Fri, Jun 29, 2012 @ 10:56 AM

Make sure roles are crystal clear to grow your company

One of the top challenges found in entrepreneurial companies is a confusion over roles and responsibilities.  The most recent high-profile example of this dysfunction’s effect is at Research in Motion, Ltd., (RIM) makers of the Blackberry smart phone.

RIM has been led by Co-CEO’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. According to The Wall Street Journal, much of RIM’s decline is attributed to tension between the Balsillie and the Lazaridis factions.  With competing visions, RIM has lacked a single coherent strategy to deal with Blackberry’s competitors. The ambiguity of who’s really the leader has resulted in divergence priorities; which really means no priority.

Even with non-CEO roles, it is common for confusion to exist around who is the #1 person accountable for each role.

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Thu, Jun 21, 2012 @ 02:53 PM

Change your habits, change your company

How did one CEO increase his company's market capitalization by $27 billion? He changed its habits. And when he arrived in late '87, Alcoa was a company that needed changing.

During his tenure, Paul O'Neill increased Alcoa's net income by five times. According to O’Neill, “I knew I had to transform Alcoa. But you can’t order people to change. That’s not how the brain works. So I decided I was going to start by focusing on one thing. If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing, it would spread throughout the entire company.” That one thing for O’Neill was safety.

Habits are powerful drivers of human behavior. What’s less apparent is that organizations have habits. And the habits of a company are the responsibility of its leadership.
How powerful are habits?

If we stop and think about it we might agree with philosopher William James who wrote, “All of our life is nothing but a mass of habits. Ninety-nine hundredths of our activity is purely automatic."

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Wed, May 30, 2012 @ 02:34 PM

Five Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Here are the employee engagement facts: Having committed and engaged people is a hallmark of top performing companies. Gallup has measured employee engagement for 30 years surveying over 17 million people. They consistently find that on average only 33% of employees are engaged, while about half (49%) are not engaged and another 18% are actively disengaged. That means one in five are “bomb throwers” intentionally tugging down the morale of those around them.

In any company that’s a problem. In a small entrepreneurial’s poison.

For us who run growing mid-market companies, the research shows that a lack of staff buy-in occurs primarily at two points as we grow. 

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Fri, Apr 13, 2012 @ 08:50 AM

How to use job benchmarking to reduce hiring mistakes

There are lots of people looking for work and yet a startling lack of the candidates you need.

To carry the aquatic metaphor a step too far, I offer the line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge,

“Water, water every where and not a drop to drink…..”

Current 8% unemployment generally recognized to be closer to 18% suggests an ample pool of ready candidates, available when it’s time to add jobs.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The growing skills gap coupled with a declining “work ethic” means that your ability to successfully recruit and retain is a must-have.

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 @ 08:41 AM

How Megabus changed a business model

What would you do if your business was in decline?

What if your predicament was made worst because your entire industry was losing ground?

Here’s the story of what one company did. They changed their business model. Their example may hold lessons for you in how to think about your business differently.

This is the story of a company that lived in an industry in decline. The industry: intercity bus travel. The number of riders dropped from 140 million in 1960 to 40 million in 1990 according to the U.S. Government Accountability office. That’s the same year Greyhound filed for bankruptcy. Then it got worst.

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Sun, Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:19 AM

Five Sure-Fire Ideas to Help Good Employees Become Great

The complexity level of an organization increases as you add employees. A research-proven growth model we call The 7 Stages of Growth, identifies each stage of business growth.

It can help a CEO understand how to predict growth challenges. The level of complexity increases due to just one factor – the addition of people.

As you add people to your company, you move into different stages of growth. Understanding those challenges helps a CEO stay ahead of their growth curve.

Here are five ideas to help you take a good employee and help them become great.

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