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With Jobs Eliminated Daily, is Now the Right Time to Buy A Business?

buy a business

With Jobs Eliminated Daily, is Now the Right Time to Buy A Business?

The economy and job market have been on a roller coaster since the pandemic hit in the early part of 2020.

First, the stock market took a nosedive and reached some all-time lows, only to rebound to all-time highs. The same has occurred in the job market. First, we were experiencing the lowest unemployment in years, only to be followed by the highest unemployment since the Great Depression of 1929.

Presently the stock market is rising, but there is still unemployment, and daily you read about major companies that are either laying off or eliminating jobs by the thousands.

If you have lost your job and find it difficult to find another job in an area of your expertise, then you may want to consider taking control of your future and buying a business. By owning your own business, you have more control of your future. You are allowed to use the talents you were using at your old job and apply them to a vocation that will allow you more flexibility and income.

The pandemic has created chaos in all areas of our daily lives and business, but it has also created lots of opportunities, too. Remember, overall nothing has really changed. People still need to eat, shop, communicate with each other, travel, vacation, read, sleep, etc. The only thing that has changed is how we will do these things after the pandemic is over, and it will be over eventually. Our world will be different just as travel and security have changed since 9/11, but we will still continue to live and thrive, and life will go on.

Buying a business is the quickest and least risky way to get into business, because when you buy a business that is already operating with employees and customers you have a cash flow from day one. If you can’t or don’t want to buy a business, you can start a new business. And in today’s world, if you want to reduce your risk, you may want to consider buying a franchise. A franchise is a business with a proven track record in the industry of which the franchise specializes, and all you have to do is follow the business formula the franchisor provides to you.

If you are really passionate about a certain business idea or concept, then you can start your new business from scratch. Either way, whatever option you choose you will be in control of your future more so than what you would be if you were to get another job – if another job is available.

As I was taught many years ago and live by today: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Maybe there is a business calling your name now.

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Terry Monroe (www.terrymonroe.com) is the president and founder of American Business Brokers & Advisors. The author of four books, he most recently published Hidden Wealth: The Secret to Getting Top Dollar for Your Business, with ForbesBooks. Monroe is a professional intermediary, consultant, and market maker for privately-held companies and has been involved in the sale of more than 800 businesses. In his 35-plus years of service, he has owned and operated more than 40 different businesses. At American Business Brokers & Advisors, he serves as a consultant for business buyers and sellers throughout the nation. As an expert source he has been written about and featured in The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur magazine, CNN Money, USA Today, CEOWORLD, and Forbes.

employees

Is Your Business a Revolving Door? 10 Ways To Keep Your Best Employees.

Employee retention and turnover are important terms to every business owner and leader. But sometimes the driving factors behind why employees leave aren’t fully grasped or addressed by leadership, and if that disconnect persists, the business suffers while some of the best employees beat a path to the door.

“Leaders know that it’s vital to attract good talent, but knowing how to keep good talent involves an important process that leaders must learn and practice,” says Steve Baker (www.greatgame.com), a business coach, vice president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author with Rich Armstrong of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change.

“Making employee retention a priority for your company is essential for continual growth, success, and sustainability.”

Baker and Armstrong offer 10 tips to business leaders and managers on how they can retain their best employees. Make employees feel they’re part of something special. “In the same way that you promote the value proposition of your products and services to potential customers, you should do the same with employees, only focusing on your attributes as an employer,” Armstrong says. “Inclusivity and pride are feelings you can leverage to help them understand that working for your organization is a unique opportunity.”

Emphasize the purpose and meaning of the work. “The outstanding employees you seek to hire and retain have special talents, skills, and drive,” Baker says. “Make it clear to them that what they are doing benefits both the company and your customers in important ways.”

Ensure deserving team members are rewarded. Successful companies reward employees who go above and beyond. “Recognition, bonuses, and promotions demonstrate your respect and appreciation for hard-working team members,” Armstrong says.

Give employees more responsibility. One of the most effective employee retention strategies is to give them greater responsibility to make a bigger difference. “This starts with financial literacy training and continues with regular updates on business statistics like profits and revenue, and details on how their efforts are moving the needle,” Baker says.

Surround employees with other talented workers. People like to be a part of teams that are built for success. “By creating groups of skilled and motivated workers,” Armstrong says, “you can tap into a competitive and cooperative partnership that will benefit the business as a whole.”

Mentor employees. “When you prioritize personal growth and development,” Baker says, “employees see that their careers are going somewhere and that their organization’s interests are aligned with their own.”

Nurture trust in leadership. All great relationships are built on trust, and the workplace is no different. “Outstanding employees will stay if they trust leadership,” Armstrong says, “and that trust grows from leaders being honest, open, and interested in their team members.”

Get employees emotionally invested. People are passionate about the things they have helped create. “The more you engage employees in the development of the organization,” Baker says, “the more emotionally invested they become and the more likely they are to stay.”

Create a positive work culture.  “If you create a drama-free environment where honesty and integrity matter, your employee retention rate will rise,” Armstrong says.

Provide competitive compensation. “None of the other retention strategies matter if you continue to underpay an employee,” Baker says. “It is important to stay on top of what constitutes fair compensation in your industry.”

“Increasing employee retention and keeping it at a high level is challenging,” says Armstrong, “but you can start by getting your people in the same game the owner is: the game of business.

“You can build a winning culture by creating a business of business people. Allowing employees to contribute to a greater good and valuing their contribution inspires loyalty and commitment. At the end of the day, it’s all about creating a winning company and a company of winners.”

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Rich Armstrong (www.greatgame.com) is the president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and co-author, with Steve Baker, of GET IN THE GAME: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change. This book is the how-to application of Jack Stack’s 1992 bestseller, The Great Game of Business. Armstrong and Baker co-authored the update of Stack’s book in The Great Game of Business – 20th Anniversary Edition. Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in improving business performance and employee engagement through the practice of open-book management and employee ownership.

Steve Baker (www.greatgame.com) is the vice president of The Great Game of Business Inc., and is a top-rated, sought-after speaker and coach on the subjects of open-book management, strategy, and execution, leadership, and employee engagement. Baker is a career marketing and branding professional and an award-winning artist.

recruiting

COVID-19 will Change Job Recruiting; Here’s How Companies Need To Adapt.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the business world and put tens of millions out of work in the U.S. At the same time, it’s caused a seismic shift in the way many companies operate, the biggest change being that more business functions are done while working remotely.

But along with the work-from-home aspect, the fallout from the coronavirus will fundamentally change recruiting and hiring practices long after the pandemic has passed, says Jack Whatley (www.humancodeofhiring.com), a recruiting strategist who specializes in creating employer branding campaigns.

“Social distancing, shelter-in-place orders, and the forced closing of businesses will change the way we look at employment,” Whatley says. “No longer will the promises of changing the world attract the modern workforce. Safety and job stability are at the top of the mind for the modern job seeker – and that changed what they want in a job.

“Businesses will have to become employee-centric as well as customer-centric. The companies that have the ability to capture that part of the employee message, put it into their employer branding, and reinforce it throughout recruitment marketing campaigns are going to be the companies moving ahead in a much different world.”

As states begin different stages of reopening for business, Whatley breaks down what companies should do when recruiting, hiring, and re-hiring:

Create a communication campaign. “If you’re a company that laid off employees with the hope of bringing them back, you have to reach out with genuine communication that goes the extra mile,” Whatley says. “It should let them know in detail what steps the company is taking. Those people who were let go unexpectedly and lived paycheck to paycheck, they’ll be emotionally drained and stressed. A company bringing them back needs to make them feel valued so the company doesn’t lose that relationship.”

Be careful in rehiring. Rehires won’t be a straightforward process for some companies. Circumstances won’t allow them to rehire or bring back from furlough all of their former employees. “Employers must be cautious in determining who to bring back to the workplace; they need to mitigate the risk of potential discrimination claims, which could be based on the decision not to bring back certain employees,” Whatley says. “Employers will need to have a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for choosing which employees to rehire. Those reasons include seniority, operational needs or documented past performance issues. Employers should document their decision-making process now, before deciding who will be invited back.”

Focus on expanded employee rights. Whatley thinks a new appreciation for workers may be emerging as state and local governments mandate paid sick leave and family leave during the outbreak. Some companies are shifting their focus to hourly workers as well for those perks. “This change could become permanent,” Whatley says, “as organizations work hard to hire new staff and increase retention rates.”

Streamline the process. “If the recruiting process gets backlogged,” Whatley says, “it causes problems for your current employees and an under-staffed company. It becomes frustrating for them, because they’re forced to work overtime, and the big workload kills morale and increases turnover.”

“Most companies look at hiring people as a transaction – they need to fill a seat,” Whatley says. “They place a job posting and fill the job. In the new world, that will no longer be the case. To get the best talent, companies will have to engage people sooner, more thoughtfully, and put a higher priority on what employees value most in a job.”

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Jack Whatley (www.humancodeofhiring.com) is a recruiting strategist who specializes in creating employer branding campaigns that position companies as the employer of choice in their market. He is the author of the upcoming book Human Code of Hiring: DNA of Recruitment Marketing. Whatley is known for creating successful recruiting and employer branding campaigns and delivering highly-qualified applicants. His Driver DNA Hiring System has made Whatley the No. 1 people ops recruiting strategist for truck driving recruitment in the world. Together with his partner, daughter and innovation wizard Anika Whatley, they have expanded into other industries and have been working to perfect the Human Code DNA Hiring System, which uses the latest technology to improve the quality of worker life and enhance recruiter productivity.

training

5 Ways To Improve Your Training and Achieve Measurable Business Results

U.S. companies spend billions of dollars a year on training, but how many of those businesses are seeing positive, measurable results from such a large investment in their employees?

Not enough of them, studies and experts say. One study on workplace training reported that 43 percent of employees found their training to be ineffective.

“I doubt that many employees would rate their training as engaging, rigorous, or highly effective,” says Dr. Jim Guilkey (http://www.jimguilkey.com), author of M-Pact Learning: The New Competitive Advantage — What All Executives Need To Know. “For most trainees and trainers alike, job-required education is viewed as a necessary evil.”

So how can companies train their employees better and from that training produce outcomes that grow the business? Dr. Guilkey says it comes down to employing effective instructional design methodologies rather than traditional models.

“Traditional training often doesn’t work for companies today in competitive marketplace environments where growth is essential to survival,” he says. “The training is usually developed and delivered by subject-matter experts who have little or no knowledge of instructional design. Assessments test rote memorization rather than the ability to apply specific knowledge in authentic situations.”

Dr. Guilkey suggests some new learning solutions and why he thinks they’re more effective than traditional training methods:

Problem-based. “Problem-based learning involves a strategic approach of structuring the learning process within authentic, challenging, and multidisciplinary problems the learner must address,” Guilkey says. “This results in higher levels of learning than content-based, traditional training, which teaches content with little or no application to authentic, real-world problems.”

Continuous learning. “As opposed to singular-event learning, continuous learning is an ongoing process that allows learners time in the field to assimilate  and apply new knowledge before learning more advanced concepts,” Guilkey says.

Collaborative learning. A variety of interactions between peers, mentors, and facilitators fills in gaps, answers more questions, and reinforces the learning process. “This differs from the traditional method in which the learning is limited by focusing on the lecturer — a one-way transmission of content,” Guilkey says.

Multidisciplinary. The traditional approach focuses on singular concepts presented in a linear fashion, whereas the multidisciplinary approach “requires participants to combine and correlate learning across concepts and use real-life scenarios,” Guilkey says.

Testing for application of knowledge. Guilkey thinks assessment should be based on the performance of a strategic task, in which learners apply their skills and knowledge, rather than the traditional style of testing for rote memorization. “There’s a huge difference between being able to recall pieces of information and having a performance-based measurement to put all the pieces together,” Guilkey says.

“Many company leaders are unclear on the actual skills and knowledge of their employees and whether they are providing a competitive advantage,” Guilkey says. “You’ll never create a competitive advantage using traditional training methods.”

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Jim Guilkey, PhD (http://www.jimguilkey.com) is the author of M-Pact Learning: The New Competitive Advantage — What All Executives Need To Know. He is the president of S4 NetQuest and a nationally recognized expert in instructional design and learning strategy, with extensive experience in leading the design, development, and implementation of innovative, highly effective learning solutions. Under his leadership, S4 NetQuest has transformed the learning programs for numerous corporations, including Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Merck, Nationwide, Chase Bank, BMW, Cardinal Health, Domino’s, GE Medical, Kaiser Permanente, Yum! Brands, and others. Guilkey is a frequent speaker at national conferences and corporate training meetings. Before co-founding S4 NetQuest, Guilkey served as the assistant director of flight education at The Ohio State University. He received a BS in aviation and an MA and PhD in instructional design and technology from Ohio State.

employee

When Money Is Not Enough; How To Grow Productive, Loyal Employees

When Delta Air Lines announced plans to pay out a record $1.6 billion in profit sharing to its 90,000 employees – the equivalent of about two months pay for each of them – workers across America likely turned envious.

If only their employers would do the same.

Of course, not all companies can afford such lavish bonuses, but there are other things CEOs can do to boost employee morale and, at the same time, reduce the odds that their best workers go looking elsewhere for employment, says Troy Nix (www.troynix.com), a motivational speaker, businessman and author of Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others.

“Money is just one thing that motivates employees, and it’s not always the primary motivator,” says Nix, founder and CEO of First Resource Inc., an association management company specializing in manufacturing networks.

“Other factors – many of them having to do with working conditions or managers – are more likely to influence whether someone stays with a company or heads out the door.”

A Randstad US study on why workers part ways with employers reported that some of the reasons most often cited include: They dislike their direct supervisors; they feel their companies view profits or revenue as more important than how people are treated; there aren’t enough growth opportunities for them; their companies fail to make the best use of their skills and abilities; the work culture is toxic; or their departments are understaffed.

Nix points out that bonuses or pay raises, while desirable, wouldn’t solve any of those core problems that lead to employee turnover.

“The secret to maintaining and growing a quality workforce lies in having a people-centric culture,” Nix says. “Certainly, there is no one silver bullet that will solve a company’s workforce dilemma, but there are ways businesses can create a worker-friendly atmosphere that will result in happier, more productive employees who want to stay with them.”

He says some solutions that will keep employees satisfied and even enthusiastic about their work include:

Help them understand the “why” of what they do. “The majority of employees usually know what they do, and most of them certainly understand how they do it,” Nix says. “But few understand why they do it. If you want to improve employee engagement, I encourage you to answer the question ‘why’ before you do anything else; and don’t just do it once, do it regularly. Habitually communicating to employees the reason your business exists will directly elevate the commitment of your people to the ‘why’ of your existence.”

Give them purpose. ”More than ever, people want to be part of something that has purpose and meaning,” Nix says. “For young people especially, going to work needs to be about more than just making money. Leaders should be aware of these aspirations and build a company culture that enables employees to find purpose in what they do. Imagine the success a business could have if the employees looked forward to coming to work on Monday with as much joy as they look forward to their weekends.”

Provide support for increasing their knowledge and productivity. Great leaders understand that the majority of employees perform their job functions without coming close to their full capacity, Nix says. Yet, among the top reasons employees leave is they see no room for career growth where they are, or they don’t feel their companies make the best use of their capabilities. “It’s essential for managers to find ways to tap into their employees’ skills,” he says, “because doing so is going to be good for the employee and good for the company.”

“Winning the loyalty of your employees translates into individuals who are dedicated to making the company better,” Nix says. “They will take the extra step to ensure the needs of the customer are met, and they will literally think about the company on their off time because it is that important to them.”

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Troy Nix (www.troynix.com), author of Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others, is the founder, president, and CEO of First Resource, Inc., an innovative association management company for America’s manufacturers. Nix, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, served in the armed forces for a decade before moving into the business world.

IT Job Satisfaction: Six Keys to Keeping Your Top IT Talent

Technology roles are among the most difficult to fill. Demand exceeds supply in the industry, so talented tech workers can afford to be choosy when looking for work.

For IT teams, this makes retention crucial. When you struggle to replace employees who voluntarily leave the company, there are negative impacts to productivity, customer service, information security, and profitability. Employee loyalty is essential to your success.

So what inspires loyalty? Job satisfaction. Satisfied employees are less likely to look for new work and less likely to consider other opportunities. The latter is especially important in IT because the average IT pro receives 32 job solicitations each week.

To improve retention and loyalty and avoid the struggles that come with recruiting new employees, focus on boosting job satisfaction. We reviewed more than a dozen surveys and research studies to uncover the most important factors that contribute to IT job satisfaction. Here’s what we found.

Strong coworker relationships increase job satisfaction

In a survey conducted by Spiceworks last year, IT professionals ranked how 10 different factors contributed to their happiness at work. The results: strong coworker relationships have the biggest positive impact on employee satisfaction. Survey respondents rated coworker relationships as even more important than pay, stress levels, and work hours.

Unfortunately, improving coworker relationships is much more complicated than improving pay, work hours, or vacation time. Employees evaluate their coworkers independently, forming relationships based on compatibility of personality, shared goals and interests, and many other highly individualized reasons.

You can’t simply decide for everyone to become friends, but you can create an environment that encourages employees to form friendships. A few ways to do that is to:

Hire people you can see yourself being friends with. By hiring people compatible with your own personality, you build a team of people who are more likely to share interests and values.

Change your seating arrangement. Even if employees don’t have enough in common with their coworkers to form friendships, changing desks occasionally gives them an opportunity to meet people from other departments that might be worth befriending.

Provide opportunities for interaction outside of the office. It’s hard to get to know your coworkers on a personal level when all of your interactions center around work.

Boredom increases dissatisfaction

survey conducted by TEKsystems found that only 48 percent of entry- to mid-level IT professionals feel as though they’re doing the most satisfying work of their careers. And while the numbers are trending upwards—from only 39 percent in 2014—more than half are not as satisfied as they could be with the work they’re doing in their current positions.

To prevent job dissatisfaction resulting from boredom, provide employees with plenty of opportunities to do interesting, meaningful, or challenging work:

Change things up.  If employees aren’t challenged in their current roles, consider moving them onto a team where they can do something different or learn a new technology.

Encourage them to pursue other interests. Provide professional development funds that employees can use to learn something new, give them time to focus on pet projects that are outside of the scope of their day-to-day responsibilities, or make your employment contracts more flexible so they can work on a side gig in their own time.

Give them more responsibilities. When employees outgrow their current roles and find themselves bored and unchallenged, their natural inclination is to look for a new position.

Funding and awareness play a part in IT job satisfaction

survey by Campus Technology looked at job satisfaction for IT professionals in higher education institutions and found that inadequate funding for projects and new technology and administrators not understanding what they do both created job dissatisfaction.

Lack of funding is often the direct result of poor communication between IT and the individuals who make funding decisions. If leaders don’t understand how investing in technology will benefit the entire organization, they’ll never sign off on the investment.

For many organizations, IT operates in a silo—and often with an us-versus-them mentality. This is usually the result of non-technical sponsors and leaders making unreasonable demands and failing to see issues from the perspective of those who understand the technology.

But eliminating employee dissatisfaction caused by these issues requires breaking down those silos and working as a team. Consider hiring someone to operate as a liaison between IT and non-technical departments and leadership. Choose someone who’s spent time on both sides of the fence who has the ability to present IT concerns in terms of overall business benefits.

Improving communication between technical and nontechnical divisions reduces the risk of IT employees becoming dissatisfied because they feel misunderstood and underappreciated. Additionally, it increases the chance that your department receives the funding needed to stay on top of technological advances and trends.

Salary matters, but not as much as you think

A survey conducted by TechTarget found that salary also impacts job satisfaction. However, the impact of salary on job satisfaction is much smaller than that of other, more important factors like work that’s intellectually challenging and a supportive work environment.

And while company culture and interesting projects may be more important than salary, you shouldn’t neglect the role that salary plays in keeping employees happy. Few people will stay in a job—even one that they love—if they don’t make enough to pay their bills.

If you’re concerned that employee salaries are contributing to dissatisfaction, follow the lead of other companies in the industry and take an innovative approach to setting salaries:

Pay Silicon Valley rates, even if you’re not in Silicon Valley. Basecamp’s headquarters is in Chicago, but the company employs people who live all over the world. While the company could get away with setting salaries based on cost of living where employees work—or cost of living in Chicago—all employees earn Silicon Valley rates.

Pay people to move somewhere with a lower cost of living. If you can’t afford Silicon Valley rates, consider an incentive for employees to move somewhere less expensive. Zapier offers its employees a $10,000 relocation package to move out of Silicon Valley and into an area with a lower cost of living.

Work with HR to personalize employee benefits. Even if you can’t increase salaries, there are opportunities to put more money in employees’ pockets with personalized benefits. For example, Student Loan Hero offers its employees student loan debt repayment matching. BambooHR employees get an annual $2,000 vacation stipend.

Job training is important for both employees and employers

survey by The Conference Board found that one of the areas employees are least satisfied with at work is educational and job training programs. Data from a survey from CompTIA shows that this concern is particularly important for IT professionals because one of their top concerns is that their skills quickly become obsolete.

Wish list items for IT professionals further highlight the impact that training, education, and advancement have on job satisfaction.

More than half of IT professionals choose their careers because of their “passion/interest in technology.” That interest doesn’t subside when employees master a particular technology. IT pros are hungry to continue learning, experimenting, and innovating. When their job enables them to do so, they’re much more satisfied.

At the same time, employers expect that one of the most difficult hiring challenges they’ll face this year will be “finding workers with expertise in emerging tech fields.”

Professional development opportunities, on-the-job training, and education stipends increase employee satisfaction. Plus, they limit the need for employers to seek new hires who have experience with emerging technologies; you’re able to fill new roles with existing employees.

There are a number of ways to provide IT employees with development opportunities:

-Provide funds for employees to attend industry conferences, earn certifications, take courses, or pursue additional degrees.

-Distribute a list of local mentorship opportunities, trade organizations, and community IT groups, and subsidize any membership fees.

-Hire industry leaders/experts to host an on-site seminar or training for your group once a quarter, or host monthly lunch-and-learn events.

When work is meaningful, other factors are less impactful

In both 2017 and 2018, Elon Musk’s SpaceX landed a spot on Glassdoor’s “employees’ choice” list of best places to work. The company has an overall 4.4-star rating, 96 percent of employees approve of Musk as CEO, and 90 percent of employees would recommend working for SpaceX to friends. By all accounts, SpaceX employees are satisfied with their jobs.

But a recent study from PayScale shows that SpaceX employees earn less than employees of other top tech companies and experience the highest amounts of stress.

So why are employees who are underpaid and overstressed so satisfied with their jobs? SpaceX employees feel that their work is meaningful. SpaceX earned the highest rating of all of the companies PayScale compared in the “high job meaning” category.

Of course, when your job is to build the technology needed to colonize other planets, it’s not hard to find meaning in it. But not all companies have such inspiring goals. Even so, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make the work your employees do meaningful.

According to Michael G. Pratt, professor of management and organization at Boston College, “Meaningfulness is about the why, not just about what.” Help employees understand the “why” behind their day-to-day responsibilities to help them find meaning in their work:

-Connect IT’s tasks to overall company goals.

-Share stories of how IT projects helped end users.

-Publicize the company’s mission, values, and contributions.

The most important factors for IT job satisfaction

Like any employee of any industry, IT professionals want to earn a reasonable living, avoid unhealthy amounts of stress, and access important benefits. But those things are just the starting point for IT job satisfaction. True satisfaction stems from filling more complex needs.

People seek careers in IT because they’re good at what they do and interested in using their skills to build innovative products and solve complex problems. They seek challenges, are motivated by learning, and thrive when collaborating with like-minded people. They don’t mind dealing with stress if they’re contributing to something meaningful.

The companies that win the talent war will be those that work to improve the more fundamental aspects of IT job satisfaction. They’ll attract and retain top talent by building a department where employees find true fulfillment with their teams, work, and future prospects with the company.

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Jessica Greene is a staff writer at Spoke.

management

5 Traits Today’s Leaders Need to Revolutionize Their Management Style

The rapid rate of change and innovation brought about by the digital age is putting many large corporations in peril as they realize they are in an “adapt-or-die” era.

But for a business to change, its leadership must be willing to change as well, and that doesn’t always happen, says Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com), a global thought leader and consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and is the author of the new book Leaderology.

“Old strategies and approaches are not sufficient anymore,” Konovalov says. “Unfortunately, we are stuck in the Dark Ages of management, in which we fall back on the old ways of leading people, rooted in the patterns, metrics and expectations of the past. We are in desperate need of a management revolution.”

Put simply, he says, a leader’s hesitation to learn and adapt to new realities kills any chance of spotting opportunities and being innovative.

“We have memories of such giants as Kodak and Borders,” Konovalov says. “Both used to be on the Fortune 500 list, but passed away because they were stuck in the old paradigm of thinking. A dogmatic way of thinking and acting won’t get anyone far in business.”

Konovolav says over the years he has learned numerous lessons about what separates extraordinary leaders from the ordinary. Here are just five of the traits true leaders possess:

They are involved with their teams. Managers who just monitor from afar what employees are doing tend to think they are good leaders as long as everything seems to be going well. “This is wrong,” Konovalov says. “Are you giving input to the team? Are you present when things are going well or only if things go poorly? The amount of effort and energy the leader puts into the work defines the actual role and status of the leader.”

They are a coach and receptive learner at the same time. “This is a good combination because, on the one hand, you help people to grow by sharing your expertise,” Konovolav says. “On the other hand, not learning from other people is equal to ignoring them.” In the best scenario, he says, there will be experts on the team from whom the leader and everyone else can learn.

They understand leadership is not a dictatorship. People in leadership positions possess power and influence, but they should use that power to serve people, Konovalov says. “If you do that, you’ll be paid back threefold with respect, support and loyalty,” he says. “Make your leadership worth following. Be an example by working for others, rather than acting like you’re king of the mountain in a kids’ game.”

They over-deliver on promises. When true leaders pledge to do something, they are able to calculate the risk and understand the effort needed to achieve what they have said they will do. “Real leaders know they will be judged against actual deeds and fulfilled promises,” Konovalov says. “Unfulfilled promises work against them and people who counted on them will leave. Promising too much is for incompetent leaders.”

They know that winners breed winners. It’s a leader’s duty to help people feel like winners even in small achievements, and to convince them of their ability to succeed despite past failure, Konovalov says. “People trained to win will win,” he says. “People trained to fail will fail.”

“The modern leader needs to combine meticulous planning with flexibility,” Konovalov says. “The wrong decisions and actions can lead to the whole organization losing sight of customer needs as well as quality, harming the long-term sustainability of the organization.

“Making the right decision means thinking of more than the company. It means considering the values and needs of customers and employees as well.”

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Oleg Konovalov (www.olegkonovalov.com) is a thought leader, author, business educator and consultant with over 25 years of experience operating businesses and consulting Fortune 500 companies internationally. His latest book is Leaderology. His other books are Corporate SuperpowerOrganisational Anatomy and Hidden Russia. Konovalov received his doctoral degree from the Durham University Business School. He is a visiting lecturer at a number of business schools, a Forbes contributor and high in demand speaker at major conferences around the world.

Want Employees To Love What They Do? Here Are 4 Ways To Get There.

Bosses might want to take notice if employees view their jobs as “the daily grind.”

A disgruntled and disengaged workforce can undermine production and harm customer relations, while a happy, engaged workforce does the opposite.

“If you take care of your employees, they will be better prepared and far more motivated to take care of your customers,” says Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), founder and CEO of PFSbrands and author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success.

“Ideally, you want employees who think and act like owners.”

Burcham says one of the first steps toward cultivating such an environment is to communicate openly with employees. And that may be even more crucial today because newer generations entering the workforce want to know the “why” of what they are doing.

“Millennials value truth and honesty,” Burcham says. “They also are looking for personal growth, education, and continuous learning. If companies want to scale, then they need to embrace millennials and work to create an environment where they are engaged.”

He suggests four ways leaders can help their employees love what they do:

Have fun at work. People spend more hours at their jobs than doing just about anything else, Burcham says, so the time might as well be enjoyable rather than drudgery. Some simple ways people can have fun at work include cracking jokes, decorating their work areas, or celebrating employee birthdays. For Burcham, the work itself is fun. “As a leader, I want to provide an environment conducive to having fun,” he says. “I also let our employees know that it is up to them to make having fun a reality within their job and their department.”

Coach them up. All employees must be willing to learn at a pace consistent with the company’s growth, Burcham says. “Usually, we hire people with a skillset that enables them to scale with us,” he says. “Sometimes, though, we have employees who are challenged to ‘make the leap’ with us. When that happens, we work with them to find a role on our team where they can excel. We want to provide them with every opportunity and tool we can to help them adapt.”

Maintain a positive attitude. Most successful people exude a positive attitude, are optimistic, and have a never-quit personality, Burcham says. “Who wants to work in an environment of doom and gloom?” he asks. One way to cultivate an upbeat workplace is to strive to hire only “A” players, people who want to be the best at their jobs and take pride in making positive contributions.  “But anyone can be or become an A player,” Burcham says. “It simply revolves around having a positive attitude along with a desire to learn and constantly improve.”

Show appreciation. Employees want to know that the bosses – and their coworkers – appreciate them, so it’s important to find ways to show them. Burcham says at his company new hires are welcomed by dozens of emails from their team members before they even arrive for the first day of work. When they start, two or three dozen employees gather to greet them with a high five. “For our team, it’s all about gratitude,” Burcham says. “It’s not, ‘I have to go to work today.’ It’s, ‘I get to go to work today.’ ”

“I think the real key,” Burcham says, “is to hire people who are already motivated and then put them in an environment where they can excel. Engaged employees are fun to work with and they will go the extra mile for their customers as well as their peers.

 

Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder & CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife, Julie, started out of their home in 1998. The company has over 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states and is best known for their Champs Chicken franchise brand which was started in 1999. Prior to starting PFSbrands, Burcham spent five years with a Fortune 100 company, Mid-America Dairymen (now Dairy Farmers of America). He also worked for three years as a Regional Sales Manager for a midwest Chester’s Fried chicken distributor.

questions

Hiring The Wrong People? Maybe You’re Asking Them The Wrong Questions.

A company’s intention in a job interview is to find the person who best fits a particular position. But recent research has shown that quite often, the candidate who was hired failed, and usually their exit was related to attitude issues that weren’t revealed in the interview.
That raises the question: Are interviewers asking the wrong questions — and consequently hiring the wrong people? Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems (alexzlatin.com), says some traditional styles of interviewing are outdated, thus wasting time and resources while letting better candidates slip away.
“It still astounds me to meet HR professionals who lack the basic skills of interviewing,” says Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership. “In 2019, ‘tell me about yourself’ is still a way to start an interview, and that’s absurd. The only thing you get is people who describe the outline of their resume, which you already know.
“You want to get to know the candidate’s personality in the interview. In a normal setting, you would have about one hour to do this. But some traditional interview practices waste this precious time, and you can miss out on great talent and instead hire a mediocre one.”
Zlatin offers the following interview approaches to help HR leaders, recruiters and executives find the right candidate:
Make it a two-way conversation.  Zlatin says traditional interviewing focuses too much on the candidate’s skills and experience rather than on their motivation, problem-solving ability, and willingness to collaborate. Thus, he suggests configuring the interview in a non-traditional, informal way to gain insight into the candidate’s personality. “Rather than make most of the interview a rigid, constant question-and-answer format that can be limiting to both sides, have a two-way conversation and invite them to ask plenty of questions,” Zlatin says.
Flip their resume upside down.  “Surprise them by going outside the box and asking them something about themselves that isn’t on their resume or in their cover letter,” Zlatin says. “See how creatively they think and whether they stay calm. You want to see how a candidate thinks on their feet — a trait all companies value.”
Ask open-ended questions. Can this candidate make a difference in your company? Zlatin says answering that question should be a big aim of the interview. “Ask questions that allude to how they made a difference in certain situations at their past company,” Zlatin says. “Then present a hypothetical situation and ask how they would respond.”
Don’t ask cliched questions. Zlatin says some traditional interview questions only lead to candidates telling interviewers what the candidate thinks the company wants to hear. “Interviewers should stop asking pointless questions like, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ “ Zlatin says. Or, ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ Candidates rehearse these answers, and many of them are similar, so that doesn’t allow them to stand apart.”
Learn from the candidate’s questions. The questions candidates ask can indicate how deeply they’ve studied the company and how interested they really are. “A good candidate uses questions to learn about the role, the company, and the boss to assess whether it’s the right job for them,” Zlatin says.
Don’t take copious notes. Zlatin says the tendency by interviewers to write down the candidates answers and other observations is “a huge obstacle to building a solid two-way conversation because it removes the crucial element of eye contact.”
“An effectively done interview allows the employer to get both an in-depth and big-picture look at a candidate,” Zlatin says. “Judging whether they might fit starts with giving them more room to express in the interview.”
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Alex Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (alexzlatin.com), had more than 10 years of management experience before he accepted the position of CEO of dental practice management company Maxim Software Systems. He earned his MBA at Edinburgh Business School and a B.Sc. in Technology Management at HIT in Israel. His company helps struggling dental professionals take control of their practices and reach the next level of success with responsible leadership strategies.
culture

Who’s Responsible For Your Company’s Culture? Look In The Mirror, Leaders.

Extensive research has shown that a positive work culture often results in productive employees who both value their work and feel valued themselves.
But company leadership, not the employees, usually creates that culture. Executives and managers have a significant responsibility to establish a positive culture that is conducive to company success.
“Culture can be thought of as the inner life of the organization,” says Cynthia Howard (www.eileadership.org), an executive coach, performance expert, and author of the book The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room.
“It is the self-sustaining mix of values, attitudes, and behavior that drives performance. Culture is the brand identity of the company, and it has the ability to attract and retain great talent or not. Thus, it’s incumbent on the leaders to be aware of their culture, what they can do to improve it, and honestly assess if it’s the kind of place where people want to be and want to grow.”
Another key reason that company leaders need to make work culture a high priority, Howard says, is because millennials — who comprise the largest segment of the workforce — rank culture as their top consideration when choosing where to work.
Howard offers five ways leaders can foster a positive work culture:
Model positive, respectful behavior. Howard says a positive work culture starts with the leader setting the tone, which can send the right message to leaders at other levels in the company. “Don’t play the blame game,” Howard says. “Encourage an environment where it’s OK to make mistakes and move forward. Frontline staff crave leaders who understand them and care about them, will mentor them, and will provide professional guidance to make fair and tough decisions.”
Show gratitude. “Show your gratitude and appreciation for accomplishments by acknowledging people during a meeting or with a note,” Howard says. “Celebrating wins lifts morale, and when people know they will be recognized for exceptional work, they’ll be more motivated.”
Communicate consistently and with clarity.  “Keep employees in the loop with consistent updates,” Howard says. “Give them regular feedback, not just at review time. This keeps people connected, feeling part of the team, and removes the mystery — and inherent tension — of where they stand. Create clear goals, and make everyone feel that they are necessary components toward reaching those goals. That inspires an environment of inclusion, pride and commitment.”
Really listen. “This is the important other side of communication that some leaders fail to master,” Howard says. “For the leaders underneath you and the employees throughout a company to truly feel valued, they have to know they have a voice and that it will be heard. Be open and encouraging to others’ ideas and solutions.”
Promote collaboration. One of a company leader’s primary jobs is getting the most out of their team — mainly by defining the importance of team. “Maximizing the strengths of a team means knowing each person’s uniqueness and talents and using them in the best possible way,” Howard says. “It also means creating a culture where everyone respects each other’s talents and is enthusiastic about working together for the greater good.”
“Poor culture leads to lots of turnover,” Howard says. “When you as a leader instill and insist on a positive culture, you reap the benefits. Happy, engaged employees mean a thriving company.”
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Cynthia Howard (www.eileadership.org) is an executive coach, performance expert and the author of The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room. She researched stress and its consequences in performance during her PhD. In the past 20-plus years she has coached thousands of professionals, leaders and executives toward emotional agility and engaged leadership.