What Are OKRs, MBOs and KPIs?

How Professional Managers Set Goals and Get 56% More Productivity from Their Teams

The Father of Management, Peter Drucker first invented a formal goal setting process called Management By Objective (MBO back in the 1960s.  Human beings have not change much at all since then.  Most people require supervision and managers.  MBO is both a process and very specific goal.   An "MBO" is also a single company or personal objective.  A goal is turned into an objective by making it very specific. Even binary "done" or "Not done".  It is the secret great mangers do well and most managers fail to do at all. 

OKR is the same as MBO, just a rebranding in more recent decades.  And Key performance Indicators are just the metrics that can be measure and tracked over time to see trends, good and bad. I always separate metrics (pure numbers) from other MBOs or goals because they can be crammed tightly into a spreadsheet and act as a health indicator...

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How Do I Introduce Myself as a New Manager?

First, you learn the difference between “there” (a place) and “their” possessive plural.  If you lack written skills, it will be easy to lose the respect of others that have them.  In fact, it could become a joke that prevents anyone from respecting you unless you work in the mafia.  I say this because this question was sent to me in writing, and this is a pretty common error that says your English/ written skills are bad.  Written skills are critical. You must be concise, unambiguous, clear and more.

I just recently had a contractor set a Google Ads budget at a much higher rate than I had said to him in an email I sent. I thought that I was 100% clear, but his interpretation was a daily number now, instead of a total for today. Oops!  That mistake cost over $1,000 in extra ad spend before I even knew it happened.  So even with 30+ years of management experience, I am still making mistakes. I read more into the contractor's...

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What are Quarterly OKRs and How do you Pick Good OKRs?

That is kind of like asking how to paint a good painting or write a good song.

Practice and basing them on the long-term Strategic Plan is the best simple answer.

Having been trained management teams since 2004 to do this I have found almost no one does it well at first. It requires about 2 monthly cycles of practice to get it. However, each time people will do better and understand the value more. I have a course on Online Courses - Learn Anything, On Your Schedule | Udemy on this and a video here: Management Best Practices that explains why MBO/OKR are not optional.

Every successful company does this somehow, though there are some variations. I strongly recommend both training and coaching to make it stick and keep people on track to get the massive advantages that can come from a good process.

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What Are the Three Levels of Management?

Like any model, this just divides a highly complex topic, or spectrum, into a number of levels to simplify.  However, this can be useful to set some framework and goals to climb that ladder.

First, Management and Leadership are “Arts” not skills, consisting of hundreds of skills combine and requiring experience not book learning. That said, I created a model with five styles of Management learning, each would enable a person to start their own company and do well.  They are only learned through experience. 

Every person should be managed mostly using one of these techniques, or styles:

1. Micromanagement - the lowest form to supervise individuals in real-time. Generally, only need for low level and lazy workers. This style is only for inexperienced people or those new to the organization. Or people in very low-level jobs that need to be monitored constantly, often because the job is repetitive, unskilled and low paying where it is difficult to find...

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What are Some One-on-One Manager Best Practices?

Management is an art, not a skill that can be put into an easy list of rules. Your question is kind of like asking how do I paint a perfect work of art? Even Leonardo Davinci could never answer that as it takes years, even decades of experience to learn.

However, that said, some important foundational philosophies are known to be very effective. I’ll list a few below. I would recommend reading The Daily Drucker or other Peter Drucker books first. I also have a Recommended Reading List below with many great classics and serious Entrepreneurs and business owners should read most, if not all, of them.

Tried and true management philosophies:

1. Set up a win-win scenario between every employee in the company providing challenge, learning, career growth and encouragement. More for those that put in the extra effort to study and learn on their own time. This will allow you to attract and keep the best people. As the best people want challenge, growth and appreciation. These are...

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Is Management Still Relevant As A Course Of Study Today?

Of course.  Anytime people are needed, management is a required skill, or more accurately a required art.  It is also a philosophy which generates the culture of a company that should be appropriate to its own market circumstances.

And yes, I agree with Elon Musk and others that our university system cranking out MBAs is not a solution. Colleges and universities are failing to adapt to the new world. There are now so many specialties, industries, and skills that few programs provide the practical learning needed to be a successful Entrepreneur or manager.  That is why I created The CEO & Entrepreneur Boot Camp in 2004. 

People change on an evolutionary timescale, and almost all still need to be managed.  No amount of technology will replace the need for managers and management.  At least 80% of people need to be guided in their work.  And they always will.  Because most people are followers, not leaders.  They do not want to take...

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What are the comprehensive differences between managerial and non-managerial?

Almost too broad a question to be worth answering, and you could write many books on the topic. But in short, managers are expected to:

Think, analyze, plan, hire, fire, improve productivity, budget, motivate and be accountable for results (not activities).

Individual contributors do little, if any, of these things. Of course, some professionals are required to do some of these things too as their main job. i.e. Accountants budget and plan money. Architects design and plan projects and budgets.

Typically, there are four levels of ability and skills in an organization, and almost all professions:

  1. Individual contributor - does the technical work
  2. Manager - Manages those ICs. Typically, the “Span of control” is 7 to one ratio. Though this can vary by industry and company structure.
  3. Executive - Manages the managers. Generally requires 15+ years experience and deep domain experience in one area of sales, marketing, finance, operations, product...
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Has the age of a manager affected your opinion of them?

And what to really look for when hiring

Age should never be a factor. Experience, or years doing that exact job, is a big  factor. Of course, there is often a correlation between experience and age. Some people continue to learn for life, while others stop learning all together at a young age.  So, you are asking the wrong question, really. 

When hiring there are 100+ variables, and you should always hire for these, with age not really mattering, except maybe for exotic dancers. Here are some factors I think are far more important:

  1. Raw intelligence and curiosity that drives a person to learn constantly. I always ask what book they are reading.  If none, then minus lots of points. 
  2. Grit, drive or stick-to-itivness = Personality of never give up, even self-confidence. Some see this as positive attitude. The "I can do it" mentality. 
  3. Creativity, if a management position or something requiring creativity. Thinking out of the box is important for many...
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Do managers need management training to be effective?

Absolutely, but that is not to say most people do not learn on the job. Teaching management is like teaching art, it is an art.  You can study and learn foundational principles, but practice is required to get good.  I recommend reading several books by Peter Drucker first. Especially The Daily Drucker.

There is so much to the art of management that comes only with experience. But you will learn foundational principles and philosophy from these texts.  Key systems, for good management, include:

A) A regular meeting and Management By Objectives process (MBO = specific goal setting).  Some call this OKR now, but it is the same thing, really. This is key to corporate productivity. Research shows a 56% impact on enterprise value creation. That is HUGE! 

B) Having a dashboard with clear metrics (KPIs) that are all “owned” by someone and directly tied into the corporate strategic plan. Needed when > 7 people involved in a company or department,...

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What are some common misconceptions people have about raising capital?

1. Thinking it is easy. It will typically take 3–6 months of full-time effort. 80% will fail.

2. That the “Idea” is worth something. It is not worth $0 because anyone can copy an idea and do better at marketing, sales, product development or just dump capital on that idea  

3. Thinking VCs are the best source, they are the worst for 90% of businesses. They finance at most 1 in 200 plans and represent a tiny percentage of business financing. A narrow niche of rapid growth, technology based companies mainly.

4. A company has value on day #1. It does not!  Value and pre-money valuation come from team + plan + market research + product development. Investors generally put money in only AFTER value is created.

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