Quarterly Craziness? - How to Build an Integrated Executive Suite

Management is not what it used to be - you are now dealing with more different things at a faster rate than at any time before. No wonder you feel stressed!

Management is not what it used to be - you are now dealing with more different things at a faster rate than at any time before. No wonder you feel stressed!

The key things we see management juggling (in no particular order) on a monthly/quarterly basis include Budgets, Employees Performance, Organization Performance, Risk and Strategy.

We tend to think of these elements as separate things...we have different departments to deal with each of them, different software tools to process them, they are taught in different courses, written in different books, supported by different consultants, etc.

These different things need to be aggregated into a single view in order to be managed as a single thing. Based on our perspective, we'll call that single view your Scorecard.

It is actually a web, not a linear flow

But these things are actually all interconnected... we all learned that risk and reward are related, so let's monitor and manage them in one single meeting. But strategy creates those risks and generates those rewards, so let's add strategy to the mix. Likewise employee management and budgets.

It now looks a bit like this...

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It's About Velocity

So, once we have linked these things together, the next step is to figure out how to construct integrated monthly/quarterly conversations so that there are no time/ space/people gaps between them...which will enable business velocity.

In reality, this process becomes a continuous cycle with no beginning and no end, but to start this story for you, I'll describe it in the format you are used to - What do we need to set-up before the beginning of the next year?

Each area has "set-up" activities, as shown here.

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Now, we do not want to repeat the current "disconnects" that we just talked about, so as we develop each of these areas, we need to do it in conjunction, and at the same time, as each other element.

More and more frequently we are seeing our clients do this setup work over a two-day workshop held in a suite of meeting rooms with a mix of "large team" and "small team" break-out activities.

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What are the 'end of quarter' (or month) conversations?

Now, at the end of each quarter, each area has a different set of activities to do and conversations to be had... but again they all need to be linked together.

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You can see that the scorecard becomes the cornerstone... or more appropriately the Rosetta Stone that translates and integrates the message from one area into the other area's conversation.

One of the concepts that I want to emphasize is that each of these "best practices" is presented in articles, business books, videos as an isolated activity, and "the solution" to all your problems.

For example the recent writings on OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Those articles and books seem to imply that OKRs are the 'secret sauce' and if you just implement OKRs, great things will happen in your organization.

Of course, this is not the case and won’t lead to an effective integrated executive suite.

Rinse and Repeat

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Now you have the idea of an integrated executive suite...just keep repeating it every quarter! Back when we first developed practices like strategic planning, budgeting, HR planning, etc., the drumbeat of business was much slower. The amount of information was much smaller. The consequences of our management decisions took longer to see.

Brett Knowles

Brett Knowles is a thought leader in the Strategy Execution space for high-tech organizations. His client work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune, and many other business publications.

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