If you read any historical accounts of the revolutionary war you will find that it took far more than just strategy and battle plans to get the desired results to achieve freedom from Brittan. Yes, there were lots of strategies and tactics used to gain key geographical locations. There was an overall vision of a unified country standing on its own, free of taxation and burden from the King of England. There were plenty of missions executed to support the overall objective of the colonists. The largest thing that was the multiplier to the end result was a unified purpose within each and every person fighting for the cause.
Over the past 60-75 years, many of the top business gurus have talked about the importance of vision and mission to achieve organization greatness. For the longest time I was not only in their camp but a critical thinker about how these elements directly contributed to the outcomes pursued. I’m not indicating these are no longer important. That is not the case at all. They are truly part of the recipe to success. The key element which is becoming more and more understood is that at the core of all of this is individual and organizational purpose.
People do things for their own reasons. These reasons are driven from deep inside of them. Many times they do not even understand what is causing this drive but they follow it to some conclusion. In more recent years people have been taking the time to better understand what motivates them and drives them toward certain outcomes. The more you understand what is driving you toward something the better you can arrange the piece of the puzzle to achieve it.
With the understanding that people are driven for their reasons, it now becomes more important to your organization to have alignment between the people on your team and the organization’s purpose, vison and mission. The more tightly woven the threads of the individuals purpose and organizational purpose, the more seamless the execution of strategies and tactics take place to accomplish the desired direction of the company.
When you think about how much time you invest into hiring and training new staff, you really need to take the time to understand how the person coming into your organization aligns with your core purpose in business. Gone are the days when people will work for someone for a long cycle of time when the company purpose and their individual purpose are out of alignment.
Here is the challenge for you to ponder this week. If purpose is so critical and a key multiplier to results, then how will your organization delve into understanding your business’ purpose? Do you really know why your business exists? I’ll give you a hint – it is not to make money. Profits will happen when your purpose is understood and all strategies and framework align together in support of the purpose.
Peeked your interest in “Purpose?” Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida to start the conversation with us about taking “Purpose” to a new level in 2020.
Today I give thanks to all of you who take the 3 minutes each week to read this broadcast of insights. Thank you for your feedback and challenging me to be better and seek out more and better information to bring to each of you and your organizations.
Tomorrow in the USA we celebrate with family, friends and colleagues a feast of Thanksgiving. May each of you and your families, businesses and acquaintances have a wonderful holiday and be thankful for all the bounty we have at our disposal in this great country we live in.
There are a lot of things in life which happen automatically with out us having to think or focus on them. Such as the beating of our heart, the respirations of our lungs or the changing of the seasons. All of these for the most part take place with out us having to think about them.
On the other hand, there are many things which do require our attention to get them taken care of in a timely manner. Such as cooking meals, putting gas in our vehicles and even brushing our teeth. These are not overly intense things to do or accomplish but they just don’t automatically happen with out us doing something to be involved.
Then there are those elements of our personal and business lives which require an upscaled level of effort. Not just physical but mental intent to get something accomplished. For example, this newsletter/blog just does not write itself. (Wow, now that would be awesome for all of us) (Actually, not true, as I genuinely enjoy engaging you with your weekly read of the insights). The written word in the 3-minute Weekly Insights are part of focusing my attention on the intention of share sound business insights with you the readers so that you can take your organization to a next higher business level. The words and verbs are crafted with great intent to bring you value.
Each day we go through lots of motions. Doing routine things which in some cases contribute to the overall end goal and some which are just that – routine. Something we just do because – yes, you guessed it – because we have always done it that way.
This week I challenge you to start to look at all the little things you do as routine and start to determine if they are contributing in such a way that you can’t live with out them. Or if they are just part of the routine and can be looked at as upgradeable or deletable. When you start looking at the daily events of your world through the lens of intent then you begin to take a much different perspective of how your actions either directly contribute to the end results or if you are just filling up time in your day.
The same is true for your staff and colleagues. It will be easier for you to observe others and identify their actions which are not intentful in nature and contributing to the desired outcomes. Seeing others routines and being able to discern what and how they support your organization objectives is always easier than doing some self introspection.
A few tips on working with intent –
Struggling with moving to a more intent based daily routine? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida.
Ever since I was a young boy I have been involved in one way or another in building things. It started with my dad letting me get involved with projects around our home and also at my grandparent’s home. It expanded when we put an addition onto the family cottage up north. At the time I did not realize how these little touches of tools would shape my entire future.
The short version is that I became a journeyman carpenter and pursued civil engineering. Both of these having various aspects of building something. Even deeper than the actual building of the end product was the knowledge and experiences which were forever mine to keep in my personal mental toolbox.
Although I do have a very impressive set of tools of the various trades at my disposal in my workshop and garage, the more significant tool chest exists in the knowledge and actual experiences with which those tools were used to craft a given outcome.
As business owners and leaders, you also have many experiences where you have added to your mental toolbox of knowledge. Maybe you don’t look at the ups and downs of running a business as putting tools in your toolbox, but each and every event contributes to what you know, how you use it and when and where to bring those tools into use.
As I mentioned earlier, I have quite the assortment of tools. Many of my family and friends know of this assortment and from time to time ask to borrow them for a project they are involved with. Many times I even go along with the tools to help out. The point here is that if I had all these tools and they just sat in the garage or basement then they would not get used to their best capacity. This is also true for the knowledge you possess in your head.
Over the years you have built up many knowledge points which if left solely in your mind only gather dust. This week take a look at how you can spread the wealth of the knowledge you have in your mind for the benefit of those around you and to follow in your foot steps.
Do you have a mentoring program to develop future leaders in your organization? Is coaching part of the normal way to build talent in your business?
Additionally, you must always be adding new tools into your toolbox. Technology, automation and many other improvements are taking place every moment of every day. Are you and your organization in a continuous improvement mind set? Are there ways to effect a better outcome by using better or different tools?
Need to organize your toolbox or look at new and improved tools for your business? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida.
The business cycle we are in is experiencing a few very challenging situations. First there is consistent growth in demand for products and services leading to improved financial positions for many companies. The second is the extremely low unemployment rates with demand for talent remaining very high.
Companies are hiring and bring people into their organizations in record numbers across the nation. The competition for talent is fierce and employers are spending great amounts of energy to attract people to work at their business.
Strangely enough, once a candidate proceeds through to being an em0loyee, too many employers are falling short on bringing these new hires into their organization in a productive way. Yes, they do the required legal paperwork etc. but in terms of a real quality onboarding effort and training them to be most successful in their role and contribute to the companies longterm purpose they are falling short.
Here are a few things to think about this week as you consider your employee integration efforts.
Do you have a defined process for the intake of potential future employees – candidates that help both the employer and the candidate make a best decision for working together?
Prior to or on the day of first employment, do you have a process for fully engaging the new hire into your organization?
When putting together a new hire training process, are you actually training them (physically showing them) how to be successful in the role? I have witnessed too many supposed training efforts dwindle into more of instruction and observation effort (sometimes from a distance) rather than genuinely engaging the new hire into a full understanding and appreciation of not just what the role does but how that fits into the organization’s overall contribution objectives.
Do you have a review process to meet and talk to the new hire on a periodic basis to get feedback and address concerns early on in the relationship?
Are there specific deliverables the role will be working toward to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of their place in the organization?
There are others but you can see that the process of bringing on a new employee is one of the most critical efforts an organization can invest into. Start the relationship off on the wrong foot and the future is spent correcting challenge after challenge of which none of that effort contributes to the bottom line of success for either the employee or the organization.
Interested in setting up a meaningful employee engagement environment? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida.
So you own the business. You are the grand marshal of the parade. It is your way or the highway. All these phrases might run through your head or through the thoughts of your team or even customers. But as the song says – “That don’t impress me much.” We could all learn from the noise in our heads and the murmur around us to improve our businesses. The big question is – does our own EGO get in the way of progress?
It is not 100% but over the past 40+ years of business interaction there has definitely been a larger number than necessary of business situations involving business leaders where their ego got in the way of progress. It got in the way of making what should have been a simple decision but took it in a completely different direction just because the individuals EGO got in the way.
The data, the input, the collective understanding was all pointing in a constructive direction but the EGO of the owner just was not going to let their organization drive the decision making process. Well if you are offended by this I’m guessing you are either directly relating to the story because you are either the owner or one of the team members who were part of the extra work that ensued after the EGO decision was invoked.
I do need to be fair about this and give some understanding to the owners of businesses out there. You are the person who put the greatest amount at risk whether time, money, reputation or what ever capital or emotional energy necessary to get the business off the ground. For that investment risk and reward you are given certain privilege’s or maybe rights to provide direction on your company’s decisions. To launch the company it takes a fairly solid EGO and maybe a bit of ignorance to the fact that it might not work. When it does work it validates your EGO thus moving it to the top of mind status moving forward. The challenge is that what got you to where you are at maybe won’t take you much further. The best business owners surround themselves with top talent to complement the objectives – the purpose of the business and then let them run with the program.
As the owner you establish the desired end point and the rules or expectations of engagement to run a profitable business. You then take the time to inspect what you expect. As needed you tweak and refine the systems and people to have a well oiled machine. When you let your EGO take charge the wheels of progress actually slow down rather than speed up. People get distracted by the EGO and work slowly comes to a halt. By coaching your team along and allowing their talents to blossom then you get the most not only for them but from them.
This week take a look at how you interact with your team. Are you leading and coaching or telling and yelling. Just because you might own the place does not give you special release on how you behave. In fact it places a larger burden on you to act accordingly to your Purpose, Core Values and Principles which are your success guidance system. When you go off course on those the whole ship begins to take on water and it will only be a matter of time before people start jumping ship to your competition.
Need someone to help you navigate your guidance system and keep your EGO in proper perspective? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida. Patient enough to listen to your story – strong enough to tell it back to you straight.
We are in the midst of “American” football season while in other parts of the world football or as we call it here – soccer is also being played. So we have two different sports, referred to as football but depending on where in the world you are seated in the stadium you are looking at different games.
When seated in the stadium you are more than likely a spectator but just maybe this article found its way to your email inbox and you are the owner of a football team – regardless of which type of football. Never the less, this week’s three minute insight might very well apply to you and your business.
Each of us fall into one or more of the roles of sport – player, coach, team owner or spectator. We have similar characteristics as leaders in the business world. Each of the sports roles come with different demands and expectations.
As a spectator we just show up and watch. Maybe we engage in some cheering for our team along with some beverages, food and social interaction with our friends. Our total expectation is that our team wins, the food and beverages are acceptable, the conversation is light and not too thought provoking and that the event was entertaining enough to do it again in the future should we choose to do so.
If we elevate ourselves to a position of being a player then our participation expectations go up. We train and then train some more. We interact with our team mates and focus on plays which when executed deliver on offense with a score or on defense by holding the opponent scoreless.
Moving to the role of coach we now take back additional demands to not just designing plays for exaction but to ensure the training and team members are all on the same page for getting it right with precision each and every time. We carry back the responsibly for developing talent and putting the best alignment of talent to work each and every time they execute.
Going even further to Team Owner, then we are carrying back the greatest level of risk and reward. We are the primary funding source for getting it right. Getting the best talent whether players or coaches together with a common focus and committed energy to be successful.
Our best and worst friend is the spectator for they pay the freight for a team. Whether it be through season tickets of multiple trips to the concession stand at games, the spectator is the customer. The players and coaches are staff and you, the business leader, hold the bag of accountability for ultimate team success.
This week take a look at the make up of your organization. It is a mix of all of these roles. You have leaders who fill the roles as coaches or should be looking at their role as such. You have players who are vital to the daily operations of the deliverable, your customers purchase from your business. You have spectators – your clients and customers whose expectations are set by the best in the marketplace, and you hold down the accountability for all of them playing nice in the sandbox of business.
Oh yes, we also have the officials/referees which are third party to the game. They are there to help let the field of competition be fair and follow the rules of engagement. Their involvement should be minimal and hopefully you may not even be aware they are present. The reality is that too frequently they are drawn into the events of the game by infractions which are outside the framework. Sports are designed to focus on best talent contributing to success and not the twisting of rules and regulations to get ahead. Officials also exist in business. They are your Trusted Advisors Council – Business Strategist, CPA, Legal etc. Your group of people which assist in keeping your team focused on what is most important to elevate your success.
Interested in getting a key Trusted Guide for your business? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida. More than just consulting – Clean, clear unfiltered feedback to assist in profitable growth for your business asset.
In the interest of giving both sides of customer service – the good and the not so good equal representation, this week I share a real experience of an organization who really GETS IT! Last week we looked at when outsourcing can impact brand/image of your business in the marketplace. This week let’s look at getting it right starting with the core purpose of the business.
If you have ever visited a Chick-Fil-A fast food restaurant then you might already appreciate the nature of this organization. They not only get the business they are in but more importantly is their customers get what business they are in and it drives their decision making and direction of the company results. I framed them in the fast food restaurant business because from a SIC code definition that is the category they are forced into. They are far more than fast food. If you want to know more then visit one in the near future or go to their website and look around at what makes them tick.
My purpose for drawing attention to them is not to bolster my stock portfolio. I don’t own stock in their business so we are completely upfront about these insights. I do own stock in the way they come to market and invest in their team of people and keeping their customers and the experience they walk away with top of mind. In a segment of the business marketplace that has such giants as McDonalds, Burger King, KFC etc. Chick-Fil-A has a formula that is not just working it is expanding.
Customers site such things as the environment – physical and energy is what keeps them coming back. Yes the food is of high quality, but it is the people in the locations that upgrade the customers experience. For example, I was visiting another city for work and stopped into one of their restaurants for a brief bite to eat. It was a diner rush hour with the drive thru line full and many patrons in line for ordering and dining at the location. Within a few seconds I was welcomed, greeted and order being taken by the large staff of order takers. Their interaction was genuine and full of desire to make my order let alone my evening complete. Once my order was taken, I was given a deliver cone where my meal would be delivered directly to my table once ready. Moments later my meal arrived with the smile of my server beaming and expressing non-verbally their desire to serve my meal. They were very proud of the meal, the delivery and how I was doing. Shortly thereafter, another well trained staff asked how everything was tasting and asked about a refill for my beverage.
How else was I to feel about all this attention. I began to look around and I was not unique to this level of customer experience. Everyone form seniors to young families were all getting this energy. The energy was not fictitious. It was real and yes you could cut it with a knife it was that thick. Not over pretentious just down home and real. Doing what I do for a living I knew that this level of service only comes when the leadership invests in hiring right and training right.
This week, ask yourself about your business and what it is doing right when hiring and then training each person to deliver on your organization’s customer experience promise.
It starts with a “Promise” and the intent to be authentic to your “Promise.”
Interested in moving to a “Promise Culture” at your organization? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida. Where a “Promise” means something.
Read any recent book or magazine article and you will find the author promoting the concept of holding your business to its core strengths and outsourcing the things that are not directly related to that focus. I too agree with the concept of outsourcing functions in your business for some strategic and tactical reasons. But outsourcing is not a resolution of all your business needs.
Let’s explore through a sample situation. Names and identities will remain undefined so put what ever organization name or department you would like to fill in the blanks with for this exercise. Maybe you might choose to plug in your own business to the example.
I recently had to resolve a vehicle violation for a transponder (the device which records toll entry and exit points on such highways throughout the states) that did not pick up a toll point. It appeared that the vehicle used the toll road with out paying the fees thus resulting in a citation/fine for its use. The normal toll is about $1.00 and the citation fine was for $26.00. Nice profit margin on that piece of business. Back to the example – the toll authority is in the business of providing quality road travel experiences by collecting fees for road usage. Those revenues are in turn used for maintenace and improvements to the toll road system. Let’s for the sake of discussion agree that is their core business focus. – Quality road and collection of offsetting fees.
This road authority outsources the paving and resurfacing of the actual roads as that is not their core expertise. They are not engineers nor have the investment in large renovation equipment. They do have maintenace level support fleet etc. The road authority also outsources some portions of their customer support. The initial traveler support for acquiring transponders, having money available for tolls and other vehicle related connections are handled directly by the road/toll authority directly. The part they outsourced is the citation/violation collection and resolution portion of their customer support. They apparently do not see this as part of their core customer support program.
In my attempt to resolve the issue with the toll authority, I was directed to a department specific to handling this matter. My original expectations were high in that I would be speaking with the folks who will dig into this and understand it was a transponder issue and remove the citation fines. To save you time and boring details, it took over 4+ hours of calls and on hold waiting for supervision support to make progress. I had to contact three different toll authorities and get them talking. Oddly enough, two of them who were the direct customer support teams for two of the authorities talked and all agreed to the resolution. I was to pay the cost of the toll $1.00 and the citation should be removed. Now enter the outsourced service from one of the toll authorities. After I provided the requested document and I verified with their service rep what was needed, I only received a letter in return indicating it did not meet with their requirements. I called and basically they said they can’t do anything unless I send them the document which meets their specific criterion.
At this point I called the direct customer support service entities and they all agreed it should be a nonissue. The third party was so rigid in their actions with me that they would not even move the situation to a supervisor nor reach out to the authority who employs them to handle these citation situations. This is when I engaged supervision again at one of the toll authorities and explained the nature of the experience. They were very understanding and apologized for the way the mater was handled.
This week take a look at the outsourcing your business is using or considering using. It might very well be a valuable choice to have a third party do a non-core competency of your organization. If you go in that direction, you need to make sure you have in place the necessary process for taking care of your customer. At the end of the day, the customer is yours to take care of. It is your brand reputation at stake. The third party simply turns off their phones and closes up shop if no one uses their service. If they put your reputation at risk then is that a good use of outsourcing?
JKL Associates understands both the brand and image implication and systems efficiency aspects of outsourcing so give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida. It is time you moved to a higher level of strategy execution.
By definition – Accountability is the act of being accountable. Which by extension, being accountable is the person or organization being held to standards of expectations which are required or expected to guide actions, behaviors, decision, the steps taken to execute for the attainment of a given deliverable or outcome.
Sounds fairly straight forward for both the business and personal transaction we experience each and every day. But is it that simple?
For some accountability is a way of conducting each and everything they do. They seek out the defined expectations and then conduct themselves to those standards. Their desire is to complete the results in a proper way without issue or concern. For others their tendency is to avoid learning or understanding the expectations and then go about their business from their own perspective. If the outcome is different than what was expected then they simply ask for forgiveness and plan to do better in the future.
Depending on the situation, both can be a benefit and both can cause challenges. For example, the person who seeks out the details and does not move forward with getting to productive action may delay the timeframe of delivery. They become a captive of being overly directed by doing it right the first time and never getting to the state of moving forward in a timely fashion into action. On the other hand, the person who simply jumps into action without regard for the details of the deliverable can take the project at hand into a direction which will not deliver the results needed and potentially have cost over runs.
Thus it is imperative on leadership to define well articulated and understood expectations of process and procedure for taking actions, behaving and executing decisions especially when done on behalf of the business which employs them. I’m not necessarily indicating you need long and lengthy standard operating procedures for each and every element of your business. Some businesses do need this level of detail while others may be as successful with a more “Cliff Notes” version of the procedures to operate the business.
More importantly is that you have an overall framework for your business which everyone can embrace, understand and use as the guidance system for each and every action, behavior and decision they make on behalf of the organization. This framework consists of a “Purpose” statement or why the entity exists or it can be as narrow by each department etc. Core values are next – what are the 3 to 6 key elements which each and every person MUST know and have tangible understanding. In alignment with the Core Values are the supporting principles or statements which govern the how, what, when, where, why, how come etc. of each action taken by employees when in the workplace setting. For example, at JKL Associates one of our Core Values is Accountability. – our principle is that we will hold ourselves to the highest standards while delivering our goods and services to our clients. This permeates each and every action we have with every relationship we have – our clients, our vendors etc.
By having an overarching framework for the business, the individual processes and procedures which are executed each day are guided by the framework. This reduces the level of step by step details and allows for each individual’s talents to be worked into the success of the business as long as they align to the overall framework of Purpose, Core Values and Principle statements.
This week take a look at the results and outcomes of your business. Are they aligned with customer/client satisfaction? Are you dealing with lots of variance because of an absence of guidance from processes or procedures? Do you have a framework by which each and every action, behavior and decision is guided to best possible results consistently?
If you are challenged with any of those answers, then give a call to JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida. We are ready to assist in your success.