Columnist (45)

Mark Silverman had a lot of voices in his ear in the early days of Big Ten Network.

The launch on Sept. 1, 2007, was a glorious day. But it was quickly followed by opinions from every direction as people with ties to the Big Ten Conference expressed their thoughts about what was and wasn’t working with BTN.

Patience wasn’t an option when it came to games not being broadcast or revenue being less than had been anticipated. Fans complained to their schools, the schools complained to the conference and the conference reached out to Silverman.

Fortunately, Silverman, who has been president from day one, was the cool head in the room. He did a masterful job of keeping his team on task, dealing with challenges as they came up and sticking to his vision of what he knew the network could be. The disciplined leadership has paid off with more than 300 affiliates and a presence in more than 52 million homes.

But Silverman did not just maintain an even keel in the face of criticism. He openly reached out to many of his critics and sought to gain additional feedback about the problems they saw at the network.

It’s a step many leaders are not willing to make.

 

Don’t be insecure

No one likes to be told that they are doing something wrong. Even those who say they embrace criticism or that they love it when mistakes are made must feel some sense of frustration when things don’t go right. It’s part of being human. So the ability to take criticism in stride and reach out to those who provide the negative feedback is a skill that many otherwise very successful people find hard to do.

In the case of Silverman, he saw it as an opportunity to make his organization stronger. So he contacted bloggers who wrote negative stories about BTN and set up meetings to discuss their concerns. He also went on talk shows and met with editorial boards and basically did whatever he could to gather feedback and use it to get better.

His approach going into these meetings was not to argue, nor was it to blindly accept every concern they had and always offer the perfect solution. It was to take what he believed would make BTN a great network, compare it to the opinions he was hearing and figure out the best response. If the critic was right, he was happy to make a change. If he didn’t agree with the opinion, he was comfortable not making a change.

Either way, he demonstrated a willingness to hear concerns and an approachability that would serve the network well.

When you have the confidence to hear criticism and even change course, you give your organization the chance to achieve great things.

 

Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor for Smart Business Chicago. He is interested in the people and businesses making a difference in Chicago.

Reach him at (800) 988-4726 x216 or mscott@sbnonline.com

 

It’s no secret that the success or failure of any modern company is driven by the quality of its people. This was the basis for the “War for Talent” concept developed by McKinsey and Co. in the 1990s. But the “war” has since evolved into a new endeavor, as a mission to not only obtain but also retain that coveted talent.

A stellar recruiting philosophy is no longer enough. To ensure success — especially in a highly competitive industry — a company must have measures in place to continually cultivate, challenge and satisfy its most promising talent.

 

Determine skills beyond paper qualifications

Education and experience are often viewed as key determinants of a candidate’s ability to perform a job. It is also imperative, however, to define personality traits and unique skill sets that will work well within an organization’s culture and business model, and that will allow the candidate to thrive once hired.

For example, creativity, adaptability and a passion for in-depth problem-solving are characteristics that, while not always immediately apparent on a resume, may be a key factor in the difference between a good candidate and a great one.

Defining these more abstract qualifications for your particular company and developing an interview technique to screen for them is no doubt a difficult endeavor. But it is also one that will pay off exponentially.

 

Customize each challenge

Often, high-potential employees are underutilized in roles that don’t best suit their particular strengths and/or personal motivations. This can lead to frustration for all parties involved.

Instead of collecting talent for talent’s sake, it is critical to analyze a star performer’s best fit within your organization.

In any industry, there are an infinite number of problems to be solved or processes to be improved upon. These can be customized to best suit each individual. The right breed of talent craves this kind of challenge, and will find tremendous satisfaction in the pursuit of a tailor-made goal.

 

Create opportunity ASAP

Newer talent is particularly sought after in highly competitive industries. It is extremely important to nurture these individuals, and to provide coaching and other educational opportunities. Team structure can play a pivotal role here.

Pairing new talent with more senior team members is a great way to further the new hire’s education while also exposing senior members to a different, fresher approach. Immediately providing this kind of guided opportunity for new talent helps them to develop relationships within the company, find mentors and ultimately become more engaged with and committed to the company for the long term.

 

Set the stage for greatness

Identifying and developing employees’ strengths and customizing challenges to capitalize on their unique skill sets creates the opportunity for greatness to be achieved. The desire for greatness and belief in its possibility will not only lead to professional fulfillment, but also to groundbreaking solutions that can transform a company. Productivity will abound, and satisfaction for both the individual and the organization will inevitably follow.

 

Name: Misha Malyshev

Title: CEO and founder

Company: Teza Technologies

Teza Technologies is a science- and technology-driven global quantitative trading business. The company is headquartered in Chicago with offices in New York and London. Misha earned his doctorate in astrophysics from Princeton University in 1998.

 

How to reach: Teza Technologies, (312) 768-1600 or www.teza.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TezaTechnologies

Twitter: @TezaTechCompany

Most people spend their working lives following orders, whether they’re from a boss or a customer. They may not be military commands — your customer may ask you in the nicest way possible to reduce delivery time — but they still must be obeyed. This is just the way things are, whether you’re a junior executive or higher-level manager.

So here’s the leap of faith: Consider the possibility that you can have an equal relationship with a “superior.” I don’t care if that superior is the CEO of a Fortune 50 company. You don’t have to be an inferior in that relationship.

But these partnership relationships don’t just happen. You’ve got to be courageous. A good first step is figuring out why you accept the role of order taker in the first place.

People define their roles based on how they are treated by their boss or customers.

This is a typical example for a newly hired lawyer. John begins his first day as a junior associate at a prestigious law firm, showing up at the appointed 7:30 a.m. time. Mark, his boss, doesn’t arrive until 8:30. Mark finally greets John, who had been sitting in the waiting area outside of Mark’s office.

“John,” Mark says, “I’ve got a lot of work to give you. Follow me.”

The interaction lasted only a few seconds, but the impact on the relationship was huge:

 

  • Tone and pace — Mark’s words and tone of voice said that he was “all business” and made John feel like a lackey about to receive his assignments. The cold, fast nature of the exchange said to John that his role was to obey without question.
  • Bad manners — Mark didn’t apologize for being late. Nor did he welcome John to the law firm. Being rude tells John that he is so far down on the totem pole that he doesn’t even merit bare-bones respect.
  • Commands — Mark asserted his dominance by his choice of words. He might as well have greeted John with, “Hi, you’re my inferior. Follow me to my office which is bigger than any office you’ll be in for a long time.”

 

Unequal relationships arise when one person does all the talking and the other does all the listening. Test this concept by thinking about your relationships. I’d bet in every relationship where you’re the primary listener, you’re also the primary order taker. Just as our best friends tend to be good listeners, our best work relationships are characterized by two-way listening.

To bolster peer partnerships you must bring the resistance out in the open. Maybe the other person doesn’t even realize they’re fighting against treating you as an equal. Another factor is that busy people often have good intentions but bad execution. They may agree with the points you raised in your partnership conversation, but then some crisis arises and those points aren’t acted upon.

If you want results from a partnership, you must talk about what that looks like because we can’t fix what we can’t see.

 

Name: Joe Takash

Title: President

Company: Victory Consulting

Victory Consulting is a Chicago-based sales and leadership development firm that helps people maximize their talent and performance. Joe is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales conferences and management meetings.

How to reach: Victory Consulting, (818) 918-3999 or www.victoryconsulting.com

Email: Joe@victoryconsulting.com 

Twitter: @JoeTakash

 

 

 

Rick Fezell gets it. Why else would he jump into the icy waters of Lake Michigan in the middle of January? As the new managing partner for EY’s Midwest Region, Fezell wanted to show everyone that there was another side to his personality than just being the boss. He was willing to step out of his comfort zone and do something that a lot of people think is completely crazy.

But as much as his polar plunge got everyone talking, it’s the more subtle actions taken by Fezell that demonstrate his understanding of what it means to be a strong leader in today’s fast-paced world.

While he was born and raised in Pennsylvania, he had spent most of his career working in California. It was there that he and his wife raised their family and built a life. The move to Chicago in 2012 was a great opportunity, but it was also a huge adjustment for his family. Fezell understood that if he couldn’t help his family adapt to their new home, it wouldn’t matter how successful he was at EY.

So he worked hard to build relationships with his new colleagues and other key people he would be working with. But he also managed his schedule so he would be home in the evenings as often as possible to have dinner with his family. There wasn’t much time to rest, but Fezell understood his leadership responsibilities both at work and at home.

 

Be real

It’s easier than ever to stay in touch with your work these days, but that often makes it harder than ever to disconnect from the office and have a little down time. The problem is if you try to go too long without taking those moments to step away, you risk burning yourself out.

But you also risk setting the wrong tone with your people. Everyone understands that you’re the boss who makes the key decisions that shape the direction of your company. But being the boss doesn’t mean you have to be distant and aloof and project an image that you’re different from your employees.

It could be as simple as sitting with a group in the lunchroom — or maybe just stopping by someone’s cubicle in the afternoon to talk about family or the big game last night.

If you’re really bold, maybe you’ll find an opportunity to jump in the lake in the middle of winter. But the point is that you find some way to relate to your people so they see you as a man or woman who has some of the same challenges and obstacles in life that they do.

 

Still the leader

A brash action doesn’t chip away at your authority. You’ll still be the leader and command the same level of respect even if you take your jacket off for 10 minutes and shoot hoops in the parking lot with your customer service team.

But when you leave a little early one day to watch your son play T-ball, and let your employees do the same thing, you’ll also send the message that family is just as important as business. And what better message could you send about what your company stands for than that?

 

Mark Scott is senior associate editor of Smart Business Chicago. If you have an interesting story to share about a person or business making a difference in Chicago, please send an email to MScott@sbnonline.com You can also follow us on Twitter at @SmartBiz_CHI

With margin pressures, cost reductions and ongoing economic uncertainty on most corporate agendas, a company’s supply chain has become a key driver of growth. The relationship between the supply chain and senior finance leaders is more important than ever as C-suite executives work to build a cost-effective operating model.

Yet, in “Partnering for Performance: CFO and the Supply Chain,” a recent EY survey that looks at the impact on the business when the CFO and chief supply chain officers collaborate, only one-quarter of finance executives describe their relationship with their supply chain counterparts as a true business partnership. Worse, only 21 percent of supply leaders report that their CFO chiefly plays an enabling, collaborative partnership role.

These are troubling statistics considering the study also shows that collaborative relationships result in stronger profitability, a wider, more detailed view, and a better-performing business characterized by higher growth, more focused management decisions, greater visibility into risk and strategic alignment.

Here is a look at four key areas where the CFO has an opportunity to enhance performance through business partnering with the supply chain:

 

Create strategic alignment

EY’s study shows that companies with strong finance and supply chain relationships report much stronger alignment between the supply chain and broader business strategy. Further, companies with a business-partnering model often report better results than those with a traditional finance model in place.

With greater visibility across the organization, leadership can strengthen planning, align manufacturing capacity with demand and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of supply chain operations.

 

Study investment choices

Traditionally, CFOs and their teams oversee investment and resource allocation. Yet, the supply chain leader is in an ideal position to help guide capital investments to build the right capabilities that align with the growth strategy.

In a business partner model, these two functions collaborate and greater value is generated from capital investment decisions.

 

Take advantage of experience

The CFO’s perspective across an enterprise, combined with being in a position as a trusted adviser, enables the CFO to play a vital role in helping to standardize the language, measurement, tools and key performance indicators across an organization.

When working in sync with supply chain leaders, the CFO can be sure that together, the company is driving behaviors and business strategy while keeping costs and efficiency top of mind.

 

Be able to deal with risk

Managing risk is one of the biggest contributions CFOs can make to the supply chain, but within complex global companies where there are primary, secondary and tertiary suppliers, identifying these risks can be challenging. By becoming more engaged in the supply chain, business partner CFOs can look more deeply at exposures and assess whether they are being mitigated appropriately.

Seventy percent of CFOs surveyed say their relationship has become more collaborative over the past three years. This is encouraging because of the many benefits to organizations that have a business partnering culture, where there is a highly collaborative, enabling and supportive relationship between the CFO and supply chain leader.

To explore if business partnering is prevalent within your organization, ask yourself how collaborative your relationship is with the supply chain. Is finance perceived as a gatekeeper or a policeman? See if there’s room for additional business partnering within your organization that could improve your company’s performance and fuel growth.

 

Rob Dongoski is the Chicago Advisory Market Leader for EY with more than 20 years of experience helping clients streamline costs, optimize capital and improve growth. You can reach EY at (312) 879-2000. Visit www.ey.com/GL/en/Issues/Managing-finance to read “Partnering for Performance: CFO and the Supply Chain.”

 

Learn more about EY at:

Twitter: @EYChicago
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/EY/195665063800329
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/1073
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ernstandyoungglobal
Webcasts: http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Issues/Thought-center-webcasts
Mobile apps: http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Home/EY-Insights

 

Do these terms sound familiar?

■  Vision

■  Strategy

■  Quality

■  Mission

■  Commitment

Come on, you can admit it. Aren’t there times when corporate-speak makes you nauseous? Don’t get me wrong; I live in the corporate world. It’s from there where my bread is buttered and bills are paid. Yet, those running the big businesses often forget what the keys for optimizing success are, thus garnering less than stellar results.

The construction of a high-performance team needs to be centered on the how. Having worked intensely with executive teams in the last five years, we take an unconventional approach to helping them maximize performance, as reflected by the following:

 

Key No. 1: Vulnerability

Each individual starts out standing front and center before their peers and speaks to how they contribute to the success of both the team and organization. They must speak on the areas they believe they’re most measured against and where they believe they’re strong and where they need the most improvement. 

Vulnerability can be terrifying. But it also shows tremendous strength when an individual can get up and bare all in front of his or her peers. The comical irony about this activity is those who think this is soft or too touchy-feely aren’t strong enough to be vulnerable; are you and your team members?

 

Key No. 2: Feedback

Author Ken Blanchard said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Unfortunately, too many people skip breakfast or don’t want to be told they have to eat it to be healthier. Feedback is the same. How can we remove blind spots that risk so many crucial business issues if we don’t get input?

Many performance reviews will discuss certain levels of improvement needs, but they often lack the specificity of observable indicators. In other words, how will we know you are improving? What actions will reflect your growth?

Perhaps the best way to create team trust and inspire a desire to improve is to provide feedback that is candid and constructive in a shared forum. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s for those committed to optimizing their individual and team growth.

 

Key No. 3: Action-based standards

We’ve all driven home and taken a different route because of traffic or construction. Sometimes, retracing the route we selected slips from our memory. Yet, we know we stop at the red light, advance on the green and adhere to the driver on the right at a four-way stop sign. Why? They are the rules of the road that become memory-formed habits.

Benign mission statements are just that because they lack verbs that execute. Action-based standards don’t describe what we will be, but how we will conduct ourselves.

If they are agreed upon and authored by the group, not by one guy at the top, they become the fabric by which everyone works. It becomes much more likely that members of the group will hold each other accountable to these standards. They become the rules of the road, which become burned in our hard drives.

If you want to establish a truly high-performing team, you need to engage people in the way that team will effectively function. When they are part of that effort, it builds long-term traction and optimizes effectiveness. 

 

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based sales and leadership development firm. Takash is also a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales conferences and management meetings. Reach him at (818) 918-3999 or www.victoryconsulting.com

 

 

Learn more about Joe Takash at:

YouTube: http://bit.ly/14IxSSd
Twitter: @JoeTakash
LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1fV4mxn
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/18MeVjH

The duty of leadership to effectively reward is essential to the survival and prosperity of any organization. Issues between the leader and his or her people regarding incentive compensation can undermine the entire motivation process. We really are in the “timely rewards” business as company leaders.

Here are four principles for successfully rewarding your people for a job well-done: 

 

Deploy your people to maximize the use of their unique gifts and talents

When we have people working in areas where their individual gifts and talents don’t match the position well, employee satisfaction and employee performance suffer. Why? Because expressions of trust and gratitude from leadership become much less natural and less frequent.

Contrary to a lot of conventionally accepted wisdom, “People cannot do whatever they want to do or are asked to do.” Rather, “People can effortlessly do whatever they were wired to do.” If people’s talents aren’t lined up with what is being asked of them, redeploy them to make the best use of their gifts.

 

A leader’s trust and gratitude generate a great deal of employee satisfaction

I believe the greatest reward leaders can give is sincere trust and gratitude. In fact, I consider creating trust and expressing gratitude to be primary leadership requirements.

This critical combination satisfies a nearly universal desire to be affirmed and appreciated. I believe financial incentives alone are necessary, but not sufficient to motivate and drive success. Trust and gratitude create more satisfaction, engagement and enjoyment.

 

Design compensation rewards in advance and in detail

Compensation plans must be well designed in advance of their implementation with simple, detailed and understandable quantitative measurements, which are really leadership expectations of desired outcomes. All too often, performance bonuses, sales incentives, project milestone payments, etc., rely on qualitative rather than quantitative measurements.

To fix this, qualitative wording like “used best efforts” or “used best judgment” can easily be coupled with added quantitative language: “Used best efforts to complete the project by June 30.” or “Used best judgment in screening five bidders to two finalists by Aug. 15.”

 

Verify and reward outcomes, not impressions

In my experience, there is often a great temptation to reward the impression of “progress,” the impression of “improvement” and the impression of “hard work.” Yes, these are important qualitative attributes in our people’s performance reviews, but they aren’t reliable measurements for incremental incentive compensation purposes.

To be effective, compensation-based rewards need to be treated as an arm’s length accounting practice including an audit-like review of the accomplishments and calculations. Reward financially only after completing a third party, audit-like review of the quantitative measurements by human resources or accounting. This will ensure the desired final outcomes actually happen and avoid the need to go back and reverse rewards. ●

 

Joseph James Slawek is the founder, chairman and CEO of FONA International, a full-service flavor company serving some of the largest food, beverage, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies in the world. For more information, visit www.fona.com or call (630) 578-8600.

 

Learn more about Joseph James Slawek at:

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/fona1/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FONAInternational
Twitter: @FONA_Intl
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/fonaint
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32610153@N06/sets/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=131766&goback=.gdr_1220970259956_1

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 the workplace today: traditionalists, born before 1945; boomers, born between 1946 and 1964; Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980; and millennials, born between 1981 and 1999.

There are communication differences and needs among each generation — for example, preferences for text versus phone. There also are stereotypes within and about each generation that need to be understood and addressed.

■  Communication channels need to be both formal and informal because it is critically important to be transparent and foster open communication among all generations, especially around specific expectations and problems or discrepancies. Train everyone in the organization on the differences in communication styles.

■  Emphasize the strengths and experiences of groups and individual employees alike. Instead of mentoring, consider the concept of collaborative partnerships that emphasize learning from each other. Encourage people to share based on their passions. Drive relationships and promote collaboration. Consider diverse participation in projects to allow relationships to grow organically.

■  Maintain flexibility regarding differences among generations. Recognize that every generation will have different needs and preferences. Ensure enough communication to clearly define expectations that each group may have.

 

Prepare for tomorrow’s challenges

Enhancing the value of a multi-generational workforce takes planning. Before dealing with the challenges, leaders must anticipate and plan for them.

■  Build forecasting into the core competencies of every leader in your organization. Help them be great listeners, questioners and observers who are culturally and generationally sensitive and value diversity. Ensure that they have strong human relationship skills and a clear demonstration of these skills in practice. Help them be adaptable, flexible and able to embrace change.

■  Recognize that there are global issues and a need for a global-minded, multi-generational workforce. Consider qualifications for a global workforce, help each individual find his or her niche in the global picture and help each person consider why he or she should stay with the organization.

■  Create a broader relationship with your employees. Give them the freedom to think about future challenges and to be innovative in addressing them. Emphasize creativity and adaptability. Engage all employees in an ongoing dialogue. Build trust that promotes engagement. Finally, show a strong commitment to invest in each employee’s development.

A World Café is an excellent tool in developing a multi-generational workforce strategy that employs these tactics, because it is so dynamic and collaborative, drawing on the experiences and observations of all generations in the organization. There is no right or wrong, but the collective thinking of the crowd is a great starting point. If you open up communication in this way, your employees across all generations are likely to be highly motivated, engaged and willing partners in collaborating for best results.

 

 

Jay Colker, DM, MBA, MA, is on the core faculty teaching counseling and organizational psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology (www.adler.edu). He also maintains a human capital consulting practice, is founder of Crowdsourced Coaching and may be reached at jcolker@adler.edu or (312) 213-3421. To learn more about Colker, visit crowdsourcedcoaching.com/about-us/.

 

Learn more about Jay Colker at: 

Blog: http://theadlerschool.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdlerSchool
Twitter: @TheAdlerSchool
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1747377&trk=my_groups-b-grp-v
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAdlerSchool
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adlerschool

Have you ever made a promise and failed to keep it? Of course you have, you’re human. That doesn’t make you a bad person, assuming it was not your intention to deliberately deceive the person or people to which you made the promise.

But sometimes in our zest to please others, we don’t always think through all the details before we open our mouths. We just push forward believing that we can make it happen. In the event that we can’t live up to the promise, we apologize and try to learn from our mistake.

 

Aligning commitment with a promise

Andrew Berlin makes a promise with every employee he hires at both Berlin Packaging and the South Bend Silver Hawks, the Class AA minor league baseball team he owns in South Bend, Ind. Berlin puts a great deal of thought and analysis into this promise to ensure it represents something he can live up to.

He promises to pay his employees top dollar for their efforts and to give them every opportunity to grow and advance in the company. He guarantees that they will have strong, supportive leadership and an organization that will be there for them when they run into personal challenges.

Regular training opportunities will also be offered and while he stops short of guaranteeing their job forever, he does promise that they won’t have to work in fear.

In return for making this promise, Berlin asks for a strong commitment from his employees. He expects profitability, productivity and innovation. Points are not awarded for working hard if there are no results to show for it. In these situations, Berlin advises employees to actively seek better ways to turn their energy into productivity. The stakes are high on both sides, but the results — a packaging company topping $800 million in revenue and a baseball team that offers its fans a great ballpark experience — offer proof that Berlin is on to something.

 

Think before you act

It’s OK to make promises to your employees if you’ve put thought into what they represent and concluded that you have the means to support them. These assurances can build confidence and trust and empower your people to give maximum effort in their work. You show them what their hard work can lead to, and they’ll go above and beyond to make it happen.

But a failed promise can do exactly the opposite to morale. It could be a raise or bonus that you can’t deliver on, or it could be something less tangible such as a more active role in shaping your product or service.

If you open the door to your people and encourage and empower them to put their creative thoughts and ideas on the table, and then you reject them in favor of your own plan, you’ll quickly lose their support.

Employees will probably understand if you have to break a promise due to circumstances you couldn’t foresee. But they will not be as forgiving if they believe they were deliberately deceived.

Berlin has found success by being upfront about expectations and making promises he can keep. All he asks is that his employees make the same commitment to him. When you have an organization that has such strong commitment at all levels, it’s hard not to find success.

 

Mark Scott is senior associate editor of Smart Business Chicago. If you have an interesting story to share about a person or business making a difference in Chicago, please send an email to mscott@sbnonline.com.

It’s a new year and a fresh start. While it could be construed as cliché to make resolutions, sometimes they are exactly what I need to refocus and recharge.

By working with multiple organizations over my career, there have been recurring themes that have stayed with me. People want to work toward something together and belong to an organization that they believe in and trust. They want simple, clear directions as well as focus, and everyone always wants to see tangible results.

With those thoughts in mind, here is how I approach my new year:


Plan — for the day, quarter and year

Short- and long-term goals are vital to any businesses’ success. What I also find important is the communication of those goals. Everyone in your organization should know your goals, should be focused on them and should tailor their actions to help achieve them daily.

The individual goals of each person in the organization need to be aligned with your goals. That will keep everyone working toward the same things you want and need to see accomplished. Your communication of these goals should be used in all of your conversations and interactions with your team. It will build the unity you are looking to achieve.

Team members will rally to help you reach your goals, because they will have been invested and in agreement with them from the start.


Prioritize

Once you determine your goals, or just refocus your staff on your current ones, you must prioritize. Whether it is based on ROI, or long-term benefits, your staff members need to know where they should focus and the importance of each goal. Don’t overcomplicate it! Simplification is not overrated and helps get the message across with a large staff.


Put into practice

This is the time to put your money where your mouth is. Hold yourself accountable to the high standard of actually doing what you say you are going to do. People believe in words, but the actions are what make a good leader.

If you put into practice actionable steps to reach your goals, people will notice. More importantly, people will want to follow your example.

It is OK to make mistakes along the way.

Making mistakes means that you are acting on accomplishing your goals, instead of just talking about them. It means you are trying new things and approaching your goals head-on. This is why you should have a strong executive team around you — to support you, and to help you when an obstacle arises.

I am a firm believer in the old adage, “You are only as good as the company you keep.” While I might not know every answer, I know that I can count on my team around me to help us get the right answer and strategy.

A year can seem overwhelming when you look out at all 12 months. But take it one step at a time. Take small chunks of time where your presence and ideas can be felt, and then your actions can be executed. You have to believe that your company is right where it should be at this moment, and with careful planning and a renewed focus, you will get to the next step, together.


Learn more about Addison Group at:

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/addisongroup/
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/AddisonGroup

 

Thomas Moran is the CEO of Addison Group, a professional staffing firm headquartered in Chicago. Addison Group provides high level recruiting and placement services for finance & accounting, information technology, health care and administrative industries. For more information, visit www.addisongroup.com.

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