Business Coaching

Tag Archives

Investing in your employees now for the road ahead

Making sure a business survives through the day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year can be a challenge, but how do you make the move from surviving to thriving? Mick Yates writes this article to explain how investing in your employees now can create a positive effect for your business for years to come.

It is not easy keeping up with the current business market. With millennials taking over the lead, employers and business owners constantly need to search for new ways to keep their employees motivated and therefore retain them. Opportunity for millennial’s success are everywhere and if they do not feel content on their current position, they will easily move on to the next opportunity they see. Young people are highly confident in their career goals, and they have no time to spare in a place which gives them no room for growth. There is no better way to keep your staff engaged and motivated than to help them thrive and improve their skills. Here are some of the reasons why you should start investing in your employees’ growth as soon as possible:

1. It Boosts Productivity And Morale

Employees want to be recognized for their own qualities and talents. When an employee is confident about their work and knowledge they own, it directly affects their productivity (or lack of). Investing in their career and knowledge will show them that you, genuinely care about them. It helps to build a healthy and motivated working environment. Giving them space to rise and shine is going to make them more confident in their skills. But not only that they will feel confident, they actually will have a pretty good reason for it.

2. It Keeps Staff Turnover At A Lower Rate

With options lurking everywhere, the easiest thing for one Millennial with no, to little experience, is to walk away and find a position where their needs will be properly met. Younger employees are hungry for knowledge and they tend to lose interest quickly if you do not provide them with a constant chance of improving. It is your job as a leader to be interested in your staff and in their needs. Investing in their skills will not only make them feel more confident, but it will also prepare them for more serious positions in your company. That way, you do not have to start from scratch every time you need a new manager or a leader – you can offer the position to one of your existing staff members that already know the job. Believe me, they will most certainly appreciate it.

3. Fewer Mistakes

If you skimp on your employees’ training, you are most certainly going to face their failure or lack of skill. Undertrained or unskilled staff members are always the ones making most of the mistakes. Thankfully, with proper training/programme, your staff members will feel more in control over their own work and they will actually know how to do it (properly).

4. The World Needs Leaders 

Investing in training and leadership development is one of the leading ways of keeping Millennials engaged and loyal. Who would want to leave the job where opportunities for growth are endless? But even if they do, it is not that big of a deal. The world is in the need for strong, and young leaders, who can offer valuable leadership skills to the world’s job market. One of the first countries that seem to realize this, are Australia and Canada. Providing leadership development in Australia became almost mandatory in some business industries, and for some, training is at least once in a few months.

5. Reputation Matters, A Lot

A good leader who left your company for another opportunity should never be underestimated. Millennials will usually wander off to another workplace after 18-25 months of the same job (and position). Remember, wherever they go, they will take your company’s reputation with them. For every good employee you lose, you may gain triple – but only if you put your effort into engaging with your team. If they remember your workplace as a safe place for growth, they will most likely even come back after they have satisfied their need for change.

Coaching programs and leadership development training are slowly becoming almost mandatory in this chaotic business market that is spinning 24 hours per day. Keeping up with the current trends is not even a choice anymore – it has become crucial for the success of any comp

This article is written by Mick Yates, an executive leadership coach who is the founder and CXO level consultant for LeaderValues. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


The 2 Rare Skills You Need to be a Great Leader

 Looking to take the next step as a leader? Lolly Daskal writes this article for her blog where she lists two  of the skills needed to take your leadership abilities to the next level!

At some time or another, most of us have experienced a boss, manager, or leader who made us feel recognized and valued. And as a result, we were able to do more than we ever thought we could.

More than anything else, that’s the sign of a true leader—someone who makes you feel, think, act beyond the limits you imagined to your own capabilities and capacity. What’s more, they make you feel you are valued and that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

What skills do these leaders have that allow them to help others become their best? Fundamentally, there are only two. Even the first is far from common on its own, and because the second builds on the first, it’s especially rare.

But here’s the good news: rare as they are, they’re attainable. You can learn them and practice them and master them, and go on to help and empower others to exceed their self-imposed limits.

First, great leaders have a strong foundation of self-awareness. All great leaders draw strength from a well-built foundation of self-awareness. To lead from within requires a comprehensive understanding of yourself. That includes the ability to identify your own strengths and weaknesses—in terms of skills, which you can leverage by hiring people who make up for your weak spots, and also in terms of emotional triggers. Managing these triggers  requires a high level of emotional awareness, plus the knowledge of how to be adaptable and the willingness to alter your behavior to be an effective leader. You have permission to be human—that is, sometimes flawed and vulnerable—but you must never allow inner turmoil to wreak havoc upon those you lead.

True leaders understand that their attitudes toward themselves set the tone to which others respond.

Second, they have the single-mindedness to instill power within others. It’s one thing to understand yourself and to be aware of who you are. But the highest leadership quality is knowing how to empower others. A true leader is able to inspire their team, to encourage them to go beyond excellence and accomplish far more than anyone expects of them—or than they expect of themselves. A good leader may take people where they want to go, but a great leader takes them where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.

A true leader doesn’t create more followers; they create more leaders.

A good leader may ask, “Is this working for me?” But a great leader will ask, “Is this working for my people?”

Great leaders can change the world, but first they must learn to lead from within. It’s only after they’ve developed that level of self-awareness that they can they lead and others to greatness.

Lead from within: Leaders become great when they are able to find their inner power and use it to inspire, strengthen and empower others.

This article is written by Lolly Daskal, an executive leadership coach who is CEO and founder of Lead From Within. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


Employee Engagement 101: Creating a Culture of Commitment Versus Compliance

Working at the “Happiest place on Earth” means more than just providing a warm atmosphere for visitors. Jeff James writes this article for the Disney Institute blog about employment engagement and what it takes to create a magical place for employee and visitor alike.
The term employee engagement is often used in business today as it relates to how we employ and motivate employees. At Disney, we like to think about engaged employees (Cast Members in our terms) as a combination of those willing to “go the extra mile” as well as those who are committed to the organization.
“Going the extra mile” is not about working harder or longer—it is about discretionary behaviors that employees want to do versus have to do. When you have to do something you comply, meaning you do it because it is required as part of your job or role within a company. But, when you commit (to an organization or company), you do things because you want to do them.
Most often, when you do something you want to do, it’s because there is an emotional connection that has been created and nurtured between you and the company (or its leaders) which makes you feel like you are making a meaningful contribution to the betterment of the company. As a leader, once you are able to instill this feeling of “family” or connectedness within your team, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can accomplish.
Sometimes leaders within an organization get concerned when they hear the word “discretionary” related to their employees’ abilities to satisfy a customer. They usually think of how much money “discretionary” could cost their company. But, what they may not be considering are the longer term implications of NOT allowing their employees the ability to do the right thing in the moment.
These moments of truth, when there is either a transaction or what we like to think about as an “interaction,” can create a lasting brand deposit (or withdrawal) depending upon how a customer has been treated.
Getting your company or organization to this state, to form this type of culture within your team, can take years of steady, hard work—something we know well at Disney.
In fact, our consistent business results are driven by strategically focusing on certain business functions and opportunities in which other companies often fail the see the value and potential—and that is a key source of what differentiates us. We have learned to be intentional where others may be unintentional. 
So, this raises the question, how can YOU be more intentional in creating the type of environment where your people “go the extra mile,” not just because they have to—because they want to?

This article is written by Jeff James, Vice President and General Manager of Disney Institute. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Jeff James are their own, not those of Disneyinstitute.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


The Difficult Day Every Leader Has to Face

Is this the year for change? If you can prepare for a move, then setting up the ground work can reduce the stress on you and your employer. Lolly Daskal writes this article for her blog where she lists the steps you need to take to prepare for a move.

At some point every leader has to face what is for many a difficult day—the day they are no longer the leader. Maybe they’re retiring or just slowing down or moving on to something new.

The reason for the departure isn’t as important as the work that precedes it. Every leader should have a succession plan in place. (Even if you’re young and plan to stay where you are, you should still prepare for the remote possibility of a sudden illness or accident.) If you haven’t yet made a plan, here are some guidelines that can help:

Take your time. A great plan can’t be put together overnight, but the time to start is today. Start by sketching out your areas of responsibility, the reporting and governance structure of your organization, and any parties—team members, colleagues, board members—you want to have input into your planning.

Groom those with potential. Identify the people in your organization you believe have the potential to be great leaders and begin to teach, coach and prep them. When you invest in your organization’s future leadership, your influence remains long after you’ve left.

Recognize your emotions (and understand they’re normal). As in many other areas, the best leaders are those who know how to manage their emotions. They don’t allow themselves to be blindsided; they give themselves healthy outlets for voicing and expressing what they’re feeling so when the day does come, the emotions aren’t overwhelming.

Map your second purpose. I believe our lives comes in stages. For many of us, the first purpose consists doing what’s expected of us, and our work life is driven by the arc of our career. When that stage is over we can move on to our second purpose, where things slow down and we spend our time on things that align with our values. It’s time to be intentional about where you spend your time and energy.

Let go and move on. Once you’ve decided to move on, the worst thing you can do is to not let go. Trying to keep hold of the reins leaves you—and everyone around you—in limbo. Especially if you’ve spent years or decades in control, it may be among the most difficult challenges of your life—that’s why you have to prepare far in advance.

Learn your lessons. Sometimes looking back can help you move forward. Reflect on all the struggles, the lessons you’ve learned, the strengths you’ve developed, all the connection and growth and regrets of your career as leader, and you’ll attain a greater awareness of yourself and where you’re headed.

When the day comes that it’s time to change seasons, it will be a much easier and more fulfilling transition if it’s handled with care for all concerned—yourself, your organization, and the new leadership.

Lead from within: Every succession plan will be different, but the only way to know what’s next is to be prepared long before the day arrives and it becomes difficult.

This article is written by Lolly Daskal, an executive leadership coach who is CEO and founder of Lead From Within. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


Knowing Good Grammar is a Social Skill

Bad grammar holds back veterans in the field and those starting out alike. Penelope Truck shows how important practicing good grammar can be when looking for a new job in the following article, written Dec 8, 2018.

My friend is staying at my apartment while he job hunts in Boston. My job hunts were always done in pajamas with a jeans-and-T-shirt interview finale. Micah is in sales and his hunt starts with a trip to a clothing store.

While he hops in and out of dressing rooms becoming friends with everyone, I settle into a spot with the mannequins.

Then I say, “Micah! Hey! Did you know the most reliable way to speed up a job hunt is to have a professional rewrite your resume?”

Micah stops and looks at me. Sales guys are always attentive, even if you annoy them.

“So, not that I don’t love living with you, but I’m rewriting your resume.”

A lot of times when I rewrite a resume it’s so much better than the original that the person has to learn to talk about themselves differently. We underestimate ourselves because we’re in the thick of things when it’s our own career. A good resume rewrite makes you feel like a different, much more successful person.

Most people take a week or two to get used to talking about themselves at a higher level. Salespeople can adjust right away, which Micah did. Then he started making little changes for each job. And ruining the resume.

“Micah! Are you a total numbskull?! You can’t have a bulleted list with one bullet! It’s not a list if there’s only one thing!”

I told him he has a huge indentation where there shouldn’t be any. He thought I was crazy. He thought no one would notice.

This reminds me of when I was doing a lot of public speaking. I wore jeans. Even when I was getting paid $15K per speech, I wore jeans. Even when I was speaking to a coat-and-tie audience, I wore jeans.

My agent told me to stop wearing jeans. I told my agent my content is so good that no one notices what I wear. So he stopped booking me.

The problem is blind spots. And part of the art of making it through adult life is to learn our blind spots before they completely undermine us.

This is a good time to complain about tests we administer to ourselves. I have already published a tirade about personality tests – why nearly 50% of people get inaccurate results when they test themselves.

But another example is that the are you a sociopath tests don’t work because the ENTPs and ESTPs are always excited to test as a sociopath. They think it’s funny. So they inadvertently skew the results.

Also, when you have someone test to see if they have Asperger’s, most of the time they will say their social skills are fine. That’s because people with Asperger’s don’t know what counts as a social skill. For example, meeting deadlines, sticking with the group, saying I’m sorry. These are all social skills that people with poor social skills don’t count.

I see the phrase “appropriate attire” a lot. Well, maybe not a lot now, but I did a lot when I was 13 in the ’70s and I was receiving tons of formal bat mitzvah invitations. But anyway, that phrase doesn’t mean you have to knock it out of the park with an outfit straight from the runway. It means just look like you fit in.

The same is true with appropriate grammar. People just need to know basics. As a former copyeditor, I know that one should not capitalize a job title unless the job title comes directly before a person’s name who is doing that job. The number of people who violate this rule is so large that breaking that rule is like wearing white after Labor Day: Whatever.

But those mistakes on Micah’s resume are on the list of must-be-fixed. And, here’s a list off the top of my head of common grammar errors I see on resumes from very smart people:

Do not use jargon as a way to abbreviate because you need everyone at the prospective company to be able to read your resume.

Always abbreviate state names unless you’re a calligrapher getting paid per letter.

Don’t write Inc. on your resume unless you worked at Inc. Magazine. No one cares about the incorporation papers of the companies you worked for.

Recognize rules are flexible, but no rules are random.Put periods at the end of non-sentences. Or not. Capitalize long prepositions in a headline. Or not. Abbreviate months. Or not. But be consistent; whatever you choose, do it every time.

Maintain past tense even for a job that you are still doing. If you are writing a good resume, you are writing about a moment in time when you were great. If you are writing about something you do every day, meaning you are still doing it, then stop writing that. A resume is about accomplishments and the second you accomplish something it becomes past tense.

Give your verb an object as a way to make sure you look great. Consider the difference between Emma ate. And Emma ate something. The latter is a specific time with a specific outcome. People get hired for making a specific impact at the places they work.

Don’t use quotation marks unless you literally refer to a person who you then quote verbatim. But if you are quoting someone verbatim on your resume, delete it. What are you thinking? The only acceptable quote would be from someone who is so famous that they can just make a phone call and get you the job without you sending a resume at all.

This article is written by Penelope Trunk, who helps others find jobs and has created four start ups, including Quistic. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Penelope Trunk are their own, not those of PenelopeTrunk.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


3 Leaders Reveal Their Hardest Conversations

Not all decisions are easy to make. How do you give a difficult talk to your teammate, boss, or even yourself? Andrea Williams covers this in her article for Michael Hyatt, on Nov. 27, 2018.

Building a successful organization requires interpersonal skills as much as knowledge of finance or marketing strategies. Perhaps the most important tool in the relational toolbox is the tenacity to have tough talks that lead to the sort of necessary change that makes growth possible.

Here, three individuals relate their most difficult conversations, revealing insights and advice applicable on a fairly wide scale. Their problems are likely to be yours at some point, if you are leading people.

Calling out a trusted team member

Addressing an individual’s poor decision making is never easy, especially if that person is a valuable part of the team and someone you want to continue working with long-term. The solution, says Shyam Krishna, founder of SKI Charities, is to empower that individual with more ownership over their role and the future of the organization as a whole.

SKI Charities supports local entrepreneurs in developing countries by providing microloans to women, giving them the necessary resources to lift their families out of poverty. In order the execute this mission, Krishna depends on project managers who are based in each country and are directly responsible for recruiting and developing entrepreneurs for SKI’s microfinance program.

During the organization’s growth in eastern Zimbabwe, Krishna discovered that one project manager was “overly-aggressive” in decision-making and enrolling beneficiaries who were not ideal for the program.

“She had been a stalwart member of our team and played a vital role in our early growth,” Krishna says, “so when I noticed this movement away from our core mission, I knew I had to speak with her about changing her mindset while balancing her continued engagement.”

Ultimately, Krishna reminded the project manager of SKI’s core mission, while also encouraging her to take an active role in creating and enhancing the company’s future vision. “With her involvement and ownership, she began to make decisions less as an employee and more as a leader herself,” Krishna says.

Giving the boss an ultimatum

While the onus for effectively tackling difficult conversation typically falls on leaders who need to address their subordinates, there are times when the need to initiate an important discussion starts at the bottom.

Before becoming the founder and CEO of business consulting firm Trebuchet Group, Chris Hutchinson was working under a leader who stifled his growth, taking over a number of his responsibilities once he had achieved success in those areas.

Hutchinson’s frustration was mounting.“I needed to help my boss do the role the business needed of him and let me do mine, or help transfer my responsibilities to him and leave the business,” he says.

Hutchinson presented his boss with two solutions: Either his boss would need to step back and focus on being the president of the organization, while Hutchinson exercised full autonomy as general manager, or Hutchinson would depart, transferring his responsibilities back to his boss.

“He chose the latter,” Hutchinson says. “Over the next few weeks, I coached him on how we would announce my transition…It was very difficult to leave my colleagues when I believed they would not be successful, yet I also felt I was in a no-win situation. The harder I tried to help, the less authority I had to be able to help.”

Hutchinson’s experience shows that not all difficult conversations will achieve an ideal result for both parties, but it’s important to have them nonetheless. His advice? Prepare in advance to ensure that your message is delivered with clarity and focus.

“A good friend gave me The Four Agreements book as I worked up the courage to present my boss with a clear choice and then follow through on that choice,” he says. “The book helped me make commitments to myself to do my best to be impeccable with my word, not make assumptions, and not take things personally. These lessons made a tremendous difference in that situation and have served me in other, difficult conversations with people at work.”

Owning up to your own mistakes

It’s estimated that one-in-five American jobs are held by contractors, and that, within ten years, half of the workforce will be comprised of contractors and freelancers.

For contract workers, the beauty of free-agent employment is the ability to assume full control over their schedule and work-life balance. But, in the face of poor time management and everyday life challenges, your schedule can quickly become an unwieldy monster.

As a self-employed attorney and mediator, Nance Schick has found that her most difficult conversations were the result of having to disclose her professional errors. This was certainly the case after a recent health crisis.

“I kept trying to work and thought I could get more done each day than I did, and this only made the work backlog pile up more,” Schick says. “This client’s project went further down my priority list each day, in part because I overestimated myself and made promises I couldn’t keep. Worse yet, I stopped communicating with her about my delays, thinking the project would be done before she even realized I was late completing it. I told myself this was okay because a lot of businesses operate this way, even if that is not how I run mine. But it was not okay.”

After recovering from laryngitis, pink eye, and a sinus infection, Schick was able to complete the project and submit it to her client for review. She also included and explanation, an apology, and a discount on her fees.

Since then, Schick has realized that it’s her responsibility to fully regain the trust of her client, but she’s also realistic in understanding that unforeseen circumstances may once again delay her productivity. Going forward, she plans to handle those situations with a different approach.

“First, I will be more realistic and honest about my schedule, even if it means I have to refer a project out to a trusted colleague,” she explains. “Second, I will notify the client immediately if I suspect a deadline won’t be met, and I will give the client a true opportunity to adapt, including by reassigning the project. Third, I will apologize by phone and allow the client to express her anger, disappointment, or whatever she feels.”

That may be a tough conversation to have but if she wants to grow, Schick believes it is a necessary one. “I must be the change I wish to see in others,” she says.

This article is written by Andrea Williams, digital content strategist, author, and journalist. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Andrea Williams are their own, not those of MichaelHyatt.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


Stop Relying on Your Company for Career Development

As one holiday ends, another begins. The path to career advancement doesn’t slow down for Mike Guggemos though, as this week we will be looking over his article written for Fortune in March 12, 2017.

Stop Relying on Your Company for Career Development

You probably aren’t doing these three simple and easy-to-adopt professional habits to raise your visibility at work—but you should be. Despite being simple, these are generation-agnostic, can be tested by any person at any point in their career, and, for the most part, are universally applicable across companies and industries.

Take control of your own advancement

As part of my job, I look at employee surveys, and one thing that habitually comes up is people wanting more career development and advancement opportunities. This fascinates me, because a lot of people aren’t doing very simple tasks—which can’t be replaced with organized committees or training programs provided by the company—to advance themselves.

In fact, I make a point to have one-on-one conversations with people to better understand their point of view around this idea, and invariably it becomes obvious that they haven’t put the onus on themselves to go out and look for—or even create—opportunities to get noticed. To put it bluntly, that is backward, and it won’t get you where you want to go.

Taking control and creating opportunity does not have to be part of a grand scheme or something that will eat away at your productivity. In fact, it comes down to basics. Introduce yourself, shake people’s hands, and get comfortable with putting yourself out there. If you are interested in a particular area, even if it isn’t related to your education, background, or current job focus, find out who the manager is—and introduce yourself in person.

“Hi, my name is…” can go a very long way.

Learn the art of strategic exposure

If you really want to get noticed, you have to put yourself out there in strategic ways. Volunteer for work and new responsibilities—even if it means stretching outside your comfort zone or having to put in a few more hours of effort at night or on the weekends.

If you want to have your boss’s job or boss’s boss’s job, you need to show what you are made of to large groups of people. There are three ways to do this: Speak up in meetings; find opportunities to give presentations; and write emails that will be seen by either large audiences or key decision makers.

Here is the hard part: Make sure you are clear, concise, and emotive when presenting and corresponding. These types of interactions are how you build your personal brand and credibility within the organization.

Make sure to show up

It’s old news that many companies have embraced a heavy telecommuting culture. For example, here at Insight, about 80% of my team telecommutes. However, this means that showing up once in a while is that much more important to getting noticed. Even though it may not be mandatory, make the trip in once or twice a week. If that isn’t possible, find a schedule that works for you. Even great work can’t supplant a handshake or a face-to-face interaction with teammates and managers. Conversely, if you are in the office but work with teammates or managers who are remote, make sure to introduce yourself to them when they are in town or ask them to grab a coffee.

While there are easy things to do to get noticed, there are also a few easy mistakes that can be made along the way. In short order, don’t take too much of people’s time, don’t over-communicate—less is more when you are striking up that initial conversation—and do your homework so that you have the right information to be brief, but effective.

In the few times I’ve seen people put these best practices to work, I have not only been impressed by their behavior, but often have noticed their realization of career dividends as a result.

This article is written by Mike Guggemos, chief information officer at Insight Enterprises. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Mike Guggemos are their own, not those of Fortune.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


3 Leadership Skills Critical for Driving Change

In keeping with the focus on leadership, I’d like to share the following article written by Brent Gleeson, Keynote Speaker and Leadership Coach, published in Inc.com on August 16, 2016.  This article proides some key takeaways from the book “Change the Culture, Change the Game” authored by Roger Connors and Tom Smith on the skills leaders need for improing organizational culture to drive better results.

All organizations experience periods of much-needed culture change in order to achieve the results they need to grow, compete and win. Changing or improving the culture of a company or team requires focus, accountability and consistency. And it must be led from the top. Without total and complete buy-in from the senior leadership team the desired culture will fail to be achieved.

Leaders either move actively through an organization or unconsciously. When an unconscious leader attempts to fake their way through culture change they will not create the necessary experiences required to instill the correct beliefs. Without the needed cultural beliefs, actions will not achieve results.

There is also a misconception that leaders driving significant culture change must be bold in nature, give inspirational speeches and take wild leaps at greatness. That is simply not true. They must be honest and sincere in their effort exhibiting true passion for change. They must take aggressive strides in mastering three critical culture change leadership skills. And most of the time the organization can’t wait for them to do so, it must be done in tandem with driving change. This requires a consistent and deliberate effort and places this ability within reach of leaders at all levels.

These three skills are: leading the change, responding to feedback, and having a facilitative communication style.

Leading the Change

Culture change initiatives are not something that can be delegated to Human Resources or any other department. This is a leader-led model which must start at the very top. Every experience a leader creates, communication they deliver and action they take will either support or undermine the effort. The senior leadership team must actively manage the process and make sure that it’s at the top of every manager’s priority list.

Some of the best practices leaders must own include: establishing accountability across the organization; defining the results needed from the culture change (what are we trying to accomplish?); developing a cultural beliefs statement (again, this shouldn’t belong to the marketing team); developing and communicating the case for change; and consistently ensuring alignment across the leadership team.

For leaders to master the ability to lead the change, it requires learning and practicing the tools, planning what to do and what to say, and internal and external coaching.

Responding to Feedback

Without the team there can be no leadership. During a change effort the team will scrutinize the leadership team more than ever. They will be hopeful for new change they have been craving for a long time, but they may also look for signs of potential failure.

Providing feedback

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

focused on supporting the desired cultural beliefs and desired outcomes to team members is critical for success. But it goes both ways. Senior leaders must ask their reports, or anyone for that matter the question, “What feedback do you have for me?” Leaders must create a culture supportive of managing up and transparency.

Some leaders are good at taking constructive criticism and other are not. Responding with an excuse or dismissing the feedback as irrelevant or incorrect will foster beliefs about that leader’s willingness to change. In times of culture change, leaders must usually be the first to change the way they think and act.

Feedback will not always be accurate or grounded in reality but it is the leader’s duty to ask for it, as well as respond to it. Letting the team know that their voice is heard and what you are going to do to take action when necessary is the most important component to mastering responding to feedback.

Facilitative Communication Style

When I speak to organizations or perform workshops with their leadership teams, communication is always a key component. As a former Navy SEAL, we used to evangelize the saying “move, shoot and communicate.” We work in highly chaotic environments which require effective communication in order to adapt to change.

Leaders must not just ask for feedback every now and then but create organizational experiences that foster ongoing collaboration and communication. It doesn’t happen on its own. These experiences will empower the team and involve everyone in being accountable for driving the positive change forward.

Needed change is usually created through many internal and external environments. Either way, it can be scary for the team. It is up to the leadership to drive the change, ensure alignment, and see it through. It can have revolutionary effects to the bottom line when done right.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

4 Ways to Kick Into Hyper Growth This Year

hyper-growth-blog-race-cars

With a new year on the horizon, I’d like to shift the focus to Leadership and share the following article by  Adam Fridman, Founder, MeetAdvisors,  published August 19, 2016 in Inc.com, which discusses what INC 5000 honorees are saying about what high-growth companies are doing to be competitive in this landscape with the tools we currently have available:

Every year around this time, the INC 5000 list comes out and our collective conversation turns to growth. And since the latest technology is always changing the way business is done and stories of other disruptors constantly fuel entrepreneurial creativity – the formula for growth keeps evolving.

Last year, Mintigo conducted a study to identify exactly what INC 5000 companies were doing to surpass their success metrics. Among the qualities of the fastest growing companies in America were: efficient use of technology, having an in-house marketing team, hiring with future growth in mind, and focusing on high-growth industries.

The findings of this study have become more and more relevant in growing startup trends – and years from now, those key elements to success will likely continue to be true (even in 2030 when hologram versions of our staff will be teleporting into work!). But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What specifically are high-growth companies doing to be competitive in this landscape with the tools we currently have available? Here’s what some of the honorees said:

Focus on What You Really Do
In your first years of business, it’s easy to try to be everything to everybody. More services, more opportunities for customers, right? Not so much. It seems that if you want to grow quickly, you need to focus on what it is you really do.

Constance Aguilar, Co-Founder of The Abbi Agency believes that getting hyper-focused was her company’s number one growth driver. “We streamlined our departments, creating a 4-pillar system for business development, which put our leads into industry categories staffed and lead by experts in those particular areas of business,” she said.

Creating a framework for the agency allowed them to expand their marketing agency’s business in specific areas, rather than simply go after ‘anything and everything’. The result was the agency growing 191 percent over the past three years.

Don’t Skimp on Talent

You’ll see this recurring theme across the map with high-growth companies. While technology is great, it’ll never replace the power of human connection.

“High growth is about hiring the most talented team that shares a common vision. Our team’s collective vision is to change the way the world pays,” says Tom Villante, CEO of YapStone, a fintech company that powers payments for global marketplaces and large vertical markets. This past year, Villante added numerous seasoned executive to his team, hailing from companies like Twitter, Paypal, and Salesforce; YapStone was ranked in the list for the 9th consecutive year – having grown 136 percent over a three year period.

Revolutionize Your Customer Experience

Look, we live in a fast-paced world where consumers expect a certain level of customer experience. If they don’t feel taken care of – they’re not likely to darken your door again, no matter how much they need your service.

“We built a company that treats every decision for our customer as if we were making the decision for ourselves,” says Joe Pervan, Partner at The Fulfillment Lab, a fulfillment house that provides customized solutions for global companies. In an industry that is not traditionally customer-focused, this company went against the grain to create technology that fit each customer’s individual needs. A longer process, for sure – but at a whopping 1,735 percent growth in the past three years, they’re glad they took the time.

Anticipate Future Need

Our world is moving at lightning speed and what might be so relevant to your customer today, may not suit their needs tomorrow. This is why it’s important to constantly innovate new ideas that anticipate the future needs of your customer.

This is the 4th year that Madison Logic made the INC 5000 list, and this year they moved up 500 spots. “We attribute this to constantly innovating and staying ahead of the B2B marketplace, while also making it our priority to understand our clients’ needs and create products that help them achieve success,” says the company’s CEO, Tom O’Regan.

It has becoming increasingly clear that, like Madison Logic, we need to listen to our customers and have them tell us what they need.
Judging by these responses, it seems that true entrepreneurial companies are most concerned about creating something great and disrupting their market. In the entrepreneurial world, passion is power – and it seems that if you have that passion for greatness, the growth will come with it.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

 


The Top 10 Stats from 2016 that Show the Importance of Email Marketing

In keeping with the focus on marketing, I’d like to share the following article by  Linsey Morse in the B2BSalesNewsletter.org, originally published at skyword.com, that takes a look at the top stats of 2016 that highlight the importance of email, and a few tactics for effectively wielding it effectively in your content strategy.
When I think about digital storytelling, there are a few images that come to mind. I picture crisp, vivid photography that draws my eye to a publication. I picture articles so compelling I can practically hear the clear voice of the writer who composed it. I think of catchy hashtags and emotional Instagram campaigns. And I think of videos, whose power to transport has rendered the medium invaluable for a solid content strategy.
But in all that, it’s easy to forget one key element of a comprehensive storytelling strategy that’s too important to leave behind: email marketing.

Even in 2016, where spur-of-the-moment, blink-and-it’s-gone content reigns ever supreme, you need email. And, more importantly, you need to storify your email strategy. It’s not enough to have a newsletter or a targeted approach to distribution. Today, your email approach has to demonstrate a deep understanding of (and respect for) your audience and their needs, with rich visuals and irresistible subject lines.

According to Salesforce’s 2016 State of Marketing Report, “80 percent of marketers agree that email is core to their business.” Are you among them? If not, take a closer look at the top stats of 2016 that highlight the importance of email, and a few tactics for effectively wielding it effectively in your content strategy.

Why it’s Important to your Strategy

1. Email pays for itself–and then some.

If you can work your email strategy into your broader content strategy, the results will prove worth the work (especially where ROI is concerned): according to the Direct Marketing Association via Outbound Engine, “Email marketing yields an average 4,300 percent return on investment for businesses in the United States.” What’s more, as Hubspot pointed out, Forrester Research found that “companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads at 33 percent lower cost.”

Furthermore, Salesforce’s report noted that 49 percent of marketers (up from 20 percent in 2015) claim email is ” directly linked to their business’ primary revenue source.” And for businesses who are already using email as part of their strategies, they’ve likely seen a payoff even as recently as the close of Q2: as Experian’s Quarterly Email Benchmark Report (from Q2 2016) showed, while “quarter-to-quarter volume [for email] remained the same for Q2 compared to Q1 2016…revenue per email rose from $0.06 to $0.07 in Q2.”

2. There’s power in its personalization.

One of the best things about email–and automated email marketing in particular–is that it enables marketers to create personal experiences that speak to their recipients. And those extra efforts to personalize pay off: Campaign Monitor discovered that “emails with personalized subject lines are 26 percent more likely to be opened, and marketers have found a 760 percent increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.”

That’s not surprising. As with any good content strategy, email’s efficacy lies in its ability to prove a sender knows and respects their audience. And remember, you need both to ensure your campaign’s success. The majority of people claim they open all emails their favorite companies send; confirming this, according to Chadwick Martin Bailey, the organization sending an email and that email’s subject lines are the two most influential factors in open rates. Proving your company deserves a spot among those favorites necessitates care and consideration for readers–just as it does with your blog and on social.

3. Speaking of social�

According to McKinsey and Company, email far surpasses the social media giants where generating customers is concerned–in fact, it’s 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter. That might seem surprising, considering the number of people who actively engage on social on a daily basis, but it’s easy to understand how email facilitates a quieter, more intimate, and (most importantly) less distracting environment for a conversation or transaction. Beyond that, the company cites the fact that, (as of 2014,) “ninety-one percent of all US consumers still [used] email daily.” And that number’s expected to grow: The Radicati Group predicted that the number of email accounts worldwide would increase to 4.3 billion by the end of this year.

4. It’s only ever a thumb’s press away.

According to statistics from emailmonday (via Adestra’s 2016 Consumer Adoption and Usage Study), more email (55 percent) is read on mobile than on desktop clients. What’s more, emailexpert found that “sixty-four percent of decision-makers read email via mobile devices.”

Courtesy of emailmonday

With readers embracing mobile as a means of all communications, that means you’re able to send your personalized stories to readers and reach them wherever they are. While this does lead to the risk of catching someone in a moment when they’re not willing to consider your product or service, the likelihood is good that if your audience considers your brand a trusted name, they’ll engage.

5. B2Bs are in the lead.

According to emfluence’s Email Marketing Metrics Benchmarks 2016 report, “B2B marketing email averaged over a 47 percent higher click-through rate than Business-to-Consumer (B2C) email and boasted a 23 percent higher click-to-open ratio.”

Does this mean B2B companies are better email marketers than their B2C counterparts? Not necessarily, but it does indicate that they might be more well acquainted with their target audience’s needs and interests. For some B2B newsletter inspiration, check out the tips FreshMail offers.

How to make it work for you

6. Optimize for mobile.

Outbound Engine puts it best: “If an email does not display correctly, 71.2 percent will delete it immediately.” That makes optimization crucial. Responsive email templates are not always ideal, serving more as one-size-fits-most (but-certainly-not-all) solutions to the optimization problem. However, knowing that approximately 90 percent of all mobile email opens happen on an Apple device is a good start. Consider your user base and their devices when creating your next email template–it’ll pay off.

7. Contribute to your brand’s story.

Think about your emails as one more way to reinforce your brand’s story–they’re almost a publishing destination. Case studies, firsthand accounts from customers, content written by employees and relevant stories about the ways in which your brand is contributing to the world are all great approaches you can take–provided you do so in an authentic way. According to Headstream’s Brand Storytelling Report 2015, 80 percent of surveyed adults want brands to tell stories. And as you already know, authenticity is crucial in developing a relationship with your audience. Find a way to create email content that’s true to your brand’s voice and tone and aligns with its goals, and segment your audience wherever possible. Readers will take notice.

8. Automate, automate, automate.

Automation is a marketer’s best friend when it comes to crafting comprehensive campaigns and making sure your stories get where they belong–so it’s no surprise that an average of 49 percent of companies is currently automating in some way. It almost goes without saying that having a month to sculpt a story with gorgeous video or photography and an attractive headline about your brand’s latest product or service makes for an infinitely better experience than developing on the fly. To that end, scheduling goes a long way. But when you automate, you can track email success, monitor your leads, and refine your process for the long term. You can conduct A–B tests to determine the best ways to frame content–and the best content to frame. It’s like having your finger on your audience’s collective pulse.

9. Monitor your subscription (and unsubscription) rates.

With global unsubscribe rates averaging at a seemingly negligible .127 percent, it’s easy to write this problem off. But, as IBM Marketing Cloud pointed out, “improving your unsubscribe rate just 0.1 percent would save 1,000 subscribers every time you send to a database of 1 million people. That’s more than 200,000 contacts retained over a year if you send four emails per week.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of unsubscriptions–and if users unsubscribe, consider the cause. Are you sending emails too frequently, or not frequently enough? Is your content relevant, engaging, and segmented appropriately? Are you using a responsive template? Turn to your audience (and your automation software) for clues.

10. Test (and retest) your cadence.

Just as you’d develop a regular publishing cadence for your digital publication and meter your social posts, it’s crucial that you deliver your emails with the right frequency. More often than not, your cadence is going to be unique to your audience’s behaviors, so there’s no one best answer to this question–although Vertical Response’s compilation of research provides some great references. Good rules to abide by when you’re just starting to test the waters with a new email newsletter include ensuring you can deliver fresh, relevant content consistently with each newsletter, while simultaneously ensuring you’re not bogging readers down with a content excess.

Remember, too, that you’re no longer restricted to the Monday-through-Friday, nine-to-five schedule of old. As Vertical Response noted, “With consumers becoming more and more active on their mobile devices, especially outside of standard nine to five working hours spent at an office desktop, testing sends outside the traditional morning hours is essential.” Take time to experiment and find out what works best for your readers.

The Future of Email

The major tenets of email are clear: to be successful, your brand needs a keen awareness of its audience’s behaviors, a finger on the pulse of their devices, and an eye for optimal design. As future updates to email clients make it easier for your readers to ignore your messaging completely, it’s becoming increasingly crucial that your brand keeps up with fresh, relevant, engaging email content that goes the distance and brings readers back for more insight. Brands that take the time to get to know their readers will have the upper hand in the email sphere–and the value of that, as these stats have shown, cannot be overlooked.


Page 1 of 7123...Last »

In This Section

Press Releases

Latest Posts