Leadership teams that are on track to reach their potential to perform and growhave:
A written, board-approved financial plan that shows revenue, direct costs, gross margin, indirect costs by function (e.g., marketing, sales, HR, R&D, etc.), and operating profit (i.e., EBITDA), by month and quarter for the year. Approved financial plans tend to have the following characteristics:
Smooth (or otherwise rational) ramp-up (or down) of revenue and costs from the prior year closing month and quarter.
Generally upward-trending scale (i.e., ever bigger and better).
A 75% chance of being achieved by the in-place team with roughly 2/3 of planned revenue either booked or highly-probable (B&HP) and a highly-qualified pipeline of prospective, current year, revenue equal to three times the gap between B&HP and Plan (and not all in the last quarter or two!).
Identified upside-downside potential with mitigation strategies on the downside and what will be done to take full advantage of any upside.
Assumptions and triggers that explain what has to happen for planned results to occur and for planned expenses to be made.
Public company equity-based pay practices, such as stock, restricted stock, and employee stock options are often a poor fit for private companies committed to reward leaders for performance and growth and to motivate leadership and capital succession.
Equity based programs that make sense and work well in a public company come with many ills for private companies: they can be costly, tax-inefficient, static, ineffective, and sometimes downright unfair. In the worst case, equity pay practices can derail the owners’ plans for growth and succession.
Dynamic synthetic equity presents a more tailored solution for private companies interested in leadership and capital succession. Restricted stock and employee stock options often distort outcomes for private companies. Consider that:
The underlying stock price in a private company gyrates as owners enter and exit from, for example, a living or a death buyout or even a recapitalization. Stock price can jump 50% – unjustly rewarding the owners of true equity awards.
Bankers and investors want to know how things will turn out with a high degree of certainty in order to manage downside risk. Consequently, organizations that take professional money learn to conservatively state what they will accomplish to have a high probability of achieving plan ith intelligent goal setting. When actual results exceed plan there is cause for celebration as suggested by the under-promiseandover-deliver lines graphed in Figure-1. Continue reading How to Aim High and Do Better with intelligent goal setting.→
Each year, a well-run organization’s leadership completes a planning and budgeting process. Achievement of the resulting annual business plan is dependent on each organizational unit meeting or exceeding its established goals as part of that plan. This requires that individual leaders take ownership of their part of the plan.
The objective of the Executive Incentive Compensation Program (EICP) is to allow executives who meet or exceed annual performance goals, both financial and non-financial, to participate in the organization’s overall success. The more a given individual or group is responsible for the organization’s success, the greater their share of participation in the rewards. Participation in the program is an important career milestone.
Executives with significant scope and scale of responsibility for achieving an identifiable portion of the organization’s financial plan and who are, and who are expected to continue to be, employees in good standing are eligible to participate in the program. All staff proposed for inclusion are reviewed and approved by the Core Leadership Group.
Labor costs are the largest expense for many organizations and so should be carefully and responsibly managed; every salary action should be taken seriously. Nothing affects organization culture more than how people are paid.
Less experienced managers and leaders may use salary actions as a way to keep staff happy thinking, perhaps, that they are doing someone a favor or following an easier path. It turns out, though, that the easy way out can leave employees confused, just as dissatisfied, and questioning management motives and decisions.
A good strategy is to use salary actions to communicate important information to employees and to help supervisors and unit managers become better leaders. It takes significant time and effort to design, develop, implement, and institutionalize an effective salary administration process (see Figure 1) but is well worth it. This post presents steps responsible leaders can take to administer a fair and rational salary action process (see Figure 2).