Here in the United States, we are pretty accustomed to seeing wooden pencils or mechanical pencils that have an eraser attached to them. In other places around the world, this is not necessarily the case. In other lands, it is very common for eraser-less pencils. This little fun fact is provided to help you gain perspective on the diversity of thought which is present around the globe. Each day we are exposed to many different items and actions all rooted in the diversity of thought which exists. This diversity of thought expands with the limitless opportunities available in the USA.
These erasers on pencils also can serve as a metaphor as we bring 2018 to a close. During this past calendar year, we might have experienced mistakes, false starts, or got off track with our goals and objectives. Maybe some were completed with less than desirable outcomes. Some maybe never got off the ground.
As we approach 2019 we have the opportunity to use the eraser and remove any traces of the mistakes and move forward. We can erase the missed of 2018, learn from them and move into 2019 renewed and focused. If we dwell too long on the missed opportunities, we are simply making more head noise and distractions for the future.
This week look back upon your 2018 works. If you have had some false starts or mistakes, acknowledge them, learn from them, erase them and move forward into 2019. History tells us that those who fail the most succeed more. They just don’t let setbacks stop their forward progress. Thomas Edison tried 1000 times before the general concept of the light bulb was finally shaped.
Time to lock in your goals and objectives for 2019. Looking to have a better result in 2019? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 and start the conversation with – we want more……
I get this reply many times when asking a person how things are going. It usually comes with some type of quirky smile or facial gesture which contradicts the concepts behind the phrase.
So apparently your words don’t align with your present state of affairs.
This got me to thinking about how often this action of saying one thing but delivering a different message with your body language gets in the way of building your business.
The other day I was talking to a leader at a company and the owner came along to inquire about a specific subject matter. The dialogue ensued verbally but there was plenty of body language being shared. In my normal style of interjecting to capture a teachable moment, I had to inquire what and why there was a contradiction in the verbal dialogue and the body language. Both immediately went into a defensive posture and clarifying why this might have been the case. Neither of their reasonings held any reasonable bearing on the topic. Without getting into the details or topic of the conversation, let’s just say that after this was brought to their attention, the conversation took on a marked improvement. The details of the situation were more effectively shared and the quality of the conversation was evident to both of them. Oddly enough the real reasons for the posturing had nothing to do with the topic of this conversation but were left over from a different matter between the two leaders.
I thought to myself that it was good I happened to be at that place at that time to snuff out this useless posturing and get them to achieve a productive outcome. The challenge now, was that I was not going to be able to be at all of these day to day, minute by minute transactions in the company. What could be done?
I put the two of them on notice that we are a visual people. Actions speak louder than words and their behaviors and body language was screaming loudly. If someone in their company was in the hall screaming, they would take action to stop the person from screaming. They now needed to take note of their own nonverbal communication. The two of them worked it out with each other to have an open dialogue so that in future transactions, both gave each other the right to stop the other and point out the incongruency of their words and actions. This is just the starting point and we will see how this develops.
This week as you have conversations with your staff, take some mental notes about the words and body language you might be using to convey potentially different messages. Monitoring yourself is difficult so you may want to enlist your other leaders to watch and give you feedback. Use this as a self-development exercise so that you can not only verbally communicate but your words and actions are delivering the same message.
Don’t have a third party who holds you accountable and is willing to point out areas of self-improvement? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to engage your “Promise Guide.”
Each year, our nation sets aside a day of Thanksgiving. Yes, originally for the recognition of our settlers who without the support of Native American Indians may not have survived the harsh winters of the new land.
It is at this time we give thanks to God for the bounty provided to our families, our businesses, our clients, customers, and colleagues.
Here at JKL Associates, I want to personally thank each of you for your continued confidence in the services and systems we bring to each of you. Our efforts are guided by our core values and principles in our pursuit of assisting you in growing your business, enabling your people and leaving a legacy of your business success for generations to come.
May you, your team, and your families enjoy this day of thanksgiving and may you be blessed with the bounty of continued success.
With just over a month of business days until the end of the calendar year, your plans for 2019 should be solidifying. What markets you will pursue. What products and services you will focus on within those markets. What plans you will launch to support those objectives. What compensation systems will reward progress. These and other elements of your 2019 plans should be clearer and the strategies and tactics are firming up.
As you look to your team to implement these plans, you need to make sure you have not forgotten about the attraction factor for them to take ownership in both their individual success as well as the overall company success. What is the glue that will bind them to the plans so that when challenges present themselves, rather than conceding to the issue, they become motivated to overcome the problem?
One aspect is having, understanding and appreciating the core purpose your business exists. This fundamental attracts talent which wants to be part of a winning culture.
A second aspect is to individually know what makes each of your people tick. Not how they act but what deep down inside of them causes them to take action. What will prompt them to take a risk or move out of their comfort zone to achieve more than just going through the motions?
This understanding goes beyond sales compensation plans. Yes, those are critical to reward those people which have the direct responsibility for revenue generation. You need to have rewards systems which acknowledge the contribution of each of the various aspects of taking care of your customer. Salespeople get a commission for closing a sale but what do the operations people get for executing the deliverables of that sale? It is simple to say that you pay them for that deliverable in their regular pay. This may be true but having rewards that acknowledge the direct contribution to the company success should also be part of your rewards system. It may not be a financial reward that they see in a paycheck but possibly a team gathering by department for achieving specific goals or objectives. These acknowledgments incentivize your team to come together to make progress for the business.
This week you need to go out into the business and find out what your team would like for recognition and rewards. They need to be concrete and able to be specifically measured. They need to promote the best behaviors to achieve the plans for 2019. Once you know what they might be, then incorporate them into your goals. Measure yourself based on how well they make these accomplishments. When the team is lagging then you as the leader is also lagging. Make 2019 a year of progress.
Interested in what type of rewards systems may be best for your team? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 so we can assist you in growing your business in 2019.
There are lots of discussions about why employees either are attracted to a particular business or why they move on to another. In a talent starved marketplace, lots of businesses are looking for talent to hire into their organizations. Part of this is growth, needing more people to expand their present capabilities to meet with growing demands from their customers. Others are just trying to replace those employees who have either left for greener pastures or have been moved along due to not fitting into the company’s performance objectives.
Turnover whether planned or not is a key part of the stable strategic growth of your business. If your organization is battling in the marketplace to attract new and additional talent, you can’t be caught in a revolving door of simply replacing those leaving. This is a no win situation for all parties.
To help curb the neutral game of hiring when a position is open you must be in front of the change. As the economy continues to cause demand and employers get into the wooing process of stealing employees, you need to be ready and understand why your employees either like the environment and opportunity at your company or what you need to do to make it better for everyone’s sake.
One technique some companies use are exit interviews. These can bring some valuable insights into why a given person is leaving a company. Unfortunately, these exit interviews can become fairly awkward. Although you might think the person has nothing to lose by unloading all the thoughts and ideas they might have about your business, they are somewhat reserved because they don’t necessarily want to burn a bridge which will come back to haunt them later. They don’t want a black mark in their file. They also have friends and colleagues which still work at the business and don’t want them to be in an awkward situation if they spill the beans on this or that issue.
A potentially better way to understand what is really going on in your business is to capture some valuable insight into the business during employee reviews or company meetings. Even better is to make yourself as accessible as possible and go out into the business. Regularly pull someone aside to get their feedback/input on topics and overall environmental states of the company.
We tend to know the bottom line numbers. We tend to know sales and expenses. We tend to know what our competition is doing. We tend not to be in direct touch with our company and our employees. This is not a blanket statement but too often owners are surprised by this person leaving etc. They wonder why or what could have been done to avoid this loss of a valuable resource to the company. If you are driving the car looking in the rear view mirror then you are more likely to have a crash in the near future.
Looking for ways to understand your organization environment? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 and let’s start a dialogue.
Next Tuesday – November 6, 2018, is a voting day. You may ask yourself – what does this have to do with the running of my business? Lots!
Regardless of which political party or philosophy you may align with, as a citizen of the USA, you are given a unique opportunity to cast your vote for the people and policies which you believe are in the best interest of this country. In today’s world, there are very hard lines between various views of how things are or should be done. This opportunity for you to cast your vote is critical to the ongoing efforts of the republic we call the United States of America. Within the architecture of the republic which was set up by our forefathers, the democratic process of electing officials which represent us are to work on our behalf.
This voting step in the overall governess of our free society allows capitalism to be one of the foundational aspects of our country. Capitalism allows for: you to be a business owner, allows employees to have employment allows consumers to have and gain access to the best products in the world and it allows for the protection of rights of our citizens.
Voting is not your chance to get back at our government. As a republic, many of us forget that we are the government. Those we elect by voting represent us – We The People. It is no different than an employee representing your business or brand. If they accomplish that representation to the standards of your business they have continued employment. If they are out of alignment with your company then they move on or you move them on.
Next week take the time to vote and cast your ballot for the people and the policies to support our republic and “We The People.”
Football season is well underway. Some teams are winning and others, well not so much. Some of the games have been blowouts while others have been won on the last play of the game. Those winning plays with time running out are always the ones which make the news sports highlight reels. What is interesting is that those plays are often the results of something earlier in the game not going according to plan which places a team in a desperate situation at the last minute.
The term “Hail Mary” pass came into popularization some 40 plus years ago in a football game where Roger Staubach threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to win a divisional title. Most of us maybe don’t even remember the play let alone the game. What we recall is the use of the phrase for these last minute spectacular attempts at snatching a win at the last minute when defeat is eminently present.
The challenge in business is not to run your business and have to count on the “Hail Mary” play to pull your business back into a winning place in the game of business. The reality is that most of the time these plays fail. The better course of action is better and more upfront planning and execution of all the prior plans so that you and your business does not have to count on the “Hail Mary” to pull you out of a jam.
This week as you review your business progress, ask yourself how many “Hail Mary” activities does your team have to execute on a recurring basis? Can these last minute magical moments be reduced to simply executing differently at an earlier point in the project?
Tired of having to pull off the “Hail Mary” plays in your company? Start right now by executing better by calling JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945. Let us help you put your playbook in order to a successful win.
All of us at some point in time learned a new card game. Maybe it was “Go Fish” or “Crazy 8’s” or even “Poker.” As we were taught, one of the techniques was to play a dummy hand of the game. If you are unfamiliar with this term or approach, basically the cards are dealt to the players and all the cards are left face up on the table in front of each participant. Instructions are provided by the teacher and then play commences by showing how each person may play the cards they were dealt. This process continues until the round is completed. Additional instructions are provided so that the next round the participants hold their cards in their hand. Others are unable to see what they have or how they may play the cards.
During the first few rounds of the game, you most likely were remembering rules and how those rules would affect the playing of the cards dealt to you. Your ability to keep not only the rules in mind but how to leverage those rules to achieve the best outcome was occupying lots of brain cells. The more you played the game the more those rules and decisions on which card to play on any given situations improved.
Business has a lot of the same characteristics as learning and playing games. The problem is that we get so caught up in it being “Business” that we take the fun out of the game. Think about playing a game as a child. You either liked the game or not. If you liked it you continued to play it. If you didn’t then you found something else to do with your time. As business leaders, there are some of you that have lost the enjoyment of running a business. The fun has been taken away. All the daily challenges mount up and distract you from being part of the fun of business.
That is not to say that business is always fun. Even playing cards can be frustrating when you are dealt lousy cards time and time again. That is part of the randomness of the game of cards and the game of business. Some days you get great cards and it all seems to fall into place and you win that hand of cards. The next hand or day the business is dealt nothing that matches up and you are playing from a defensive position to just not lose the hand.
This week, take a look at the cards you are currently working with – Your leadership team, your employees, your customers, your products/services etc. Maybe go back to the start of learning the game and get all the cards (challenges and benefits) all face up on the table. Look at what best suits your strategy for achieving the next best result for your business. Once you have your strategy and tactics then go out and play those cards with your team. The only difference is to make sure you share/communicate your strategies and tactics with your team so everyone is playing the same game.
Need some help to learn how to play the business game again? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 for an initial conversation. It won’t cost you anything but a little time to maybe learn a thing or two.
Ever feel like you are under a microscope? Everyone is looking at/to you for your input and guidance? As a leader, that is part of the program you signed up for whether consciously or unconsciously. Your every action is looked at and defines what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. The same is true with your words. What you say is listened to by your staff with special attention. What you say defines what they can say and have the same amount of latitude when they are speaking. You can’t expect your people to act any differently or speak any differently than what you do on a daily basis.
The old expression of monkey see, monkey do, comes to mind.
The behaviors and language your desire at your business should emanate from you and your leaders. The foundation of these actions and words should be rooted in a solid culture based on core values. When you stray from outwardly expressing your core values – reflecting them in your language and how the words are actually delivered then you are sending mixed messages. Mixed messages confuse the staff, your customers and the marketplace in general.
In your advertising and marketing you would not send a mixed message to your customer – would you?
Then why is it acceptable to do so within the walls of your business?
This challenge exists in many businesses. There is a poor belief that a person can act one way (fake it) and then act another way (more genuine) and can flip this switch at any time to get to a given result. I will not dispute that people are great actors. They can behaviourally shift their delivery and actions to accommodate a given situation. The challenge is what defines acceptable? This is where your organization’s core values MUST be top of mind – front and center.
If they are top of mind for the leaders then they will act and communicate in such a way that affirms your core values. If they stray from the company’s values and introduce their own or some different set of values then conflicting messages are again sent.
One way to evaluate where things are at in your business is to consciously observe and catch people in the act of either affirming core values or not. This week as you look around your business, visually observe and listen to your people. When they are transacting, is the language and delivery in alignment with your core values? Be very specific in your assessment. When you see a given transaction, link the behaviors or language back to a specific core value you have for your business. For example, you see someone going above and beyond their role or duty for a customer. One of your core values has something about customer experience. Take a moment to personally acknowledge the act to the person and link it back to the company’s values. This is leadership in action.
The same is also true for drifting away from core values. Maybe there is a conflict between a couple of employees over a customer situation. Both are trying to take care of the customer (external) but forget that each employee is an internal customer of each other. Yes, the value of taking care of the external customer is part of their energy, but the means by which they take it up with a fellow employee is out of alignment.
As the leader of the business, you need to be highly aware of these situations. Capture the good ones and reduce the out of alignment ones.
Interested in getting your Core Values aligned? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 for us to start a meaningful discussion.
Ever find yourself thinking you are always paddling upstream against the current?
Sometimes this feeling is due to some recurring events which keep resurfacing in your business that you thought you previously addressed. They somehow or another present themselves again and again and you keep taking steps to stop the issue. In these situations, you need to really look at the issues and determine if you are fixing the symptoms or the actual underlying problems. Too often the symptoms are addressed but the problem just reoccurs again and again. I relate this to the taking of a pain pill to stop your aching back only to have the pain recur again and again because the pain is just the symptom and not the actual reason the pain exists. The pain pill gives you relief but in no way fixes the root cause of the pain.
In some cases, this paddling upstream against the current is planned and a strategy to grow a business. In some circles, they like to refer to these businesses or leaders as “Industry Disruptors.” This group of businesses and leaders set out to paddle upstream and do things against the normal flow in order to gain an advantage in the marketplace. This group alters what the general public and consumers define as the way it is done.
Early on in the automotive industry, Henry Ford brought in the assembly line. Changing from teams of people moving to various stations around the factory to work on portions of the building of the vehicle to moving the vehicle past groups of workers to apply their skills to build the vehicles. This major disruption of prior workflow was a significant contribution to the efficiencies by which vehicles could be built. This, in turn, allowed the vehicles to be sold a more cost effective price point allowing more citizens to participate in the transportation disruption – moving to automobiles from carts and buggies pulled by horses. As you can see, sometimes one disruption in the way something is done is in response to another disruption or is fueled by the other disruption.
Paddling upstream in your business is not a casual choice. It is strategic. It requires proper planning and understanding of the pros and cons of the choice. Being a “Disruptor” can bring bad results and threaten your business.
Much like the word “Entrepreneur,” which is used and associated with many small business owners, the word “Disruptor” is reserved for a small select group of people and business where their core values and culture allow for this to be part of their special ingredient to grow their business. In reality, there are very few small business owners that are genuinely Entrepreneurs or Disruptors. Most business owners are great technicians in their craft and simply want the opportunity to run the business their way not an all new way.
This week as you look at your past results and future plans, consider how paddling upstream can be used for a positive outcome. If you keep dealing with recurring issues, dig deeper into the root causes and get them fixed. If you want to be a bit more risk oriented, look at what you and your business might consider to disrupt the norm and make a new way of being successful.
If you plan on either cleaning up the recurring problems or making a new way of conducting business, give us a call – JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945. We have experience in working with serial Entrepreneurs.