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Full participation Featured

7:00pm EDT January 29, 2008

When Randall J. McNeil and his management team at McNeil Industries establish goals for the year, they don’t aim conservatively. Whereas other companies might focus efforts in two or three areas of improvement, McNeil seeks to better his entire business through numerous goals and companywide participation.

The CEO doesn’t approach such lofty goals carelessly. On the contrary, he applies a stringent set of management strategies and processes that are outlined in the book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” by Verne Harnish.

With support from quarterly sessions with a business coach, McNeil and his staff first develop a “one-page plan” after each quarterly meeting to summarize key ideas, strategies and plans. Execution of the plan is built on three key disciplines: priority, data and rhythm.

Priority denotes the prioritization of the company’s short- and long-term focus. While long-term goals typically remain the same, McNeil’s management team also identifies a number of short-term goals and lays out assignments necessary to achieve each one.

To help track and manage the numbers that reflect those improvements, company employees are randomly assigned to cross-functional teams to review and familiarize themselves with certain data. The Gross Margins team, for example, meets every week to review and discuss the profit analysis from all orders that shipped the previous week. Similar meetings occur for other teams, fostering dialogue on how best to solve problems while exposing all employees to every aspect of the business.

Rhythm, the final Rockefeller discipline, involves the continuous breakdown of objectives into well-aligned annual, quarterly, weekly and daily tasks. McNeil implements this discipline through numerous meetings throughout the day, week and month to help employees better identify and tend to their assigned tasks.

The entire strategy proves a bit daunting on the front end, but McNeil Industries now is well on its way to achieving six annual goals, including sales quota and on-time delivery.

The most impressive result stems more from the method than the goals. By involving every employee in the process, McNeil has fostered a level of ownership and understanding that most companies can only aspire to achieve.

HOW TO REACH: McNeil Industries, (440) 721-0400 or www.mcneilindustries.com