Tag Archive: successful

The Stock Market, The Economy & How They Do Not Align

February 12th, 2019

Key research groups are starting to talk about their predictions for the economy, and everyone is interested. It feels like everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. After all, we have been in an expansion mode far longer than is typical and there is plenty of volatility and uncertainty in global trade, the U.S. Shutdown and more. Last week, I heard a research expert from City National Bank and did an informal poll of trusted advisors (CPAs, attorneys, consultants, commercial bankers etc.). The bottom line = continued growth.

The City National Bank expert said that they study about 20 economic indicators, and all are firing on all cylinders. The only one that has consistently shown some potential for hesitation is geopolitical risk –  which isn’t new. As much as the U.S. Shutdown, global trade tensions, Brexit and more has the stock market jittery, it hasn’t impacted the economic forecast. Businesses are growing and the economy is doing well! The hot topics being discussed include asset protection, the talent shortfall, the technology transformation and cyber security risks. There are always lots of details to consider but the common theme is growth. Thus, a key question becomes, are you prepared for scalable, profitable growth?  

One tip to implement this week:

What I’m seeing as a differentiator to success in these strong yet uncertain times is the ability to ‘stay the course’ and be resilient.  With each new emerging news story, I’m seeing the stock market choke and people panic. Unfortunately, this can lead to short-term, erratic changes in executives’ decisions. No one wants to be put into the same position as they were in during the last recession. So, the tendency is to overreact. Yet, the most successful clients provide stability and a platform for scalable growth.

They are willing to make hard decisions, ranging from investing in top talent to systems and technologies (even when their peers are hesitant) to addressing the sacred cow (every business has at least one!) to thinking about how their business model might be evolving and what they might need to change (even when they are currently profitable and seemingly successful).

It might make good sense to take a step back and avoid overreacting to the latest news. Stay aware and on top of trends. Ask questions and consider down-the-line impacts on your business. Instead of getting caught up in the latest drama or fad, put thought into how to build agility into your plans. How can you ensure your navigation system is rock solid and will weather whatever storm occurs next. If there is one constant, it will be continued volatility and uncertainty.

Prepare to be resilient. Check out our new resilient supply chain series and contact us if you’d like to have an assessment of your organization.



What’s Ahead for People?

January 23rd, 2019

People make a business thrive. That’s why even the most technical of companies like Google value people.  In our experience, people are the #1 asset of any organization. Hands down, we can help any organization with good people quicker and to a FAR larger degree than an organization with very few good people.

In thinking about what’s ahead for people, there are many transitions and trends to be aware of:

 

  1. Baby Boomers  – As baby boomers retire, they will be harder to replace than what appears at first glance. Typically speaking, they aren’t up-to-speed on the latest technology.  They might have old fashioned ideas but they know “what works”. Don’t be too quick to hurry the process along. Instead, value their knowledge and find a way to transition it for a win-win.
  2. The Skills Gap – It is hard not to have a skills gap when technologies change daily. Jobs are being automated and new jobs are being created with entirely new skill requirements. The world is becoming more complex and global and customers expect more for less. Are you prioritizing the retention of your top talent? Is your company attractive to top talent?
  3. Diversity– We are not believers in mandates and regulations but we have found diversity to propel success. Are you actively attracting people who do NOT think like you? That’s a tough one (after all, don’t we all prefer people who agree with us?), but it is important if you want your team and organization to thrive.
  4. Spark an Innovative Culture – With the high demands of customers, bard members and the like, solid leadership is no longer enough. Sparking innovation has become a “must” for success.
  5. Back to the Leadership Basics – There is no coincidence that every successful client has a strong leader. Whereas long-term struggling clients and contacts (as struggling leaders rarely hire consultants) have weak leaders. Being a strong leader is “hard work” and requires courage. What are you doing to build your leadership bench strength?

The core tenets of successful people do not change. The requirements and challenges we face continue to expand. Yet, the route to success is clear. We choose to see this fact with hope as it does not require rocket science to become a good leader.  We’ve seen plenty of examples of mediocre leaders who transform into exceptional leaders through mentoring, coaching and experience.

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

Global Consultants and the Value of Diversity 

Do You See Your People as Assets or Expenses?

 



Gaining New Ideas to Increase Business Value

August 8th, 2018

Every executive we work with is interested in increasing the value of the business.  Whether a small closely-held business with an owner who might want to sell the business or exit with an ESOP, a private-equity backed company aiming to achieve the ideal exit strategy per the private equity agreement or a large, complex organization working to increase shareholder value, increasing the value of the business remains a unanimous top priority.

Understanding this objective is quite different from fulfilling it.  There is a reason the most successful businesses have teams of people rather than one person who has to come up with every idea – it is certainly more sustainable!  

So, how can we encourage these ideas? Here are several ways that we’ve seen success achieved consistently over 25+ years in both the corporate and the consulting world with manufacturers and distributors.

  1. Engage your employees – Definitely one of the “easier said than done” items; however, it is also one of the most consistently successful.  As the Gallop polls show, those companies with a higher percentage of engaged employees significantly outperform the rest.
  2. Involve your customers – Who can better than your customers to generate ideas that will ensure a superior customer experience while increasing the value of the company?  Don’t just go to your top 10 customers in volume. Think about your long-term customers. It can also be worth it to collaborate with customers on the brink of being an unprofitable and prompt ideas to turn it around or end the relationship on a “good note”.  You never know what might happen. We’ve seen dramatic turnarounds, just as often as we’ve seen the rest of the company improve when getting rid of the “rotten apple customer”.
  3. Collaborate with your suppliers – Aside from your customers, who else might have a substantial impact on your performance?  Your suppliers! If you can devise new win-win approaches together, imagine the possibilities.  For example, when I was a VP of Operations and Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer, we collaborated with suppliers to develop a new material so that we could reduce our usage (increasing our profit) and provide a benefit to our customers (better performance/ higher value for them).  We became a closer partner with our supplier and grew each of our businesses and profits while enhancing the value to our mutual customer. A win-win-win.
  4. Ask colleagues outside of your area of expertise – Just because your colleague is in a different function doesn’t mean he/she won’t have a great idea.  Take the time to explain an important project to related colleagues outside of the project or your area of expertise.   Ask for their thoughts, watch-outs and the like. You never know where the next great idea will come from.
  5. Consult with experts / advisors – Attend trade association meetings.  Dig into industry journals. Ask questions of LinkedIn groups. Pursue alumni colleagues.  Consult with an advisor, consultant or financial expert. Join a peer group.  

There is no doubt that the most successful executives utilize all of these techniques to make sure they generate a seemingly never-ending stream of ideas to increase the value of their business.  Set aside time on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to priorities these activities.  Do not expect an immediate payoff.  However, if you are consistent, you’ll find success one day down-the-road.  After all, it may only that one idea to make a significant impact!

 



Memphis, Sun Studio & Following Your Heart

June 25th, 2018

 

I made a quick stop in Memphis since I was nearby and had never experienced the birthplace of rock’n’roll – and, from all appearances, some amazing fried foods.  Of course, I had to do the typical tours of Graceland (including seeing Elvis’ vast automobile collection and private plane) and Gibson guitars; however, I was most impressed by the tour of Sun Studio.  See a few shots of the memorabilia below.

 

 

 

 

 

Sun Studio is the place many greats were discovered including Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and more.  The owner, Sam Phillips discovered these amazing talents by stopping them from playing for him – and what they thought he would want to hear.  Instead, he asked them to play what they love and follow their heart. Are you performing for your boss, your Board or you?

One tip to implement this week: Passion
Think about the question – are you following your passion/enjoy what you do?  Or, can you incorporate some elements of your passion into what you do? I have no doubt you can!  Just think a bit longer about how you can incorporate some aspects of your passion – the imagery, in metaphors, etc.  There is always a way to add some aspect into your daily routine.

And how about the question Sam asked – are you performing specifically for your boss?  Can you include some aspect of what you enjoy in your communications? Similarly to Elvis and Johnny, undoubtedly, you’ll improve your chances of that next promotion, innovation or BIG discovery by being yourself.

Wouldn’t that be more pleasant – and potentially more successful?



The Value of New Beginnings and the Old

May 24th, 2018

This weekend I was in North Carolina for the wedding reception of my Godson Alex and his bride, Grace. They were happy, planned the perfect day and it all went fabulously……such an impressive – and young (or maybe I’m just getting older) – couple! I spent lots of time in high school and college hanging out with my best friend Sandi and her family, and so it is always great to go back to spend time with family.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandi and I turn 50 in the next month and so we plan to do a few trips this year to commensurate the occasion.  It is great to have a friend that I’ve known most of my life. There is certainly value in the old as well as the new.  Are you appreciating your long-term customers who have been with you through thick and thin as well as your new, ideal customers?

One tip to implement this week:
Don’t we tend to take our long-term, valuable relationships for granted?  Admit it! Of course, it is easy to do so.

Perhaps we should think about valued customers, suppliers, employees and other partners.  Pick up the phone and give them a call or stop by for a visit. I find it is always good to catch up. There were several relationships from my first large client that got me started.  I wouldn’t be successful today if it weren’t for what I learned from them and/or the chance they took on a new consultant.

Although I started this by thinking of new beginnings, I am reminded that I fly back at a terribly early hour on Monday (as anyone who knows me would be horrified) because one of those key contacts from my first client is in town and we are going to our old haunt, Red Robin.  Should be fun! Later that day, I meet with some new contacts to start new beginnings. Nice to have a great mix.

Who will you be first on your list to connect with?