As your processes and execution mature, clearly manage the message of performance up and through the organization. Here’s a brief look at each type and how you can use each type as an advantage:
Messaging Up (to the Boss)
When it comes to MRO business performance, employee relations, and customer issues, bad news travels at the speed of light. Don’t get caught off-guard by a boss who’s misinformed, under informed, or worse yet, not informed. The blast area in these situations can be brutal and difficult to recover from if it’s commonplace. Instead, create a communication rhythm with your boss that’s consistent and covers key performance and business topics.
Create a one-page dashboard summary that walks through each element with a data point, variance against plan, and one or two comments that provide color on any recovery action you are taking. That’s it, don’t overwhelm your boss with too much data. If the bosses want more, let them tell you first, then provide it. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself creating useless reports that will never get reviewed, and most leaders will allow the useless reports to continue because they fear being too detached. This is an insecurity that many leaders have, and you must become effective at managing this with them.
You also want to get your boss trained to expect things from you with predictability. To create this expectation, pick a specific time and day each week to send this report to your boss. In good and bad times, always provide this weekly report without fail. Build this report time into your schedule and never miss a week or be late. You are conditioning your leader to your approach, and I promise that you’ll be the only one of your peers doing this and it’ll absolutely blow everyone’s mind (in a good way)!
Messaging Across (to all MRO employees)
As critical as upward communication is, managing the message across the entire MRO organization is just as important. Your hard work and improvement efforts to this point will be easily lost unless you connect the employees to the performance. Employees have “skin in the game” if they do the hard work, and you need to validate these employees. This connection is a very personal thing to all those who generated the results and demonstrated the behaviors that enabled them.
Share good news and bad equally; don’t dwell on the negative. Instead, use that information to establish what the “do different” is and set an adjusted path of improvement. Celebrate performance that is on or ahead of plan by recognizing the team and specific behaviors observed that created the result.
We live in a behavior-based world where the 80/20 should be the way that any business is successfully managed. The vast majority of results and successes can be attributed 80% to behaviors with specific skills representing the other 20%. Of course, there are situations where this ratio will not apply, but following this mindset will always be a reminder of where most of your time and energy is best spent.
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