, and certainly I was just part of a team and I only had the supply chain piece; there were many other pieces to this successful transition. But I think that the big thing is communication; being open and honest with people and setting expectations and setting timelines, and saying this is what needs to be done in this amount of time and let people go do it. And I was very lucky that the team rose to the occasion and did all those things when they needed to be done in the correct order and were able to achieve all the goals that were given to us.

He also shared some important advice for anybody responsible for measuring performance:

First of all I think engage everybody in the solution. No one person even at the top knows what’s going on in all aspects of the business. So you’ve got to engage everybody and you’ve got to focus on solving the problems, not reacting to symptoms. Too many people just focus on the symptoms and really don’t want to find out what the underlining reasons are why certain things are happening. And I think the next point would be to really quantify everything. You’ve got to get away from feelings and gut urges and whatnot and break down the numbers and figure out how you can measure performance. And if you can’t measure performance or something close to it, then stop and figure it out. It is that important to the business.

And the most important thing though is to really take that zero-based budgeting approach. Forget about what you have been doing. Ask yourself, “So what would we do if we did business from scratch?”, “How do we start over?” This also includes what would consider to be important, and what would we not consider to be important. Really look at those critically and leave behind any of those things that you know “we’ve always done it this way” or sometimes people call them sacred cows or protected areas. You really can’t have any. When you walk into an urgent situation, you cannot have anybody who’s off-limits or beyond the scope of what the turnaround project is.

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