Tag Archives: Ask

What Are Good Metrics for a Service Company? Four Recommendations

Situation: A service company has been debating internally about which metrics they should use to evaluate company performance. This is important because it ties both to strategy, marketing, and bonus compensation. The CEO seeks advice based on the experience of others. What are good metrics for a service company?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • For a service company the key goal is delivery of a consistent quality product/service to the customer – as a company rather than as individual performers.
    • Instituting regular activities or meetings to infuse the company’s “special sauce” to projects will help assure consistent quality of service delivery.
  • To generate support and consensus within the company, ask employees what they would do to develop metrics to assure delivery of quality.
    • Have a clear view in mind of what the metrics should achieve – the result rather than the fully detailed process – before initiating this exercise and articulate this result as the desired objective.
    • Remain open to ideas from the group.
    • Use the exercise to establish a shared vision and to generate the best possible set of metrics to support the desired result.
  • Once both the metrics and a methodology for delivering the result have been selected – for example, weekly performance review meetings if this is the answer – then institutionalize these. It may be best to start with a “trial process” to refine details of the process.
    • An efficient regular process review meeting may save the company more than the 3 hours that it takes (preparation + travel + meeting) for this process.
    • If there are many “islands” of employees working at different company locations, consider organizing meetings into geographically convenient archipelagos.
    • Establish, within the service review process a “patented” company process that focuses on quality delivery. Publicize the existence of this process (not the details) when speaking with existing or potential clients. This is a key part of the company’s essential differentiation and “value add”.
  • Establish a definition of quality for the company.
    • Develop this as the company’s vision.
    • Develop the methodologies to consistently deliver this quality.
    • Long-term, drive this to professional training systems to consistently produce this quality.

How Do You Manage Family in a Business? Three Approaches

Situation: The CEO of a family-owned business finds it difficult to hold family-member managers accountable. They are responsible for significant portions of the business; however, family dynamics make it hard to supervise them. How do you communicate that their responsibilities affect both the business and the family? How to you manage family in a business?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The first issue: Why have they not been asked for accountability to date? If you don’t ask for accountability, then don’t expect them to take this on by themselves.
  • Assign one family member responsibility for developing the marketing and sales strategy for the company.
    • Change the compensation from salary to salary plus commission. Over a 6-month period, reduce the base salary to half of what this individual currently earns and tie the rest to success increasing sales.
    • Assign this person responsibility for analyzing the markets that you serve. Are there areas that the company has not tapped into yet? What can you do to make your web site up more effective at driving sales? How can you use exclusivity on select products to your advantage?
  • When was the last time that the principals of the business met to figure out what to do?
    • Set the stage: we have split the business into two divisions and have separated the financials. This gives us more flexibility as we develop the business.
    • Show them the trends of each business.
    • Show them that if the current trend continues the business will be unsustainable in X years.
    • Facilitate a discussion that will start to generate solutions.
    • If the others do not respond:
      • Tell them that you appreciate their attendance at today’s meeting.
      • Tell them that you will meet in another two days as a team. Until then you expect them to think things over and to come ready to share their ideas.
    • Do not hold the meeting in your office or conference room. Secure an off-site neutral location with a white board.
    • If you are uncomfortable facilitating this meeting hire an outside facilitator. Ask for the input of the others in selecting a facilitator and follow their recommendation. If you work with a facilitator, start with your own dilemmas to set the tone.