Are You an Innovator or an Implementer?

By Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]I[/dropcaps]nnovation is necessary to solve problems, create new products and services, to use our time more effectively and most importantly, to grow. We often confuse creative ability with artistic ability. We believe truly creative people are those we see on the big screen, singers on the radio, or those on stage. This is a serious misconception.

litebulb treeWe each have creative ability. Have you enjoyed the experience of witnessing an auto mechanic who makes your car sing? Or the surgeon who operates with the intuitive ability of a Michelangelo? We have the ability to take our work, our companies and lift them to new levels, those of an art form. We have all seen the most creative geniuses as work – they are creative investors, marketing gurus, R & D specialist; have you ever needed an extremely creative accountant?

Creativity involves the ability of our brain to change, renew and recombine aspects of our lives. Creativity involves using our sixth sense, or intuition, to perceive the world and make use of our discoveries.

We are often afraid to try new ideas, as we develop attitudes about creativity that can keep us stuck in our world of safety. Attitudes like: It’s not important. I don’t have time. I already have the answer. I’m not creative. These cause us to miss opportunities that we find in an ever -changing world. When we become stuck, we run the risk of being quickly left behind.

What are we to do if we are not naturally gifted with creativity and intuitive ability? I believe that intuition comes from a part of the mind that brings ideas to consciousness. When we are in touch with our intuition, we are given a gift in being able to sense trends, danger and potential problems. It’s an unspoken dialogue within ourselves that serves us well, when we learn to trust it. Most of us have had the experience of “not listening to our gut”. We would have been better off if we had. Intuition points us in the direction we need to follow. Our intuition takes place when we are in touch with ourselves, we know it is working when things make sense all of a sudden – memories, fantasies and the sixth sense we pick up from other people.

The issue with creativity is not always knowing the right answers, but knowing the right questions. As a leader, it is not our job to have the answers. It is our job to question the answers. This is tough for most entrepreneurs to accept. Because of our personalities we rarely display the patience to coach our people. It is far easier and quicker to give them the answers.

The Goldsmith Innovation/Implementation Index (G3I) determines how innovative we are and how well we implement. The personalities with the strongest levels of creativity are often those who are inflexible and do not deal with others very well. Ludwig von Beethoven, Thomas Edison and Winston Churchill are all examples of those who have tremendous creativity; just don’t expect them to be warm, friendly, accommodating and cooperative. Creative people have a vision in mind, their difficulty is expressing it to others. They frustrate themselves, as well as others, with their inability to effectively communicate. If you would like to find out if you are an “Innovator” or an “Implementer,” the G3I is available for free on my website at: http://www.bartongoldsmith.com/G3I.php.ladder to litebulb

The advantages and disadvantages of both “Innovators” and “Implementers” are equally weighted. Each is capable of running a business and creating wealth, but those with higher scores tend to be less able to work for someone else. What we have seen with the 10,000 business owners who have taken this survey is that those with higher scores tend to be in start up and riskier businesses or investments. Those with lower scores tend to be in second and third generation family businesses and are more conservative investors. The entrepreneur tends to be more innovative than a corporate CEO, these results could be a predisposition (nature) or a result of personal experiences (nurture). The ability to learn and apply new thinking is more of an innovative process while the ability to learn and apply new tasks is more of an “Implementer.” High “Innovators” tend to have more disadvantages and advantages than high “Implementers” do — this means that “Innovators” have a more complex personality than “Implementers” do, they tend to have more traits, both better and worse. Other notable differences are that “Implementers” have the ability to attend to detail in ways that “Innovators” sometimes find impossible. Also the incidence of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is much higher in “Innovators” than “Implementers”, at a ratio of eight to one. This sub group also tended to be the most successful Entrepreneurs, as most had two or more income streams or businesses. The “Innovators” also confessed to being C/B students, where the “Implementers” were B/A students, most likely because of their ability to deal with detail.

Here are some tips for greater innovation:

  1. Get in touch with your intuition. What does your inner voice say about the situation? Rather than dealing with a situation strictly from an objective standpoint, stop and try to listen to your gut feeling.
  2. Try something new. Open yourself to new ideas by looking at the situation from someone else’s point of view (ie: your client, Walt Disney, Einstein, etc.), “How would they improve this?” “What would they do to ‘tweak’ it?”
  3. Find new avenues for creativity. Do something totally outside of your box. Make a commitment to try something new once a week, once a month or even once a season.
  4. Allow yourself to make a mistake. Not an easy thing to do, but give yourself the freedom to mess something up. The reason most of us become successful is because we’ve made lots of mistakes. In my business people don’t get fired for failing, they get fired for not trying.
  5. You don’t always need to know all the answers, so give yourself a break from such high standards. Find some Masterminds (people who know more than you do) and ask them some questions. Don’t waste time trying to reinvent the wheel.
  6. Be curious about things. Train yourself to ask open-ended questions rather than giving answers. If you really want a creative answer… ask a child.

Finally, a thought from Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (www.lighthouseconsulting.com), that hiring the right people is key to innovation and future growth. If you would like additional information on raising the hiring bar, please click here to see an article on this subject.

We hope you have fun with this article and taking the Goldsmith Innovation /Implementation Index (G3I) to discover your own creativity and internal resources.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations worldwide have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, business consultant and author. Since 2002, his weekly column, Emotional Fitness, which is syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service, and has been featured in over 200 newspapers. He is also currently writing a weekly blog for Psychology Today. Dr. Goldsmith has published Emotional Fitness at Work – 6 Strategic Steps to Success Using the Power of Emotion, the third in the Emotional Fitness book series and his most recent book, 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence – Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too. Dr. Goldsmith also hosts a weekly radio show on KCLU/NPR, with nearly 90,000 listeners in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara. He has been interviewed on numerous TV/radio shows and for many publications. He can be contacted through his website at: www.BartonGoldsmith.com or at (866) 5-BARTON.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement. To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

5 Steps to Grow Your Business

By Marc Emmer

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]M[/dropcaps]any business owners and staff members have been conditioned to accept meager business results after two years of stagnation. It may be time to approach 2011 and the shifting business cycle with a new paradigm. For some of us, it is time to charge the hill.

Here are 5 steps that will enable growth next year and beyond:

1. Eliminate self limiting beliefs, and set higher expectations

In 1980, a raggedy group of US players did the unthinkable; they beat the big bad Soviets, and won Olympic gold. They didn’t win on talent, the Soviets were clearly a superior hockey team. The only reason they won was because they thought they could.MC900437519[1]

Business owners and staff have faced a crisis of confidence. The economy has soured moods and expectations. In the wake of an extreme economic downturn, our employees are paying attention to how we have shown up. If you budget for marginal revenue gains, you will get modest results. It is the responsibility of the entrepreneur to reframe the discussion, and reestablish the value proposition and motivate people to move the business forward.

There are always naysayers, the negative people who see the worst in things and drag your organization down. Be wary of salespeople who settle for excuses for why they can’t sell your product or service. For those people who are unable to drink the Kool Aid, and who do not share your vision, it is time to wish them the best of luck in their next position, wherever that might be.

The business owner or staff member must come to the office every day with a positive state of mind, and passion for growing the business. I am not advocating for reckless investment, I am suggesting that we set the bar higher and expect achievement. Make certain that your incentives plan is in alignment with your corporate growth objectives.

The entrepreneur also has the right to demand a profit. I work with many double digit EBITDA businesses (as a percentage of sales), and the sweat equity of the business owner should be worth something. If your business is break even or losing money, it is incumbent upon you to make changes.

2. Seek out new opportunities

It is well accepted that the best place to grow your business is in segments that are directly adjacent to the ones you already occupy. Growing in adjacent segments requires less man on jet trailR&D investment, and provides the least risk in achieving market leadership.

The marketer should always look for ways to exploit the organization’s core competency in a new market. Honda’s core competency is efficient engines, and when the company expanded, its brand was quickly recognized and accepted in the marine, jet engine, power equipment and motorcycle markets. These markets were natural extensions of what the company did best. When Pepsi bought Aquafina and entered the water market, they were able to leverage their existing distribution channel to build sales.

As a general rule, an organization should seek to achieve some scale (30% market share or more) before entering new markets. However, every company is different, and often business owners are weary of client concentration or industry concentration risk, which is a critical decision point for potential buyers of a business in the future.

However, such gambits can be very costly, and the entrepreneur needs to do his (or her) homework. It is important to understand a new market in depth. In Jim Collins’ latest book “How the Mighty Fall”, he describes how many of the “Good to Great” companies had an “undisciplined pursuit of more” and ultimately failed. Growth into new markets requires a business plan, capital and patience. As John Wooden used to say, “be quick, but don’t be in a hurry.”

3. Maintain price integrity through consultative selling

Your managerial courage is under attack. Do you have the will to defend your brand’s pricing integrity? If you do not value your own products and services, no one else will. Those who are unwavering in the improvement of their products will be in a position to charge prices that will earn a profit.

Examples abound of brands that have been able to defend their position. In the Apple stores, most prices aren’t even posted, because Apple has made such a powerful emotional connection with people, price is an afterthought. The average Apple computer sells for about double that of the average PC, even in a hyper-competitive marketplace.

In response to such thinking, I often hear, we are not Apple, we are a small company. Hogwash! Pricing is about attitude and value, not about size. In our firm, we have 3 employees, but regularly charge rates similar to those of attorneys and CPA’s because of the quality of the services we provide, but also because we are highly consultative in our approach.

The marketplace has a heightened awareness of pricing (that is a polite way of saying we have become “frugal”). Salesman have been conditioned to discount. It is their drug, and the business owner must show leadership in commanding a minimal margin threshold. Every business owner should be very active in the trade, at conferences, industry events and especially on sales calls.

Consultative selling is about listening and this is a time to listen carefully to customers whose budgets have been cut and headcounts have been slashed. They are looking to outsource work, services, or even just administration of details that they no longer have bandwidth to manage.

4. Provide exceptional experiences

McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc once said “we are not in the hamburger business; we are in the show business”. Like Netflix movement to digital downloads, the marketer must perpetually; prod, question and reinvent the value of the services provided and enrich the customer experience. Clearly experiential brands such as Cirque du Soleil command a price hands holding peoplepremium, and the marketer should continuously seek out methods for creating emotional value for the buyer.

More and more, emerging technologies seem to capture the imagination of customers or lead to greater efficiency that drives advantage. I recently bought a Lexus hybrid, offering 35 miles to the gallon. Toyota has been deeply troubled of late, but eventually its hybrid technology (offered in the Toyota brand, Prius) will be a dominating technology, which is currently unmatched by other automakers. Don’t only think about disruptive innovation, but also think about disruptive experiences.

5. Invest in retention

The number one rule of customer relationship management is to invest more heavily in retaining customers you already have than in acquiring new ones. Providing deep discounts to new customers is misguided. Customers who switch on price have little loyalty. Such investment is better directed towards customers who have proven their worth (usually measured in lifetime value), and who pay full price, pay on time and are easy to work with.

This is particularly important in times of rampant discounting as acquisition costs can be higher. In lieu of cutting pricing, marketers should seek out opportunities to treat preferred customers like VIPs. Consider expanding your service bundle for these clients and extending them perks such as faster cycle times or preferred customer service phone lines.

In my travels, I regularly stay at Hyatt and Marriot hotels in instances when clients control my itinerary. They are very good brands, and if asked, I would say I am satisfied. But I am loyal to Hilton. I will travel 15 miles or more to stay at a Hilton property because as a Gold VIP, I am treated like…..gold.

All businesses should regularly measure customer loyalty (a higher standard than satisfaction). Asking customers about their experiences is a self-fulfilling prophecy, it reinforces for the client that you care deeply about their business and you want to learn more about how you can improve.

Final thoughts

According to Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (www.lighthouseconsulting.com), hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on hiring, please click here to see an article on this subject.

Marc Emmer is an author, speaker and consultant recognized as a thought leader throughout North America as an expert in strategic planning. The release of Marc’s book, Intended Consequences was covered by Forbes, CNBC and Fox Business. Before his consulting career, Marc spent over 20 years in the food business, in operations, marketing and business development. Marc founded Optimize Inc., a California based consulting firm in 2002. Optimize has an impressive client list including public companies such as CB Richard Ellis, Rio Tinto, and Superior International and mid market companies in a diverse range of industries including financial services, health care, technology and energy. Marc has personally facilitated over 100 strategy sessions. Learn more about Marc at www.optimizeinc.net. He can be reached at marc@optimizeinc.net.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Are You Making the Most Out of this Business Time Frame?

By Dana Borowka, MA

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]M[/dropcaps]ost individuals and organizations are very concerned over the short term business outlook. Today is the day to look beyond… to look at the many opportunities and the open horizons that can be in store for you and your organization. This is the time to rally the people that you work with and begin to collaborate and gather ideas in the following areas:

• Improving efficiency
• Marketing and sales
• Opportunities for acquisitions
• Operational processes
• Cost efficient ways to do things differently
• Identify specific traits in people that you’d like to add to your team
• How to better mentor staff members

Those are just a few areas to explore. Looking out into the future you’ll want to take advantage of some of the fresh talent that will be available. However, you’ll need to be very selective as to who you’ll want on your team. Managing down just doesn’t work any longer. Understanding the strengths of an individual will help to promote a positive environment where people will want to share ideas that might not have been considered in the past. This is the time to build a positive reputation so your company is a magnet for attracting top talent.

Thinking Outside of the Boxperson on a box

I was at a restaurant recently and asked to see if an item that I didn’t see on the menu was available or if I had overlooked it on the menu. The restaurant didn’t have the item, but the staff response set me back. The server stated, “Our goal is to think out of the box. To do what we can to please the customer so that positive word of mouth is shared and that will result in more business for us!” Isn’t that what we all want… team members that will think out of the box… positive word of mouth about our business… to increase revenue. What we all need are people like that on our team. So the million dollar question is… how do we get staff members to think along those lines and how can we attract people like that?

What is Driving Your Top People

Learn what is driving your top talent people. If you help them to succeed you’ll create a high level of retention and become a magnet for recruiting. Here are some action items for you to consider:

  1. Use an in-depth work style and personality assessment during the hiring process and for current staff.
  2. Use the data to manage, which in turn will reduce the learning curve for new hires and help to better understand current staff members.
  3. Place individuals in positions that they can succeed in based on their strengths.
  4. Take the time to constantly mentor and create plans to help individuals grow.
  5. Identify traits of individuals that you want in your organization and target those individuals through specific messages in ads, on the web, through networking and association gatherings.

For your A players (your major contributors), play to their strengths and help them grow. Don’t ignore them just because they are doing well. These are the individuals that if they don’t feel engaged in helping the organization to continue to grow and improve, they’ll leave.

For your B players, nurture them through mentoring so they can become A players down the road. For your C players, measure and possibly remove them if they are eating up your time. Never spend 80 percent of your time and energy on the people who are producing 20 percent of your results.

Peel the Onion

But don’t write those C players off too fast. A small hotel chain had reservation reps that were not meeting the volume level that was being required. The manager thought they were just C players and was a very unhappy camper with his team. That person was placed in a different department and a new manager came in who sat down with each individual and then with the group. She discovered that 24 hours before a guest was going to arrive at the hotel property that a high percentage were calling in to verify the reservation and to get directions. This used up valuable call time, so as a team they brainstormed together and came up with a brilliant idea. Since the reps were asking for email addresses why not send an email confirmation 24-48 hours prior with a fun page welcoming the individuals and include links for weather and directions.

Guess what happened? Calls were reduced and the reps were able to take more calls for new reservations with less hold time. All because the manager took the time to ask questions to peel the onion back to identify the underlying issue. When the reps were asked why this topic hadn’t been addressed in the past they simply responded, “No one asked and we never thought of it”.

Set Your Sights on the Future

Make the most out of this business time frame by helping others in your team to be successful, build a positive reputation, ask your team for ideas and contribute to the well being of sunrisethe entire organization, train staff to mentor others and be on the look out for adding fresh talent to your team! Remember, it is important to be precise in what you are looking for and do a thorough job interview by asking probing questions, doing reference and background checks and utilizing an in-depth work style and personality assessment.

This is the time to set your sights on the future, deal with the present by supporting your team and ask for input. Set your organization on a course for long term success by using proactive and collaborative mentoring, management and vision. We’d love to hear about your successes.

 

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Are You Getting Full Value from Your System, or Could Your System Use a Re-alignment?

By Ted Margison

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]A[/dropcaps] company was considering replacing the three systems they were using to run the business. One system handled financial information, a second handled production and a third handled service calls. The company felt that it would be more productive to consolidate into a single system.J0287005

The controller, who started with the company around this time, joined in the interviews to meet people and get a better understanding of how the company operated. Thirty-two (32) systems were identified. On top of this, he found the financial performance reports management had been using did not come from the corporate financial system but from isolated Excel documents. Thirty-two systems sounds like a lot, but someone recently told me that they had worked with a Fortune 500 company to consolidate databases and uncovered over 3,000 different databases (many of which were in Excel).

Right now, the odds are this is happening to you. How does this happen?

Over time, the organization goes through changes. Personnel changes occur, functional needs change and roles and responsibilities change. Often times, people forget what they were trained on because they only perform the function once or twice a year. Sometimes personnel changes mean the new person is not fully trained on all aspects of the system. As changes occur, people are not sure how to handle them within the current system and because they need to get something done now, they begin to look for workarounds such as using Excel. The greatest problem is that it goes unnoticed until it becomes so overwhelming that processes collapse. The issues with workarounds are:

• Data are being entered into multiple systems – potential for keying errors
• Extra time and effort is required
• Potential for the various systems to get out of sync
• Users tend to rely more and more on the workaround systems which then become the operational systems.

There are times when the current system simply does not handle a new requirement so, it’s either modify the system or use a workaround. The first step should be to check with the software vendor to determine if this requirement is addressed in any new release that the company has not installed or is in an upcoming release. If the requirement will be addressed in a new release due out in a few months then the interim workaround solution need only be a relatively inexpensive, temporary solution. If the vendor does not have any plans for addressing this requirement contact other companies using the software system to see if they have addressed this requirement. The key question here is whether to create a solution outside your current system or modify your current system. If you do any modifications, review them with the software vendor to ensure they will not impede implementing future releases from the vendor. If you create an external solution make sure you identify any points of ‘connection’ with the current system and develop controls to keep the systems in sync.

Challenges with New Implementations

Maybe you have just implemented a system and so this can’t be a problem, can it? Hopefully, the implementation effort went well with a smooth transition. However, more often than computers connectingnot, transition is not smooth so, users hold onto the workaround systems they were using because they still need to get things done and they are not fully comfortable with the new system.

Security is often a major concern during implementation. Great care is taken to ensure users are restricted to just the functions and reports that apply to their job. I have seen numerous implementations where users are using workaround solutions because the system does not provide a report they need or perform a task they need to do; only to find out that the system really does meet their needs – the functions and reports had been hidden from the user. IT had based the set-up of user menus on perceptions of what was involved in a job position. Unfortunately, perception does not always match reality.

• When implementing new systems try to keep open access to as many functions and reports as possible (taking into account appropriate segregation of duties).
• As accountability is defined, or re-defined, for each person, ensure the functions and reports are aligned accordingly.

Past problems are often carried forward to the new system: “The reports that come from our corporate system are the lifeblood of the company. We need to ensure that each report bizman connecting with computeris reproduced in the new system exactly as it is now.” the CEO directed. “Talk to everyone and make sure you understand exactly how each report is used so that we can be sure the new system can produce them.” Actually, 98% of all information on the corporate system reports was thrown out. Users took selected bits and pieces of information from the reports and put them into Excel documents along with data from other sources to produce reports for management. Converting the corporate system reports would perpetuate the need for workaround systems.

A major problem with new implementations is too much change all at once – users get overwhelmed and return to familiar tools (workaround systems). Traditionally, implementation focuses on identifying a desired new way for how to do business and then rolls out the new system. One Friday night the current system is turned off and on Monday users start with the new system: new tools, new concepts, new terminology, new processes, new workflows, new roles and responsibilities and even new organization structures. Is it any wonder that this heralds a period of disruption, despite preparation efforts? This ‘big bang approach’ to change is too much for organizations. Major changes take time to institutionalize and usually involve a culture change.

Sometimes, when new systems are being implemented companies modify them to exactly fit the current operations, eliminating flexibility. When operations need to change, the system is unable to adapt without heavy modifications. When this happens – workarounds!

• Avoid doing extensive modifications during initial implementation – implement ‘as vanilla as possible’. Take six months, preferably twelve, to learn the different ways of using the system to handle various issues that arise.
Have users log issues they have difficulty addressing with the system and identify what they did to handle each issue.
• Review any desired modifications with the software vendor to determine if this fits into their R&D efforts. Avoid any modification that restricts your ability to implement new releases from the software vendor. You are better off to create an external sub-system that interfaces with the new system.

Solution Approach

Survey each employee to identify which systems they use and how they use them (this includes manual systems). In particular, ask them what issues cannot be addressed by the primary system and which systems, or tools, they use instead.

For business management efforts have each manager identify key controls, such as ensuring on-time delivery. Have the managers identify what information is needed and where they expect the information comes from. Then have each employee identify what system they use to provide each piece of information. On an ongoing basis, have employees identify situations in which they could not use the current system and had to use an alternate tool.

Review the surveys and logs to determine:

• Potential risks with current workarounds
• Which workarounds can be addressed by current system or new release
• Which workarounds need a more formal solution

Looking to Replace the Current System

If you have decided that your system needs to be replaced, take heart – this is not as daunting as it might appear.

Finding the right software package is straightforward. Packages can be divided into ‘solution classes’; identifying a few key requirements of your operations will determine the right bizpeople climbing up arrowsolution class. Any package in the solution class will meet your key functional requirements. The next step is to pick the right vendor and the package that has an intuitive ‘look and feel’ to your users – it will be easier for users to understand this and use this system. This is where the product demonstration is important. Be sure that the demonstration focuses on your business; in particular, ‘a day in the life of’ your company.

Do not spend all your time and money on finding the right package. Implementation is key. Try to implement as close to your current operating environment as possible. Make sure you identify the current workarounds and determine how to address them with the new system. Do not make massive changes in processes, roles and responsibilities. Once the new system is in place, focus on accountability. Ensure that accountability is properly defined for each employee and restructure process, roles and responsibilities to align with accountability. Adjust the system as well to align with accountability.

 

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Ted Margison is a Senior LCS Consultant and has over 30 years experience in operations management and process improvement. Ted worked for Ernst & Young in their manufacturing & distribution practice and then headed up one of PriceWaterhouse’s manufacturing & distribution practices on the west coast. You can contact Ted at ted@lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Appreciation

By Ellen Borowka, Nancy Croix & Steven Zuback

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]A[/dropcaps]ppreciating life and those around us can be difficult. We get focused on the challenges of the day and the days just fly by! Before we know it, a year has passed and then another and another! A while ago, a friend passed away in a plane crash. She was a great sailing buddy and someone that was so sailboatsfull of life. Our friend used to call whenever she was in the area to see if we were available to have lunch or dinner with her. At those times, we would think in the moment that we had so much to do, that to take time away to spend time with our friend would be difficult. Usually, we would find ways to make the time and now we are glad we did. It can be hard to stay focused on the moment and not get distracted by the future or the past. To truly appreciate the people and what we have around us, rather than just plodding through each day. Yet, how do we do that? How do we stay focused on what is really important in life and not get sucked into the little details of the day?

  1. Make priorities and look at where your time is spent. What is truly important to you? Look around and think deeply about what and who really matters to you? Break that down to categories, like spouse or significant other, family, passions or hobbies, and so on. Then look at how you break up your day and give each responsibility or task a percentage of your time. Then look at both lists – does the time spent match up to what you hold as highest priorities? If not, then you may have to findman with piechart ways to make changes to rearrange your time or your life. Another friend of ours has a very busy travel and work schedule, but he makes his family a priority. As such, he makes sure to rearrange or schedule his travel around coaching his children’s soccer games. Is it easy? No, but that is what is really important to him. When making these changes, be sure to be specific on what you plan to change.
  2. Find ways to manage the little things. Sometimes when we need to focus on the important things in life, we need to also take care of the little pesky things. It’s rather like being on a wonderful cruise, but you get distracted from the great views by annoying little bugs! Look back at how your time is spent and think about what you do well that plays to your strengths and what doesn’t. Whereas, we may excel in certain areas, we may struggle with other areas. That can eat up time and cause us to feel frustrated. So, find ways to manage those areas. For example, if you are not good at organization then find systems and/or people that can assist you in that area. Ask for feedback on how to leverage your time, so you don’t get bogged down by things that do not relate to your strengths.
  3. Discover avenues to appreciating life. Using your priority list as a guideline, fit the important things into your daily life. For example, if you love doing things that are creative, then look for ways to express that like setting time aside to do craft projects or gardening. Sometimes, the important things or people in our lives get pushed down on the priority list, but we need to find ways to fit those things in that bring us passion and energy.
  4. Expand your horizon. Along the same line, look for ways to expand your vision. Is there something you always wanted to do, but put off – maybe because you thought you might fail? Perhaps it is time to find a way to do it. You might have to get support or information from others to do what you dream of. I have some friends devote their time regularly to a hunger project and travel to places to help people in poverty to enhance their lives. It is quite inspiring to talk with them about what they do, where they go and who they meet!
  5. Showing your appreciation for others. The simplest things can make us feel really good inside. So, how can we show our appreciation for others and help them to feel good inside? Some ideas could be: holding the door open for another; letting someone into your lane while driving; offering assistance to a co-worker that is overwhelmed with their people with flowerworkload; or baking or making a dish for a neighbor or friend that might need some extra support or just because you are thinking of them. Even complimenting a person on their outfit can make them feel really good inside. If someone is having a bad day, the smallest positive comment can be hugely appreciative. Most of the time, we don’t even realize how much we’ve touched someone when we have helped them or showed some compassion.

Appreciation does not always come easily. It comes from making the choice to appreciate life, others, and ourselves. Just as the old saying goes of the glass being half empty or being half full, so too is the perspective on appreciation. Many times, we need to make a conscious decision to see the positive, to see the opportunity or the good around us. It’s not always the easy decision to make, especially when the circumstances or the people around us are difficult. Yet, from appreciation we find the good in life and without that life can look pretty bleak and hopeless. Where we come from and where we are going springs forth from our perspective on life. So, it becomes very important to look around you and take the time to appreciate the opportunities and challenges that life presents.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Steve is President of zubackcrc an international executive and business coaching practice that provides executive and business coaching to CEOs, Presidents, entrepreneurs, business owners, senior executives and executive leadership teams on leadership, executive development, executive effectiveness and succession/career management. Steve effectively coaches CEOs and COOs, CFOs, senior executives, including sales and marketing executives, engineers, legal counsel, and teams on, growth and executive development challenges, role effectiveness, executive development, business/strategic plan development, leadership, succession, M&A, and organizational alignment. Steve’s progressive and diverse experience includes work with companies on cultural integration, corporate re-structuring, leadership and executive development, intra-preneurship, entrepreneurship, organizational development, employee and management development, executive coaching, executive selection and placement, as well as labor-management relations. For more information, you can contact Steve at 661•253•0286 or by email, steve@zubackcrc.com.

Nancy Croix, Senior Operations Administrator and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (LCS) with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS also has a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. LCS consultants have over 25 plus years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. Ellen is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Fun-Raising: A Key Employee Retention Tool

By Paul Spiegelman

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]W[/dropcaps]hose job is it to infuse fun in the workplace? And why should I care if my workplace is fun? People need to work not play, right?!

Wrong.

After 20 years of very hands-on experience, I have become convinced that fun-raising in the workplace is not only essential to alleviating worker stress, it is a key employee retentionwomen and flowers tool. My brothers—and business partners—never set out consciously to provide an atmosphere of fun and frivolity, but we always sensed that how we treated our people made a big difference. We didn’t start actively cultivating a culture that puts employees first until we saw the direct results in the bottom line. After five years of double-digit revenue increases and a triple-digit surge in profits, I continue to build on that culture with a vengeance today. And in an industry where turnover usually averages 80 to 90 percent, ours is only a fraction of that.

I’d like to see fellow business leaders stop treating their co-workers like commodities and begin to more fully understand the profound impact they can have on the lives of the people who work with them. Sadly, far too many of the new hires at Beryl describe criminally demoralizing environments at former places of employment – a situation that we should all refuse to allow.

For a program of acculturation to work, business leaders must first have the fundamentals in place or all culture-building efforts seem disingenuous. Essential components of any healthy work environment are fair pay and benefits, proper training and advancement opportunities, competent managers, and access to the necessary tools to get “the jobs done.” Also vital to a nourishing workplace is an ethos of caring. We have a system in place called Beryl Cares, in which employees can share the personal circumstances of their own or their coworkers’ lives so we can support or celebrate with them as appropriate. Through Beryl Cares, we have assisted a single mother whose children’s Christmas presents were stolen from her apartment; replaced the eye glasses of a co-worker whose were broken in an accident; and paid for an airline ticket for a man to be with his mother who was dying of cancer in another state. The essence of Beryl Cares is simply to let people know that we really do care about the circumstances in their lives…just as a family should.

Most people spend more waking hours at work than they do with their loved ones, which is why we need to “lighten up” at work. A little levity can relieve stress, build relationships and spark creativity. My own experience has also shown that it also makes for happier employees. Remember, senior executives set the tone for the entire organization. By showing a sense of humor and their lighter side, company leaders flatten the organizational chart and make themselves more accessible to employees.

Making it Fun

You can’t have a good culture without having fun. That is why we conduct many events throughout the year expressly for that purpose. For instance, we believe that dressing up doesn’t have to mean a coat and tie. So we have theme days like “Dress the 70s,” “Pajama Day” and “Crazy Hat Day” where employees can really show their creative side. On jester“Movie Night,” we’ll take 50 to 100 people to a local cinema tavern that serves dinner. On “Ranger Night,” we’ll treat another big group to watching the local major league baseball team. Our schedule is always changing, usually packed, and people really get into these events. Organized potlucks and barbecues help staff escape the mundane and encourage socializing. We even integrate families through our annual “Family Day,” “Breakfast with Santa,” and other events.

On the more elaborate side, we produce an annual “Gong Show.” This extremely popular talent contest allows people to show off their gifts — real or imaginary. One of the prize categories is “Most Painful to Watch;” and, for me, these acts are often the most fun to watch. We also conducted a very challenging six-week “Survivor” competition that gave people a chance to earn a trip to New York to visit an important client. This meant a lot to many of our folks who had never been out of Texas. In “March Madness,” the COO and I dared any two people in the company to beat us at two-on-two basketball. The tournament ran over the course of four weeks; and we ultimately lost in the finals, which is always great for morale.

Little things like job titles can enliven a culture. We don’t hesitate to play with titles because we’ve always looked at ourselves as a very flat organization where titles don’t mean a lot. Our receptionist’s title is Director of First Impressions. The person who heads up the Department of Great People and Fun – usually called Human Resources – is the Queen of Fun and Laughter.

We do everything we can to have fun. When management shows its fun side, the whole organization breathes easier. Every year we create comic videos for our holiday party that depict senior leadership in embarrassing or compromising predicaments. This tradition makes everyone realize that there is no class system – or caste system – at Beryl. We don’t need any senior execs who are too uptight about their status and image to walk around all day wearing a baby bonnet. My brother Barry was gamely – and repeatedly – dunked in a
DJ carnival water tank by crowds of baseball-flinging co-workers who shrieked with delight the whole time. I have taken pies in the face, and been forced to perform wacky dance routines in a lime green leisure suit and a goofy red wig.

Did this undermine anybody’s authority? On the contrary, it underscored the fact that we’re all just human beings here; and we’re all going to work together and enjoy one another’s friendship and have a good time.

The last time I spoke to an MBA class, students from companies like Lockheed and Burlington Santa Fe were strongly questioning the feasibility of doing all this fun “stuff” while trying to run a practical business operation. One student had some call center management experience and knew how important it was that companies like ours keep people on the phones to maintain service levels. He was particularly challenging about what he kind of derisively called “the strategy of fun.” I told the class that, “Look, I don’t run a theme park. First and foremost, we’re in business to make money and perform. But we do have technologies that allow us to monitor performance and schedule people in a way that makes smart use of culture and training and development. And they pay off for us in a big way in terms of dollars.” I think a few of them got the message.

Of course, there is a serious side to our corporate culture as well. We have a set of values that people truly live by: Passion for customer service, never sacrificing quality, always doing the right thing, and spirit of camaraderie. Culture is something people create at all levels of the organization, so we use committees to involve as many co-workers as possible. Our main culture committee decided to call itself the Better Beryl Bureau (BBB). They took the job very seriously and made it clear early on that the focus of the BBB was not going to be “fun.” They wanted to work on enhancing and improving the culture through a wide variety of practical applications, some of them fairly sophisticated. The BBB is managed by a full-time internal enthusiast: our Queen of Fun and Laughter.

“Employer of Choice”

In fact, creating a culture based around our values is at the core of our success and is evidenced by the seven awards we’ve won as a “Best Places to Work” employer. For four years, the Dallas Business Journal named Beryl one of the “Top Ten Best Places to Work” in the Dallas/Forth Worth market, and the Texas Department of Business has ranked us reaching star togethertwice on their roster of best employers in the state. And just this summer we were chosen as the number 2 best medium-size company to work for in America by the Society for Human Resource Management. Winning these awards regularly has been very useful and important to us.

First of all, they generate great pride throughout the company. We celebrated the first award by renting a limousine and driving to the presentation luncheon with ten co-workers who had either been nominated by their peers or won a contest. I’m sure that not all these folks had ever before sat through a fancy lunch in a big hotel ballroom. Their reactions while the waiters served them were touching. One call advisor who may never have owned a suit bought one especially for the occasion. As we were riding to the hotel in the back of the limo, he looked at me and said, “This is the proudest day of my life.”

Public recognition of our culture has helped us recruit co-workers. Knowing we’re an employer of choice makes applicants want to work here – at all levels. We just made a very important senior level hire who told me she had no interest until the headhunter mentioned our awards. Finally, these awards mean a lot to our clients. If they have to outsource their customer interaction function, why not give it to the happiest workers in the nation?

Good leaders nourish their people on as many levels as possible. You’ll be surprised how that nourishment can translate into happier employees and lower turnover. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that it costs nearly $14,000 to replace a solidly performing employee. Some higher estimates range from 29 percent of yearly salary to several times an employee’s annual pay.

Even if focusing on fun and frivolity runs counter to your own corporate culture, emphasizing the following key areas will go a long way to ensuring employees feel satisfied and empowered:

• Credibility – Does management keep people informed and deliver on its promises?
• Respect – Are employees involved in decision making, training and development?
• Fairness – Are employees paid fairly and treated fairly?
• Pride – Do employees feel like they make a difference?
• Camaraderie – Is the organization a friendly and fun place to work?

For Beryl, fun-raising has been a very successful employee retention tool. We will continue to take great pride in making work like, well, child’s play.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Paul Spiegelman is Chief Culture Officer of Stericycle, a NASDAQ listed global services organization with 13,000 employees and is the Founder of BerylHealth and The Beryl Institute. Paul also co-founded the Inc. Small Giants Community, an organization that brings together leaders who are focused on values-based business principles. As the former CEO of BerylHealth, Paul led a unique, people-centric culture for a company that won nine “best place to work” awards, including the #2 Best Medium Sized Company to Work for in America. Paul was honored with the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year award. He’s written several books on employee engagement including Why is Everyone Smiling? and Smile Guide and is the New York Times best-selling author of Patients Come Second: Leading Change by Changing the Way you Lead. He’s also an entrepreneur-in-residence for Office Depot’s SmallBizClub.com. For more information, please contact Paul at paul.spiegelman@beryl.net.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Raising the Hiring, Productivity and Retention Bar by using In-depth Work Style & Personality Assessment Tools

By Dana Borowka, MA

The wrong hiring decision can cost your company well over two to three times the individual’s salary according to Vistage International speaker, Barry Deutsch. This figure may be a conservative estimate because of factors like training, evaluation, termination, re-initiating the hiring process, and lost opportunity costs. There is also an emotional factor involved in a bad hire situation. Not only can it cause stress and anxiety for both management and employees, but it also takes brain on crane to headaway focus from your company’s primary goals. Essentially, a bad hire can have a negative impact on your company’s bottom line and that won’t benefit you or your workforce.

These circumstances can be minimized during the initial hiring process by using several techniques including effective recruitment programs, skilled interviewing and in-depth work style and personality assessment tests. An in-depth assessment is a highly effective tool and an efficient use of company resources at this crucial point of the decision making process.

This article focuses on in-depth assessment tests and how your company can benefit from them during the interview process, before a potential new hire turns into the wrong decision. An in-depth profile, in conjunction with a thorough interview process and good background check, can reduce the possibility of a hiring error. It also can provide your company with quantifiable information on a candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, an assessment will offer objective, expert guidance on how best to manage and place that individual within your organization.

Personality Assessment Testing – A Standard in Recruiting

In-depth work style and personality assessments are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions. They are used to reduce employee turnover and improve department effectiveness. Correctly interpreted, professionals can help guide your organization on how to best manage, communicate and train new hires and staff members.

As with any business decision, having the right information is critical. Work style and personality assessment testing can provide insight into potential hires, as well as your current workforce, in several ways:

  1. Identify potential red flags: An in-depth work style and personality assessment can discover issues that are sometimes overlooked during the interviewing process and can quantify an intuition or feeling the interviewer may have about a particular candidate. It can be used to identify potential red flags concerning behavioral issues, help understand how to manage individuals for greater work performance and compare interpersonal dynamics of teams, departments and candidates.
  2. Learn how to optimize employees’ work performance: An in-depth assessment can provide extensive information on an individual’s ability to work with their job responsibilities, team dynamics and company culture. Additionally, the assessment can show effective strategies to gain optimal performance from that individual within their particular work environment. It can also be employed to quickly identify the most effective management style for a new employee or predict how team members are likely to interact.
  3. Ensure you have the right people in the right positions: Additionally, personality assessments can be utilized in rehires, or situations which call for employees to re-apply for their current jobs, as in the case of a corporate merger or restructuring. A personality assessment test can also ensure that your company continues to have the right people in the right positions and distribute assets & talents effectively.

Which Assessment Tool Should My Organization Use?

The following are some things to think about when reviewing various work style & personality profiles:woman holding questionmark

  1. Training or degrees of those who are providing the debrief/interpretation of the data.
  2. A copy of the resume and job description should be supplied to the testing company.
  3. Scale for “Impression Management”
  4. What is the history of the profile?
  5. Cultural bias
  6. Does the profile meet U.S. government employment standards? Has it been reviewed for ADA compliance & gender, culture & racial bias?
  7. Reading level required (5th grade English, etc.)
  8. Number of actual scales (minimum of 12+ primary scales – 16 is optimal)
  9. Does the data provide an understanding on how an individual is wired?

These are some general questions and if a profile falls short in any one area, we strongly suggest additional research into the accuracy of the data being generated.

Frequently Asked Questions

A frequent question from companies and organizations concerns the legal guidelines in administering assessments to potential employees. Industry regulations can vary and the best option is to consult with your company’s trade association or legal department. As a general rule, if your company uses an assessment, any test or set of hiring questions must be administered to all of the final candidates in order to assure that discrimination is not present. Additional information can be found online at the EEOC website, in the Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees section: http://www.eeoc.gov/docs/guidance-inquiries.html.

An additional question concerns how a new hire may feel about taking an in-depth personality and work style assessment. There is a certain amount of “test anxiety” that can be common. However, the test demonstrates that your company is serious about who they hire. If your company explains that the goal of the assessment is to reduce turnover and is only one of several factors involved in the hiring decision, the individual usually responds very well. In many cases, the candidate may accept a position from the organization they perceive to be more thoughtful during the hiring process.

Conclusion

An in-depth assessment is only one component needed for a successful recruitment and hiring program. It can provide valuable information for critical personnel decisions. Combined with an effective recruitment program and skilled interview techniques, it can benefit your company as a whole, in addition to your individual employees. Armed with accurate and man with magnify glassquantifiable data from an in-depth personality assessment, the interview process becomes much more reliable. Ultimately, this only adds to your organization’s bottom line, allowing more effective management of your existing workforce and limiting the potential for wrong hiring decisions. For more information, please call (310) 453-6556, ext. 403 or email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics.  He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

Attract the Best Talent by Writing Outrageously Creative Ads

By Barry Deutsch

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]I[/dropcaps]f you’re only seeing the bottom third of all possible candidates, that’s who you’ll hire, even if you’re great at using all the other techniques we’ve mentioned, such as defining superior performance or conducting a performance-based interview. As a manager or executive, don’t assume that your current man running on up arrowcandidate sourcing programs are adequate to find the best people. A good sourcing program is a critical component of an effective hiring program and it needs to operate on several levels. Attracting the interest of top people right from the start is the key to eventually getting the right person into the job. Our experience in conducting hiring process audits over the last 10 years has shown that most companies are only using at best 20% of their internal candidate sourcing capability. Many of the techniques for acquiring top talent are simple to implement and do not require a large investment of time or expense.

The best candidates don’t look for jobs in the same way typical candidates do. A new job for a top candidate is always a strategic decision based on an opportunity for personal growth. For the typical candidate, the primary motivating need is to get another job. Most sourcing programs don’t take this difference into account, and as a result never attract enough top candidates. Managing motivation is a critical aspect of every successful search assignment. You must focus on the needs of the best to attract a bigger pool of talented candidates.

The primary method of getting the attention of top candidates is through writing outrageous and compelling marketing statements (we don’t call them ads since we’re going to use them on an escalating level that transcends simple classified job advertising).

Here are the five key ingredients to writing outrageous and compelling marketing statements that will dramatically increase your pool of candidates:

1. The Doing

Get as much action into your compelling marketing statement as possible; focus on what the candidate will have to do once they’re hired. This is the heart of your compelling marketing statement – setting up what you expect the person to accomplish. If you make the “doing” sound exciting, you’ll prompt all of those qualified candidates who aren’t actively job-seeking to sit up and take notice. (You’ll also discourage people who don’t want to work very hard.) If you want to motivate people to excellence, devote at least 50% of the ad to the “doing”. Add lines like this to your compelling marketing statements: “Get set to rebuild a electro-mechanical consumer product line with lots of potential, but little direction.” or “Take over a customer service department of 10 people that needs an energizing force and a new direction.”

2. The Becoming

Use your imagination to paint a clear and attractive picture of how the person can grow and develop over the first year. Give them something to reach for. People stay at jobs when they can see a compelling future. Often they’ll take less of a salary increase: The career opportunity more than compensates for an additional 10% salary. The “becoming” needs to be mentioned subtly in line with some salesmanship about the company. For example, “Become an e-commerce guru as you lead the launch of our state-of-the-art Internet application.” Here’s another, “Enhance your UNIX Systems Administrator skills as you take on one of the biggest IT challenges to come to Austin.”

3. The Having

Don’t pack your compelling marketing statements with lists of requirements, skills, academics or duties. These are a big turn-off and exclude the best from even applying. Not surprisingly, unqualified people, who often only read the title, apply in great numbers (Do you get too many responses?). “Experience” is a poor predictor of on the job success, so minimize this in your ads — no more than one general sentence. Something like, “Send in your resume if you have a few years in our industry, solid academics, and a track record of building awesome teams” works best, we’ve found. Keep this part simple and vague.

4. Outrageous Titlesbizman with pen

Use interesting and exciting titles for your positions. Be a bit creative here. Instead of “UNIX Administrator” use “UNIX Guru”. Instead of “Sales Manager”, use “Sales General” or “Decorated Road Warrior”. An “Inside Sales Person” could become a “Tele-sales Wizard”. This causes candidates to read the advertisement or compelling marketing statement to learn more.

5. Qualify Candidates Right from the Start

At the end of your compelling marketing statement, ask the candidate to submit a one-page write-up of their most significant comparable accomplishment (or add this request to an auto-email response). This is a more meaningful way to filter candidates. The quality of the accomplishment is more predictive of success than all the degrees and experiences in the world.

You can also take this document and pass it out to all your employees, asking them to forward it to individuals who might like to hear about the compelling opportunity in your company. Using this compelling marketing statement will dramatically boost your internal employee referrals. We’ve always felt that the greatest source of new candidates can come from your existing group of employees. Your best people already know other great people. Unfortunately, most companies don’t give their employees a vehicle (such as the compelling marketing statement) to distribute to people they know. When your employees start emailing this compelling statement of work, you’ll be amazed at how many great candidates start raising their hands to be considered for the position.

This compelling marketing statement you’ve just written can be used far beyond simply placing the ad in the newspaper or on-line. Once you’ve prepared this document, you can send it to a specialty trade organization, user forum, or other special interest group, both on-line and off-line. We call this approach “Sourcing by one degree of separation”.

Final Thoughts

According to Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (www.lighthouseconsulting.com), hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on hiring, please click here to see an article on this subject.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and Impact Hiring Solutions to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Barry Deutsch, MA is a well-known thought leader in hiring and peak performance management. He is a frequent and sought-after speaker for management meetings, trade associations, and CEO forums, such as Vistage International, formerly known as TEC, a worldwide CEO membership organization of more than 15,000 CEOs and senior executives. Many of his clients view him as their virtual Chief Talent Officer. Vistage International named Barry “IMPACT Speaker of the Year”… Barry is also frequently asked to present IMPACT Hiring Solutions award-winning programs on hiring, retention, and motivating top talent and leverages a vast knowledge base of 25 years in the executive search field, with a track record of successful placements in multi-billion dollar Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurial firms, and middle-market high-growth businesses. He has worked closely with thousands of CEOs and key executives to help improve hiring success, leverage human capital, and raise the bar on talent acquisition. Barry earned his BA and MA from the American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to his executive search career, Barry held positions of responsibility in Finance and General Management with Mattel, Beatrice Foods, and Westinghouse Cable. Barry is a co-author of the book, You’re Not The Person I Hired. You can reach him at barry@impacthiringsolutions.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Sharing Savings from Improvements

By Ravi Patel

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]E[/dropcaps]xperience has shown that involving employees in coming up with improvements; empowering them to implement the enhancements; monitoring the results; and sharing in the rewards is a blueprint for success.bizpeople hitting the mark

•  Do you believe in continuous improvement?
•  Are you interested in reducing costs, improving productivity or increasing savings in your business processes?
•  Could your employees have ideas for improvement or cost reduction?
•  Do you encourage employees to suggest improvements?
•  Would you like your employees to be more aligned with your company and other team members?

Most often, employees are closest to the business processes that they are working on; thus, they are in a great position to notice issues and recommend and implement improvements. If they are asked, employees can get involved and make significant contributions to improving the bottom line of their company. Most employees like to be a part of a team and work together to contribute to group results.

Entrepreneurs would be best served to implement some form of a continuous improvement program in their companies and have a culture of “Doing Things Better”.

A manufacturing company supplying high-tech products to the aerospace industry had embraced the concept of TQM (Total Quality Management) and Continuous Improvement using world class manufacturing techniques. The basic principles call for completely understanding and documenting key operational processes; developing key performance metrics; finding ways to improve performance on these metrics; measuring and widely sharing actual results after implementation; and continually repeating the improvement and measurement process.

The company established teams of employees for each key process and held them responsible for continuous improvement. The teams met one hour each week to review and discuss the metrics for the previous week and brainstorm improvement ideas. The progress was shared with other employees once a month. Specific ideas for implementation were presented to the management team for review and final approval.

In order for the program to continually provide improvements throughout the company, Entrepreneurs should devise a system to share the rewards from improvements. The rewards in such Shared Savings plans should be meaningful and definitely motivational.

man riding the lightbulb balloonThe manufacturing company established a reward system based on the savings resulting from the implemented ideas. For every new idea that was implemented by the team, each member received a fixed dollar amount in the very next paycheck. This provided an instant gratification system for coming up with and implementing new ideas.

For each idea that had the potential to generate savings or increase productivity, an objective measurement metric was developed in conjunction with the finance team. The actual savings or other benefits were monitored on a quarterly basis and the team members responsible for that idea were given 25% of such amount as a shared reward in their paychecks for up to one year. Additional incentives such as group activities, such as trips and dinners were offered depending upon the scope of the savings.

Companies might even have group programs to improve general operational issues with ultimate cost savings.

A manufacturing company used a group program using continuous improvements techniques to improve the safety in their operations. The safety committee reviewed past accidents for common causes and developed procedures to mitigate such incidents. In addition to developing accident-free metrics, they appointed teams in different areas to monitor safety practices and suggest improvements.

The company and the safety committee established the total cost of each lost workday for different areas in the company and set aside a monetary pool for potential rewards. Based on improving the accident-free metrics over the previous benchmarks, the company paid out each quarter an incentive payment proportional to the number of accident-free days for the specific area of operations.

While such Shared Savings plans or programs have many names, the basic elements are quite similar. This list is by no means complete but offers suggestions.

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In addition to the actual monetary benefits, Shared Savings plans continually reinforce behaviors that promote improved performance. They are used as a tool to drive cultural and organizational change. Such programs heighten the level of employee awareness, help develop the feeling of self-worth, and build a sense of ownership and identity to the team and the organization.

Factors important to designing and maintaining a successful Shared Savings plan include:

•  Utilize clearly communicated objectives for the company and the plan.man with litebulb equals money
•  Employees should feel like they have ownership and control in the process of designing, implementing, and monitoring the plan.
•  Measurement formulas should be easy to understand and performance directly controlled by the employees.
•  Rewards should be tied directly to performance and payouts should be as close to the achievement of results.
•  Management should be fully committed to the established plan.

A downside associated with these types of Shared Savings plans or programs is that there might be payouts for these plans while the company as a whole might not be making money. High performing individuals may be frustrated as they have to share team rewards with lighter performers. Management should avoid the temptation to change benchmarks just because improvements and payouts increase.

Finally, a thought from Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (www.lighthouseconsulting.com) and author of Cracking the Personality Code, that hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on raising the hiring bar, please click here to see an article on this subject.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Ravi Patel is President and CEO of Patel CFO Services that provides outsourced CFO services for Entrepreneurs and can be reached at ravi.patel@patelCFOservices.com

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Having Problems Finding Qualified Candidates?

By Dana Borowka, MA

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]W[/dropcaps]elcome to the 21st Century!  We are hearing from many of our clients, both domestically and globally, that it is getting to be more and more difficult to find qualified candidates. A number of years ago while attending the Milken Global Conference, one of the speakers projected this very issue and man watching on boat bowcommented that it would likely get worse. With so much unemployment, that didn’t seem to make sense, but that is what we are starting to see right now.

According to Barry Deutsch of Impact Hiring Solutions a number of factors are causing this situation:

“Fewer top talent candidates are using job boards to respond to job advertisements, which are the primary method by which companies use to attract candidates. Increasing top talent is turned off and disgusted by the traditional approach of a posted job description masquerading as an job ad. Many companies are recognizing the importance and impact of top talent, are doing everything within their power to motivate, empower, engage, and stimulate their best performers. Finding and attracting these “game changers” requires a completely different approach to sourcing and recruiting. If you desire to attract better performers, you’ve got to have a hiring process designed for top talent. Great performers respond to compelling marketing-oriented ad copy, they get excited to learn about the challenges and obstacles in their new job, and they want to know they’ll have a significant impact on the success of your company, department, or team. A process lacking the ability to communicate and discuss these issues in-depth results in hiring average and mediocre candidates.”

A New Perspective

Many companies are realizing that they are going to need to look from within and identify potential talent that they can nurture. Albert Einstein provides some insight as to what an organization needs to do when looking at future talent: “The significant problems we have today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them”. Talent acquisition will need to be reviewed through a new set of eyes and ears. The following is an exercise that you can use to begin this process.

Pick three A, B and C players that are currently in your organization and list out their key characteristics:

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Exploring Different Avenues

Take a close look at the characteristics and look for commonalities. In order to attract those individuals, you will need to market, brand, network and reach out to those that reflect what you want. A few questions to ask:

  1. Why are those individuals staying with our organization?man at crossroads
  2. What attracted them in the first place?
  3. Have they grown from within and what helped them to get to the next level?
  4. Why would they leave?

In order to begin to develop a coaching plan, you can consider what would it take to help a C Player to become a C+ Player or a B Player to become a B+ Player, etc. To design a retention and succession plan, you’ll need to know your people by understanding why they are with you, why they stay, where they want to go and then manage to all three areas. It is vital to know the strengths and weaknesses and to help them to fulfill their vision.

Some Tools To Cultivate Your Future Team Players:

  1. Define who you’d like onboard – look at the characteristics that you want in your organization.
  2. Define expectations by creating a 30-60-90-180 day expectation list (3-6 items under each timeline).
  3. Develop a PR and advertising plan around what you want to attract.
  4. Interview to those standards.
  5. Manage to the individual’s vision and help them to succeed based on their strengths and weaknesses.

A Perceptive Tool

In-depth work style and personality assessments can reveal deep insight into new hires and mentoring current team members. Assessments can help in:people holding up symbols

  1. Gaining insights into strengths and weaknesses of candidates and staff.
  2. Providing probing interview questions that might be overlooked.
  3. Identifying potential red flags for human behavioral issues during the hiring process.
  4. Reducing the learning curve for understanding how to manage individuals for greater work performance.
  5. Comparing the dynamics of teams, departments and candidates.

One of the best ways to learn how to use an in-depth work style assessment as part of the hiring, mentoring and managing process is to take a few minutes to listen to our podcast interviews at the following links:

“How to Lose your Most Valuable Resources” – This interview is about keeping employees engaged, respecting them for their talents and allowing them to contribute and participate in the growth of the company. Please click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your internet browser address bar. It will start Media or Quicktime Player and play the interview for you.
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/Radio/Vistage-HiringRecruitingandRetention.mp3

“Putting In-depth Work Style & Personality Assessments to Work” – This interview is about utilizing in-depth work style and personality assessments in the hiring process. Please click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your internet browser address bar.
It will start Media or Quicktime Player and play the interview for you.
https://lighthouseconsulting.com/Radio/2005-11-07.mp3

If you would like to learn more about in-depth work style assessments, please contact us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com or (310) 453-6556, ext. 403.

Final Thoughts

Finally, hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on raising the hiring bar, please click here to see an article on this subject.  By using these tools and exploring the characteristics and needs of your top performers, you can then design an effective plan to finding and cultivating qualified candidates.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.