Why stretch targets are garbage, good vs bad directors & how Onboarding can make or break a new hire
17th April 2022 Newsletter
“We do a lot of thinking and not a lot of acting. A lot of investors do a lot of acting, and not a lot of thinking.”
Louis A Simpson (who passed this week and was once flagged as Warren Buffets successor )
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been a slow week for me with some time off enjoying Autumn in Australia’s South West. So like me, this week will be a slower, simpler update.
This week I came across an interesting tool for remote meetings.
The Meeting Own Pro is a 360-degree camera/microphone/speaker that sits in the middle of a meeting table and captures each delegate’s response focusing on the person speaking as different people talk.
I haven’t used it myself yet, but I’ve heard from people who have, and it is significantly better for anyone dialing into a meeting
Onboarding Can Make or Break a New Hire’s Experience
As my book about onboarding draws nearer, I came across this HBR article, and I mostly agree with the main points.
From the article:
Poor onboarding can leave your employees with lower confidence in their new roles, worsened levels of engagement, and an increased risk of jumping ship when they see a new, more exciting position elsewhere.
On the other hand, companies implementing a formal onboarding program could see 50% greater employee retention among new recruits and 62% greater productivity within the same group.
Given that how you onboard your employees will determine their experience, managers can take the following steps to ensure they set their new hires up for success:
- Set clear goals and measures for success.
- Create a multi-departmental onboarding team.
- Provide support throughout the onboarding journey.
I’m sure everyone has been in meetings where people are off-topic, aren’t prepared and run over time. One way around this is PechaKucha.
PechaKucha is a storytelling format where a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each. The slides are set to advance automatically, meaning that presenters must move on to the following topic every 20 seconds, with 400 seconds to present in total.
PechaKucha began in Tokyo in 2003 and means “chit chat” in Japanese. But the constraints can make for significantly better preparation and focus. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’d love to see the PechaKucha discipline applied to a team’s weekly meeting during the Collective Intelligence section.
Check out these PechaKucha business examples here.
Good and Bad Directors
There is no manual about being a good or bad board member or director.
Many people try to do their best but don’t know when they are doing good or bad. This week I came across this awesome list that was so good that I wanted to share it with you below.
Good Director knows they only have two jobs:
- Hire and compensate the right CEO.
- Approve the budget and strategic plan.
Bad Director thinks their main job is to provide good ideas. They think the board’s job is to micro-manage the CEO.
Good Director knows that things always go wrong. They make it safe to share bad news and simply ask: “So what are we doing about it and how can I help?”
Bad Director loses their temper and berates management when they get bad news. They incentivize management to hide bad news.
Good Director hits a home run once or twice a year. Typically a recruit, strategic partnership, new investor, etc. They are always looking for opportunities to help.
Bad Director just shows up for the meetings and otherwise doesn’t think much about the company.
Good Director trusts the CEO completely until they don’t. Once they don’t, it is time to make a change. There’s no in between.
Bad Director constantly tests and scrutinizes the CEO, making them feel insecure in their role and always on the brink of being fired.
Good Director has extremely high standards for board meetings and communicates them clearly. That means clear presentation, timely financials/KPIs, focus on strategy not reading materials out loud.
Bad Director takes whatever management gives them as “normal”.
Good Director never undermines the CEO in front of their team. Any difference of opinion is resolved privately and with ultimate deference to the CEO.
Bad Director will be unaware of who is on the email thread or in the room and will be “fast and loose” with their words.
Good Director will request the materials 48 hours or more in advance and will have read them. They will say “We have all read the materials, so let’s dive right into the most important things.”
Bad Director will show up having read nothing and expect management to read aloud.
Good Director will recognise when they are too busy to be useful/engaged and step aside, ideally recommending someone with the time and energy.
Bad Director will be unwilling to give up the power no matter what.
Good Director knows that management can only focus on 1-2 things at once.
Bad Director forwards an article they read with the subject line: “Why Aren’t We Doing THIS?!?!”
Good Director always remembers that they are a fiduciary of all shareholders.
Bad Director looks at every decision as: “What is in it for my firm/pocketbook?”
You can check out the thread here Xavier Helgesen on Twitter
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
Why stretch targets are garbage
People set stretch targets in the hope that they will motivate a team to achieve better results than they otherwise would. In most situations, however, they don’t work and actually create a set of second-order consequences.
This week we talk about 6 reasons why stretch targets don’t work, and what you should be doing instead.
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