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
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
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
One of the key ingredients in building a successful business is financial control. As we work with clients, we often find that they are managing their business through their checkbook. If there’s cash in their checking account at the end of the week, they can make their payroll and pay their bills. That’s the extent of their control. Real financial control comes when the manager knows that the operation is profitable and can build it successfully. The first step in increasing this level of financial control is the development of a budget associated with one business plan and reviewed on a regular basis. Let’s consider three areas of budgeting; building the budget, reviewing the budget, and cash versus accrual accounting.… Read the rest
Over the last few years, we have had the opportunity to work with a wide range of family businesses. As students of formal business education, we have had to learn to adapt to the family business environment because it differs from that which is associated with Corporate America. From that experience,there are a number of ideas which we would like to share:… Read the rest
Fortune magazine, in their September 15, 2017 issue, published an article by Dov Seidman entitled “Four Pillars of Moral Leadership.” It is based on the guiding precept that while the rules of engagement in business seem to be ever-changing, there are basic rules of moral leadership that stand the test of time. The following is based on the shortened version which is posted here.… Read the rest
Recently we attended a conference in Reading PA at Resource Associates, during which Tammy Kohl made a presentation on Listening. I would like to share with you some of the ideas and thoughts. It was a great subject and helpful to us all.
First consider on a scale of 0 to 100% what your level of efficiency is. 60% of the time we spend in communications is listening. Studies have shown that the average person listening skills are only 25 % efficient.… Read the rest
As we begin a new year, our hope is to continue to grow our businesses in both revenue and profitability. One of the most important responsibilities of leaders is to establish goals for their business. As a business grows, it becomes more difficult to align the efforts of increased employees. During the start-up phase of a business, communications tend to be informal and it is easier for the owner to ensure that expectations and plans are clear because there are fewer people. However, adding employees adds complexity, and it becomes critical to formalize goals to ensure that everyone is on the same page.… Read the rest
Recently I had a meeting with a colleague and he said something that really hit home.
This person is driven and early in his career he made sacrifices with his family to get ahead. He achieved great financial success and rapidly rose up the career ladder. However, the financial gain was offset by the costs to his personal life: divorce, disconnected with his children, and even his own health. He told me now that he is older, and wiser, he wouldn’t have given up so much personally to gain what he did financially.… Read the rest
Many companies, who cannot employee full time salesman to cover a market segment or demographic region, utilize sales agents. Webster defines a sales agent as: one who is authorized or appointed by a manufacturer to sell or distribute his products within a given territory but who is self-employed, may or may not take title to the goods, and does not act as an agent for a principal. These agents can be a very valuable part of the sales effort but are often drastically underutilized. Let’s consider some of the misconceptions about agents and how to optimize their value in your sales effort.
The first question is Do you really need a salesperson at all? In today’s, internet connected world, a sales person is only of value if there is no need for interactive person-to-person communication. … Read the rest
Trying to succeed at anything without first having a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish will only lead to you going around in circles and eventually giving up in frustration.
To develop your vision, you must look inside yourself. Vision comes from within, from the spirit or subconscious, whatever you choose to call it. Everyone has a vision that is uniquely their own, and you are no different. The hard part comes in understanding your personal vision and how it applies to your personal motivation plan.… Read the rest
When the almighty created each of us he threw away the mold. No two us have the same personalities, think in the same way, or are motivated by the same things. This is one of the great wonders of the world, but it provides us as leaders with some difficult challenges. Why do people react differently to what we say? Who is best suited to handle a role in our group? How do I best motivate an individual? Let’s consider a better way to answer these questions.
Physiologists tell us that there are four general dimensions of behavioral styles; decisiveness, interactive, stabilizing and cautiousness. Part of what makes each person an individual is their unique combination of these four dimensions of behavior.… Read the rest
For those who have spent a portion of their careers in a large organization, they had expert assistance when it came to hiring new employees. That assistance may have come from a Human Resources staff who helped to locate prospective employees and then assisted with the initial screening. For many of us, our careers transitioned to either smaller businesses or nonprofits, where that assistance does not exist. That being said, we need some basic principles to guide us through the hiring process.
In his book, Traction-Getting a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman tells a story which needs to be consider by both businesses and nonprofits. Picture a small plane flying across the Atlantic Ocean. Halfway across the captain announces.” I’ve got bad news and I’ve got good news. The bad news is that the gauges aren’t working. We are hopelessly lost. I have no idea how fast we are flying or in what direction and I don’t know how much fuel we have left. The good news is that we’re making great time. Management meetings often center on solving the crisis of the day or celebrating the lasts success, but metrics, the airplane’s gauges, are not often reviewed.… Read the rest
Over the last 13 years we have had the opportunity to work with a number of small businesses, all owned by an individual, with some degree of family involvement. It has been truly a unique learning experience because the majority of my business background was either with larger corporations or in the academic community. In that environment, great importance was placed on growing revenue and profit. While most of these smaller businesses are motivated to grow and be more profitable, several are more interested in sustainability. Maintaining a family-centered life style can often be a chief motivator.
Our focus has not been on brand new businesses that might be classified as start-up. Our clients tend to be already well established businesses who may be in need of making changes required achieve higher levels of success.… Read the rest
Surveys have indicated that most workers have had a bad boss. I have, haven’t you? They are slow to praise, but quick to point out errors. They spend most of their time in their office and leadership meeting. They are seldom seen wandering through the office and talking with the staff. A survey conducted by the Chicago based LaSalle network discovered that most people have had a bad boss.… Read the rest
We recently conducted a workshop at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in Savannah GA. There were approximately 120 chamber leaders, from across the nation, and the question was asked, how many have a formal strategic planning process? There was an overwhelmingly positive show of hands. The response from these participants reflects our experience with all nonprofits, that most have a strategic planning process. It may vary in timing or method, but it is essential to the success of the group. Without it, there can be a loss of faith from those who invest their time, trust and resources to an organization.… Read the rest
Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Mr. Buffet is considered one of the smartest investors in the modern era. One might say that he is a very knowledgeable investor. What makes him a knowledgeable investor? I would suggest that he works hard to become knowledgeable in the companies in which he invests. He learns to know their management, their product/services, their people, their plans, their competitors, their markets, their technologies and their people. He never assumes anything or works on a tip. He is in a constant search for knowledge.… Read the rest