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

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A reflection of your capabilities

July 12, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

A reflection of your capabilities

Each day as leaders we are involved with various decisions – hiring employees, buying supplies, engaging with clients and vendors and the list goes on. These transactions reflect your leadership style.  Your staff and your clients see these actions and formulate an impression about how you go about running your business. They might not see or know the whole picture but regardless they form an opinion of your capabilities and the capabilities of your organization.

So what do they see?

The picture in this week’s insights, we see a very majestic reflection of the mountain tops on an almost glass still lake. The reflection is an almost perfect replication of the actual mountain range.

This image is a baseline for you and your organization to reflect a consistent picture within the business and equally to the outside world you service. Does your business project a positive image of your capabilities?  Does that image contribute to your “Brand” awareness? If you were to ask your best and worst customers, would they have a similar picture of the reflection of your organization?

This week have some conversations both internally and externally to get input about what image you are reflecting in the marketplace. Are your actions congruent with your core values? Do you regularly acknowledge staff for their behaviors that reflect these values? If your answers are unknown or not up to your business standards then what your staff and customers see is impacting your business growth.

In a hyper-competitive marketplace, you cannot take your brand image for granted.  The outward portrait your customers see through your employee’s actions screams volumes.  This along with social media, online reviews and a whole host of other outward facing images are the real reflection of your organization’s capabilities.

Need an objective third party assessment of your reflection?  Give JKL Associates a call for your initial conversation.

As always, your questions and feedback are appreciated and can be directed to our email or by calling one of our offices.

#JKLAssociates #BusinessBuilder #PromiseCulture #Transition #Perpetuation #PromiseGuide

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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Happy Birthday America!

July 3, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

Happy Birthday America!

Tomorrow is a national holiday which as “American’s” we need to stop and take note of the freedoms that we have in the USA.

No, it is not perfect but the USA is a beacon of hope for everyone who genuinely understands and appreciates the freedoms we too often take for granted.

As business leaders, we are provided great opportunity to venture out and build a business for growth, employment, social matters etc. This is not true in all places around the globe.  Our capitalist system along with our constitution provides our “Republic” unique access to letting us chase our dreams.

As you wake tomorrow and go forth (no pun intended) take time to give acknowledgment to our forefathers and the insights they had to design and execute a set of standards and rights that after 200+ years still are the envy of the world.

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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Understanding your customer

June 28, 2018

ISSN# 1545-2646

 

Understanding your customer

You are in business to generate a profit.  Part of the business is having the best products or services which your sales team can sell to your customers. The question is – what makes “Best” products or services.  What you think your customer wants or what your customer needs?  Simple questions but not necessarily easy to accomplish.

Over the years a lot has been written, spoken about and delivered in various training activities about knowing your customer.  Marketing research to gather, decipher, analyze and craft a product or service plan are excellent to get a solid understanding of the customer needs. This moves a guess or hunch into a tangible fact-based definition of the products or services the particular marketplace requires to accomplish its objectives. It outlines what your company must deliver in order to solve a problem the customer can’t fix on their own.  If they can solve the problem on their own then making the sale is far more challenging.

Your customer buys from you for a variety of reasons.  Do you know what they are or are you assuming what they are?

Assuming is a risky business model. It places at risk your business asset for the sake of hoping you are correct.  Maybe you have lots of extra income you can just toss into the wind but most organizations take a more defined approach to understanding their customers. When we speak of understanding the customer we need to look beyond the apparently obvious.  If they dig holes for a living then they likely need a shovel.  The larger question is – what type of holes are they digging and what size shovel or even piece of heavy equipment do they need to be most productive.

To understand your customer you first need to understand the business they are in.  What are the problems they face on a daily basis?  What impact do the industry and regulations have on their ability to be productive? Are there other internal factors such as the culture of the organization? How might the age of the business or the age of the leadership impact the relationship?

If your business has been around for more than 5 years then you might be resting on your historical customer profile. This model could be eroding your profit model because the business your customers were in has also changed. Many of us more senior business people had heard the talk about the horse whip going away as a result of the advent of the automobile.  That change took place over multiple years.  Today, change is happening at a radically quicker pace.  Trends, problems and the products or services to fix them can be outdated in as short of time as 12 months.

This week take some time to evaluate if you genuinely understand your customer.  Their needs, wants, industry dynamics and culture. How is their business changing and how should yours change to stay current with their demands?

Curious about how your business stays current on customer demands?  Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to start some open dialogue.

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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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
Become a Fan on Facebook ? www.facebook.com/jklassociates
Link up on LinkedIn ? www.linkedIn.com/in/jklassociates
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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
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 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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