Tag Archive: change management

Want Success? Keep Culture Change in Mind.

February 29th, 2016
culture change

When done correctly, culture change brings together the key ingredient for business success — people.

After leaving the work force as a VP of Supply Chain and Operations with a successful track record, I knew I could help executives improve business performance; however, I had no idea how to find clients. Thus, I immersed myself in the keys to success of starting a thriving consulting practice. I discovered that referrals were much more important than a “nice-to-have”; they would make or break success. Fast-forward 11 years, and I have built my business on this tenet – it is a relationship business. At least 95% of my business has resulted from repeat business and referrals.

What do referral sources want? Results. If I can help ensure success, they will bring me back – and tell all of their friends. Thus, although process and systems expertise is required, the key to success goes back to people – culture change, change management, and leadership.

Unfortunately, the best strategy or plan becomes useless if not executed effectively. If your team isn’t on board, you will not succeed. Similarly, if your customers and suppliers aren’t on board, it is not likely you’ll succeed.  Similarly, if you communicate the plan but don’t involve people in the design, ask them for feedback, and give them the chance to try out new ideas, you won’t have long-term success. If you don’t address poor performers, your stars will lose their motivation.

Earlier today, I saw an amazing piece of technology and a substantial upgrade to warehouse operations. It expands capacity for growth, provides efficiency improvements, speeds up the process (shortens lead times) and provides a host of other benefits; however, it will be similar to hiding a new Maserati convertible in your garage if the people don’t come along for the ride. Remember to focus attention on culture change – and people.

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What Is Company Culture?


Lost in Culture Change Maze? Here are 4 Strategies for Success!

Strategies to Succeed with Organizational Change

December 4th, 2014
organizational management

Organizational change doesn’t have to be scary. It is an opportunity for innovation and creating a positive workplace as long as strategy and frequent communication are applied.

Volatility is the new normal. Those organizations that can succeed with change will thrive. Thus, it is worthwhile thinking about how to become effective with organizational change to not only increase the value of your business but to also create an enjoyable workplace:

Fit with strategy – Change for the sake of change without looking at fit with the company’s strategy is useless yet occurs frequently. Focus efforts on what really matters.

Do we fear change? – No! People don’t fear change; they fear the journey to the future.

Explain the whys – Who doesn’t respond better when they understand why they are doing something – and, even better, explain why he/she is integral to where the company is headed. Suddenly, you have interested participants.

Communicate – I’ve found that you cannot under-communicate regarding organizational change. One way to ensure your teams understand the journey is to keep them in the loop. Communicate what you know. Be upfront and tell them when you cannot communicate. Trust will follow.

Listen – It sounds obvious but rarely occurs. What’s more important to successful organizational change than to listen to your people? Even if what they are saying doesn’t seem important, it is important to them or they wouldn’t bring it up. Take the time to make sure they know you care about their feedback.

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Secrets to Succeeding During Organizational Change


Leadership Is the Cornerstone to Delivering Better Business Results

July 22nd, 2014

Profit through People by mentoring, listening, training and valuing employee input and contributions.

As I’ve been going through my hundreds of articles to put together the 100 tips, it’s become obvious as to which topics resonated with me as essential to delivering bottom line business results.  Here are a few highlights from the people perspective:

1. People are your #1 asset – If you don’t pay attention to your people, nothing else will matter. Start here.

2. Retaining top talent – It is not as simple as paying fairly. Those who retain top talent will thrive.

3. It Begins & Ends with Leadership – I still believe my HR mentor Debra’s comments sum this up, “It begins and ends with leadership”.

4. Culture – Very little progress can be made if culture doesn’t support it. Set out to be deliberate about culture.

5. Change management – Too many companies fail when it comes to managing organizational change. People do not fear change; they fear not knowing where they are headed and not having control over their destiny.

6. Performance management – the most overlooked yet essential item. Make the time to talk with your people. How can your #1 asset not be important? Set goals. Provide feedback. Mentor.

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Profit through People


Want to Improve Your Business But Not Sure Where to Start?

June 5th, 2014
SWOT, business success

Learn how your business stacks up with internal and external strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), then take action.

Volatility is here to stay! Even though we continue to drudge along in the lackluster recovery, excitement remains – earthquakes, nuclear disasters, global conflicts in Libya, oil prices skyrocketing again, etc. Thus, if there is anything business leaders know about the current economy, it is that dramatic change will continue – and they must find a way to succeed in this environment. Yet amidst all the chaos, it’s tough to find a clear path to success.

I often hear from my clients and contacts, “I know I need to improve my business, department or personal career; however, I have no idea where to start”. So, what should we do? 1) Do a quick review of key benchmarks. 2) Ask experts. 3) Consider profit drivers.

1. Do a Quick Review of Key Benchmarks: One excellent way to get ideas to answer the question of what to do is to do a quick review of key benchmarks. Conduct a SWOT Analysis. What are the critical metrics of your competitors? What are the latest trends in the industry? Find the critical few and compare your company, department or personal performance to the benchmarks.

So, the next question becomes, “How?” There are many approaches – begin with Google. It’s fast, easily-accessible and can provide valuable information. If you need to dig further, find a public company which is most like your company. (Thanks, Cheryle, for sharing this tip with me!). Pull the annual report. If you need further information, pull the top 3 annual reports most like your company. Do you see trends? You can also utilize a benchmarking/ research database or service. And, if you are well-funded and need additional information, request an industry or market survey.

Once you have this information, do not just blindly follow the patterns? Think about how what you’ve learned relates to your company and your competitive distinctions. How do you stack up? Can you focus on a strength in a key area? 

2. Ask Experts: Do not feel you need to have all the information yourself. Not only can you leverage experience and expertise so that you can avoid pitfalls and leap over learning curves but you also can leverage “1+1+1 = 64” – in essence, the power of brainstorming.

If you are an executive or business owner, begin by asking questions of your peers and employees. You’ll be amazed as to the quality of their ideas and understanding of what will make a difference for your business. If you are a department head or employee, ask your leader. I’ve never seen an executive refuse a request to provide mentoring; in fact, it could yield substantially more than you thought. Ask peers and employees as well. They are a fountain of knowledge.

Ask customers and suppliers. Who else knows your business better than your partners? Also, they are likely partnering with others in your industry and/or your competitors. Find out what will make a difference.

Last but not least, ask experts. Go to industry association meetings. Join forums related to your functional expertise. Bring in consultants who are focused on tangible improvement. Don’t fall into the industry expertise trap. You are surrounded by industry experts. Instead, find out about best practices across industries.

There could be a huge improvement opportunity you’ll overlook if you don’t look at what can be applied to your industry and/or environment. In my experience, I’ve utilized the same people, process and systems expertise to assist clients across multiple industries and countries without fail. I find the 80/20 to be identical, and so I figure out what the 20% distinction/ nuance is and tweak accordingly. 

3. Consider profit drivers: Last but not least, don’t forget your profit drivers. What are they? Who is your most valuable customer? Why? First and foremost, do they know they are appreciated? Are you providing them with exceptional service? Or are your efforts going to the nagging, high volume but low profit / no profit customer(s)?

Can you expand business with your profitable customers? Cross-sell? What is your largest cost driver? Is your organization focused on your most significant cost element? Or, are you following the crowd and only concerned with labor cost (regardless of its priority)? How can you focus your team to what matters? Or, if you want to improve your personal performance, how do you re-focus on what will have the largest impact on your career?

By thinking through your profit drivers, you’re likely to identify opportunities. At a minimum, you should determine what NOT to do. Why are you throwing money out the window on a non-essential?

Those companies and individuals who remain focused on dramatically improving performance in those key areas which will have the greatest impact on their success will leapfrog the competition. Will you be one of them?

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How to Effectively Engage Employees and Achieve Results

Synthesize for Results


Profit Through People

September 17th, 2013
Solid leaders develop strong teams and deliver results

Successful leaders develop strong teams and deliver results.

In my experience as a global business consultant and former VP of Operations, I’ve yet to find a business with lousy people practices and successful long-term business results. Instead, I’ve found several mediocre businesses with exceptional people who thrive.

Undoubtedly, people are your #1 asset.

Even though I typically am called into clients to elevate business performance derived through topics such as supply chain and operations management, collaborative inventory programs (such as Sales & Operations Planning) and ERP selection and project management projects, the 80/20 of my time and success goes back to people. Do you focus on people as if they are your #1 asset?

I’ve used Profit through People as a core brand since my consulting practice’s inception as I valued people and their impact on the bottom line. Recently, I’ve re-branded and created additional service lines/ brands yet Profit through People remains intact. Similarly, I’ve noticed that my best clients keep people forefront in their mind.

I’ve found the following topics to be of upmost importance when it comes to people: 1) Leadership. 2) Culture. 3) Change management. 4) Performance management

  1. Leadership: As my HR mentor used to say, “It begins & ends with leadership.” Thus, I had to give this the first position on the list! She was unequivocally correct. In consulting, while you are working on a particular project, you absorb what is going on around you. Thus, you’re in the interesting position of observing various approaches and seeing the results. Solid leaders develop strong teams and deliver results. Weak leaders surround themselves with less-capable leaders who struggle and fight fires.

    To sum it up, leaders need to think about what they say, what they do, how their perceived etc. Everyone is watching and will follow suit. Do you value employees who go the extra mile for the customer? Or do you value employees who help to achieve an internal metric while asking the customer to hold? Do you address poor performance or sweep it under the rug? One of my most interesting observations is that employees are energized to perform when they see the leaders making tough choices – and sticking to them. If you think it’s swept under the rug and forgotten, it’s not!
  2. Culture: I used to lump culture with people in my mind until I realized that too many companies ran straight into the wall, even with great people, if the executives didn’t deliberately consider culture. What set of beliefs governs behavior in your company? Does your culture support what you’d like to achieve?

    Changing culture can take time; however, it is important to think it through and deliberately manage it. Most often, I find that employees aren’t the roadblock with culture change; it’s the leaders. Which metrics are you tracking? Who do you recognize? Do you find exemplars to help instill the culture? Or do you tend to seek out the familiar?
  3. Change management: In today’s new normal business environment, volatility is the new norm. Thus, change will become more commonplace – sales peaks and valleys are typical, customers lose contracts, suppliers go out of business, natural disasters occur, political turmoil extends the supply chain etc. How do we manage change successfully?

    In my experience, people aren’t afraid of change. Instead, they are afraid of understanding what the new roads mean and how it will affect them. Will they be able to attain the skills? What happens if they make a mistake? How will they work through problems? Who is on the team? The more you help define the path forward, the better. Additionally, if you’ve created the right environment and culture to support change, you’ll be exponentially more successful.
  4. Performance management: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention performance management. It is the most overlooked “people priority” in organizations today. Do you sit down with your folks to set goals? Do you discuss potential roadblocks? Support systems? Do you track progress? Do you provide immediate positive and corrective feedback? How often do you meet with your employees? I find that managers and leaders complain about their people yet say they have no time to sit down for 30 minutes on a weekly basis – how can this be? Certainly not your #1 asset?!

    Those executives and companies that prioritize people succeed. Profit is NOT the main focus yet profit always follows. It might be counterintuitive; however, I’ve yet to have a “labor dollar” think up a multi-million dollar idea whereas people often do!

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