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Growing the Next Generation of Leaders

Our Round Table topic for April was “Growing the Next Generation of Leaders.”  Our RT members discussed strategies on hiring and evaluating their employees, developing leaders in their companies as well as retaining staff.  Thinking about joining a Round Table?  See our website for our listing of local and virtual Round Tables!

One RT member’s team spends 20% of their time mentoring.  When one division of his company focused on mentoring their employees, it brought forth tremendous individual growth.  It has been so successful; they are rolling out this process to another division. 

One business leader from our Rochester Round Table has noticed that the more time he spends developing leaders, the easier things become for him.  It lessens the burden at the top.

Ask yourself, “What am I doing to grow as a leader to ensure I do not stagnate?’  Your efforts to grow your own skills sets an example for those you are teaching. 

All-Times Zones

One leader has implemented a Train Up or Train Out process:  As new employees are being trained, they are also being assessed as to whether the employee has the ability, or desire to be successful in their current or future role.  It’s important to think about the issue of training employees ‘out’ before more time and resources are spent on this individual.  Your business may not be the place for them.

One Round Table leader implemented the follow procedures for a new process:

  1. Employee 1 creates a new process.  The process and procedures are documented step by step.
  2. Employee 2 is trained on the new process by Employee 1 utilizing the process and procedures documentation.
  3. Employee 2 updates or creates a new process and procedures document, and trains Employee 3 using the updated documentation.
  4. Employee 3 updates or creates a new process and procedures document.  At this point, the process is well documented, and three employees are trained on the new process.

How Do I Want To Be Coached?

One RT member has implemented two questionnaires for their employees.  One asks, ‘How Do I Want to be Coached?’  And the other is ‘Where Do I Want my Career to Go?’  Answers are required to be in writing as people are more truthful when they answer in writing.  One question asks the employee, ‘what is your hot button issues?’  These documents can be referenced when issues arise to aid in understanding your employee response. 

One example:  An employee was upset over a decision.  Our RT member referred to the ‘How Do I Want to be Coached’ document and learned one of the employee’s hot button issues is not being listened to when over-riding his recommendations.  He takes pride in what he does, and he does everything for a reason, so he gets upset when a decision is dismissed without a chance to explain his rationale.

A leader may want to complete these documents for themselves as well to further understand their ‘hot buttons.’

Kalamazoo Round Table

Business owners need to be open to the idea of preparing to sell their business, even if it is 10 years in the future.  A high number of businesses close their doors without buyers as they did not prepare for the eventual necessity to sell.

Businesses must have processes in place to ensure a business has value when ready to sell.  A company that relies on the strength and personality of the owner will have difficulty selling the business.

Good leaders do not treat everyone exactly the same.  Give employees what they need based on their skill sets or business style.

The job of a leader is to be a “Boulder Remover.”  Help your employees get their work done and make things happen.

The Global Round Table discussed different options or benefits offered to employees to attract top talent.            

  • One large company is offering to cover the cost to train as an electrician in exchange for a commitment to work for the company for four years. 
  • Another company offers an employee, who values travel, the freedom and flexibility to work from any location around the world.  This individual is a rockstar employee.

The Global Round Table members offered a method on how to avoid hiring those who oversell their skills and underdeliver on performance once hired.  As part of the interview process, have the potential employee, in writing, explain their role in a successful project or result.  People are more honest when writing down their roles in a success endeavor.

How do we grow leaders?  Businesses must have a regimented program to include mentoring and career path development.  You must invest in employees even though it will not guarantee they will remain with your company.  Without this effort you will not be able to compete.

How to grow a leader?

  1. Be clear about what you are looking for in a leader.
  2. Give them the freedom and opportunity to practice.

Upcoming Events

  1. Pray with CBRT via zoom on Thursday, May 5 at 12:00-12:30pm on the National Day of Prayer.

  2. Join us Friday, May 20 at 8:00-9:00am, for a Global Webinar via zoom, dedicated to addressing mental health challenges for leaders in today’s workplace. 

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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Legal Hot Topics

“Legal Hot Topics” were discussed at our March Round Tables.  Most of the conversations revolved around avoiding legal issues and discussing local resources.    

One of our Round Table members reminded everyone: “Jesus said, let not your heart be troubled.  It’s those who have confidence in the Lord, whose mind has stayed upon the Lord, who will have peace at this time, and will keep moving forward.  Stay the course, shed the distractions, keep your mind on the Lord, and the wisdom of God will help navigate these decisions.”  Thinking about joining a Round Table?  See our website for our listing of local and virtual Round Tables!

From our Virtual Round Tables:

Remember that Scripture says that the law is for the unjust. Conduct your business according to biblical principles (particularly the law of love), and you will avoid many legal problems.

A problem employee is a problem employee.  They may use the pandemic as an excuse to disrupt or act out.  Rather than responding to their behavior, deal with the problem.  Don’t be distracted by the pandemic.

As a former civil rights and employee discrimination attorney, one RT member warns that there are hustlers everywhere, people who know and will work the system.  For example, some employees right now are taking the full two weeks off for covid illness or exposure.  They know that if you fire them, you can be held responsible for a retaliatory discharge.  If they perceive they have the right to take time off, they may be able to use that against you.  If you want to terminate an individual, be sure to cite non-covid related reasons for removal.  Right now, employees are given a pass and if they are performing in other areas, you may not be able to respond.  You may just have to be patient and may have to make accommodations.

The Rochester Round Table asked the question:  Are you basing your decisions on fear, self-protection, or wisdom?  The conversation led to the discussion of a “mission statement” versus an “owner’s statement.”  If you run your company from a biblical perspective and choose to announce that fact in your mission statement, does that increase your risk as a business owner?  There is fear that Christian business owners will be targeted for noncompliance to current pressures.  Should you use an owner’s statement to communicate that you operate your business as a Christian based business?  Or a mission statement?  The answer boils down to:  Are you basing your decisions on fear, self-protection, or wisdom?

One business owner clearly stated that the priority of his business is, God, Family, and Business, in that order.  If a customer has an issue with your Christian stance, that person, or company may not be your customer.

Try to avoid going to court.  When lawyers get involved, there are no winners.  Legal contests demoralize all participants.  Make an effort to listen to the grievances of the other side.  Do not react with emotion.  Ask yourself, how can we change this situation.  Allow time for the problem and the parties involved to quiet and calm down.  Rely on your faith and your trust in God, which gives you the confidence to resolve the issues at hand.

General Leadership advice:

One All Time Zones RT member reminded us of issues of concern from the past 50 year.  There have been scares, such as the danger of energy through nuclear power plants, the danger of an ice age in the 1970’s, global warming and now climate change.  Through the media, we are constantly being presented with dire warnings.  There has always been a bogie man.  We need to move beyond the current ‘crisis,’ beyond the current reason to fear and focus on our faith in God.

One RT called the constant call to fear, a ‘rollercoaster of terror,’ and asked us to imagine New York’s Grand Central Station, with thousands of individuals scurrying around.  What happens when one individual is standing still?  Your eye will be drawn to that one individual standing still in the chaos.  Remember to be still in the constant fear driven chaos of this world and keep your eye on God.

Problem people always have a problem, but there are those who are solving problems.  Be a problem solver. 

Christians are called to “treat people with respect as human beings” and this concept was extremely relevant to one RT member, whose employee had decided to change their gender identification.  This person was most concerned about being accepted by the Christians in their organization.   However, the Christians were the most gracious to the employee.  The Christians employees did not sacrifice their beliefs; however, they did not persecute the individual for their choice.

One RT member recommended the Hillsdale College video series titled,  “The Dying American Citizen,” which discusses the systematic destruction of the middle class in America. 

Focus on positive leadership: 

  1. Press on, business as usual.  Keep your head up and drive forward prayerfully with your business goals and fight to minimize the distractions.  
  2. Continue to participate in philanthropy and look to help organizations that assist and encourage a biblical worldview for children and others.  
  3. Certainly, help those that are in a health situation and provide accommodations for those that perceive themselves to be high risk.  
  4. Double down with training, benefits, and compensation for your A players in your organization, now, with the lack of available talent, they are irreplaceable.  
  5. Our political system is broke and not getting better.  Focus on what is important to Christ.  Love each other, love your family, raise your kids in Christ.  Looking outward or to politics is futile and will only cause anxiety.  Promote those in your community politically that maintain a biblical worldview, staunch ethics and values and who will unapologetically fight for our freedoms. 

While Christians have their faith and trust in God, understand not everyone has had exposure to these concepts.  They do not have an inclination towards trust in God and may be steeped in fear.

Try to over communicate to your employees so they know where they stand and what to expect.  It can reduce anxiety in the workforce.  One member shared a story of an employee called to a meeting with the boss.  The employee was anxious and expected to be fired.  The meeting scheduled with the employee was a routine 90-day review and the boss did not intend to fire employee.  Communication is key.

The current business environment can be difficult and challenging.  Be aware of your response to stress so you are able to act instead of reacting to events unfolding in our businesses, our country and the world.

Trauma changes the brain.  Understand that business leaders are always dealing with people who have had some level of trauma in their life.  Getting to know individuals on a personal level can lead to understanding them. 

People are like an iceberg.  On the top of the water is what can be seen, such as behaviors, personality, etc.  Below the water level is their thoughts, beliefs and fears. 

Schedule time to get to know your people on a personal level.  Spend time with no agenda other than to just talk with them and find out what is happening in their life.  What are they concerned about?  Treat them first as people and focus on their humanity.

Remember we serve a big God who is bigger than all your fears.

Upcoming Leadership Events:

On Friday, April 22, join us at the Birmingham Country Club for a Leadership Breakfast Event.  Guest speaker Robert A. Bryant of Giamarco, Mullins & Horton will be speaking on Restorative Leadership.

Join us Friday, May 20 at 8:00-9:00am, for a Global Webinar via zoom with Fred Sievert, author and former President of New York Life. 

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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Faith as a Tool in the Marketplace

Our February topic was “Faith as a Tool in the Marketplace.” Our Round Tables (RT) discussed what faith looks like in their workplace and how their faith influences their actions and behaviors in the day-to-day operations of their businesses.     

Global:  One participant told a story about a rough flight home from DC.  The plane experienced turbulence so severe it caused those sitting in the seats to hit their heads on the cabin ceiling.  The business leader noticed that an employee with him never flinched during the entire ride.  After the flight, when asked about his demeanor, the employee said that he was calm because he was watching the business leader.  Lesson:  People will not listen to what you say, they listen to what you do.  Faith, action, demonstration.

How we respond to issues matters.  People will see how we handle business differently.  We respond:

  1. According to our values
  2. From our relationship with Christ.  We understand we are to be responsible stewards of our business.

One RT member walked into the office as his employee was having a full-blown panic attack.  Without thinking, he immediately massaged his shoulders and prayed over him.  Per the RT member, it was an amazing experience and the employee’s anxiety subsided.  In addition, this RT member gave the employee a mental health day and recommended a mental health professional who specializes in anxiety. 

Our All Time Zones RT member recommends that businesses reach out to Missional Chaplains or Marketplace Chaplains or some other mental health resource now before there is a need, so you can instantly respond to a mental health issue in your workforce.  Many people are hurting. 

Try an informal approach to understand your employees, customers, and suppliers.  Talk with them and listen to their story.  The more we know about them, the better prepared we will be to assist.

Try to understand issues and problems from a customer or vendor point of view.  It may open opportunities to help a vendor or customer and in turn, help your business.

Strive to be an anchor for others.  Remain calm during difficult times.

A recommendation from our Global RT:  For employees who are not performing:  Try to understand using the “5 Why’s Root Cause Analysis Tool.”  Listen for and categorize their responses.  Try to determine if they are coming from a place of fear or faith. 

They may be coming from a place of fear:

1,  Fear of success

2,  Fear of losing their job

3,  Fear of criticism

They may be frozen with fear and unable to perform as needed.  Help them identify whether their response is coming from fear or faith.  Illustrate what their response and performance could be if they convert from fear to faith.  Help them to restore their faith in their job, in themselves, and their ability to move forward.

Create a template or a process to know and understand your employees.  Identify 3-5 managers to walk along side to gain an understanding of where they are now.  What issues and concerns are they dealing with?  Then have each manager do the same for 3-5 employees.  Eventually roll out this process to all employees.  The goal is to understand each employee and to gain their trust.  

We must have confidence in our own faith.  Be a beacon of light for others.

Employees come to a new job with energy.  As an employer you have 60-90 days to get them engaged to ensure their energy remains high.

When an employee must be fired, it is important to rely on your faith at that time.  If your faith is strong and God is real, then you do not need to worry.  God will take care of them.  It’s in God’s hands, not yours.

Firing an employee is an act of love.  The employee, for some reason, lacks the courage or clarity to understand that this position is not for them. 

One business leader suggested a daily communication with employees.  Be sure to include messages like, “We are all in this together,” etc.  Your message will resonate. 

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”  Martin Luther.  Remember that Faith leaks and you need to replenish and restore by spending time with the Lord. 

Currently many businesses are struggling with cash flow.  Consider weekly billing.  Each Friday, send out a bill, if it is not paid by the following Friday, stop work until the bill is paid. 

Upcoming Leadership Events:

CBRT’s Annual Summit is Friday, March 18 at 7:00-11:30 am at the Kalamazoo Country Club.

On Friday, April 22, join us at the Birmingham Country Club for a Leadership Breakfast Event.  Guest speaker Robert A. Bryant of Giamarco, Mullins & Horton will be speaking on Restorative Leadership.

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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Strategic Planning for 2022

Our January 2022 Round Table topic was, “Strategic Planning for 2022.”  Important discussions focused on the basics of strategic planning, cash flow, employee retention and innovation in 2022. 

One member of our All Time Zones Round Table noted, “As a leader I often feel isolated and have a sense that I am alone on an island.  Being a part of a Round Table helps me understand that I am not alone, and we are all in this together.”  See our website for information on an in-person or virtual Round Table that may work for your schedule.

Make strategic planning simple. 

  1. Start with your personal purpose, which should coincide with your business purpose.  Focus on:     
    • Customer expectations
    • Employee expectations
    • Investor or community expectations
  2. Focus on your strengths and spiritual connections to move forward.

For strategic planning 2022, start fresh with a blank piece of paper.  Do not just update your strategic plan from 2021.  Adopt best industry practices today.  Give your company a chance to survive into 2024.

Strategic planning is not the basic projection of “it’s going to happen anyway.” A strategic plan must go beyond the normal growth pattern.

From our Grand Rapids Round Table:  Consider creating a key relationship with a mentor who helps keep you accountable for implementing your strategic plan.

The pandemic has made strategic planning even more critical, otherwise you may become reactionary rather than reaching for the goals you have set. 

Foundational to strategic planning:

  1. Make sure you are aligned with your values
  2. Communicate your company structure so employees are clear on who to go to for issues, challenges. 
  3. Ensure employees have the tools they need to do their job.
  4. Make a plan for continued growth.

Think of strategic planning like building a house.  Understand and see the final product, but the plan starts with the architect, then people with specific skills are needed to complete the house, for example plumbers, electricians, etc.  Be realistic with your plan.  Focus on each brick that is being laid.  Focus on the tasks that can and need to be made today.

Cash flow advice from our Global Round Table.  There will be little relief from cash flow disruptions in 2022.  It is imperative to make certain that the resources you invest are converted into cash as quickly as possible. 

It is important to:

  1. Know your vendors
  2. Understand their capabilities
  3. Understand the risk involved in dealing with them.  You must have a good relationship with your vendors to get honest information from them.  Make decisions as to continue or move on to other vendors in order to avoid possible harm to your business.

For those industries that work with billable rates, consider a 20% increase in 2022.  This may cause you to lose customers, but they may not be your customer.  However, you must be very good at what you do to justify your 20% increase. 

An observant leader from our Global Round Table noted:  Employees are living lives completely different than before.  Many employees spent time during their holiday vacations evaluating whether their job or position is a good fit for who they are now and what they want from life.  Employees, in a way, are like customers.  2022 will be a critical year to keep employees engaged.

One leader in our All Time Zones Round Table predicts that 2022 will be the year of the coach, whether the coach is internal or external.  Employees are weary and in need of assistance.

In an effort to retain employees, have management strive to have personal relationships with employees at every level.  For sales, focus on relationships instead of KPI’s.

“Don’t leave God at home when you go to work.”   Try to establish prayer as a resource and not an inconvenience when you are busy.

A leader at our Kalamazoo Round Table believes there is reason to be optimistic.  Believe and understand this is all part of the plan.  God has a plan for you and your business.

As a business leader be open with sharing how your business and faith go hand in hand. 

Understand the power of Christian values demonstrated.  Hire employees that share your values and display those values to your employees and customers.  Those that do not want to adopt to those values will be uncomfortable and will leave.

If you and your employees live out Christian values in the workplace, the Spirit will be active in your business, and it will be contagious.  Your customers see and feel the Spirit, they will want to become a part of it.

The R2A2 for Leadership –Make sure employees understand their role and their responsibilities, and make sure they have the authority to do their job and they are held accountable to do so.

Advice from our Kalamazoo Round Table.  How to rally employees to help solve a problem or a challenge:

  1. Let them know you need their help.
  2. Schedule a time for a meeting and communicate an expectation that they are part of the solution.  By setting the date in the future, the employee can begin to think of solutions.
  3. Allow employees to take ownership for the solution.

Employers must develop a personnel management system to attract the highest performing employees who LOVE to work for you.  Look at every aspect of personnel management used in 2021 and realize that business must change.

Mental health will be a huge topic in 2022.  What can we do for those who work for us?  If we are not concerned about employee mental health, we will either lose them to other employers or lose performance by those who are struggling.

From our Global Round Table:  Innovation in this country is coming faster than most recognize.  Business is focused on people, but we need to understand innovation.  We must adapt or be left behind.  Artificial intelligence (AI) will have the greatest impact on our businesses.  Many jobs will be lost.  Quantum computing will have a significant impact on society as well. 

The question was asked at our Global Round Table.  Will AI rule us?  How do we interject our Christian values over AI?    We must have clarity and commitment to our mission, and we must have human monitors over the systems. 

Upcoming Leadership Events:

Richard DeWitt, President and CEO of Marketplace Chaplains will speak at our Leadership Breakfast Event on Friday, February 18, at 7:00 am at the University Club in Grand Rapids.

CBRT’s Annual Summit is Friday, March 18 at 7:00-11:30 am at the Kalamazoo Country Club.

On Friday, April 22, join us at the Birmingham Country Club for a Leadership Breakfast Event.  Guest speaker Robert A. Bryant of Giamarco, Mullins & Horton will be speaking on Restorative Leadership.

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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Navigating Unfamiliar Waters:  Business Predictions for Upcoming Months

Our December topic was “Navigating Unfamiliar Waters:  Business Predictions for Upcoming Months.”  Each Round Table is different, and the discussions varied.  Conversations ranged from how to maintain hopefulness in 2022 to practical business solutions.  Consider joining a CBRT Round Table this year to grow your business and grow your faith. 

December Round Table Discussions:

One member talked about HOPE this Christmas season as an acronym. 

1.  Help.  Remember to help someone this Christmas season.  This will bring us joy and give us momentum to solve our own problems. 

2.  Optimism.  Keep a focus on your blessings. 

3.  Purpose.  What is your purpose or foundation for what you are doing, in your personal and professional life? 

4.  Engage.  What actions are you going to take to engage with your employees?  How are you going to engage in your personal life?

If you google, ‘Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause,’ you can read letters to Santa that ask for health and healing.  Many of these letters reflect personal hope.  This can be a first step in being hopeful for the future.

Think of next year as an adventure.  Create a plan to

  1. Ask for help from someone you trust
  2. Offer to help someone

To navigate unpredictable situations, look for and focus on unchanging principles and spiritual truths/resources that enable us to navigate forward.

1. Prayer (tapping into God’s presence, power, and purpose)

2. Commit to be informed

3. Scripture: seek God’s wisdom and will, and stand on His promises

4. Be gracious at the points of our differences

5. Be passionate about our convictions, but be humble in the exercise of them

6. Seek like-minded, godly leaders for wise council and fellowship

7. Make a single-hearted commitment to lead with Christlike self-sacrificial love

Remember our employees are people made in the image of God.  As leaders we need to meet their human needs first.

Be more in awe of our world and the miracles around us.  Awareness makes us less mired in certainty.

A quote on uncertainty by Oswald Chambers.  “Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life.  To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth.  This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.” 

Instead of the saying: Plan your work, work you plan. Consider: plan your work, work his plan.

You cannot out give God.  Share the love of Christ with the team (business) not necessarily by chapter and verse, but by actions. Love is a verb.

We need to support the small/medium business in our communities.  Forget the old ideas of “me first” and protectionist practices.  We need to actively support each other, sharing information for the good of our domestic industries and the good of our nation.

Realize change is inevitable.  We must be malleable; it’s how we grow.

Companies that invest in their people as whole individuals will begin to see success and a culture shift.

Covid has created an awareness of a wellness gap that existed in our companies and corporations.  Leaders are now looking at our employees with a whole life perspective. 

Skepticism in our leaders is prevalent in our society.  We must focus on mission buy-in from our employees to offset the skepticism they may have.

One RT participant was a college athlete.  In preparation for the season ahead, the coach envisioned a team that would be in the best physical shape possible.  They would not be out hustled or out worked. We cannot control the future, but we can prepare.

One large media company just recently produced a new movie and scrapped plans to preview it in theatres, instead releasing the movie on media for home viewing.  This ability to be flexible and change plans last minute resulted in reducing costs while increasing profits. Those who are successful in 2022 will be flexible and able to solve problems.   

We need to communicate a clear and convincing mission or path forward to our employees.  However, at some point, we need to decide on how much more energy is needed to have the employee embrace the mission and move forward with the team?   The question becomes, are your efforts met with efforts by the employee?  Are they moving the needle forward or is the employee stuck?  Have a frank discussion with employee to ask, why aren’t you aligned with our mission?  Discuss your efforts to bring them along with no results.  Sometimes a light bulb will light up and sometimes no, and then the decision is easier.

In a time of chaos, seek to understand your customer or client situation.  Ask questions to get to the heart of their issues.  Approach clients from a problem-solving focus as opposed to a salesperson focus.  Partner with customers to achieve solutions.

Speed will be key to success in 2022.  Speed in communication, getting and fulfilling work, closure and completion of financial transactions.  It will be increasingly important to ensure your company is able to secure quick payment for services as with today’s uncertainty, things can change quickly and your ability to collect can be diminished.  Accounts receivable will be in the forefront in 2022.

We need to be able to distinguish and discern which clients or customers you can safely engage with.  Do they have the capacity to spend?

As we head into the upcoming holiday season, let’s remember the reason for the season, the glorious birth of Jesus Christ.

Upcoming Events

On Friday, January 21, 2022 at 7:00am, join us for a Leadership Breakfast Event with Bill Schuhmacher, CEO of Leadership Lógos at the Kalamazoo Country Club in Kalamazoo.

Richard DeWitt, President and CEO of Marketplace Chaplains will speak at our Leadership Breakfast Event on Friday, February 18, at 7:00 am at the University Club in Grand Rapids.

CBRT’s Annual Summit is Friday, March 18 at 7:00-11:30 am at the Kalamazoo Country Club.

On Friday, April 22, join us at the Birmingham Country Club for a Leadership Breakfast Event.  Guest speaker Robert A. Bryant of Giamarco, Mullins & Horton will be speaking on Restorative Leadership.

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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The Dramatic Need for Nurturing the Soul of Business Leaders

Consider joining a CBRT Round Table!  CBRT is here to help you nurture your soul, while creating energy and excitement for your walk with Jesus in your personal and business life.

The discussions at our Round Tables:
Our souls can be nurtured just by knowing there is a path forward—a path God has planned for us.  We have a responsibility to reach out to touch one another soul to soul and share the hope we know through Jesus. 

Remember Proverbs 3:5-6.  Ask yourself, am I trusting the Lord during this time?  We are to cast our cares upon him because he cares for us.  I am not alone, and I will not be abandoned.  He has promised that he will lead us through these difficult things if we lean on Him.

Make a path forward knowing we are not alone.  We receive comfort from God, a vertical relationship, but we can also receive comfort from other leaders in our Round Table, a horizontal relationship.

Recognize that we are stuck in the chaos that surrounds us and we need healing.  Focus on your relationships to heal yourself and those around you so they can, in turn, help heal others.  Create a ripple effect.

The surrounding chaos is a distraction and causing us to be stuck.  If we are holding on, and constantly talking about the distractions, it causes us to be stuck.  The conversation needs to change to how the world can be different.  We need to deal with real solutions to real problems.

Get coaching.  Coaches offer hope and encouragement and assists in moving your business forward. 

What are you doing for yourself?  The soul cannot be restored without solitude and silence.  Take time to schedule and create a plan for a time to renew your soul.

There are many good things happening in our society, but they do not receive attention in the news.  Turn off the news and fill your mind with positive, soul enriching activities.

The door to Jesus has one knob-on our side of the door.  God is waiting on the other side for us to come to him.  He is ready to listen. 

Remember Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Remember God will not leave you wondering.  You may not be given the things you want but you will receive the things you need.

Make sure your personal operating system is fine-tuned by focusing on the seven F’s, faith, family, firm(work), fun, fit, finance and friends.

Normalize faith in business to lift yourself and those around you.  Encourage a culture of faith for good business and personal relationships.

It takes courage to practice faith in the workplace, knowing you will be under the microscope and scrutinized.  However, when you make it known that you are a Christian, you have the opportunity to intentionally share your faith and ask for grace if things get off track.

Review the CBRT Credo on our website and remember CBRT values:  Faith, Integrity, Servant Leadership, Relationships & Truth.  When we work under those ideals, we can be uplifted in our daily walk.

Though we see satanic forces at work today—distractions placed by the enemy—there are still beautiful things to see:  God’s mercy in this time.  Noise and distraction are the tools of the enemy, used to get us off the track of God.   

Remember Proverbs 14:19. Evil will bow to the good, and in the end, we win.

Upcoming Events

Our Q4 events begin with our Global Webinar, Friday, November 19, at 7:30am-9:00am led by Rodger Price, Owner & Founder of Leading by Design. 

For our Detroit friends, please join us Friday, December 17 at 7:00-9:00am for CBRT’s In-Person Breakfast Social, with guest speaker Rick Warren, Chairman & CEO of Weldaloy.

On Friday, January 21, 2022 at 7:00am, join us for a Leadership Breakfast Event with Bill Schuhmacher, CEO of Leadership Lógos at the Kalamazoo Country Club in Kalamazoo.

Richard DeWitt, President and CEO of Marketplace Chaplains will speak at our Leadership Breakfast Event on Friday, February 18, at 7:00 am at the University Club in Grand Rapids.

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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Managing Your Remote Workforce

Our October 2021 topic was “Managing Your Remote Workforce.”  Many companies require in-person attendance, while a bigger percentage manage workers who work remote either full or part-time.  This month we addressed successful management of remote workers.

Change the conversation about remote/hybrid/in-office:  What behaviors deliver the desired outcome? What does this job or role require as a production outcome?  Allow workers to attain the desired outcome in their own way. 

Flip the script.  It’s all about outcomes!

  • Timeliness
  • Deliverables
  • Resource Management
  • Quality Product
  • Customer Service, Customer Requirements

Ask yourself, “what do the customers demand and how can that best be accomplished?”

Create KPI’s for those who do not work well at home, with a stronger requirement for them to be in the office.  Working at home may require an innate skill that some have, and some do not.

For example, Toyota has remote employees; however, they have clear productivity expectations, down to the hour, that must be met.

If we don’t hire those who desire to work from home, who will we hire?  Hiring remote or hybrid workers is a way to combat the labor shortage. 

Sometimes tangential problems are brought to light in meetings about another subject: an “accidental issue.”  Without being together, or setting aside time to meet regularly, the “accidental issues” can be missed.

One size does not fit all, and a remote/hybrid/in-office plan needs to be tailored to each employee.  Consider making a plan to combat employee isolation. 

As leaders, we need to be critically aware of who can preform at home and who cannot. 

One member’s company has determined that interns and junior workers can no longer work remote.  In order to get the nurturing, training and learning that is required for growth, they must interact with others in-person and on-site.

A professional employee doing work from home must think like an owner.  Also, some functions can only be done at the workplace, so they need to understand there are limits to how much they can do at home.

Working at home can lead to working too much, and one member finds himself returning emails at 2:00am.  Work/life balance can be an issue for some, and they may need help separating work and life.  Be aware of time management to address work/life balance.

An individual may want to work at 10am – 7:00pm for example, with the benefit of expanding the companies’ hours and office coverage.  One important question to ask is does the employee really want to work at home or are they really looking for flexibility?

Companies must have a set of rules or best practices for remote working in their employee handbook.  Each employee must be required to be professional, first class.  Rules of conduct, such as   

  1. Be on time for remote meetings
  2. Show your face in remote meetings
  3. Dress properly-get out of your pajamas!

Other Ideas Shared:

Reframe: “Here is what I’m going to accomplish” instead of “how am I going to accomplish this with all these problems?”

Be aware that employees are feeling hopeless because of the condition of our country and our world.  Folks feel like they are fighting battles they are not winning. 

Ideas to assist with employees who may be struggling:

  • Find reasons to win, not fail
  • Make other people appear larger than yourself
  • Avoid gossip
  • Listen to each other
  • Be team oriented
  • Be flexible
  • Take initiative

Remember, God is in charge, he is leading.  Seek to connect with other business leaders.  We are not doing what we need to do for ourselves as business owners and executives to combat isolation. (Joining a Round Table is a good way to combat that isolation!  See our website for a Round Table near you:  Round Tables – Christian Business Round Table(thebusinessrt.org))

Feedback from our Monday Morning Moment with Rodger Price #2  (Healthy Conflict with Rodger Price 2 of 3 – YouTube

Success depends on how one leans in.

  • Leaning in to aggressively fight every point of contention can escalate and worsen the situation.
  • Leaning in positively, asserting your points but with an intent to find common ground and a positive path forward increases odds of success.

Upcoming Events:

Our Q4 events begin with our Global Webinar, Friday, November 19, at 7:30am-9:00am led by Rodger Price, Owner & Founder of Leading by Design. 

For our Detroit friends, please join us Friday, December 17 at 7:00-9:00am for CBRT’s In-Person Breakfast Social, with guest speaker Rick Warren, Chairman & CEO of Weldaloy.

On Friday, January 21, 2022 at 7:00am, join us for a Leadership Breakfast Event with Bill Schuhmacher, CEO of Leadership Lógos at the Kalamazoo Country Club in Kalamazoo.

Richard DeWitt, President and CEO of Marketplace Chaplains will speak at our Leadership Breakfast Event on Friday, February 18, at 7:00 am at the University Club in Grand Rapids.

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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Overcoming Obstacles

Our September 2021 topic was “Overcoming Obstacles in Corporate America—Supply Chain, Managing Growth, Uncertainty & Cancel Culture.”  Our topic was purposely broad to allow the needs of the individual Round Tables to discuss topics relevant to each group.

September 2021 Take-Aways:

Kalamazoo:

Operate based on where you need to go, do not base decisions on fear.  If leaders are anxious, your staff will be anxious.  Remember:  2 Timothy 1:7. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” NLT

Look for change from the inside out.  1.  Get to know your team.  Understand their interests, skills, and strengths.  2.  Leverage their strengths fully.  3.  Fill in the gaps through hiring or training.

Think of recruiting as an attitude, always looking to fill positions in your company.  It’s no longer, “I have a position to fill, call the recruiter.  It’s not a check the box process anymore, but more like a flywheel.”

To combat uncertainty:  Have a plan for your business.  Work the plan and keep moving forward during these uncertain times, realizing the plan may change.  Having a plan in place will bring you peace. 

To combat cancel culture:  Know and review your core values daily.  One idea is to review your values every morning and then evaluate your progress/success at living those values each night.  Ask the question, “did I live up to my values today?”

How do you weather a storm?  Don’t compromise your values.

For those leaders who sometimes like to be in charge and do things their way without input from others, remember: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”

Grand Rapids: 

Companies can’t sustain high sign-on bonuses and exorbitant wages in the long-term.  It is critical to create a work culture that makes people excited about working for your company.

In addressing corporate obstacles and challenges, it is important to distinguish if it is truly a problem in the external environment or if is it a leadership issue that is keeping the company from responding to that problem effectively.

Accountability is becoming increasingly critical. We need to go back to management basics: assign clear responsibilities for addressing the challenges we are facing, establish measurable goals, and follow up.

Global:

“Uncertainty” varies by person/situation/industry.

Some are keeping to themselves and just waiting for the “other shoe to drop.”

Concerns in the banking industry are staffing and the high workload on the minimal staff that is in place today. There is conflict, stress and anxiety for those who have been essential workers and on the frontline since the beginning of the pandemic.

In manufacturing, supply chain is the biggest challenge.  In the energy sector, we are seeing a focus on development of leaders during this uncertain time.

Grand Rapids Breakfast Social:

The 10 points of Servant Leadership:

1. Listening

2. Empathy

3. Awareness

4. Healing

5. Conceptualization

6. Persuasive

7. Stewardship

8. Foresight

9. Commitment to the Growth of People

10. Building Community

Success these days requires out of the box thinking.  For example, in one company during the pandemic, there was an urgent need to implement alternate payment technology.  The manager made mass technology purchases quickly in non-traditional ways, allowing the business to quickly convert to curbside pickup.

We are social beings with a need for social interaction.  We are observing this in the in-person events we attend—high energy, lots of interaction and communication.

The dissention among people regarding masking and vaccines, and adamancy in the positions we take, creates nasty moments in social situations.  If you don’t agree with the position of another person, it is important to speak up, share your thoughts, without being nasty.  Speak calmly to share opinion and knowledge.

Positive change seen:  We have learned to carry on with our activities and events rather than fully canceling like we did early in the pandemic.  Modifications of the elements of events such as box lunches or pre-packaged food instead of buffets are now important to keep events going.

There is a Godly spirit in all of us.  The gates of Hell will not prevail.  As Christians, our eternity is secured, and we will take as many with us as we can as we propagate the Kingdom.

Holland:

As leaders we should be developing a more inclusive feel to our companies and valuing people as partners because it is the right thing to do, not a means to an end.

It’s important to remember, Individuals are smart; people are dumb (the mob mentality).

Birmingham:

We are connected to the King, so ask and you shall receive.  Always remember to ask and he will help.  We see his love in amazing ways.

Prayer is always helpful.  Ask God to guide your actions, words, and thoughts today.  We are very blessed.

Rochester:

This group discussed the roots of our struggles which are political and spiritual.  There is a need for us to shoulder up and stand.

Upcoming Events:

Our Q4 events begin with our Global Webinar, Friday, November 19, at 7:30am-9:00am led by Rodger Price, Owner & Founder of Leading by Design. 

For our Detroit friends, please join us Friday, December 17 at 7:00-9:00am for CBRT’s In-Person Breakfast Social, with guest speaker Rick Warren, Chairman & CEO of Weldaloy.

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

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Combating the Talent Drought

Our August 2021 topic was “Combating the Talent Drought.”  Our discussions focused on attracting and retaining employees.

August 2021 Take-Aways:

Global:  Create a Hiring/Recruiting position within your company.  Consider implementing a new potential employee process which includes a self-examination session(s) and help candidates get to know themselves better and determine what they truly want from a job.  Follow up with discussions on whether they are right for your team.

Employees today are looking for development, mentoring and growth.  When onboarding new employees, be prepared to discuss a 3–5-year career plan. 

One RT member turned to the local community college to look for top students.  Their company is now working with students with 1-2 years left in school and offering paid internships and working to keep the interns after college graduation. 

Per Barron’s Magazine, 83% of employees would give up a pay increase for flexibility.  Many now want a flex position that will allow them to work part time in the office, part time at home.

Leaders must be willing to look at themselves and understand how they come across to their employees and understand how their behaviors may be impacting culture and employee retention.  How is their tone of voice, what message does their face and body language convey when speaking to others?  Above all else, employees want to feel safe more than they want a bonus. 

As leaders, we must genuinely care and understand what employees are dealing with in their personal lives and have structures in place to support their teams.

One large bank recently gave all employees a $500 bonus, not just signing bonuses for new hires.

Kalamazoo:

As Leaders, it is important to engage employees more, listen and be genuinely interested in your team and their issues. 

Find out what they love to do or what they would love to do in your organization.  A company may not be able to completely change the employee’s current position, but assigning small tasks related to their interests will help motivate and retain employees.

Can you streamline processes to reduce the need for additional labor?  Do you have, “a lot of people in the sand box, or in other people’s sand boxes?”  Is there duplication of effort that can be eliminated?  Less duplication, less need for additional employees.

Attracting employees is a Sales and Marketing effort.  One RT member is working to re-brand the skilled trades industry to junior and high school students.  Construction is seen as attracting ‘bottom of the barrel’ talent.  They are working to change that perspective and present industry jobs as skilled, desirable, and potentially lucrative.

Grand Rapids:

Spend time with employees in groups and individually to share your sense of mission and vision until it becomes theirs as well.

Make sure you genuinely care about your employees and value them as your greatest asset, which must be demonstrated in tangible ways.


Birmingham:

To attract and retain contract workers, one RT member has created a retainer where contractors have a minimal commitment. 

Identify your needs and discuss with others, as they may surprise you and have the solution to your problem.

Consider profit sharing or create some revenue share to retain employees.

There is a new emphasis on training, either new hires or current employees to fill positions where trained talent is not available.

Holland: 

If our companies support the right culture, the talent drought should not be impacting greatly.  The right culture wins.

Our upcoming events!

On Friday, August 27, at 7:30 am, join us as we welcome, author Dave Kahle, who will discuss, “Turbulent Times: Navigating Your Way Through Complexity in a Rapidly Changing, Information-Saturated World.

For our Grand Rapids friends, please join us on Friday, September 17, at 7:00-9:00am, for our CBRT In-Person Breakfast Social Event with guest speaker Rich Wolowski, CEO of Gordon Food Service. 

Our Q4 events begin with our Global Webinar, Friday, November 19, at 7:30am-9:00am led by Rodger Price, Owner & Founder of Leading by Design. 

For our Detroit friends, please join us Friday, December 17 at 7:00-9:00am for CBRT’s In-Person Breakfast Social, with guest speaker Rick Warren, Chairman & CEO of Weldaloy.

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

Other Resources: 

Labor-Shortage Solutions From “Vanishing Workforce”
A webinar from Express Employment Professionals 8/10/21

Speaker:  Ron Hetrick, Director of Staffing Products and Data, Emsi Burning Glass

Short-Term

  • Raise wages
  • Offer non-wage incentives
  • Simplify job requirements
  • Build company culture/Become an employer of choice
  • Establish training programs and retain your best and brightest talent

Long-Term

  • Workforce planning needs to be an executive-level conversation (not just for your HR team)
  • Create clear career paths quickly for your best workers
  • Consider contracting an industrial engineer to determine how to use your labor most effectively
  • Partner with prisons, colleges, high schools, and trade schools
  • Drop drug test and background check requirements

Other thoughts:

  • Make your company’s work world look more like part-time/flex: this is where workers are gravitating
  • Partner with another company to invest in an existing childcare center
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The Expedition: Long-Term Leadership, 30 Days at a Time”

Our July, 2021 topic was, “The Expedition: Long-Term Leadership, 30 Days at a Time.”  Our focus this month was on our vision for the year broken down into bite-sized plans for the month.

We have the answers!  Below are the solutions to common business problems discussed in the Round Tables in July.

Global: 

Have a vision for your business?  When you do, then use the “multiplier of three” or “what other three people can you infect with your excitement.”  Infect people with enthusiasm for your vision.  Ask yourself, what three people can I contact today to infect with enthusiasm for your vision. 

Suggestion for those looking to or struggling to increase staff:  Draw an organizational chart as you expect your organization to look in July 2022.  Before you identify specific people, identify the title, define the job function, and even write a job description.  Then, fill with those who have the needed and necessary skills.

Having a down day? 

  • Act your way out of the doldrums.  
  • Call someone who loves or respects you to let them re-infect you with enthusiasm. 
  • Focus on helping others.  Ask yourself how can I help others who are struggling.  For example, one RT member offered a refresher course free of charge to previous clients, along with six of their friends.  This act of helping others cost for a month but brought in clients at less cost than advertising.
  • Create and keep a ‘miracle log’ to help focus on how God is active in your business and life.

It is important to believe your hard work will pay off and expect your business to grow.  

A mantra for you and your staff:  See it/Own it/Solve It/Execute it.  It is about organizational accountability.  See It, Own It, Solve It Do It Applying the Oz Principle to Transfer Processes and Accountability (memberclicks.net)

Difficulties with work life balance or other issues?  Be thankful for what is working for you and turn your difficulties over to God.  We know this but often need reminders. 

Kalamazoo Groups:

As leaders, we need to be inspired and enthusiastic about our vision in order to expect our staff to be excited. 

How to inspire enthusiasm to achieve more than they believe they are capable of:

  • Show/demonstrate your confidence in them
  • Accountability is important but also is reward for a job well done.
  • Learn to communicate in a way that will be received best however, each employee is different.  “Get the job done,” is not an effective way to communicate with most employees.
  • Do not do their job for your employees as this communicates that you do not have confidence in their abilities. 

It is important to remember that we are a woven human tapestry, part of God’s vision.

Adaptability is key to executing your plan/vision, while repeating the vision message consistently.

Sharing ideas at all levels gives leaders valuable input.

Grand Rapids:

We need to bring other members of the organization along with us in seeing the vision, committing to accomplish the vision, and engaging in the implementation of the plan to achieve the vision.

Commit to translating the vision into a specific thirty-day plan.

It is important to maintain a healthy work life/personal life balance while pursuing the vision.

Birmingham:

Processes and timelines must be introduced with a positive focus and spin.  Timelines must be reasonable so that people will buy in as well.

Multiplication is a great term and focuses on God as the multiplier.  We need to reframe the conversation to get the negative out of people’s thought process.  This can help get avoid depression.

Do you want to join a Round Table?  Get the latest information on next month’s Round Table venues on our website.  Options include hybrid, in-person only or online only.  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link or location near you.

We have five upcoming events!

Our next webinar/Leadership Event will be on Friday, July 23 at 7:30am, with guest speaker Jim Coyle of Nexus Business Solutions.

Then, on Friday, August 27, at 7:30 am, join us as we welcome, author Dave Kahle, who will discuss, “Navigating your way through complexity in a rapidly changing, information-saturated world.

For our Grand Rapids friends, please join us on Friday, September 17, at 7:00-9:00am, for our CBRT In-Person Breakfast Social Event with guest speaker Rich Wolowski, CEO of Gordon Food Service. 

Our Q4 events begin with our Global Webinar, Friday, November 19, at 7:30am-9:00am led by Rodger Price, Owner & Founder of Leading by Design. 

For our Detroit friends, please join us Friday, December 17 at 7:00-9:00am for CBRT’s In-Person Breakfast Social.

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

Resources: 

Four Essential Steps to Accountability – Culture Management Experts (partnersinleadership.com)

See It, Own It, Solve It Do It Applying the Oz Principle to Transfer Processes and Accountability (memberclicks.net)

The Oz Principle Book Summary by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman (shortform.com)

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Our June topic: “Moving Forward:  Beyond Slow Motion & The Waiting Game.”

In May, the Round Tables took a hard look at their businesses and assessed their positions.  In June, based on their assessment, our Round Tables discussed moving forward.

We have the answers!  Below are the solutions to common business problems discussed in the Round Tables in June.

Kalamazoo:

  • Companies and industries are getting creative to fill needed staffing positions.  The building industry, for example, is now trying to engage with middle and high school students in an effort to educate them on the future opportunities in the skilled trades.
  • Are we moving too fast in the wrong direction or the right direction?  There is a need to constantly re-assess as business is moving very quickly.  A solution:  a constant, scheduled evaluation of strategy.  Constantly asking ourselves, are we on plan?  Is it the right strategy for today?  Crisis management requires us to ask ourselves, are we effectively delivering value to our customers? 
  • Creativity and the willingness to entertain all options could be the key to survival.  During this time of limited raw materials and supplies needed to do business, some companies are looking to partner with other organizations to share resources.  Partnering companies must share common vision and goals to be successful.  These types of arrangements would have been out of the question previously but may be advantageous during this time. 
  • The workplace is changing.  Many folks want to work from home at least part of the time.  How to create a cohesive group in this environment?  Human Resource’s role may expand.  There is a need to get employees together as a group to help create culture and cohesiveness.  HR may become ‘event coordinators’ to not only meet for accomplishing tasks but also to a create culture. 
  • How to engage people remotely?  A way to connect to remote staff is to call in the morning to say hello and see how they are, just as was done when staff in the was in the office.  It is important to remember that employees are people first and we are social creatures. 

Holland: 

  • Many business owners designed processes as business started, but as time goes on, processes are tweaked and changed.  It may be time to ‘put on the blue jeans, go down on the floor and put some time in with your people.”
  • A key tactic:  Listen for the voice of Truth, listen for God.

Grand Rapids

  • The pandemic has created a survival mentality both individually and organizationally that is stifling and debilitating. Leaders need to transform this mentality by focusing on mission, establishing specific strategic goals, and fostering innovation.
  • Many organizations are sitting “dead in the water.” We need to create momentum by setting short-term goals that provide the organization or each department the opportunity to take at least one step forward on a weekly basis.

Global: 

The ability to managing cash flow is critical to survival for many businesses today.  Some suggestions for the Round Table:

  • Pre-bill or create a retainer for services, similar to the practices of a law or an accounting firm.  If a customer is unable or unwilling to pay, you may decide to focus your business elsewhere.  This can prevent a business loss.
  • Bill your customers more frequently to avoid delays in payment, consider a weekly or bi-weekly billing cycle.  Many customers pay based on the date a bill was submitted.
  • Be sure to pursue forgiveness of PPE loans given by Federal Government during covid.
  • Make sure you have strong relationships and frequent communication with your customers.  Create and maintain relationships with all levels of employees within their organizations.   This may mean the difference between getting payment at 120 days or 30-60 days.
  • Cash flow problems?  Talk to your staff.  Allow them to brainstorm solutions with you to assist during difficult times.  You may be surprised at their ideas and their willingness to help.
  • It may be time to right size your customers, if appropriate.  Are we making the margins on this business we need to in order to remain afloat or succeed, or should we focus on higher margin customers?

Staffing is an on-going issue in the current business environment.  Several solutions implemented by the Global Round Table attendees were:

  • A few have created internships for the best and brightest students and pay them a reasonable intern wage.  This is working well for several companies represented in the Global Round Table.
  • Increased recruiting staff or increased the intensity of recruiting and began looking for talent in distant locations such as people living an hour to an hour and a half away.
  • Owners and leaders are doing the job of their employees to fill in the gap, sometimes as needed, sometimes regularly scheduled.  Customers are noticing and respect this willingness to dig in to make sure customers’ needs are met.  Customer care must be a part of your culture.
  • When an employee leaves, before the position is filled, make sure you understand the productivity that is expected and needs to be delivered by filling this position.  Determine if you are getting the productivity needed in this position and offer salary to new hires based on the required productivity.
  • Pivoted employees from current role to other roles as dictated by needs of the company.  Another possibility, increase responsibility, along with a small increase in pay to provide coverage needed.

Do you want to join a Round Table?  Get the latest information on next month’s Round Table venues on our website.  Options include hybrid, in-person only or online only.  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link or location near you.

We have two upcoming webinar/leadership events!

Our next webinar/Leadership Event will be on Friday, July 23 at 7:30am, with guest speaker Jim Coyle of Nexus Business Solutions.

Then, on Friday, August 27, at 7:30 am, join us as we welcome, author Dave Kahle, who will discuss, “Navigating your way through complexity in a rapidly changing, information-saturated world.” 

See the Events Page to register today to save your place for both leadership training events.  These events are free to attend, thanks to our generous sponsors.  If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.