My Final Blog Post

Greetings! This is my last blog post... under the brand of Mark Abbott & Associates. For a host of reasons I won’t bore you with, we are transitioning our brand from Mark Abbott & Associates to VTH Partners, AND we have added some new services, resources, and capabilities to our offering. More on all that in the not-too-distant future. Why the brand transition? What we do isn’t about me. It’s 110% about our clients. And at the foundation of everything we do lies our unrelenting passion for helping our clients master what we … [Read more...]

Traction Stuff: Why A Scorecard Is Critical To Your Company’s Success

Imagine you’re the head coach of a basketball team and you get ejected during a really important game.  The good news is you can coach from the locker room.  The bad news is you won't have access to the scoreboard or any data.  Did your job just get tougher?  Absolutely. Or picture a plane flying from London to New York City.  A couple of hours out, way over the Atlantic Ocean, the captain announces, “I’ve got bad news and good news.  The bad news is only one of our plane’s gauges is working, and not only are we hopelessly lost, but I have … [Read more...]

New Blog Series: Getting and Sustaining Traction

For months now, I have been writing a series of blogs describing the basics associated with getting the “People Stuff” right. The People series followed another series of blogs describing the basics associated with getting everyone on the “Same Page.” Today’s blog marks the begging of a new series on the basics associated with getting and sustaining “Traction.” At the risk of stating the obvious, I wrote the Same Page series first because we have a better shot at attracting and retaining great people if we are offering meaningful work that … [Read more...]

People Stuff: The Sum of the Parts and Developmental Feedback

What really distinguishes A Players, B Players, C Players, and D Players? Generally speaking, and there are always exceptions, it's skills and experiences versus passion. A Players are not only great at all facets of their roles, but they tend to love them all. B Players are generally really good at their roles and like them, but they aren’t as passionate about getting better or being the best. C players are typically OK at best, but their indifference tends to bring down the energy within their organizations. And as shared in a … [Read more...]

People Stuff: The Seven Ingredients of a Gorgeous Accountability Chart

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Steve Jobs Thank you, Steve Jobs. I love great design. The first career I considered, besides being an astronaut, was architecture. While I know that great designers have been around for centuries, I believe Steve Jobs deserves some credit for bringing great design to the “masses” (that word seems pejorative but I could not find a better word). The beauty of great design is the marriage of form, function, and simplicity. When achieved, great design is simply elegant. As I say quite … [Read more...]

People Stuff: The Pros and Cons of Building an A-Player Organization

Business is math. By that, I mean that if we really wanted to, we could create a mathematical model to depict almost every aspect of a business and then connect those models to build projections and assist with performance analysis. Realistically, most of the work associated with building such models doesn’t generate enough value to justify the investment, but even rough mathematically-based models can be highly informative. One of the areas where this comes into play is in analyzing supply and demand in terms of homegrown talent. Last week, … [Read more...]

People Stuff: “A Players”

Back in the early 1990’s, I had the great fortune to be a client of Brad Smart, author of the book Topgrading and creator of the Topgrading® system. Brad is probably the person most responsible for coining the term “A Player.” I have used Brad’s system to hire nearly 100 professionals with virtually no regrets. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Brad and the system he invented. For Brad, if you really want to build a successful and enduring organization, one of the most important things you need to do is ensure that your talent acquisition … [Read more...]

People Stuff: Workload Capacity and Managing Expectations

Woody Allen once said that 80% of success is showing up.  I am more inclined to believe that 80% of success is managing expectations.  If you manage expectations and then consistently deliver, if not exceed them, people are likely to be OK with virtually whatever happens, even if sometimes you are preparing them for bad news or the possibility of a bad event.  They were prepared and you did what you said you would do. Every organization has an unwritten norm regarding the amount of hours people are expected to work.  These norms aren’t … [Read more...]

People Stuff: Taking Your Business to the “Next Level”

For several weeks now we have been drilling into the notion of time span capacity and some of the key implications related to your Accountability Chart. As you may recall, I think time span is a BIG IDEA with some huge implications. Today, I want to talk about one of the implications in terms of what it really means to take your organization “to the next level.” For most of us, taking our company to the next level means ratcheting up some component of performance, like revenues, productivity, or communications. A less common, but more … [Read more...]

People Stuff: Time Span Capacity in Management

For several weeks now, I have been drilling into the notion that to get great people for your organization, all you need to do is get the right people into the right seats. Easy, right? (Yes, pun intended.) Last week, we went beyond looking at the individual and what makes him or her appropriate for a seat – i.e. that he/she clears your cultural bar and GWCs the role – and started to drill into the layers or strata of your Accountability Chart. In summary, I suggested that time span capacity is the predominant characteristic separating one … [Read more...]