I recently read a newspaper column consisting of fictional future diary entries written by politicians.1 It inspired me to conjecture what executive C-suite officers might write in their diaries. My crystal ball is crystal clear. From the year 2015, with perfect hindsight, here are the personal diary entries from the executives of a fictitious corporation reflecting on their experience implementing a performance management framework.
Vice President of Sales
Dear Diary of Sales Commissions,
Recalling 2008, I did not believe our CFOs claim that some long-term customers were very unprofitable. But, I saw the facts in her customer profitability reports. I could not believe that the customer with the highest sales volume was much less profitable than our midsize customers. She proved that all the extra work we work did for our number one customer substantially dragged down our profit. When the CEO and CFO ganged up on me to change our sales forces commissions and bonuses to include targets for customer profits, I thought they had flipped out. Everyone knew the name of the game was sales growth. Now I realize the goal is growing sales profitably smart growth. You live and learn.
Vice President of Operations
Dear Diary of Chaos,
I remember back in 2008 when my solution to our volatile and dysfunctional operations was to standardize our processes to reduce costs. But as the years progressed, I realized that our marketing research and engineering product and services development was increasingly tailoring differentiated products and services to each customer segment and they kept micro-segmenting our customer base and future sales prospects! The continuing customized services became a huge tsunami that standardization of processes could not overcome. Now, I am thankful we shifted our efforts to attaining much higher forecasting accuracy. The better our forecasts, the less uncertainty we have experienced and the better our scheduling and capacity planning. What was I thinking back then?
Vice President of Marketing
Dear Diary of Spray-and-Pray Advertising,
In 2008, my MBA marketing courses taught me the fads of the time - put your budget in branding, take your big customers golfing and use gimmicks to retain existing customers and acquire new ones. Fortunately, I discovered that the secret to maximizing the yield from my budget was through understanding the unique preferences of our customers and targeting new ones with traits similar to our most economically valuable customers. My big ah-ha was when I saw how powerful analytics of all flavors statistics, segmentation, forecasts provide us with answers. At first, I feared that the cost and effort to collect, understand and apply all the necessary data would be galactic and that I would have to replace my street-smart marketing staff with Ph.D. geeks. But, I saw my team gain competency with precision targeting of their marketing campaigns as well as optimizing deals, offers and service levels based on the new intelligence we gained about our customers and their desires.
Vice President of Human Resources
Dear Diary of Employee Turnover,
My staff and I reminisced today about how proficient we were back in 2008, processing paperwork for exiting employees and stacking inbound resumes in piles. I am so glad those days are over. The big breakthrough in our mind-set was when we seriously applied workforce analytics to retain employees by predicting, who was most likely to quit next. We could optionally intervene to prevent them from resigning or hire new employees that fit our needs and culture. Now, my challenge is growing our employees brains to accelerate their pace to innovate.
Chief Financial Officer