Category Archives: Uncategorized

Caring for People: Everyone is Important

caring for people

 

Sometimes it’s just a great day, good things happen, stuff goes right, and you’re thinking—“This is magical! Really? Could days like this occur more often?” We are surprised because we are accustomed to dealing with difficulty, anticipating annoyances, and feeling stressed. But there are ways to witness “magic” more regularly. In leadership it’s all about the people with whom you interact.

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Employee Retention: Value Your People

happy-at-work

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month. Among the many contributing factors, job satisfaction is key. The Conference Board report of 2014 reveals that in 2013, the percentage of workers satisfied with their jobs was 47.7, well below the historical level of 61.1 percent in 1987. A 2014 report by CareerBuilder  cites these reasons:  45% of workers say they were dissatisfied with the advancement opportunities at their current company; 39% percent say they didn’t have a positive work/life balance; 37% percent had a poor opinion of their boss and his/her performance; 36% said they felt like they were overlooked for a promotion. Clearly, employees are willing to reveal their reasons for dissatisfaction and eventual quitting of their jobs. As a business owner, business leader or organizational leader, do you think about employee retention? Do you value your workers and do they know it? Continue reading

Wasting Time and Money on Operations?

operationsOperations are all the actions that take place regularly to facilitate maintenance and progress in your business or organization. Operations are the human engagements of system design and processes. Customers are on the receiving end of operations. When these operations are carried out efficiently we say things are going well; but toward what end? Operations may go smoothly yet be ineffective, or they may not be the best investment of time or money. Think of it this way: operations must flow from a planning process that flows from accurate, wise and strategic thinking about where the business or organization has been, is now, and desires to be in the future. Concerning operations, leadership expert Mike Myatt says, “…the best leaders always start with why followed very closely by who. Then, and only then, do they work on the design of what and how.”

Why Update Operations?

Should businesses and organizations update operations regularly? The old cliché, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” comes to mind often when discussing operations. But don’t roll your eyes just yet; people may say this simply because it is a statement of fact, and not a hard line against change. Maybe they’ve not ever been encouraged to think about changing the way things are done in order to accommodate a fluctuating economy or business environment. So give them the benefit of the doubt and begin to introduce the real value and advantage of designing operations that work well. Eamonn Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, Strategy & Operations Deloitte Consulting LLP, shares his insights into 9 global trends that affect how businesses and organizations must consider operations in the coming years: “The next wave of globalization will bring fresh challenges on many levels for businesses and the people who manage them.” Our world is more connected than ever before, with global issues influencing businesses of every size.

Do Good Operations Make a Difference to Customers?

When operations work, businesses and organizations produce the results that satisfy customers. Remarkable customer experience means more repeat business and positive word of mouth referrals. In short, consistently growing revenue. The cost of dissatisfied customers? According to recent research, $537,030,000,000 is lost in revenue to US business due to poor customer experience. Fifty-one percent of customers switched businesses due to dissatisfaction and 81% said the company could have prevented it.

How Not to Waste Time and Money on Operations

In order to improve operations there are some quick wins that you can achieve:

  • Ask your employees what systems and processes help them serve customers the best. Find ways to leverage this success within you company. Think about other areas of your business that might benefit from a similar approach and implement your successful processes and systems there.
  • Listen carefully for operations that draw the complaints of your customers and employees: fix, replace, or eliminate these operations.

In the long-term, identify specifically how each operational process or system helps your employees deliver a better experience to your customers or makes your company a better place to work for your employees. When operations do not clearly deliver customer or employee satisfaction: fix, replace or eliminate these operations. When seeking consistent revenue through remarkable customer experience delivered by enthusiastic employees, creating operations that work is worth the time and effort.

About the Author

ReneeDr. Renée N. Hale is Lead Consultant at WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc. WellSpirit Management Consulting provides custom company/organizational management solutions, individual leadership coaching and stand alone workshops.  Located on the 84th floor of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Call (312) 283-8020 to schedule an appointment today. To join the Business Worth Living  community, use the sign-up form on this page to receive our weekly Business Worth Living newsletter.

 

Cash Flow: Cash or Crash

cashAh, the words sound positive, don’t they! The flow of cash. We all need cash flow in order to provide for our daily needs in business and personal matters. The principle is always the same: strategically manage the money coming in and going out. In business, this means considering customers who pay you and vendors you pay. The simplicity of the concept may tempt us to believe one of two fallacies: first, that lots of cash coming in means “big profit”; and second, that slow cash flow means our products are not profitable. Do the math? Yes, this is where we engage our basic mathematics and unlock the truth about sustainable cash flow. Everyone seems to want it; some understand how to strategically plan for it; and fewer exercise the consistent discipline to really make it work. As author Jim Collins points out in his book How the Mighty Fall, “Organizations don’t die from lack of earnings. They die from lack of cash” (2009).

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Attentive, Responsible Employees – Don’t Sabotage Them

image credit: bluesyemre.com

image credit: bluesyemre.com

Leaders who don’t nurture attentiveness and responsibility in their employees ultimately sabotage their own bottom lines. Are you an attentive, responsible employee? Or perhaps a business owner or organizational leader who would like to work with attentive, responsible employees? The words sound good, and it may seem like an ideal to pursue. After all, good employees mean better customer relations and more sales, right? The good news is, it’s an attainable reality for businesses and organizations to have attentive, responsible employees.

Attentive Employees

First, let’s look at “attentive”. Attentiveness is an intense mutual interest brought about through focused involvement with what the other party is saying and doing during the encounter. It’s the single most important dimension in managing customer dissatisfaction, having the largest effect on satisfaction and repurchase*. It’s transferable to management and employee relationships—any relationship. If you’re an employee, begin to practice attentive behavior with customers and your boss, too. You’ll be surprised how much your renewed interest in each person improves communication and end results. As the employer, begin modeling attentive behavior in the same way. You can explain to your employees what attentiveness is about as you show them the way. The synergy when both parties are attentive to one another is powerful.

Responsible Employees

Next, what is “responsible” when it comes to employees? It’s having the job or duty of dealing with or taking care of something or someone. A responsible employee is able to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected. How do employees become “responsible” in these ways? It starts with you, the leader: if you value your people, they will reflect that in their wellbeing. And they will work better. Who you are leading today produces profits for tomorrow. Leadership advisor Mike Myatt says, “You simply cannot be a leader if you don’t care about those you lead. The real test of any leader is whether or not those they lead are better off for being led by them.”

Value Attentive, Responsible Employees

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month. Why? Author Alan Hall reports that Grow America compiled research from several sources, and “…in truth, the majority of people, quitting or not, are currently unhappy in their jobs.” A recent study by Accenture reports these reasons: 1) They don’t like their boss (31%), 2) A lack of empowerment (31%), 3) Internal politics (35%) and 4) Lack of recognition (43%). Even in the current less than robust economy, people are willing to quit in order to find another job where they feel valued.

The Equation for Attentive, Responsible Employees

Employees who don’t make the effort to be attentive and responsible may forfeit promotions or other benefits, and ultimately live a less satisfying work experience. Considering that it is possible to develop these qualities, why wouldn’t we all try? The people who represent you, your company or your organization are your greatest assets. They build your success. Employees, you are those valuable people. It takes both owners/managers and employees—two sides of the equation—to make attentiveness and responsibility a reality at work.

 

*Tickle-Degnen, L and Rosenthal, R. (1990). The nature of rapport and its nonverbal correlates,” Psychological Inquiry, 1 (4), 285-93.

About the Author

ReneeDr. Renée N. Hale is Lead Consultant at WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc. WellSpirit Management Consulting provides custom company/organizational management solutions, individual leadership coaching and stand alone workshops.  Located on the 84th floor of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Call (312) 283-8020 to schedule an appointment today. To join the Business Worth Living  community, use the sign-up form on this page to receive our weekly Business Worth Living newsletter.

 

Decision Making

decisions

Decision Making Reconsidered

Good leaders evaluate their decision making process frequently to make sure they’re on the right track. Some decisions are practically instinctual, while others are intentional. Author Suzanne Eller says, “Some of our everyday choices are random, others weighty, but many of our decisions are choice points…they lead us in one direction or another.” She points out that the direction we take can determine the eventual outcome. In other words, our reactions to people and circumstances can mean the difference between success and failure. Consider the following components of every decision.

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Hazards of Group Leadership

Caution tape with orange traffic cone

Group Leadership: Common Challenges

Leadership isn’t always about an individual who directs or influences others, or has ultimate authority. Leadership is often the role of a group of people. Do you or anyone you know serve on a board of directors, a committee, or advisory group? These groups usually lead by majority vote or consensus. They are supposed to seek needed input, process issues together, and come to conclusions that best benefit the business or organization to which they report. The system is good because the group leadership process calls for full participation and decisions are backed by everyone. Caution! Group leadership can break down in painful ways—and when it does, there’s always someone who suffers because of the break down. Poor decisions made by group leadership, affecting a person’s work status, livelihood or reputation can lead to deep wounds that are difficult to heal. This happens most often when group leadership impedes or evades leadership all together, in favor of groupthink or, conversely, the personal agendas of individuals.

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Different People, Different Priorities

different people, different priorities

 

Priorities: Why We Work the Way We Do

Do you ever wonder why you approach your work the way that you do? Do you ever wonder why a co-worker approaches his or her work in ways that seem counter-productive to you?

Our approach to work is guided by our natural priorities. In this post, I explore the priorities that drive us at work and how to use those priorities to build great teams. I introduce some practical ways to use the DISC concepts to identify and maximize your personal priorities and the priorities of your co-workers.

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Workgroups Are Not Teams, but . . .

Workgroups are not teamsThere are specific characteristics that make real teams different from other types of workgroups.   Workgroups are not teams, but effective workgroups and effective teams do share some common characteristics. In their book The Wisdom of Teams, Katzenbach and Smith point out five of these shared characteristics.

1. Workgroups are not teams, but  . . . both need an understandable charter.

A charter is a document that states the purpose of the workgroup or of the team. A charter could include a variety of elements including statements about how the work will be approached, how decisions are made, and how members will communicate. However, the most important aspects are a clear purpose and the expected/required performance outcomes related to that purpose. The charter should be a short working document, preferably one or two pages,  that the group or team changes and refines as needed. The charter must be understandable. This means that the charter must clear away any ambiguity surrounding the purpose and performance expectations of the group or team. A charter is understandable when all the members agree that there is no confusion about what the charter commits the group or team and its individual members to do.

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Building Great Teams @Work

Building Great Teams @Work

 

Announcing Building Great Teams @Work

WellSpirit Consulting Group Inc. and our business partner Industrial Solutions – Midwest LLC are delighted to announce the launch of our Fall Workshop Series: Building Great Teams @Work. These workshops will be held throughout the Chicago Metro Area and Northwest Indiana. We update our venues frequently. Stay up to date with the complete list of locations and dates here.

Throughout the fall, we will be discussing teams:

  • Why are teams critical in today’s business environment?
  • What makes teams different from other work groups?
  • How do average teams become high performing teams?

We will spend a lot of time exploring the importance of communication in building high performing teams. When Sandy Pentland and a team of researchers set out to discover what differentiates average teams from high performing teams, the “it” factor they discovered was –  wait for it . . . communication!

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