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How Global Leaders Formulate and Execute Corporate Strategies to Meet External Challenges

corporate

How Global Leaders Formulate and Execute Corporate Strategies to Meet External Challenges

Any organizations have plans going well into the future. Strategic goals spanning five to fifteen years while short-term goals are more tactical and are just as important. Two prominent scholars that are well known in the Academy of Management – one of the largest leadership and management organizations in the world, by the names of Charles Hofer and Dan Schendel see strategy as a “fundamental pattern of present and planned resource deployments and environmental interactions that indicates how the organization will achieve its objectives.” Another scholar, Kenneth Andrew, describes strategy as a pattern of decisions and plans which are directed at interacting with the external and internal environment and effectively and efficiently allocating capabilities to achieve organizational objectives.

There are different typologies of strategies and one typology of these existing typologies that can create better results for companies when compared to others. Much of what I share comes from my experience as a senior management consultant in San Diego, California.

In my experience working with more than 30 Fortune 100 companies, executives consider the four dimensions of corporate strategy including analysis, pro-activeness, defensiveness, and futurity. Analysis strategy is defined, by Venkatraman, as “the tendency to search for problems and their root causes and generates better alternatives to solve them.” When executives analyze strategy, they can create more knowledge and find the best solution using a problematic search of various options. This type of strategy also stimulates companies to apply information systems in their decision-making processes in order to investigate various alternatives and options. Also, executives analyze strategic milestones to meet the goals of employee development.

An analysis strategy can develop opportunities for employee development by assessing current situations in detail. This strategy provides new and more innovative solutions for organizational problems as they arise. To develop this strategy, executives can particularly contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-Emphasis on effective coordination among different functional areas.

-Extensive use of information systems to support decision making.

-Comprehensive analysis undertaken when confronted with an important decision.

-Use of planning techniques.

-Effective deployment of management information and control systems.

-Use of manpower planning and performance appraisal of senior managers.

Pro-activeness is a strategy element used by executives who take a proactive approach to search for better positions in the business environment. As executives use the pro-activeness strategy which refers to finding new opportunities and proactively responding to current challenges in external environments, they can enhance their span of control. To cultivate a pro-activeness strategy, executives can contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-The constant search for new opportunities.

-Attempt to introduce new brands or products in the market.

-The constant search for businesses that can be acquired.

-More effective expansion of capacities when compared to our competitors.

-Strategic elimination of those operations that are no longer profitable in later stages of life cycles.

Defensiveness recommends undertaking defensive behaviors that manifest themselves in enhancing efficiency and in cutting costs while maintaining continuous budget-analysis and break-even points. Executives can take an offensive approach and in this case, they employ a defensive strategy. A defensive strategy utilizes modifications in order to efficiently and effectively use organizational resources, decrease costs, and control operational risk. Some executives feel that a defensive strategy, while necessary, sets a negative connotation on their span of control. A defensiveness strategic approach, in fact, enhances organizational learning through reusing commercial knowledge. To foster this strategy, executives can particularly contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-Regular modifications to manufacturing/service technology.

-Use cost control systems for monitoring performance.

-Use of current management techniques to ensure that we move smoothly at the required level.

-Emphasis on product/service quality through the use of work improvement teams.

Futurity is reflected in the degree to which the strategic decision-making process takes a two-way approach—-an emphasis on both long-term effectiveness and shorter-term efficiency concurrently.  Executives use a futurity strategy to expand the growth opportunities available to companies to close the gap between success and failure. Futurity strategy implements basic studies to identify and actively respond to the changes that occurred in the external environment and provides better outcomes. To create a futurity strategy, executives can contribute to the development of a workplace in which there is/are:

-Specific criteria used for resource allocation which generally reflect short-term considerations.

-Emphasis on basic research to provide us with a competitive edge for the future.

-Key indicators of operations forecasted.

-Formal tracking of significant and general trends.

-Regular analyses of critical issues.

This article summarizes my experience as a senior management consultant and is about getting the information needed to be successful in the right hands of executives worldwide. The key for executives is that by channeling organizational processes into corporate strategy, and employing a supportive strategy that executives can continue to prosper.

Success is, therefore, dependent upon how executives formulate and execute corporate strategy. Executives can now see how they can cultivate an effective corporate strategy, which can enable superior performance to achieve business objectives and satisfy careers.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

knowledge management

Researchers Propose a Model to Better Manage Knowledge and Innovation in Multinational Corporations

With a clear understanding of knowledge management, executives can make more effective managerial decisions. Knowledge management has been evaluated from various perspectives. This variation may differ because knowledge management is understood in many different ways and therefore different scholars focus on different aspects of it and offer several options of managerial application. These perspectives are discussed below.

Taking a Technological Perspective

Executives know that they can take a technological perspective. In this case, the executive understands how knowledge management as facilitating organizational processes and activities uses information technology to organize existing information. Executives have found that knowledge management embraces information technology to convert individual knowledge into valuable resources for their organization. Executives focus on individuals as the major source of knowledge and show how followers tie together so that they can effectively share the storage, transfer, and application of knowledge within organizations. Executives, therefore, see these connections, and the related shared knowledge and memory, as central to the effectiveness of knowledge management.

Taking an Economic Perspective

Executives agree with Doyle McCarthy, who sees society as a product of knowledge. Defining culture as various forms of knowledge and symbols that make up an organization’s culture. However, knowledge is a by-product of culture and knowledge’s role in guiding and facilitating people’s action is key to executive decision-making. Four scholars by the names of Bernard Marr, Oliver Gupta, Stephen Pike, and Goran Roos define knowledge management as “a set of activities and processes aimed at creating value through generating and applying intellectual capital.”

Executives direct practices that create value from intangible organizational resources. For executives, it is clear that the objective of managing knowledge is to add value to organizations. The focus here is that executives consider the fact a firm’s knowledge is positively associated with its outcomes.

Taking a Process Perspective

The process perspective focuses on knowledge flows that executives use through embracing the processes of knowledge management for strategic management decision-making. Managing knowledge is not new, scholars have considered the various processes involved. Executives can look at three-step processes of knowledge accumulation, integration, and reconfiguration. Jang-Hwan Lee and Young-Gul Kim’s model for managing knowledge takes a strategic process-oriented approach and is relevant to executive leadership. Executives build a climate of openness for individuals to exchange ideas. Knowledge is accumulated by creating a new approach to gathering, evaluating, and disseminating information throughout the organizations.

Executives inspire people to create new ideas and develop effective mechanisms to acquire knowledge from various sources such as suppliers, customers, business partners, and competitors. This is similar to a value-chain approach. Executives need to first support this approach for the model to work because they play a strategic role in expanding the knowledge accumulation through applying incentives as mechanisms to develop a more innovative climate and managing effective tools to acquire knowledge from external sources.

Executives then integrate knowledge internally to enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies in various systems and processes, as well as to be more responsive to market changes.

Accumulated knowledge is synthesized to produce higher quality outcomes. Thus, knowledge integration focuses on monitoring and controlling knowledge management practices, evaluating the effectiveness of current knowledge, defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their product or services continuously improving.

Executives can promote knowledge integration by creating expert groups or steering committees to enhance knowledge quality and evaluate knowledge assets. Follower’s diversity of skills and interpersonal relations that is based on trust and reciprocity can improve the performance of group cohesiveness.

Therefore, in the process of knowledge integration, knowledge enters organizational processes and provides valuable contributions to products and services. Executives as leaders steering the organizational strategy facilitate this process, by undertaking initiatives that improve knowledge transfer, thus enhancing the performance of employees and the implementation of effective changes to maintain the quality of products and services. The burden of success when the effective implementation of knowledge integration is concerned is heavily dependent on the capabilities of the organization’s leaders.

Executives must also curtail knowledge within organizations. This knowledge needs to be reconfigured to meet environmental changes and new challenges. At the same time, it should not be leaked to the competition in any shape or form unless agreed upon by senior executives. When executives agree to share knowledge with other organizations in the environment, studies have shown that that knowledge is often difficult to share externally. One reason is that other organizations have too much pride to accept knowledge or are apprehensive to expose themselves to the competition.

Therefore, executives may lack the required capabilities to interact with other organizations, or distrust sharing their knowledge. In addition, just the notion of creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources. On the other hand, executives are aware of networking with business partners is a key activity for organizations to enhance knowledge exchange.

Networking is a critical concern for leaders in this process is developing alliances with partners in external environments. Executives and their expert groups and/or steering committees are the ones who can make final decisions about developing alliances with business partners.   Figure 1 depicts this model of knowledge management.

In Conclusion

There are some executives that like to look at academic journals but unfortunately, the crossover literature has not reached them enough. This article attempts to blend scholarly concepts with real-world applications. This article introduces an applicable model to evaluate knowledge management success. Also, this article provides evidence that knowledge management is used in corporate infrastructure for strategic decision-making.

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Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

employment

The Employment System Was Broken Long Before COVID-19 – Can tilr Lead a Workforce Revolution?

Young people make up a disproportionate share of what is a low-wage workforce and recent studies argue that they will be the hardest hit by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. 

What are your projections for their job-market recovery, post-COVID-19?

 Co-Founder and CEO Stephen Shefsky

Unfortunately, a lot of entry-level positions affecting younger, lower skilled workers were the first and hardest-hit at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many employers during the pandemic, fired or furloughed many of their workers, that were deemed necessary for their survival. Given the above, it is no surprise that U.S. low-wage unemployment has skyrocketed at its peak to roughly 40%.

As businesses start to come back, there may be some subtle advantages for those low-skilled / low-wage workers. Some companies will inevitably gravitate towards hiring or re-hiring their lower-wage earners, instead of turning to an older, more expensive and more-skilled workforce.

Not all young people will immediately find employment; some must be prepared to accept the fact that their jobs won’t come back. When that happens, ‘up-skilling’ will become very important. Giving direction to those looking to re-enter the workforce is something very top of mind at tilr.

We at tilr believe there is a better way to bring job-seekers back into the workforce; a better way for employers to save both time and money in their on-boarding process.

tilr’s technology will help solve some of those challenges for both job-seekers and employers.

The country is going to be in a place of rebuilding and recovery over the next several years. We realize that this is the moment that companies and job-seekers alike will need us most.

How will tilr’s technology be applicable to what is today, an American workforce in crisis?

til’s algorithmic-hiring platform offers an alternative to traditional resume databases and key word search technology. We have developed ‘an on-demand marketplace’, one that matches pre-registered workers’ skills with employers, not based on keywords that may or may not be included in their resumes.

This will give job-seekers a better opportunity to find employment and jobs best suited to their skills, because it will no longer come down to who wrote a better resume, be subject to bias or cause candidates to play the waiting game, while employers sift through countless resumes before they happen to come upon the one they like, costing the company time and money.

For employers (and tilr has worked with hundreds of client companies), the way we’ve developed our technology is, in many ways, revolutionary. We have built the technology that is able to define the deliverable (skills) that a company needs in real-time and then quickly unlock a pool of workers that have the specific, necessary tools to accomplish the job at hand. We provide a platform for locating immediately available, local talent who can be employed in a matter of hours or days.

COVID-19 has hurt many; we’re witnessing presently an historically high unemployment rate. We want to offer people relief by way of giving them a better chance to find work, to take care of their families, and to do so based on their previous job experience and relevant skills obtained; not by having to take many months or years to reinvent themselves (which some people will inevitably have to do).

Today, many unemployed men and women will need time to be reabsorbed into the marketplace. Our technology further directs those people to training platforms capable of helping them ‘up-skill’ and to prepare them for work; to be as good or better than they were before.

As companies pivot to teleconferencing, their employees working from home in the spirit of ‘social distancing’, how can modern technology benefit those looking to employ and/or up-skill future workers?

Many companies are going to continue to employ their workers, and having some of them working from home as opposed to an office environment.

Today’s technology gives companies the option to have many members of their workforce contribute remotely. There are many software solutions that will allow more and more work to be done virtually, affording workers the opportunity to keep in constant contact with their organizations.

However, I’ve always believed that for employers, knowing what human resources (HR) / skills they don’t have in the organization is as important as knowing what you currently have at any given moment.

tilr has built the technology that will assist the job-matching and skills matching for those companies, which can expedite the process of hiring workers, both for in-office positions and from home.

Our ‘marketplace’ technology can support employers in real-time, razor focused on understanding and interpreting aggregated skill-sets, offering access to a more focused labor market, while also preparing future employees for a virtual workforce-environment.

Companies can access the platform from the web on any computer or handheld device.

Workers can access tilr opportunities via an app on IOS and Android mobile devices.

tilr’s technology can assist job-seekers to identify their own present skill-gaps and offer opportunities or suggestions on how to ‘up-skill’ to match the jobs they want. We will introduce new employment opportunities matching their skill-sets which they may not have thought of.

Learning will become much more technology-driven in the near term. Even after we return to a semblance of normalcy, more learning and work will take place online. As an example, technology that drives telemedicine today may very well become the first line of interaction between a patient and a doctor long after COVID-19.

We are currently in discussions with several companies (States and Provincial Governments in the U.S. and Canada) to offer our skill mapping technology and create a database of human resources (skills).

Lastly, is embracing technology the future of the Employment Agency?

Employment agencies are going to need to do things a little differently in the future.

tilr technology can assist the 80-85% of workers who are currently registered with an agency, but not always working.

tilr offers employment agency businesses an additional way of helping those registered with the agency to find work, who are not currently working, providing a more efficient use of human resources.

It’s safe to say that the current workforce is in an awful state of disarray. Technology can help usher in a workforce revolution, and help propel an economic recovery.

tilr automates the recruitment process by using skills to connect companies with job seekers, enhancing workers’ lives and companies’ bottom lines.

taiwan

Taiwan Takes Business Back: Examining the Shifting Landscape and What it Means for International Trade

In an exclusive Q&A with Dr. Richard Thurston – former Senior Vice President at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd, and “Of Counsel” with Duane Morris, LLP in New York, we take a closer look at the current international trade climate as Taiwan’s efforts to re-shore impact current trade relations while exposing a significant need for bilateral trade agreements and the need to improve opportunities in workforce development. Dr. Thurston walks us through what to expect in the near future as Taiwan takes businesses back from China.

What major advantages are gained by Taiwan reshoring? What risks are associated with this move?

Dr. Thurston: There are several main drivers behind Taiwan’s reshoring of Taiwan businesses from China. First, U.S. geopolitical issues, such as Taiwan companies avoiding US tariffs on China-originated products. Taiwan companies are facing a lot of pressure there.

Second, the protection of the supply chain, not just the supply chain for Taiwan’s consumer product companies, but that of other companies such as Apple, Google, and the whole range of high-tech companies. Thirdly, avoidance of both U.S. criticism, and, more importantly, of potential. U.S. penalties, fines, exclusion orders, etc., relating to possible export control violations. Finally, the Huawei issue. Overall, the challenges are much broader than trade secret protection, driven by U.S. desire to keep actual products incorporating certain advanced technologies from getting into the hands of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Those factors, along with growing demands for international diversification, are complimented by Taiwan’s corporate concerns over ongoing health, safety, and welfare of their staff and managers working in China. One other motivation of Taiwan’s Government is to bring back to Taiwan experienced talent that had left over the last decade (which had created a great hollowing out of Taiwan’s technological and other capabilities).

On that last point, do you see a reverse effect happening in the workforce going back to Taiwan and aiming efforts on workforce development for the tech industry, or are you anticipating a completely different landscape overall?

Dr. Thurston: Previously, a much different environment existed, where there were two key drivers behind the movement to China that started when President Ma Ying-jeou took over the political reigns. One of the key factors he had in mind was to access the sizable but elusive China market. The Taiwan market of 24 million people is not large enough by itself, to sustain market growth driven by technological innovation. Second, access to talented human capital. A serious Taiwan problem exists because the STEM  (science, technology, engineering, and math) talent pool has continued to dry up in Taiwan. This has been a huge issue faced by TSMC and other technology-driven companies. So, President Ma wanted to access a culturally comparable talent pool as well as to lower costs for land and raw material supply. Finally, the KMT wanted to use Taiwan’s trade and investment in China to neutralize China’s threat against Taiwan independence.

How can Taiwan continue dominating the IP (intellectual property) sector by reshoring? And does this have any impact on its current practice?

Dr. Thurston: Taiwan has had a lot of difficulties in the IP area, and part of it is related to what I just talked about, the significant decline in the STEM talent pool. If you look for other issues, a major one is that Taiwan (because of its political position arising from China’s position against them) is not a member of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), and is not a participant in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and therefore, there are significant barriers against becoming a predominant IP source.

But more importantly, with the exception of a few companies like TSMC, most Taiwan companies continue to operate in the mindset of OEM and ODM companies. That mindset focuses on a slim profit margin. Therefore, they do not truly incorporate intellectual property into their overall strategy because it is expensive to promote and protect IP.

This is very relevant for many companies, especially in some of the new sectors, such as biomedicine, aerospace, clean energy, Big Data and AI labs. For example, Taiwan companies are still reluctant to establish a robust trade secret program. Although the Taiwan government has done a lot for enacting trade secret laws and litigation in its courts, many companies take inadequate measures to protect this most important IP asset and thereby, diluting its IP leadership. While there has been improvement, it has been slow because IP is still not viewed as a key to profitability. The government has been trying to improve that attitude in its companies through its intellectual property laws, so we will see. For now, I think the lack of sufficient and sustainable STEM talent, which affects directly leading-edge creativity and innovation, is a core challenge.

Taiwan is extremely important to the U.S., both commercially, with respect to its supply chain, and defensively, with respect to maintain open and safe sea and air links. What is further of concern is that the U.S. still does not have a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan. This limits the ability of the free flow of information, business, and protections to Taiwan businesses and U.S. businesses operating in and with Taiwan.

During 2019, Taiwan’s efforts to attract its businesses back to Taiwan, and the short-term assistance it is providing to respective land acquisition and operational subsidies, has generated 160 new projects. Companies have most definitely returned from China to Taiwan. But, the question remains: is that sustainable? That issue will hurt Taiwan along with the declining birth rate out there. The innovation advantage that Taiwan has had in the past may well be limited in the years ahead unless Taiwan shores up its bilateral trade and investment relations with the U.S.

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Richard L. Thurston, Ph.D. is Of Counsel at international law firm Duane Morris where he practices in the area of intellectual property law from its New York and Taipei offices. Prior to joining Duane Morris, Dr. Thurston was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd., where he was also Chief Proprietary Information Officer (Trade Secrets) and Corporate Compliance Officer.

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.

corporate

How COVID-19 is Reshaping Corporate Culture

The outbreak of COVID-19 is radically changing how many U.S. companies operate.
Public safety measures have closed physical offices and made remote working the norm. Travel restrictions have heightened the importance of efficient technology, communication, and collaboration. Executives have had to pivot quickly, reorganizing and rallying their workforce to push forward in an unprecedented time.
Some business leaders think COVID-19 marks a permanent turning point. And at the center of the seismic change is the reshaping of corporate culture – the beliefs and behaviors that influence how a company’s employees and management interact, says Chuck Crumpton (www.chuckcrumpton.com), author of The Jagged Journey: A Raw & Real Memoir about the Non-Perfect Path of Life & Business.
“The pandemic unquestionably will have lasting effects on corporate cultures,” Crumpton says. “There’s a growing sense it’s a fundamental shift, a new normal.
“It starts with empathy. Company leaders are seeing they need to listen more to their employees’ concerns, which are really everybody’s concerns right now. Many people have fear and uncertainty. It’s an opportunity to be more understanding and build relationships with the people you work with, and from there as a company, being better able to work in new and more collaborative ways.”
Crumpton explains the ways corporate culture will be reshaped in the wake of COVID-19 and how leaders can influence those positive changes:
Providing emotional support along with technical support. While technology is the key to keeping a remote workforce functioning at a high level, Crumpton says how leaders create a culture of mutual support will be a big factor in company culture and the employee experience. “You want to get people helping and looking out for each other,” Crumpton says. “Not every Google Chat, call or email has to be business-related.”
More, and better, communication. Working remotely, with managers and employees at different locations, places an emphasis on focused and more precise communication – even over-communication if necessary – to keep operations flowing, Crumpton says. “The use of video conferencing is very effective, keeping everyone connected and agendas targeted,” he says. “It increases responsiveness, attention span, and strengthens collaboration.”
More of a family feeling. “Working from home personalizes the workplace, partly because you are working from your personal space, and the imaginary line between family and work is basically gone,” Crumpton says. “People are out of their shell now, more relatable. Colleagues and clients are happy to share a screen with their kids or pets in the background. There’s a blending of the personal and professional, and it’s liberating.”
Better collaboration. “Your relationship with your teammates will improve,” Crumpton says. “Fighting a common enemy, the coronavirus, creates bonds in relationships. Everyone being in this together brings new levels of connection with colleagues and clients. You’re happy to see each other onscreen during this period of physical isolation, and that feeling can be brought forward when things settle down. The bond strengthens with teammates also by having worked together to solve problems and be proactive during difficult times. That means better collaboration and more enthusiasm for teamwork and shared success.”
“This crisis has challenged us in seemingly every way,” Crumpton says. “It’s been sudden, profound, and life-changing. Companies have been forced to make major changes, and in the process, they’re seeing the workplace and the world differently. It’s a great opportunity for growth and positive, permanent change.”
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Chuck Crumpton (www.chuckcrumpton.com) is the founder and CEO of Medpoint, LLC, a global consulting firm serving medical device and pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He is the author of The Jagged Journey: A Raw & Real Memoir about the Non-Perfect Path of Life & Business. He’s a featured keynote and session speaker at multi-industry events in the U.S., Europe and Asia for global organizations.
KC SmartPort

KC SmartPort Shares Leading Differentiators for its Ecommerce Surge

Known as the “hub for food logistics” in the Midwest, the Kansas City region boasts a unique approach to economic development. KC SmartPort – a nonprofit economic development organization – focuses on attracting freight-based businesses to the region through its streamlined efforts in workforce development, real estate opportunities, and thriving logistics-focused operations. The Kansas City region recently reported substantial growth in ecommerce and distribution companies establishing operations in the area with these companies planning to invest $1.3 billion and aiming for the creation of seven thousand jobs. KC SmartPort president Chris Gutierrez and his team attended the Dallas RILA/LINK 2020 conference as exhibitors and shared the latest and greatest developments emerging in the Kansas City region.

“With online sales increasing every year, companies have really been focusing on their omnichannel strategy. The Kansas City region is centrally located and offers a robust transportation infrastructure from road, air, rail and water, ultimately supporting the ability for businesses to reach 88-90 percent of the population in about two days. This really lends itself as a successful strategy around ecommerce,” said Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort.

“Since 2012, we’ve had over 40 million square feet of industrial buildings built primarily on spec because the ecommerce companies will go through a peak season and if they hit their numbers, they need to be in the next building within a certain time frame to hit next year’s peak. If they don’t have a building to move into, then the opportunity is lost. That’s something our region has been very successful in supporting,” he added.

Among big-name ecommerce and distribution companies that made the move to the Kansas City region in 2019 include Wal-Mart, Hostess, Amazon, CVS Pharmacy, Overstock.com, Tool Source Warehouse, and more. Part of this surge in ecommerce, automotive, and retailers is dually supported by the region’s balancing of business and workforce development efforts.

“What we are doing locally is a three-step process. First, we create an awareness buzz at the elementary and high schools and community colleges around supply chain jobs that serve as career opportunities with great benefits and growth options rather than just filling a position. The second part of local efforts involves public transportation, rideshare, and other mobility solutions to support getting the employee to the job site.”

“The third leg of this approach is encouraging employers to critically think about workplace culture. We take it a step further and educate employers of the importance of the first week during onboarding, eliminating the desire to go to the next company offering a quarter more in pay but offering a potentially more satisfying culture. If the company offers a healthy culture, it makes a huge difference, specifically with non-tangible things that add value to the employee experience.”

These multi-layered efforts not only support the existing workforce and growth in economic development but serve as proactive solutions for future workforce generations in Kansas City. More than 2.3 million people in the region rely on the unique economic development team covering both Kansas and Missouri. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) serves as a bi-state authority covering a broader regional area while addressing large-scale concerns. This partnership serves as a major differentiator in the region for businesses seeking a myriad of options in amenities, incentives, and transportation.

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Chris Gutierrez is the President of KC SmartPort, Inc., a KCADC affiliate organization focused on attracting freight based economic development to the greater Kansas City region and providing thought leadership to the supply chain industry in Kansas City. Chris has been active in economic development and logistics for over 30 years. He joined KC SmartPort in 2003.

google

How World-Class Amazon, Apple & Google Have Built Successful Cultures

Every small business wants to be the next Amazon—or the next Apple or Google. Their products and services, as well as their growth and profit margins, are the envy of all. But it is their company cultures that drive their success. After all, without the brain trust and boots on the ground, those enterprises would have remained small and insignificant. Now, everybody wants to work for them. Why?

Their trendy work campuses capture headlines and imaginations, but location and environment are just veneers for the culture they contain. Yet, these headquarters are also extensions of brand. From Apple’s “spaceship” park to Amazon’s geodesic Spheres and Google’s playful Silicon Valley campus, the looks of these businesses reflect brands driven first and foremost by people-centric cultures.

It may seem skewed in priority to place workers before the actual work being done. But if we want to benefit from the lessons of these top organizations, we will focus on culture the way they do. As global competition for talent increases, this is the formula that works.

You can begin to build a better talent infrastructure by working on the seven “pillars” of good culture I’ve identified through researching leading companies. These include how organizations handle transparency, positivity, measurement, acknowledgment, uniqueness, listening, and mistakes. The examples of Amazon and friends, however, are worth studying in more detail. A few key techniques and best practices that these three amigos share warrant special consideration.

Transparency Is Clarity

The design of Amazon’s Spheres addition to its Seattle workplace campus is meant to inject nature into the business environment. But the glass-and-steel structure also embodies the company’s commitment to transparency. Three linked geodesic domes leave precious little in the dark—which is also the way to enable employees to do their best work.

Amazon, Apple, and Google use transparency in two major ways. First, they attract talent that aligns with their stated mission and values. They make these goals and guiding lights clear to all job candidates, weeding out of contention folks who won’t row with the crew. This creates a cohesive workforce that is dedicated to being part of the brand.

This both reveals and capitalizes on the companies’ uniqueness. They all stand out from the crowd. One way that our businesses can do this is to concentrate on hiring for a fit with our core values and a prevailing attitude. Using personality tests to assess potential hires for their inclinations and motivations can help standardize an otherwise subjective practice and get the right people in the right seats.

Second, these companies use technology to employees’ advantage. Access to relevant and accurate information is critical to their job roles, and these high-tech firms know how to centralize data. Amazon even launched a business service called the Transparency Program, which helps brand owners thwart counterfeiting and intellectual property theft.

But the retailer’s greatest wielding of transparency is most visible in its delivery services. Moving vast volumes of merchandise to their destinations requires an intricate web of logistics. Small businesses can imitate that command of information-sharing by giving workers open access to the details they need and the people in the company who can best assist them.

Positivity Is Power

One look at Apple’s massive, ring-shaped Campus 2 tells you how strong the tech giant really is. More than a mile in circumference, the structure’s powerful curved lines reveal something about the company’s working ethos. And any enterprise dependent on innovation would be wise to adopt the Apple staff’s positive mindset.

Because the business world is dynamic and markets fluctuate, many organizations find themselves reacting to problems and challenges rather than proactively getting out in front of them. That’s only a recipe for more of the same. Top companies like Apple and Google employ a positive approach to planning, pursuing goals, and solving problems called appreciative inquiry.

This model optimizes a team’s strengths while ferreting out less successful strategies that can tank morale. Appreciative inquiry adds a methodical element to what might otherwise be chaotic, and a means to innovate that could easily be squelched by negativity or repeated failure. It gives workers a sense of accomplishment, even when actual gains may be small.

The central technique involves four stages: discovery, dreaming, design, and destiny. This 4-D Cycle prompts teams to discover what is working for them, so they can preserve and expand upon it. Next, they dream big and imagine their ideal outcome. From there, they select a likely path and design systems or steps to move them forward. Finally, they do what it takes to achieve that destiny.

Becoming agile in this approach gives small businesses a way to break the cycle of putting out fires and watching morale sink. It sets a positive tone that can be echoed in every other area of planning and workflow. And it’s self-perpetuating: one accomplishment prepares the team for its next success.

Numbers Instill Confidence

Visiting Google’s eclectic California headquarters may seem like downing one gigantic energy drink, with something impish rushing around every corner. From fleets of brightly colored communal bicycles to a statue park of oversized sweets named after the company’s android inventions, the vibe is Google’s brand—and the brand is utterly self-confident. Here is a business that knows exactly who it is and why it exists.

This sense of definition extends to its talent. Most small businesses have only fuzzy outlines to their image. That’s because most of us allow culture to form rather than intentionally building it. Job candidates can sense this, and they will be drawn first to companies with strong, distinct personalities. Google, and other companies that cultivate the cultures they want, enjoy attention from people who want that too.

This begins with articulating a mission and vision that inspire. It continues through identifying the best-performing employees and attempting to attract more like them. Google does this via data collection and analysis. Having created the foundation, they could take a deep dive into assessing which parts of culture work best and why.

With a legion of employees, Google was able to conduct a two-year study with a decent sample size that showed them which psychological conditions are likely to coalesce with the company’s mission and values—not just to create a happy workplace, but to create the best support system possible in which to perform work. This is the essence of culture at its best.

Google’s study found that successful outcomes correlated to the satisfaction of certain human needs, foremost of which was psychological safety. Workers needed to feel confident in taking risks, free of judgment or possible sanction. This let them stretch and sometimes fail—but ultimately innovate. From this confidence stemmed other areas of fulfillment, such as being able to depend on coworkers and to clearly understand the company’s expectations of them, which also helped teams achieve their goals.

Revealing these key conditions and the high performance that resulted from them allowed Google to continue to monitor variables and outcomes for further insights. The numbers instilled confidence in how the company manages its culture, which in turn lets it promote those traits when recruiting talent. Along with Apple and Amazon, Google leaders have embraced culture as a way to draw the best people—and they never let their employees forget who it is that makes those organizations successful.

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Leadership speaker Chris Dyer is a recognised performance and company culture expert, Founder and CEO of PeopleG2 and author of The Power of Company Culture (Kogan Page, 2018).

10 Tips to Manage Labor More Effectively in Your Supply Chain Logistics

The productivity of the supply chain logistics you’re running is at the hearts of the workforce working for you. With improved productivity, the company stands to make more revenue and profits because the entire workforce will be wisely using their work hours.

As the business owner or the operations in-charge, how can you improve productivity within your workforce? Here are 10 tips to manage labor more effectively in your supply chain logistics business.

Train the workforce

Training the workforce you have employed will help them know exactly how to do the tasks assigned and won’t spend much time trying to figure it out. Above that, employees will be more engaged in the jobs they do if they see that the employer cares about them.

If you care about the employees working for you, that can be manifest by developing their skills through organizing and investing in their training. Collect data about the company you are running and arrange training based on the critical factors that keep the business running.

Understanding all employees

To manage the workforce better, you need to understand them more and that will enable you to care for their individual needs. If you know their skills and abilities and assign them tasks that will make them function at their best potential, they will be more confident and be more productive.

That can be achieved by open communication between you and each employee. Instead of staying in the office all day every day, you can consider going to the common area during lunchtime to communicate with employees.

Gauge the performance

To manage your workforce more efficiently, you need to track their work performance and determine if they are working to their full potential. You can do so by figuring out the customer satisfaction rate. If customers are satisfied with the service, it might mean that everything is still under control.

Don’t wait until there is a complaint that comes to you but rather ask for each customer’s opinion about the service they got. Using a review system like that will help you know exactly how customers feel about the performance of the workforce you’ve employed.

Integrating technology in operations

Another way to empower employees is by offering them all the resources necessary to accomplish their daily tasks. That can be fulfilled by integrating technological systems that will assist them to do their tasks more efficiently.

For example, you can use wearable technology to help with scanning packed boxes and determining what is inside them. If the work of employees is lighter, they will be happier to come to work and that will result in increased productivity. Another measure you can take is automating some of the tasks that were burdening the workforce.

Practically assist employees to be more productive

Some employees are destined to be great leaders in the industry you are in and caging them by not giving them development opportunities can be harmful. The workforce you have deserves to grow and show leadership skills in the teams they are working in.

Instead of hiring managers when the need arises, groom the employees you have right now to be able to fill that role when that opportunity comes. The employees will also be motivated at this and will start putting in some more effort when doing their work. The same applies to you as well.

If you are the head of the operations or an employee in supply chain logistics, and you don’t feel productive in the place you work in, look for a new job that can cater to your needs. Go through top resume reviews and ivory research to get the best resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter designed.

Observe and report

You probably know the way you would like certain tasks to be carried out for optimum productivity, but the question is how do you implement it?

The most important thing is to understand where you are in relation to that goal you have set for yourself. That can be accomplished by observing the employees and seeing how they do things and determine where they can improve. Once you have done so, you can come up with a plan of action on how to incorporate those ideas you have.

Periodical motivational meetings

Everybody needs some motivation once in a while and you as an employer can arrange meetings with the entire staff. Those meetings will discuss the milestones and goals you have accomplished as a whole.

You can also include a snapshot of the work that is still upcoming and express that you believe in the entire team you work with. The motivation will help employees see what they are doing is truly worthwhile and that their efforts are appreciated.

Implement Warehouse Management Systems

You can implement a warehouse management system to oversee the tasks done at your workplace and try to optimize them. All the tasks that are optimized by these systems will help you cut down costs and have a more productive and engaged workforce.

Unlike humans, these systems primarily care about carrying out tasks efficiently. In that way, it can be a good balance between generating revenue and managing the workforce better.

Instill effective labor management systems to managers

Managers are the tip of the spear in the workforce. They have to report to the big bosses and still deal with the employees under them. Because of that, it is very important to speak to managers and train them on how to manage employees better.

They know the individual employees better and they should be tasked with the work of encouraging employees on the effort they are putting in the company. Managers should also be able to spot underperforming individuals and help them improve.

Incite professional competition

Professional competition is a great way to keep your employees on their toes. By having leaderboards on the work that the teams produce weekly or monthly, more workers will be keen on getting more done.

Also, you can have an employee of the month award and other rewards for workers that outperform and always show great work ethic. The awards don’t have to be expensive, simple things like recognition can do really well.

The bottom line

You can manage your workforce more effectively in the supply chain business by implementing warehouse management systems and integrating technologies in the daily operations of the business. Also, focus more on individual performance and then motivate and encourage based on that and help employees improve in their respective jobs they do.

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This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

employees

Why Sending Your Workers ‘Back to School’ is Good Business

Learning shouldn’t stop when someone earns a diploma or degree, and that’s especially true in the workplace where the company’s fate – and an employee’s career – could rest on the constant thirst to learn and improve.

“Developing a culture of continued education and continuous improvement is critical if you want to retain your staff and provide them with advancement opportunities,” says Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), founder and CEO of PFSbrands and author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success.

Essentially, Burcham says, sending employees “back to school” is good business, but that doesn’t mean you need to enroll them in Harvard’s MBA program.

“There’s plenty you can do right within your own doors and that employees can do on their own,” he says.

A few examples, Burcham says, include:

Establish in-house training programs. “Many companies spend thousands of dollars to send their employees to seminars or conferences,” Burcham says. “This strategy is fine, but personal growth starts by training in the workplace.” One example at PFSbrands, he says, was the creation of a Financial Literacy Committee that worked to make sure employees were educated about the financial aspects of the company, helping them to understand income statements and balance sheets. “This makes everyone more aware of the challenges involved with achieving profitability,” Burcham says. “Furthermore, this education provides everyone an opportunity to see how they can impact the company’s profitability and enhance their opportunity for additional income.”

Encourage everyone to read books for personal development. “One of my biggest regrets and mistakes in life is that I didn’t start reading books until age 40,” Burcham says. Now, he has created a book club at his company to encourage and incentivize everyone to continue to grow and learn, and he requires the senior-leadership team to read a minimum of 12 books a year. “I’ve seen dozens of people improve their lives as a result of implementing our book club,” he says.

Target lifelong learners in recruiting efforts. You can encourage employees to develop a continuous-improvement mindset, but it’s also possible to find people with that mindset in the hiring process, Burcham says. “We’ve found that lifelong learners are a great fit at PFSbrands, so we’ve developed systems and processes that help us to recruit these types of individuals,” he says. “Employees who don’t make an effort to continuously learn and improve will ultimately find themselves at another company. We train our leaders to not avoid the critical conversations with individuals who are not working toward improvement.”

“Despite how many degrees hang on the walls in their offices, wise leaders are committed to never stop learning,” Burcham says. “Whether it’s done in-house or at an industry conference, you owe it to yourself and your employees to engage in continued education. After all, a successful company’s growth is dependent on the capabilities of its employees.”

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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.