Posts by :
By Tracy Benson, On the Same Page
Some people are wired for change. For others, it will throw them for a loop when a large change takes place with their employer. Those who are not wired for change can be helped along the process with a plan—an understanding of how to deal with the change or transaction and how to move forward in the aftermath.
Separate but overlapping worlds
An increase in employee engagement can be brought on for many different reasons. The top two are based on transactions that are taking place, for example, mergers, acquisitions, restructuring and collective-bargaining agreements. Transactions are normally event-driven and typically require employees to understand what is happening. That understanding is often to make some kind of significant change in their behavior or the work that they do.
The second area is about enhancing employee engagement that may be caused by change that is not specifically event-driven but brought about by a cause. For example, it could be that an organization is shifting its strategic direction or changing its culture. There are many numbers of reasons to invest in driving up employee engagement.
With either kind of change, it’s difficult to manage the change itself and the people dealing with it. Preparing those employees, teams and managers who will come in contact with these types of changes and having their buy-in can save a lot of grief in the end.
Why is employee engagement good for my business?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the U.S. voluntary turnover rate is approximately 23.4 percent annually. Nearly a quarter of the employees at any given business are walking away from their positions, even though jobs are reportedly hard to come by. Within the same time frame, the Gallup Business Journal reports that replacing an employee costs a business one half to five times that individual employee’s salary. What does all of this mean for a business? It means that a business that employs 100 people will lose not only 25 people, but between $438,000 and $4 million a year when they leave.
When you think about everything we invest in our employees, every company makes a significant investment. First with recruiting; businesses spend a lot of money recruiting people and getting the right candidates for the right job. When someone is hired, the business is already spending money to get those people in, and then spends more money to get them up to speed. So why take the chance of letting that person walk out the door with not only their experience, but also with what you have invested in them? The best way to keep them is to keep them engaged.
What is employee engagement?
Engagement is the discretionary effort an employee contributes
to his or her work and to the company that is over and above the simple tasks of the job. The difference lies in what you get—someone who simply comes to work for the paycheck versus someone who comes to work because they care about doing what’s right for the customer and because they’re committed to making that company the best that it can be.
Gauge the engagement
Businesses today normally conduct some sort of periodic engagement or environmental employee survey. Those who are interested in measuring engagement will usually conduct some kind of analysis to understand what the drivers are in their organizations. For example, if you say “tell me about your organization’s mission” in an organization where engagement is high, those responses will be fairly aligned across all members of the organization.
People leave bosses not companies
2007 study conducted by Florida State University confirms that employees leave companies, not because of the company itself, but because of the sins that managers and supervisors commonly commit. The system is not to blame; it’s the absence of a human resource plan. Managers are the most powerful lever for anything that a company that is trying to accomplish, whether it’s strictly business objectives or outcomes. Maintaining higher levels of engagement leads to the highest levels of productivity.
is an edited excerpt from the transcript of Tracy Benson’s appearance on Expert Access Radio.
About Tracy Benson
Tracy Benson is the founder and CEO of On the Same Page, LLC. On the Same Page is a consulting firm that specializes in developing and applying internal communication strategies, often in environments of change and transformation.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Tracy Benson on Expert Access Radio.
By Chris Hurn
Healthy small businesses start with healthy small-business owners. To grow a small business successfully, you have to be healthy in your financial situation. What does that mean? Generating steady business where you’ve carved out a little niche in the marketplace and are profitable and hopefully growing. Those are the people that should own their commercial property. The process is simple—most small businesses start out leasing their facilities. Converting that monthly rental or lease payment over to a commercial mortgage payment will be more of a benefit to the business.
Why Should I Own My Commercial Property?
Most small-business owners know that going public is not an exit strategy. In the life cycle of a small business, the owner at some point is going to sell their business, gift it to their kids or shut it down. That is the reality of the exit strategy. Strategically it makes sense to establish yourself in the marketplace and improve on your concept, and once you feel you have staying power, it makes sense to convert your rental payment into a mortgage payment. The reasoning? If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you have to have a facility. The faster you can start making your money work for you, in the form of building equity and what should be over time an appreciable asset, means that you now have created wealth outside of your business.
Purchase Decision-Making Team
Purchasing your own commercial property is a big decision. It can also be time-consuming. It is best to build a team to help you in this process. You have a business to run, and most of the time you are not going to drive around town looking for the commercial property you want to own. It’s not a good use of your time. It’s best to choose a commercial real estate broker that can do that for you. Using a broker, you’re going to have some commission that will be paid in the end, but ultimately that’s the cost of doing business. You should align your thinking with the broker, because you know what you are looking for. If you’re looking for an office building, you don’t want someone who works with big industrial warehouses. It just doesn’t make any sense. Also make sure this is someone that you are comfortable with. This, at the end of the day, could be the biggest purchase of your life. It seems like a lot of work, just to get a commercial real estate broker, but in the end, you can better spend your
time running the daily operations of your business instead of looking for commercial property.
The Cost of the Purchase
Usually the first question a person asks of a lender when purchasing property is about the interest rates. In reality, that question shouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the list. There are other buying factors to consider when purchasing commercial property. Even though we tend to gravitate to the lowest common denominator, which is the price, or in this case, the interest rate, there are other factors to take into consideration such as the length of the loan itself. Does the loan have covenants? Is there going to be a lot of lender micromanagement with the loan? Does the seller have a specific date that they need to close by? Every situation is going to be unique, according to the seller and the lender, but finding a lender who acts on your behalf will be a great benefit to you and your purchase.
Your Business Has Paid for Itself. Now What?
Now that your business has paid for itself, now hopefully, when you, the owner, decides to close down the business, you’ll sell them that asset free and clear or close to that. During the life cycle of your business you can
always use the equity in the commercial property if you are in need of cash, or if you sell the business, you could sell the property as well. Because
of the addition of the property, alongside the business itself, you may have doubled the sale price of your business. If nothing else, your new buyer can now become renters to you. Now you’re cashing rent checks, not writing them. The goal is not to tweak small business in any way; there is no need to build corporate culture or to market that business any differently, but you use your business to benefit you, as well as your customers.
The above is an edited excerpt from the transcript of Chris Hurn’s appearance on Expert Access Radio.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Chris Hurn on Expert Access Radio.
About the Author
Chris Hurn is author of The Entrepreneur’s Secret to Creating Wealth: How the Smartest Business Owners Build Their Fortunes, and is CEO and co-founder of Mercantile Capital Corp. based in Orlando, Florida. Chris has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes and SmartMoney. Hurn is also a frequent guest on Fox Business News and PBS.
By Robyn Johnson, Cincom
“A company is like a marriage,” says Lisa Nirell, author of EnergizeGrowth® NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company and recent guest on Expert Access Radio. “When you have a start-up mentality, things are great and it can be a lot of fun, like the honeymoon; but like all honeymoons, it has to come to an end.”
During the “honeymoon stages” of a business, you are constantly
feeling like you are fighting fires and crises. It’s that love for the adrenaline rush of doing different things every day that leads you to a point where you have to move on. When you reach that crossroads in the life of your business, you are forced to make a decision on where you want your company to go.
In most cases, there are two choices:
Option 1 - Build an infrastructure, clearly defining the roles and responsibilities for the staff, so that
they know how their jobs are tied directly to the vision of the company.
Option 2 - Continue to immerse yourself in the adrenaline rush. That chaos and frantic excitement is not always the wrong direction. Some people live off the adrenaline rush and need it constantly through their careers. When you choose to stay in the adrenaline rush stage, you have to come to terms with the fact that your ability to predict your growth will diminish
Investing more in your business, like with option one, is going to help you get over that first big hurdle that happens to every company. It is the commitment to growth that will help you reach the next level of success.
Planning Beyond the Honeymoon
Planning is essential in coming off of the “honeymoon stage.” Planning is also the difficult part for some people and businesses. People often plan something and then can’t follow through. The reasoning behind that, according to Nirell, is that our current planning methods reward good ideas, complexity and busy work. However, those are not the right actions for us to be rewarding on.
“Today’s planning has to include our simple ways to make the plan come alive. We are bombarded with data and information in our work and daily lives. It is the challenge of coming up with a simple way to process that information and look for those little nuggets of gold that will help bring the company forward.
When you are caught up in busy work, it is hard for any individual to be able to see past what is right in front of them; to see truly what is essential.”
Time Deficiency Syndrome
You can be stalled in the “honeymoon stage” by Time Deficiency Syndrome. Time Deficiency Syndrome is a term to explain those times when you feel like you are working but you are never completing anything.
“The first clue that you have Time Deficiency Syndrome is that you have a to-do list with 20 items listed,” said Nirell. “Throughout the day, you were only able to complete four of those 20, and admit failure.”
Second, you are in a constant state of overwhelm. That is a real sign of sickness when you start to feel like there are circumstances preventing you from succeeding at what you are trying to do.
Third, look for things that tell you that you are suffering from time deficiency syndrome. You start clinging to the familiar activities, even when those activities have not been serving you well. Those familiar activities could be painful and damaging to your brand, and even ruin your relationships with some key clients.
Bypassing the Honeymoon
“Remember that you can’t fix crazy,” said Nirell. “When someone is clinging to those familiarities, refusing to accept external feedback and still trying to run a company, it’s not worth wasting time on that kind of scenario. But when you are willing to accept help, get insight from someone else and move on, the honeymoon can come to an end.”
LISTEN to the complete interview with Lisa Nirell on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Lisa Nirell’s website.
By Peter Weddle
The article below is an edited excerpt from the transcript of Peter Weddle’s appearance on Expert Access Radio. The discussion is about Peter’s book, “The Career Fitness Workbook,” which compares career management to physical fitness for better understanding.
The way we manage our careers today is different than from a century ago. Despite the 100 years, those changes are still hard for people to understand.
Career Management vs. Physical Fitness
First, to understand how to manage your career, you must understand that you are individually responsible. Compare it to the work involved in being physically fit. Without accountability and responsibility, we wouldn’t accomplish our goals. Second, we must understand that—as in physical fitness and in managing our careers—we have to work at it every single day. Without that strive and commitment to ourselves, we could still not accomplish our goals. In today’s world of work, given all of the changes and all the turbulence in the global marketplace, we still have to work on our career every single day, even when we are in transition.
The Career Ladder
In today’s competitive marketplace, most organizations simply can’t afford an infrastructure that helps people manage their careers. There used to be a career ladder that would allow those people who would stay long enough to earn a gold watch. All of
those things were part of the way companies helped people manage their careers. That today is gone. It’s not affordable to do that and still compete in the global marketplace. Today we individually have to take on the responsibility of managing our careers, learning the skills and acquiring the knowledge necessary to manage our careers at their performance peak.
According to marketplace research, people are going to change jobs—maybe not employers—but they are likely to change positions within an organization once every three to four years. Those people who do choose to walk out the door of your organization may come walking back in the door, down the road, after they have added some new skills. What does that mean? That we can either be the master of that change or we can fall victim to it; being able to gather those skills, build up the strengths, the reach and the endurance of our careers to better ourselves personally.
Jump-starting Your Career
The best way to take control of your career—even if you’ve been in the workplace for 15 years or 15 minutes—is to start by focusing on your natural strengths. Some refer to this as passion, but that seems to be off the mark. For example, I’m passionate about golf, but Tiger Woods has nothing to worry about from me. In the end, it’s not just enough to be passionate about something, what you are really looking for is talent. Talent is the intersection of passion and practicality. It’s what you love to do, and what you do the best.
Every single one of us has a talent. That talent isn’t a skill, competency or capacity for excellence; it’s an attribute of our species. So, the first step in a successful job search or successful career is to make sure you know what that talent is. Once you have that talent in mind, you can then make sure that talent has the latest skills and knowledge to perform at its peak. Then you can bring that talent to work with you every single day, so you deliver your best work to your employer day in and day out.
Today’s students enrolled in colleges and universities are being shortchanged. They are taught a lot about a particular field of study, but know absolutely nothing about how to make a career in that field. It’s unfortunate that most college faculties don’t consider the body of knowledge and the set of skills involved in career self-management to be rigorous enough to be included in the curriculum. Compare that to the students in China. Every college student as a requirement for graduation must take a year-long, credit-granting course in the skill and knowledge of career buy cialis online canada self-management. They are teaching their kids how to manage their own careers in a land with less opportunity than we have.
What does all of cheap cialis this mean? First, we need to prepare our students with the skills and knowledge that need to succeed. Even if we are past that stage in our career paths, we can still arm ourselves with the same skills and knowledge to prepare for that next move in our careers. Last, understand that your career is like physical fitness; working those skills and talents will keep you fit and strong to continue working at your peak performance.
To learn more about the book or to learn more about Peter Weddle, go to weddles.com.
LISTEN to the complete interview
with Peter Weddle on Expert Access Radio.
About the Author
Peter Weddle is the CEO of WEDDLE’s LLC, a research and publishing company specializing in career development and employment and the Executive Director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites. As an author, Peter has either wrote or edited over two dozen books, including “The Career Fitness Workbook,” “The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired and Not Be Fired,” “The Career Activist Republic” and “Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System.“ Peter has also been a columnist for the interactive edition of The Wall Street Journal and National Business Employment Weekly.
By Robyn Johnson, Cincom Systems
By definition, patience is the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like. This trait is not hardwired into all of us. We often most learn it. Yet most of us never understand the science behind it or how it affects us in our daily lives. We
recently were able to talk to Allan Lokos, author of Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living. The following are his insights.
Patience at the Water Cooler
In today’s world, most of our waking hours are spent at work with our co-workers—not at home with our families. We spend even those hours being intertwined in relationships with someone or something. “Every relationship has the potential to bring both
joy and sorrow, yet there are ways to maximize the joyous potential,” says Lokos.
When in a relationship—either at work with a co-worker or at home—you have to be honest and understand that each of us are born with certain tendencies and certain propensities. According to Lokos, some of us from birth seem to look at the brighter side of things and some tend to see the darker side of things. “We either see the glass half full or half empty,” says Lokos. “Either one we choose does not make that opinion wrong.”
Science Behind Neuroplasticity
Today, science tells us that those tendencies
and propensities we’re born with don’t have to stay the same for life. Everything around us is a vibration, and that vibration creates movement. With that vibration and movement we can change any aspect of ourselves that we want. So the old expression, “I’m hardwired a certain way,” is not true. Keeping with discoveries in the last 30 years about neuroplasticity—the capacity of the nervous system to develop new neuronal connections—explains that even the brain changes. “We always thought that the brain was set by the time we were five years old. It was not really going to be flexible and change,” says Lokos. “Now we see that the brain changes with mood and thought. Anything that we thought was nonmalleable is proving not to be true, but we have to accept that as reality. Once we lock into saying, “no I can’t do that,” you will not be able to change it, because you are determined that you cannot.”
The science of Neuroplasticity has to be taken with a grain of salt. You must have a certain common sense about what ideas you are set in that you want to change. “Just because you are a five-foot-tall woman, doesn’t mean that you are going to be able to play basketball in the NBA, just because you think you can,” explains Lokos. “You have to take a realistic approach to what you want to change and have patience. Just because you want something to happen doesn’t mean it’s going to magically happen.” You have to find a starting place and develop and change from there. Each person individually will be different. We each have to find
what motivates us to become more than what we are.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Allan Lokos on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Allan Lokos’ website.
About the Author
Robyn Johnson is a video and radio producer and content creator who currently works in Cincom’s marketing and public relations departments.
“A healthy America starts with healthy individuals. It’s about well-being, and well-being starts with knowing
who you are, caring for yourself and loving yourself, so then you can
take care of others.” That’s from our Expert Access Radio interview with Larry Ackerman, author of “The Identity Code: the 8 Essential Questions for Finding Your Purpose and Place in the World.” Larry shared his insights into finding out who you are and how this can help you find your place in the world.
The term Identity Mapping refers to the process that occurs when answering the lifelong questions of “who am I?” and “why am I here?” Identity Mapping combines self-discovery with self-construction, in a way to help find and build who you are and what you are doing. The Identity Mapping process starts with relationships.
“We all live in the context of relationships,” says Ackerman, “to understand how it is we act best in difference relationships.” Those relationships include your relationships at work, with a spouse or partner, friends, family and even the relationships you have within your community. “You have to discern who they are within the frame of relationships. Once you do that, you have an Identity Circle in which you are the middle of. From there, you can use those circles to begin to construct better relationships in the context of those different arenas.”
There is a very strong correlation between identity strength and performance. High-identity strengths have far higher levels of employee engagement and performance. There are seven measures of identity strength called identity building blocks. These metrics apply to companies and also individuals.
Identity Building Blocks
- Capacity to Change
- Measuring Your Potential
“The whole notion behind the
building blocks is the idea that you are not your competition,” says Ackerman, “you are simply yourself.” According to Ackerman, most companies are so obsessed with measuring themselves against others that they lose sight of the facts that they are a unique being. “Each company has its own dynamics, operates on its own and has certain capacities. The first lesson is to always think of yourself as a unique individual first. Don’t compare yourself as a person against everybody else. You have to first
understand who you are before you can understand them.”
LISTEN to the complete interview with Larry Ackerman on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Larry Ackerman’s website.
In this day and age, the workforce is changing. There are people who have worked at companies all of their lives, and all of a sudden, they’re adrift. Their company is gone, and their job is gone. This to most would be a devastating time in their lives, but it is those who can move on, re-invent and re-learn that will be able to overcome. Dr. Ken Blanchard shares his lessons on how to continually learn and grow as a person and leader.
The Lifelong Pursuit
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” – Albert Einstein
Learning is a lifelong pursuit. There is a tendency among people that once they have achieved certain things in their careers that they have learned it all, and don’t need to go any further. This is not the case. “You need to keep growing,” says Dr. Blanchard. “If not, the world is going to blow right past you. There is so much information out there, and to be a great leader, you have to understand that it’s not just about leading in business, but about leading your life.”
To become a great leader you have to GROW. The acronym GROW is a strategy that will help you focus and grow as a leader. The following are the things you ought to focus on.
G – Gaining Knowledge – “Focus on where you ought to be gaining knowledge. The first is gaining knowledge about yourself. The best leaders are the people who are comfortable in their own skins. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They are willing to gather people around them who complete them, not compete with them,” says Dr. Blanchard. When you are able to understand yourself, you can then start to understand and help others.
R – Reaching Out to Others – “I’m always amazed that people just don’t know their people, don’t know what their concerns are, don’t even know anything about their families,” says Dr. Blanchard. “If you know who your people are and know about them, you can help bring out the very best in them.” The best way to learn anything is teaching. Becoming a mentor to other people or looking for teachable moments are the kind of things that are really important. Anything can be a learning opportunity—we all need to constantly be teaching and learning from each other. In reaching out to others, you’re passing the knowledge on and helping them draw their own conclusions—in turn helping them grow. “
O – Opening Your World – “You need to be up-to-speed on where things are going,” says Dr. Blanchard. “In our company, I think the president and the future are banging cheap cialis online into each other and a lot of companies make this mistake.” Opening your world is really about looking for new opportunities to learn, both at work and not. The idea is to always be looking for ways to grow in your own position and to open yourself to learning new things. When you get so busy and focused on what you are doing, you can lose sight of where you were going. When you wake up, you find that you are behind, if you aren’t continuing to grow.
W – Walk toward Wisdom – “Read the leadership books, read Patrick Lencioni, read what Jim Collins is saying, read what good stuff is out there in leadership,” says Dr. Blanchard. Wisdom is defined as the application of accumulated knowledge and experience. Wisdom is attained bit by bit throughout our lifetimes. It’s always within reach, but you have to pursue it. The goal is to keep your eyes open, learn things and see how it’s going to be applied and used in your life and the lives of others.
When you are able to know and understand yourself, the people around you, the industry you’re in—and how to apply those lessons to your life and others—you will continue to grow as a leader and a person.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Ken Blanchard on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Ken Blanchard’s website.
You as an individual may feel at some point in your life that
you need to be awakened—that you need to dig deep within and open your eyes and mind. Does that same kind of awakening need to happen to some businesses? Do they also become lost? The answer is yes; corporations lose their purpose in life, too. With the teaching of Patrick J. Ryan, featured guest on Expert Access Radio, a corporation can re-define that vision it lost and the success and effectiveness of its people.
Leadership to most is defined as someone they follow, such as a boss, teacher/professor, parent, etc. Most never look at leadership from the perspective that we are all leaders. We are all called to leadership roles within our families, personal lives, communities, organizations within our communities and formally through positions or roles of leadership given or appointed to us. Those calls to leadership are brought on by the personal genius, talents and skills that you have within. Once those things have been brought to light, you can then use them to actually do as a good leader does.
Leaders agree that it is important to be a good listener. In Patrick Ryan’s teachings, he refers to the “being of listening.” The “being of listening” is someone who is not only listening but who is truly open, curious and who wants to understand more about the situation and the people involved. The “doing of listening” refers to how you actually hear what is being spoken and how to hear between the words that are being spoken. When you are able to conquer both the being and doing of listening, you are well on your way to being an effective leader.
It is important to learn how to meet every situation and every person in our lives with appreciation. It is easy to appreciate the things in life we like. However, the challenge lies in how do we appreciate the people and situations in our lives that we may at some level perceive to be a problem or an obstacle of some kind? It is a natural habit that
we so often see people either as opportunities or as obstacles. When we start seeing those people as their roles, we forget that they are human, too. From a leader’s point of view, when you work with a leader who meets you as the human you are first, and at the same time respects the role and/or position you have, it makes a profound difference in the impact and the relationship that happens between those two people. The key is to meet everybody with appreciation, even if you don’t agree with their point of view. Maybe they’ve done something wrong or a project failed. It’s meeting that person with appreciation first rather than with criticism and judgment.
We as humans think about what we’re going to say next. We think about agreeing or not agreeing with you versus listening to you, absorbing your words and then reacting. The skill to react is a key skill for leaders to remember. It is a small fundamental church of how we approach a situation. If you want other people to understand you, like you and hear you, go in first seeking to listen and understand the people on the other side. When you come in with that kind of openness, then it will naturally reciprocate.
When your team members, co-workers or family members are tapping into their genius and their talent, what happens as a result can be surprising to everyone involved. There are ideas being generated and no one really knows whose idea it was. That’s a great sign that you’ve really tapped into something bigger than any one person in the room.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Patrick J. Ryan on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Patrick J. Ryan’s website.
The manufacturing industry is helping the U.S. economy grow. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, manufacturing has made up 26 percent
of total economic growth since 2009. But how are manufacturers getting ahead of their global and local competition?
Gil Garcia, Director of Manufacturing Industries and expert in manufacturing issues, including customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning software, joined us recently on Expert Access Radio to answer that question. Gil also shared with us what Microsoft is doing to help manufacturers get ahead in this global economy.
What strategies have helped successful manufacturing operations generate consistent growth?
Gil Garcia: Well, it’s interesting. A lot of folks think that there is a lot of disparity globally, and there really isn’t. First and foremost, the companies I’ve seen achieve success in manufacturing are those that buy into the concept of transparency in their organizations—meaning one source of the truth; one set of costs. Everyone knows what the products look like, what they are working on and what the forecast looks like. You can only really achieve that with a good enterprise application. Typically ERP is the nomenclature that allows you to build a foundation of growth from which you can innovate. You can’t really innovate if you are spending most of your time trying to cross the t’s and dot the i’s and take care of the accounting component. In the industrial-equipment and manufacturing space, we’ve seen a lot of innovation as companies move away from being product-centric to more service after the sales. The companies that really are taking off are those that innovate, and then that speaks to new product development; it speaks to converting and changing the way they do business.
Who are some of the most innovative manufacturers that you have worked with, both product and process innovation? And do you see any patterns?
Gil Garcia: There is a company called Met-Pro that is a small manufacturing company that makes air and fluid filtration solutions that are typical engineer-to-order, with approximately $100 million in sales. Just to give you some background, they purchased our Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP software back in 2009.
From 2011 to 2012, their new-order bookings are up 23 percent, net sales are up 13 percent, their backlog is up 57 percent, operating income is up 18 percent and net income is up 16 percent. That’s in the so called down economy. So what’s going on? What happened was they innovated.
Last year alone they grew international sales by 25 percent to $28 million, meaning with the baseline support system, they were able to expand their markets. They expanded into the aerospace market; they expanded into the South American mining market. In addition, they’ve added several new products. So that’s what innovation can do for you. It helps you grow your company in up or down times.
What changed inside Met-Pro to make them a stronger global competitor?
Gil Garcia: Essentially when a company gets their house in order, they stop worrying about expediting orders, losing contracts and getting cost overruns on their projects; then they can focus on growing the business and innovation. What I see every day are companies that are running silos instead of collaborative communications. To be honest, Microsoft is a victim of its own success. Most of the companies I go to that have not implemented ERP systems are running Excel spreadsheets. Those tend to proliferate silos of information in a company. You’ve got to get away from that. Microsoft Excel is a great tool for analytics, but it shouldn’t be the product that’s running your company.
With the One Source of the Truth concept, once you have that foundation in place, then you can figure out how am I going to be able to compete in a foreign market? Can I manage a project, can I manage my cost and can I work in multi-currency? You’ve got to get your foundation in place. Once you do that, then you can get to the business of growing business.
How do you become a strong competitor with suppliers globally and stop limiting yourself to the United States?
Gil Garcia: First and foremost, your suppliers can come from anywhere. It’s a global economy now. U.S. companies have to understand that it’s not just about price. When a company can do vendor performance analysis, what they are looking for is reliability and quality. For example, you purchase a component for a large complex machine from one of your suppliers. You bring it in-house, you drop it into the machine, you ship it out to the customer, that fails, then the cost of quality just went through the roof, because now you have to go out there and disassemble and deal with warranty issues and things associated with the failing of your product.
When looking at suppliers, companies are not just looking for the lowest price like they used to 10 years ago; now it’s all about reliability and dependability. Can I manage revision levels with those suppliers? Are they going to collaborate with me in product design when I am developing new product? So, then we start talking about collaborative Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), it’s not just about procurement and sales; it’s about having an integrated view of what you are trying to deliver to the customer and making sure that all of your systems can work together with your suppliers and trading partners.
How has Microsoft been able to move manufacturers from a siloed mindset to a customer-centric one?
Gil Garcia: I view customers that I speak to at three different levels: unsophisticated, evolutionary and revolutionary. Unsophisticated customers are coming off Excel spreadsheets, evolutionary customers are coming off of a prior ERP or CRM application and revolutionary customers are the best-in-class. So the first thing that we try to do with the customers is understand who they are and where they fit in that mind-frame. I’ve seen a lot of customers who are non-sophisticated prospects shoot for best-in-class KPIs when they start an ERP or CRM project. You can’t do that; you’ve got to walk before you run. So the first thing we try to do is get the customer to understand who they are, what they are and set realistic goals for their projects and shoot for those.
How do you define a manufacturing operation from the customer’s perspective?
Gil Garcia: Customers look at you based on their customer experience. People used to talk about the perfect order. Well, the perfect order in manufacturing is right product, right price, right configuration, right delivery date and right time. In process manufacturing and process industries, it’s all those plus right quality specifications, right batch attributes, right shelf life and a host of other things.
First, you have to understand what type of customer you are; you have to define what your key performance indicators are to that customer, because you might have multiple customers and the way they view you. So not one measurement goal fits well for every customer. That kind of leads us into the evolution of CRM. It’s important for manufacturers to have what’s called the 360 view of their customers. That means knowing everything from what products you’ve sold to them in the past, what products they are going to buy from you in the future and how each relationship— each interaction that you’re doing with them—is measuring up to their standards.
manufacturing dying, or can manufacturing lead us out of the recession?
Gil Garcia: This is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart because I’ve traveled around the world and had an opportunity to visit some of the developing countries where I see manufacturing up and coming. To answer your question, manufacturing in America is getting stronger and will bring us out of the recession. I am so positive, especially with what I’ve seen in the auto industry in the last five years. Ten years ago I never would have bought an American car, now I own three.
I spent two weeks in China, Shanghai and Beijing. I came out of my hotel everyday and there was a yellow sky. It was so polluted, that people walk around with masks on. I went to visit some manufacturing companies, and I don’t see any waste-water treatment. The effluent is going right into the rivers. There are no scrubbers on the stacks.
That model is not sustainable. Eventually the people are going to push back and say, “Hey listen, we’re destroying the environment; we can’t live like this.” The labor model is upside down. Many of these third-world countries or developing countries are like the industrial revolution in the U.S. Many years ago, the cost of labor was cheap, materials were expensive, and that model is not sustainable. People have to earn a living in order to produce a good-quality product. So, if you look at what’s not happening overseas, they haven’t built in the cost of quality into their products; they don’t have any issues with compliance—regulatory compliance. They’re not paying for that. In order for them to compete in the modern world, they’re going to have to add those costs into their product. The U.S manufacturers already have those built in.
We know how to make a good quality product with those inherent costs and still deliver a living wage for our Americans. Because of that, we’re 20 years to 30 years ahead of the emerging companies when it comes to manufacturing, and that’s going to unfold in the next five years.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Gil Garcia on Expert Access Radio.
For more from Gil Garcia, visit the Dynamics Cafe website.
“You hear managers say, “I want somebody that can hit the ground running; I just don’t have time to teach them.” This is because they don’t really have the time to dedicate to teaching. But this
is one of the responsibilities of management,” said Nick McCormick, author of “Lead Well and Prosper: 15 Success Strategies for Being a Good Manager” and a recent guest on Expert Access Radio.
Teaching others is not as interesting as crisis management. However, it still falls on the shoulders of management when employees are unable to accomplish a task due to a lack of skills that were not instilled in them from their manager. This lack
of education can hinder the development of individuals within an organization, but also hinder the development of one’s self. When you teach or mentor someone, you learn a great deal about yourself, and you learn more about topics you are teaching too. The process of teaching or mentoring is not only a benefit to others, but to you as well.
Running in the Right Direction
Management is not only responsible for making sure that everyone “hits the ground running,” they also set the direction in which to run. “A manager has to be directing and showing people where they need to go,” said McCormick. “They don’t need to be micro-managing, but they do need to get people moving in the right direction.
“Just because you’re good at a given activity doesn’t mean that you are qualified to lead a group of others doing that same activity,” said McCormick. Unfortunately, it’s often more convenient to set up a team this way. Despite the team structure, it is still the responsibility of the manager to bring people up to speed on how to lead the group. “I think that’s the key to helping that type of person improve and get better as a manager if that’s what the person wants to do.”
Talk It Out
People react differently to criticism, but it is important to have one-on-one conversations within the office about what’s going well and what’s not going well. This gives managers the opportunity to learn from the team and guide them back in the right direction. According to McCormick, “These office conversations are a very good teaching tool. Entering into this dialog will allow you to talk about things you normally wouldn’t talk about, especially if it’s on a tough subject.”
Situational management is knowing when to step in and offer some direction to a project or situation. “This is a part of the learning process of management,” said McCormick. “When you know your people, you know when to touch base with them.” Situational management takes practice and learning because there are some things you don’t want to do. For instance, avoiding high performers because they know what they’re doing. “Sometimes you neglect that and do so at your peril. It is a balancing act; you learn who needs various touch points, but it comes with time.”
The Balancing Act
Management is not easy, it’s a balance. It’s not easy to govern how someone acts or what they know, but as a manager, you can help set an employee in the same direction you are going. As a manager, it is important to set down guidelines and explain to people when they’re straying from those guidelines and when they’re not. The manager is there to guide you in the right direction and keep it all on track when things start to stray off.
Listen to the complete interview with Nick McCormick on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Nick McCormick’s website.
Is your email inbox overrun with emails that you never have time to reply to? Do you have a never-ending task list that no matter how hard you try you never get anything done? Today, the goal is to dig out of those emails you’re buried under, get a hold of your task system and up your workday productivity. We recently enlisted the help of Michael Linenberger, author of “The One Minute To-Do List,” to help us reduce the clutter and up our workday productivity. The following tips from Linenberger’s interview on Expert Access Radio will help you get your email and to-do list cleared out in a timely manner.
You are Not Alone
Failing? You are not the only person failing with your organizational skills. Many of your colleagues, people you do business with and even the project managers who do great jobs on their projects, are failing with sorting through their emails and converting them into tasks. “For most of us, our system is not working because people are letting their to-do list get too big. We input too much information,” says Linenberger. “Once they get so big, we give up on them and lose control.” Most people hate to throw things away because they feel committed to them once they’ve written them down. “You need to have a system to manage that. Email is the same way; we all have a tendency to be electronic pack rats, keeping everything regardless of need.”
To-do List Segmentation
If everything is important, then nothing is important. “A lot of us have a tendency to throw our incoming work into our to-do list and think ‘well, I will do the best I can’ and never prioritize that list,” says Linenberger.
To get your to-do list under control, Linenberger recommends that you divide it into three zones, called urgency zones.
Critical-Now – As the top urgency zone, Critical Now is everything that is absolutely positively due today. These are the things that you have to complete before leaving work. In many cases, there are not going to be any of these on a given day.
Opportunity Now– The next urgency zone is called Opportunity Now. These are the things what you will work on today, if you have the opportunity, after you have the critical things done.
Over the Horizon– The third zone is called Over the Horizon. Over the Horizon is for things that can wait more than 10 days. Most people fear this zone. The fear is that they will never get to
it, but this is the zone you have the most control over.
Mixing Work and Pleasure
“Mixing work and non-work tasks is acceptable, as long as you are able to view the to-do list in both places,” says Linenberger. “Some people have separate Outlook email systems at home and work, so they can’t see their tasks in both places.” If this is the case for you, then start another list at home. If you are able to see your to-do list in both places, do it. It will keep both your work to-do list under control and still let you view what you have to do both on your way home, and if there is anything that you have to do once you get there.
Once you get your email and to-do list under control, you can take a step back. Linenberger suggests taking a deep breath and asking yourself what you really want to accomplish in your workday and life. “Start with your workday and make a list of goals with more of a creative energy than just trying to get everything under control,” recommends Linenberger. Once you’re achieving those goals regularly, then step back and ask the same of your life. Let each of your goals build on each other after you have control of your workday and to-do list.
Having a manageable inbox and to-do list is the goal. Once you have those under control, you can then be able to move on to other goals that you are looking to accomplish.
For more tips about removing the clutter from your inbox and to-do list, LISTEN to the complete interview with Michael Linenberger on Expert Access Radio.
information, go to Michael Linenberger’s website.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 21% of the world’s manufactured products, employing nearly 12 million workers and contributing $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. So why is it that on a daily basis, the American people are bombarded with news of the horrible and worsening state of manufacturing?
Brian J. Papke, President of the Mazak Corporation, a manufacturer of machine tools and systems for the precision machining of metal parts, joined us recently on Expert Access Radio to discuss Mazak’s steps forward in the manufacturing industry and to set the record straight on the state of manufacturing.
The Development of Mazak and a Manufacturing Trend
Brian Papke: The first Mazak operation was opened in 1969 in a little office on Long Island, originally employing 30 individuals―29 Japanese engineers and one American secretary. It wasn’t until 1974 when the decision was made to
manufacture in North America—Northern Kentucky to be exact—making Mazak the first Japanese-owned company to manufacture in the state of Kentucky.
Now there are 160 Japanese-owned manufacturers that have re-located to Northern Kentuckyand the surrounding areas, because of the steady pattern of growth that we’re shown.
Why migrate from mass production to mass customization?
Brian Papke: Originally, the Japanese were quite well-known for their ability to produce standard products, and they were very efficient at it; there were no exceptions to that. Mazak had a good manufacturing strategy that we designed standard machines and then we would go out and market those machines.
But the market changed and continues to change. You always have to be cognizant of those changes in the market and adapt to them. Over the years, we established a Lean manufacturing strategy that we call production-on-demand, which is unique to our own style of manufacturing. Because of change, we had to change the designs of our products to make them much more modular than they ever were before. We also had to change the flow through our plant, allowing us to concentrate on shorter lead times while making a higher product mix.
That is still the way we manufacture today, allowing us to get a high level of throughput through the plant. We still produce a high volume of machines, but we make a much broader product mix. In the early days, we had six or seven models of machines that we made. Today, we produce over 100 models of machines in Kentucky.
How does Mazak use Lean manufacturing to reduce waste?
Brian Papke: Lean manufacturing ultimately means reducing waste; I think that’s the bottom line. How can you reduce the waste and only manufacture the product? Particularly the modularity in how we design the product. If we would compare it to a car, maybe it would be a little bit easier for people to understand, because an automobile is a machine tool that we are all familiar with.
Perhaps a door on a car would be a module. Making that door complete as an assembly, in our case, we produce units of machines and then put them together and test them as units, and then put them together. That changed the whole flow concept of our factory.
How does your
business growth equate to your physical growth?
Brian Papke: In 1974, we started with a small building that was 12,000 square feet, but still we had this seed of an idea that we needed to be integrated into the market in order to be successful. In order to really understand how to make machines that serve this particular market, we needed to be here. It’s been quite a ride for us because with the expansion that we have going on now, which will add 200,000 square feet, we will be up to 800,000 square feet. We’ve grown about 80 times in 16 different expansions at the facility in Kentucky.
Worldwide we’ve grown and somewhat mirrored the strategy that we’ve had in this country (in terms of Europe) that we needed a manufacturing facility in Europe too, to serve the market over there and better understand the market. These facilities have evolved from just manufacturing a small amount of the content. We are really making the transition to being vertically integrated and being able to design the product in the U.S. We want to be an exporter from the U.S.
How does Mazak leverage its vertical expertise?
Brian Papke: We make machines, starting with what we call mother machines. Those machines are the same machines we sell to our customers that we are using at our own manufacturing facilities to make our machines. It’s a little bit of an unusual concept compared to most businesses, but it works for us. It’s our business and how we manufacture. Our plant is also our primary marketing facility; we show our customers all the time how we manufacture the product and how you can be a successful manufacturing facility in North America. The goal is to be profitable and develop good cash flow; it’s been a very good strategy over the years for us.
How does customers’ trust continue to build out your manufacturing strategy?
Brian Papke: From the beginning, the idea was to get integrated into the market, establish people and understand our customers. And besides manufacturing, we would also establish these facilities as listening posts.
Over the years, we grew another concept that we call our Technology Center Concept. These are all designed to reach out and be close to the customer, understand their needs and then even go back and design the product to match their needs. In all actuality, we found that we had to go beyond the manufacturing strategy to a design strategy to create product that is matched much more closely to the customers’ needs and wants.
In the early years of manufacturing, we made standard products. Today, that’s not good enough. We need to make products so that they match industries and sometimes only particular parts of industries. To be able to manufacture in this manner, we have a technology center in Houston that works in conjunction with us to become one of the largest suppliers of equipment to the oil service industry in North America.
We’ve done the same thing with medical. We try to understand those needs. We make machines today that make things like hips and knees—things that people use all the time, but they are not really aware of where they come from. We provide machines that almost sculpt those parts from hard metals like titanium. We also manufacture machines that are very suited to making landing-gear and aircraft engines and structural parts for the aircraft, for the airline industry.
There are a wide variety of industries that we supply machines to, but we have found that we need to adapt and make machines that very closely match the requirements of the customer. That is because the U.S. is a good place to manufacture products, but you’ve got to be very productive on how you do it. You can’t just manufacture here. You have to have the right kinds of equipment, and you have to be very productive in order to be successful.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Brian Papke on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, visit the Mazak website.
Why is making a significant change in your life so difficult to accomplish? According to Otis Williams, a certified speaking professional, there’s no accountability. Here are his insights on how to add accountability to your life that he recently shared on Expert Access Radio.
According to Williams, to be able to make a change in your life, you have to really be serious about making the change and hold yourself accountable for it. Whether the change is big or small, you need to have an accountability partner.
The same thing happens with resolutions, goals and objectives. People set resolutions, goals and objectives that they really have not thought through. “A majority of the time people start out with the ‘what.’ What do I want? What do I want to do? … things of that nature,” says Williams. “Then you have to figure out the ‘how.’ How am I going to go about doing this? How am I going to get there? The most powerful part that drives this process is the ‘why.’ More often than not, people leave out the why, or if they do know the why, it’s not strong enough to keep them motivated to move forward.”
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Those are the building blocks to successfully achieve your goals and objectives. “The SMART goal will allow you to think through what you are trying to attain,” say Williams. “Once you feel that the goal is attainable, measurable and will end in the result you are looking for, go after it.” If it doesn’t work out the way it was planned, don’t beat yourself up about it—that’s not helpful. Just acknowledge that it happened and move on.
Setting a goal is something of a mind game. Williams recommends that you find the correct balance of setting ambitious goals, but they still have to be realistic. “The goal or objective that we choose to pursue has to be something that we are capable of doing,” says Williams. “If it is not, it is then considered a stretch goal.” A stretch goal is going to stretch and pull us. It may stretch us personally or professionally, it may stretch resources, but at the end of the day, if achieved or when achieved, it’s a game changer. With a stretch goal, have someone else take a look at what you are doing. Have them provide input regarding your goal and if it’s attainable. Just because it’s a huge goal, it does not mean that it’s not realistic to reach.
We all have goals—some small and some big—but it is how we are able to overcome the obstacles to reach those goals that matters.
LISTEN to the complete interview with Otis Williams on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Otis Williams’ website.
In the old days, it was assumed that the customer would have a lot of time to talk to you and be happy to see you, the salesperson. This is not the case now. “Anyone who has got time to talk to you isn’t worth talking to,” says Neil Rackham, author o
f “Rethinking the Sales Force” and recent guest on Expert Access Radio. “Those who you need to talk to are pushed for time, and they don’t want to see salespeople.” So what do you do to get around that? Neil shared his insights with Expert Access on selling today and how to be a better salesperson.
“Selling” Is No Longer Defined
Selling is defined as engaging in the act of exchanging ownership for money or its equal, but as a salesperson, this is not all that you do. “The word ‘selling’ is such a misleading idea,” says Rackham. The word “selling” is used to cover everything from the traditional sort of “song and dance” that goes on with used-car salespeople to the complex systems of the kind that Cincom sells, to help salespeople through their sales process. “The word ‘selling’ spans such a wide spectrum of things that it hasn’t got much meaning,” said Rackham, “yet we still continue to use it.”
“The skills you need in a large sale are totally different from the skills you need in a small sale,” says Rackham. In small sales, everything of importance happens during a meeting with the customer. In a larger, complex sale, which may consist of many meetings, all of the important things usually happen when the salesperson is not there. It’s a different kind of psychology. You have to leave the ideas behind that will continue to influence and impact that customer, and if the salesperson can’t do that, the customer doesn’t remember and doesn’t get impacted.
Rackham gives this example:
Enthusiasm is crucial for sales. It is widely believed that if you are enthusiastic and believe in your product, you will make a lot of sales. There is a strong relationship between enthusiasm and sales success in small sales. People like to buy from people who believe in what they are doing. The same relationship is not as true when the sale gets larger because the enthusiastic person is often spending a lot of time concentrating on the product and how great it is. Then the enthusiasm evaporates after the salesperson has gone. You can’t leave enthusiasm. People who are successful in larger, complex sales are more likely to ask good questions because the customer continues to think about those questions after the salesperson is gone. That can leave a lasting effect on the psychology of the customer. This is just one example of the critical thinking skills and communication skills that are all part of a good, well-rounded salesperson.
Cold Selling Has Evolved
The cold selling of 10 years ago is completely different from what we would call selling today. First, the internet of course changes almost everything. According to Rackham, the average customer today has 20 times as much information about the salesperson’s products and competitor’s products than they did just five years ago. “That changes the job of selling,” says Rackham. “It used to be that the job of selling was to explain what a great mousetrap your company has made, but today’s customer already knows that. The old notion of talking about the features and functions of a product has gone by the wayside because people are already equipped with that knowledge.”
Customers will often know much more than the salesperson, not just in the business-to-business world, but also in the business-to-consumer world as well. People go into a store and often know what they’re looking for with great precision. They are more knowledgeable about it. In fact, the best way for a salesperson to learn about something in the store is to ask the customers.
It is common that companies often promote their best salesperson. With that promotion, they lose twice. “They lose their best seller, and they often get a sales manager that is unprepared to lead and manage,” says Rackham. Sales management is the secret of success because sales managers are able to invoke change, but organizations have designed their compensation very badly. “I’ve seen over and over again really good salespeople who never wanted to be a manager, but they have no choice,” says Rackham. “If they want to advance and get phenomenally better compensation, you move into sales management.” This should not be the case. To move into sales management, there should be a cut in compensation of 10 percent or 15 percent.
Needed: Sales Programs
Very few universities are offering sales programs. Sales has changed such that it has impacted the real world, but it has not changed the college campus. “The challenge as a professor teaching professional selling is to create a culture on campus that values professional selling from the student perspective,” says Rackham. “So many students don’t want to go into sales, but statistically more than half of those students at some point in their business career will go into sales. If you look across North America and Europe, there are 70 marketing programs for every one sales program. You would think that because of that ratio there would be 70 marketing positions to every one sales position. That is not the case; in fact, it is the exact opposite. The reasoning? Because marketing is respectable. We know how to teach it. It has also become that way because they only recently arrived at a level of sophistication and people still have an image of selling and sales lagging 15 or 20 years behind the reality.”
While there have been dramatic changes in the way companies sell, it’s not the change that makes for better salespeople. “It is the initiative that we take to change ourselves that makes us better salespeople,” says Rackham. “The first step is changing our mindset and habits that will grow our skills and in the end, profits.”
LISTEN to the complete interview with Neil Rackham on Expert Access Radio.
For more information, go to Neil Rackham’s website.
By Robyn Johnson
Power is defined as the ability to do or act; the capability of doing or accomplishing something. “All of us have some kind of power,” says Sharlyn Lauby, HR pro, consultant and blogger on a recent episode of viagra soft tabs