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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


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


Happy New Year!

 

In our world of business, we enter 2017 with great hope and anticipation of an invigorated economy and yes, some trepidation about whether it will all come together once again to lift our businesses, big and small.

We know that in fixing our business climate here in the United State, we have significant hurdles to overcome.  Our labor force participation is at its lowest level in 40 years.  Our principal generator of new jobs, small business startups, is growing at a rate of 30% less than in 2008.  One million new startups have failed in the last 8 years, resulting in the loss of 7-10 million jobs; GDP growth has been less than 3% for 10 years running.  I can go on and on about the issues of our stagnant economy, but we all know that we now have a major opportunity to reverse these negative, confidence-draining trends.

The optimist in me tells me that this is a mountain not too steep and difficult to climb.  Here’s why – we are, at our heart, a nation of doers that want to make things better for all of us, individually and collectively, and when slapped down, we confidently and aggressively get back up, rebuild, innovate and work hard to find solutions that solve the problems that confront us and satisfy our customers’ needs.

To me, confidence and risk taking go hand-in-hand and make our country unique in history.  Here’s my logic flow:  If businesses of all sizes see a favorable business climate with less regulation, lower taxes and available financing, there will be the entrepreneurial and corporate confidence to invest, innovate and take the necessary risks to create new and better goods and services that our customers want and desire today and tomorrow.

It’s all about a business culture in our country that incents and rewards growth, risk taking, entrepreneurship, innovation and community.  If we are smart about it, the rising tide will lift all the boats.  Here’s to a great 2017!


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.

 


Growing Our Business

Do you remember those days as a child when we dreamt big and believed that we could do or become anything?  Barriers, challenges, issues weren’t part of the vocabulary; anything was possible, and we were certain and confident it would all come true.  Every time I get a big grin on my face when one of my grandchildren tells me who or what they want to become in life.  Smile!  How precious unbridled confidence is.

Wouldn’t it be perfect if we could, just for a moment, stand still in that time and place to carry us through our business challenges. Having a supreme and unwavering confidence in our ability to grow and build our business to become successful and thriving would be just such a perfect place.  Unfortunately, we all know too well how the raw realities and experiences in life contribute to forgetting what it was really like as a child to believe and hope.

While I know how to be practical and thoughtful in thinking about the challenges and obstacles in growing and positively changing a businesses’ trajectory, the one thing that I often see missing with small business owners and leaders is the confidence to think big and differently, particularly when they achieved a certain level of success.  The end result often is same-ole same ole; they continue to do over and over what brought them to their present level.  Their confidence lies only in the comfortable and knowing what has worked so far.  The noise of “what can go wrong” gets very loud when thinking about a new or different direction and ultimately becomes the reality of what will certainly go wrong.  Uncertainty overwhelms confidence and belief in one’s own ability to move the business to the next level.

So what can you do to bring that confident self to aggressively growing your business and effectively changing plans and behavior to support that growth?

1. Learn to get yourself out of your comfort zone

Belief in the adage that “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone” will move you in a more confident direction.   Talk yourself into taking a risk, doing something differently, or being creative.

2. Surround yourself with confident role models

Can-do, make-it-happen friends and peers will make you feel more positive, upbeat and willing to take action.  The opposite is also true.  Pessimism is like a bad cold – spend time with it and you’ll catch it.

3.  Focus on the experience versus the outcome when you try something different

What you learn from an experience can be a valuable contributor to self-confidence.  Obviously you can learn from success, but failure can also teach you what not to do, which can be just as valuable.

4.  Just do it, as they say

Confident people take action and make things happen.  Don’t let the fear of failure freeze you in your tracks and force you to stand still or worse yet, go backwards.  Business growth doesn’t happen by itself – it takes leaders and business owners that have the self-confidence to strive, risk and make it happen.

 


how to improve customer service

How to Improve Customer Service 1% at a Time

How to Improve Customer Service with the Rule of 1%

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as how to improve customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this you must have your consistency perfected or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a huge increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at one or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you show them how to improve customer service one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!

While, rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers and consistency is the key to how you deliver it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you’ve learned a lot out good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons, and you are in the Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic! Greg A. Lee is also available on Advicoach.

In upcoming posts we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.


develop consistency

Develop Consistency for Your Customer Service

Develop Consistency to Take Your Customer Service to the Next Level

In the last post we talked about how to figure out what your customers want out of a positive shopping experience. Today we’ll talk about how to develop consistency and the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. I’ve decided to split up this post so the next one will cover the 1% Rule.

The key to any great customer service is to develop consistency. If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience.

There are three ways to develop consistency:

Avoid offering too many customer service options.

We sometimes get so caught up in giving customers what they want we get away from our original vision. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition.

You need to fine tune the current systems you are using before you can add anything to the mix. There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system.

Put solid systems into place.

Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consistent of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.

Good training is the key.

Once you have your system in place you need to train people to use it properly and efficiently. This helps your people deliver the results your customers are looking for. While, train is essential for the system to work and for all your people to work together cohesively, appreciation will go a long way.

I hope this has given you a look into what you need to do in order to develop consistency to have a quality customer service in place. If you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

Greg A. Lee is also available on Advicoach.


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