article | February 5, 2019
Does Your Resource Plan Start at the C-Suite?
“Strategy is simply resource allocation. When you strip away all the noise, that’s what it comes down to.” – Jack Welch
As the CEO, your job is to execute against your corporate strategy. To do this, you must align your resources – money, people, and time – to the right places. The average CEO begins with a budget (filled with the prior year’s numbers) and make incremental tweaks. The wise CEO starts at the top of the pyramid – his direct reports. Too often, this step is overlooked.
Here are several changes I have witnessed CEOs make to tailor their team to the company strategy:
As your strategy changes, so should your team. We’re not suggesting disruptive, sweeping changes every year. It’s about shifting the right people into the right places. People you can trust to execute the strategy.
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Below are three cases I’ve seen of executive resource planning:
A fast-growing software company was rapidly expanding, as it was a market leader in the cloud space. As they had expanded and increased the capacity of the software, bugs emerged. These bugs resulted in downtime, and threatened the retention of customers. The CEO invited all his direct reports and laid out five key initiates for the new year. Three were focused on product – fixes that needed be made in order scale. Another two were focused on technical support. No sales, marketing, or operational initiatives were made.
No other resources were assigned such as additional budget or personnel to product or support. This shortsightedness had consequences. The product leader, overwhelmed with directives, failed to complete any of the three on time. The technical support leader resigned mid-year, and many of his reports followed. The product lost its sterling reputation as the leader in the cloud space. Growth slowed.
A SaaS based software company was looking to continue its ~10% revenue growth pace. But customer churn threatened to impact this objective. While the product was beloved by power users, it was often seen as complex and difficult by new customers. The CEO immediately hired a Customer Success Officer, and supplied them with an ample budget. The CSO installed a customer training platform, CS team, and worked with product to improve the UX. Customer churn dropped into the low single digits.
Adding more heads to the C-Suite is easy. But what do you when company strategy changes? Assessments.
Assessments are often reserved for front-line employees within a department. But the same rigor should be applied to the C-Suite. Their competencies, behavior, and management style will be replicated by the entire division. As a company adjusts strategy, once highly regarded leaders may become less critical. These assessments will help you recalibrate your team, and understand where (and if) people should be placed.
The assessments should include two core factors:
Too Many Items Is Worse than None
Many times, we see one specific department have the majority of the tasks. Product has three new critical launches in the year. Sales needs to overhaul their go-to-market strategy and revamp their processes. Too many initiatives for one department and none of them get accomplished to standard. To avoid this, leadership should examine the key projects, and understand the effort required.
For this reason, every executive should be expected to create an activities-based budget. This will help the organization understand what each department needs to be successful. Dollars should be shifted to the highest priority initiatives. Often, additional resources should be provided to ensure success.
Anticipate Turnover in Your Executive Team to Ensure Continuity
Do you have an executive whose departure or death would be catastrophic to the company? Time to build the bench.
Resource planning at the executive level means ensuring a seamless transition at leadership. Do you:
If you’ve answered yes, your succession planning needs to be current. A departure can throw a well-functioning unit into chaos within a quarter.
Key Takeaways on Resource Planning
Resource Planning doesn’t stop at the executive level. If anything, that is where this function is most critical.
Three critical tasks components – Capacity, Succession Planning, and Assessments – should be a routine. Without these components, there is a serious chance that someone on your team is leaving your company vulnerable.
Download our Resource Planning Checklist to get started.
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