CEO Thoughts: 3 Constituencies, 2 Rules and 1 Kanban Board
It’s 11:15pm, and I’m tabbing over on my browser to Trello look one more time for the week at our Kanban board. So I figured I just had to bang out a post.
Having been a CEO twice previously, I either carry with me a lot of hard lessons or a lot of baggage, depending on how you want to look at. But hopefully I learned at least a few things along the way. So here is one of my general frameworks I recently laid out at a company meeting when I had to do my job and deliver some tough but real news to the team.
I figure that I have 3 core constituencies to keep in mind at all times:
I keep 2 rules in mind about all 3 of those constituencies.
- They don’t like to be surprised.
- They all appreciate transparency.
Pretty simple, huh? Don’t ask me how long it took me to boil things down to that framework. Know this for sure: No one who does my job has good news all the time. So if I surprise any of my key constituencies even a few times, they start to wonder what else I have to hide. Not having things to hide is where transparency becomes paramount.
What’s key is to live it, and it always starts with our internal team – the constituency with which I spend the most time. In order to live the framework, we try to bake transparency right into our tools and processes. And the team here at Optify has embraced it in a big way.
Today if you walk down the hall past our waiting area, you’ll see screen with a Salesforce report, a real-time look of our closed deals, month-to-date by rep. The company knows where everyone stands. As our VP of Product Development said to me the other day, “Every time I walk by that screen, I want to bang it to see if a couple more deals will fall out.” Transparency . . .
Keep walking past the Inside Sales team and you’ll see up on the whiteboard how many opportunities every person has created by day and week. Accountability . . .
Want to know that status of blog posts and publish dates for our blogging team? It’s a collaboratively shared Smartsheet, like many of our other internal initiatives. I can check status any time. Support tickets? The Account Services team sends out a Zendesk report every week. No surprises . . .
And so we come full circle to Trello. Our Product Development team has recently cut over to a Kanban development process to increase efficiency. Along with that process, they implemented Trello, a beautifully designed project management app, to track the status of every story in our queue.
It’s been live for a couple weeks now, and I can already tell that I’m going to be continuing to check it at lunch and at night every day of the week. Any story on the board has a status, a developer on point, the story owner for buyoff, as well as what was recently deployed or is teed up to go out on the next release. If I showed it to any technology exec and explained it for 2 minutes, they would say it’s more visibility than they’ve ever had on their product development process.
Let’s just say I like the trend line.
Rob - @RobertEleveld