What will Motivate Your Team?

June 30th, 2015
motivated team

A motivated team can overcome some of the biggest business challenges a company can face.presentation in meeting room.

According to my Skills Gap research, executive recruiters and HR experts, it is more challenging now than it has been in quite a long time to find and retain top talent.  A BIG part of retaining top talent is to ensure your team is motivated.  Give me a motivated team any day vs. a million dollars.  I know I’ll come out on top!  I’ve found that people are your #1 asset and can achieve amazing results, especially when motivated. So, the question is what motivates us?

1.  Let’s start with a “not” – money. Although the lack of fair compensation is a de-motivator, money itself is rarely a motivator.

2.  Explain value – how does each person contribute to the company vision, goals and priorities? Yes, it takes time to translate each person’s value but it has immeasurable results.

3.  Diversity – remember, not everyone is the same. Each person has different interests and motivations. Listen and find out what they are, and then modify your behavior to what works for each person.

4.  Leverage strengths – I haven’t found anyone who wants to fail, even the most miserable, negative employees. Forget about weaknesses that aren’t causing significant issues. Instead, build on each person’s strengths, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

5.  Trust – do what you say you’ll do, and don’t commit to things you know cannot be realistically delivered (even if it is what people want to hear at the moment). As simple as it sounds, it’s not simple to do. Trust will have a profound effect on motivation.

6.  Reward performance and take action with non-performers – one of the most overlooked, yet critical leadership action items. Many times, this is #1 for your top performers. It is critical to note that BOTH are required to truly motivate your top performers. Do not put it aside for a day when you have “time”. 

Use these tips to motivate your team and profit through your people.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Showing Thanks in the Workplace 

What Does it Take to Have a Real Team


How to Be Prepared for GROWTH!

June 24th, 2015

supply chain

If you are related to aerospace, you’ve probably heard the GREAT news that the world fleet will double in size over the next 20 years. Based on which news you read, the estimates are between 32,000 and 37,000 planes. Now that is growth!  The same type of growth is occurring in other industries as well. For example, building products companies are taking off again. What are you doing to make sure you are prepared?

Growth is exciting and fun but it can also be deadly. According to my clients, it is far easier (even though unpleasant) to navigate a downturn than it is to navigate aggressive growth. My most successful clients are thinking about leveraging SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) as it is a great vehicle to help successfully prepare for growth. Currently, I am working with multiple clients doing just that.

One tip to implement this week:

To prepare for growth, you don’t have to jump into anything complicated on day one. Take stock of where you are and what levels of growth you expect. Undoubtedly, preparation action items will pop to mind. This action alone can give you an edge over your competition.

If you are not in the executive suite, ask about growth. Read trade magazines. If you see that your industry is growing, think about how you can prepare. For example, if you are in Shipping, think about how to increase the number of shipments per hour and per day. If you are in Manufacturing, think about whether you can increase efficiencies, staffing or cross-training opportunities. A big part of success goes back to mindset.

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


Business Success: Thanks to My LMA Advocate Awardees

June 22nd, 2015
business success LMA Advocates

People are cornerstone to business success. LMA Advocates are acknowledged for their contributions to LMA Consulting Group on its 10th year of business.

As my initial newsletter subscribers know, Profit through People has been my focus since day one! After 10 years of consulting, following 15 years in organizational life, it is apparent that PEOPLE are our #1 asset. Those leaders who leverage, engage and empower people thrive.
People are cornerstone to business success. Apparently this shines through with everything I do and write. In 2013, it was time to give LMA a face-lift, and so we labored for days to develop logo options. I sent them to you for feedback and was thrilled with the vast # and specificity of responses; however, there was no clear “winner”. Less than an hour later, I received an email from my webmaster. He had read my email (since he typically posts my newsletters), and he thought the people element wasn’t emphasized enough (as he obviously had been paying attention!). He not only gave me that feedback but sent the perfect logo attached in the email. I promptly received rave reviews from you – the clear “winner”. Thanks Scott!

Clearly, this story indicates that my success is no different. I have FAR too many people who have supported me along the way (starting with my parents and a long list from there) to name them all. Therefore, boiling the list down to the 10 who had the largest effect on my business’ growth and success was extremely difficult. I appreciate the contributions of so many, and I will be in touch with each of you…..

Next, on to the 10 people I recognized as LMA Advocates at my 10 year celebration…….

(In alphabetical order)

  1. Andrea Belz: Andrea and I were accountability partners for several years during a crucial period of my business growth and transition. I’d send her a case study, bio or article, and she’d slash it in half while improving it! Andrea is also the person who introduced me to ProVisors (a group of trusted advisors to executives and business owners).
  2. Mike Brown: Mike is the reason I was able to start my consulting practice. He gave me the opportunity to be the VP of Product Supply for PaperPak and fought off Board members and the like who might have preferred a grey-haired man from Harvard running their operations; instead, he stayed true to his focus on values and results. He has also been very supportive of my business and has involved me in interesting business deals.
  3. Susan Brunasso: Susan has been one of the most supportive and customer service oriented people I know. I met her early on through the Claremont Chamber of Commerce, and I quickly discovered that she knows everyone – whatever random need I have, she will rapidly shoot off 2-3 referrals. Additionally she has been cornerstone to bringing me from text to visuals with photos and videos with extreme patience (starting off with 18,000 takes for 1 video…..)
  4. Jim Cenname: Jim is a a consummate professional, friend and many times repeat client who has been pivotal to my practice’s growth and success. He is truly a pleasure to work with and is committed to achieving results with an eye towards the value of people. He has also been instrumental in providing introductions, keeping in touch, giving feedback on my business and marketing ideas etc.
  5. Vicki Jeter: Vicki has been a trusted colleague and friend and has been instrumental to my business growth. When I look back at the origins of my business growth (and top sources), Vicki is tied for #1! She is also the catalyst for my Systems Pragmatist service line as she has the best business acumen tied with systems applications and design experience I’ve ever run across.
  6. Ellen Kane: Ellen and I met relatively early on through my APICS connections, and she has become a colleague, friend, ACA alliance partner and my 3rd top source/ catalyst of business growth with both referrals and collaboration (especially as it relates to my ERP selection services). She has got to be one of the most helpful and giving people I know which is why I always say that she is one of the only people who is “impossible to say no to”.
  7. Valerie Ladd: Valerie and I met when I joined the APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors in the very early stages of my consulting practice. Valerie epitomizes customer service and extends that to all of her relationships. Thus, early on, Valerie made introductions for me, was always there to lend an ear or provide advice / ideas, and was instrumental in getting me known in the Inland Empire. And I could not forget to mention that she has kept our APICS chapter intact with finances and is an unrelenting volunteer – just invaluable!
  8. K Means: K is not only a top-notch person and repeat client but she also shares knowledge readily – What a fantastic profession where you can provide value AND learn as you go (if you have someone like K in your corner)! K is also a fabulous combination of one of the best number-crunchers I know (her spreadsheets are truly amazing) and one of the most creative as well. She helped me put together my first graphic. Seems like a minor thing but a catalyst to my success!
  9. Jolene Myers: Jolene was my first long-term client, and I am most appreciative of her unrelenting confidence and support. We worked together at PaperPak previously, and she tracked me down early in my consulting practice to discuss working together (what could be better?!). Jolene has been extremely supportive, enjoyable to work with and when I look back at the origins of my business growth (and top sources), she is tied for #1!
  10. C.C. Vest: C.C. and I met early on in my LMA tenure via NAWBO. We kept in touch throughout the years, and later collaborated on selecting the optimal ERP system to support her company’s goals. C.C. and Dan were a true pleasure to work with (couldn’t ask for better!), and C.C. has been exceptionally supportive of me and my business at every turn – introducing me to people, suggesting events to attend, providing recommendations and referrals – and the list goes on….

Wouldn’t you say I am very fortunate? I value these people (and many, many others) and am extremely thankful.

I’ve yet to meet a long-term successful leader who didn’t value people. Have you told your team of their value lately? 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Showing Thanks in the Workplace

Essential Skills of a Supply Chain Superhero


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

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Manufacturers See Critical Importance of Collaboration

June 17th, 2015

supply chainAccording to a recent KPMG survey on the Global Manufacturing Outlook, executives are thinking about innovation. 81% are altering their business models to encourage collaboration with customers, suppliers and other partners to “improve the value of their innovation investments”. Speed is critical. Thus, a key question is how to speed up the innovation cycle – and how do we make sure results follow?

Are you collaborating with your customers and suppliers? How about internal resources? SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) is a great vehicle for ensuring this collaboration occurs. I’ve seen dramatic improvements in lead time, service levels, capacity preparedness for growth, margins and cash (inventory levels) as I partner with my clients to implement SIOP.

One tip to implement this week:

The great news about collaboration is that we can all do something to improve collaboration. Start small. How about talking with your colleague in the next office over instead of sending an email? Can you find ways to collaborate with functions you interact with on a daily basis? Perhaps you can ask if there is something you can improve in your service/interactions with them that would help them? Then, expand to your customers, suppliers and other partners.

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