By Ken Keller
Conducting periodic review and planning sessions, based on what has and hasn’t happened so far in 2017, is a critical part of success. Late June is a great time to review the following guide I share with clients for conducting a semi-annual evaluation.
What were the company’s priorities at the start of the year? Was satisfactory progress made? If not, why not? If so, what were the results?
What does the company need to start doing, stop doing and stay doing to achieve the goals that have been established?
What are your priorities for the second half of the year? Have you confirmed that every employee received and understands the message to insure alignment?
Have you as CEO personally performed formal performance evaluations for every direct report? Have you spoken to under performers and put improvement plans in place? How much feedback do you provide? Are there opportunities for growth?
Has it been confirmed that everyone in the company has had one-on-one meetings with their supervisor to discuss their performance?
Have those meetings been documented with written evaluations? Have they been reviewed and have appropriate comments been made?
How effective are your meetings?
Are you improving how you conduct meetings, or are they less effective than six months ago? Has everyone been asked to share the five things that could be done to make meetings more effective? What became of their suggestions?
As the CEO, are you leading by example? Where can you improve? Does your management team understand that the standard you set for yourself is the standard you expect of them?
Are all your employees setting an example for others to follow?
Has the organizational chart been reviewed? Are the current lines of reporting the most efficient way to run the company? Does anyone have too many direct reports working for them so as to hinder communication and execution of responsibilities?
As the CEO, have you met in person with a significant number of clients in the first half of the year? Are managers in regular contact with clients to learn about their opportunities and challenges? Are you asking clients about problems they have with your? Are you tracking feedback you receive and working to resolve these issues?
Sales & marketing
How many quality leads are being generated for those in sales on a monthly basis? Who owns the lead-generation process?
How can you improve sales funnel management so that the leads that come in are responded to professionally and in a timely way? Are you measuring leaks and fallout from the funnel?
Does each person in sales have specific objectives for specific periods of time? Has each salesperson been evaluated compared to those objectives? What, if any, corrective action has been taken in the first half of the year to close any gaps between plan and results? What will you do about the second half of the year?
Are sales people improving their sales skills or are they declining? What are you and they doing so they can improve? Should you start an in-house sales training program? Should you bring in someone from the outside to conduct training?
Investing in employees
Are you training every employee or are you throwing people into jobs and giving them responsibilities before they’re ready? How much and what kind of formal training has taken place in the first six months of the year? What areas do people need more education in?
Have you been able to reduce operating costs and expenses in the first half of the year? Has the management team led by example to operate more efficiently and by operating with what you have, not spending on nice-to-have things? Where else in the company could you reduce expenses? Are employees being asked for specific recommendations that you can take action on?
Are you spending enough time to effectively review the financial and operational business plan? How are the monthly financial reviews going? Are you getting information in a timely manner? Does every line on your profit and loss statement have a specific owner? Where are you leaking money? Where can you slow down spending?
Have you met with your insurance advisor to review coverage? How about your business attorney, employment attorney, tax advisor, and estate planning attorney? Is there any other external support I need that I don’t have?
With close to sixty questions offered in this column, the question of where to start can be overwhelming. My recommendation is to read through the article with an eye for making rapid improvements in areas that, as the CEO, bother you the most.
Select just three questions and focus on resolving what you uncover and then move to three more questions. The goal is not to answer every question, but to focus on those areas where making even small changes will make a large difference in your business results and effectiveness.
Ken Keller is an executive coach who works with small and midsize B2B company owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs. He facilitates formal top executive peer groups for business expansion, including revenue growth, improved internal efficiencies, and greater profitability. Please contact him at [email protected]. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.