Tag Archive: employees

The Super Bowl and Your Brand

February 5th, 2016

supply chainSo, other than being a bit depressed that the Arizona Cardinals are not in the Super Bowl, I am thinking about the Super Bowl (hard not to since the hype is everywhere). You’d have to be hiding under a rock to not know that it is Super Bowl weekend. If nothing else, it is a good excuse for a party and to get together with family and friends. The Super Bowl has become much more than a game.

Many people (myself included) are more interested in the commercials than the game — it has become “the” opportunity to stand out from the crowd with advertisements. If your ad is popular, it will go viral. Social networks can have a powerful effect — similar to Super Bowl commentary and ads, the same vehicles will have an impact on our brand. What is said about you will show up to potential employers. You might have thought about that; however, did you think about potential employees? Before deciding if they want to work at your company, they will check the company out — and you. After all, people do not leave companies; they leave leaders. The same is true for customers and suppliers. How are you perceived?

One tip to implement this week:

One easy tip related to personal branding is to act as though everything you say, your leadership style behind closed doors, etc. will be published in tomorrow’s New York Times (or placed on an advertisement during the Half Time show of the Super Bowl). It could be — or at least the equivalent. This does NOT mean that you should hide under a rock and do nothing. Doing nothing is the equivalent to saying your approach/leadership style is to “do nothing”. Is that how you want to be known?

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…”


People Strategies to Kick Off the New Year

January 26th, 2016
people strategies

A motivated team can overcome some of the biggest business challenges a company can face.

People are your #1 asset. It makes imminent sense to kick off the New Year with this tenet in mind. How can you start with gusto?

Frequently, employees take off time near the end of the year, and so it can take time to get back into the swing of things. Don’t let your attention to your human resources take time off too. To shorten that cycle — and, most importantly, to empower and engage your people, think about leveraging some of the following strategies:

  1. Check in: Start the New Year by checking in with your employees. How are they doing? What are they working on? It’s interesting how often we find out that we didn’t know where our employees spend their time. Find out. Are they concerned about potential roadblocks? What would they most like to accomplish this year? Make it your priority to find out.
  2. Remind employees of the vision: You cannot emphasize the whys behind what your company does enough. Remind your employees of the vision. What does it mean to you? What does it mean for your customers? End users? In essence, remind everyone why what they are doing is worthwhile.
  3. Align on goals: I believe in quarterly goals with frequent check-ins. What lasts for a year unchanged anyway?  Not much! Your employees will ditch their cobweb goals with or without you. It is always better to align, discuss priorities, strategize on resources, etc. The bottom line is to make sure everyone has clarity and is involved in creating that clarity.
  4. Recognize successes: There’s no better time to recognize small wins than after the holidays. It jump starts success. Success builds on success.
  5. Communicate, communicate, and communicate:  In essence, the title says it all. Don’t expect people to fully absorb with one communication. Be repetitive. Vary the medium so that you don’t sound like a broken record or your mother. Collaborate on ways to communicate effectively. Involve the team in communication.    

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

Empower Your People to GROW

What Does it Take to Have a Real Team


Are You Thankful for Your Employees?

November 27th, 2014
star employees

The best companies thrive because their employees are valued members of the company – everyone’s labor matters and they know it.

Are you thankful for your employees? And do you see your employees as a cost line of your P&L or do you consider them an asset? In my experience in working with many companies across a wide range of industries, geographies and company-sizes, it is 100% true that those companies that consider employees as assets thrive – hands down.

Succeeding in today’s new normal business environment requires a well-thought out and fundamentally different strategy than five years ago.  Standing out from the crowd requires innovation.  I’ve yet to find a client with an innovative culture that didn’t value its employees. Top on the list is to view your employees as assets. According to LMA Consulting Group Inc. research, 87% of manufacturers and distributors are experiencing a skills gap. Thus, it doesn’t require a Harvard PhD to see the value of retaining top talent.

A few simple yet highly effective strategies to retain top talent include: 1) Find your stars. 2) Focus on your stars. 3) Be an effective leader.

1. Find your stars: Your star employees will make the difference between being stuck in survival mode and THRIVING. Thus, you must begin by identifying these stars. Many times, these employees are overlooked – heads down, delivering results, leading projects, etc.

Since they aren’t typically focused on politics, they are likely to be under the radar. And worse, since they are focused on delivering results, they are likely to bring up uncomfortable topics and ask for tough decisions. Thus, they might not be considered a star. Unfortunately, I’ve found that leaders tend to think stars are those who are liked, agreeable and hard-working. For example, employees who work long hours are in this category; however, that doesn’t necessarily relate at all to whether the employee achieves and accomplishes anything while working hard.

Instead, look for those leaders and employees who consistently deliver results. You’ll have to look hard, as they might not have time to promote their results since they are focused on ensuring they occur. Who is not complaining? Typically, when employees complain, we immediately wonder about the person being complained about. Why? The deviation from standard is the person complaining. It’s fascinating how we can chase our tails without considering the facts. Look for informal leaders. If someone has an issue (not a complaint), who do they go to for help?

2. Focus on your stars: I cannot tell you how often companies make the HUGE mistake of ignoring their star employees. What could be easier to deliver your growth & profitability numbers than leveraging already-existing assets? Why must leaders jump to the conclusion that they can solve “all the company issues” by replacing star leaders and employees? Sound ridiculous? Absolutely; however, it occurs every day. And why do they treat the leaders and employees delivering results poorly? In my experience, it’s because the pragmatic approach to management can be uncomfortable.

It requires hard work, commitment and integrity. Unfortunately, there are no short cuts. For example, instead of focusing on understanding roadblocks, emphasizing results and being an example, isn’t it easier to say “if we replace Sally, it will solve our problem”? After all, is it more comfortable to want to spend time in meetings with those who will agree with everything you say and appear supportive than those who push back and bring up potential roadblocks?

Those companies who THRIVE will be those who not only identify their stars but also focus on them. Find out what they think. Ask for their ideas. Promote them. Appreciate them. Explain how their value contributes to the company’s success. Invest in them. The bottom line: Treat them like your #1 asset.

3. Be an effective leader: Last but not least, star leaders and employees crave effective leadership. I could write another 500 pages on effective leadership; however, a few musts include: 1) Establish goals and discuss. Both easy goals and unrealistic goals are not only ineffective but are also a de-motivator. Goal setting isn’t simple but it’s core to success. 2) Provide support, tools and appreciation on an ongoing basis. The hard work begins. These cannot be empty promises with your star employees. You will work harder than ever before to succeed. 3) Continually work together to find opportunities and evolve in a way to ensure success.

My passion surrounds delivering bottom line results with people. It doesn’t require capital or cash; instead, it boils down to leadership. Is it worth investing effort into your people to grow your business and accelerate business results?

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

Employee Performance: Do Not Ignore Your Stars

The Skills Gap


Are You Ready for Year-End?

November 7th, 2013
Supply chain managers planning for 2014.

While wrapping up 2013, be proactive about making 2014 the best year ever.

As the year wraps up, successful executives are thinking about how to not only finish up the year on a strong foot but also, how to kick off the New Year with rapid progress.

So it makes sense to take a step back and think about a few year-end planning items:

1. Tax planning – have you thought about whether there is anything you can do proactively for this year or next year?

2. Projects – which projects will have the largest impact to your success?  Is there anything you can do to accelerate progress?  Divert resources to focus on them?  What roadblocks do you expect and what can you do to minimize the likelihood of occurrence?

3. Holiday preparation – anything you can do to ensure the business will run smoothly during the holidays?  Have you recognized your key relationships?  Employees?  Supply chain partners?

4. Thank you – what better time to take a step back and remember to say thank you.  A simple, heartfelt thank you goes much further than you’d expect.

5. Season of giving – instead of thinking about what you’ll receive or your wish list, spend that time thinking of how you can make a difference for your employees, peers, managers, families, friends etc.

Critical Priority – Retaining Top Talent

August 22nd, 2013
LMA Consulting, Critical Priority – Retaining Top Talent

Attracting and retaining talent is critical to your success.

I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve heard different Executives/ businesses lament over two polar opposites on the same day:  1) We have to cut back immediately (which typically begins with people) , 2)  We cannot find the appropriate talent to perform a critical role. How can this be?

Unemployment remains high; however, employers also struggle in finding the appropriate talent to fill key roles. According to a May 2009 survey conducted by Oracle, Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 51% of the responding companies reported moderate to serious shortages of skilled production workers and 36% reported similar shortages of engineers and scientists. My guess is the numbers are even higher now!

Of course, I have a perspective on this paradox. First, according to Executive Recruiters, it is actually harder to find top talent during a recession because people are less likely to change jobs (and most roles are filled by the 90% employed workforce). Second, the types of skills required for the available jobs require a higher level of specialized technical training than what is typically available. Third, a significant portion of the workforce is considering retirement when laid off (the baby boomers), and there is significant knowledge tied up with them. Thus – our paradox. To potentially make matters worse, there are many top performers who are waiting for the job market to improve to jump ship to better opportunities or to companies who appreciate their skills.

Although a comprehensive effort is required to address this situation effectively so that your company or department is one of the few positioned for success, focusing on retaining top talent is undoubtedly a great place to start. And it’s likely that you are more at risk than you think – so what should you do? 1) Flip the typical situation upside down. 2) Address non-performers. 3) Ensure frequent communications.

  1. Flip the typical situation upside down. 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 department and/or company’s results. What roadblocks are they facing? Do they understand the company’s goals and priorities? How about the value they contribute to achieving these goals? And the value of their leadership? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity – in my experience working across multiple industries and globally, your top performers are the 80/20 of your results. When the situation is vital, who do you go to? Why wouldn’t you focus there?
  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 (at a minimum, not rewarding nonperformance – yes, surprisingly, it occurs all the time). Interesting and absolutely true. What better proof that performance is valued! And, for a top performer, what better way to validate that the company understands what’s required and is on track to succeed?
  3. Ensure frequent communications. Although this sounds like suggesting motherhood and apple pie, it is often overlooked – and not nearly as easy as it sounds. My most successful clients are those who spend the majority of their time clarifying goals (and why they matter), explaining how each person can contribute to them, and providing continual feedback – positive, constructive, and always immediate.I often hear push back on this process – “we are too busy with critical customers, projects etc.”; however, how will we ever resolve these topics without the focus of our top talent? Surely spending 5-30 minutes on your most valuable resource is doable!

If you are the one to retain top talent as the recovery spreads, you will not only have the opportunity to surpass your competition but you will likely attract other top talent – what could be better to position your department and /or company to be the market leader?