..................................."Promise Culture"................................... Purpose - Passion - Promise - People - Plan - Performance - Progress - Preservation

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Empower Choices

June 21, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Empower Choices

As leaders, one of your most important jobs is to replace yourself with a resource which is not as good as you but better than you. To do this you must develop your replacement. It starts with giving your team the ability to make choices.

This can be a scary action when there may have been little focus on the process of making choices in a person’s life.  As young children, our guardians (parents etc.) make many choices for us.  From the food, we are exposed to and the clothes we wear to the places we live and the schools we attend.  We start being given small amounts of choice. As we mature and hopefully begin to demonstrate decision-making skills, the effort results in positive choices.

The reality is that for the past few decades, less and less positive choice development has been consciously provided to our youth. Guardians have abdicated their roles to third-party resources such as day care staff, school teachers, athletic coaches etc. These third-party resources do not have the same vested interest in the future outcome of the youth.  It is not that they intend to do them harm.  The issue is that at the end of the day, event, a cycle of time the youth moves on and the role to help in positive choice making falls back into a void. The fundamental learning process of spaced repetition is lost and thus the process of choice making is left to wither away.

With the absence of this process of positive rearing of the youth, the now young adult moves into the workplace. Employers are now faced with the need to invest in taking a partially formed attitude about making choices and craft a process which will enable the person to navigate the many options available to come to positive choices.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to take this challenge head-on.  Leadership comes with the responsibility to create a culture and environment where positive choice development can take place.  This means allowing for planned failure!  For it is through trying and failing that some of the best lessons are not just learned but cemented away in the minds of future leaders so they do not repeat again.

This week take the time to look back on your own choice development skills.  How was your decision-making process formulated?  Did your leaders allow you to try and fail only to pick you up, dust you off and let you learn from your choices? Evaluate your organizations’ culture.  Does the culture allow for people to take risks and be rewarded for positive decision making when the end result might not have turned out as originally planned?

Your future and the future of your business is dependent on you replacing yourself.  The time to develop choice skills is already in motion.  Take the time to make sure you are allowing for that development to take place in your company.

Are you leading by empowering? Time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 so you can move to providing a culture where positive choices are part of the environment.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
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 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Investing in the future – Under Construction

June 14, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Investing in the future – Under Construction

As business builders, every day we wake up to new opportunities.  Some opportunities are constructive in nature while others are just time-consuming with less than ideal return.  We make decisions on where and what gets the time you have available that day. You set priorities to align with goals which hopefully support your passion and purpose.

We believe in holding true to “Promise Culture” and investing in the future. Therefore, JKL Associates is pleased to announce the expansion into the southeastern region of the US with our Kissimmee, Florida location. Primary operations will remain in Michigan. Through the use of focused priority setting, time management, technology and providing our customers with the best support either in person, on the telephone or via web-video conference, JKL Associates stands ready to assist you in building your business assets.

In addition to expanded geographical presence, we are also investing in our communications and customer contact systems. This year you have already seen the release of the brand new built from the ground up www.jklassociates.com website that each week has the 3-minute insights update.  You may have also seen the new www.promiseculture.com website to help bring life and presence to our beliefs and methodology for taking you and our clients to new levels of success.

On July 1, 2018, we are upgrading our weekly reminder/newsletter distribution system.  As with all technology, part of growing is staying current with tools and services which can more effectively help your clients and customers.  We make you aware of this so that if in the coming weeks you don’t receive the weekly reminder for the 3-minute insights, you should check your Spam or Junk folder and approve the email for future distributions.  You can always visit our website or like us on Facebook, link up on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter where the insights are posted each week.

Looking forward to additional ways and means of supporting you our clients and customers in the future, for at JKL Associates – we actually practice what we believe in – “Promise Culture.”

We know your time is precious and very valuable so we have ways to leverage your time while gaining access to insightful details to grow your business. Give us a call – JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Financial Dashboard

June 7, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Financial Dashboard

In the simplest terms, you sell something (revenue or income).  You have expenses to provide those goods or services (expenses).  You have either money left over (profit) or you don’t (loss). Generally speaking, the objective is to have money left over so you can do something with it.

In slightly more detail each of these gets into more specific such as gross or net profits or losses. For the sake of this week’s insights we want you to focus on the three dashboard financial instruments to effectively run your business.  They are Income Statement (also referred to as Profit and Loss Statement, P&L), Cash Flow Statement, and Balance Sheet.

The Income Statement identifies if the transactions of a cycle of time generated income greater than expenses or a loss which is expenses greater than income/revenue or basically sales.

Cash Flow Statement identifies dollars flowing thru your business.  In business – “Cash is King” so knowing your cash flow is critical to your success.  When you hop in your car prior to a long trip you typically will look at your gas gauge to determine if you can make it to the destination etc.  Cash flow in your business is just that – do you have enough cash to get you to your destination.

Balance Sheet identifies other additional critical aspects of the business financials such as loans, debts, liabilities, assets etc. and ultimately let you know if there is “Net Worth” to the business or what you as the business owner actually own outright without any encumbrances.

These three financial tools need to be part of your ongoing business management efforts. You may have talented staff working in your finance area doing the details, but you as the owner MUST have an intimate knowledge of your business dollars and cents. When you drift away from this discipline you leave yourself exposed to theft.  It might not come in the form of someone blatantly taking money out of the cash register.  More likely it is by checks written to vendors that magically appear and are supported by invoices and payments which when researched just don’t contribute to your company’s strategies.

Unfortunately, there are many business owners who have trusted employees to such a large degree that they took their eye off the financials and it was almost too late to recover the impact of the cash flow drain caused by these improprieties.

Another critical use of these tools is understanding your receivables and payables so that you can effectively manage the cash flow of the business.  Knowing when to tap into a line of credit and the cost of interest on that money while your customers/clients use your money to fund their business transactions.

Front-ending these tools is the management of your sales pipeline to identify the trends of sales and income to support the movement of money through the business.  This “Art” of forecasting is both scientific (the numbers) but also instinctive (the gut).  This makes the sales pipeline process something you need to be in regular touch with, so you can adjust your expectations based on your wisdom and knowledge of the industry and economic dynamics.

This week take some time to reacquaint yourself with your financial tools and dive deeper into their value for you and your business.  Engage your accountant/CPA to help you more fully understand the subtleties of the values so you can begin to make tweaks to your operations and see a greater contribution to your bottom line.

Struggling with focusing on the dashboard for running your business? It is time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to bring your business into the age of knowing the numbers and using them for your benefit.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Stop asking why and start asking what

May 31, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Stop asking “Why” and start asking “What”

At the core of “Promise Culture” is Purpose or the “WHY” someone or group does something.  It shapes their deliverables and the methods they use to achieve their results. If you ask someone as to “WHY” they are doing something, they tend to give a confused look and must stop and give the question a deeper level of thought.  Sometimes they craft a rather pointless response or just blurt out an answer of I don’t know why.  This happens because the question of “WHY” triggers an emotional response and most people are not comfortable in that area of communication.

At this stage of the interaction, there is a communication breakdown. What potentially started out as a purposeful question has done exactly the opposite and cause one of the parties to go on the defensive and shut down.

There is still important knowledge to be gathered in answering the question of why, but how you get to the answer is critically important to the process of arriving there. Here is where the use of the question starting with “WHAT” comes into play.

Rather than asking the question of “Why are you doing ….”  try asking the question of “What caused you to ….” The person is now one step removed from the emotional response and focused on the more behavioral aspect of the questions which they can adjust to more readily on the fly.  It gets them opening up and communicating vs. shutting down.

This small change may require you to ask a few more “WHAT” questions to get deeper into the answers you may be seeking insight to, but it will keep the dialogue moving forward.  Think of it like peeling an onion.  You need to ask a series of skin peeling questions to seek what is at each more internal level of the conversation. While keeping the open dialogue with “What” based open ended questions, your interaction can be more productive and less threatening.

This approach can be used while discussing a client or employee situation with another employee.  It can be used when interviewing new potential hires.  It can be used when interacting with clients for any number of reasons.

This week practice your interpersonal skills by using the “What” questions rather than the “Why” questions.

Having challenges using “What” type questions? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to help you structure your “What” to get to your Purpose.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Memorial Day 2018

May 24, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Memorial Day 2018

 

This weekend is Memorial Day!  Take time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for FREEDOM!

Talk about what they sacrificed and help our future generations genuinely appreciate what we have here in the USA.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Battery Re-Charging

May 17, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Battery Re-Charging

The unofficial start of summer is just a couple of weeks away with the celebration of Memorial Day. Many of your team will be taking time off work to vacation with their families and friends. Although this can put a strain on the workload, it is critical that everyone take the time to re-charge their battery.

Recharging can take many forms.  Some like to take longer, full week get away type trips while others will mix Friday/Monday long weekends to get shorter but more frequent time away from their work activities. Some will even add an interesting change and take days in the middle of the week, so they get weekends off and then work a day or so and another two days off etc.

As business leaders you too MUST take a break!  You do yourself nor your business any good if you burn the candle at both ends and eventually burn up.

Regardless of your particular approach, it is critical to decompress from work (deadlines, commitments and stress) and even more importantly to get a technology break.  Set that “Smart” phone aside and turn off your PC. Believe it or not the world will survive without you for a few days or even just a few hours.

The business world is faster, more competitive, harder driving and expectations seem to only escalate. This just compounds the need to cut the work cord and plug in the battery re-charger on yourself.

This week – here is an exercise you can try to test your organizations’ readiness for you to be away and unable to have communication with them.  Consider planning a trip remote enough that cell service would not be available, and the Wi-Fi signal is non-existent. Then start reviewing each department and what and how they would react to issues you have typically dealt with to resolve.  Do they have the necessary skills and tools to address the issues?  What transfer of knowledge is not in place, so they could handle the situation? Have you empowered them to make such decisions? These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself and capture your reactions/answers.  This gives you the list of leadership development needs you MUST put in place regardless if you take the trip or not.  Have confidence in your team and they will rise to the occasion.

Need a partner to help you formulate the plan? It is time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Investing in Customer Service

May 10, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Investing in Customer Service

A lot has been written about customer service.  It is not a new topic, but it is critical to the success of your business. Some organizations excel at providing it while others simply hope it works out for everyone.

There are many options for training your people on what makes up good customer service. The question you need to ask yourself first is: what does your organization define as customer service? In addition to defining customer service, you need to articulate what does it look like so customers and fellow employees can recognize quality customer service when it is taking place. Everyone can then catch everyone else providing good customer service.

The importance of knowing what it looks like as a standard in your company gives everyone involved the opportunity to STOP bad customer service when that, unfortunately, trickles into the business. If everyone is not top of mind conscious about providing good customer service, then individual definitions can take root and lower the overall customer experience.

This is one of those areas where when left alone it does not stay status quo.  The workplace is a busy place.  We are all being pulled and pushed in many directions.  This high volume of distraction causes us to get off track.  We all want to provide the best customer service possible but when things get crazy, the customer service experience suffers. It is not intentional by any means.  Your staff does not wake up in the morning and come to work to dis-service your customers. If they did you would have already acted on that situation.

Your team or like in the photo, “The Crew” are working together to provide a best in class customer experience. They have been not only trained in doing the specifics of their duties but are attentive to the details of each customer interaction.  It is not a hurried or rushed situation. By doing things too fast almost always contributes to chaos and in the end, the customer experience is sacrificed in the process.

At the core of having your “Crew” provide the best customer service possible, you need to start with your core values.  These boundaries define the internal and external expectations which your business will not violate. From your core values emanates how each person on your team must perform when providing any level of customer service. You must give everyone the ability to provide customer service in all situations.  No, I’m not promoting unlimited budgets but each person at their given level of contribution must know they can extend service when needed and not have to answer to leadership as to their reasoning for taking the situation into their control. Yes, there will likely be some abuse of this privilege, but the investment will be returned in great brand awareness in the marketplace and that is hard to place a budget on.

This week take a look at some of the numbers which are indicators of possible areas which your customer service can improve.  Areas such as callbacks, returns, bad social media post etc., these may lead you to a fuller understanding of where you need to bring clarity to what is customer service at your business.

Customer Service not up to expectations? It is time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 and begin making a change to your customer service practices.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018
 

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New Hire Breakdown

May 3, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

          New Hire Breakdown You have finally found what you believe to be the person for the job you were hiring for in your company. There is a sense of relief and anticipation that you can now return to work as usual. Getting back to all those little things that you had to put aside while you added the workload of recruiting, selecting and making an offer to a candidate. Well here comes the disappointment!

As much work as you thought finding and hiring the new employee was, incorporating that new person into your company should have a greater level of your energy.

Onboarding and bringing your new member of the team up to speed on your business culture, your business processes, your clients and the market space you play in are vital to the longevity of your new hire at your company. Too often a business has spent so much time and effort to find the person that they almost expect that individual to somehow just assimilate into their organization.

Why wouldn’t they?

You just spend the last “X” number of hours interviewing this person and you believe they “Get it.” Why else would you have hired them?

The relationship between an employer and employee has grown up over the years.  It is not just the company seeking a person for a job, but it is equally the person seeking a company which wants not the body but the heart, soul, mind and complete individual to be part of the organization environment and culture. We hear a lot about how new people entering the full-time workplace are looking for more.  We kid around about how more means more time off, more money etc.  The reality is that they are seeking more in terms of what your business can offer them in terms of a whole lot more.

They are wanting to be part of something. Not just show up and put in time for pay.  Yes, they want to be compensated well but they don’t want to be worked so many hours that they don’t have time for the other things in their world.

As owners and having been developed into our present state of leadership under different circumstances, we often don’t connect with this approach.  We see it differently such as them having to “Pay their dues.” The reality is that during the interview process, both parties may have very well danced around these subject matters to move the candidate process forward. (Side note – This practice is not acceptable and only causes you more turnover in the short and long run) Now that the new employee is showing up for their job, it is time to properly set expectations and welcome them into the organization. Don’t disengage now!!!  Take the necessary time to welcome the new person. Get them not just introduced but informed about who does what in the organization and how it all fits together. If you have a new hire process, then use it completely.  Hold yourself accountable to not just checking off the boxes but to make sure the new person understands and appreciates what and why your organization does things in a particular way.  The more they grasp of your purpose and means to achieve, this will cement stronger bonds of performance to your company.

This week look at how you onboard a new hire.  Do you have a solid approach?  Does it include all the necessary steps to have the person not only be welcomed but begin to fit into the environment? Ask a few of your more recent hires to give you feedback on what would have helped them get up to speed quicker and incorporate those changes into future hires.  Go back and clean up any open onboarding missed steps with recent hires, so you can get everyone on the same page.

Is your onboarding process effective? JKL Associates is ready to help you reduce your turnover. Give us a call at (313) 527-7945

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945

Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates

Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates

Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates

 


 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Is your company culture toxic?

April 26, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646
 

  

Is your company culture toxic?

As business owners, Presidents, CEO’s, and leaders you are more likely to know your profit & loss statement numbers than the status of your organizations’ cultural state.  Evaluating revenue and expenses against budgets and making financial capital purchase decisions may all come in the natural course of a days work. You may even have a pulse on how your customers view your business and products. The reality is that most leaders don’t have a real sense of the cultural energy which is one of the main currents of the long-term success of an organization.

Culture is one of those rather nebulous or blurry aspects of the business. From an intellectual perspective, it is the nature or style by which an organization conducts itself with employees, customers and the community it services. From a day to day measurable, it is the behaviors of the organizations’ people which are the outward expression of the business’s core values. Those elements (values) which under no circumstances does the company violate or diminish regardless of the situation.

Here in lies the basic problem.  Companies craft “Core Values” as part of a strategic planning exercise but few actually embrace them let alone hold their teams to the highest of standards to live by them under all circumstances. Thus the company culture drifts away from what is “Core” and then becomes toxic. This drift causes individual values to seep into an organization and slowly deteriorate the bases of the company’s values.

Many times it is not intentional and because it happens very slowly, the leadership does not see how it is impacting key decisions at all levels of the organization.  Much like the erosion of sand along the beach, you can’t visually see the hundreds of thousands of grains which daily disappear with the movement of the tides. The same is true about the delusion of values in a business unless the top leadership not only live to the “Core Values” but they MUST be present in all business transactions and dialogues.

Core Values cannot be just words which sound good and attempt to convey a particular message which is good for marketing.  Core values need visual and emotional content for them to come to life in your business.  Core values need to be recognizable from all of the various relationships which exist with a business – both internal and external.

This week take some time to recognize your business’s “Core Values” either in action or missing in action.  If you don’t have core values to use as a means to measure, then maybe start to think about how this is causing an environment which is toxic at your company.  When you notice positive or negative behaviors to your core values, write them down.  Don’t just try to remember them but begin to document what is actually taking place.  Possibly have your leadership team do the same and compare notes at your next leadership gathering.  You may be surprised at what you discover.

Is your business or personal culture in need of a framework to bring the best out in you and your company? It is time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 so we can discuss “Promise Culture.”

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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Picking your best lens

April 19, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Picking your best lens

Business leaders are like photographers.  They see what the target is and need to focus on that objective. Each objective potentially requires different actions or tools to achieve the desired outcome.

A photographer composes the picture not only through the lens of the camera but in their mind. As the view in their mind takes shape, they begin to select the proper lens by which to achieve the effect desired. Armed with the various lens of different focal lengths, they begin to choose additional setting to bring other elements into use such as aperture speed, light etc. During this time, they are adjusting their lens to keep the end target in focus.

Business leaders do the same thing. They craft in their mind the vision for their business, product or service.  They paint the details in their mind first and then bring that picture to life in their business.  They have various tools they use such as their employees, technology, input from their trusted advisor council etc.  As they bring their vision to life, they are constantly making adjustments as new information is discovered.  These adjustments are just like the photographer taking into account the natural light ducking in and out of the clouds in an outdoor scene.

The key piece to both of their efforts is that they need to keep the end result in focus.  To do this they need priorities.

From the photographer’s perspective, all the elements of color, light, amount of image, the potential need to edit or crop the negative all play a part in their setting priorities to capturing the best image. How much light but not too much? Is color or black and white a better result for capturing the essence of the image? Which of the multitude of options are the top priorities to achieve the end outcome – the desired result?

As the business owner, you too must have priorities. Throughout each day, there is a multitude of distractions which come your way. Who do you assign to the new project?  What is the budget remaining on the project? Is the delivery date going to be met? The list can become very long, very quickly if you are not setting priorities and focusing on the most important each day.

This week take a look at your priority setting process and how you maintain a focus on those priorities.  Don’t fall into the trap of doing certain low priority items because they are simple and quick to get accomplished leaving the more dynamic ones which may have higher priority for a later date.  Yes, you may feel like you are accomplishing “work” but unfortunately you are not directly keeping a focus on the end result.  The picture gets fuzzy when your focus drifts to activity rather than focused specific actions.

Too many distractions and not enough focus/priority management? We have a solution for you. Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to your end result back into proper focus.

Questions or comments – email us at partners@jklassociates.com or call our Office at (313) 527-7945
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
Follow us on Twitter ? www.twitter.com/@jklassociates
 
 Copyright – JKL Associates 2018

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