You started the year with great plans and expectations, but sometime during the month of March, the work seemed to end. It was if your customers went into hiding and your telephone stopped ringing. If you are a retail business or retail store, you had to shut down. You had to layoff much of the staff you had hired and trained over a period of months and years. You found yourself disheartened and in a state of crisis.… Read the rest
There is ongoing discourse in all sectors (public, private, healthcare and non-profit) regarding the need for retaining talented employees. And there is consistent agreement that doing so can be more difficult and challenging than hiring them. The retention of good employees is a human resources strategy that contributes in many ways to the overall performance of an organization. Effective employee retention results in lower turnover and associated costs, increased customer and employee satisfaction, increased productivity, improved product quality, and greater financial success.… Read the rest
Susan is the owner of a profitable and growing service business. She has worked hard to grow the business, spent many hours away from family and friends. She has done most of the business management herself, dedicating only minor clerical tasks to others. Her strengths are in sales and marketing, but she is frustrated by being constantly pulled away to supervise the work crews and address customer complaints. The conclusion is that she must begin to delegate some of the supervisory responsibilities to someone else.… Read the rest
As we work with small and emerging businesses, one of the most rewarding milestones is when the business leader is able to read and evaluate the state of their business by reading and understanding their monthly financial statement. Most start-up business leaders manage their businesses by the balance in their checkbook. This is understandable since they must have the funds to pay employees, supplier and feed their family. As they grow, this is not enough to control and manage their business. They must develop an understanding of the profitability of the work that they do and its ability to cover the expenses generated. Is there enough income to pay for advertising, administration salaries, rent, taxes, etc.?… Read the rest
Our client businesses come with a variety of objectives for the sustainability of their efforts. Some just want to be more profitable. Some want to pass the business onto their family. But the ones who are the most exciting are those who want their business to grow in services and products they provide. Of course, that includes growth in revenue and profitability. These are building enterprises of greater value. Most start with a founder, who by their hard work and willpower have built a strong business, but somewhere along the line their progress is stalled.… Read the rest
Leadership is a key element in the development or rebirth of any organization, whether it is a for-profit business or non-profit community organization. It is important to large corporations, such as General Electric; small local businesses, such as a town dry cleaner; city, county and state government; churches, and service organizations such as Rotary.… Read the rest
As you drive down the street in any town in this county the most prolific visible sign is “help wanted”. With an unemployment rate of 3.8 %, the replacement of those who leave is extremely difficult. Managers need to minimize turnover to maintain a workforce that can produce its products and service its customers. The Work Institute reports that in 2018, 42 million employees left the company where they had been employed. That amounts to one in every four people. The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) estimates that replacement costs to hire a new employee is $4,129.
Calculating Turnover Percentage
Let’s understand the term turnover rate. It is calculated as follows. First add the total number of employees at the beginning of a period to the total number of employees at the end of a period.… Read the rest
Maybe you are a business or a non-profit that completed writing a strategic plan within the last one to two years. You spent many hours with your board of directors or management team carefully crafting the wording within each step of the process. Maybe you used a consultant or let a team member lead the discussion. Everyone felt good about the completion of the document, but a year later the status quo continues. What happened?… Read the rest
As a young co-op student with General Motors, one of my first assignments was to work in the personnel department (we now call it Human Relations). People would come in to apply for work. We would tell them to fill out an application and we would keep it on file. One day I was standing at the counter talking to a supervisor in the department when an applicant came through the door and asked, “What are the qualifications necessary to work here”. The supervisor replied, “Just a strong back and a weak mind”… Read the rest
In his book Traction, Gino Wickman discussed the development of effective and meaningful meetings. He reports that surveys, where people were asked to rate the effectiveness of meetings on a scale of 1 to 10, the responses were in the 4 to 5 range. Over the last year, I have been involved in a monthly leadership meeting with a client and have observed that attendance had become a struggle. In talking to several of the participants, I discovered that they saw little purpose in the meeting and often found something more important to occupy their time. Let’s share some of the ideas that Mr. Wickman suggests in structuring a Level 10 Meeting (TM).… Read the rest
When a business owner or manager is asked to describe their greatest challenge, the response is, too often, an obvious symptom. My competitors’ undercut my prices. I need to find a better location, but this is all I can afford. I can’t find good employees who will provide good customer service. These are the stated obvious issues, but they will not help us get past the obvious and lead to developing a plan for business success.… Read the rest
Strategic Planning has always been a key leadership tool in the development of successful for-profit organizations. Its format and time scope may vary, but it serves as an important function in business success. It has helped many businesses focus their priorities on future growth and profitability.
What about non-profit charitable organizations? Although their objectives are not to generate a profit or provide its stockholders with a dividend, they must look into the future to increase its service to the communities it serves and find the necessary funding to support those services. Their ultimate success may not be defined as business success, but is measured in the effectiveness of their humanitarian service. Stripped of profitability goals and materialistic rewards, these organizations face enormous challenges in focusing their efforts and motivating those involved.… Read the rest
So often we hear from the owner of a business or the manager of an organization lament about the performance of employees or associates. They speak of it as though they were having an out-of- body experience in which they were completely separated from the activities of the group. When I hear these types of comments, I am reminded of an old Greek phase, translated to the fish rots from the head down.
Leadership wisdom from Simon Sinek To be authentic is to be imperfect.
Authenticity is about imperfection. And authenticity is a very human quality. To be authentic is to be at peace with your imperfections.
Great leaders are not the strongest; they are the ones who are honest about their weaknesses. Great leaders are not the smartest; they are the ones who admit how much they don’t know. Great leaders can’t do everything; they are the ones who look to others to help them. Great leaders don’t see themselves as great; they see themselves as human.
Great leaders don’t try to be perfect, they try to be themselves … and that’s what makes them great.
We were recently asked by an Agent in Charge of a real estate office to make a presentation to a number of new realtors. He explained to me that although they had extensive sales and legal training, they had little understanding of how to build a successful business. Real Estate Agents are, in fact, independent contractors and although the agency provides much support, success is the result of their own plans and efforts. The agent explained to me that many had never been in business for themselves before and find this a new experience. In fact, 80 percent don’t make it to the second year.
I first explained to the group that I was not an expert on real estate sales, but would share with them my observations on how small businesses had grown to be successful.… Read the rest
As you drive down any street over the last several months, almost every business has a Help Wanted sign outside. It’s the sign of the times. With the current low unemployment rate and the health business environment, businesses have a problem servicing their existing customers and growing new business. It is a different world from a few years ago and may require new ways of staffing.… Read the rest
The first job of a nonprofit leader is to bring focus to the organization’s purpose and activities. That focus cannot be on himself of herself but on the cause the nonprofit represents. That purpose and focus is embodied in the development of the organization’s Mission. That mission needs to be one that can become operational. If not, it is not mission; it is just good intentions.… Read the rest
It is widely understood that listening is an important skill in a wide range of activities. To be a great leader or manager, you must be a good listener. To be a good salesperson, you must learn to listen to the needs of your customer or client. To be a good teacher, you must listen to the feedback from your class. To be a good parent, you must listen to the questions from your children. Listening is especially important in being a good spouse.… Read the rest
Nonprofit boards of directors can either be a great asset to an organization or of little value. They are required by law to ensure that the public good is furthered. They can be viewed by the staff as being important to the organization or a nuisance. Let’s consider three areas of concern. Who should be on a board? What should the board and its member do? What should be the on-boarding process for new members?… Read the rest
We often wonder if we can change the way people in our organization behave. It seems like such an impossible task, but much work has been done in understanding some basic concepts which leaders can use to modify the behavior of others and improve productivity. How do you correct the behavior of a staff member who is always late or someone who wants to take up your time complaining about others? How do you develop a more productive group or team? There are some concepts and ideas which can help with these matters.… Read the rest