8 Quick Tips Every Startup Should Know

Success and Failure
 

According to the United States Small Business Association, there are over 28 million small businesses operating in the US. These small businesses are responsible for 54 percent of domestic market share.

If you are launching a startup and want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, here are eight tips you’ll want to keep in mind.

8 Quick Tips Every Startup Should Know

1. Carefully Consider the Competition

No matter what type of business you’re launching, you need to be aware of the competition and the industry standards. For example, you may feel it’s reasonable to charge by the hour only to discover others are charging piecework or by project.

Learn about standard deposits, pricing, turnaround times, promotions and accepted unwritten rules before you embarrass yourself or drive away potential clients.

2. Define the Scope of Your Business

New businesses often struggle to define their parameters at the start, especially if clients are asking for services you may not have considered. If you launch a venture that offers printing for brochures, business cards, and training materials, clients may also start asking about billboards, banners, graphic design services and other related products.

Know where your scope ends and where to direct clients if you can’t meet all of their needs. Resist the urge to say yes to every requested job or you may find yourself mired in projects you are wholly unprepared to handle.

3. Enumerate What Makes Your Venture Attractive to Prospective Employees

The Wall Street Journal lists broad job categories, a customized position, more flexibility, opportunities for growth, and better employee treatment as ways to lure quality talent away from huge corporations. New startups often make the mistake of only worrying about attracting clients, but you also need to think long and hard about how to entice the best employees to your door.

Put together a list of potential benefits you’re willing to negotiate. Some, like flexible hours, may cost you nothing at all. Others, like offering quality health insurance and short-term disability insurance, may be worth the cost if they get you top talent.

4. Define Short and Long-Term Goals

Entrepreneur Magazine recommends setting goals of varying time frames so you are able to judge your progress with your own yardstick. For example, if you simply want to run a small side business from your home with perhaps one part-time employee to help you during the holiday season, there’s little sense comparing yourself to a startup venture where the owners are pushing to go public in five years. Know where you are going and where you want to be.

5. Organize Your Finances

Your startup may not make a profit for a while and you may also want to reinvest any profit back into the business. Make sure you have an adequate emergency fund and startup capital so you won’t be juggling your office lease with your mortgage.

If you will be doing your own bookkeeping, learn the software before you go live to avoid costly and time-consuming errors.

6. Know Where to Find Assistance, if You Need it

If you have an accident, get sick or need surgery, having someone you can trust to step in for a while can save your business. You also need to consider if you’ve networked enough to get professional assistance when you need it, especially if you anticipate large projects in the future.

Consider the “what if” scenarios now before they happen.

7. Keep a Reasonable Schedule

Launching a business can easily eat up your every waking hour. Exercise, time with loved ones, meals and even sleep can start to take a back seat to the demands of your startup. From the beginning, define your schedule and keep to it as much as possible. If you want to shut off your business phone at five each evening, do it. If you won’t respond to emails on weekends, make that clear from the beginning. Don’t allow your ambition to overrun all other facets of your life.

8. Make Certain You’re Properly Insured

The Small Business Association enumerates the various types of business insurance available, and the options are broad indeed. General liability insurance can cover everything from slip-and-fall accidents at your shop to legal fees for libel or slander.

If you produce a consumable product, you may want to consider product liability insurance. Meet with your insurance agent early to discuss your venture’s details before a situation arises where you should have already been insured. A single lawsuit could put you out of business, so it pays to explore all options.

Launching your own business is an exciting time. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be better prepared for the process and can avoid costly, frustrating errors.

Do you have any other additional tips on how to be successful in a startup business? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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Company Culture Key to Surviving Success

How to Prioritize Organizational Values Above Growth

 

Company Culture 2

There is a contradiction within most organizations that usually goes overlooked: success can be hazardous to culture.

We tend to overlook this fact because it is so counter-intuitive. If things are going well, we might ask, then how can that be a hazard to anything?

Losing Sight of Cultural Values

Unfortunately, larger or growing organizations can easily lose sight and influence over the importance of their culture. Consequently, this makes refocusing on cultural values a more complicated prospect after they have been ignored or neglected.

David Hassell, CEO of the Silicon Valley-based startup 15Five explains it this way:

Generally, the trend has been you go from small and nimble to large and bureaucratic. I don’t know that that’s the way it has to be, but that’s the trend.”

Hassell’s company works with organizations facing cultural dilemmas; that confusing state when a company has grown, but its culture hasn’t grown and adapted along with it. Business is good, because culture is commonly neglected, even in successful organizations.

Row in the Same Direction

One of the first things [an organization needs to do] is ask: who are the early, founding members?” Hassell says. “Why did this group come together—what is their common vision, their shared values, their world view?”

Hassell’s advice echoes a popular sports analog from the crew world that implores teams to “row in the same direction.” This is fine advice, if your only goal is to move the boat in an inflexible path forward.

But when teams exist as an organization, whether it is a business, a corporation, or even a department, the goal is rarely as simple as just rowing in the same direction. More likely, the team’s goal is to both move the boat and to simultaneously grow it.

This requires things like:

  • Developing talent
  • Investing in technology
  • Growing the team and each team member
  • Taking on more ambitious projects
  • And so on…

We Need a Bigger Boat

This is where maintaining culture, preserving foundational values, gets complicated. The boat is getting bigger, and in time, rowers are replaced with motors and engines. Suddenly you find yourself shouting over a massive, powerful machine for everyone to “Row in the same direction!”

But nobody is rowing. They are all specialized, siloed, and focused on all sorts of segmented goals, driven by whatever motivations they happen to respond to.

Your boat—your organization—may not sink immediately, but neither will it be as maneuverable, as responsive to change, or as resilient in the face of obstacles because it is no longer held together by a healthy culture.

The Culture of Growing-Up

Company CultureOf course, aligning values is easier when an organization is small. But something happens during the scaling process. It feels a lot like success. Or even outright victory.

This is because the things that got you started are paying off. The team is growing, revenues are increasing, and you suddenly have demand for things you didn’t need before.

These are things like:

  • An HR department
  • Employee handbooks
  • Benefits
  • Insurance

As well as justification for investing in others that you’ve always wanted:

  • Specialists
  • An-house design team
  • Remote sales reps
  • Marketing department

The mistake that many organizations and leaders make that lead to the sort of bureaucratic growth on which Hassell laments is to think that a good strategy can overcome any organizational ailment.

Culture Trumps Strategy

Implementing yet another top-down solution doesn’t restore intimacy in communication, repair trust in leadership, or fill any of the voids that a keep a culture healthy and resilient.

Everybody knows that culture trumps strategy every day of the week,” says Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University.

Crow, understands the challenges of taking on a neglected, discordant culture. As part of his role at the university, he decided not just to transform his organization (the school), but to take on something much bigger: the culture of an entire country.

His strategy? The same as Hassell’s advice for startups and young companies: seek out like-minded thinkers and work to attract more people who are a good cultural fit.

Start at the Beginning

I’m not arguing that we need to go in and ‘change culture’ or drive cultural changes across people; what we have to do is find ways to understand our cultural heritages better,” says Crow.

To achieve this, Crow helped facilitate a partnership between ASU Online and the Mayo Medical School, in part to change how future doctors and nurses are trained in medicine.

The ultimate goal? To change how America thinks about health, wellness, and medical care.

But he is tackling this outsized goal the same way that small, start-up companies approach their niche goals. He is doing with a strategic partnership, rooted in a common vision.

Recruit With Wisdom

All the key challenges of leadership such as motivating, innovating, and empowering are directly impacted by the recruitment decisions being made, and the cultural values that inform and dictate how recruiting occurs.

Small organizations have it easier because they are at the beginning of the cultural evolution and they can put the focus on hiring for culture right from the start. But as Crow’s initiative demonstrates, rebuilding an unhealthy culture can start the same way.

Conversations about values, goals, and motives are the building blocks of company culture. It is never too late to initiate these conversations—but it is a lot easier to start having them early on.

So how important is a healthy, strong, and growing culture at your organization? As a leader, what steps can you take to get a clear picture of your corporate values structure and continue to improve them for a better culture? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Edgar Wilson is a Writer, Consultant, and Analyst
He follows trends in Education, Healthcare, and Public Policy
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It’s Not Rocket Science: Leading, Inspiring and Motivating Your Team To Be Their Best (Difference Press, 2015)

 

Have you ever wondered what sets the great leaders apart from the “also-rans?”

Are you an overwhelmed leader who wants a magic formula to get your people to follow you anywhere?

Do you wonder why you can’t seem to get your employees motivated?

You can be “the boss” people follow because they want to–and motivate them to be their best. It shows you how to be leader who inspires the best effort from the people in your business or organization.

The book tells you what works, what doesn’t, and how to get it all done in a day’s work.

More About The Author Here

People Before Profits: 5 Ways to Lead Your Company and Brand

Lead With Heart to Boost Your Business

 

People or Money

My company sells wine, changes lives, and is growing rapidly. As a CFO-turned-CEO, my business philosophy is simple: Put people first, and the profits will follow.

I am in business to expand job opportunities and awareness for the nearly 57 million Americans who live with disabilities — including my son, Matt. Although my company, 100 Percent Wine, donates all profits to organizations helping people with disabilities find jobs, I’ve seen revenue grow and my brand expand.

The trust and loyalty, generated by brand alignment with a cause, is a powerful differentiator.”

Building Trust

In fact, 90 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental initiatives. Similarly, nine in 10 consumers say they’d switch brands to support a good cause, given a similar price and quality.

As a businessman, I know shareholders want the company to turn a profit. Fortunately, shareholder gains and social responsibility can do more than coexist — they can actually further one another. For instance, the 2014 Global Economics of Disability report proves that companies that support people living with disabilities actually produce higher long-term returns for shareholders.

My Son, My Business

My son was the inspiration for my company. As a father, it pained me to watch Matt face the stigma and assumption that he couldn’t do things I knew he was fully capable of doing. And throughout his life, Matt will have to work hard for job opportunities.

Just 17.1 percent of people with disabilities are employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I took my business background and set out to change that. While my company is still young, its mission has generated a healthy buzz around the wine and the brand. Considering that 100 million Americans have a friend or family member living with a disability, who doesn’t want to expand opportunities for this community?

Socially Responsible Leadership Strategies

If you want to help the world, cultivate goodwill toward your brand, and boost sales, it’s time for you to employ a “people before profits” philosophy at your company.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Authentically Share Your Story

Authenticity is a critical component of a people-first business strategy. Customers are too smart for greenwashing, and they can see through half-hearted giving. FIFA has no shortage of environmental and social initiatives, but that has done little to improve the organization’s public image.

Instead, tell customers what inspired you to show that you’re serious about improving society. Although I hesitated to share Matt’s story, I quickly realized that customers needed to know why I had dedicated myself to this cause. Now, people understand why I’m doing this and empathize with my mission to improve the world for people with disabilities.

2. Donate Wisely and Expect Results

Customers want to see you give charitably, not just talk about it.

However, be sure you vet charities carefully to ensure your dollars do as much good as possible.”

I searched long and hard to ensure 100 Percent Wine’s profits go to the most innovative, creative organizations working to provide jobs for people with disabilities.

We gave our first grant to UCP Heartland because it helps businesses find qualified staff from this community, and we’ll measure our impact by the number of jobs created through our donations.

3. Get Involved

While financial support is important to fixing any of our world’s ills, doing volunteer work for the cause shows customers you’re willing to work in the trenches.

100 Percent Wine seeks to partner with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations that create jobs for people living with disabilities. Sure, I could just write a check every month, but actually working to create sustainable jobs for people with disabilities is so much more valuable. Show your customers why you care by volunteering, working directly with nonprofits, and advocating.

4. Engage the Entire Organization

This can’t just be a CEO initiative; the whole company should care about your cause. Hold rallies to pump up employees, and look for empathy and dedication when hiring new team members.

I’ve made sure every member of my company cares about helping people with disabilities just as much as I do. I hired my talent scout Chuck Blossom to make sure we had the right people on board. Chuck was previously CEO of Boone Center Inc. in St. Charles, Missouri, which employs hundreds of people with cognitive and physical disabilities. He is the right guy for his role.

Additionally, more than one-third of our team consists of people living with disabilities. As we expand further, I’ll continue to vet people not just on their skills, but also on their dedication to helping individuals with disabilities.

5. Think Long-Term

A mission to improve lives can’t be a short campaign. When considering a socially responsible brand strategy, ensure your company’s leaders are on board for the long haul.

To effect change and build loyalty, your brand must be committed to a cause for years to come.”

Newman’s Own has given $450 million to thousands of charities since its inception in 1982. The brand has built a following around the fact that it donates 100 percent of profits to charity, and people everywhere associate the name with charitable giving.

In fact, Newman’s Own inspired my pledge to give 100 percent of my company’s profits to organizations helping the community of people with disabilities.

Leading Lifelong Decisions

Even before my son Matt was born, I knew business should do more than make a profit. But the experience of fatherhood has influenced me to spend my days working to benefit Matt and everybody living with disabilities.

The decision hasn’t just given me a strong business — it’s creating a better world for people living with disabilities.

So what can you and your business do to put people before profits and make the world a better place? What sort of organizing and leadership will it take from your organization to get things moving in a better direction? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Scott Monette

Scott Monette is the founder of 100 Percent Wines, a premium winery.
He donates all profits to nonprofits helping people with disabilities
Email | LinkedIn | Web

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Imaginary Leadership (Part 1 of 2)

Ending the Persecution of People, Productivity and Profit

Imaginary Leader
 

Have you ever met an Imaginary Leader or experienced the displeasure of working for one?

Unfortunately, it is altogether likely that you have, and it is a foregone conclusion that you didn’t like it.”

It also follows naturally that the group/ company suffered as a result. The reality is, there are a lot of Imaginary Leaders (defined below)…many occupying positions of authority, but all wreaking havoc on people, productivity, and profits.

Punishing Practices

Perhaps you can relate to one of the following based on your experience with leaders in your professional walk:

  • The persecution of people by proxy
  • The persecution of productivity by process
  • The persecution of profit by policy

There may be others, but these are the top 3 punishing practices of Imaginary Leaders that I’ve identified over the past 31 years. In contrast, these are practices that Real Leaders avoid. Not only that, they make a habit of identifying where and when they occur and go out of their way to stop them, every chance they get.

Imitating the Imaginary or Getting Real

Today, Imaginary Leaders not only abound, they continue to grow; mostly because future leaders tend to lead how they were led and since many have served, and been promoted, under Imaginary Leaders…well, you get the point. I should clarify, however, that while their leadership is imaginary the problems (e.g., negative impact/ results) are very real and should be stopped.

But before we can identify and bring an end to these punishing practices, we need to understand a little more about who we’re talking about and the proximate causes that create the persecuting effects.

Two Leadership Profiles

Following is a basic profile of both Imaginary and Real Leaders.

Imaginary leaders are Leaders-in-Position—entitled by promotion to a position (granted by someone higher in the organizational structure).

The Leaders-in-Position is characterized by one or more of the following:

  • Exert mostly positional power (i.e., legitimate, coercive, reward) and often abuse it
  • Have “direct” reports, but only imagine they are being followed
  • Followership is “voluntold” (not voluntary) and motivated by fear, desperation
  • Use authority as the principal source of social, political and professional influence
  • Employ more restrictive than prescriptive leadership strategies
  • Fix the blame when things go wrong
  • Place a primary, if not exclusive, focus on short-term results (and behaviors/ attitudes)

Real Leaders, however, are Leaders-in-Person—earned by appointment to a provisional role (regardless of position, ‘Leader’ becomes a title given by those who choose to follow, regardless of where they are in the organizational hierarchy).

The Leaders-in-Person is associated with the following characteristics:

  • Rely mostly on personal power (i.e., expert, referent, informational) and use positional power judiciously
  • May or may not have direct reports, but actually garner a large following
  • Followership is voluntary; motivated by respect, inspiration
  • Use authenticity as the principal source of social, political and professional influence
  • Employ more prescriptive than restrictive leadership strategies
  • Fix the system when things go wrong
  • Place a primary, but not exclusive, focus on long term results (and effort/ thinking):

Let me add that every leader has a choice to make here; whether our leadership will imitate the imaginary or get real. So before moving on, I want to challenge you to stop for a few minutes and perform a quick self-evaluation against these two distinct leadership profiles.

How have you been led? Where do you fall?”

What “Lies” Behind the Cause

Hidden safely behind the proximate cause(s) are a host of assumptions and theories that undergird and support this contrast. But for the sake of time and space—running the risk of oversimplifying—it can be reduced to basic differences in the following equations when it comes to the performance of people, productivity, and profit:

Command & Control Model

McGregor’s Theory X + Skinnerian Behaviorism + Taylor’s Scientific Management = Command & Control [CC]

Continual Improvement Model

McGregor’s Theory Y + Kohn’s Model for Motivation + Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK)/ 14 Points = Continual Improvement [CI]

While generalizations are not always accurate, the following may help add some much-needed color inside the lines for better contrast:

I’ve embedded some links for further study, but what’s important to understand here is that these combined theories-in-use (i.e., CC and CI) are incompatible and irreconcilable.

A Situational Leadership Dilemma

It may be fanciful to suggest that situational leadership dictates which approach gets applied, but the reality is that this never happens.

Here are a couple of illustrations to support this point.

  • If you hold a CI frame of reference, you won’t ever need to adopt a CC approach to resolve performance problems related to people, process or profit, and the reasons are simple: (a) SoPK has already revealed to the Real Leader that 94% of the performance problems they will encounter are built into the system as a common cause of variation and they’ll seek to reduce variability around these causes in order to improve, and (b) the other 6% of the time that performance problems can be attributable to special causes, they’ll be able to constructively resolve without abandoning CI as there is simply nothing about the CC approach that is more helpful in these situations.
  • If you hold a CC frame of reference, you won’t ever choose to adopt a CI approach to resolve performance problems with people, process or profit. I’ve never seen this occur. In a crisis or performance problem situation, I’ve never seen an Imaginary Leader fix the system after already fixing the blame…NEVER! The reasons are equally simple: (a) they lack Profound Knowledge, so how could systems thinking, a knowledge of variation, the theory of knowledge, and psychology ever inform their actions, and (b) their theories-in-use have convinced them that the performance problem is effectively resolved once “accountability’ firmly fixed the blame, so there is nothing else to do.

The Practices of Persecution

Every leader will engage in certain practices when approaching others and their daily work as a natural consequence of the assumptions they make and the theories they adopt.

It is unavoidable in the thinking-knowing-doing-performing cycle.”

The problem is that, while all theories, by definition, are valid, some are simply more useful to leadership when it comes to improving individual, group and organizational performance.

Even though mounting evidence continues to suggest that the CI approach is based on more useful theories, CC is still extremely prevalent. Compounding the problem is the simple fact that an Imaginary Leader using CC can still get promoted, make more money, and experience all the trappings of success—at least in the short-term.

We see it all the time. Tragically, the longer a CC theoretical framework remains entrenched—both in Academia and in Business—the more likely it is that misattribution of success  (borrowed from Human Synergistics® International’s original defensive misattribution† description) will occur/ recur and the harder it becomes to abandon.

Misattribution of Success occurs when an Imaginary Leader actually begins to mistakenly attribute their success—at least from a short-term perspective and based on certain financial and business-process measures of merit—to CC (and the assumptions/ theories that support it) rather than to other internal factors like a defensive organizational culture (where CC flourishes) or substantial resources with minimal demands (where the group/ organization can succeed in spite of CC).

† Cooke, R.A. and Szumal, J.L., Handbook of Organizational Culture and Climate, pp. 152-159, Copyright © 2000 by Sage Publications.

This is why we find ourselves where we are today with Imaginary Leaders and the corresponding practices of persecution mentioned above, which you can read in greater detail here: Imaginary Leader (Part 2 of 2).

In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Richard Dillard

Richard S. Dillard is Founder/ Managing Partner at Dillard Partners, LLC
Pursuing Success at the Speed of Leadership!
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Leaders: Be a Mirror Unto Yourself

How to Create More Mental Space to Drive Success

 

Mindfulness

As leaders, we are encouraged to meet people. You know, network, get close to key influencers and difference makers. 

This makes sense. And I do believe a vast personal and professional network is important.”

However, I would suggest that in order to grow, the most important person you need to get familiar with is yourself. Self-knowledge can be transformational.

On Personal Mindfulness

My favorite place to hang out is in my head. I find it an interesting place to be. It can be funny, crazy and, every once in a while, heavy. I spend this time both formally and informally. I consider myself a student of my own mind and the thoughts that it produces.

Mindful MirrorI feel this is a great use of my time. I know there is a real benefit. I am more in tune to the way I will react in a given situation. I’ve recognized the things I meet head on and those from which I retreat.

I’ve learned that a thought is merely a passing cloud and not a real construct from which I must act. Most importantly, I have created space in my head.

I have learned how to catch myself in a thought, before acting on it. The side benefit of doing so is that I take myself far less seriously. I find the workings of my mind and the habits it churns out very funny. Being able to laugh at those captured thoughts has loosened the grip they could have on me.

On Powerful Routines

I have a daily meditation practice. I would encourage everyone to add this to their routine. To sit and watch your mind is far more entertaining than any reality TV show. When you realize that a thought, regardless of how visceral or powerful it may feel, is no more than a wave, rising and falling away, it can be truly liberating.

We you recognize that it is your choice whether or not to feed that thought with the energy needed for it to manifest, it is really powerful.

I find casual “mind time” in a myriad of ways. For example, while driving, walking or just sitting out back. It is my place of refuge, my sanctuary.

I go there when I need to step off of life’s merry-go-round.”

As an introvert, I sometimes retreat into the inner sanctum of my mind in large social settings when the cacophony of conversation becomes too much. Oddly, doing so has also helped me to recognize this behavior. I have become more mindful of this tendency and, therefore, less likely to just check out.

Your Mind’s Own Reflection

I believe that spending time, looking at your mind’s own reflection makes you a better giver of time to others. It helps you listen more fully. You are more aware of your habit driven reactions or those propelled by ego and insecurity.

You become more present, which is a wonderful gift to offer another.”

We are just so frequently not there, in that moment. It is something the receiver will undoubtedly notice.

I have been working on this for years. In terms of catching my thoughts before acting on them, my batting average is far lower than I care to admit. But, I understand that it is a practice because habit energy is hard to break. Creating space and slowing things down is difficult, yet, over time, I see it happening more and more frequently.

I emerge from the time spent inwardly able to more fully meet this moment outwardly. I am more present for those I interact with and a better giver of my time. By being a mirror unto myself, I’ve become more effective in my interactions with others and frankly, I like myself a bit more.

So how are you doing at being mindful with yourself? How could the right kind of “playing around in your mind” help you become a better person who can lead others better? What steps can you take now to settle into a mindful routine that helps you learn, grow, and become a better leader? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Please join our GROW Community. We will share helpful articles, tips, tools and videos. We will never share your email address.

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Elliot Begoun

Elliot Begoun is the Principal Consultant of The Intertwine Group, LLC.
He works with companies to Deliver Tools that Enable Growth
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Google+GROW | Website

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How Leadership Is Evolving In 2015 and Beyond

 

Millennials CollageAs the Millennial generation comes of age, there are changes happening in the workplace that are revealing just how Generation Y will leave their mark on society in the decades to come.

When it comes to the workplace environment it has becoming clear that factors like diversity and making sure everyone has a voice are crucially important to this new wave of employees.

But that’s not all.

Millennials are also looking for new styles of management to match their unique approach to the workplace. And with Millennials already overtaking Baby Boomers in prominence in the workforce, the winds of change are going to continue blowing for a long time.

Here are some of the environmental building blocks that management should be using in 2016.

Humility

It may sound strange to old-school management, but leadership in 2016 is no longer about creating an environment that caters to the rock stars within the company. Today’s Millennial workforce grew up on television shows like The Office, where faux-Type A leaders like Michael Scott and overeager disciplinarians like Dwight Schrute were mocked.

Meanwhile, the show’s characters gravitated naturally toward employees like Jim Halpert, with his easy-going confidence and a sense of low-key humility. Cultivating a similar mix of humility and confidence in your office can create a synergy and a collaborative spirit that will help lift productivity and keep your employees around longer.

Transparency

The days are long gone when management could keep a closed-door to employees and hide key information like expected salary range and how the company is performing financially.

Employees nowadays are smarter and have more potential mobility than ever before.

Sites like Glassdoor.com make it easy to compare salaries, both within a company and for similar positions in different companies. They can also reveal warts about a company’s leadership or divulge how the company is managing hiring and layoffs. And, frankly, with fewer benefits like pensions to keep employees around for life, generation Y is looking to know the companies they work for more intimately than ever before.

The company behind social media tool Buffer has set an incredible precedent for transparency, posting their salary formula for each and every position at the company as well as how each dollar a customer spends is used to fund the company. While I’m not saying you have to go quite that far, don’t hide the type of information that your employees need to know in order to decide whether they want to invest themselves in your company long-term.

Flexibility

With more and more companies adopting a more mobile workforce, questions that surround managers today include allowing employees to bring their own devices to work and whether or not they will require remote access through a VPN or the cloud when they are offsite.

In some organizations, the worksite has become more like the incubator office where employees can meet up when needed while working primarily offsite. Look for this trend to continue in 2016.

This idea was echoed by Kevin Brogan, VP at Meadows Casino.

He says this:

Whether it is a workflow or an end result giving your team the freedom to create more efficient ways of working has allowed the US to help bring back some jobs that were previously moved overseas.”

It also helps workers take advantage of their natural focus and energy ebbs and flows and cuts down on commute time, “getting ready” time, etc. It also incentivizes “staying in the zone” and working as efficiently as possible instead of pacing one’s self to make sure that everything takes exactly 8 hours to complete.

Putting your employees in control of their schedules tells them that they are responsible for getting results by any means necessary.

Empathy

In customer service, the maxim used to be: Feel, Felt, Found. It was a way of empathizing with the customer so that one could say, I know how you feel. I have been in that situation myself before, and here is how we can resolve this. Applying that to your employees in abbreviated form is an area of being a manager that should pay dividends in 2016 and beyond.

After years of being hit by ‘toughen your emotions for the war’ in the media, it is now okay to show your emotions and feelings about something.

Of course there is really no need to be maudlin, but showing that you are alive and empathetic will be appreciated.

2015 has been a pretty good year for business in the United States. Employment is up and management trends continue to emphasize a more humanist approach as a means of motivating and building productivity.

By correlating details of the environmental desires of your workforce with your management style, you can be in position in 2016 to reap the benefits.

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Tayven James

Tayven James is a Freelance Business and Tech Author
He focuses on Emerging Trends and the Marketing Methods behind their Success
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L2L Infographic: Emotional Intelligence and Your Career

 

Emotional intelligence helps us manage stress, it is vital for enhanced co-operation and teamwork, and it helps us to learn in relationships. Studies have found that 67% of all competencies deemed essential for high performance are related to emotional intelligence. Leaders who score higher in emotional intelligence are more likely to be highly profitable in business.

Emotional Intelligence and Your Career

Infographic Courtesy of Brighton School of Business and Management

How Successful Leaders Ensure Continued Success

 

Global Success

Continued success is something that every successful leader in business strives to achieve. Those who have been very successful have a record of staying in some of the best positions in their respective industries.

A Global Environment

The work environment over the last several years has largely taken on a global outlook. Because more companies do business on an international scale, it is necessary for successful companies and their employees to have a focus towards global success. The executives who run such companies need to make a global outlook part of their major strategy.

Fahad Al Rajaan and other successful executives in a global business environment have shown skill in using their most successful careers to their advantage. Those who want to be successful in today’s competitive, global environment will likewise need to take full advantage of their opportunities.

One of the many advantages of a global outlook is being able to adapt to business changes that affect the business environment in meaningful ways. By being able to adapt to these global changes easily, companies will have a broader reach within the wider world.

Professional Memberships Make a Difference

For many fellow business professionals and customers, an executive’s membership in a professional association gives them a greater air of authority. There are many people in the business world who are more likely to avoid a fellow professional without any serious credentials.

Executives have a leading, if not the most important role in determining a company’s success on an international level. Even though other employees implement these strategies, it is usually the executives who have the most knowledge of the global situation. When a company has a good knowledge of the global business environment, their plans will always have this focus.

One of the ways for executives to ensure that their employees keep this outlook is to keep everyone interested in events that affect the way they work. When employees see something that impacts the company as relating to them, they are more likely to take a more active part in significantly contributing to the company’s success.

Management Needs to Be Attuned to Changes

Even though it is in a company’s best interests to keep management on top of things, sometimes too much is delegated to lower-level employees. This practice can sometimes lead to a disconnect that makes it harder to adopt global strategies. Employees and their managers need to feel at ease with each other to get the most work accomplished.

Genuine teamwork is necessary to ensure that everyone is on board with the global strategy. The executives and other members of management need to be closely involved with the process to make sure that each team member is on the same track towards success.

Regular meetings help ensure that all members of the team have adequate time to discuss strategy. When there are regular meetings regarding global strategy, it helps everyone adopt a better attitude towards working together.

Measuring Success

Although the total measure of success takes time and relies upon the heavy use of data, a dedicated team will likely see some positive results within a shorter period. Determination also makes a difference in these situations.

On Towards a Global Future

As the business world becomes increasingly globalized, it is likely that more companies will include a global focus within their main strategies. Innovative business leaders will be able to put everything into place in a way that helps them succeed with all the innovations available.

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6 Leadership Lessons From Rudolph

by Eleanor Biddulph

 

‘Tis the season! One annual tradition in my house is gathering to watch Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer. This year, I watched it through the lens of leadership.

Imagine Burl Ives, as the voice of Sam the Snowman, applying the lessons of Rudolph to the workplace…

6 Lessons in Leadership

Scenario 1

Rudolph first apppears as the new deer at the playground. The other reindeer notice Rudolph’s shiny nose as it glows, and begin to laugh at him and call him names. Meanwhile, at Elf School, Hermey the Elf is also being ridiculed because he wants to be a dentist. Hermey has lots of ideas about how to make sure the dolls have healthy teeth, which, of course, the other elves think is just silly.

Lesson #1:

As leaders, we need to be in tune with how new employees are being welcomed into the team. Hopefully, we’ve created an environment that welcomes new people bringing new experiences, new ideas, and new skills to help the organization be great. Diversity of all kinds must be embraced, not driven away. Ideas should be respectfully heard, not ridiculed.

Scenario 2

The head elf even tells Hermey, “You’ll never fit in! Now you come to elf practice, learn how to wiggle your ears, chuckle warmly, go hee-hee and ho-ho, and important stuff like that. A dentist! Good grief! ” Soon, both Rudolph and Hermey are singing the same song; “Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nitwit. You can’t fire me, I quit. Seems I don’t fit in.”

Lesson#2:

As leaders, it is important that we have the right people in the right positions, matching an individual’s skills and desires with job function and team purpose. We also need to recognize when a team member shows an aptitude for another role. A good leader will help that person reach their career goal, rather than forcing them to be in a role they are clearly not a fit for.

Scenario 3

Rudolph, feeling rejected, runs away and meets up with Hermey, on the road after quitting elf school. The two of them then meet Yukon Cornelius, the prospector who also doesn’t fit in with the general population. All three set out to try a find a place where they can fit in.

Rudolph, Hermey and Cornelius come upon the Island of Misfit Toys. There’s Charlie-in-the-box, Spotted Elephant, and more. Charlie is the sentry who welcomes them to the island. It is clear, as he bounces about, that he can be a great toy. The only thing “wrong” with him is his unexpected name. Spotted Elephant is cute and cuddly. He would make some little girl or boy a wonderful gift, except that his outside isn’t the color people would expect.

Lesson #3:

As leaders, we need an awareness of any pre-judgments we are attaching to people. Someone might not look or act the way we expect them to, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be successful. A team member might not have the background we expected, but they might still be well-skilled for the job at hand. Are we minimizing people because of our ideas, rather than welcoming them for theirs? Are we treating them as mis-fits, just because they are a little different?

Scenario 4

After a time, Rudolph, Hermey, and Cornelius set out to tell Santa about the Island of Misfit Toys. They promise the toys that they will help Santa see that even though the toys aren’t what people might expect, they can still be loved and enjoyed by a needy child.

Lesson #4:

As leaders, are we in tune when our team members “manage up?” Sometimes, we don’t realize how our own behavior or ideas impact others. We can be even better leaders if we are open to the wisdom and observations of others. The success of the leader and the team is interdependent and we need to welcome feedback that is shared with us.

Scenario 5

As we all know, the story ends well. One foggy Christmas Eve, Santa realizes that Rudolph’s nose, so bright, is just the thing to guide the sleigh that important night. Once the leader embraces Rudolph, so does the rest of the reindeer team. The sleigh stops at the island to pick up the misfit toys, and drops them into the homes of needy children who will love them dearly.

Lesson #5:

As leaders, we set the example. If we view a new project with enthusiasm, so will the team. If we see a challenge as an opportunity, the team will follow our lead. If we seek out ways to use the strengths of our individual followers, they will be embraced by the rest of the team for their uniqueness, rather than ridiculed for it.

Scenario 6

And, then, there’s the Abominable Snowman. Throughout the story, he is feared. He’s big, loud, grouchy, and mean. However, it turns out that he has a major toothache! After Hermey uses his dental knowledge and pulls the Snowman’s bad tooth, the monster becomes a big old softy. His height is perfect for adding the star to the top of the Christmas tree.

Lesson #6:

As leaders, we all have experienced that really difficult employee. Sometimes, there just doesn’t seem to be anyway to break though a tough exterior. They might be rude, disruptive, attention-seeking, poor performers. Or, they might be someone with a lot of potential who is in some kind of pain – physical or emotional. If we take the time to have an honest conversation with them, coming from a place of caring about their success, we just might find that what is “wrong” can be made “right.” This may not always be the case, but just imagine if your abominable snowman ended up hanging the star on your tree.

Can you see leadership lessons in any other holiday tales? I hope you’ll add a comment and share them. Have a wonderful holiday and successful new year of leadership and growth!

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Eleanor Biddulph
Eleanor Biddulph
 is the EVP of Client Services at Progressive Medical, Inc.
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