Category Archives: Quotes, Observations & Ironies

Business, Management and Leadership quotes, observations and ironies on current events as it relates to Management/Leadership

Great Leadership Quotes from Tom Brady

 

Good leaders get inspiration from a number of areas, some from popular books or Blogs, and many from everyday people.  I wasn’t planning on focusing on Tom Brady this week but the news cycle and Mr. Goodell convinced me otherwise.  Here are a few quotes from a leader I draw inspiration from that easily apply to what we are all trying to do, Quarterback a winning team.

Tom Brady on;

 

Excellence  –

I don’t care about three years ago, …….I don’t care about two years ago, I don’t care about last year.  The only things I care about is this week….



Focus & Execution –

If you don’t play to win, don’t play at all

Strategic Planning –

You want to know which ring is my favorite?  The next one.

Organizational Effectiveness –

Every quarterback can throw the ball; every running back can run; every receiver is fast; but the mental toughness that you talk about translates into competitiveness

Personal Leadership & Prioritizing –

I always try to do as much as I can do.  I’m never the person that does not enough, because I’d regret not doing enough and think I probably could have done more.  I probably go too far and then have to reel myself back in, which works in some things, and in other things, it doesn’t work….

Communication –

If I have to say something, I want it to be meaningful.

 

Any great quarterback can be used for this analogy, and I am admittedly biased for TB12.  Leadership is found in all shapes and sizes.  Using quotes from sports figures  resonates with staff better than quoting Maxwell or Covey, so perhaps these may help you.

C.S.Simon Consulting recognize the challenges to get everyone on your team to contribute to a common goal.   Focus, Execution, Planning, Communication, Prioritizing and Mental toughness are skills your people may need developed to achieve the goals.   Developing individual leaders with in your staff is an investment in your business and doesn’t need to be costly.

Consultants Tip –  I challenge you give on the spot feedback to someone demonstrating leadership by an action or behavior.
Few things are as appreciated as recognition & a “high five.”

Management has a tendency to focus on people’s errors.  While that is needed, it is also to spend dedicated time of finding an employee do something right.  Many explain they don’t have time to do that.  Positive reinforcement reduces turnover and decreases productivity lost during recruiting and onboarding.  From a financial perspective you are much better off developing a culture of Leadership in your staff (who then train other staff) then having a “revolving door” policy.  Wouldn’t we all like to have a Tom Brady on our staff? Where would Tom be without his coaches?

         Carpe diem!

 

Volunteerism is Good for your Business

Volunteering time or resources to those in need can have a profound effect on your business. This week is National Volunteer Week and we wanted to encourage anyone reading to give of yourself AND to recognize those that volunteer both for and in your organization. There are a multitude of ways that you or your company can help to those around you, and there are misconceptions around how much of your time it actually takes. People I have spoken with say they can’t give a day a week or even fixed hours every week to a cause and therefore don’t volunteer. It is not that these people don’t want to help, they just feel it may take too much from other important aspects of their life (family, work, etc). There are volunteer opportunities that can fit almost anyones schedule and the trick is to find the right ones for you.

Why to do this & How this helps a business

  1. Emotional advantages – Volunteering feels good. Knowing that what you have just done is helping someone (or some organization) work out a problem, provide services, or help someone else often provides a natural boost to the giver.
  2. Financial advantages – If you operate a business it can also help you grow. More than ever consumers support companies that support other causes aswell. In recent years there has even been a new business classification for this, have you heard of “B Corporations” (in addition to “C” & “S” “LL”corps)?  B-Corps are “profit” companies that are formed to provide a “Benefit” to a group or cause.   If your business tells people about causes you believe and support, people that believe in the same thing(s) become your marketing force.
  3. Leadership advantages – If you volunteer, people and employees around you are more likely to volunteer.
  4. Workforce development advantages – Employees like it, it makes them feel good about their place of work, which helps keep turnover down.

Hopefully many of you make it a habit to regularly thank those around you.  Thanking someone for contributions they make is the most effective way to build loyalty and recognition.  Loyalty and recognition leads to repetitive actions and isn’t that what you want from employees and volunteers?

Ways to volunteer

Church group – This one you already knew. Good people doing good work, what’s not to like.

Civic groups – so many to choose from.  School groups, town boards, faternal groups, soup kitchens, etc.  All do great work for different groups and sectors, pick one near and dear and run with it!

One time events – most fundraisers need hands and advertise for help.  For 10 years my wife and I have helped with the Boston Marathon.  It is a 6-8 hr commitment once a year.  Great fun with lots of memories.

Mentoring –  Meeting with someone periodically to help provide direction or clarify goals is needed at all levels.  Big Brothers/Sisters organizations, local gentrification/employement organizations or even through academic affiliates.  Helping someone avoid errors feels great and it is the right thing to do.  All you need to do is talk to people about something you are good at, how hard is that? Depending on your industry, working with schools/colleges on internship type programs may get others in your business involved too.  These programs are usually well organized and require a dedicated amount of time that you can plan for.

Healthcare – So many possibilities! Contact hospitals or Managed Care facilities for formal programs but you can also help by speaking to neighbors or community groups.  Do elders need rides to appointments or errands?  Meals on wheels ALWAYS needs help.  Companionship programs always need help.  There is a growing problem in many communities with funding for programs for the elderly AND a growing population of “elder orphans”.  Start asking questions and you’ll be amazed at what might be happening in your county.  Obviously there is a bit more preparedness and background checking for this option, but the need is real.  For me personally, volunteering in this area changed so much of how I looked at things.

Skill base – So many Non profits and small businesses need help.  Contact your local Charities or SCORE to see if they have a need for your expertise.  Many can use both onetime project help or ongoing access to your expertise.

Business Benefits

Setting a culture of Volunteerism in your company is shown to improve employee engagement and decrease attrition, each of which can have major economic impact to your organization.  It can also be great for Team Building.  I recommend companies that can afford to incorporate this into their Benefit Strategy as well as weaving in into your Brand Management.  Yes, there are costs associated with this and there are tax benefits of doing so.  In many cases there can be a great return on investment to the business.  If your company utilizes social media at all, there can also be great Marketing/Branding benefits of not only the company doing this but its employees also.

Example;  My wife’s company had a campaign where different departments would take a half day and go clean up a local beach or park.  They had to rent busses, pay employees, provide lunch while doing so, but it was great public relations for the company.  Employees loved doing it and before you knew it, 50 people were all using social media to tell their networks what they were doing.  Between those that saw it happening, those that were involved in it, and those Marketing it, that companies name and values had a lot of looks from this event. Good stuff!

Managing Volunteers and Expectations

As mentioned earlier, this week is National Volunteer Week.  Larger organizations may provide a lunch or dinner for the volunteer population, smaller organization may only afford coffee and donuts.  It is important to do something calling out what this group has done for you and the impact they have made for other people.  That is why most people volunteer, because they want to provide impact.  The more you can point the impact out and quantify it for them, the more likely they will continue to do so.  If they feel what they are doing is not helping or being recognized, they are far less likely to continue.  Not unlike any employee engagement.

I have always challenged my clients to manage this workforce like any other workforce they have.  Both positive and negative reinforcement is needed and managing expectations are a must.  If you welcome your volunteers to work or thank them at the end of the day, then do the same for paid workers.  If you would correct a paid worker for doing something incorrectly, correct a volunteer for the same action. I am not suggesting cracking the whip to get more productivity from volunteers.  But nearly every organization that has spoken to me about issues around “managing volunteers” doesn’t hold them to the same standards, and that is where the problems begin.  Be diplomatic, be polite, add more training time, but maintain your standards or you’ll have problems down the road.  You will be REALLY surprised what an effect this has on your entire workforce.

Tip –  Most importantly, thank them for doing something right periodically and each will be more loyal to you.

 

C.S.Simons Consulting provided over 200 hrs of skill based volunteer work last year and I hope to increase that this year.  It feels great to contribute to and build more sustainable local organizations and we challenge you to do the same.

Thanks to all the volunteers!

 

 

Can YOU beat earnings with lower revenue?

Ironically, today’s earnings report from Wal-Mart proves the point I made in my Blog      “Low earnings /Low Profits – What to do?”

I have a love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart.  I often shop their begrudgingly. I would prefer to support a local business, but when I am buying toothpaste my choices are generally a Wal-Mart, Chain Drug Store, or grocery store.  There really aren’t too many local businesses to buy toothpaste from.  Wal-Mart is cheaper, and there are always other items that I get while there.  They save me time and money and there for they are a value.  I support local when possible, but frankly I couldn’t afford to buy as many things if I shopped only local and I am a typical American who wants as much stuff as possible.

Yesterday Walmart announced that 2015 Q4 revenue was down, and they expect very little sales growth for all of 2016.  Same store sales were reported to increase less than 1% in 2015. To insure they can meet or beat earnings, they have decreased operation costs and reinvested in Human Capital, choosing to focus on culture over new market channels.

Announcing the closure of 269 stores worldwide and releasing close to 10,000 workers will surely get a lot of attention.  But Wal-Mart is focusing the narrative on developing its Culture.   Wal-Mart is investing by raising the wages of it workers. This is very strategic since they have a history of Legal and Public Relations issues around wages and practices.  Improving employee engagement will help drive business into their well established retail presence.  I support this strategy, but I think they have a lot of work to do besides raising wages.

Walmart recognizes that the growth of online shopping has impacted brick and mortar and they have already begun testing new strategies to target these areas.  Experiments in the Grocery offerings (Organic Product selection & home delivery), introducing their price matching app (which is awesome), the ever expanding electronics section, and the “No Questions return policy” to name a few will go along way to exceed customer expectations and build loyalty.

So…… sales are stagnant, they are giving nearly everyone a raise, and adding to their operational costs….how is this a good plan?

Well to start, the Thursday announcement also mentioned that they beat earnings and brought in a higher dividend than forecast.  Earnings came in at $1.49/ share on a projected $1.46 and quarterly dividend was .50 on a projected .49.  At the open of today their stock is down ~4% and they have fallen ~27% over the last 12 months.

But they still had a 2% increase in dividends and profit!

What would your business do in this situation?  Can you bring in a higher profit while loosing expected revenue?  Would you give a raise to help increase store sales?

Proper planning, strategy, and vision makes the difference.

Carpe diem!

How to make Excellence achievable

I have been a student of Management for 30 years. Management is as much of an art as it is a science and understanding that you practice management rather than it being a degree on the wall shows that you continually evolve in this position. To be a successful Manager you must have an understanding of how to achieve Excellence. Excellence is a combination of several factors depending on what industry you manage in.  Today I am going to discuss the number one thing to do to achieve Excellence in what YOU do.

Excellence is an Attitude

You do not achieve Excellence by completing a checklist, you do not achieve Excellence by doing what the boss said, and lastly, you do not achieve Excellence through watching an inspiration video (although there are some very good ones).

Excellence is a lifestyle

Excellence needs to be how you address everything in your life.  Excellence means never saying “whatever”.  It is setting the highest standards to hold yourself to and having the discipline to hold yourself accountable.  I don’t care what you are doing, you can be excellent at it.  Washing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom at home, creating reports, or providing customer service, all can have levels of Excellence attached to them.

You will not achieve Excellence if you think it only applies to a “work” atmosphere.  Excellence can’t be turned on and off.  It’s just in you.

Lets define a few terms;

Excellence – The quality of being outstanding or extremely good (Webster).   Achieving or distinguishing a superior quality in an action or outcome (Simons)

Attitude – A settled way of thinking typically reflected in a persons behavior (Webster).  An approach or outlook demonstrated through actions, communications, or outcomes (Simons)

Pride – A feeling or deep pleasure derived from ones own achievements (Webster).  Personally Responsible In Delivering Excellence (taken from my Corporate Training days)

I am certain I have been “picked on” by those around me for having an Excellence mindset.  I have extremely high standards for myself.  I hold myself to higher standards than I have ever held an employee too.  Why, because it is important to me to do things right (whatever right is).  I look at whatever I do as a product I am producing, and I don’t take it lightly.  Some think I am too hard on myself.  No, I am not.  I just don’t say “whatever”.

Excellence is also about precision.  You need to know exactly what needs to happen in order for it to happen.  Once again, this will carry over to other aspects of your life.  In addition to Management, I am also a classically trained Chef and a life long Drummer.  Precision follows me in both of those.  Playing drums is as much about where you hit the drum or cymbal, and at what angle and with how much force as it is about the rhythms or change ups.  If you match the rhythm but you aren’t precise with your stick, you are a hacker.  If you do it right, you are a drummer.  Doing it exactly the same way every time is Excellence, and much harder than you might think.  The same goes for cooking.  Many people can flip an egg but having the timing to have an entire meal or banquet “go out” together, where no food has had to sit (which degrades quality) and everything is cooked or prepared perfectly can be like conducting a symphony.  Variations will always be noticed by someone in your audience so it is important to be consistent EVERY time.  You need to be very precise with your planning and execution.  You need to know ahead of time how it needs to happen.   Both are great examples because when you haven’t achieved Excellence, you know right away!

Does Excellence allow for mistakes?

Absolutely!  I am far from the best there is at so many things.  Some people confuse my quest for Excellence as thinking that I think I don’t make mistakes.  I certainly do make mistakes, but because of my attitude, I likely work harder to not repeat mistakes than others that don’t have this mindset.  Mistakes are a very important part of learning and you can’t learn from them if you don’t recognize them.  I must confess I get mad if I repeat my own mistakes though.

If you haven’t read the short but EXCELLENT book about the FISH Philosophy, I highly recommend it.  It applies to everyone and will help you realize what attitudes you are choosing.

This is why Excellence is achievable, because it is an attitude, and as you may read in FISH or my other blogs about FISH.

“Choose your Attitude”

Carpe diem!

 

Hello World!

Today I am introducing a new blog series from C.S.Simons Consulting.  This blog will feature several different types of content on the issues that business people struggle with every day.  Advice will be given on a variety of subjects that directly effect your revenue and we are always looking for questions or topics for discussion, so please don’t be shy.

Here’s a quick overview of the categories we offer;

“Ask an Expert” Series

A collection of questions asked of me or my collaborators about many different business or management topics.  Presented simply with brief answers but we are always available to elaborate on them if you’d like.  These may be answered by someone in our firm or other experts we collaborate with.

“Conversations with a Consultant”

The format in this series is designed to be easy flowing with out too many buzz words and corporate talk.  Just simple conversations, focused on information designed to assist you with your work and help you make more money.   The majority of these topics will fall into 1 of 4 areas; People, Products, Operations, and Marketing.  These 4 key areas’ are found in every business and are the most important indicators of your businesses ability to generate revenue.  C.S.Simons Consulting exists to help others make more money, and these are the same areas focused on in our proprietary “M.O.R.E. Assessment Tool©.

“Quotes, Observations & Ironies”

Favorites and classic quotes, probably some opinions on business related current events and those that know me should expect periodic sarcasm.

 

Please let me know any questions that you have about these topics or how to implement the changes mentioned into your business.  I am here to help.

 

Carpe diem!

A Great Quote for Leadership

“Begin with the end in mind” – Dr Stephen Covey

 

Known as habit #2 from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and one of my favorite all time quotes.  This is about vision and planning.  Vision for the workplace, for family life or for personal growth, and it is ultimately about personal leadership. You can’t manage others successfully until you can manage yourself.  You can’t lead others until you have personal leadership.  Covey speaks about the gap all humans can place between stimulus and response; and how making the right decisions’ in that gap lead to positive outcomes.  Some refer to this as the internal compass or as “True North”.  This is also the famous “personal mission statements” exercise habit.  Ever try to write your own epitaph?  Take a Covey Leadership course and you will!

While this is designed for personal management it can be easily translated into organizational mission, action plans, and methods chosen to measure success by an organization.  Understanding what is important and how you want to get there has helped change the business environment in this country.

Some confuse this to simple “Goal Setting”, as steps to completing a task but it is much more.  Goal setting helps you complete something, “Beginning with the end in mind” helps you know it was the right thing to complete!

It starts with understanding what is important to you first and foremost.  And then doing it!! …..Personal leadership

I love this stuff.

Carpe diem!