Archive

Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

Jack Welch Inspiration and Motivation

January 26, 2017 1 comment

jackwelchinspireWho is Jack Welch?
For 2 decades, during his time as CEO of General Electric (GE), he took it from a old, slow moving company of $14 billion to a $500 billion company that was willing to take risks. I read his book, Jack: Straight from the Gut.  If you work at a big company, it is worth reading.

 

I don’t agree with all of what Jack Welch says but here are 13 quotes that I agree with (and a quick thought about each):

  1. “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
    Don’t get stagnant.  Always be learning, be agile and change to stay competitive.
  2. “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”
    Don’t get complacent.  Keep changing and stay ahead of your competition.
  3. “Change before you have to.”
    Competitors are always coming after you, so change to stay ahead.
  4. “Be candid with everyone.”
    Be genuine.  Great leaders are genuine.  (My post on Genuine Leaders)
  5. “Culture drives great results.”
    Make sure you hire by culture and instill the right culture in your employees.
  6. “One of the jobs of a manager is to instill confidence, pump confidence into your people.  And when you’ve got somebody who’s raring to go and you can smell it and feel it, give’em that shot.”
    Develop your team and keep them motivated.
  7. “Only two words matter for leaders today: truth and trust.”
    Very important.  Employees need to trust their leaders.
  8. “Big companies can’t change quickly.  Every big company’s gotta be a small company in their head.  You want the muscle of a big company, and the soul of a small company.”
    Act big but think small and be agile.
  9. “You want people to think every day about speed.”
    Install a culture of speed so the organization keeps changing.
  10. “When they trust you, you will get truth. And if you get truth, you get speed.  If you get speed, you’re going to act.  That’s how it works.”
    If employees trust leadership then they will act faster which is necessary against the competition.
  11. “You backroom is somebody else’s front room.  Backrooms by definition will never be able to attract your best.”
    Convert your backroom into someone else’s front room and insist on getting their best. (My post on Outsourcing)
  12. “Finding great people happens in all kinds of ways, and I’ve always believed everyone you meet is another interview.”
    Always be looking and connecting with individuals.  You never know where you might find a future great employee.
  13. “There has to be structure and logic so that every employee knows the rules of the game.”
    Let your employees know the priorities, the culture, and how they should perform.

Hope you enjoyed these inspirational and motivational quotes by Jack Welch.  Which one caught your attention?  Let me know.

Photo Credit: StockSnap.io (130)

 

 

You Can’t Be Great at Everything – Consider Outsourcing

January 24, 2017 Leave a comment
mail-room-2
You have a reason your organization is successful and it probably is not your back office or non-critical functions.  But these functions are distracting you from doing what you do best.  Have you considered outsourcing some (using outsiders) to do these important but not critical functions?
Some quotes by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE: “Your backroom is somebody’s elses front room.  Backrooms by definition will never be able to attract your best.”  Convert your backroom into someone elses front room and insist on getting the outsourcers best.

Here are my five reasons to outsource some of your functions:

Expertise
Outsourcing lets you acquire specialized expertise to accomplish goals, complete projects and augment your existing resources.  Small projects that require expertise not available with internal staff such as website design, sales training and video production could  probably best be served with an outside resource.  Large projects such as SalesForce CRM implementation or Marketo Marketing Automation implementation involving organizational change are best done with an outside perspective who can focus on it.  Learning new technologies is difficult and technology projects are good candidates for outsourcing to get your team up to speed on the technology from experts.

Cost
Outsourcing is usually less expensive then hiring employees due to cost of hiring, cost of training, salary, employee overhead such as benefits, computer equipment / software, office space, etc. Outsourcing costs are more flexible since they can be added or dropped easily, more so than employees. Variable costs projects are typically easier to get approved than additional headcount.  Cloud computing solutions such as SalesForce CRM and Basecamp Project Management solutions allow an organization to use technology that is not located on their premises which saves on internal IT costs.

Fresh Perspective
Sometimes it is advantageous to obtain an outsider’s perspective on things. Brainstorming with people from outside your organization helps facilitate fresh ideas that may not have come from a group of employees.

Focus
Outsourced resources do not suffer from goal distraction by common day-to-day fire-drills. An outside provider of resources has one responsibility and one priority, which is to complete the project. Focus delivers better results and greater accountability.  Outsourcing allows you to complete task / project goals without disrupting day-to-day operations and personnel.  Outsourcing allows you to focus on your core competencies.

Speed
A competitive advantage is speed.  The faster you release a product or implement a marketing solution could have a big impact in revenue or donations if you are a non-profit.  With outsourcing, you can bring in the necessary additional resources to complete a project or task faster than doing it with existing staff or hiring additional staff.

Possible Tasks that can be Outsourced

  • New hire recruitment
  • IT monitoring
  • Trade show event logistics such as booth shipping
  • Blog writing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Training or employee coaching including sales training
  • Business plan or marketing plan creation
  • HR benefits change

Focus on what you do best and outsource as many non-critical functions as possible.  Outsourcing  gives you flexibility, lowers costs, adds expertise, achieves faster completion and increases focus.  Feel free to provide me your thoughts on outsourcing.

The Secret Sauce to Leadership is Be Genuine

January 16, 2017 Leave a comment

IMG_1230

One day I was told that the key to leadership is for a leader to be genuine.  I totally agree and thus the reason for this blog post.  A great boss or manager needs to be genuine to be a great leader.  They care about their employees and the organization they work for.  They focus on their employees and listen to them.  People gravitate toward genuine leaders because they can trust them.  Genuine leaders walk their talk every day.

People tend to stay at an organization if they work for a genuine manager. It has been proven that employees don’t leave companies due to money but rather due to people, specifically a bad manager, a bad leader. It is beneficial to the organization that they hire managers who are genuine.  And the organization should focus on educating managers to be genuine and getting rid of bad managers quickly before losing good employees.

So what does genuine mean?  The dictionary definition of genuine is: 1) actual, real, or true :  not false or fake <genuine gold> and 2) sincere and honest <She showed genuine interest.>.

Jack Welch, former General Electric, CEO, stated, “Only two word matters for leaders today; truth and trust.” I agree with this quote but my quote would be “Only words that matters for leaders today are be genuine.”

Some key points about Genuine Leaders (GLs):

  • They are Human.  GLs understand that it is OK to be uncomfortable dealing with tough decisions and people.  They need to show vulnerability to their direct reports.  GLs believe in the golden rule.  Treat others as you want to be treated.  GLs treat others with respect because they believe that they are no better than anyone else.  GLs focus on people and not on themselves. GLs are good at reading people and adjusting to make others feel comfortable.  They know that praise goes a long, long way.
  • They are Communicators.  GLs are good listeners. They focus on what is being said to them instead of preparing their response.  By listening and asking questions shows that they care about the individual and respect them. Employees want to be heard and listened to.  GLs respond back to their employees, quickly and efficiently.   They explain why tasks are necessary and communicate the organization’s priorities.
  • They are Honest. GLs don’t lie to their direct reports.  They might not be able to tell them everything, especially if the organization is a public company but definitely do not lie to them.  Being open with your employees makes them feel valued.  GLs follow thru and live up to their commitments.  GLs keep their promises.  They don’t make excuses.  If in budget for an employee to attend a conference and then the budget is cut where they can’t go, a GL explains the situation and offer alternatives.  They review status reports, expense reports and time off requests quickly and provide concise feedback when necessary.  Employee reviews are important and delivered on time.  GLs share information and knowledge generously.  GLs don’t cover up their mistakes or the mistakes of the organization.  They need to be as transparent as possible.
  • They care about the Development of their direct reports.  GLs are easy to turn to for advice and help.  They create opportunities for their direct reports.  They discuss and make sure that employee growth occurs (personal and professional).  GLs care about training for their direct reports.  They want their direct reports to be successful.  GLs discuss with their direct reports what training is necessary and makes sure it happens.  GLs take the time to instill company values and good work habits in their direct reports.  GLs give feed back in a calm manner, and makes sure that it is actionable.

A few relevant quotes:

“Great leaders know how to work the room and make every single person feel as if he or she is being spoken to directly.” – Travis Bradberry

“Great leaders don’t blame the tools they are given.  They work to sharpen them.” – Simon Sinek

A few other thoughts about GLs:

  1. Are confident in themselves and their ability
  2. Do not covet recognition and often give credit away
  3. Do not brag about their accomplishments
  4. Want what is right and not what is best for them
  5. Support their team by giving them the tools and knowledge they need
  6. Are not corporate yes men and do not copy the latest fads

How do you feel when the following happens:

  • You send a thoughtful email on an important subject to your boss and you get no reply, even though you see emails from your boss to others on less important topics
  • You submit a status report on time and it takes 2 weeks for your boss to review it
  • You submit a vacation request and it takes over 2 weeks for your boss to approve it
  • Your boss runs away from making tough decisions or avoids conflicts with employees
  • A project you are involved in changes and there is no discussion by your boss on why it changed
  • Your boss checks their phone constantly during meetings when they should be focusing on the discussion of those in the meeting
  • You are given a task with an unrealistic deadline, you work long hours to get it done and then the task is never discussed again by your boss
  • Your boss lies to you about the status of a project, an employment hire or a budget item
  • Your boss cancels a 1on1 meeting with you at the last moment due to lesser priorities or their poor planning
  • Your boss takes all the credit for something that was done by someone else or the team
  • Your boss says that training is a top priority but an educational training that you were going to attend is cut from the budget with no discussion
  • Your boss delegates a task to you without asking what else is on your plate
  • Your boss gives a task to you without giving you all the information you need to begin the task
  • Your boss assigns you a task without telling you the reason for the task and its priority

Do any of the above make you feel like a valued employee, that your boss is doing their job or that they are being genuine.  When the above happened to me (which they all did) I knew that my boss was not a genuine leader and it was time for me to leave the organization or move to another department.

I dedicate this post to my friend, Adam Shiell, who told me one day at work, “the secret sauce to leadership is be genuine.”  So true.  If you are a manager, I hope you strive to be a great genuine leader.  I will try to be the best leader I can be by following my words in this post.

I want to learn from you. What do you think is the secret sauce to leadership?  Share your leadership thoughts in the comments section.  Also send me your examples of when your manager has not been genuine with you.

Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies

December 7, 2016 Leave a comment

Tom Peters wrote this great blog post that had this title of “Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies.”  Highly recommend you reading it.  It is located at: http://tompeters.com/blogs/freestuff/uploads/CookieBakingLessons122407.pdf

christmascookies

He wrote it in 1988 and it still applies today.  And it is one of the few blog posts that I printed off and keep in mind.  Tom is an expert on management and is someone that I follow.

He created the term “Managing by Wandering Around”.  I still follow that suggestion. In touch or bust. Make sure to stop by and talk to my employees often, visit clients and visit partners.

Here are a few quotes of Tom’s that I agree with:

  • “The problem is rarely the problem, the response to the problem is.”
  • “The very notion of ‘professional services’ hinges upon the … IDEA OF INTEGRITY.”
  • “Small courtesies. Kindness = Repeat Business = Profit.”
  • “To put the customer first is to put our people ahead of the customer.”
  • “The competition ain’t the competition: We beat ourselves.”
  • “Execution is a game of inches – Relentless wins!”

So, I am semi-cheating here.  I am not writing an original blog post.  Just providing some thoughts on the great post that Tom wrote which are:

  1. Engagement.  Don’t just talk.  Do.  A manager needs to get involved in the real tasks with their direct reports.
  2. A Plan.  Have a simple recipe to give direction.
  3. Art.   A plan is nice but be flexible.  It’s those little tweeks that really make a difference.
  4. Trial and Errors.  Embrace mistakes.  I became a better writer by my trial and errors with my blog.
  5. The Same Mistakes.  Learn from your mistakes.
  6. A sense of Humor.  It is OK to laugh at yourself and have fun with members of your team.  Don’t be too serious.
  7. Perseverance.  Be focused.  Focus on doing excellent marketing activities or whatever is your job function.
  8. Perfectionism.  Be creative and strive for perfection.
  9. Ownership.  There is no half ownership.  If you are the owner of a task you are responsible for it.
  10. Accountability.  “Until you’re engaged in all aspects of a job, you don’t fully engage.”
  11. Taste.  I do love Christmas cookies.

Hope you enjoyed this post and Tom’s post.  Happy holidays and happy eating.

Time to Streamline Your Processes

July 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Startup Stock Photos

All organizations, no matter whether a B2B tech company, a non-profit or a law firm, have processes that can be improved.  All organizations should be in a constant improvement mode to stay competitive.

All organizations should have someone whose sole job is to assist with improving processes to save money, save time and increase satisfaction (employee, customer, partner, etc.).  Intra-department processes are the most difficult to improve.  You need a person that has no vested interest in the actual process who can manage the improvement project.

If you want your organization to scale then you need to establish clear processes but also optimize these processes.  Process improvement involves evaluating the current processes your organization has in place and then identifying opportunities to improve performance outcomes.  Every process should have a reason for why it exists and a benefit to the organization.  A process improvement project needs a sponsor at the executive level so that the project gets the appropriate priority and effort.  Decision makers are finding that process improvement projects provides the organization with a competitive edge. Suggestion, don’t do too many process improvement projects at once.  There is only so much change that an organization can handle at one time and there is only so much management capability at one time to manage the projects.

When changed, processes affects how staff interacts with information and with others.  You need to synchronize processes with customer needs and help executives with their planning, monitoring, measurement and deployment of resources.  When process improvement projects succeed they should enhance productivity, decrease costs and keeps errors to a minimum.

Ready to streamline existing processes?  Then do the following:

  1. Start with what you have – If processes are in someone’s head then get them written down.  Make sure process documentation are stored where everyone knows where they are.  And it would be helpful if all process documentation was in the same format.  Review the existing process document and determine if it needs updating.  Create the process culture in the organization with what you currently have and know about. Check out my “Share the Knowledge – Document Your Processes” blog post.
  2. Look for new improvements – They are probably everywhere.  Look for the stacks of paper.  Or the loads of data entry.  Make a list.  Gather a team to review the list and determine the effort level, budget requirements and department affected.
  3. Focus on improving the processes that help with your organization’s goals – If no goals exist then create those first.  Prioritize the process improvements by reviewing your organization’s goals. Look at available resources.  Look at what else is going on in the organization.  Don’t do process improvement projects in the middle of an office move or during an important product launch.
  4. Look for integrations that can be put into place – These integrations will save time and reduce errors.  Examples of integrations include integrations between CRM (like SalesForce) & marketing automation (like HubSpot) systems and expense system to finance system integration.  Working on integrations usually involves multiple processes and often you find out that these processes need to be updated before an integration can occur.
  5. Ongoing improvements and up keep – All processes can be improved and when they are improved make sure that the documentation is updated as well.  Organizations change and all processes should be periodically reviewed (at least once a year).  Processes should be part of new employee onboarding process (yes, another process).

Process improvement enhances flexibility, versatility and adaption within organizations of all sizes.  Now’s the time to improve and streamline your processes.

Let me know what you think and provide me examples of your process improvement successes.

Photo credit: StockSnap.io (90)

Invest in Your Employees

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment

IMG_0833

A lot of this post is obvious, but in this post I will discuss what employees want from their organization, what managers should do for their direct reports and what the organization can provide their front line employees.  This is the same no matter if the org is a law firm, B2B tech company or a non-profit.  Employees are the most important part of an organization. Invest in them.

 

What does an employee want:

  • To matter and they want the work that they do to matter
  • To establish their own identity
  • A manager who cares about them
  • The opportunity to do what they do best at work
  • To feel valued and valuable
  • To be managed.  Everyone deserves to be managed.
  • To be paid fairly so that money is not a reason to leave
  • To be communicated to about the goings on in the organization
  • To get clear direction.  Not an instant message on what do do.  Not a quick hallway discussion with a it would be nice mention.  Not an email with a whiteboard photo attached to it.  A great manager gives clear direction with reasons for the task.  Usually this is a written direction.

Here is what a good or great manager should do to their direct reports:

  • Treat them as people.  Not resources, objects, functions or machines.  A manager is a leader who should be genuine, which is the secret sauce to great leadership.  People have feelings and leaders need to remember this.
  • Mentor them as their success leads to organization success.
  • Strive to send them home safe, healthy and fulfilled.
  • Instead of using people for the manager’s success, a better principal to follow as a manager would be measure success by the way organization touches the lives of people – customers, employees and partners.
  • Trust them.  Managers need to have an optimistic view of them.
  • Encourage them to develop and express their talents.

Here are a few things that an organization can do to invest in its employees:

  1. Send them to a conference.  Allow them to talk to others outside of the normal day to day job.  Getting away from the office and listening/talking to others gives them ideas and allows them to be creative.  After the employee attends the conference have them present their conference knowledge back to the team.  Make sure that in the budget there is money to have employees (those over a year at the company) attend conferences.
  2. A nice thing done at a company I worked at was that in its weekly status reports (15Five was used) a question was added where someone could recognize other employees who did great work or helped someone out.  These comments were mentioned at company meetings and displayed on the monitors in the kitchen area.  Employees like to know that they were appreciated.
  3. Employees appreciate being given a service day a year so that they could give back to their community in a way of their choosing.
  4. Create a training program for managers.  But they only  need to attend training sessions that apply to them.  Some examples of sessions could be the following: Handling Remote Employees, Negotiation with Employees, Motivating Employees, and How to Do Performance Reviews.
  5. Hold a once a month company meeting that gives an update to employees on what is going on in the company.  Employees want to be communicated to about the organization they work for.
  6. Make sure that performance reviews are done on a regular basis.  Everyone deserves to be managed and given feedback.  It should be part of the culture of the company.
  7. Provide training on tools especially for new hires but make sure there is ongoing training as well.
  8. The company should have a community service program where the company encourages the donating of time and money to certain programs / non-profits.  I know that I have had a great time and much satisfaction when I do charity walks with my fellow employees.  And I appreciated when my company donated money to the non-profit and encouraged employee participation.

I am a big fan of Daniel Pink’s book, Drive.  Every manager should read it.  Not everyone is driven by money.  Some people (like me) are driven furthest and fastest in pursuit of what we love. A manager needs to find out how each of their direct reports is motivated.  Many lead themselves!  Do not treat every employee the same.  Get to know them and what motivates them.  I love teamwork and it is a big motivator for me.

Organizations should invest in employees not as a resource but as a human being.  And managers need to understand this as well.  I hope that my direct reports have felt that I have followed the above as their manager.  Yes, I know that the above is obvious.  But it is amazing how few organizations really invest in their employees.  Let me know what you think.

 

Share the Knowledge – Document Your Processes

May 23, 2010 3 comments

DocumentProcessesAll organizations, no matter whether a B2B tech company, a non-profit or a law firm, have processes that allow them to perform smoothly no matter what department.  Much of these processes are in someone’s head.  It is critical that these processes get documented.  You never know when an employee that knows the process will get sick or quit the company or organization.  And when these individuals go on vacation, it is better to have a document to train the backup person with then just a verbal training.

A well documented process will save the organization time and money.  I just documented for a client how social media updates in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn Groups are done so others in the organization can do these updates.

Therefore I suggest the following:

  1. Create a template for what a documented process will look like and what a process document will include.
  2. Create a spreadsheet list of the suggested processes to be documented along with the primary person to write the process and the secondary person that will a review the documented process.  Prioritize the processes to know which ones to document  first.
  3. Communicate to the staff (including those not involved in the documentation process) that processes are being documented and welcome their involvement and suggestions.
  4. Assign the processes to individuals and document one process a month.  After a few months the organization will have a process manual.  When organizations are audited, one of the requirements is to have well documented processes.
  5. Store the documented processes in a shared directory or on the organization’s intranet so everyone can access it if necessary.
  6. When new employees are hired, show them where the processes are documented so that they can review the ones that apply to them.
  7. Review these processes once a year and update them with any new changes to the process.  I suggest that you do this review in December when business is slow so that the processes are updated by the start of the new year.  Communicate the changes to the staff and remind them where the documented processes are located.

While documenting processes, questions and issues about processes will occur.  For example, why do we make so many copies of invoices.  Can’t we only make one copy and do an electronic version.    Make sure that your organization is protected by having important processes documented in all departments.  Make it part of the organization culture to document processes and have everyone’s involvement in documenting the processes.

I wrote a blog post titled “Time to Streamline Your Processes” that is related to this process documentation post.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.