Archive Search

Advanced Search

Search results
This can be a time of mixed emotions. I know because I greeted six consecutive New Year’s sitting in North Vietnam prisoner of war camps. Fear was the foremost emotion in those first three years, and the others were somewhat daunting, too. Yet, we always kept hope that the new year would bring an honorable end to the war. In spite of the difficult conditions, our leaders stayed positive and inspired us to bounce back as they did so often. They also taught us to resist the enemy and survive so that someday we could return with honor. Dealing with…
Less than two years after David Scheible assumed the helm of Graphic Packaging, things had taken a turn for the worse. Its stock price had fallen to $1 per share and the distinguished New York Stock Exchange was threatening to delist the company as shareholders bailed and the economy soured in 2008. “Because we had grown primarily through acquisitions, we were 6.8 times levered which means we were functionally bankrupt,” says Scheible, president and CEO. “We needed to generate cash in order to pay down debt and become a legitimate public company.” A survey of Graphic Packaging’s employees revealed that…
Any way you slice it, Chuck Bengochea has faced plenty of obstacles since becoming the CEO of The Original HoneyBaked Ham Co. of Georgia in 2006. First, the economic downturn decimated the premium food retailer’s B2B gifting and catalogue segment, wiping out 20 percent of its annual revenue overnight. Then, he faced a serious cash crunch as skittish bankers adjusted the covenants on the seasonal company’s line of credit. But through it all, he insists that altering the company’s legendary HoneyBaked recipe was never an option. “There’s tension to cut corners on products and processes and maximize short-term profits, especially…
Technology and the rising number of millennials entering the workforce are two factors making it easier and more acceptable for organizations to offer part-time or full-time telecommuting options to their employees. In fact, according to a recent Cisco survey, 70 percent of college students and young professionals believe that it is no longer necessary to head into a traditional office to work anymore. While the times are indeed changing and most workplaces barely resemble the “Mad Men” office of yesteryear, companies, regardless of size still need to take certain steps to ensure their virtual office workers are productive and connected…
Friday, 03 January 2014 00:38

Weighing in on health care reform: Atlanta

Written by
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called the Affordable Care Act represents some of the most far-reaching government overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid came into being. It will be phased in over time, but a number of changes have been delayed and won’t be in effect until 2015. The act focuses on increasing the rate of health insurance coverage for American and reducing health care costs. Here’s what some area businesses have on their minds about health care reform as the time nears for the full impact of the ACA: Darren…
David Passman’s classic remake of Carmike Cinemas is garnering rave reviews from Tinsel Town to Main Street. After falling into a state of disrepair, the nation’s fourth largest theater chain, through Passman’s efforts, has boosted the fortunes of film distributors and once beleaguered shareholders as well as the appetite of moviegoers. “Hollywood didn’t like us, our shareholders didn’t like us and our employees were driving customers away,” Passman says. “Every option was on the table from bankruptcy to revival or something in between when I came out of retirement to become Carmike’s president and CEO.” Known as “America's Hometown Theater…
The downturn of the economy is clearly behind us. Companies have their feet back under them and are once again focused on expanding, acquiring, adding clients and hiring employees. Now is a great time to grow. Moe’s Southwest Grill is one of those fortunate companies that made it through and, for the past few years, has been experiencing growth. In fact, Moe’s is preparing to open restaurants at a much more substantial rate than in years past. While this is great news, growth, of course, comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. So how do you prepare your…
We deeply want to be led by people who know what they’re doing and who don’t have to think about it too much — but there’s one glitch in that: The amount of success it takes for leaders to become overconfident isn’t terribly large. Some achieve a reputation for great successes when all they have done is take chances that happened to work. The fierce personal confidence and sense of infallibility that characterizes many leaders serves as a breeding ground for mind-bugs (non-conscious flaws in the way humans think and make decisions). As a result, leaders can fall into a…
After four years, the inability to manage change often results in the premature demise of 37 percent of information industry startups. John Marshall, co-founder of AirWatch, sees the validity of that statement, but relishes in the fact that his company isn’t a part of the statistic. It’s a modern day miracle that a small firm like AirWatch has not only endured, but found a way to ride the crest of the technology tsunami. “Coming up with a good idea is hard, but executing it is even harder,” says Marshall, who is also president and CEO. “You need to have the…
A rather gruesome quote has been attributed to Sean Parker, entrepreneur and Facebook’s first president: “Running a startup is like eating glass. You just start to like the taste of your own blood.” While that analogy is certainly descriptive, it does ring true for many entrepreneurs. I find startups both energizing and exhausting, and I’d compare the thrill to the adrenaline rush a runner gets. In fact, it’s the rush that inspired me to jump into the startup arena after a foray into the corporate world. My path to entrepreneurship started in the least risky of ways. I went to…
Summer may be over, but the trend of Americans working while on vacation is only beginning. Regardless of the industry, it can be difficult for employees to balance responsibilities to employers and customers, and a much-needed break from work. Our team at PGi recently surveyed our customers about their relationship to the office while on vacation. One of the most eye-opening findings was that 82 percent of employees check in with the office at least once a day while on vacation. The topic of “workation” has been widely debated in recent months. In reality, there is no one right answer…
Carpet made from discarded fishing nets? It may sound far-fetched, but not to John Wells, president and CEO of Interface Americas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Interface Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet tile. The company recently launched an eco-friendly collection made from recycled Philippine fishing nets, thanks to a newfound penchant for risk-taking, innovation and social responsibility. “We see innovation as a way to lower our manufacturing costs, give customers the products they want and reduce our environmental impact,” Wells says. “It’s a way of doing business — not a stand-alone initiative.” If you think carpet manufacturers…
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 07:52

The pros and cons of taking work on vacation

Written by
Summer may be over, but the trend of Americans working while on vacation is just beginning. Regardless of the industry, it can be difficult for employees to balance responsibilities to employers and customers, and a much-needed break from work. Our team at PGi recently surveyed our customers about their relationship to the office while on vacation. One of the most eye-opening findings was that 82 percent of employees check in with the office at least once a day while on vacation. The topic of “workation” has been widely debated in recent months. In reality, there is no one right answer…
A common problem for businesses today is that they don’t know their customers as well as they should. Many erroneously believe that it’s too hard or too expensive to understand what their customers want. They try to use shortcuts like relying on survey data or demographics in a feeble attempt to fill their knowledge gaps. Here are five tips that demonstrate that it’s easier than you think to get to know your customers: Tip 1: Talk to your customers This seems incredibly obvious, but so many companies have never done this. They assume they know who their customers are without…
When your company reaches its goals, receives awards or hits a milestone, what do you do? Do you share the news with the entire company, or just your executive team? Celebrating wins is an easy way to align your entire team with your company goals, kick up your company culture and overall capitalize on the good news. Acknowledge the wins Take the opportunity to give your team background on how the win came about. Take them on a journey through the process — from goal-setting, to the action plan, to the big win. Moe’s Southwest Grill recently opened its 500th…
When I was the general sales manager for a Rolls-Royce dealership, there was a lot of ways to elevate the customer experience that translate to all facets of business. On one occasion, for example, a client was having a birthday party for his wife. He was sure of the model and color he wanted to buy, but then he hesitated. I asked him about the details of the party, and he immediately became enthusiastic. He said he wanted the car delivered in a box. I asked him, “So if I build a beautiful box for the car and deliver it…
Over time, chronic workplace stress can take a detrimental toll on the body — that’s something I learned the hard way. A year ago, at age 38, I underwent lifesaving, open-heart surgery to repair severe blockage in my four main arteries. While I do have a family history of heart disease — mainly caused by a lack of exercise, poor diet or age — I’ve always been active and lived a healthy lifestyle. While waiting for my emergency surgery, every doctor, nurse and staff member joked that they had the wrong patient because of my general health and age. After…
While other banks were chasing fast money mortgages during the residential real estate boom, Mark Tipton and Rodney Hall were patiently and deliberately soliciting deposits and conventional loans from small and mid-size companies. The reckless era seemed like déjà vu for the co-founders of Georgia Commerce Bank, who discovered the benefits of building a diversified asset base as neophyte Texas bankers during the mid-1980s. “We learned some valuable lessons about diversifying asset classes from watching the oil and gas industry crash and the big banks fail early on in our careers,” says Tipton, a San Antonio native who serves as…
Many enthusiastic and ambitious employees have worked for years aiming for the prized corner office. Well, with the increasing popularity of the ultra-hip, open-office floor plan, the corner office is fading from existence. Not only do open floor plans eliminate the corner office, in many cases they diminish productivity and engagement. The Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment and Health found that companies with open-office setups reported 62 percent more employee sick days on average than closed-office layouts. But still, the craze continues. When I embark on office planning with my clients, seven out of 10 originally envision an open floor…
Facebook’s recent recovery from its ill-fated IPO began with a blunder. “It was probably one of the biggest mistakes we’ve ever made,” expounded Mark Zuckerberg, famed billionaire co-founder and CEO of Facebook. His personal belief that standalone mobile device apps would go away and we would access mobile apps through websites like we do on PCs turned out to be dead wrong. While consumers were abandoning laptops for mobile devices and spending huge amounts of time downloading apps designed for small touchscreens, Facebook had only one engineer dedicated to the iPhone. The rest of its software developers were at work…
Michael Abt got his start in the restaurant industry at age 15, flipping burgers at Charlie’s Hamburgers in Houston, where they riffed on McDonald’s famous slogan with the catchy “Over Two Dozen Sold.” Abt was hooked; the restaurant industry was in his blood. Abt spent five years at Pizza Hut before heading to a franchise of Arby’s called RTM Restaurant Group. “I’ve been in the restaurant industry all my life,” Abt says. “When I started with RTM in 1993, we had 350 restaurants, and when we sold the company to Arby’s Corp. in 2005, we had 800 restaurants. “I got…
"On Point" by Patrick Hiller For the second year in a row, Abacus Solutions has won a workplace award, and I’d like to tell you that it was the result of a very detailed plan — but it wasn’t. It started with a simple premise of respect and teamwork. Along the way, we learned specific behaviors that attract and keep talent. Our efforts to create a great place to work have been paid back many times over in employee and client loyalty, as well as in profits. Here are specific ways your efforts to improve workplace culture bring a return…
"Business Philosophy" By Robert Castles In business, the customer is always right — true or false? Well, it’s not always that clear cut. Sometimes the customer knows what he wants to achieve, but fails to share that business knowledge with you. This insight gap can prevent you from delivering a relevant product that meets his needs. This type of situation, unfortunately, happens quite often, especially for software companies like PMG. Often our customers request a certain product that may not be the optimal solution for what they are really trying to accomplish. Our philosophy is putting our customer’s business needs…
Marcia Taylor isn’t your run of the mill CEO. She’s a soft-spoken matriarch, who transformed Bennett International Group, LLC, from a small, five-truck contract carrier into a $266 million logistics and freight services powerhouse. Taylor attributes her early success to fostering a family-oriented culture and deliberately sidestepping head-to-head battles with conventional competitors. “We grew organically by adding services to meet the unique needs of our customers,” Taylor says. “We were positioned outside the mainstream, so we were used to competing against just four to five firms.” Riding the coattails of customers helped the company expand beyond long haul trucking into…
Dave Penrod and his management team at Belk had an order as tall as a homemade lemonade: change the company manta from “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to “Modern. Southern. Style.”“Our customers viewed us as old fashioned and one-dimensional, so we decided that it was time to modernize our approach to the business while retaining our traditional Southern values,” says Penrod, who oversees 100 stores in the heart of the South — Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina as chairman of Belk’s Southern Division.Belk has had just three CEOs since its founding in 1888 — that is until…
Nothing builds and sustains credibility better for a business professional than when he or she can lead by example.Whether you take the time to chat with new colleagues before a meeting, help out with a difficult project, or are the first to ask the hard questions, you alone are responsible for setting standards and expectations. As a father, husband and business intermediary, people count on me for advice, leadership and guidance. I found the best way to earn their trust is by setting a good example. Actions speak louder than words, particularly when your attitude and behavior motivate people to…
Every year, your company conference creeps up. So, who’s going to plan it? Who needs to go? What does the agenda look like, and what is it we want people to take away from the experience? Set the stage from the beginning with a cross-functional planning committee, determine the key members of your team who need to attend and ensure at the end they have key takeaways. Planning a meeting is no small task, especially when it involves hundreds, potentially thousands, of people. While meeting planning often is the job function of one person, a cross-functional planning team can have…
Page 1 of 9