Time To Leverage Your Staff For Higher Productivity

By Doug Clute

In his business classic Good to Great, Jim Collins said: “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” Famously Collins says you need to have the right people in the right seats on your bus.

In business, profits and shareholder returns can be linked to productivity growth, which can be directly linked to having great people. Productivity measures output per unit of input, such as labor, capital or any other resource – and is typically calculated for the economy as a whole, as a ratio of gross domestic product (GDP) to hours worked. Labor productivity may be further broken down by sector to examine trends in labor growth, wage levels and technological improvement.

A staffing plan makes sure you have the right people in the right spots at the right time.

A Staffing Plan Fit For A King

Have you ever tasted Original Hawaiian Sweet Bread?

The bakery that created this treat was founded in the 1950s in Hilo, Hawaii and later became known as King’s Hawaiian. In 1977 the company expanded and built its first mainland bakery in Torrance, California. Its vision was to become the biggest Hawaiian food company in the world.

To support their continued growth, in 2010 their strategy included building a new production facility. To better serve the East Coast they started construction on a third bakery facility in Oakwood, Georgia. This was a project that was estimated to take at least one year to complete. Initial staffing of the new facility would require hiring over one hundred new employees.

Well before construction began, a staffing plan was developed and implemented. The plan included headcount, timing, skills needed, and training required for each position.

Success was dependent on a lot of hard work by great people. Internal partnerships between operations and human resources, as well as relationships with local agencies and recruiting partners were key to its success.

The plant opened on schedule and within budget. Since then, the plant has been expanded several times and each time a staffing plan was one of the keys to success.

Staffing Linked To Productivity

Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of a company’s production process, This is calculated by measuring the number of units produced relative to employee labor hours or by measuring a company’s net sales relative to employee labor hours.

Most successful organizations have a strong understanding of their strategic direction. Mission and vision statements communicate who they are, what they do, and where they are going. Operational plans and budgets that lay out the organization’s periodic goals, objectives, and projects that are in support of the mission and vision.

But will they achieve the mission and vision without the right people? Even with a clear mission and vision, without the talent required to support this direction, organizations are unlikely to reach their full potential. Management journals contain many studies that have found that companies incorporating a staffing plan into their business are more likely to increase performance.

For many organizations – especially one that is growing quickly – the focus is often on things like improving or expanding products and services; increasing revenue; and acquiring new customers. These are the lifeblood of a successful growing business. However, if the workforce needed to support this growth is more of an afterthought, it can slow that growth and even jeopardize servicing existing customers.

The Six Steps Of Staff Planning

There are six steps included in the staff planning process: establishing goals, identifying influencers, surveying the current state, envisioning needs, conducting a gap analysis, and developing and executing a plan. Let’s examine each step:

One: Establishing Goals. This step should largely be completed through the operational planning process mentioned above. Having an accurate understanding of the periodic goals, objectives and projects the organization anticipates completing in the planning cycle is the foundation of successful staff planning.

Two: Identifying Influencers. What factors might influence the staffing plan? Influencers can be external or internal. They can be positive or negative. An influencer is anything that might affect the plan but is largely uncontrollable by the organization. This step can be completed with a brainstorming session to identify factors that need to be considered. What is the status of the local labor market? Are there any technology changes that will impact productivity? Are local competitors growing or laying off staff? Are there any facility constraints such as office space limitations?

Three: Surveying the Current State. What is the state of the organization’s current staff? What expertise does each staff member have? Are there employees who are likely to leave for personal reasons or retirement? What employees are likely to be promoted into different roles? Are there poor performers who may need to improve or be replaced? While this step includes a listing of headcount, the main objective is to create an inventory of skill sets, competencies, and availability of the current staff.

Four: Envisioning Future Needs. To reach the organizational goals and complete the projects identified in step one, what skills, competencies, and staffing will be required? It is best to complete this step with the mindset of building the staff from scratch. This will help identify requirements without being overly influenced by the current state. Will the goals and projects require new competencies? Will additional staff be needed? Will staffing need to change during the year? Would using contractors or outside expertise be a good fit to meet short term needs?

Five: Conducting a Gap Analysis. What is missing between the current state and projected needs to accomplish the organization’s goals? Is additional training needed? What would be the timing of any new training? Do you need to add staff? In what positions, when will they be needed, how long will it take to recruit and onboard? Are current staff in the correct roles, or would reassignment make better use of their skills.

Six: Developing and Implementing the Plan. With the insight and information developed through this process the organization can now build a plan to successfully support their goals and projects. Planning for needed training, recruitment of staff additions and backfilling departures, use of outside expertise, etc. This plan will include actions as well as timing. The ultimate impact the plan has on the organization is dependent on an effective implementation and follow up. Committing to periodic updates and review will keep the plan on pace.

Let The Process Flow

This overview references six separate steps in the process. In concept the process follows the logical thought flow. However, in practice steps may overlap. The staff planning process can include as few or as many individuals as needed. Staffing plans can be created in any format that is comfortable to the organization. What is important is that the plan includes the relevant information in a format that is easy to understand and actionable.

Here is a thought to guide the plan. In the words of Lawrence Bossidy of General Electric: “I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”

The right staffing plan improves the odds of succeeding on the bets you make on your people.

If you are open to a conversation about staffing planning and how our in-depth work style and personality assessment could help, please contact us at 310-453-6556, extension 403.

Doug Clute is a Senior Human Capital LCS Consultant with over 30 years of insight and expertise as a human capital management executive within four different industries on an international scale.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC Divisions

Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication.

Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

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

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, extension 403, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2024

Don’t Rush the Hiring Process: Bad Hires Are 3X More Costly Than You Think

By Dana Borowka, MA

There is an old adage that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. A bad hire can be that bad apple for you.

by Natalie Grainger

Now contrast that to the famous words of anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

This is the power of good hires. Team members working together in thoughtful, committed ways to the company mission, core values and objectives can change your workplace world for the better.

When our team has conversations with C-level executives, better hiring is on their minds. Research backs this up.

“Labor shortages are driving talent retention and recruitment to the top of the CEO agenda in 2022,” concluded The Conference Board in its 2022 “C-Suite Outlook,” it’s 23rd annual survey. The report reflects the views of 1,614 C-suite executives, including 917 CEOs globally.

The Conference Board report details the external stress points business leaders face and the impact of these stressors on growth strategies. It includes views on the benefits and risks of hybrid work models, and the struggles to find and keep good employees.

Finding good employees is noticeably harder these days. Research from Glassdoor says attracting the right job candidates is the most difficult task for 76% of hiring managers. A common woe is that the best hires are snapped up in the first ten days of actively being available on the market. This adds up to a hiring process that lasts 36 days, on average.

True Cost Of Bad Hires

Bad hires can cost your company more than you think. CareerBuilder reports that 74% of employers say they have hired the wrong person for the job.

by FIN

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings.

When you examine the true costs broken down by hiring, retention, and pay, you might conclude the researchers at the Labor Department might be lowballing the true cost. Our team extrapolates the real cost might equal at least projected first-year earnings and maybe more.

Here’s why: Poor hires can result in lost productivity and expenses in hiring, recruiting, and training replacements. That can quickly add up.

Robert Half International reports in Fortune Insiders that managers assert lost salary isn’t the only money they lose by hiring the wrong person. Managers must also spend 17% of their time monitoring underperforming employees. In a typical workweek, that time suck equates to nearly a full day of wasted time.

A Harvard Business Review column by David K. Williams and Mary Michele Scott noted “that of nearly 2,700 employers surveyed, 41% estimate a single bad hire cost $25,000. A quarter of respondents estimate a bad choice has cost $50,000 or more.”

Not to mention the demoralizing impact on other employees.

”A hire that is going the wrong direction is bad for everybody involved,” writes Williams and Scott. “A dismissal is bad for the morale of the entire team. It’s even worse for the morale and future of the person you fire, who faces one of the most stressful events in human experience.”

by Tim Mossholder

Here are just some of the ways your company can suffer: lost productivity, loss of focus, poor execution, training costs, legal fees, damaged employee morale, damaged reputation in the marketplace, and lost manager supervision time.

Research by Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees in the United States cost businesses anywhere from $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity each year.

Plus, the number of bad hires is staggering. Think of how many new hires fail to meet expectations.

“Over 50% of newly hired employees fail to meet expectations,” says recruiting expert Barry Deutsch of Impact Hiring Solutions. “Most hiring managers don’t make a significant change by firing the person, putting a PIP together, or having a deep developmental program to improve performance or behavior. They just accept partially competent people, or take those elements off the plate that the employee can’t do – and the manager does it by allowing the monkey to be transferred onto their back.”

Deutsch says that is the definition of dysfunctional.

How To Avoid Bad Hires

Deutsch, coauthor of the book You’re Not The Person I Hired, offers several suggestions for avoiding bad hires.

“One of the most powerful interview techniques for measuring success is to probe for the ability to continuously learn and adapt it to their job and expectations,” says Deutsch. “Do you probe for deep and continuous learning from the professionals and managers you’re looking to hire?”

According to Deutsch, the interview, when conducted with focused structured questions that correlate to job expectations, can be a very reliable predictor of future success.

“Unfortunately, most hiring managers don’t define the expectations so the interview questions are in doubt,” adds Deutsch “Secondly, the biggest mistake is that most hiring managers have never been trained how to conduct an accurate interview – so they are just winging it based on their life experiences. No wonder, the studies show that interview accuracy is basically as effective as rolling dice.”

Deutsch believes a proper interview process includes in-depth work style and personality assessments. As with any business decision, having the right information is critical. Work style and personality assessment testing can help reduce bad hires in three main ways:

by Bernd Dittrich

Identify potential red flags. An In-depth Workstyle 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.

Optimize employees’ work performance. An In-depth Workstyle and Personality 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.

Ensure you have the right people in the right positions: Additionally, an In-depth Workstyle and 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 can also ensure that your company continues to have the right people in the right positions and distribute assets and talents effectively.

How does Deutsch define a good hire?

by Jackalope West

“I would define quality of hire as a candidate who hits or exceeds your specific quantifiable outcomes at the 90-day or six-month timeframe with a set of behaviors and style that is consistent with your organizational culture and values,” says Deutsch.

Assessments and professional feedback is not just for the Fortune 500 companies, but can help organizations of all sizes with avoiding bad hires.

Lighthouse Consulting Services helps a variety of companies avoid bad hires through in-depth workstyle and personality assessments and professional interpretation of the results. Not only does this help avoid bad hires, but these assessments also help companies get the most out of new hires from day one. These assessments are tremendous productivity tools for managers who want high-performing teams.

In addition, Lighthouse Consulting provides 360-degree feedback surveys. Be warned: The amount and level of training of those providing the 360-degree feedback can impact the level of accuracy of the feedback.

Without guidance from a trained professional, bias may distort the value of the feedback. To get the full benefit, leaders need to be debriefed on the 360-degree survey results by trained professionals such as those who are part of the Lighthouse Consulting team.

Bottom line: When professionally conducted and interpreted, the results assessments help produce can be significant. But without a trained professional to help interpret the assessments, the value of their results is severely diminished.

by Kyler Boone

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 business”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style & personality 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, stress & time management, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills as well as our full-service Business Consulting Division. Dana has over 30 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”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC – Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication. Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2024

Being Planfully Minded For 2024

By Paul David Walker, CEO Genius Stone Partners

Now is the time for business leaders to get centered for 2024.

by Milada Vigerova

In my book Invent Your Future, I shared that knowing how to invent the future was a strategic advantage in simpler economic eras. Now, you need this knowledge to survive.

Five Steps To Plan For The Coming Year

Back in the 1990s folk singer Pete Seeger turned some advice from wise King Solomon into a song called “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The lyrics say to everything there is a season, a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together.

If you believe it is the time to plan, then how do you best do it?

Step One. Define The Future. Start by articulating what you want your business to accomplish. What are your goals? Having a facilitator to help you guide these discussions is highly beneficial.

Step Two: Work Backwards. Once you understand that, then work backward to determine what you need to do to achieve those goals. Ask your leadership team questions like: How important are those goals? How will they add value to our business? A business leader should ask, how will they bring value to my life?

Step Three: Build Your Roadmap. Once you have the destination, then build a roadmap for getting there. What are the major mileposts you need to reach month by month and quarter by quarter?

by Planète Chocolat

Step Four: Align Your Team. Next, you need to align your team around your strategy and goals. Don’t just assume they’re going to follow the roadmap. You really need to talk with them so they understand why it’s important to them, why it’s important to the company, why it’s important to you as a leader, and be ready to execute given the dynamics that are likely to come.

Step Five: Monitor The Horizon. The other activity I recommend for business leaders is to read The Wall Street Journal and all the business press that predicts what’s going to happen in the economy and your industry. The media is not always right, but it gives you some idea as to how the economic winds are blowing. Trust me, it pays to be aware of what people are thinking and what they’re doing in your industry so that you can be on top of your game.

Now is the time for business leaders to plan.

Each insight is a flash of seeing into the true nature of things, and leads to another, providing you act on the first, if you don’t the spark dies, and an opportunity is missed. Being in “the zone,” simply described is one insight after another, acted upon in the flow of cause and effect. It is like dancing in perfect harmony with a band. Dancing to the rhythm and flow of the moment brings out our souls’ calling, and our natural genius, both of which have yearned to be expressed most of our lives.

As insight expands it can create momentum and turn into a compelling vortex that draws energy like a giant storm draws air. There is an attraction that brings in all manner of opportunities as the worlds, near and far, see a familiar intent and join an energy field that feels like their tribe; like going home again.

The key to creating a chain response of insights is our ability to act in the moment before the flash of insight fades. A professional athlete has the muscle memory from years of practice in a given sport to respond in this manner. But can business teams do the same? Why not, most have years of experience in their business. It is a matter of practicing the art of connecting insight to action as a basketball player responding during the flow of the game. A team of athletes has to practice so that when opportunity presents itself it is ready to act as a team in a fast break. Likewise a business team needs to do the same.

Knowing The Difference

An insight is a combination of two or more ideas merging to create a reality previously unknown. It has an expansive, curious, and inclusive feeling, even if stimulated by reading a poem, or seeing a painting. The observer and the observed becoming one to uncover new realities, paths, and understandings.

When ideas come from stored memory they seem to be cloaked with a “need to be right,” which prevents merging and expansion. It is like pulling the answer out of the internet or our past, the feeling lacks wonder, unlike a true insight. Only with practice do we learn the difference, but do not underestimate the tricks our egos can play on us.

First We Become a Team

The first step is becoming a team committed to each others’ success that knows each person’s strengths, weaknesses and potential. Each member of the team is committed to helping unleash each team player’s potential, the potential of the team, and business. This creates a safe field for innovation and exploration. Each understands and have expertise in their roles, and those roles synchronize to form a team ready to build on insight and act upon opportunities uncovered. This is a healthy high performance team.

Stimulate Insight

Once you have a strong team, as described above, it is time to stimulate insight and action. To do this the leader and the team has to question the status quo, and collaborate to understand new realities, then act on solutions that lead to manifestation. One of the CEO’s I work with, Celso Pierre CEO of Goodridge Americas, developed the following values for his team.

by pexels

We Work Together To …

• Bring a sense of possibility beyond the status quo
• Examine possibilities until solutions emerge
• Align our intentions to drive solutions

As this example illustrates, a clear compelling picture of the desired state is important. It is an aspirational statement that provides an understanding and a draw towards the ideal. A picture of the goal creates insight as we succeed or fail that is self-correcting in a positive manner. Insights that uncover hidden realities that are successfully acted upon create engagement. The purpose is for you and/or your team, as observer of the ideal, to become one with it, then create a new ideal.

The assumption that fuels insight, is understanding that there is no limit to what we can create together. As an individual I find that if I capture insights as they occur, not letting them fade, and take action, even deeper insights emerge. To facilitate this I always have my journal at hand to capture, understand and expand insights before the clarity fades. I allow time in my schedule to reflect. Likewise a team should have time as individuals and a team to reflect with the purpose of discovering “possibility beyond the status quo.” Business leaders who make this a priority tend to lead their sectors.

The Habit of Reflection

After a success it is easy for us to fall back into old patterns, as individuals and teams. So it is important that personal, professional and business growth is the default setting. Insight into the true nature of things followed by action invents futures that provide strategic advantage. To win consistently we have to teach each other, and those that follow us how to create a state of mind around insight that is similar to athletes “in the zone.” Each time I learn something my state of mind is lifted and I become committed to new levels of action. The same is true with teams. When creating insight is a natural habit, higher states of mind will drive intent and performance at all levels.

“Here you will find a treasure trove of distinctions, tools, and models that will allow you to engage people in a way that naturally harmonizes and enhances working with others—and that in turn advances the mission and purpose of the organization. More than that, you will be introduced to the thinking that guides and directs our most advanced leaders. There are years of learning available in Invent Your Future. Do not be surprised when, in the days and months to come, you find yourself referencing this book. It’s that good.” —John King, Bestselling Author of Tribal Leadership

Paul David Walker, CEO of Genius Stone Partners works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and plan for the future. He works with the CEOs, founders, boards, and executive teams to accelerate the performance of their business, the growth of their leaders, and the health and well-being of their organizational culture. He has been a business leadership adviser to the CEOs of Fortune 500 and midsize companies for over 30 years. He is the author of four books, including Invent Your Future and Unleashing Genius.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC Divisions

Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication.

Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

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

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, extension 403, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023

Your Business Can Benefit From The Fourth Industrial Revolution

By Dan Hamon, Senior Consultant

In the words of President Teddy Roosevelt, “Sometimes a revolution is necessary.”

By Gerd Altmann

Now is that necessary time for business leaders. The global economy is in the midst of revolutionary technological innovations that are predicted to lead to supply-chain miracles, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity.

That’s if you embrace the revolution and don’t fear the technological advances.

When it comes to mass adoption of technology, there was a silver lining to the pandemic. Many embraced technology solutions during the days of Covid lockdowns. The pandemic did not cause what has been dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but it did accelerate all sorts of technology adoption by many years.

The pandemic was a compelling demonstration of technology that accelerated adoption by 10 years or more. All the tools for remote calls and meetings and sharing documents were all there, but people were not fully using them. These technologies enabled businesses to continue and even prosper. Some say it was the crucible moment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To understand this fourth revolution, it pays to examine the previous three.

The First Three Industrial Revolutions

Step back into history to examine the first three industrial revolutions. First came the steam engine in the 18th century, and industry no longer moved at the pace of a horse, Next came electricity in the 19th century during Teddy Roosevelt’s lifetime, and that powered mass production.

By Jim Semonik

Then in the mid-20th century came the power of computers, which led to the digital transformation of business. In the early 21st century we have entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution, set to change the world of work in ways previously imagined in sci-fi books and films.

Klaus Schwab, the person who labeled today’s advances as a new revolution, is a German engineer, economist, and founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He has acted as the WEF’s chairman since founding the organization in 1971.

In his 2017 book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Schwab wrote that like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution “has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.”

According to Schwab, “Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth.”

Simply put, The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the current and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends that are changing how we work and live, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, and what’s dubbed “The Internet of Things.”

What Really Is The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT), a subset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, describes physical objects embedded with sensors and actuators that communicate with computing systems via wired or wireless networks—allowing the physical world to be digitally monitored or even controlled.

By Pixelkult

Here are startling statistics: According to data from Giancarlo Mori at MVYL Associates and Lori Lewis at All Access, during one minute on the internet 700,000 Instagram stories are shared and 9,000 LinkedIn connections are made. In a minute, 500 hours of YouTube content is uploaded. A total of $1.6 billion is spent online every minute. That’s fueling this Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Lighthouse Consulting works with B2B software clients that are at the intersection of deploying advanced technologies to solve complex problems to deliver compelling business results. Our clients are organizations that are doing big things: like semiconductor design software, high speed computing hardware and supply chain solutions.

As an example, in one instance we helped a client in the cold supply chain space whose business is all about using technology to monitor and ensure the quality and safety of food during transport.

Typically, we work alongside the owner/CEO to help implement their vision while also refining the strategy. We roll up our sleeves and assist with the implementation.

Strong Yet Opposing Views Of Technology

As a society we seem to concurrently hold two strong yet opposing attitudes about technology. People let gadgets rule their lives (hello Siri and Alexa), and yet we actively dismiss the smallest of inquiries as to how those gadgets work.

Sci-fi films and sensational media coverage are encouraging fear. But in my opinion business leaders need to be ready to experiment. Leaders need to be curious and open about technology. People need to step out of their comfort zone.

By thisisengineering-raeng

These disruptive technologies are not new, AI has been around for more than 50 years and its consumer applications have been in our midst for at least 20 of those years. Robotics has made a huge impact on manufacturing.

But recent sci-fi movies play upon the fears of data science, robots, and AI. Here is a recap of the 2013 film Her, starring Juaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johanson. Consider this plot synopsis from IMDB website:

Theodore (Phoenix) is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce… He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” the ad states. Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha (Johanson), the voice behind his OS1. As they start spending time together, they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt.

Sure, Siri and Alexa are helpful, but are we in danger of falling in love? Another sci-fi film to examine our new reality is from 2014 titled Ex Machina, starring Alicia Vikander and. Domhnall Gleeson. Here is the plot synopsis from the IMDB website:

Caleb (Gleeson), a 26-year-old programmer at the world’s largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan, the reclusive CEO of the company. But when Caleb arrives at the remote location, he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with the world’s first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl (Vikander).

Data science and AI are closely related. They’re not the same thing, but they rely on each other. If you’re open to taking all your sales data at every stage of the sales cycle and doing some serious analysis on it, you will find insights. You will find trend lines, and opportunities for growth that you’ve never seen before without these tools.

Business leaders should care about these tools because the barriers to entry for creators and entrepreneurs will come down. The creation, market adoption, and distribution of intellectual property will expand dramatically, There’ll be huge opportunities to create value and scaling any of those types of businesses will be cheaper and faster.

The possible opportunities are made possible by advances in computer science algorithms, high performance computing architectures, widely available and constantly improving semiconductor design, chip design manufacturing techniques, and almost infinite and basically free cloud storage.

Which Businesses Will Benefit The Most?

Companies of all sizes will be positively impacted. Small companies can develop and get products to market faster at lower costs. Some experts I’ve spoken with claim that experienced software engineers can be 30% more productive when paired with AI bots. That means companies can make either 30% more products or become 30% more valuable.

By Riccardo Annandale

Medium and large companies can leverage data sets and create models that will revolutionize healthcare consumer products, law, and other areas. I would not be surprised if a high-tech company buys a national hospital chain just for AI purposes. Why would they do that? Having ownership of vast amounts of radiology imaging data would be a compelling reason to invest billions of dollars because then you can create probably the most advanced AI model to identify early-stage cancer without any IP violations.

Small law firms and other professional services businesses are already leveraging tools from AI to do administrative marketing, content generation and automation of intensive tasks. Obviously, this is going to increase even more.

Other studies suggest that if you pair AI with a domain expert like a lawyer or a surgeon, you’ll get much, much better results than if you have the human expert alone or the AI expert alone. That will be like a super genius assistant that is right next to you, enabling you to do more and do better.

To learn more about how you might take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and other services offered by the Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division, please email dhamon@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Daniel Hamon is a Senior Consultant in the Business Consulting For Higher Productivity Division at Lighthouse Consulting LLC. He has played key leadership roles in product development, marketing, sales, and worldwide operations and P&L. He is particularly gifted at drawing together and leading the right internal and external teams for solving complex problems, including business turnarounds. His industry expertise includes software, semiconductors, micro-electro-mechanical systems, high performance computing, cybersecurity, data encryption, crowdfunding, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC – Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication. Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

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

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023

Using A Customer Service Culture To Drive Profit

By Patty Crabtree, Senior Consultant

In the ever-evolving business landscape, customer service remains a critical function that has been significantly impacted by the pandemic and the trend of employee turnover.

However, amidst these challenges lies a tremendous opportunity. Businesses can establish a customer service culture that not only sets them apart from competitors but also drives long-term success and profitability. Understanding the customer’s perspective is paramount in creating a customer-centric environment.

Consider this eye-opening statistic from a Harvard Business School study by Reichheld and Schefter: a mere 5 percent increase in customer retention can lead to a remarkable profit increase ranging from 25 percent to 95 percent (HBS Working Knowledge, July 10, 2000). This highlights the undeniable impact customer service has on the bottom line.

Bain & Company, a global business consulting leader, reports that repeat customers spend up to 67 percent more with a company during months 31 to 36 than in the initial six months (Bain & Company, customerloyalty.com). It’s evident that taking care of existing customers provides a faster path to cash and fosters increased spending and referrals. As a result, astute business owners prioritize customer retention as a cornerstone of their strategy.

by rekre89

While customer service is often associated with rectifying issues, it is crucial to shift the narrative and view service as an experience that can proactively prevent problems. Too often, businesses design their operations around the expectations of an ideal customer, disregarding the fact that most customers are not perfect.

To truly meet customer needs, organizations must serve customer preferences and anticipate customer requirements in advance. This approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also minimizes costs, reinforcing the brand and creating a lasting positive impression.

In a notable customer service encounter, Jacob, a representative for a finance company, demonstrated a thoughtful focus on customer care. During a conversation with a potential client, Jacob listened attentively as the client shared their struggles and concerns leading to needing a loan as they inquired about their potential interest rate.

Thoughtfully taking the potential client’s anxiety into account, Jacob said, “This is what we are going to find out together.” This simple statement created a partnership between Jacob and the potential client, putting the prospect at ease and energizing the conversation.

By guiding the potential client through the screening questions with understanding and support, Jacob’s approach fostered a sense of trust and ensured the prospect felt heard and valued. Through this empathic approach, Jacob illustrated the transformative power of a customer-centric mindset, highlighting the importance of partnership and understanding in delivering exceptional customer service experiences.

While this story illustrates working with a prospect, the mindset of being in it together with your customers is critical to a successful customer service culture.

At the heart of a successful customer service culture lies the belief that customer support is not limited to a single department but rather filters through every aspect of the organization.

Adopting Home Depot’s adage, “If you’re not supporting the customer or supporting those who do, what is the value of your job anyway?”, is crucial for establishing a customer-centric mindset that resonates throughout the company. When customer service becomes an integral part of operations and every employee embraces it as their responsibility, the organization can achieve remarkable outcomes.

by Tumisu

One company took such an approach. Each department was challenged to define their customer path pointing back to the external client. This initiative aimed to instill the belief that every individual within the organization had customers to support, and that every action taken contributed to serving those external clients.

Not only did this shift in perspective lead to a profound cultural transformation, it also led to increased profitability. Employees realized that their roles extended beyond their specific departments, encompassing support for every customer within the organization, including their fellow co-workers. Silos were eliminated and processes were streamlined, replaced by a unified focus on providing exceptional service to all customers, both internal and external.

By embracing this holistic approach, the organization witnessed remarkable outcomes. Interdepartmental barriers dissolved as employees recognized the interconnectedness of their roles in delivering a seamless customer experience. The heightened sense of unity and shared purpose fostered collaboration, increased efficiency, and amplified customer satisfaction.

This inspiring story exemplifies how adopting a customer-centric mindset breaks down obstacles, promotes collaboration, and creates an organizational culture dedicated to serving all customers. By recognizing the value of every individual’s contribution and nurturing a shared commitment to customer support, companies unlock the full potential of their teams and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.

by Milada Vigerova

In the pursuit of a customer service culture, it is vital to shift focus from solely nurturing prospects to consistently supporting existing customers. While businesses invest significant time and effort in the sales process, the post-sale phase is equally crucial. Implementing a comprehensive onboarding process allows businesses to not only collect essential contact and billing information but also begin building a deeper knowledge of their customers. Gaining insights into their preferred contact methods, mailing address, and personal interests enables businesses to tailor interactions and deliver personalized experiences.

Another vital aspect of a customer service culture is speed. Customers have increasingly high expectations when it comes to receiving prompt solutions. Surprising studies reveal that even minor delays can significantly impact a business. For instance, 20% of customers are deterred from making a purchase if an organization takes minutes to respond, and an additional 25 percent refrain from buying if it takes hours to receive an answer. Slow service not only frustrates customers but also results in lost sales, diminished loyalty, and reduced recommendations.

Furthermore, customer rage can initiate a harmful cycle of declining revenue, increased customer dissatisfaction, reduced employee morale, and higher job turnover. Although the Great Resignation may be a recent phenomenon, the trend of quiet quitting has long existed. To counteract this trend, organizations must prioritize creating a customer service culture by empowering employees, providing them with the necessary tools, and offering ongoing training to foster authentic engagement.

In conclusion, cultivating a positive customer service culture is pivotal for sustained business success. By prioritizing customer retention, proactively meeting customer needs, and fostering a customer-centric mindset throughout the organization, businesses can differentiate themselves, drive profitability, and achieve lasting success in a highly competitive landscape.

By Gerd Altmann

If you are open to a conversation about how to use a positive customer service culture to drive profit, or how our in-depth work style and personality assessment could help your team, please contact us at 310-453-6556, extension 403 or email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com and our website is www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Patty Crabtree, a senior consultant in our Business Consulting For Higher Productivity Division, guides LCS clients seeking to improve culture design, human capital management, and develop or expand effective remote workforce initiatives. To this specialty she brings 25 years of Operations and Finance leadership, excelling in equipping and empowering profit-focused teams.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC – Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication. Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

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

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023

Preparing for the 2024 Potentially Mild Recession & the Uptick In 2025: Leveraging Opportunity & Setting Your Direction

By David Shaffer, MBA, Sr. Consultant

News item: Economists, investors and the Federal Reserve have sounded alarm bells for months that a recession could come later this year. According to CNN, here are predictions from three financial institutions:

by Thomas Breher

• Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told CNN that he believes the US economy could tip into a recession early next year.
• Vanguard economists wrote in their mid-year outlook that they see a high probability of recession, and the “odds have risen that it could be delayed from 2023 to 2024.”
• JPMorgan Chase economists said that there could be a “synchronized global downturn sometime in 2024.”

Investors and economists last year predicted that the US could enter a recession in early 2023, after the Fed set out on its aggressive interest rate hiking campaign to tame inflation.

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2023, most organizations turn their attention to reviewing the success/issues of the current year and try to determine the appropriate focus for the upcoming year and beyond.

With uncertainty comes opportunity if a company can define strategies that incorporate its strengths and recognizes its weaknesses.

With political uncertainty and the rebound from Covid-19, this year more than ever companies are looking into the mirror to see how best to position for uncertainty. This becomes the element of strategic planning that focuses on a realistic assessment of the current environment and a projection of what an optimal future target operating model should look like.

The process of strategic planning we recommend provides an initial, objective assessment and facilitates the strategic planning necessary to meet future opportunities. This planning should focus on the definition and implementation of critical initiatives that project alternatives based upon projected potential scenarios.

What differentiates us is our ability to recognize the resources available, integrate financial scenarios, and develop a process that provides well-defined milestones and deliverables. The planning is designed to leverage the businesses’ capabilities into value creation thereby creating future options for stakeholders and owners.

Most companies schedule their management retreat to develop and establish the strategic direction for the remainder of the year, as well as a three-to-five-year outlook.

The process, although it can contribute to team building by getting away from the daily grind, frequently does not result in strategy. That’s because what starts as a noble intention or cause ends with little to no accountability, letting life return to normal soon after the planning meeting. Effective strategic planning implementation requires accountability both in the creation and management of strategic initiatives.

Here is practical and accountable approach to effective strategic planning and implementation:

by Mario Aranda

Step One. Develop Strategic Initiatives. Many times there is confusion between what initiatives are truly strategic versus what are simply tasks and obstacles that impact the daily operating procedure.

As an example of what not to do: one company identified distribution of various financial reports as a strategic means of raising financial performance. Although the concept may sound strategic it is merely an improvement in task execution, addressing an operational issue rather than a strategy that aligns with the direction of the company.

Here is what you should do: Your strategic planning session should generate and classify two types of initiatives.

1. A few critical initiatives expected to be implemented in the short term, within the current fiscal year
2. A few growth initiatives, requiring more exploration in order to lay the foundation for future critical initiative consideration.

Organizations that define more than five to six critical initiatives are generally focused on task implementation rather than strategy. Likewise, exploration of more than two to three growth initiatives represents a strategic planning outcome that has no direction or focus.

Step Two. Assign Accountability. Once both critical and growth initiatives have been defined, individual project managers should be assigned to lead the charge, plan the implementation, drive the process and communicate the results. The use of chartering is a process commonly used by project managers that allows organizations to clearly convert strategy into action while managing accountability.

For each strategic initiative a charter is written, reported against and reviewed regularly by the management team. It is important to note that as a result of exploration efforts, growth initiatives can often become new critical initiatives that require project managers and charters.

Step Three. Build Strategic Project Charters. Multiple resources are typically used to implement each strategic initiative. However, it is essential that one individual have responsibility and accountability for each project and project charter.

The aggregate of strategic initiatives and associated charters represent the short term and long-term implementation of the key strategies. Although they are prepared and managed by different individuals, it is important that the approach is consistent.

So just what does one include in a charter? Let’s take a deeper look:

Background. Description and facts related to the problem, opportunity or situation that the project is going to address. The background lays out the context of the charter; however the details of the charter are laid out in subsequent sections. The background should refer to discussions generated during the strategic planning session.

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Key Challenges. In every endeavor there are generally challenges. This section provides a description of the challenges, obstacles and issues that must be overcome in order to successfully complete the charter (project) and to deliver the benefits. This is not a description of the tasks, even though carrying out the tasks may be challenging.

Project Overview And Rationale Description of what the project will accomplish at a high level, and a list of the project objectives and business benefits.
Brief example: The objective of this project is to develop and implement a new, automated sales order entry system. The new system should reduce the time to configure and enter a new order from four hours to approximately 20 minutes (objective). It will significantly reduce order entry errors, increase sales and improve customer satisfaction (benefits).

Approach. Description of how the project will be carried out: the team, methodology, and timeframe for carrying out the project. The description should be a high level and should not duplicate the list of milestones or major deliverables.

Scope. Description of the boundaries of the project: what it will and will not address.

Major Milestones. Milestones should reflect the overall approach and should cover the complete lifecycle of the project. The list of milestones does not however constitute a complete project plan. Milestones will be changed and should be updated when the project plan is completed.

Start Date: xx/xx/xxxx End Date: xx/xx/xxxx
First Major Milestone: xx/xx/xxxx
• Major Action: xx/xx/xxxx

Middle Target Date xx/xx/xxxx
• Major Action: xx/xx/xxxx
• Major Action: xx/xx/xxxx

Milestone close to completion: xx/xx/xxxx

Major Deliverables. List of specific accomplishments, documents, or other tangible outputs of the project. Deliverables are not the same as objectives or business benefits. The deliverables may duplicate some of the major milestones (i.e., the completion of a deliverable could be a milestone.)

Stakeholders and Resources

Customer: [Group that will directly benefit from this project. Could be an internal or external customer or stakeholder group. Be specific.]
Sponsor: [Executive who has overall responsibility for the project. Approves the charter and budget. Heads up Steering Committee as needed.]
Project Manager: [Manager with responsibility for the leadership and day-to-day management of the project.]
Outside Resources: [As needed.]
Team Members: [Resources assigned to the project who will participate throughout the project. Do not include SMEs (subject matter experts) or other resources that work on specific tasks or are consulted with during the project.]

Project Budget:

Training materials: $ X
Marketing materials: $ Y
Outside resources: $ Z

Assumptions, Constraints and Concerns

Business Consulting Services from Lighthouse Consulting

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Assumptions:

• [Events or conditions that must be in place in order for the project to start or to be completed.]
• E.g. new marketing manager must be hired and in place by no later than 6/1.

Constraints:

• [Limitations that the project must adhere to.]

Concerns:

• [Events or conditions that may occur, that would impact the successful completion of the project.]
• E.g., If the pending acquisition closes before 7/31, some of our team resources may be pulled into the integration effort.

The assumptions, constraints and concerns must be specific to the project – not conditions that are necessary for any project. Examples of conditions that should not be listed are:

• Having adequate budget, resources and strong support from leadership. (True for any project.)
• No major economics or business disruptions. (True for any project.)

Step Four. Monitor And Communicate Progress. Many organizations struggle with the implementation of key initiatives; accountability is frequently a major stumbling block. By assigning Project Managers and the consistent use of project chartering, project plans can be well defined, resourced and monitored. The aggregate results of the charters collectively address the implementation of defined key initiatives. It is customary that on a weekly basis, each Project Manager reports the status of their charter so that combined project plans are managed by a single source. That is, for quality and consistency the overall progress of the initiatives is maintained in a central repository accessible to the entire management & leadership team.

There are many ways to distill strategic planning into execution. Chartering is a great way to focus on execution while creating accountability and buy-in throughout the process.

by Hans

The Economic Outlook For An Uptick In 2025 To 2030

The US Congressional budget Office predicts the economy will continue to expand during the second half of the decade. Output should grow at an average annual rate of 2.1 percent over the 2025–2030 period—faster than the 1.8 percent average annual growth of potential output. The unemployment rate should continue to drift downward, reaching 4.4 percent by the end of 2030. Inflation should be stable during the 2025–2030 period.

If you are open to a conversation about how to develop your next strategic plan to prepare the recession and coming uptick, or how our in-depth work style and personality assessment could help your team, please contact us at 310-453-6556, extension 403 or email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com and our website is www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Recent Open Line event on this Topic

We recently had an Open Line event on this topic with David Shaffer… to see the webinar, please click the link below:
Preparing for the 2024 Potentially Mild Recession & the Uptick In 2025 – Leveraging Opportunity And Setting Your Direction
https://zb0dc3.a2cdn1.secureserver.net/openline/081723/OpenLine081723.mp4

David Shaffer is our practice head for our Business Consulting For Higher Productivity Division for our ERP, M&A and process improvement practice. He is recognized for his ability to effectively integrate all aspects of the business, including financial management, information systems, infrastructure, sales management, sales strategies, and operations. David assists companies from planning through operational and business process improvement opportunities to the selection and integration of management information systems solutions. His range of company support includes start-ups through Fortune 500 firms.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC – Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication. Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.
To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023

Customer Service is an Entire Company Endeavor

By Dana Borowka

“If you want to know how to retain customers, you need to step outside your own processes and consider what it is like from the customer’s perspective”, says Deb Brown, author of the upcoming book, Lifelong Loyal Clients.

Brown notes that a mere 5 percent increase in retention will increase profits anywhere from 25 percent to 95 percent, according to a Harvard Business School study (Reichheld and Schefter. “The Economics of E-Loyalty.” HBS Working Knowledge. July 10, 2000).

Clearly customer service has a bigger impact on the bottom line than acquiring new customers. Bain & Company (a leader in global business consulting) reports that repeat customers spend more with a company— up to 67 percent more in months thirty-one to thirty-six than months zero to six.

“Taking care of existing customers is a faster path to cash than pursuing new customers,” says Brown. “Long-term customers spend more and refer more. Knowing this, smart business owners focus on retaining customers.”

Brown runs a company called Touch Your Client’s Heart. She works with business owners who want to build better relationships and never let an important contact slip through the cracks.

In her book she also notes a study done by customer experience consulting firm, Walker, which predicted that by the year 2020, customer experience will be more important than price or product to customers.

“The experience the customer has determines their loyalty and retention,” says Brown. “Customer retention makes a huge impact on your bottom line.”

Nobody’s Perfect

“Customer service is often seen by customers as the place to go when things go wrong,” says Mike Wittenstein, an international customer service expert. “Designing service as an experience is how you can get things to go right in the first place.”

Wittenstein is the founder of StoryMiners, one of the world’s first customer experience design consultancies. Based in Atlanta, he is an accomplished consultant, designer, and speaker who works globally in four languages.

“Too many companies design their business around their expectations of a perfect customer’s needs,” says Wittenstein. “The problem is that most customers aren’t perfect. Most walk in expecting a business to fit the way they want to work.”

A big opportunity for customer service across most industries is to not only respond to customer requests when they ask—but to anticipate their needs earlier. Sensing what customers will need sooner means you can make them happier—and do it at lower cost to the business and with a lift for the brand.

“If you’re not supporting the customer or supporting those who do, what is the value of your job anyway?” says Wittenstein. “That’s a Home Depot adage. It applies to everyone. Customer service works best when it’s brought into the heart of operations. It is truly everyone’s job.”

Onboarding Customers is Job One

“Often, businesses focus on prospects,” says Brown. “They give attention, nurturing, and lots of touches to bring prospects though the sales process. Sometimes, when they come to the end of the sales process and make the sale, business owners breathe a sigh of relief and then stop paying attention.”

Brown says onboarding is where you can change the way you do business and make a big impact on your customers. Customers, at that time, may be feeling a little bit apprehensive about the investment they just made. They may be feeling excited about starting to work with your business, but if you stop the communication, the excitement wanes and they may be a little unsure about what comes next.

“Having a formal intake process can not only assure you have vital information like contact details and billing information, but also be a great way to start getting to know your customers.,” says Brown.

As you interact with your customers, continue to pay attention to details about them and about their lives. It’s those personal details that help you get to know them better and deepen your relationship with them. What are their hobbies, their families? Do they have kids, grandkids, or a significant other? Are there things going on in their extended families? Do they have parents they are caring for? All of these little details are very important to them, and when you pay attention to those details, you find out what matters most to your customers.

“Touching your customers’ hearts and really wowing them is the best way I know to build loyalty to your business,” says Brown.

According to Brown, there are several things you should know about your customers so that you can wow them in a personal way.

All Contact Info. We live in a virtual world and sometimes never meet face to face with customers. Other times, customers come to our place of business. It’s easy to think that the only information you need is a phone number and email address. Take the time to also get their mailing address.
Who Do They Care About Deeply? Most people have someone who is important to them, be it a significant other, children, parents, siblings, pets, or a close group of friends. They probably sacrifice for them and spend most of their free time with them.
What Are They Passionate About? Are there hobbies, activities, causes or organizations they spend their time with? Knowing what is important to them and what brings them joy helps you know them better as individuals.
How Do They Indulge Themselves? For some people, a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee is the thing that makes them happy. Others enjoy going to the theater or reading a book. Knowing what your customers would do to treat themselves allows you to customize how you reward them.

We’re Sorry, So Sorry

Sometimes, you make one mistake and you can apologize and move on. Once in a while, however, you may feel the need to do a little more. It may be that you have dropped the ball more than once. If you need to apologize in a bigger way, it might be a good time to send an “I’m sorry” gift.

“It isn’t necessary to send a gift every time you make a mistake,” says Brown. “Often a simple apology in person or over the phone is enough to fix what went wrong. An email or personal note in the mail can add to your sincerity. Don’t overdo it. Once the other party has forgiven you, it is time to move on and let it go.”

An “I’m sorry” gift doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot; it depends on how big the mistake was.

“The act of going the extra mile and sending something out to say you are sincerely sorry can do a lot to repair the trust you have broken,” says Brown. “You are showing your customer that you acknowledge whatever you’ve done to mess up his or her day or to take up his or her time. You understand the value of time and you’re willing to pay for it.”

When you take the time and effort to apologize with a gift, it goes a long way in repairing a situation. You are able to reestablish trust and that person is willing to try again with you. Hopefully you’ve learned your lesson and you won’t make the same mistake again.

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 business”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style & personality 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, stress & time management, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills as well as our full-service Business Consulting Division. Dana has over 30 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”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC – Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication. Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023

How To Develop The Next Generation Of Company Leaders

By David Shaffer, MBA, Sr. Consultant

Finding and keeping great employees is getting increasingly hard. Your company’s ability to fight and win the ongoing talent wars hinges on your most important asset: your leaders.

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According to research in the Harvard Business Review, “Leaders who prioritize relationships with their employees and lead from a place of positivity and kindness simply do better, and company culture has a bigger influence on employee well-being than salary and benefits (“The Power of Healthy Relationships at Work,” June 21, 2022).

When it comes to attracting and retaining better employees, it comes down to leaders fostering positive relationships at work. But positive leader-employee relationships do not happen by chance.

Most managers weren’t born knowing how to create those positive relationships. But your organization should not suffer while your leaders learn by trial and error. In an age when there is an ever-escalating war for the better employees, it has never been more important for a business to invest in developing leaders.

This is why CEOs of privately owned companies in the $5 million to $100 million in revenue range and division heads of global organizations need to make sure to invest in training managers.

In other words, so one day they can confidently turn over the day-to-day management of the company to the next group of leaders. Here is a comeback story of a business owner who did just that.

How Fred Developed New Leaders

This is the tale of a 48-year-old business owner named Fred (not his real name), who created a small manufacturing company with annual revenues north of $5 million. On a personal note, Fred was a spiritual man who enjoyed being an active volunteer at his church.

On the job Fred had faith in his people and believed in them to work issues out. Unfortunately, that led to him being a victim of undeserved misfortune, His people loved working for Fred and knocked themselves out for him; however, as the adage states, haste makes waste.

Fred’s business problem was wasteful rework costs in excess of 35%, which meant that millions of dollars of the products required rework. That’s a tremendous amount of dollars that had to be absorbed by the business on a regular basis.

When Fred invited me in, I did an assessment to determine the root causes of the troubles. On the basis of that review as well as doing the LCS in-depth work style and personality assessment, we identified two solutions that needed to be implemented.

“On top of the rework nightmare, sales are dropping like a stone because all of the sales are being funneled through me, and I am totally consumed by the rework issue,” said Fred. “My sales team has been reduced to being order takers, not order generators. These are good people, and I do not know what to do.”

“We can fix this, Fred,” I told him. “It’s not going to be easy because you have some blind spots. You need to make some changes, but we can tackle the two needed solutions together.”

The first solution was a lean manufacturing process, which included quality control checks throughout the manufacturing process. That way, they could identify potential defects right at the point of the defect rather than at the end when it’s delivered to the customer.

By Mihai Surdu

That may sound like a very simplistic thing to do. However, understand that within the operation, there was a need to develop leaders who understood how to schedule the projects, communicate the goals to their team, and resolve issues with the people.

We conducted workshops for each of the shop supervisors, plus the shop foreman. We also brought in the sales team to talk about effective communication between sales and operations so that we could identify where time was being spent.

The second solution was to turn over the reins to the next generation. Eventually, we removed Fred as the owner from the day-to-day operations and put in place an executive team that included sales management, supervisors, shop foremen, as well as accounting to meet on a daily on what are the issues. We also did our LCS team building program, which includes using our LCS in-depth work style and personality assessment for the staff members. This provided me with insights into how to get the most from the team members as well as with helping them to bond and communicate with each other at a whole new level.

The net result was that the rework was reduced to 5% from 35%, and sales rose by 15% because now sales were not having to deal with the quality issues that were affecting sales. And here’s the kicker, Fred was a happier owner because it allowed him more volunteer time to lead bible study sessions at the church.

Seven Steps To Develop The Next Generation

With Fred, we followed these seven steps:

Step One. Maintain the mission, vision, and values that are a part of the company. The journey begins with an assessment of the DNA of the business.

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Step Two. Recognize the strengths that each person brings to the company. Leadership is not a birthright; it is about potential. So, test your people to assess leadership potential. Conducting in-depth work style and personality assessments can be extremely useful.

Step Three. Understand that leadership is something that is developed. Know this: leaders are not born; leaders are trained. Never has a baby been born, and the doctor slapped his or her bottom and declared, “Now here is a future company president.” Certain positive traits develop during a person’s life, which is a gift. But just relying on gifts and not training future leaders is a bad option for small-to-midsized companies.

Step Four. Dispel the belief that the best performers make the best leaders. Don’t make the classic blunder of just thrusting top performers into leadership roles. That is a 50/50 proposition at best. Once, I was a director of business process improvement and information systems consulting at one of the big accounting firms. The philosophy within the CPA firm was that you took your top-performing senior managers who were outstanding in doing tax returns, and you, therefore, promoted them to partner. Then we came to the realization that they don’t know how to be good at business development, a key requirement of a partner.

Step Five. Allow for creativity yet stay within the values of the company. People are not robots. And nor would you want them to be.

Step Six. Train leaders throughout all levels of management or job responsibilities. If you think training is expensive, then look at the costs of not training. Trained leaders make it easier for the company to fill jobs with the right people, retain top talent, and keep employees fully engaged. Today this is no easy feat, and paying more in wages and benefits is not the answer.

Step Seven. Introduce accountability and taking responsibility. Are you familiar with the “Miracle on Ice” with the US hockey team winning the Olympic gold medal in 1980? The underdog US team beat the Russians and made it to the finals to win it all. But if you really dig into the analysis of what happened, the coaches of that team took a bunch of individuals that were stars at different levels and molded them into a team. They achieved their goal of winning a gold medal by introducing accountability and taking responsibility.

Use A Three-Phase Approach

To optimize success, companies use a three-phase approach:

by Ronald Carreño

Phase One. Company Assessment And Understanding. This starts with meetings with executives and ownership to understand the company’s mission, vision, and values. Then comes outlining a key strategy for transition and personnel development. Follow this with preparing an objective assessment of the current environment, including gaps analysis to reach the desired structure. Next, we need to get everyone on board with the changes, so we prepare a presentation for review with key personnel.

Phase Two. Conduct A Workshop On Leadership And Accountability. Begin by reviewing components of leadership. Next, cover how to create an environment of accountability. Then cover the characteristics of effective communication. This is followed by a discussion of setting and achieving goals by leveraging talent and reaching individual potential. Lead the group to understand how to achieve team effectiveness. Nothing is ever smooth, so cover how to handle and resolve conflict. Finally cover the most effective means of coaching.

Phase Three. Continued Follow-up. This is not a case of setting it and forgetting it. Schedule one-on-one coaching sessions. Conduct group meetings to share experiences. And celebrate milestones that measure achievement.

Summing It Up

In my experience, privately owned companies are looking to put in place the next level of leadership within their company.

by free photos

The main goal is to allow the existing ownership to be able to have appropriate leaders developed within the organization that allows for the owner/manager to extricate themselves from the day-to-day business and still be in a position to provide high-level feedback on what’s going on within their company.

If you are open to a conversation about how to develop your next generation of leaders, or how our in-depth work style and personality assessment could help your team, please contact us at 310-453-6556, extension 403 or email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com and our website is www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

David Shaffer is our practice head for our Business Consulting For Higher Productivity Division for our ERP, M&A and process improvement practice. He is recognized for his ability to effectively integrate all aspects of the business, including financial management, information systems, infrastructure, sales management, sales strategies, and operations. David assists companies from planning through operational and business process improvement opportunities to the selection and integration of management information systems solutions. His range of company support includes start-ups through Fortune 500 firms.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC

Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication.

Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

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

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023

 

Five Ways To Increase Value For A Merger, Acquisition, Or Succession

By David Shaffer MBA , Sr. Consultant, Practice Head for M&A and ERP/MRP

We recently did an Open Line on this topic with David, so please click on the link for the slides/audio:
Keeping on Track Open Line – M & A and Succession Planning – 5 Top Things to Consider with guest, David Shaffer.
Please click on the website link or copy/paste the full link into your internet browser: https://recordings.join.me/IyY5elXeoEGX8niO7Cw5-g

Does your business serve you or do you serve your business?

“Once you recognize that the purpose of your life is not to serve your business, but that the primary purpose of your business is to serve your life, you can then go to work on your business, rather than in it, with a full understanding of why it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.”

Those are the words of bestselling business author Michael E. Gerber, who wrote The E-Myth Revisited.

For the better part of 40 years, Gerber has been encouraging business owners to work “on, not in” their business. Gerber firmly believes every company should be built as a product to sell.

Are you building a business you can sell? More important, are you optimizing the value of that business for a sale, merger, or succession plan?

What Is Your Current State Of Mind?

Which of the following statements best describes your current state of mind as the business owner:

• I have been working in my business for many years and I am ready to explore alternatives.
• I had hoped that my family would continue the legacy but there is little interest.
• I struggle with balancing the cash flow and need capital infusion to keep going.
• My team continues to point to having to upgrade my use of information systems
• My key team members are in the same age bracket as me and not certain they can move into leadership.
• My competitors are constantly focusing on their growth and my opportunities are being pressured to reduce margins.

For some business owners, all six of the above statements apply to their situation.

Five Action Steps To Assess Your Current Situation And Start Toward Value Creation

The following five action steps are designed to help you assess your situation. The steps also provide an outline for making your business more valuable.

Step One. Review, update, or create a strategic business plan that well defines your business.

By JESHOOTS.COM

Do you have a strategic plan that well defines your business? Because any potential buyer is going to want to see what is the business, what is the mission, what are the vision, what are the values of that business.

Do a detailed SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis so that it’s well defined. Outline the structure or organization that is in place that you can show a potential buyer. Or, analyze internally how you can extricate yourself from the business.

Step Two. Review your financial reporting to assure a proper representation of cash management.

The second step, which is critical, is your financial reporting. Are you able to provide accurate historical financial reporting? Can you determine your EBITDA, which is your bottom-line profitability?

When I value a business, I look at the EBITDA, which is the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (that funny money that helps you pay less in taxes). When interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization are removed it becomes the true bottom line.

Within each industry there is multiple of earnings defined by the industry to calculate business value. The more you have exclusivity within the industry, the higher the multiple. You multiply those two numbers together and it gives you a good idea of the value of the business.

Step Three. Complete an objective assessment of your organization.

Can you explain to potential buyers your mission and vision? Do you have clear goals, objectives, systems, and policies?

When we go in to work with a client, we assess where they are today, what they’re looking to achieve in the longer term, and then where do the gaps exist. Following that we work with the company to put in place the appropriate steps to close the gap and create more value.

Step Four. Assess your role as business owner.

When we work a business, next we ask the owner to really take a look at themselves and where are they as far as key responsibilities. Do they have a transition plan to move out of the business? Are they communicating internally to keep personnel?
One of the things I see a lot in an acquisition is when a buyer says to the owner selling the business that it appears to be very dependent upon you. Then they say, “We’re going to put in place a three-year plan where over a three year period we’re going to buy out your business, but you need to be around for three years and hit certain objectives.

Well, if you’re a driven type personality and you’ve been successfully running your business for years, the last thing you want is someone externally telling you how to run your business.

That’s why we work with owners to extricate themselves from the business before the sale. That way they do not have to stick around as an employee for several years.

Step Five. Engage with experienced support team.

By Nick Fewings

Getting ready for a sale, merger or succession plan is not something for the do-it-yourselfer. This is probably a once in a lifetime transaction for you. This is the time to do some due diligence and get a team of trusted advisors on your side.

The trusted advisors you engage should have experience both on the operations and financial side. The objective, regardless of the exit path you choose, is to create value in the business. In many acquisitions there are tax ramifications, shelters, and potential benefits. The use of a qualified tax advisor will help uncover both opportunities and potential liabilities. Engaging a firm to complete financial due diligence and identify target markets reduces time and helps create a realistic value proposition.

Indeed, if Gerber is correct and your business is a product to be sold, you should work on the business, so you realize the best price. Here is a case in point about family business owners who sought help.

More Cash Flow And Time To Enjoy Life

Once I worked with a family-owned business and both principals were about to turn 60. They were at a crossroads as business owners. The dilemma was; should they stay or should they go?

This couple were the overstressed owners of a privately owned manufacturing company. When I was introduced to them they were looking to make changes in their internal information systems from a very archaic system to a new one.

I was brought in to work as a conduit between the owners and their operational team and the software firm. Because of my background in manufacturing operations and systems, I was very much involved in helping with the implementation, project management. and delivery of that information system.

However, further exploration and understanding of the business demonstrated that there was more than the existence of an archaic system problem. What we determined is that the information systems brought with it a need to align the organization and the best practices because the ownership was considering two options.

Option one was to sell the business, and option two was to retain the business. Neither option sounded attractive.

Both owners were heavily involved in day-to-day operations. Collectively they were involved in the manufacturing and delivering of products and overseeing the sales team as well as overseeing all of the human resources and finances of the company.

By PublicCo

Through the work that I did outside of the systems, we restructured the entire organization where we brought in interim sales management. We took one of the key operation people, promoted him to chief operating officer, put in place a dotted line between him and the sales team.

We brought in and developed a key accounting person to oversee all of the receivables, payables, and general ledger. Then we put together an advisory team that included myself with the owners. And through the implementation of the new system, we put in place dashboards to monitor the management of the system.

The net result was we increased the value of the company by 10% in the first year simply by having visibility into the profitability of the company. We had no need other than to bring in an interim sales manager to increase our expenses on personnel. We uncovered that their sales team was really one of customer service as opposed to new account sales.

We were able to reduce the outside sales team by two individuals, which represented 60% of their sales team. We added in customer service in-house at a far less expense. The whole process took 20 months.

The moral of the story: the owners now have more cash flow and time to enjoy life. The were able to purchase a second home outside of the state. They travel on a regular basis. Recently they sent me an email saying that they were on a two-week vacation and the company is running.

Now they are also entertaining a potential sale. But at this stage, they are less stressed over the sale because they know they’re making money and they’re not involved on the day-to-day operations of the business.

Conclusion

Whether the decision is to sell the business or retain, the creation of value is always a benefit. Whether it stays with ownership or enhances the sales, it is a cornerstone best practice.

If you are open to a conversation about mergers and succession, improving manufacturing workflow or if you are a service company taking a look at various ways to improve efficiencies, or how our in-depth work style and personality assessment could help to hire the right person and understand how to best work with the candidate from day one as well as gaining insights of your team, please contact us at 310-453-6556, extension 403.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

David Shaffer, MBA , Sr. Consultant, is our practice head for our Business Consulting For Higher Productivity Division and for our ERP and M&A practice. He is recognized for his ability to effectively integrate all aspects of the business, including financial management, information systems, infrastructure, sales management, sales strategies, and operations. David assists companies from planning through operational and business process improvement opportunities to the selection and integration of management information systems solutions. His range of company support includes start-ups through Fortune 500 firms.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC Divisions

Testing Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication.

Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

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

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2024

Better Hiring With The Eight-Point Success Matrix

By Barry Deutsch

Why do 56% of all executive hires fail in their first year to eighteen months?

Because most companies don’t hire according to a documented process. They use outdated techniques and depend too much on luck when trying to find and hire successful candidates.

Typical hiring evaluations go something like this:

by Brooke Cagle

Bob and Sue meet in the hallway after the interview with Charlie. Bob turns to Sue and says, “So, what did you think of Charlie?”

The hallway conversation of the evaluation of Charlie will most likely be filled with ambiguity, superficial statements, and silly platitudes.

The comments will take the form of “seems like a nice guy, appears to be bright, showed a lot of enthusiasm, asked some good questions, impressed that he showed up on time.”

That is worthless feedback. These are not the insightful, rigorous, probing assessments to determine if the candidate can do the job.

My firm’s trademarked Eight-Point Success Matrix overcomes the traditional method of water cooler comparisons and forces a fierce conversation around whether the candidate can deliver the desired results and do it with a set of behaviors and style consistent with your values and culture.

To eliminate interviewers’ ingrained tendency to focus on superficial criteria and miss substantive evidence, we developed a structured tool to help each interviewer evaluate each candidate objectively, fairly, and comprehensively.

The matrix is the tool we have our clients use to rate fit based on the examples, illustrations, specifics, results, accomplishments, and patterns of behavior that emerge in candidate interviews.

It is quick to use, easy to understand, and focused on the job itself. Perhaps most importantly, it calibrates interviewer ratings, keeping everyone on the same page. Built around the five key predictors of success in our trademarked Success Factor Methodology, the Eight-Point Success Matrix forces interviewers to ask the right questions and probe until they have enough information to complete the form.

What Goes Into The Matrix

Candidates are rated on these eight dimensions.

By christina-wocintechchat-com

1. Work history and education
2. High initiative and self-motivation
3. Flawless execution
4. Leadership of teams
5. Similar success
6. Adaptability
7. Personality and style
8. Culture and team fit

Candidates are rated on a scale of 0 to 3.
0 = Less than required.
1 = Meets requirements.
2 = Exceeds requirements.
3 = Greatly exceeds requirements.

Free Copy Of Eight-Point Success Matrix
For a free sample Eight-Point Success Matrix, please email dana@lighthouseconsulting.com with the subject line Success Matrix.

Accountability To The Interviewing Group Is Vital

When interviewers know they will have to justify the ratings assigned to each candidate to the entire group of interviewers, the whole process is taken more seriously.

Because each member of the interviewing team fills out an Eight-Point Success Matrix form after each interview, by the end of a long interview cycle a candidate’s file may contain 20 or more. The full file allows the person with final hiring power to evaluate a full spectrum of evaluation on all success factors. Skimming the right column helps the hiring executive to rapidly compare the same candidate interview-to-interview, and also to evaluate candidates’ qualifications against each other, on equal footing.

Warning About Use Of The Form

The most important consideration in using the matrix is this: do not, under any circumstances, put off completing the form after each interview. Human memory fades rapidly four to six hours after an event. Once details are gone from short-term memory, they are lost forever.

You absolutely must ensure that your hiring process does not fall victim to procrastination and memory loss (“Er, gee, I think this was the guy with the orange tie who used to work at Enron, yeah? Or was that Exxon? Shoot, I don’t remember.”).

by Gerd Altmann

The hiring team leader must make sure each interviewer sits down immediately after the interview (or by that same day’s end, at the latest) to complete the sections for which they have gathered enough information.

It is almost certain that no interviewer will be able to fill out an entire matrix after just one interview. That’s fine—they should leave blank any sections that require more information, and make notes regarding what questions to ask in the next interview in the comments area.

We highly recommend that somebody on the interviewing team—preferably the hiring manager him- or herself—be charged with distributing and collecting the Eight-Point Success Matrix forms before and after each round of interviews. When people know they’ll be held accountable at the end of the day, they won’t put off what needs to be done.

While there are few rules about using the matrix, there are several tips to keep in mind:

• The form should be explained and discussed fully among the team before interviews.
• Each interviewer should understand the difference between a score of zero, 1, 2, and 3.
• Each interviewer should understand what each of the factors is intended to measure.

A candidate who rates zeros in any category is probably not the best choice for the job.

The sweet spot on the Eight-Point Success Matrix form is a ranking of 2. Not too hot or too cold—just right. Depending on the job, it is possible that a candidate with one or two ratings of 1 might still be up to the job.

Define Success By SOARing

The SOAR method is an alternative to the traditional method of writing up a job description. A job description doesn’t predict or manage performance. Most job descriptions are designed to define minimum education requirements, minimum skills and knowledge, vague behaviors and attitudes, (for example, “Gets along well with others”).

by Eric Bailey, Pexel

The SOAR method, however, is designed to define success. SOAR is an acronym which means:

S—Situation. Describe the situation or problem. What aren’t you getting what you need?
O—Obstacles. Describe the main obstacles your new employee will encounter as they try to deliver the results you want.
A—Action. What action needs to be taken to solve the problem? Each action step should map back to each obstacle.
R—Results. What are the measurable/quantifiable results required? Tell the candidate specifically the result you’re looking for and show how each action step contributes to that result.

Share the key success factors by stating specifically how you want the candidate to contribute. “You’ll help us launch two new products this year,” or “You’ll help us reduce costs by 50%.”

Clearly, this looks very different than your typical job description. Both you and the candidate know exactly what results are required from the position and what actions must be taken to achieve them. More important, because those results are closely aligned with the company’s most important objectives, achieving them means that everybody wins.

Testing Is Also Valuable

Using an in-depth work style and personality assessment is a valuable adjunct to the Eight-Point Success Matrix, which will uncover useful information about personality traits, potential for high achievement, and other factors that might not be immediately evident in an interview situation.  Note: please use an assessment that has a minimum of 164 questions.  Otherwise, you will have an incomplete picture of the candidate or staff member.

However, there are several cautions about assessment instruments.

Be wary of free online tests. Unless they come from a highly regarded institution, they may not be valid and reliable.

by Pexels

The instrument must be administered and interpreted professionally. An in-depth work style and personality assessment is difficult to interpret for a nonprofessional. HR professionals are generally not qualified to administer psychological or behavioral tests.

Some companies choose to administer an in-depth work style and personality assessment for pre-hire and others after the job is offered and accepted.  If a potential personality or communication mismatch is discovered, then all parties can be briefed ahead of time so needless conflicts can be avoided.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2023

Barry Deutsch is a principal with Impact Hiring Solutions. His phone number is 310-378-4751 and his email is barry@impacthiringsolutions.com . He is co-author of the book You’re Not The Person I Hired!

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLCTesting Division provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style & personality assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, skills testing, domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication.  Business Consulting for Higher Productivity Division provides stress & time management workshops, sales & customer service training and negotiation skills, leadership training, market research, staff planning, operations, ERP/MRP selection and implementation, refining a remote work force, M&A including due diligence – success planning – value creation and much more.

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

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.