Last week we introduced you to a means to get focused in on what to fix next in your business. If you missed that article just go to the JKL Associates website under the 3-minute Weekly Insights http://www.jklassociates.com/3-minute-weekly-insights/ section and get caught up on the intro. Hopefully by now you have also taken time, a few minutes, to complete the complimentary discovery questionnaire to narrow in on your Fix This Next item in your business. If not – stop and visit https://jklassociates.fixthisnext.com/
The Fix This Next tool narrows in on one of 5 areas which need your next fix. Those areas are – Sales, Profit, Order, Impact and Legacy. We will be getting into a deeper dive on each of these in the coming weeks. Like Maslow’s hierarchy, one level must build upon another level as you grow your business assets. You cannot work on providing great financial support to charities in the “Impact” phase of your business if you first cannot sustain stability by being profitable. Events like 2020 do cause a realignment of the inner working of a business and thus we move up and down the various levels during the course of time.
In addition to the BHN – Business Hierarchy of Needs in the Fix This Next process, the foundation of all of your business efforts MUST have a solid framework. This is where the “Promise Culture” model of Purpose, Core Values, Principles all tie together with the various relationships which exist in your business. From your employees to your clients and customers, to vendors, stakeholders, and others who without them you struggle to have a business.
Too often businesses are so focused on what they do or deliver they lose sight of who they are and why they even exist. When there is a loss of purpose and no guidance system to hold the fabric of the organization to a set of standards then it eventually becomes a free for all and the integrity of what you started out to accomplish gets derailed.
The vast amount of change which took place in 2020 caused most people to re-evaluate many things both personally and in business. People are questioning where they work, what they do, how they do it and many other factors. Businesses moving from in office staff to hybrid teams or a more completely remote workforce must deal with the impact this has on the organization’s culture. You cannot ignore it and hope it somehow sorts itself out. It will take its own path if you are not leading. You will have no idea where it will take you. As the saying goes – if you do not know where you are going then any path will take you there. I am quite sure that is a poor strategy to take.
This week even before you start to think about what to fix next, you need to get a pulse on your business culture. How did 2020 impact the way you once did business and how do the changes which you implement on the fly in 2020 going to impact how you will do business moving forward.
Looking for some insights into your business culture? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida or go onto our calendar below and schedule an initial meeting which works best on your busy schedule. JKL Associates looks forward to continuing to build relationships rooted in “Purpose.”
2020 is in the history books. Either a lot can be said about 2020 or nothing at all. Some of us just want to move on to a new year and new opportunities. Others of us are wondering what happened in 2020 and how do I go about 2021 with so many unknowns.
The good news is that life and business go on. We make our lives and business based upon our attitudes and what we focus those attitudes upon.
So, what should your business focus on? This question seems so logical that we sometimes take it for granted. Each of us wake up in the morning and believe when we go to work, we are in fact working on the next most important thing to improve our business. Sometimes we are correct and other times we simply tackle the thing we think is most important. What makes this or that more important? As I observe business leaders in our clients and other companies, some leaders are better at narrowing in on what is truly the next most important thing to work on in the business. Unfortunately, there are way too many who think they are focused on the next thing to fix and do make progress on that item only to discover other things should have had their attention first.
As we start into 2021, we are all dealing with a new and different landscape than 12 months ago. 2020 tossed all kinds of curves, dips, dives, mountains, rain, fire, and every other type of chaos at all of us. So many things have changed that we all need a way to identify what we should focus on to “Fix This Next.”
For the next six weeks we are going to explore just such a process to allow you to deep dive into what you need to focus on, define a strategy to resolve it, execute and measure your progress. Once you get that accomplished then revisit the process and take on the next biggest thing to fix. Repeat as many times as necessary to upscale and grow your business during the evolving change in the marketplace.
So, this week your nudge is to get started. My colleague Mike Michalowicz, author of such great business books like “Profit First,” “Pumpkin Plan,” “Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.,” and other books came out with a business discovery system which he documents in his book “Fix This Next.” As JKL Associates is a certified Business Advisor with the “Fix This Next” system, I will share with you the process which you can execute on your own or engage a Certified Advisor to help you navigate to greater results. As part of the discovery effort, I am providing a link for you to complete a quick questionnaire which will pinpoint areas for you to focus on during your discovery of what to fix next. To access the complimentary questionnaire visit https://jklassociates.fixthisnext.com/ and complete the questionnaire. Your assessment results will be emailed back to you and identifies the area of greatest attention to “Fix This Next.”.
Next week we discuss the foundation of your business – its Culture.
In the meantime, JKL Associates is here to assist you to achieve greater results in 2021. Do not hesitate this year. Opportunities exist so let’s go make them happen. Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida or go onto our calendar below and schedule an initial meeting which works best on your busy schedule. JKL Associates looks forward to continuing to build relationships rooted in “Purpose.”
As 2020 comes to a close, we can all think of things we wish may not have happened over the past 12 months. I challenge you to stop dwelling on the things of the past and start fresh. Your environments and your attitude are within your grasp to control and enjoy.
For 2021 don’t make resolutions you will likely disregard in the coming days, weeks or months. Start today to focus on what you can influence and have a positive impact on your world and the world around you.
Let 2021 be the year that your compass gets pointing in the direction needed for greatest happiness. May the path it takes you on be made up of many joyful and exciting experiences. Let the journey be filled with great relationships both known and those to be discovered.
We wish you and your household “PEACE” in 2021!
Each year the world pauses to celebrate and recognize the birth of a Savior. One who came for all and gave all to bring peace where chaos exists. To remove sin and human death and restore it with eternal life.
Regardless of your faith beliefs or practices. Let us all take this time of year and be Merry and bring each other into a place of peace in our hearts.
May you and your family enjoy the blessing of the Christmas Season!
Early in the life of JKL Associates, I decided that my time and value in the marketplace was not behind a desk writing business and sales development materials. I was more of an implementer of action. So, I went into the marketplace and researched business development tools which would align with where I thought JKL Associates was heading. At the time I figured it was more in the track of training as opposed to strategy. I eventually engaged a relationship with Resource Associates Corporation and the Total Quality Institute in Pennsylvania. They provided a framework of educational materials focused on the various business aspects such as leadership, sales, supervision, Total Quality Management etc. They additionally had tools for strategic planning which I was remarkably familiar with those concepts from my role at the software company. After plunking down a considerable amount of money, considering there was little to no income, I received my first delivery of books and tapes which now created inventory I needed to sell to recoup my investment. This was very motivating to turn inventory into cash but intimidating to know that the sales pipeline was empty.
JKL Associates also established a strategic partnership with Target Training International (now TTI Success Insights). Our relationship with TTI has been a critical component in our toolbox for providing research-based insights into the human side of the business world. Now JKL Associates had a new set of tools (key relationships) in the toolbox – one for structure, process, procedure, and training and the other for digging into the how, why, and what makes people tick inside of their given environments.
The final component was to engage in a relationship with Coachville and become a graduate member of their coaching school community during the early days when Thomas Leonard was the founding member of not only this community of coaches but a true leader in the emerging business model of coaching. All of these various components, relationships and knowledge points strategically aligned so that JKL Associates could excel and enhancing each and every relationship by providing the best value in each of their unique business needs.
About this same time with revenue almost nonexistent, all kinds of expense investing in this dream of running my own business, the Good Lord blessed my wife and I with our daughter. Super exciting to bring a darling little girl into the world but scary as hell to figure out how do we financially make this happen. Not only did the Lord bring us our daughter but also through his plan enough client work and referrals to make this startup time feasible. No, it was by no means bountiful, but it was also not a financial disaster either. I look back on these times and know that they were part of the startup to make me a better person. A focused businessperson, while fully throwing myself into being a loving father and husband.
Over the next series of years, JKL Associates continued to focus. The inventory and startup investments had been turned into cash and profits. The original building block of doing expense reduction analysis to improve inventory and purchasing slowly diminished as JKL Associates hit its stride of business strategy, leadership guidance and organizational culture engagement. JKL Associates still was incorporating the lessons learned on the process side of the analysis business and this was extremely insightful to our clients. My wife was a full-time mom as was the plan and JKL Associates was bringing great value to our clients in assisting them to navigate their future growth. What was unexpected was the depth and quality of the relationships that JKL Associates formed along the way. Our core beliefs always included respecting our clients and bringing more value to the table than was expected. As simple as that sounds, our clients rewarded JKL Associates with many years of recurring business.
As a Promise Guide, a business consultant, business coach, business manager, or even the pain in the butt person who keeps the owner of the business in check, the business continued to deliver and serve our clients. I am immensely proud to say that our average client engagements lasted many years of recurring contribution to their success as well as ours. We have had the pleasure of working in a variety of industries which is actually a key ingredient to the cross pollination of best practices across industries. JKL Associates eventually narrowed in on what, how and why we deliver our purpose of building relationships rooted in “Purpose” so authentic contributions deliver on “Promises.” It has always been about helping other business leaders and their teams achieve more than they could in their present environment. It was to teach them how to fish rather than give them a fish to eat. By always trying to work and evolve a solution with them, we worked to provide value rather than product.
Now 30 years later there are many gems of knowledge I have learned both about JKL Associates and more importantly about myself. Many have been the results of phenomenal relationships with all of our clients and strategic partners. As I recall through looking back while still looking forward to many years of future business strategy and guidance work, there are some real lessons and tools I have placed in my toolbox while traveling this path along the journey called JKL Associates.
JKL Associates looks forward to continuing to build relationships rooted in “Purpose.” Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and let us help you in your journey.
JKL Associates – celebrating 30 years, a trip down memory lane with lessons learned, adding tools to the toolbox and building life long relationships.
As we bring 2020 to a close, we have a lot to be thankful for during a year with plenty of distractions. Over the next two weeks JKL Associates will travel our 30-year history to give you a glimpse into the ride of a lifetime. We will wrap it up with some lessons learned along the way and tools we have added to our toolbox of life.
It was 30 years ago in August of 1990 that the bud of JKL Associates was formed. It was very humble beginnings and an even more humbling journey for a business which for all intents and purposes was destine for a roller coaster ride none of which I could have conjured up in my mind over the past 30 years.
JKL Associates started officially with a flight to St. Louis, Missouri to participate in an expense reduction analysis program which was to be the original basis for the JKL business model. In fact, it was so simple that the JKL came from initials of my spouse and mine. Just like a monogram on a towel set. It also represented the birthday present I was giving to myself the following year in 1991 when I officially separated from corporate America. I was at the time a regional executive for a software development firm which had grown steadily while I was with them since the early 80’s and we were in the process of taking the company public through an IPO (initial Public Offering).
So it was that between Christmas 1990 and New Year’s Day 1991 while helping my brother-in-law put in hardwood flooring in the foyer of their house that I made the frightful decision to reach out to my present employer and see what timeframe of separation would work best for all parties. The organization had been exceptionally good to me. Giving me extensive growth opportunities from consulting to sales and account management to executive leadership and part of mergers and acquisition teams and part of the IPO preparation. These years formed a solid foundation in strategic planning and execution which I have called upon in supporting all the JKL Associates clients for the past 30 years. I was anticipating a 6-month transition process but to my surprise the CEO opted to bring a quick closure to the employment arrangement by the end of the first week in January 1991 and provided an as needed consulting arrangement for the upcoming few months to support a smooth transition.
So, on Jan 1, 1991 JKL Associates was officially in business. Not a single client to our name (with the exception to the prior employment transition support). Thus, it was time to see what I was really made of. Was my time in corporate America a fluke? Had my ascent to leadership been rightfully achieved or was it just pure luck? Moving from a nice multi figure income to zero income at the beginning of 1991 was a bit like jumping into a hole in the ice of a frozen pond wondering if I would survive the shock to my system. I needed to muscle in and get clients to support my wife and lifestyle which over the years had steadily ticked upward based on the stability of the corporate role at the software company. Here is where my personal experience with the book E-Myth was validated. That one second thinking I was an entrepreneur.
With the jump from the cliff of corporate America into the world of self-employment, I went to work. Originally thinking I needed a building office space and staff. It would look like a traditional company. I started to evaluate how to best make this new adventure work. I did not want to make mistakes but even with some of the best mentoring in leadership at the software company, I frustrated myself by doing things I felt were right but did not do my homework to verify first. Eventually I set up an office working from home utilizing the available technology at the time. This was during the initial evolving home internet connections and pathetic speeds.
Days were filled with dialing the phone to get appointments with prospects and then having meetings to espouse my services of helping them save money by better organizing the inventory and purchasing processes. The initial focal point of entry was in the medical industry. Specifically, nursing homes as the state had just changed policies on how much they would pay per bed in such a facility and they were struggling to survive. I felt that if I could save them money, then they would have a better chance of providing services to their clients. Then two things happened at about the same time. I was doing a free analysis for my church on their purchasing and inventory needs which led me to a conversation with one of their janitorial suppliers. The other thing was a conversation with the head of a local nursing home who agreed to meet with me to discuss my approach. As fate would have it, I was successful at landing the nursing home and the janitorial supply client at about the same time as our first two clients. One was for the purchasing and inventory analysis which was the basis for launching JKL Associates and the other was for business development, sales, and organizational effectiveness. The latter was part of my history but not really part of the initial model for starting up JKL Associates.
The analysis process at the nursing home went surprisingly well and we (my wife and I) were able to not only find substantial expense saving by renegotiating purchasing agreements with key suppliers but also improved terms, service levels and inventory storage (JIT- just in time) deliveries which freed up space at the nursing center. We were off and running at JKL Associates with Expense Reduction Analysis efforts.
At the same time, I was now in the need to start to develop material to help our other new janitorial supply client build their business to the next level. This client was a third-generation business which was trying to reinvent itself. I had convinced the present owner I had done wonderful things at the software company and could replicate them for his business. I had grown up in a family owned and operated business, so I was familiar with the dynamics of that environment. Years earlier I did not pursue to get more deeply involved in the family business. Not because it was not something I liked, but more about the industry had changed and the need for the services offered was being phased out. We were fortunate to find a buyer for my Dad and Uncle who were partners. This allowed them to retire and enjoy the fruits of their years of partnership in the business. This set of events would later come to play in JKL Associates navigating the many transitions which take place in organizations, both family owned, and tightly held corporations.
Next week we visit Part 2
JKL Associates looks forward to continuing to build relationships rooted in “Purpose.” Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and let us help you in your journey.
Over the past 12 months of 2020 there is one thing which is certain, communincation both the good and the bad, the rational and irrational were conveyed in various ways. As a result of this communincation, we formed views, opinions and plans based on what and how information was communicated.
As we learn from how we took in information and used this in our daily lives it is important to understand what preferences we have for gathering and receiving information. We must also understand and appreciate that others have their preferences. As leaders, if we are not taking the time to craft our communication such that the intended end result is not just received but heard and understood then we are doing those on the receiving end a disservice.
Depending on your communication preferences you may be of the nature to like very direct and to the point language. Conversely to that type of communincation it is not well received by those who prefer a more reflective approach to the receipt of information. If as the business leader you dismiss how others will best receive direction or input, your delivery of data points fall on deaf ears before you even get started.
Maybe you are very outgoing and like to have this type of energy based communication. This meets with your needs. What if the person you are speaking with prefers a much more reserved approach to the conversation. Have you just shut down the opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue?
Let’s say that you are engaging a fellow colleague and you have prepared and laid out your communincation and intend to deliver your points in a very steady and routine way. All sounds very good unless the recipient is a much more dynamic communicator. Your detail and pace may make them wander away from what you are saying.
As a business leader you took some risk at starting or continuing the business you are leading. When you communicate you tend to be a bit pioneering or cavalier in your approach. You feel this is what got you to this point so why pause and consider the other side of the communincation process. Well, just maybe, your colleague needs a more precise or detailed explanation and not just power words and phrases.
We don’t have to look to far back to the election cycle of 2020 to find examples of each of these various ways of communication. In many cases the way the candidate spoke to their constituents or potential constituents caused people to either engage with them or directly pushed them away. This communincation stuff is not just real. It is critical to the future of your organization.
People inside the sphere of your business are paying far closer attention to not just what is said but how the message is delivered. Your take away for this week is that you may want to consider 2021 to be the year that you pause before you open your mouth to communicate. Give consideration to not just what you are about to say but to who it is being conveyed. What will help them better take in your message and to then take action upon it. Do they need direct information or possibly a more reserved approach? Yes, it takes a little more time and yes focus on the communincation process itself. The reality is, how often do you need to communicate a second or third time to move the effort in the right direction? Save all that time by doing it right the first time.
As you seek out your Communication preferences and those of others, JKL Associates is here to give you a hand. Don’t guess! Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and let us help you in your journey.
At this time of year, JKL Associates would like to extend a warm heart felt Thank You to all of our readers, clients, colleagues, friends and supporters who have entrusted in us over the past year. It is all of these relationships which ultimately define our purpose.
May each of you enjoy some special time with loved ones this Thanksgiving holiday.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS – EMAIL US AT PARTNERS@JKLASSOCIATES.COM OR CALL OUR OFFICES – MI AT (313) 527-7945 FL AT (407) 984-7246
Ever had the experience where you felt like you were totally and completely exposed without anything to give you cover?
It is not a place I wish upon anyone.
On the other hand, if we are not true to ourselves and allow ourselves to have some vulnerability then we will never understand or appreciate our true being. We cannot be genuinely authentic unless or until we recognize where we are vulnerable.
It is very challenging for many leaders to think in these terms because the outward expression of control, power, strength tends to cloud the inner depths of caring and concern. The emotional side of leadership is gaining more and more attention in the marketplace. You may have heard it referenced as “Emotional Intelligence.” The element of great leaders where they not just understand their emotional state and of others around them but also have a governed response to their emotional surrounding to better the situation.
It is in this inner place of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient that one can discover how they respond to a situation which shifts them at an emotional level.
Consider a situation where a team member drops the ball on completing a part of a project for a very important client. As the leader, you had outlined the expectations, and everyone agreed to the plan. Yet at the very moment of celebration the opposite event takes place when a letdown happens. How would you handle this? Would your response be that of a tirade of language and actions? Would you calmly address the immediate situation to prompt resolution? Would you fall somewhere in the middle of those opposite ends of the reaction meter?
The business environment and all of us inside of it are seeking a more balanced response to challenging situations. This is not to dismiss that the issue exists nor that proper action be taken for resolution but the approach to rectify will either enhance or disrupt the final outcome.
It is at these moments in time that we need to fully understand how vulnerable we are to sudden challenges and then based on how we respond will either validate our authenticity or completely flush it down the toilet.
This week should a challenging moment present itself, take notice of your emotional reaction. How did you respond and how did that help or hinder the final outcome? Be authentic with yourself when you give some thought to this inner understanding. Don’t focus on just the outcome but how you arrived there during a challenging situation. Did the outcome and everyone involved somehow be made whole? Did the challenge get resolved at the expense of someone or something? When looking back on the final outcome, how do you feel about how everyone involved was affected?
As you explore your Emotional Quotient, feel free to reach out to JKL Associates for some additional insights. Our toolbox includes some outstanding products and services to raise the level of understanding and appreciation for behavioral navigation in the workplace. Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida.
Trust in a relationship is not something that just automatically exists. You may have a sense that an individual is potentially worthy of being trusted but like respect it is earned through demonstrated behaviors. Trust is something that can take hours, days, weeks or even years to build but can be lost in an instant if just the right behavior is done or not done. Trust is as fragile as a piece of thin glass bowing and flexing as you carry it across a rocky terrain. It can also be as strong as a steel bridge connecting two individuals or organizations to one another.
As business leaders, each day your actions either back up your trust or place it at risk. I don’t suspect that you wake up in the morning and while drinking your morning beverage you even contemplate where your trust levels are with your team. If you do, congratulations, your time is well invested in your future success. If no then consider doing a quick evaluation of what has or is taking place in your relationships and see if you can determine the level of trust each one has and contributes to the future.
The first step in creating trust in a relationship is to identify what the parties to the relationship expect. It is going to be different for each relationship and what is the basis of the relationship. For example, when you hire an employee a certain level of trust exists that they will honor and show up for work on time and do their daily work duties. You trust they will do these. In turn they trust your part of the engagement and they will be compensated fairly for the work they contribute. This trust demonstrates one level between employee and leader. If that same person is managing the financials of your business, the trust that they will not steal or hide money from the business is a greater level of trust. You don’t expect either person to take from the business, but one has a higher element of trust do to the aspects of their role.
As mentioned, trust is earned based on behaviors and delivered actions. Taking our finance person, you may originally trust them with certain aspects of handling specific financial transactions. Over time as they demonstrate their trustworthiness, you expand their role duties, and the trust relationship expands. As you expand their duties and the level of trust on their actions, they in turn expand trust back to you and the business by not just doing their role but making sure everything is in its best order. Trust is not only created it expands which both parties in the relationship benefit from together.
This week take some time to look at the various relationships you have in life and business. What level of trust exists? What level should exist? Is the trust level growing or shrinking? What actions on each party’s part are contributing to the growth or decline? You cannot take trust for granted. It is a critical part of what each human being needs to feel complete and whole. Do your part to contribute to each trust relationship.
At JKL Associates not only do we believe that trust is key for all of our relationships, but each day we make a conscious effort to contribute to each relationship to expand the trust level. Desire a culture where trust is a live and actively present? Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida.