Hello Dolly and Turning the Mundane into Magnificent

March 25th, 2018

I had the opportunity to catch Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber in Hello Dolly on Broadway while in New York, and it was fabulous!  Bernadette is “made for the part” (although I see the perfect fit for Bette Midler as well). Imagine how a musical that debuted in 1964 with FOUR Broadway revivals and international success remains wildly popular…..  

 

 

Hello Dolly certainly turned the mundane into the magnificent!  A strong-willed matchmaker and widower (Dolly) travels to Yonkers to find a wife for an ordinary yet half-a-millionaire local merchant (Mr. Vandergelder), and adventures ensue.  Actually, all the previously ordinary people surrounding the miserly Mr. Vandergelder get swept up into Dolly’s adventures. Great fun!

One tip to implement this week:
Are you turning the mundane into the magnificent?  Why lead a humdrum existence on a daily basis? Instead, search for opportunities to turn your everyday interactions into exciting and profitable opportunities!  Profitable doesn’t have to mean financial returns; consider your engagement and interest in what you do on a daily basis – don’t you think where you spend 8 hours a day (or more!) should be interesting?!?  Why not consider your customer as well – if you can deliver extra value and create a happy customer, isn’t that a profitable experience for you?

Executives and owners, search for ways to empower and engage your employees.  That alone will dramatically improve their interest in performing daily job functions.  Do you put thought into this? What could be more important for retention in an age of a significant skills gap shortage?

NO MATTER your position, DON’T let go of your responsibility for turning the mundane into magnificent.  It is yours alone. Look for ways to bring new ideas to the table. Be creative. Ask your colleagues to participate in finding ways to make the work more interesting – and impactful.  Pick just one item and move it forward. No matter how far it moves forward, you are closer to magnificent.

Dolly never gave up. Instead, she came up with a new idea – or scheme. What about you?

 



Retaining Project Management Top Talent

June 19th, 2015
retain top project managers

It takes valuable time and effort to replace talented managers. Instead, invest more attention, feedback and support on your top performers.

As the recovery takes hold and businesses become more comfortable investing money, top project managers have become scarce. In order to grow the business, improve profitability and accelerate cash flow, projects are integral. Having the ideas is “easy” in comparison to executing those ideas. Solid project management will ensure these results occur. Thus, those companies who retain top project management will thrive and leave the rest in the dust. What can be done to ensure you are in the driver’s seat?

First, recognize that the world has flipped. During the recession, executives could ask for a broad set of skills, multiple certifications, vast experience and other superhero qualities and potentially find a project manager who fit the bill. Often, it was even possible to find someone willing to take the long term perspective on compensation. This ship has sailed!

In today’s environment, if you aren’t focused on retention, you not only will have trouble retaining top talent but it will also be challenging to locate top talent. Top talent is leaving for opportunities closer to home, for creative compensation packages, for greater flexibility – and for retirement. Thus, your priority must be on retaining talent to thrive.

The great news is that retaining top talent is not rocket science; it is actually quite simple. It is NOT easy to implement; however, it is simple. Consider a comprehensive approach to retaining top talent: 1) Focus on your top performers. 2) Address non-performers. 3) Provide passion and clarity on goals. 4) Ensure frequent communications.

1. Focus on your top performers.Instead of focusing most of your energy on the issues and non-performers, focus the majority of your effort on your top talent. It sounds easy but is far from easy to implement. Yet this one simple rule can make all the difference in the world! The idea is to focus your efforts on those who drive your project and company’s results.

You must focus on your top talent with what you DO; not with what you say. Set up regular meetings to check in with your top talent. Do not reschedule for “the crisis of the day”. Stop by on a regular basis to show support and ask questions. Be visible and make sure it is a clear priority.

2. Address non-performers. One of the best incentives for a top performer (assuming they are paid within reason for the role based on the market) is addressing non-performers. I typically see non-performers riding on the coattails of top performers yet no one is willing to address the issue. The problem is that the above average performers (and especially top performers) know exactly who is not performing, and it provides a constant source of frustration.

One of the best sources of motivation for a top performer is to know that the value of his/her work is understood; thus, slip-shot work will not be tolerated. A clear priority on maintaining a culture of accountability is cornerstone to success.

3. Provide passion & clarity on goals. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of employees would prefer to make a difference while at work. It isn’t about just collecting a paycheck for top performers. Instead, he/she wants to know that their piece of the project directly contributes to a core company goal. Explain the company’s strategy and goals. Tie the project’s objectives to the company objectives. Clearly communicate the value of the project manager (and each team member) to these objectives. Demonstrate passion and excitement for these results and confidence in the team. Suddenly, focus and results will accelerate!

4. Ensure frequent communications.Although this sounds like suggesting motherhood and apple pie, it is often overlooked, and, unfortunately, it is not nearly as easy as it sounds. My most successful clients are those who spend the majority of their time communicating.

Set up a communications strategy upfront. What makes sense for this particular project and project team? How often do critical path milestones occur? How often should communications occur to make sure bottlenecks are being addressed rapidly? How should communications occur? In person? Over the phone? Via a webinar? In emails?

For example, I’ve been working with a client on an ERP implementation. We had to change the day of the week for our communication updates in order to make sure the critical participants were available. We also had to change our mode of communication because the sharing of files was creating frustration for people working remotely and traveling. Both of these were easy fixes but greatly enhanced the effectiveness of the communications. Be willing to be flexible. Determine what works for the particular team and circumstances and modify your behavior instead of expecting others to cater to you.

My best clients support and deliver many millions of dollars of revenue growth and increased profitability through projects. Thus, what could be more important than retaining your top project management talent? Follow these four simple strategies, and results will follow.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on how to become a Systems Pragmatist:

Retaining Top Talent – A Must for Success

Employee Performance: Do Not Ignore Your Stars

 



How Empowered and Engaged Employees Can Fill the Skills Gap

September 30th, 2014
Playing on the strengths of high performing employees can lessen skills gaps within your organization while motivating everyone to perform at a higher level.

Playing on the strengths of high performing employees can lessen skills gaps within your organization while motivating everyone to perform at a higher level.

Not a day goes by when an employee, volunteer, Board member or colleague doesn’t retire, get promoted, move companies, change roles within the company or at least think about any one of these. For the vast majority of my clients, they run lean and are challenged to source projects even when fully staffed; thus, a skills gap is left in its wake.

I’ve found a key strategy for success in this environment is to simply KEEP your high performers. It seems much easier than it is to execute unfortunately. Pay is simply not enough. Pay is not a motivator; however, the lack of pay is a demotivator. Certainly if you do not pay within comparable salary ranges, you aren’t even in the game. On the other hand, you could be in the high end of the range and you’ll still lose top performers if you do not retain top talent.

My firm’s research study on this topic found that retention must become a critical priority. In my experience, the single largest key to retention is leadership.  Leaders create an environment for empowered and engaged employees. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Thus, it requires the rare leader who will make the tough call and who will support his/her people when the going gets tough. Who will behave as an empowered employee if they fear getting beat up?

To learn more about the key strategies to successfully empower and engage employees, join me at APICS 2014 for my education session “Cultivating Empowered and Engaged Employees” in New Orleans on October 19th. Go to educational sessions, and look under the category for Professional Development.

 



The Skills Gap is Alive and Well in California

September 25th, 2014
California skills gap

Job openings are still on the rise in California but for supply chain so is the skills gap, which is a hiring headache that then shifts the attention on employee retention.

California was responsible for 1/3 of all new jobs added in August in the nation!  I see this on daily basis at my clients.  They are hiring for key positions and struggling to fill the skills gap.  My research showed that 87% of manufacturers and distributors are experiencing a skills gap.

Not only must you be better than your competition at locating and attracting top talent, you must be able to retain top talent.  What do you have in place to retain top talent?  Certainly some companies have comprehensive training and development programs; however, I find the “simple” is amazingly effective:

• Do you show your employees that you appreciate them?

• Do you give your employees interesting projects?

• Do you allow your employees to experiment and fail?

• Do you hold your employees accountable?  Interestingly, I find that if employees know you will hold folks accountable, you will have a much more attractive environment.  Who wants to pick up others’ slack?

• Do you celebrate successes?

• Do you ask for and LISTEN to feedback?

Consider implementing a few of these “simple” retention strategies, and I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic: 

The Skills Gap

US Manufacturers Face Shortage of Skills – How Can That Be?

 



I’ve Been Thinking about Supply Chain Talent Retention

July 11th, 2014

 

supply chain

As promised in my 100th Profit through People(TM) newsletter, below is my first “I’ve Been Thinking” brief, weekly tips, tools, trends and top news ideas to transform your supply chain. I’d love to hear your feedback…. 

An Immediately Implementable Tip to Retain Your Top Supply Chain Talent

According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 63% of CEOs in 68 countries are concerned about the future availability of key skills at all levels. This not only supports my firm’s skills gap research but also is proven true on a daily basis with my clients, contacts and trade association colleagues. Not a week goes by where someone hasn’t lost a key employee, doesn’t have the skills available to complete a critical project, or experiences a skills gap due to suddenly increased requirements.

Those who want to thrive in the second half of 2014 will focus immediate attention on ensuring you retain and attain supply chain talent. Start at the beginning – retain your top talent!

One tip to implement this week: Schedule a 30-60 minute session with your top performer to discuss ideas and strategies for moving the business forward. Delay that meeting with your under-performer if necessary. Where you spend your time speaks volumes. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain talent? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”