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Build Strategic Thinking into your Routine

Build Strategic Thinking into your Routine

I’m sure you’ve seen them – those business owners who always seem to know where they are going and are solidly on a path to achieve their goals. They are confident and sure of their plans. Then, there are others who always seem to be fighting fires, catching up on yesterday’s tasks and are completely consumed by living in the moment. How do we move from too much time in the here and now to a little more in the pre-planned path? Would it surprise you to know that strategic thinkers are more effective leaders, and are more inspiring to their people? So how do we become a strategic thinker? How do we develop strategic thinking in our organizations? Strategic thinking is not just limited to the executive suite. You want to encourage strategic thinking among all levels of the organization. This is a skill that can be developed if nurtured and given time to grow. Here are a couple of tips to develop a strategic mindset. Look around you. What is happening in your company? Are there issues that arise over and over? Are your people complaining of the same things time and time again? What is going on

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Developing the Emerging Leaders In Your Organization

Developing the Emerging Leaders In Your Organization

One of the critical jobs of a leader is to make sure they are developing the people that come behind them. You are running a company. No matter how your business is going, one thing is certain. You won’t be running it forever. At some point, you will begin to slow down, and perhaps even retire. At that point, you need to have someone you trust take the reins from you. Have you identified that person, or several potentials? If you have, that’s great – you are ahead of the crowd! If not, don’t despair – having a focus on developing the next generation of leadership will serve you well. I have seen companies where an heir apparent (or several potentials) have been identified, and groomed for positions of increasing responsibility throughout their careers. These individuals are then well positioned to take over the day to day running of the company when the leader decides to take a step back. I applaud these companies – and think that more need to follow this example! But it doesn’t just happen organically! Many larger companies have solid management training programs that will lead a promising individual through all areas of the company,

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Are You Spending Too Much Time Working In Your Business?

Are You Spending Too Much Time Working In Your Business?

I have a client – I’ll call him John – who has a manufacturing business. He considered himself fairly successful, but he wasn’t very happy or excited about his success. He was feeling stuck, and he was mentally and physically exhausted in his business. Stay tuned to hear how we were able to get John some relief. When I first met John, he was spending crazy hours at work, and really felt like he was on a hamster wheel – just running like crazy to keep the business moving forward. He was involved in every aspect of his business and either doing or supervising everything himself.  When I asked him what his vision for the company was, and what specific goals he had targeted for this year, he kind of gave me a deer in the headlights sort of stare. Then he shrugged and said that he didn’t have time to worry about strategy – he was doing everything he could just to keep the company on track. He was working completely IN his business and hadn’t taken the opportunity to take a step back and work ON his business at a higher level. He had created a strategic plan

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Engaging Your Employees for Success

Engaging Your Employees for Success

You’ve probably heard the term “Employee Engagement” used to describe a best practice within an organization. But what does it look like, and how do we know when our employees are engaged? In a somewhat simplistic sense, employee engagement is a focused approach in the workplace that results in happy employees, committed to the organization, who are giving their best each and every day. These employees believe in the company, are proud to work there, and are committed to the success of the organization. It is up to employers to set the stage for a culture of employee engagement – by creating the right conditions so employees will strive to reach their individual potential, and create successful outcomes for the organization. There are several ways to tell if your employees are fully engaged in their work and in the company culture. How is their attitude? Engaged employees are generally very positive and upbeat. They look forward to coming to work each day, and actively seek out opportunities for contribution. They are eager to discuss ideas and work to inspire those around them. Engaged employees are great to have on a team, because of their positive attitude and the fact that

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Growing Profits in 2018

Growing Profits in 2018

Growing profits does not necessarily mean you have to work harder.  Sometimes, we just have to work smarter. Look at how your salespeople are earning new business – are they actively communicating with potential customers or have they settled into being “order-takers”? What is your sales model? Do your salespeople all work from a process or a selling system, or are they each left to fly by the seat of their pants? Are you confident that your salespeople are communicating the unique value proposition your products or services offer? Do the research, and create a list of “Top-10” prospective customers – what would it take to earn their business? Find out who currently serves these customers and determine if and how you could better serve their needs. Reach out to lost customers. Find out why they left you if you don’t already know, then ask straight out what it would take to earn back their business. Express an honest and sincere desire to understand how you can best serve them. The key is being sincere. People will see right through a fake attempt to appear concerned, and that breeds mistrust. Take some time to actually have conversations with some of

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Why Leaders Get Stuck (and how to get unstuck!)

Why Leaders Get Stuck (and how to get unstuck!)

It is very common for business leaders to talk to me about feeling stuck. I get comments about how they are working really hard, but feel like they aren’t getting to where they want to go. Or no matter what they try, revenues don’t budge. Or they feel like the same issues keep arising over and over. There are lots of reasons that business owners can feel stuck. Here are two of the big ones.  I see leaders get immersed in the weeds of their business – they are too busy working in their business that they don’t take the time to pull back and take a strategic view of what is happening. How does someone get unstuck from this? Go back to your business plan. Spend time reviewing your vision & mission. Make sure they are still relevant today. Look at the objectives. Are these measureable, and have you been tracking to them? Is your data captured and up to date? Are you capturing the right metrics for your business? Anything you could begin to monitor? Strategies are important to review. These will outline how you are going to build your business over time. What strategies can you put

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Accountability

Accountability

In my work with clients, one of the major themes that I come across is the issue of accountability. So many people work hard on their business planning activities, set goals, have wonderful intentions…but something happens. Or, rather, something DOESN’T happen!

All the planning in the world won’t move your business forward unless you are committed to taking the action steps you outlined for yourself. So often, especially at the beginning of a new year or new quarter or new business cycle, we spend lots of time planning. It is easy to get stuck in too much input and not enough output! The magic is in the implementation. That is easier said than done and many of us think we just need to be focused, or be disciplined in order to “do” the work we said we would do to move our business forward. It is REALLY hard to do it yourself!

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Setting Goals

Setting Goals

As business owners or company leaders, I’m sure you have experience with goal setting. We all know it is important, but do we really give it the time and attention it deserves? Do we use these goals actively to guide our work throughout the year? Many of us know that our goals should be SMART! This is a great acronym to keep us focused on developing solid goals. The goal should be Specific. As you develop your goal, really get a vision of what you are trying to achieve with this goal. Keep drilling into your vision until you come up with something very specific. Go for the detail on this visualization. What the mind cannot visualize, it cannot achieve! Your goal should be Measurable – what metrics will you use to track your goal and determine if you have succeeded? You need tangible evidence of completion. This can include short-term or smaller measurements if appropriate to gauge progress throughout the time period. Goals need to be Achievable. They should be challenging, with a touch of realism! Doubling revenue in a year is likely not achievable if the most revenue has increased has been 25%. You need to ensure you

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Good Leaders Know How to Apologize

Good Leaders Know How to Apologize

I know of an individual who thought that just because he held the title “CEO” all of his direct reports (and their direct reports) would automatically respect him. This person did not pay very much attention to how he would EARN that respect; he thought he deserved it just because of his title. There is some amount of truth to that – we do need to respect the POSITIONS in an organization, and there is a certain amount of respect automatically due a CEO. However, to earn respect at a deeper level , as a true leader, takes a bit more work than just sitting in the corner office. I learned early in my career that CEOs, Presidents and Executive Directors all have one thing in common. They are human. Inevitably, humans make mistakes. It’s what happens AFTER someone makes a mistake that matters. In the case of the CEO I mentioned earlier, he consistently refuses to admit to any weakness, mistake or error of judgment. He goes so far as to blame others for his mistakes or misjudgments. If a project goes awry, or doesn’t bring in the intended results, he chastises the project owner, and even disavows any

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