Building Strong Relationships to Achieve Results

In the November Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Building Strong Relationships to Achieve Results.”

As a reminder, our next Leadership Breakfast will be at the Kalamazoo Country Club on January 18, 2019 featuring Michelle Mei, Chief Talent Officer at Momentum Development Group. Michelle will be speaking on the topic of “Effective Talent Planning is a Necessity in Building a Great Team.” Click here to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Phil’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the November Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: Why do we need strong relationships?

  • We need strong relationships to establish a trusted team environment.  A team that has strong/trusted relationships has emotionally engaged team members that focus on the team goals, not on their own personal objectives.  This bolsters the human spirit, improving creativity and effectiveness.  TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More.

Q2: What defines a strong relationship?

  • Characteristics of a strong relationship:  open communication, mutual trust, shared risk, empathy toward each other, mutual respect, unwavering mutual support, consistency in all relationship drivers, honesty, love.

Q3: What methods do you use to create strong relationships?

  • Engage the other party in a positive, non-threatening manner.  Make the first step toward building the relationship.
  • Empathize with the other party – understand what their goals and challenges are.  Be a good listener.
  • Engage in events, meetings, personal/professional development to develop relationships.
  • Honestly practice self-awareness.  Be aware of your strengths/weaknesses and modify your behavior to have a more positive effect on the relationship.  Exhibit honesty and humility.

Q4: How do you maintain a strong relationship?

  • Strong relationships can be hard to maintain.  It is important to make an effort to stay in touch, even when it is difficult to do so.  Unexpectedly offer help/support to others, while being gracious enough to accept the support offered to you. Two good sayings to remember are: “It takes a friend to be a friend” and “What would Jesus do?”

Q5: If a relationship gets damaged, how do you repair it?

  • Honesty is key to repairing a damaged relationship.  Try to understand the other party’s position before confronting them.  Discuss the situation quickly so that it doesn’t degrade further.  If you are at fault, admit it and apologize, make amends if possible.  If another party is at fault, openly discuss your views and be forgiving.  Keep an open mind, you might be partially to blame and don’t realize it.  In some rare instances, you may need to retreat and see if time will improve the situation.  Prayer is very helpful. Allow some time to pass before misunderstandings are frequent and need to be identified.

Takeaways for today:

  • Relationships can be very difficult in today’s “Me” vs. “We” society. We are constantly bombarded by this message in all areas of society and must fight this.
  • The growth of electronic communication methods has taken a toll on personal relationships. Electronics often cannot convey the true meaning of a message and it is very easy for a misunderstanding to occur.  A bad situation can often be diffused by just making a phone call or personal visit.
  • Personal responsibility is a concept that seems to be increasingly diminishing in society, making it difficult to maintain relationships. Society has developed a victim’s mentality where it is always someone else’s fault when a problem occurs.  As leaders, we to fight this by setting a good example and accepting responsibility for our actions.
  • Trust in God: We need to pray for God’s support/guidance in difficult situations and recognize that God is constantly putting good people and opportunities in our lives.
  • It often helps to practice a 24-hour life cycle, focus on today, forget about the difficulties of the past. Treat every day as game day.  Remember that God will get us through any challenge if we trust in Him.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Challenges:

  • Building the right team.
  • Knowing the parameters and purpose of each relationship.
    • Some relationships can be counter productive.
    • Strong relationships are not always good from a leadership perspective.
  • It takes time to build trust.

Solution:

  • Take 100% responsibility for all of your relationships. It is up to us to make the relationship what we want/need it to be.
  • How does the relationship help to achieve results?
    • We can’t do everything on our own.
    • Need team to have complimentary relationships. Each person’s strengths and weaknesses balance our own and those of others’.
    • A team of people that are too similar can cause issues and gaps in results.
  • Identify how to build relationships. Do not focus only on the results.
    • It is not necessarily a negative to focus on the results of a relationship. All relationships have a purpose and produce some sort of result whether personal or professional. .
  • Building relationships requires listening.
    • Ask lots of questions.
    • You can’t learn while you’re talking.
  • Use profile assessments during the interview/hiring process.
  • Extend trust to your employees.
    • In abilities: sometimes your employees will surprise you in how they step up in a time of need. Allow them to take on more responsibility.
    • In discernment: If they do not trust someone, find out why. Do not simply dismiss their concerns.
  • Low talent stars are critical. They are foundational to the team.
  • Think like a sports coach.
    • No one expects a coach to build a team simply through stats. He is strategic in his recruiting and building of the team.
    • A coach also reassesses each year. He expects that his players will change and rotate each season depending on the needs of the entire team/”to achieve results.”
  • Experiment. Do not be afraid to fail.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

Challenges:

  • Relationships – Work is work – not for friendship.
    • You have to be friendly, but not “buds.”
  • Why do people stay?
  • Best friends at work?
  • Finding commonalities – “About Me” form.

Solutions:

  • Difference approach to different people.
  • Make sure they have the tools to do the job well and have the balance. Build this into your culture.
  • Implement a buddy system/mentor from day one. Same age/same gender.
  • Use a tool to help remember.
  • Share behavioral/strengths assessment results.
  • If you’re happy with your personal life/ goals you’ll be happy at work.
  • Guide to
  • Out of all the characters you know, who do you most identify with?
  • R + D – Redo and Do
  • EOS – Accountability support.
  • Communicating regularly their responsibility to the goals and coach them through it.
  • “Corporate Nonsense” – Help to not overcomplicate the goals.
    • Relationships –
  • Book: “Green Manager”
  • 4 X 40 – Review every forty days.
  • Track your reviews.

Takeaways:

  • About them – be the guide/yoda.
  • Make sure you are a filled donut/without a void.
  • Tools – EOS
  • All or nothing.
  • Hero vs. Guide – Be the guide.
  • Book: “Story Brand”

Join us for our December Round Tables as we discuss “The Strategic Importance of Trust & How to Build It.” RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.

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Implementing & Maintaining A Healthy Work Environment

In the October Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Implementing & Maintaining A Healthy Work Environment.”

An essential element of maintaining a healthy work environment is trust. Phil Catlett, President of the Better Business Bureau of Grand Rapids, will speak on The Strategic Importance of Trust” at our upcoming Leadership Breakfast on November 16th. Click here to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel here where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Phil’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the October Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table:

Q1: What is a healthy work environment?

In general, a healthy work environment has a culture based on the basic Christian principle of love for your fellow man. If we lead our businesses by example, based on this principle, most employees will recognize the ethical practices of the upper management and follow suit. This allows the following environmental (cultural) qualities will exist and grow:

  • Increased trust of both management and fellow employees.
  • Increased respect for company leadership.
  • A stronger team environment.
  • Less fear of making a mistake that would result in punishment, which promotes increased ownership of tasks/issues.
  • Less fear of ridicule when offering a creative problem solution or improvement suggestion.
  • A healthy work environment supports the basic human needs of:
    • Feeling significant – we have a meaningful purpose in the organization,
    • Achieving personal satisfaction – we can make a difference and have.
    • Feeling secure in our work situation – we’re not constantly looking over our shoulder for the next threat.

Q2: Do you know of any “model” companies?

The discussion group consisted of leaders from various sized companies, from very small 2-person operations to very large (G.E. and Comerica) corporations. Basic operating concepts were discussed and examples given  of how various situations were handled over the years by our team, leading me to the basic conclusion that there is no specific definition of a model/perfect company.  Each company/industry is unique, and the “model” company definition will vary accordingly, as will the leadership practices needed to set the company working environment. Everyone agreed that following Christian principals, as outlined in Q1 on this report (What is a healthy work environment?), are a necessary foundation for achieving a “model” company.

Q3: Are there any issues to avoid? Why?

Issues to avoid:

  • Jumping to conclusions – we must make sure that we have a full understanding of the situation. We must view the situation from all perspectives before issuing a judgement.
  • Being ambiguous – we must clearly and consistently communicate our with the direction.
  • Being overly tolerant of policy violations – while we strive to understand and amicably correct improper behavior/performance, we must decide when the situation is beyond repair and take corrective actions. If we’ve done everything reasonably possible to correct a bad situation that isn’t improving, we must not wait too long to take correct the situation.

Q4: What changes can you make in your company?

No specific company changes or pending issues were brought forth during the meeting, although there was a lively discussion of the topics in Q1 (What is a healthy work environment?), regarding how best to achieve a healthy working environment. Everyone supports conducting business both internally and externally with sound Christian principles.

Following the meeting, one attendee confidentially described to me a situation within their company where an employee violated several company policies, costing the company over $100,000.  The company’s upper management was debating whether or not to fire this individual and decided to take a more measured (read Christian) approach to discipline.  As it turned out, the individual lost some pay and privileges, but not their job.  Ironically, the individual understood that they had violated company policy, but could not understand why they were penalized.

Q5: What Strategies will you use to drive Change?

The discussion group recognized the importance that a healthy work environment plays towards achieving a successful company. By following Jesus’ direction, the work environment should be productive and positive, a place that most employees enjoy.  Some practices that were discussed to affect positive change within an organization are:

  • We must lead by example, following the same rules/practices that are expected from our employees.
  • We must be consistent with our decisions and direction within our organization otherwise confusion will exist leading eventually to apathy.
  • We should recognize/reward the achievements of our team. This helps people feel that they have a meaningful purpose within the organization and are secure with their position.
    • Public recognition within the company and/or industry.
    • Special incentives (Additional vacation time, special bonuses, etc.).
    • We must promote positive reinforcement throughout the organization.
  • We should make sure that we understand a situation completely, from all sides, before rendering judgement.
  • We should be tolerant of mistakes and understand the root causes of them, providing the support that is necessary to affect a lasting/permanent corrective action. If we have dedicated employees who are making mistakes, the likely cause is a systemic problem that must be fixed. Dedicated employees do not want to make mistakes.
  • We must recognize if a team member is simply not fit for a position and help them find a position that is more suited to them. If we allow someone to continue in a position that is not a fit for them, it affects the morale and effectiveness of the entire team.  This doesn’t necessarily mean an employment termination, it could mean a position change within the company or helping to find them a new position outside of the company.

Additional Takeaways:

  • Investigate the Disney corporate culture and structure, it is a good example of ethical business practices.
  • Investigate Wayne Huizenga and his organization, it is a good example of ethical business practices.

 

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Challenge:

  • Healthy physically & mentally
  • Unhealthy = harassment/bullying
  • Environment = Culture = values, attitudes & beliefs that permeate within a company
  • How do we want to behave?
  • What are our values?
  • What are we modeling?
  • What’s our “just cause?”
  • Timing is everything – how do we be more proactive/
  • Awareness training
  • Getting everyone in sync / aligned with your culture
  • Lack of peripheral vision

Solution:

  • Training on identifying behaviors / personal awareness
  • It’s about the team / employees, not us
  • Keep it simple: training on the business, personal awareness & technical/job training
  • Effective communication
  • Need multiple channels/opportunities for people to express themselves (ie. RUOK program)

Takeaway:

  • Be intentional
  • Be proactive with communication to catch yourself before you hit your challenge/obstacle
  • Need to be honest with yourself & your limits
  • We must discipline/mentor/coach
  • Balance – pay attention to best performers
  • Communicate/reinforce good behaviors & lessons learned (through storytelling)
  • Value = listening to employees
  • Tell stories to promote learning
  • “Health is about creating capability” – Bill Beck

 

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Challenge:

  • Business problems are simple, but people are complicated.
  • Good times can hide bad processes.
  • The effect of leadership not following their word.
  • Some leaders would rather be tough than smart.
  • Health includes physical and mental health.
  • Healthy doesn’t mean the same thing in all situations.
  • Hard to separate work culture from cultural issues at large.
  • Tough to maintain culture when national organization loses its personal touch.
  • Challenge of maintaining the small family culture in the midst of growth.

Solutions:

  • Employee wellness example: Caterpillar “R U OK” program.
  • Business/Corporate Jenga – Don’t just start making moves. Be strategic.
  • Leadership needs clear core values and instruction on how to incorporate them.
  • Set principles and values to establish boundaries.
  • Reach out between meetings.
  • Engagement – make your team feel part of something.
  • Create a common enemy (challenge, competitors, etc.) to unite your team.
  • Mission/Vision vs. A Just Cause
  • A well run business reduces workplace stress.
  • Be preemptive with wellness exams.
  • Teach your team through stories. Include stories of past mistakes from others or yourself.
  • Feedback loop – keep your team informed. Real-time communication about the company or goal helps eliminate issues or misunderstanding.
  • Consider using outside resources/consultants to help address issues that bosses feel unable to.

 

Grand Rapids Round Table (Thursday)

Takeaways:

  • Leader needs to be trusted and lead.
  • Leaders should actively manage negativity.
  • Hold all employees accountable.

 

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Challenge:

  • 5 elements of wellbeing: Physical, social, financial, community, and career.
    • Can add spiritual.
  • People are complicated. Top leadership must be on board with ensuring employee wellness.
  • If owner and C-level leaders are not on board, they will implement policies that undermine management efforts.
  • People are not systems.
  • Sometimes too many systems/rules can gum up the process.

Solution:

  • Owners and CEO’s must be present during conversations/events.
  • “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
  • Consider corporate chaplains.
  • Be very strategic and intentional about creating your company culture.
  • Create a sense of ownership among employees which will foster responsibility.
  • Create an element of flexibility with schedules.  Allow your team to feel that you trust them to get the work done.
    • Netflix offers unlimited PTO.
  • An engaged employee contributes to overall health and productivity.
  • Encourage your employees to review the benefits that you offer.

 

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

Challenge:

  • What does an unhealthy environment look like?
    • Work only (no fun/personal balance)
    • Insecure/threatening
    • Political – it’s about who you know / good ol’ boys club / drama
    • Belittling/demeaning leaders
    • Autocratic leaders
    • Reward for bad decisions
    • Micromanaged
    • Fear of failure
    • “lost” leaders
  • What does a healthy environment look like?
    • Share common values & beliefs genuinely
    • Good relationships
    • Trust – good communication
    • Caring
    • Stable
    • Has courage to speak up when something is out of joint
    • Doing the right thing no matter what
    • Celebrates failure / what we learned
    • Environment of grace & truth
    • Approachability
    • Respecting all who make decisions
    • Empowered leaders
    • Keeping the good in the forefront
    • Encouraging

Solution:

  • How do we implement a healthy environment?
    1. Define the core values, mission & vision
    2. Meet with all employees together & then have 1×1 meetings with every leader & staff member to enforce/reinforce
    3. Leader must lead by example
    4. Base all business / personal decisions on these core values / mission/vision
    5. Tell stories from the organizations history
    6. Personally model a healthy lifestyle authentically
      1. Be present to show you care & intentionally create relationships
    7. Maintain a rhythm of communication via meetings/other interaction for consistency
    8. Implement constructive accountability
  • How do we maintain a healthy environment?
    • Repeating things we’re doing that are healthy & always pushing forward
    • Replicate yourself
    • Keep taking risks
    • Encouraging/not getting stagnant
    • Need to maintain health
    • Has a spirit of a pioneer, not a settler
    • Take time to celebrate (even small wins)
    • Quarterly/planned reviews / weekly check-ins / ppl metrics
    • Survey the group

Takeaway:

  • Keep it simple – follow the steps to implement & maintain
  • Assign high value to everyone
  • Intentionally create relationships as a leader / give opportunities to ask questions
  • We value what we focus on
  • Be very clear as to what you value
  • Examples: Phillips 66 – safety topics & talks / Joe Tye – Values Coach that talks about “the Pickle Pledge”

Join us next month as we discuss “Building Strong Relationships to Achieve Results.” RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.

Build Your People, Not Your Company

In the September Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Build Your People, Not Your Company.”

Dick Shilts, Athletic Director (Retired) of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, will continue this theme at our upcoming Leadership Breakfast on October 19th. Click here to save your seat and hear Dick teach on the topic of “Building Relationships: Going Deeper.”

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel here where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Dick’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the September Round Table meetings.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Challenge:

  • What does taking care of people look like?
  • How do we train and educate leaders to do this?
  • Good systems are useless if your people aren’t properly developed.
  • Issue of time. Mentorship takes time.
  • Some invest millions into equipment/machines, but what are they investing in their people?
  • Example: professional sports teams invest millions into facilities/staff/equipment to keep their athletes performing at their best. Their athletes make them money in the same way that our employees make us money. We must invest in them.

Solution:

  • People are messy. We must recognize and embrace this to help shape our approach.
  • Be aware. Pay attention to your employees faces.
  • Embrace the process.
  • Invest in your employees passion.
  • Focus on the why. We often say what benefits we offer without explaining why we offer them.  Communicate that you care.
  • Individualize benefits to employees. However, executives must extend trust to their middle managers and establish parameters for them to make decisions on their own so that they are not constantly coming to the CEO with individual requests.
  • Leadership should include HR in their meetings so that they can understand the executives’ vision and implement it in the hiring/training/development process.
  • Top level leaders must be on board.
  • Issue of Execs vs. HR. Need someone who is business minded who also cares for people and is able to properly communicate to executives how their new policies/practices/systems will help with the bottom line.
  • Managers are overworked. We need People Development teams to work closely with managers to help alleviate the burden.
  • Administrative side of HR should be included in Finance. Separate HR into Finance and People Development.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

What does it mean to build your people?

  • It is a long-term approach.
  • Show sincere interest in them.
  • Be present when speaking with someone.
  • Show individualized edification. This will take extra effort to learn about each of your team members.
  • The way you view your company starts with how you view your people.
  • Company growth can throw off the dynamic.

How do you manage to keep focus of the company while focusing on your people?

  • Keep the big picture in mind while dealing with the little picture.
  • We all want the same thing: love, respect, value etc.
  • What outcome do you want?
  • Rules without relationship seem harsh.
  • Have to deposit [in your people] before you can withdrawal.

How do we value our employees, stay present, and show that we care while getting work done? How do we communicate this to our team?

  • View them as capable. They are more capable than they realize.
  • Acknowledge what they are good at.
  • People are filled with self-doubt and shame. Before asking them to take on a task, affirm their strength and show the reason you have assigned it to them.
  • Culture has built the idea of superman/woman. We know that as the body of Christ, we need each other/others with varying strengths.
  • We don’t have to be “the best,” we just have to be the best version of ourselves.
  • Let people learn to solve their own problems, but we must be a good coach.
  • Problem solving: Are you asking questions to help or are you making them dependent on you?
  • Look for people who have strengths opposite yours.

How do we help and work with millennials?

  • Be authentic.
  • Create community environment.
  • Allow them to fail and teach them how to learn from their failures.
  • Learn who they are and discover their strengths.
  • A one-man band is someone who people throw pennies at on the street, but people pay good money to hear a symphony. Remember to delegate, empower, show them trust, and even let them fail.

Join us next month as we discuss “Implementing & Maintaining A Healthy Work Environment.” RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.

How Best to Show Recognition & Appreciation for Your Employees

In the August Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “How Best to Show Recognition & Appreciation for Your Employees.”

Dave Casterline, Executive Director of Three Rivers Health Foundation, will continue this theme at our upcoming Leadership Breakfast on August 17th. Click here to save your seat and hear Dave speak on the topic of “We’re Building People, Not Companies.”

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel here where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Dave’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the August Round Table meetings.

Birmingham Round Table:

Q1: What are some ways to recognize employees in business?

  • Time off
  • Community service groups
  • engagement in outside activities on behalf of company
  • cash
  • career ladder
  • voice
  • reward
  • growth
  • personal notes of thanks

Q2: When should you show appreciates to employees?

  • Individual focused – Everyone is different.
  • People work for a person, not a company.
  • CBRT – Major mission – “Noblis Oblige” – To whom much is given… need to share more with young people.

Q3: Could/should certain practices be avoided?

  • Separate recognition and coaching – never same time.
  • Paying attention to phone and not the relationship.
  • Avoid participation trophies and employee of the month/year etc.

Q4: What will you do differently in the future?

  • Need to form … – Broaden people’s knowledge.
  • Assign mentors to young people.
  • Create matrix.  Activity for each quarter.

Takeaways for today:

  • Western Heritage – Hillsdale
  • Address proper balance – Personal, job,
  • Customizing recognition to individuals. Prepare a matrix. Ask: How does this person want recognition.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday):

Challenge:

  • Previous generation operated with one mind – the mind of the boss. The employees were an extension of his mind.
    • Leadership was a dictatorship.
    • Micromanagement.
  • If you want to change the current culture, you may need to get rid of some managers who are unwilling to change – even ones with seniority.
  • What is the downfall of recognition culture?
    • Inconsistency.
    • Can create a level of jealousy.
  • The danger of current topic: may result in one way to show appreciation when each person wants to be recognized in a different way.
    • Some individuals are embarrassed by group/public recognition.
  • Can give too much recognition. It can make employees rely on recognition and cause them to be discontent.
  • Recognition must come from the heart of the leader.  Communicating your reward systems can do more harm than good. Can cause the employees to become critical of the leader when they don’t do what is communicated.
  • What is the biggest challenge? Time.

Solutions:

  • Recognition must be genuine – Standard forms of recognition can feel hollow (e.g. Employee of the year/month).
  • Compensation is not just money:
    • Ask what they need.
    • Take time to get to know them.
  • Ask your employees what type of recognition they like best.
  • Treat employees like human beings or recognition means nothing. Take time to greet/speak to each of your employees.
  • Biblical mentality – Romans 12 – Treat others better than yourself.
  • Servant leadership – it is not task oriented. Must put in the work to know your people.
  • Leaders need expectations communicated to them – a heart change may be necessary.
  • Emphasize that it is about people, not engagement scores.
  • Cash bonuses can foster entitlement. Use a variety of different methods.
  • Use reward system to foster behaviors you want.
  • BOOK: “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People” – Gary Chapman.
  • Yearly reviews are too infrequent. Schedule reviews more often.
  • The overloaded leader:
    • Show that you have time to answer questions or give employees resources when you can’t.
    • Be proactive, not reactive. Do you want to deal with a problem now or later?
    • Managers need small groups so that they can lead properly and effectively.
    • If your group is too large with your workload, consider hiring an assistant to give yourself more time to lead.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday):

Challenge:

  • Some employees may not like being recognized.
  • Employees leave their managers, not their jobs. Many individuals like their job, but are tired of the poor management.

Solutions:

  • Sincerity is key.
  • Showing recognition affirms their value to the company.
  • Types of recognition:
    • Writing note cards to say thank you
    • Know them well enough to know their strengths and give them an opportunity to build on them. Build that relationship.
    • Personal emails
    • A simple thank you
    • Gentle discipline. To be told the areas you can improve on.
    • Perfect attendance? More vacation time.
    • Gift cards
    • Cards from leadership on service anniversaries
    • Birthday cards
  • Make the culture in your group even if you can’t affect the entire company culture.
  • Show them that you trust them. Do not micromanage.
  • Failure should be seen as a positive learning experience.
  • Empower employees so they can flourish and do their job freely and creatively.
  • Invest in long term development so they can flourish and feel valued.
  • Provide special projects for them to show that you recognize their potential.
  • Employees need affirmation.
  • Systems need to be recycled or they become less meaningful/effective.
  • People assume that they know what you think – usually assume the negative. As a leader, be sure that you are clear.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday):

Challenge:

  • Everyone wants to be recognized and appreciated differently. Not everyone likes public acknowledgement.
  • Some people know how to play the system. They know how to display their qualities at an opportune time to get the recognition rather than demonstrating good character/work at all times.
  • Societal conflicts are eliminating the possibility of connection/bonding.
  • Generation gaps
    • Previous generation was happy with material compensation (mementos, pay, etc.)
    • Current generation wants personal compensation (investment in career development/training, sense of community/acceptance etc.)

Solution:

  • Appreciation must be authentic.
  • Consider asking what would make them feel appreciated.
  • Consider a list for employees to rank which types of recognition they prefer.
  • Some people are simply self-motivated and don’t need recognition.
  • Don’t reward the task without validating the person.
  • Teaching and development can be forms of showing appreciation.
  • Trust and integrity are essential. Otherwise, it will be disregarded by the employee you are trying to thank.
  • Show them that you recognize that all work has dignity.
  • Management must not treat the team as second class. Remember that every member is necessary for success (For example: a good chef values his dish washer. He saves the other members of the kitchen valuable time so that the food gets out on time).
  • Unexpected ways to show appreciation: Investing in the work environment/building.
  • Leadership must get their team to understand that they are investing in the company, people, and mission. Give them a sense of purpose in their work. Answering “the why” explains their contribution and why they matter.
  • Millennials are no different than any other generation.  They are simply asking for what you only thought about.
  • Welcoming a new employee should be like welcoming a new member of the family.

Want to join us next month? RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.

Stewarding Employees Well: Keys to Seeing, Valuing, & Managing Employees as People

In the July Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Stewarding Employees Well: Keys to Seeing, Valuing, & Managing Employees as People.”

Dave Casterline, Executive Director of Three Rivers Health Foundation, will continue this theme at our upcoming Leadership Breakfast on August 17th. Click here to save your seat and hear Dave speak on the topic of “We’re Building People, Not Companies.”

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel here where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Dave’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the July Round Table meetings.

Rochester Round Table:

  • Personality tests to help them reflect on the questions.
  • Be responsive to employees emotional state. Look for opportunities to help.
  • Periodic meetings to check everyone’s pulse.
  • Gossip must stop. Bring the spirit of reconciliation.
  • Employees want you to listen. Stop and listen.
  • As a business owner, we have a responsibility to run the business well. Respect…
  • Pay for performance (KRM). You’re in the game or you’re not.
  • “It’s business, not personal” does not apply to the Christian.
  • Parenting mindset. Whose fault…
  • Don’t let pride marginalize millennials. People work for people. Give millennials purpose.
  • Don’t tell them what to do, tell them who they are…
  • Who is responsible for employee performance? The leader is. We hired them and lead them.
  • Woman at the well example. Judas’ story (He knew he would betray Him). Rich young ruler story (Need to deal with this one thing).
  • Performance is the responsibility of management/ leadership.

Grand Rapids Round Table (Tuesday)

Challenges:

  • Finding the common ground between meeting corporate goals and employee needs.
  • Dealing with communication gaps that isolate employees from the corporate culture.

Solutions:

  • Making training and give-and-take meetings to ensure common
  • Creating a clear set of core values and indoctrinate employees on ways to execute them as a matter of corporate culture.

Takeaways:

  • Employees are people too. And people are individuals and must be treated as such.
  • Importance of using core values as a corporate rallying point, internally and externally.
  • A family oriented culture makes employees feel important and more than just a performance number.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Challenges:

  • Small companies vs. large companies: you lose the ability to have as much contact with your employees as you grow.
  • Breeches in communication between upper level executives and employees in growing companies.
  • It is easy in large corporations to view your employees as numbers and data when you never have the opportunity to interact with them.
  • Effects of society at large: cultural trends of dehumanizing people.
  • Human nature: we are all susceptible to self-centeredness.
  • Inconsistencies in Leadership. Actions of the leadership are often at odds with the stated values of the company.
  • Easy to get in the habit of saying what you want and not asking what your employees see and what their goals are.

Solutions:

  • Try to create small communities within large corporations.
  • Foster a sincere interest in your employees.
  • Continue to align employees with the goals of the corporation. Must be reinforced often.
  • Remember that all employees have a role, including the least skilled.
  • How do you make goals come to life with small groups while unifying the company at large?
  • Departments are like a body: They all are connected and can affect each other.  Cannot allow company to be too segmented – don’t discredit the opinion of an employee because of their position or department. They may have a fresh perspective as an outsider.
  • Let employees know that their opinions matter and are valued.
  • Insecure employees cause turf wars and are constantly on the defense. This comes from an inability to be honest and talk through conflict.
  • When making changes, make sure your employees feel heard.
  • Value your employees beyond what they contribute.
  • Develop metrics to measure the goals of your employees. If you aren’t monitoring or  measuring a goal or task, it will not get done.
  • Company core values are not always sufficient for fundamental principles of communication and interaction.
  • Define your story to demonstrate your values to your employees.
  • Evaluate how your mission statement affects the company culture and culture at large.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Challenges:

  • Balance of workload. Many in leadership positions are bogged down with too much work to adequately lead their teams.
  • We are too busy to get better.
  • Valuing and seeing your employees takes time. It requires talking, learning, and asking questions of them.
  • Leaders often in charge of groups that are too large.
  • Character matters. Often see broken people leading broken people.
  • HR barriers – Legal issues of asking questions that are too personal.

Solutions:

  • We neglect God’s principles in our business to do our own will. View your employees as children of God.
  • Be willing to sacrifice your efficiency in order to have effective one-on-one’s and often.
  • Weigh external metrics against eternal metrics.
  • Be willing to admit when there was a hiring/promotion mistake.
  • Affirmation must be authentic.
  • Remember: Skilled workers will leave their bosses even at the expense of their pay.
  • Good stewardship includes financial responsibility. Is the paycheck you’re giving your employee a blessing or a curse? Instill good financial habits in your employees.  Consider Dave Ramsey’s program for employers.
    • (MLB requires all minor leaguers to go through financial training to ensure that they can manage their new-found wealth well).

Takeaways:

  • Help your people figure out what they want to do.
  • Encourage your team.
  • Are we a blessing or curse to our team?
  • Remind them that they are uniquely made by God.
  • We tend to promote competency vs. character.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

Challenge:

  • What is stewardship?
    • Shepherding
    • A sense of responsibility for…
  • What does a company need to steward well?
  • What does an employee need to be stewarded well?
  • Why do we want to steward employees well?
    • It’s good for us and them
    • Coaching, correcting and by lifting them up they’ll be a better employee & produce more quality work
    • We get so focused on production and execution
    • Everyone brings value – it’s up to the leader to draw that out
    • You only see the tip of the ice burg & the tip of their potential!

Solution:

  • Give an environment to engage them in the process
    • Surveying
    • 1×1 meetings
    • Use a Scorecard to rate managers & employees
    • Build stewardship into tradition & culture
    • Earn trust – seek first to understand then to be understood
    • Little things make a big difference
    • Help employees find reality & get to know themselves – what is it they’re really good at?
    • Acknowledge when they’re struggling & that we see what they see
    • Have crucial conversations – communication is key

Takeaway:

  • If you do not come alongside them and communicate often, they will fill it in and create their own story
  • Compensation / pay incentives = in the service industry, employees shouldn’t make more than 60% of the service value
  • Build equity with people & show them we believe in them and want to invest in their development
  • Help them see our vision for the person
  • Where is the hidden potential in our company?
  • Make truthful and meaningful connections with people

Join us next month as we discuss “How Best to Show Recognition & Appreciation for Your Employees.” RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.

Keys to Business Survival and Success: What Are They and What Role Does Responsiveness Play?

In the June Round Table meetings, we discussed the “Keys to Business Survival & Success: What Are They & What Role Does Responsiveness Play?”

At our recent Leadership Event, Rick Warren, Chairman & CEO of Warren Strategies, explained that Responsiveness is the Ultimate Key to Business Survival and Success. If you were unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel here where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Rick’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the June Round Table meetings.

Birmingham Round Table

Topic: “Keys To Business Survival & Success: What Are They & What Role Does
Responsiveness Play?”
Q1: What are the keys?

  • Need discipline of the new workforce to re-instate performance requirements and
    values with both carrot and stick approach. No need to be militaristic or mean
    spirited – just firm and unrelenting.
  • Use automation where possible to speed up and simplify revenue generation and
    costs management.

Q2: What is important about responsiveness?

  • Use text, email and most importantly the telephone.
  • Be consistent. Adjust to client’s style and use it aggressively.
  • Responsiveness also requires innovation, automation, adaptation

Q3: How are these impacting your business?

  • Hiring staff and getting performance from a new generation of workers is very
    difficult for all businesses. The “old-style’ work ethic is missing and badly needed.

Takeaways:

  • Need to step up and meet the challenge of work force lack of discipline and miss set
    expectations of performance demands. Also need to stop sending people to college
    to get deeply in debt and learn very little that will be used in their future career.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Challenge:

  • Responding vs. Reacting.
  • You get used to being the “answer man.”
  • Default responses aren’t always the best for every situation.
  • Your response depends on who your client is and what type of client they are.

Solution:

  • Remain open to monitoring your success. You may have reached success but lost it along the way.
  • Always secure your passion. May lose it as you deal with the business side of things.
  • Desire to develop others.
  • Be responsive to the need, not necessarily the criticism. You don’t have to respond to everything.
  • A response is different from a reaction:
    • Response is calculated
    • Stop, pause, ask questions
    • Silence is okay – slow down
  • Don’t always respond. Allow others to grow and learn on their own.
  •  Focus on the dynamics. Build a plan for your responses to reduce time and increase effectiveness.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Challenge:

  • Must have good people in your company in order to succeed.
  • The struggle between hiring manager and C-suite. The hiring manager needs to fill the open position quickly to ensure that the job gets done, while the C-suite wants to focus on finding someone who fits the culture and vision of the company.
  • Companies must adapt to the staffing shortage.

Solutions:

  • Hire good people and get out of their way.
    • Must have good people – even among general labor.
  • Create an atmosphere of creativity. Google requires their employees to dedicate a few hours each week to projects that are not related to their job.
  • Recognize that recruitment relates to marketing and branding. Your company image matters.
  • Remove barriers when recruiting. Certain types of dress may send the wrong impression (e.g. wearing a suit and tie among factory workers).
  • Recruit for your industry, not just your company.
  • Ensure that your hiring manager understands what leadership skills and characteristics you are looking for.
  • Include your hiring manager in meetings so that they will understand the vision and know what you will need in the future.
  • Consider outside vendors rather than hiring a part-time or full-time position.
  • Companies must grow. Be willing to consider options/new technology.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

Keys to Success: 

  • A good business plan & knowing the business / industry you’re in
  • Marketing / advertising
  • Good relationships with people / vendors / resources
  • Sales plan
  • Profitability
  • Values
  • Good, consistent & effective communication
  • Leadership
  • Alignment with goals / culture / values / vision
  • Right people in right seats
  • Business process
  • Service excellence

What is key when we’re in survival mode?

  • Identify what’s most important
  • Continual learning – gain outside perspectives
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Know your customer – research
  • Go to your reserves / financial reserves
  • Keep to the basics
  • Be transparent as much as possible
  • Maintain relationships with good vendors / partners & lean on them for support

Role Responsiveness Plays:

  • Accessibility
  • How much is too much?
  • Need to be client-centric
  • Set measures / expectations
  • Customer isn’t always right – they are always important
  • Set goals for responsiveness – be proactive, not reactive
    • Need to remind staff of the rules of communication every 3 months or so
  • How is our responsiveness structured?
  • How proactive are we?
  • Need to survey clients to confirm
  • Responsibility is on us as leaders

Takeaway: 

  • Think about proactive ways / tips to maintain relationships – ie. friendships within the organization retain people
  • Attitude – teaching – “nothing should be born before it’s time”
  • Hold weekly leadership meetings to be like a rhythm including quarterly topics for leaders to train / talk about

How does responsiveness play in each of these areas? 

  • Values 
  • Marketing  
    • How well are we showing what’s in it for them?
  • Sales  
    • Are we making this a responsive process – how easy are we to work with from the clients perspective?
  • Operations  
    • Set timeframes / expectations on standard response times
  • Service 
  • Support

Grand Rapids Round Table (Thursday)

The main take-away of the day was: “Above all else, stay true to your core principles and let God provide in order for Him to achieve his purpose.”

Join us next month as we discuss the topic of “Stewarding Employees Well: Keys to Seeing, Valuing, and Managing Employees as People.” RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.

 

The Advantage of Healthy Conflict in Business

In the May Round Table meetings, we discussed “The Advantage of Healthy Conflict in Business.”

Dealing with conflict in the workplace can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. At our recent Leadership Event, Rodger Price, Owner & Founder of Leading By DESIGN, laid out the steps to dealing with the “#1 Communication Challenge: Leaning into Healthy Conflict.” If you were unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel here where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Rodger’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the May Round Table meetings.

Birmingham Round Table

Challenge:

  • Conflict can be disruptive
  • Takes people out of status quo
  • Teams – people bring different ideas, uncomfortable
  • How you will be perceived if you have a different viewpoint
  • If there is no leader to help refocus the group
  • Takes time to manage.

Solution:

  • Need to build acceptance of different ideas into your culture
  • Need a culture of trust and respect for everyone’s opinion
  • Need to “walk the culture talk”
  • Understanding that if you don’t “win” you must respect final decision
  • Make expectations clear

Takeaway:

  • Culture plays a big role in supporting healthy conflict
  • Take your time and you will be effective
  • LEAN can be applied to any business (not just manufacturing)
  • Ask three questions before you start to solve
  • “A Factory of One” by Dan Markovitz

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Challenge:

  • We’re often afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, but we have a responsibility to help resolve any issues – accountability to ourselves and to the team.
  • Compounded conflict – the issue at hand and the way of addressing it.
  • Getting the right verbiage: “difference” of opinion vs. “conflicting” opinions. The latter sounds more combative.
  • Looking at each conflict with fresh eyes. Don’t assume.
  • Understanding the difference between responding and reacting.

Solution:

  • Must have trust. Trust is vital to conflict resolution.
  • Eliminate fear from the organization.
  • Address any fear that may be contributing to the conflict. It may be something small to you, but big to them.
  • Accountability.
  • Address an issue soon so that it doesn’t fester and cause a blow up.
  • Help your team to see the importance of addressing an issue.
  • Must have discernment:
    • Wait and assess the situation.
    • Sometimes the argument is not the source of the conflict. May be a deeper issue.
  • Ask questions. Wait to hear all sides of the story.
  • Make it a process.
  • Q: Do you ever want to introduce conflict into a situation?
  • It can teach you lessons personally or about your work environment.
  • Allow the person who created the conflict to grow by pursuing and enacting a resolution.
  • Emphasize learning from other’s mistakes, but teach them how to learn from their own.
  • Use external examples to relate to internal conflicts. May allow your team to see the situation with fresh eyes and soften the blow.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Challenge:

  • Conflict with leadership vs. conflict with employees.
    • Being blunt vs. asking questions.
  • Confrontation requires truthfulness.
  • We are often afraid to confront someone because we worry that the problem lies with us. “Is it me?”
  • It is not the content, but the delivery that matters. One can deliver points, but in the wrong way.
  • The difficulty of technology. Comments can easily be misconstrued via phone, text, and email.

Solution:

  • Q: What is Healthy Conflict?
    • Discussion of ideas
    • Constructive
  • Facts and Data vs. Emotions
  • Confrontation is just a different form of communication.
  • Conflict is good in a competitive environment. It can help you come to a better solution/idea.
  • Avoiding conflict can cause it to reach a boiling point.
  • Address the person causing the conflict and avoid gossip.
  • Don’t ambush. State why you are there.
  • Approach as discussion and not as a lecture.
  • Balance your response:
    • Tell them something positive before the negative.
    • Don’t connect your positive and negative comments with “but.” Connect your comments with “and.”
  • Wait to respond when emotions are high.
  • No better way to gain respect and authority than by addressing conflict in the workplace in a healthy and respectful way.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

Topic: “The Advantage of Healthy Conflict in Business”

Challenge: 

  • Conflict:
    • creates tension & compression
    • helps people get better
    • Engages people – when asking for input/insights
    • Removes obstacles/barriers when resolved
    • Creates an opportunity to learn something
  • Not everything may get worked out
  • Matthew 18
  • Where 2 or 3 are gathered, there will be conflict
  • Conflict should come with a humble perspective (humility)

Solution:

  • Crucial Conversations training
  • Not promoting fear-based leadership/conflict
  • Lean into healthy conflict – there’s a cultural foundation required to allow this to go right and it’s about how leaders handle situations
  • Need an environment of trust, feedback, accountability
  • Don’t gossip/let conflict fester before it becomes more emotional than it needs to be
  • Go straight to the source
  • Speak truth in love – peacemaking card
  • Handle it timely and right away
  • Practice using role playing techniques
  • 3 Components that promote healthy conflict:
    1. Trust
    2. Commitment to Excellence
    3. Show you care
  • Take “Conflict Styles” assessment – https://www.usip.org/public-education/students/conflict-styles-assessment.
  • Match emotion with emotion & fact with fact or resolve with resolve
    • Seek to understand the other person’s emotion / perspective to connect logically, not emotionally

Take Away:

  • Always seek to resolve – bring individual values together to build the relationship value
  • Ask “how do we feel about that?” more often
  • Good leaders listen and let others have the answers
  • Celebrate failures – it’s about what you learned, not always about success

Join us next month as we discuss the “Keys to Business Survival & Success: What Are They & What Role Does Responsiveness Play?” RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.