Yesterday was Administrative Professionals day. I hope you recognized those key people in your organization who day in and day out are there keeping the boat afloat.
Every organization has a few people that exist under the radar but contribute to the health, wealth and continued success of the organization. They show up every day regardless of the road blocks put in front of them. They diligently complete their tasks and openly accept additional tasks even when not directly part of their role.
Some people might ask why these people get a special day of recognition. To me the answer is pretty straight forward. They deserve it!
In various other parts of your organization people get recognized for various things they bring to the business. A sales rep might get accolades for closing a sale. Someone might ring a sales bell while others pop the top on some reward beverages. Line workers might celebrate 1000 days of safety with no injuries. An installation team might celebrate the completion of a new job on time and under budget. In many parts of the organization there are brief celebrations on specific projects, tasks and events. No where do we pause and thank those who do the administration so all of us can do our jobs better.
Early on in my career I was privileged and honored to have a few outstanding administrative professionals who worked with me and made me look better than maybe I actually was at the time. During that time in my career, I was far more focused on deliverables and results than on directly recognizing those people closest to me who kept pointing me in the best direction to me most effective. It was not that I ignored them but in my less wise days I reconciled their work as doing their job as opposed to contributing to my growth.
Old, and maybe wiser, I can now look back and more dramatically understand the key and critical value these administrative professionals had on my personal growth and on the success the business unit I lead had for the organization. Without these fine people, I can say without any doubt we would not have achieved the results we did had they not been part of the team.
So, if you have not already gone out of your way to stop and acknowledge these key people in your organization then do so today. Don’t wait till tomorrow or next week. None of us can predict the future and people need to know they are appreciated. By the way, we don’t need to wait for this annual acknowledgment day. Everyone in your organization needs to be recognized for the value every day.
Don’t have a culture where valuing others is standard operating procedure? Maybe it is time to bring “Promise Culture” to your company. Give JKL Associates a call to start a conversation.
As business leaders we ride the roller coaster of ups and downs. When all is going in a positive direction, the workplace atmosphere is electric and exciting. When the valley of change comes, the environment takes a distinct new direction and it is in no way better. It is during these times of unsettlement that your leadership skills are challenged to the fullest. Not so much because of a specific change but that you must now navigate both the change in the business and in the environment of the business.
When change happens, leaders are expected to have answers. It is not always a fair expectation because as leaders we do not always have all the data to effectively come to a conclusion about a change. Never the less as leaders we must proceed forward. It is part of that “Title” meaning to lead forward and have others follow, not because they must follow, but because they desire to be in alignment with the leader.
This is where quality leaders do not change their expectations of great things to come.
History is a great teacher of understanding this principle. People like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lead a civil rights effort during a time when unrest on this topic was pervasive across the nation. His “I have a Dream” speech is referenced in many books, documentaries, movies and from stages across this land. His leadership and expectation of great things to come changed a nation. No, it did not completely resolve the past issues, but it opened up more conversation which even today we recognize as meaningful, valuable and critical to future generations.
In your organization today there are areas which need this level of constructive open conversation to enable it to move forward and closer to achieving your business purpose. Guided by the core values and their associated principles, you can navigate to a better outcome without reducing the expectation of great things to come.
This week look around your organization with a critical eye. Look deep into those areas you may have been avoiding so you did not wake up the sleeping giant. Just because the issue is quiet right now does not mean it has gone away. No quite to the contrary, it is just waiting for some other change to happen and during the time when you are down it will come forward to complicate your issues. By seeking out greatness in all areas of your business you will constructively resolve hidden issues and demonstrate to your team your leadership skills and genuine interest in them as members of your organization.
Needing a guide to help you navigate through your organization to find greatness? Give JKL Associates a call today.
When I ask business leaders, what business they are in? I typically get the industry or segments of some classification which tells me generally the nature of what they do or provide. When I follow up with “Why” are you in business? I typically hear – to make money.
Both questions and answers are fairly typical as general run of the mill dialogue. If we dig deeper, we find a few more insights which more fully describe the nature of what is important that goes on in the business. As much as profit is the target and measurement of results, it is only one quantification of the business success. Non-profit organizations for example do not have profit as a main target but without revenues they cannot achieve their purpose, vision or mission.
In today’s business world, all businesses are in the ‘Human” relationship business. Yes, you most likely produce or deliver things or services to support various industries but all in all your business is dependent on relationships both internally and externally. Without solid internal relationships your external or customer relationships become more difficult to nurture and support.
With that understanding, your largest expense and greatest investment is your team. Translating that into what business you are in, with a slightly different angle, is that your organization needs to be all about attracting and hiring the best possible people. A culture where relationships and people come first.
Yes, they will fit better when they have the technical skills which directly support the things and services you provide into the marketplace but more importantly is, do they align with your organization’s culture? Can you provide the environment to allow their best talents to be expressed in a way which allows them to personally benefit while your customers benefit also?
An adage of hire for attitude and train for skills is directly applicable to assisting you in your best hiring practices. You may be asking yourself, easy to say but in a marketplace where just finding a body to plug the opening in your company is remarkably difficult, you might just be inclined to lower your standards or expectations. Before you fall into that trap, ask yourself the question – do your customers lower their expectations of your business, products or services?
Unless you sell into another galaxy where I have never visited, consumers expectations are not trending lower. They are not only growing higher but are more diverse and distinctive every day. People want individualized, customized, personalized products and treatment. To provide this you need the best of the best in your organization to deliver to these growing expectations.
This week look at your hiring practices. Does your process have defined standards which you will not deviate from regardless of challenge and demand? It is a very big question so take some real time to explore just that one topic to improve your human relationship business.
Need help sorting out your hiring process? Call JKL Associates for some key insights.
For the past 12 weeks we have gone on a journey, a climb or maybe you have just been treading water until this 2019 Culture tune up series was over. If you are still reading this 3-minute weekly insights blog, then just possibly you have been playing along in building “Promise Culture” as your framework to your next level of success.
If you started, stumbled and fell off track don’t let that dissuade you from re-engaging “Promise Culture” at any step along the path. Use the blog archives to access the blogs, use the website www.promiseculture.com for additional motivation. If you drove off the path and need a tow truck to pull you back on track, give us a call, engage a Promise Culture Guide, or just decide your “Purpose” for being is far more important than giving up.
This series was offered to get you started. We live by this approach and it has served us well over the years. It has by no means been an easy climb and many times we have had to rethink our thoughts and get a better perspective on the real outcomes we actually desire and not just want.
Our clients have directly or indirectly been involved with “Promise Culture” at some level for over 25 years. Bits and pieces have been integrated with all of our cleints. If you asked our clients, they most likely could not give it a name but their outcomes resulted from the approach and consistent promises by them of getting back on track when they slid off the rails.
Cars and vehicles need maintenace and tune ups. Production equipment need routine maintenance and improvements. So does each of us and our businesses. Today the culture your organization espouse to and the one that actually exists will be the difference in valuing your company going forward. Talent entering the marketplace need a solid compensation and benefits package – those are, to a large degree, givens in the hiring arena. But the attraction factor for long term growth and success is rooted in the core “Purpose,” “Passions,” “Values,” “Promises,’ and “Relationships” of you and your business.
You can ignore the demands of the talent pool or you can engage them for mutual rewards for all. The choice is always yours. The question you have to ask yourself is – Can I give up the past ways to success and engage new success habits for a greater result moving forward?
Looking to move forward in the direction of “Promise Culture” – give JKL Associates a call and engage your “Promise Guide” for the journey!
You walk down the street and your path comes across a person you knew back in school who is now extremely fit in comparison to your mental picture of them in the past. All the muscles are ideally in proportion. Their posture is erect and solid. It would appear that they must spend hours in the gym taking care of themselves. You just have to know their routine, so you too can get to that level of fitness. So, you casually stop, reacquaint yourselves and then ask them how they do it. To your surprise their answer is not some new diet fad or unique routine on specialized equipment only available at the elitist of gyms.
They level with you – basically they eat good nutritional foods, have a modest physical routine including walking and standing rather than riding and sitting. They made a choice and “Promised” to hold themselves to a routine. It was not some unique elaborate system. It did not require a large expense of money, time or special talents. It boiled down to making a commitment to a better version of themselves through being persistent to a system that met their core “Purpose” for being. The “WHY” they really want to be here. They made small, regular investments into their personal being to naturally improve their fitness, so they could lead by example and leave a legacy to their family which they would be around to equally enjoy with them.
After wiping the awkward grin from your face and thanking them for their time and insights you traveled on your way. The rest of the day your mind kept wandering back to the chance encounter. One thought was about how fit they looked. Another was about the statement about what prompted the focus on getting into shape – the “WHY” of their personal existence. As more and more flashes of insights kept flooding your thoughts, you finally got up out of your chair and started to walk around your office. Pacing like some frantic rodent from side to side, front to back and then again. Your thoughts began to expand to your future, your legacy. How do people see you? What will they remember about you? What will they remember about your business? What are they saying now about you and your business?
You headed down the aisle to the pop machine to buy some liquid sugar and caffeine to jolt your confusion into some sort of order to get your mind back on track. As you reached for your wallet to grab the money for the beverage, a picture of a loved one and your business card simultaneously fell to the ground. Stooping to pick them up you noticed the gathering stress in your lower back. At that moment in time you stopped in your tracks. Maybe it was serendipity, but you straighten back up, gather your lose items, and proceed directly to the filtered water cooler for a large glass of pure H2O.
We could take time to rationalize all these events nicely into some sort of logical explanation so that the outcome would be to return to your current pattern of being and avoid the possibility of change. Today is different as you are now equipped with a framework to preserve yourself and your business by making purposed based promises to yourself and all the relationships of your personal and business worlds. No, it will not be easy, but the simplicity will help keep you on track. There will be gut checks and rethinking multiple times along the journey. Each of these are genuine opportunities to not break promises but to strengthen them like the physical routines which build muscles.
Muscles are not built one time in the gym. It is over the course of recurring engagement that muscles are defined, toned and enhanced. So too can you and your business be built.
Does your business have a routine for building muscles – assets? Give JKL Associates a call to assist you in putting your performance routine in place.
So how is your “Telephone System” working? If you are confused by this question, then kindly refer to last weeks post on Performance through process and structure.
In business it goes without saying that to stay in business you need to be profitable. Simply stated, the bottom line needs to be black (positive $$$) rather than red (negative $$$). To make sure this happens you need to measure and manage your “Progress.” This is done by having metrics for the key performance indicators which govern the critical processes of how you do what you do. You not only need to define the measurables, but you MUST have a reliable and honest way to capture/collect the data, so it can be part of your ongoing analysis of progress.
I emphasize reliable and honest because you can make numbers do anything you want them to do with the right amount of tweaking. Reliable and honest practices are also built upon your cultural foundation. Getting back to your “Purpose” and the fundamentals of making “Promises” your measurement systems are no different than treating your relationships correctly. The integrity by which your interpersonal relationships exist will be equally the same to the technical or numbers relationships your finances take. If your people relationships are not solidly built upon core values and principles, then neither will your technical financial practices.
As you look at your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and identify what and how you need to measure these elements, you must tie them back to your vison/passion and the strategies of the goals and objectives laid out previously. Each of these steps MUST pass through the filters of your defined cultural expectations. By having progress points with measurables you can, on a continuous basis, evaluate how well your systems, process and procedures are performing. Are they contributing as planned? If yes, how can they be improved. If not, then what is causing the inconsistency. As was discussed in the planning process, with no plan then you are guessing at the level of progress you are at during any given point in time. By having the metric in place for your plans you have the ability to make better and more timely decisions both when things are going well and when new data requires a change in the original plan.
The progress performance points are your accountability road map. As you achieve points along the success journey you can take additional steps forward in your growth. When progress is derailed then you need an effective and timely way to analyze the impact, so alternative action steps can be moved into place quickly. These measurables can help govern when additional resources are required and that once specific objectives are attained then next steps can be taken to advance the organization toward its vision. This helps control expenses and unmanaged growth.
This week, are you measuring your KPI’s? Do you have KPI’s and if you do, are they aligned with your vision? Not having or having the wrong KPI’s are about the same. Having the wrong ones is actually a bit costlier because you are spending resources to manage the wrong things.
Give JKL Associates a call to help align your KPI’s with your Purpose, Vision and Core Values.
Changes in direction when no plan exists are just guesses resulting in poor performance.
I suspect you have all heard the challenges to planning that it is going to change so why take the time to plan it out in detail. If we just get started, we will figure it out as we go.
As the saying goes – if you don’t know where you are going then all paths will get you to nowhere.
Last week you took some time to either craft your goals or review those already in place for 2019. These goals went through the “SMART” process to distill them into very focused objectives. If you have not completed the process, don’t fret. The goal planning process is not a stagnant effort. Just like planning the steps to put a strategy in place to accomplish a goal, the goals themselves also need the agility to adapt to new information or changes in your world or the marketplace. Make sure each goal is walked through the “SMART” process so that you can confirm its relevance and it can stand strong and sturdy on the cultural foundation you have built.
With goals in hand and the beginning of action steps to move from desirable concept into deliverable you need to bring those steps into your organizations processes and procedures. This is the “How” you do “What” you do. This ultimately affects the what you do and the Purpose or “Why” you do it. These procedures, processes and underlying systems keep the movement on a straight and focused path. Like a train on railroad tracks, the locomotive energy stays straight and is tuned by specific actions taken on the plan to direct it to its’ final destination. Unlike driving a car where the individual can have greater input to the direction the car goes, the systems, process and procedures help maintain a high degree of consistency which ultimately make the actions more effective and efficient.
Getting back to the desire not to plan but just to act. Once an original approach/plan is laid out, as more input is discovered you can then lay it over the plan to see where gaps might be created and set in motion steps to remove those gaps. Without the plan you just start driving erratically. Maybe you turn to the right and then back to the left only to find out that staying straight was still the best direction to take. All the additional turning just sends different messages to all those following which disrupts the flow.
A good way to understand this is referring to the team building exercise referred to as telephone. The exercise places a group of people in a circle and the facilitator tells the first person a story. This person in turn relates the story to the next person in the circle and it continues until it arrives back at the last person in the circle. Once the story has been passed from person to person without a defined system, process or procedure it is verbalized and compared with the original story. In almost all cases by the time the story is compared with the original details, it has changed. Some items dropped from the story and other things embellished beyond their original scope. The facilitator introduces some structure. Key elements that each person is to capture from the person telling them the story. This structure is to assist in capturing the relevant details, so the different story remains intact through the various communincation styles of the people in the circle. The results are typically so improved that those involved in the exercise get quickly convinced of the value of having process and structure in not just communincation but in the actions taken to achieve personal and business goals.
This week observe how the “Telephone System” – the structure, systems, processes and procedures flow in your Company. Do they exist? Are they aligned with your Culture? Are they understood and being executed consistently?
Broken Telephone? Give JKL Associates a call to assist you in strengthening your performance systems.
Since early January 2019 we have been on the journey of a culture tune up. If you are still following along – thank yourself for persevering the process. We hope you are taking this seriously because it will have profound impact on you personally and on the future success of your financial portfolio. As you tune up your organization’s culture, you will begin to see some changes slowly creeping into the business day by day. Much like starting a new diet, you don’t lose all the pounds in the first few days. A few pounds leave over time and your health begins to improve. You think clearer. You have fewer mood swings. Your interactions become more productive etc.
Up to this point we have been reviewing or creating the foundation of a culture of success. Assembling the key building blocks of Purpose, Passion, Core Values, Principles, Relationships and about to embark on setting and keeping intrinsically crafted Promises.
Our Promises are built upon a solid foundation as we have crafted over the past few weeks, but we now need to move into the tangibles side of business and personal success: the strategies, plans, goals and objectives. Our “Purpose” and our “Vision can’t be realized unless we take tangible action. It is this action that you must now focus your attention on.
As you begin to identify goals and then the strategies and tactics of execution, each must be filtered through and by the foundations you have setup. Does the goal and action steps align with the “Purpose,” “Vision,” “Core Values/Principles,” and the people relationships so critical to the transaction portion of the business. At any time, there is a disconnect, the process MUST be stopped and that issue resolved. You cannot be successful by saying one thing while practicing another. This will implode your culture and turn it into nothing but words on paper. You will place ALL of your relationships at risk of faltering because of a breach of accountability to your foundation.
In building your business or personal plan, walk your goals through a process called SMART. Basically, each goal must be refined to “S” Specific, “M” Measurable, “A” Attainable, “R” Realistic, and “T” Time Trackable (i.e. due date). With each element of the goal you craft, keep your foundation – the culture aspects of your personal make up and the organization top of mind.
This week begin to model your goals. As it is already a couple months into 2019, you likely already have goals established. Bring those out and pass them through the Culture filter you now have in place. At any time, there is a disconnect – stop and fix it. Let your team know you are bringing the goals into your cultural alignment. They will have a stronger alignment to the culture by leadership practicing what they “Promised” to do.
Need an assistant to help you build? Give JKL Associates a call and we will set up a time to speak to you about how we can help.
Query up any leader or business executive’s acknowledgment for their success and in their statement, they will absolutely acknowledge the people that made it happen. They might have been leading the charge but without the people and the various relationship then it just would not have been possible. It is relationships which ultimately are the currency of business success.
Relationships cover a variety of key touch points for a business and for the people inside of them. On the personal side the relationships start with those closest to each individual – their spouse, children, family, friends, colleagues. On the business side it includes partners, fellow leaders, employees, customers, vendors, stock and stake holders.
Each of these relationships start though with the individual themselves. Each of us has a relationship first and foremost with the person we are. The better you know yourself both the good and the bad, the more effective you can be in both your personal life and in business. None of us are without faults or things we would prefer either to change or ignore. The unique mix of talents, skills, insights and feelings all contribute to our experiences in our companies and our personal relationships.
Our 2019 culture tune up would be remiss if we don’t start with our own being. The culture of the business is a strong reflection of the leader’s purpose, core values, principles, philosophies, passions and the associated “Promises” made to all of them. The “Promises” are not just made to the elements they believe in but they are made and held accountable to the relationship through which success is amplified and substantiated.
As you tune up your company culture, take a look at the various relationships which your organization is dependent on for success. Ask yourself how you view your employees and how they view you and the organization. Take off the rose-colored glasses and be ruthlessly honest with your evaluation. If you can’t be honest with yourself on this matter, then enlist a third party such as JKL Associates to do a discovery process on your business.
Look at all the key business relationships – vendors, customers, stake and stock holders. Look also at the personal relationships. Not just your own but if you respect and honor your staff then you MUST consider their relationships with family, friends, and colleagues as well. The expectation of having your staff work long work days, weeks, months and stripping them of their personal relationships simply ends up in higher turnover rates which impacts your customers and business results.
Curious what you might discover if a third party does a deep dive into your organization’s Culture? Give JKL Associates a call to discuss the possibilities.
As we continue the journey of a Culture Tune Up in 2019, did you lock in your “Purpose from 2 weeks ago?” Have you made a promise and commitment to tuning up your culture?
We must stop and consider the Vision for the business. For years in strategic planning sessions there would be a process of crafting a company vision statement. The intent is to capture the future picture of the business at some time when all the strategies and action steps have accumulated into a final product. It was to be stated in the having already been accomplished so that the vision could resonate the affirmative to all those engaged in the organization.
The vision is where the collective injects the passion into the business. What are we trying to accomplish? Yes, this is very complimentary to the “Purpose” or “Why” the business exists, but this takes on a more tangible and visual context of the business. We as people think and remember in pictures. A vision statement allows for us to capture an image of the future results, so it can become a driving force to kindle our passion for what the business contributes in the marketplace.
Without a passion or vision for the outcome of energy and emotional input, businesses just exist and typically not for long periods of time. They also tend to struggle with attracting talent and fight for profits. Without passion the business is strictly based on transactions. Without passion, there is an absence of emotional energy to actually propel the business to greater results.
This week we want to build upon our last couple of weeks efforts. With Core Values and Principles in hand, along with your “Purpose,” you need to either revisit your existing vision and test it for living passion or engage a process to resuscitate it. You may even need to just toss it to the trash and re-craft a vision for where you need to go rather than trying to re-craft something which was never truly embraced.
Visions are not just for marketing purposes or plaques on lobby walls. Your organizations Vision is about engendering “Passion.” Building a larger energy that allows your team to not just be motivated but to own and lead toward the vision. Think of the natural energy of salmon in the northeast and Alaska which return to their birth place, swim upstream against great odds to continue the process of life. This driving force is the energy you want each of your team members to have for taking your business further upstream.
Is it time to get out of just seeing and into a Vision? Give JKL Associates a call so we can assist you in your journey to the future.