Category Archives: Management Focus

Deep Work

How much time do you spend each week on deep work – the most important projects you must complete to stand out in your position? For many of us, we have trouble getting even an hour. But, when you do make progress on a significant accomplishment, don’t you feel great? >

You know it, so why don’t you do it?

If you are in Vistage you know that at most meetings there is an amazing speaker from whom you take away at least 3 good ideas. That is one of the reasons Vistage members grow their businesses 3x faster than their competitors. Don’t yawn, yes, I know you know that. >

How much of your business can you run without IT?

You’ve heard the stories of companies being attacked by a cryptovirus that shut down their computers. They were told to pay a ransom, usually with bitcoins, or their system would not work again. They called the police, who referred them to the FBI. They couldn’t help.  For many companies, their only resort was to pay the ransom.

Not everyone. Some companies were able to locate where the attack came in and isolate that part of the system. With a good back up they were running again pretty quickly with no ransom paid. Which one is you?
IT Security experts say the first step to prevent the attack is how you train the people in your company to use IT. Do they know when they should not open links or attachments? Have you tested them? Some IT departments train, then test their folks by sending a fake phishing email. Anyone who opens the link get a visit from the IT department and retraining. This is serious business and the IT departments are treating it as such.
Also critical is how you structure your IT Hardware. I’m suggesting that you get a review by an outsider to see if what you have will withstand today’s attacks and maybe help you prevent one in the future.
On your own personal computer, do you have at least 2 antivirus programs? And, do you update all your programs whenever you get a notice from Apple or Microsoft to do so?
I know it is a pain, but most people don’t leave their front door or their car unlocked. And, many people have alarms and security cameras on their houses. Isn’t your IT just as important?


Are you investing enough to make new projects succeed?

Take a look at a few paragraphs from the Los Angeles Times of May 14, 2016.

“Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday threw his support behind an ambitious $2-billion plan to build housing for California’s mentally ill homeless population.

“The governor’s action comes as cities from Los Angeles to San Francisco, have seen homelessness increase in recent years, sparked in part by >

Are you focusing on the right metrics?

Most companies get a lot of data from their internal reporting about sales, labor costs, materials used, payroll etc. In fact, there is a huge amount of monthly data, some comes daily and some companies get their data close to real time.

Digging through all that data to get to the 2 to 3 most important metrics that drive your business is a deep dive worth all your effort to achieve. Big companies have these metrics. They watch them in real time so they can adjust staffing, maintain equipment and create great customer satisfaction. They anticipate the customer’s reaction and respond before the customer can complain. Why don’t we?

I got a chance to ask the CEO of a ski resort what metrics they use to measure success. His response was sales and profitability versus plan.

Then I asked him how he gets measured running a resort that draws visitors based on the amount of snow, something he can’t control. His response was capacity utilization, staffing by hour and total sales divided by customers on the mountain. If he manages that well, they can get very close or equal the profitability goal. At least that was my mental summary as we got off the lift. One of the few times I wished I had stopped and made notes in my IPhone instead of speeding down the mountain.

By the way, I also asked how often he gets out skiing, given his responsibilities. With a big smile, he said several times a week. That was why he worked in the ski industry.

Next time we ride on a Chairlift together, or have a 1-2-1 or meet in a causal conversation, will you be able to tell me the 2-3 metrics that drive your business?



photo by Nora Paller