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.”
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.
A few weeks back we touched upon this topic of the face to face interview step in the recruiting to hire process. Since then, I have received some questions about “The Process” and “The Questions” we use to dial in on a candidate’s fit for a particular job.
Let’s deal with “The Questions” used during the interview process first.
There is no one size fits all set of questions. Every company and roles within those companies are different. They may have the same titles in different organizations and they may have some common deliverables across an industry, but the cultural factors of the business are a significant factor in how the key accountabilities for a job are held responsible for delivering. It is for this reason that “off the shelf” questions pulled from a book cannot be used without refining them to the company-specific demands of a job. As part of our engagement with a client on the setting up of the Recruit to Hire process, we have a multi-step process to benchmark the job and then craft a specific model to that given job for that organization. Anything less than a model designed to incorporate the culture of the business is hoping everyone fits into the same round hole even if they are a square peg.
As far as “The Process” or internal steps for moving a candidate from the initial posting of the job to the first day of onboarding also has a degree of tailoring involved. Part of it depends on the level at which the job is being hired. As an example, the general process is the same regardless of whether it is a management position or shop floor technician. The tailoring takes place due to the nature of what separates the roles in the business. The level of deliverables, responsibilities, duties, etc. all play a factor in the process of moving candidates from receipt of initial interest letter and resume to next steps.
The general outline of the process starts with benchmarking the job to collect real data and remove as much bias as possible, so the hire is for the job and not to replicate the prior person approach. Once data is available a custom job posting is drafted so that it only attracts potential talent who can relate to the job. The objective is to have the ad be the first self-selection step to eliminate the candidates who are not aligned with the role. Once resumes are received, they are reviewed and based again on the criterion established during the benchmarking process, only those who meet the mark move forward. Subsequent steps include email questions, telephone interview and questions, face to face interview and questions, candidate assessments and comparison to job demands, additional face to face interviews if/as needed and then offer for employment. In many cases, offers additionally include conditions as for fitness for work such as drug testing, background checks, physicals, etc.
This process may appear to be long and drawn out, but in reality, it actually saves most clients hours of wasted time in the recruit to hire process. It is very focused, has a consistent method for engaging each candidate professionally and ultimately contributing to best alignment to job demands.
This week look at your Recruit to Hire process and see if it is concise and delivering what your business needs to have a best-in-class workforce.
For more insights on the Recruit to Hire process, call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to set up an initial discovery meeting.
We are now into the second quarter of the calendar year 2018. First quarter revenues should begin to give you a better picture of how your sales forecast and actual performance is aligning. Last year when putting your budgets together you used the best information at the time to plan and begin to deploy tactics and strategies to affect sales growth. By reviewing your performance to plan, you can take corrective action if needed or expand your tactics to capture a large portion of the sales objectives set forward in your plan.
I met with a client the other day and we joked about the saying – “Nothing happens till the sale happens.” There is no truer statement about running a business. You can have perfect processes and procedures. You can hire and develop the best employees. Your products and/or services can be top shelf quality. If you don’t sell, you don’t need any of those other things.
Those of you who have been running a business for 5 or more years most likely have this mantra ringing in your head naturally. You are always interested in the next sale opportunity. When is it going to close? What can you do to help move it along etc.? Even when your business has grown to the point where you have sales management handling the daily sales activities, you as the owner still want to know where “Sales” stand. It is not that you are not interested in all the other aspects of the business but without sales, none of the other pieces of the puzzle are needed. More importantly, without sales, it is almost impossible to keep the rest of the well-oiled machine moving.
When there are sales slumps, people get nervous. Top talent wants to work for and be on the best teams. When top talent begins to leave a business, then stopping the bleeding becomes a full-time job which distracts from selling. When top talent leaves, hiring, and re-training must take place which distracts from selling. When top talent leaves, existing processes and procedures get fouled up which again causes a distraction away from selling. These internal challenges then spill out into your customers which in turn potentially cause them to leave which not only distracts from selling but new sales are placed in jeopardy because they begin to question why such a change in personnel, processes, and products.
This week, once you have your first quester numbers, set some quality time aside to look them over. Don’t just acknowledge what the value of the numbers are but do some analysis as to how they compare to the plan and what caused the end result to happen. If better than plan, what can you learn from your actions and replicate them moving forward? If not up to plan objectives, what needs to be done to get them not just back on track but move them from average performance to accelerated performance.
Not actively engaged in your sales numbers? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 for an initial conversation on setting up a culture to support the preservation of your company.
You have all heard the commercials such as the one from Capital One Bank – “What’s in your wallet?” or the one by the computer chip manufacturer Intel – about “Core i7 processor inside.”
When working with clients, and part of our “Promise Culture” framework, the need to engage open dialogue about values is not about coming up with words. It is all about coming face to face with what is genuinely critical inside you and your company. Those elements which no matter how difficult, you will not bend on living to those standards.
I’m sure everyone has seen value statements in company lobby’s, on advertisements and in some cases integrated into sales pitches. The real question is – how true are the words to the behaviors and actions when the organization is dealing with a difficult situation? When everything is moving along smoothly, it is generally easier to conform to the values of the company. When the going gets rough, then one of the challenges is staying true to your core values both personally and commercially.
This is not easy!
It is somewhat like starting a change in diet or physical fitness workout. Intellectually you know it to be right and have mentally justified the want and why to do it. Then comes the actual doing it. These are the actions and behaviors which ultimately determine the end outcome. Are your behaviors aligned with your core values?
A few years back the phrase “Walking the Talk” was pretty popular. It captures the essence of living up to the standards you set for yourself and the company values framework. If one of your organizations’ core values has something to do with teamwork, then how is that being recognized on a daily basis in the hall of your company? I specifically used the word recognized here because it has two paths to take. One is the outward recognition (the observation) by customers, clients, vendors and fellow employees of the company’s actions and behaviors. The other is what is your organization doing to acknowledge (the reward) those members of your team who hold themselves to the core value of teamwork?
This week as you do your normal routine, try to take a few moments to observe the transaction both internally and externally of your staff members. Make some mental notes on what you observe and then compare your thoughts with your organizations’ core values. Are they aligned? If they are – CONGRATULATIONS! If not, then it is time to step back, regroup and realign your organizations’ execution patterns to get them aligned with your core values. If your core values are just words on paper and do not actually define the standard of relationships you and your company must have to be their best, then back to the drawing board to recraft your core values. Better to have real values which drive and build your business than to fake nice words which no one follows.
Missing core values actions and behaviors? Let JKL Associates bring your core values to life by calling (313) 527-7945.
As most employers know, the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Division I National Basketball Championships are underway. Maybe it is because of the “Hush-Hush” games pool posted in the employees’ lunch room. Maybe it is because the news on the radio starts with the scores. Maybe it is because one or more of the staff is an alumnus of one of the participating schools. The bottom line is that you just can’t escape the hype.
The marketing of these national championships and many others (football, hockey, volleyball, etc.) are great examples of building a “Brand.” Yes, folks, the NCAA is a brand just as much as their academics in universities across the nation, the NCAA is a sports franchise mecca. It is massively Big Business in the billions.
What can we learn from this marketing extravaganza?
The first item to take note of is that it takes spaced repetitions of the message to “Own” a top of mind spot in your consumers’ mind. The branding of an NCAA tournament starts months prior to the actual event. As you watch this years games, you will already see adds for next years 2019 event.
Second is the ongoing energy of ranking teams throughout the season to create an intense level of competition leading up to the championship event. In fact, they even have an event to announce the team to be in the event causing even more compiled energy. All this to build to the feeding frenzy of the tournament.
Third, the message is concise and universally understandable. Not only does this apply to the NCAA messages but equally to the millions of dollars spent by advertisers on their messages throughout the games. Over roughly a 3 week period, the NCAA and their advertisers will expose you the consumer to numerous adds. All setting in motion the longer-term mindset that when you go out on a shopping spree, you will buy one of their products because it is top of your mind, placed there by spaced repetition.
The question to ask yourself is – what is my business doing to create a top of mind awareness to my target marketplace?
No, you don’t have budgets like the NCAA or their sponsors. What you do have is the proper investment of time and energy to direct current and future buyers to your organization. What platforms might you choose? Maybe Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Maybe a more traditional approach like direct mail. The key here is that you need a strategy to “Brand” your business. This can’t come as an add-on to sales or operations. The consumer likes to be associated with a “Brand,” and it is up to the business to craft their brand.
This week, look at what you are doing or not doing to brand your business. Do you have a strategy? Is the strategy well-conceived? Is the strategy funded for the long-term, so you accomplish a spaced repetition to your target audience?
Not only is today the start of the Sweet Sixteen round (16 teams remain at the start of this round) but many marketing gurus talk about needing about 16 positive touches with a customer to keep your business top of mind for future purchases.
Wondering where to go with “Branding” your business? Then it is time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to start the conversation.
I attended a virtual Men’s Health Summit recently. There was a variety of speakers on a wide range of topics from health, fitness, nutrition, the mind, performance, relationships, behavior, etc. It might sound odd, but investing in these types of information platforms is not just for my well-being but those of many of my clients.
One of the breakout sessions covered an interesting topic about how men and women interact and how a little knowledge and understanding just might help navigate those relationships. There have been many books written about this topic, and it is bantered about the talk show circuit as well. The reality is that we need to stop and take a good listen to the underlying content of these discussions. We hear the dialogue, but when it comes to interacting, we place that information aside and fall back into some of our more Neanderthal behaviors.
What might that mean?
Back during the early evolution of people, men were theoretically designated “Hunters,” and women were designated to camp duties such as cooking, raising children, etc. This model is not likely completely true but has over the years caused separation not only of duties around the household but also in the behaviors of personal interaction. For thousands of years, various events captured this model in one form or another to such a degree it still causes controversy in 2018. This model formation placed a division between the proposed mindset of the male to be the provider, and by taking this role seriously, they process from a committed or achievement-based approach. The proposed female which dealt with more soft or feelings-based content which required them to be more open to the various landscape they navigated in the family setting. This recurring model over the centuries was re-emphasized over and over again and thus casting it into not just past societies but current ones as well.
What can we learn and take away to your business on this matter?
As you look around your organization, have meetings, interact with customers, etc. pay more attention to the behaviors and ways people communicate. You might discover that the men in the group tend to take a “Committed” stand and tap back into their “Hunter” mindset. Women are far more open, leaning upon their historical feelings based behaviors. This is not to say that the two cannot switch roles because they can and should, depending on the needs of the situation.
In fact, that is the purpose of this article and the presentation. We as leaders need to stop boxing ourselves and others into these categorically stereotypical frameworks and begin to treat people as individuals based on their entire value to the situation.
Women are great hunters and can demonstrate a massive commitment to an end result but hide it because they don’t want to be shamed by others for being too forward etc. Men have real heartfelt feelings but hide them so, they do not look weak.
This week as you observe your business and the interactions which flow through it daily, pause to acknowledge those employees who are willing to be open when open is needed and committed when that is needed.
As the leader of your business, are you “Open” for business? Interested in taking your business to the next level? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 and let us start an open discussion.
This phrase is well understood as to how the brain works at the most fundamental level. When you are put in that uncomfortable position, your brain defaults to the survival mode, and you subconsciously elect to either run, freeze or stay and take a stand to fight.
Although you may not see your business decisions as fight or flight situations, the reality is that throughout your day you move in and out of this place of comfort or discomfort. Typical business decisions are not life or death type decisions, but your basic brain triggers when confronted by a decision you need to make. Based on where your journey has taken you, your decision-making process can either be more developed or your confidence in this skill set is questioned in your own mind. The result is an influence in your decisions; whether you Fight (take action to move a decision forward); Freeze (take no action and idle in place causing many ramifications of just waiting); Flight (the choice to avoid the decision and run from making it).
As part of the journey you have been on, you have gravitated to certain behaviors which are the way you present your decisions to the marketplace. Behaviors are the visual display of what happens inside of you. Those behaviors caused a reaction to your decision and either confirmed you or pushed back on you. This, in turn, caused some self-reflection and your next decision might not have been influenced by that particular decision but after multiple compounding of decisions, reactions and results, your behaviors begin to set in place. Unfortunately, not all of these events confirmed or affirmed you in the best light or even results.
This week it is time to step back and be honest with the behaviors you use to effect a result. Do those behaviors cause you to put your staff into fight or flight type environments?
Look at a couple of decisions you make this week and then how you communicate those to your staff. How did your staff react? Was it the reaction you expected and wanted? Was the end result a positive outcome or less than desired? Ask your team how they felt when you communicated your decision. Was their reaction aligned with what you were attempting to accomplish?
Fight or flight is a preprogrammed part of each of us. In real life or death situations, we are all happy it exists. In most of our day to day actions, we have to be more conscious of having this program run/rule our business decisions, and how it influences your team.
Wondering what your behaviors or decision making skills are? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to discuss tools we can bring to you and your business to take the guesswork out of your understanding.
Many businesses spend lots of time on business strategy, tactics, marketing, writing policies, and procedures. Then what happens with their efforts?
Best practices companies take their effort and data and communicate it with their people. They deliver the message not just once, but they communicate it as regularly as needed to make it part of the culture of the business.
Unfortunately, other organizations create a beautiful 3 ring binder of data and place it nicely on the shelf in the owner’s office. I have been invited into multiple organizations because the leadership is perplexed as to why their staff just are not getting it. My first question is – what do they know about what the expectations are? The Goals, The Strategy, etc. I will almost always be told that this information was already communicated to them.
My follow up has more to do with validating they did not just hear the communication but understand how they fit into the plan. This requires two-way communication. These key strategies, policies, procedures, and plans can’t just be told to someone. They MUST become the fabric by which the organization operates.
Think of these as the operating instructions to run the computer. Without all the components working together, the computer just takes up space on the desktop. You can’t send a file to the printer. Your mouse does not move the cursor around the screen. You can’t receive or send an email and so forth. Strangely enough, if your PC was not working, you would immediately take action on getting a resolution. You would call a service tech to fix it. That service tech would get the devices all talking to one another, and you would be back to using your computer. What is happening inside the technology is that each device talks both ways. Each device not only receives the instruction but acknowledges it back so that no “Packets” of data are lost between the transfer from one device to the next.
The same needs to be true for your business operating instructions for your organization. All parts (data and people) need to be talking to one another and acknowledging receipt and understanding of the data. This creates an open communication culture. Everyone is empowered to not just acknowledge receipt but are encouraged to confirm understanding of the expectation of the direction.
This week you need to look at how open are your lines of communication between your staff, your leadership, your customers and your vendors. Explore this by asking simple, specific questions of team members about goals, actions, procedures which should be common knowledge to the members and find out what they actually know and understand. Find out how they best like to be informed of information. Do they like group gatherings to hear it or do they prefer a digital transmittal such as email or text?
By taking the time to understand the best ways to communicate you can bring greater results and thus more valuable to your business with little or no added expense to the bottom line.
How would you rate your company’s communication? Not sure? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 and let’s start a conversation on helping your company better communicate.
The Winter Olympics competition has been ongoing for a couple of weeks now. Many medals have been won and many athletes achieved their victory while others have fallen from the grasp of glory.
This week I ask you to consider the nature of how you run your company.
In the Winter Olympics, there are a couple of sports which use generally the same course but are approached with very different tools, skills, and attitudes. These sports are the Bobsled (team sport) and Skeleton (single rider). If you are not familiar with these two activities, basically in Bobsled, a team of either 2 or 4 people pushes a sled into a downward ice-covered track which is maneuvered and the quickest time to the finish line wins. In Skeleton, the same ice-covered track is used but in this event, a single rider hops onto a sled, head first and maneuvers to the finish line.
In the first event – Bobsled, teamwork is essential to the end result and success. In the second – Skeleton, it is a rider and their sled against the track. Neither of these sports is for the light of heart. With speeds of 75+ for Skeleton and 90+ for Bobsled, the people involved MUST know what they are doing or it can end in disaster.
With respect to how you run your organization, are you sliding head first with bold determination and broken bones be forgotten about? Or are you finessing a team of highly skilled talents to maneuver your company through the various twists and turns which the marketplace throws at you?
Now that you have your own picture of you running your company, how do your employees feel? Do they have the same picture you have in your head?
This week take a moment to ask your team members how they view you and your running of the company. If you have never asked them, you might get some strange looks. They will be cautious about how they may initial answer because it is out of the ordinary for you to inquire about their opinion. If you have previously sought their opinions, then make sure you listen to their thoughts. It might help you better understand how you are perceived in your company.
You may want to be looked at as the driver of the 4 man Bobsled team but are acting like the Skeleton driver jumping upon their sled and heading headfirst into danger.
It is your business, leading it is very much in your control or maybe not. Let JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 refine your leadership so not only can you get the thrill of victory but enjoy the ride.