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Not long ago, I co-facilitated a World Café discussion at which a group of 50 leaders, consultants and students in organizational development brainstormed answers to two critical questions about a multigenerational workforce: ■ How do you motivate a workforce composed of several generations? ■ How do you develop and prepare the workforce for the challenges of tomorrow? The collective thinking that emerged offers a starting point and even a list of issues for leaders to consider when creating a strategy for addressing multi-generational needs that emerge in their organizations. Motivating the diverse age workforce There are predominantly four generations in…
Count on Bob Lacy to be one of those business leaders who won’t be trying to calculate the hours his employees spend away from their work as they track their brackets or sneak a peek at the March Madness action on their computer, smartphone or tablet. “It’s fun to do and it’s a good thing for the culture,” Lacy says, referring to activities such as bracket wagers, Super Bowl squares and fantasy sports. “It’s just another form of camaraderie. Nobody is forced to participate. Much like our run club or the company employee lunch we do every month or our…
Leaders who execute well are more likely to add to the bottom line, be on the fast track to success and earn additional growth opportunities. One particular cohort of leaders I worked with recently identified experts across their company, interviewed them and summarized the critical skills of execution that emerged from the discussions. These critical skills of execution include: Know the vision and strategy Successful execution begins with knowing the end goal and establishing a clear strategy to achieve it. Planning and preparation are key factors, but take care to not overcommit, which may lead to discouragement and burnout among…
On Mondays, many high school, college and professional football teams get together in a dark room and do the same thing: they break down the game film. It’s often not a pleasant session after a team has lost. Their performance is under a microscope. Many plays are paused, replayed again and again in slow motion. Actions are scrutinized at a hyper-level. Because comments like, “I dropped that pass coach, but I want you to know my intention was to catch the ball” or “I did miss three easy tackles, but my plan was to not miss any” would not be…
Challenging times present opportunities for organizations to perform detailed assessments of their operations. Performing operational assessments can help organizations identify, mitigate and take advantage of the risks that they face. These assessments focus on process design and execution risks. “When properly performed, operational assessments identify areas where process design and execution risks are not aligned with an organization’s risk tolerance,” says James P. Martin, a managing director at Cendrowski Corporate Advisors LLC. Smart Business spoke with Martin to learn more about operational assessments.How can operational assessments help? Organizations must achieve a diverse set of strategic objectives. This is accomplished by…
Effective leadership development is often derailed by two significant forces that conflict and make it difficult to achieve the desired outcome. The first is the power of the group process. Through group action-learning projects and enhanced work within teams, group participants can leverage the diversity of skills and experiences and often achieve innovative and creative outcomes. Participants who share information openly about themselves, such as their strengths and development needs, gain useful feedback and in the process elevate their skills to new levels. Yet, there are limitations on what individuals may choose to share in a group, and organizational beliefs…
Art was 58 when he realized that his company might have passed him by. He had been with the same employer for 35 years. He still loved the business, enjoyed the young up-and-comers and genuinely respected his boss. Yet, he did not feel like as valuable of a contributor to his company as he was in years past, and it bothered him. Finally, Art’s friend Peter asked him what bothered him most. Art replied, “The thought of being viewed as obsolete. It scares me from a career standpoint and hurts me personally. I don’t know how to say this to…
Read this quote and think about whether it sounds like something you have heard before: “Stay under the radar. Do enough just to get by. Don’t make waves. Get the most out of your benefits such as sick time. Do only what you’re asked to do. If you are asked for more, do just enough to meet minimum expectations.” This is an employee who is completely disengaged. Instead of leaving the organization, which might be a blessing, this employee will “retire in place.” Employees who retire in place substantially impact the bottom line, as well as the satisfaction of other…
One of the primary functions of management is to understand what is actually going on in an organization, as opposed to what is supposed to be happening. However, for monitoring to be truly effective, there must first be good communication, a culture that promotes ethical behavior and a solid understanding of the particular organization’s risk factors.“Organizational monitoring is not just about protecting a company from fraud,” says James P. Martin, CMA, CIA, CFE, managing director at Cendrowski Corporate Advisors LLC. “Monitoring systems can help ensure quality, that customer needs are being met and that the company is doing everything else…
The enterprise risk management process helps businesses identify hidden dangers. If used correctly, it could also uncover opportunity. James P. Martin, managing director for Cendrowski Corporate Advisors LLC, shares how risk management is beneficial.Q. How might risk affect company value?A. Risks are uncertainties in the business environment. Alone, they do not degrade a company’s value. Degradation of value often comes from management making poor decisions based on incomplete or erroneous information. Sometimes, this is from long-standing assumptions about the business or the competitive environment that are not founded in fact.The objective of enterprise risk management is to engage the entire…
Most leaders understand that it’s critically important to collaborate regularly on initiatives with their employees, but are they getting all they can out of these interactions?What leaders may be missing is a new paradigm for employee engagement and competitive advantage.Many of them are working from an old style of management in which business decisions are made at the top and leaders follow a hierarchy of authority. Senior executives must still set strategy and manage for results, but they can likely achieve better outcomes by letting go.Authors Craig Schreiber and Kathleen M. Carley explain that adapting a participative-style leadership environment allows…
Most leaders understand that it’s critically important to collaborate regularly on initiatives with their employees, but are they getting all they can out of these interactions?What leaders may be missing is a new paradigm for employee engagement and competitive advantage.Many of them are working from an old style of management in which business decisions are made at the top and leaders follow a hierarchy of authority. Senior executives must still set strategy and manage for results, but they can likely achieve better outcomes by letting go.Authors Craig Schreiber and Kathleen M. Carley explain that adapting a participative-style leadership environment allows…
Most leaders understand that it’s critically important to collaborate regularly on initiatives with their employees, but are they getting all they can out of these interactions?What leaders may be missing is a new paradigm for employee engagement and competitive advantage.Many of them are working from an old style of management in which business decisions are made at the top and leaders follow a hierarchy of authority. Senior executives must still set strategy and manage for results, but they can likely achieve better outcomes by letting go.Authors Craig Schreiber and Kathleen M. Carley explain that adapting a participative-style leadership environment allows…
A healthy and growing organization proactively plans for succession and transition. It’s simply the nature of business. As my company recently celebrated 25 years, we turned our focus to purposeful succession. I wanted to share with you the key steps involved, the importance of planning and a few things I’ve learned along the way.1) Get the next generation involved.As your company grows and develops, it will become increasingly important to begin transitioning leadership to the next wave of leaders. This process will look different for each individual company. For me, it means moving away from our entrepreneurial leaders (generation one)…
Dear CEOs, managers, sales presenters and meeting facilitators:My name is Y.A., (short for Your Audience). You may think you know me well, but you probably would be surprised at how little you do. See, all those things you do incorrectly when you make a presentation or run a meeting are not fair to me. Yet, I’ve come to realize that while you’re not being fair to me, I’m not being fair to you either. I mean, how would you know where you could do better unless I tell you?The things that make me pay attention, influence my decisions and help…
Businesses must change in order to maintain a competitive advantage.However, employees at any level can become an impediment to change as John Kotter noted in a 1995 Harvard Business Review article on leading change and why efforts may fail. The problem is employees might not understand why they need to do things differently and what the benefits of the change will be.Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your entire organization supports necessary change:Understand the dynamics of changeBe aware of the stages that people tend to experience throughout the change process so you can effectively guide your…
Can you really build morale in less than a second? Think about it. How possibly could it only take less than a second to boost the mood of someone – as well as a team?According to Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, it can be accomplished by following a technique used by the late former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden (1910-2010). Yes, that’s right. He lived to be 99 years old.In his latest Smart Connection video, “Build morale in less than a second,” Takash describes how Wooden used his “Thank You Rule.”The key to his success was threefold.No. 1,…
A staggering 72 percent of employees today are either not engaged in their job or they are actively disengaged, according to a recent survey conducted by the Gallup Organization. This means they are not psychologically connected to their company and more likely to leave, or worse, they are physically present but mentally checked out and infecting trusted colleagues with their displeasure.Very few staff members greet their boss and say, “Good morning, Bob. I’m feeling actively disengaged today and I’m going to demonstrate this to everyone … but you!” For employment survival, staff members may show one face to their boss,…
When leaders reach the C-suite, they focus on competencies that drive business outcomes. Leaders believe they add the most value through their work on concepts such as visioning, strategic execution, global mindset and change management.They would be right — and wrong.Some C-suite leaders have not mastered basic core competencies, such as effective interpersonal skills, relationship building, collaboration and even something as straightforward as mutual respect.Any inappropriate behaviors or lapses in focus in these core competencies can derail the leader and foster a toxic environment as well as unhealthy relationships systemwide.In contrast, if a leader pays continual attention to mastering and…
When working toward my private pilot’s license, I had to learn about the aviation language of time zones. Now, for those of us with our feet on the ground, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) governs our day’s schedules. But up in the air, all pilots, airlines and air traffic controllers coordinate time around the world using UTC and the closely related Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) — the time in Greenwich, England, that is based on a 24-hour clock.Also referred to as Zulu time, aviation time is calculated as either ahead (+) or behind (-) GMT. For example, if it is 18:30…
The requirement for appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM) techniques continues to grow. The recently passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act calls for a risk committee to be established by all public, nonbank financial companies, as well as larger public bank holding companies.Supervised by the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, the risk committee will be held responsible for enterprisewide risk management oversight and practices. Additionally, ERM is a central focus for many organizations outside of the financial sector looking to mitigate risks in today’s volatile economic climate.“All organizations face uncertainty; the challenge for management is to…
Ten-year old Billy Johnson gets home from school and has been thinking about an ice cream bar all day. He wants one badly. Unfortunately, the only people home at the Johnson house are Billy’s teenage siblings, Susie and Jake. Billy’s only shot is Susie. She is a less difficult sale than Jake, a constant wielder of oldest sibling authority. As Billy approaches Susie, she quickly anticipates his motive and cuts him off.“Billy, you can’t have an ice cream bar. It’s too close to dinner and it will ruin your appetite.”It’s over. Billy’s cooked without a chance to negotiate or be…
Many business leaders say all the right things about how much they value their employees. But they often fall short in their actual investment in human capital.Even though human capital investments are one of a company’s largest expenses, these leaders would rather devote more regular attention to the balance sheet, capital investments and risk analysis.That is a mistake.There are substantial benefits from a strategic focus on human capital. Higher profitability is at the top of the list.Numerous studies consistently show higher year-over-year returns for companies that are strategically focused on human capital. These organizations also have higher levels of employee…
In his latest Smart Connection video, Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, discusses building breakthrough business relationships.If you have to work with people in any capacity — whether you actually like people or not — you are in the relationship business first. Takash highlights three key components for building breakthrough business relationships.1. Attitude and passion2. Engaging3. RecognitionWatch the video in its entirety here.Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote…
Thomas B. Moran felt the weight of expectation when he arrived at Addison Search for his first day as the professional staffing firm’s new CEO. Some of the expectations were good, some were bad and others were mixed.Call it par for the course when there’s a new sheriff in town.“Any time a new CEO comes in, the automatic thought processes change,” says Moran, who took over as CEO at the 1,000-employee company in October. “Oh, he or she will change everything. In some cases, that’s true and sometimes you have to do that. But in reality, that’s more of a…
Monday, 30 April 2012 20:01

Joe Takash - The best place to sell anything

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On a glorious spring afternoon one Friday, I was having lunch with my friend Jerry and he said, “Joe, there’s no better business than the sales business. You have flexibility in your schedule and you can still be successful and make a lot of money.” Jerry had enjoyed a successful week of business. He was in a good mental space.On a grim rainy Monday morning, I gave him a call. A tension-ridden voice snapped, “This is Jerry!” I said, “Jer, you OK buddy? You sound stressed.” He screamed, “Ah, I forgot an important file for a client presentation and another…
One of the most challenging tasks on any CEO’s plate is the ability to embed a simple and systematic planning process into an organization and then effectively execute upon it. All too often, planning occurs in last-minute, deadline-prompted, organizational binges and the result is goals that are not met. Either that, or the planning due dates trump the content of the plan and quality suffers.In my experience, there are four principles that guide effective planning in the corporate world. These principles were not arrived at easily. But in concert with both a carefully thought out methodology and a detailed planning…