Tag Archives: Consensus

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.

Can Outside Board Members Help a Struggling Company? Four Thoughts

Situation: The CEO of a family-owned company has struggled to align family members with the business plan. When difficult decisions must be made, established personality patterns and family history hinder consensus on what should be done. The CEO seeks advice on whether the addition of one or more outside Board Members can help to build consensus. Can outside Board members help a struggling company?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The CEO of another closely-held company brought in an outside Board member two years ago. This has added considerable focus to the Board discussions. The addition of a fresh and respected perspective has helped to clarify decisions and reduce conflicts among the founders.
  • First, have a conversation with the team. Give them the opportunity to straighten out things themselves. Present the addition of an outside Board member as an option. Get their support. This will make the addition of an outside Board member a company decision, rather than the CEO’s.
  • The experience of other companies is that compensation can range from free – a retiree who wants to help – to expensive. Arrangements and expense will depend on what the company leadership wants to achieve.
  • Investigate SCORE – a well-established source for outside board members for small and family businesses.