Author Archives: CBRT| The Business Round Table

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.

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

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)

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.

Taking a Hard Look at our Businesses

This month our Round Tables took a hard look at their current business position, and evaluated their product offerings, people, markets, processes, and abilities to execute those processes. For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review.

Key ideas and solutions shared by our Round Tables:

  • Kalamazoo Tuesday Round Table:  In order to assess your position, you must clarify your vision to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.  There are many tools to help a company create a vision, one mentioned is ‘Vision Traction Organizer.”  Every employee needs to understand and be invested in your vision. 
  • If job task not embraced, look to the process surrounding the completion of task.  Leaders may be surprised at the lack of process existing around a task.  Understanding and streamlining the process can result in the tasks being completed and a more satisfied employee.
  • Your clear vision will help solve problems.  If business is booming now, take time to slow down and re-assess, as you cannot run and shoot all the time. 
  • Holland Round Table:  There is a feeling that there may be judgement on the part of employers towards potential and future employees.  There is a need to reframe the judgmental feelings leaders have towards people on unemployment.  There needs to be an awareness that there are many legitimate reasons people are staying home.
  • Kalamazoo Friday Round Table:  It starts with a vision and a continual focus on vision and culture of your area or company.  Emphasis on culture cannot be for just one month.
  • One West Michigan company implemented small group meetings in their company, where discussions did not necessarily focus on business.   Employees were able to get to know each other as people, creating a family-like environment.  This is a culture that is embraced as they feel important, and valued.
  • Many employees today value life balance.  Can we learn from them?
  • A challenging employee?  Ask them this question:  Does this job take you where you want to go?  If not, they may not belong there.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.  Hire those who have the strengths you lack. 
  • Birmingham Round Table:  Consider the possibility of creating a team within your team.  Consider a Junior/senior team as it relates to expertise and experience as opposed to age.  The purpose of the team is for the senior to teach and the junior to learn and potentially introduce new ideas.  This concept helps raise accountability and productivity.
  • Marshall Round Table:  People solution for not enough manpower. You might think you have to remove a person.  It is possible that the problem is the process, and not the employee, and the process can be changed, improved, or fixed.  We may have good people but flawed process causing – HR issues, and office tensions.   
  • Global Round Table:  Business need to be open, honest, and humble.  As your company grows and changes, be open to hearing about process issues with systems you may have developed but may not serve your company now.  A good exercise to evaluate your processes is by having employees write their job descriptions.  Their descriptions may surprise you.
  • Understand that many of your employees are struggling, either in their current role, or their personal relationships, or both.  It is important to understand this and develop personal relationships with your employees.
  • Build strategic partnerships with your suppliers.  Understand their capabilities, know their staff, and be aware of their financial position.  Many supplier’s businesses may be on the brink and you should be aware of this.  Building relationships help in times of shortages, such as we have now, will ensure you have the materials you need for your business.

We are going back to CBRT in-person breakfast events!  Join us on Friday, June 18 at 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. at the Kalamazoo Country Club, featuring a motivational talk with Kalamazoo small-business owner and co-founder of Stand-Up Michigan Garrett Soldano.   See our events page for more information on this and other upcoming events.

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.

The Pulse of our Business Today

Acknowledging the hardships of the past 12 months, business leaders must continue to evaluate the health of their companies.  And it is always a good time to take the pulse of your organizations.  Our April Round Tables shared thoughts and strategies for success into the future.   For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for your review. 

Key ideas and solutions shared by our Round Tables:

  • Do you see yourself as a Victim or a Victor?  The forces are the forces.  The dark force appears to be winning but the greater force is within us and we really do serve the highest power in the universe.  People are still starved for union of like-minded faith-based people.  Find comfort and support in your local CBRT Round Table!
  • From the Birmingham Round Table:  Use the new solutions along with the old ways of doing things. 
  • From the Global Round Table, some current challenges that are not purely Covid-related:  Talent loss (employees looking for work while at home), supply chain issues, pent-up demand that is difficult to address (due to talent and supply chain issues).  Solutions:  Companies must get the message to employees that they are missing out by not being in the office.  Have faith and be flexible.  Learn to adapt to the current situations.  Businesses must have an operational shift and will need to develop a hybrid approach.  Allow employees to work a few days from home and a few days in the office.  Employees will have the flexibility they desire while still being part of the team.  This approach will free us office resources to expand business without additional infrastructure costs.
  • Do we know others who are struggling? How are we supporting them? Startup businesses need to be patient.  Existing businesses who have been able to be flexible are able to stay afloat.  Mindset is important.  Share encouraging stories. One business known to an attendee became a Covid testing facility because they had excess lab space.  Do you know Agriculture workers who are struggling?  They face so many variables every year (weather, fuel costs, market fluctuations, organic or not, risk-taking, etc.)—Any time we think we’ve got it tough, their stories can be inspiring.  Decisions always need to be made. 
  • Passion keeps us going—to weather the storm, to come up with creative solutions, “to get through no matter what.”  It is the basis of the entrepreneurial spirit.
  • What are you “pivoting” to?  Have a clear forward focus.  Continually assess the situation.
  • What are you seeing in the next 12 months?  Some are seeing release in pent up demand and pre-pandemic growth continuing.  The businesses that service the entertainment and hospitality industries may not be seeing this positive trend.   Some of our customers are “too busy to talk to you.” 
  • Our minds are busy and anxiety remains—continued fear of the unknown. 
  • Businesses must decide if they will ask employees to get the vaccine.
  • From the Kalamazoo Tuesday Group:  What was the business looking like pre-Covid?  The pandemic moved people into businesses decisions (closing, retirement, etc.) they were already considering.  Look at it as an opportunity to make a change (new vendors, time to consider and reflect on business needs—what’s working and what’s not.)  Great leaders use this pause wisely.
  • Many businesses embracing the virtual—maintaining these virtual venues for connecting workers on vacation, travelling, etc. and providing presentations for those in other geographic locations. 
  • Many employers realizing some of their employees can work well from home.  This opportunity may not have been possible without the pandemic response.
  •  

Other ideas & resources: 

  • Always looking forward:  from the Kalamazoo Friday Round Table—1. Vision 2. Strategy 3. Plan. 4. Execution.
  • Did you experience Easter messages that apply to your businesses:  We can reflect on suffering, letting go of the old, fresh starts, forgiveness.  As leaders, we need to share this attitude.

Our Round Tables are beginning to return to in-person meetings!  Get the latest information on next month’s venues on our website.  Options will include hybrid, in-person only or online only.  

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting!  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link or location near you.

Today: How We Nurture Relationships and Build Our Networks

One of CBRT’s core values is RELATIONSHIPS.  March Round Tables shared the experiences keeping relationships connected during these unusual times. 

Thirteen Round Tables shared solutions surrounding the human resources challenges our business are facing today. For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review. 

Key ideas and solutions shared by our Round Tables:

  • The atmosphere of personal meetings (when they happen) can be awkward.  A suggestion:  Several mentioned in-person events they had attended that provided colored wristbands to indicate the level of interaction a person was open to (i.e. green for hugs, handshakes; yellow for elbow bumps; red for no contact). 
  • From a Grand Rapids Round Table:  We talked about the challenges the pandemic has created in terms of relationships and networks and focused on the importance of making it a priority to be proactive in investing in these relationships not just for what we can get out of them or how they can benefit our own business needs and goals, but also to demonstrate a personal commitment to the welfare of others and to mutual benefit.
  • From the Plymouth Round Table:  While personal meetings with clients/vendors are still hard to get, we must continue to pursue these meetings—without being a nuisance.  As time passes, we need to increase in-person interaction to be most effective.
  • Communicate honestly, exercise compassion and understanding.  There are varying opinions regarding Covid practices.  We need to find common group to continue to build our discussions and relationships.
  • From the Kalamazoo Tuesday Round Table:  Make one day per week your in-person meeting day.   Embrace the positives.  Virtual meetings can increase efficiencies in scheduling meetings and decrease travel costs. 
  • More from Kalamazoo:  Each Sunday evening, make a list of 10 people you can personally connect with in the upcoming week.   Reach out by email, call or even text to remember their personal issues/concerns, check on their well-being.
  • Be willing to listen.  Be open to hearing new solutions. 
  • Use forced downtime to improve operations excellence in working remotely and improving culture.  Think about mutually beneficial solutions and give grace to accept that employees have personal lives.

Other ideas & resources: 

  • For more information on the Naples conference referenced during our Global Round Table:  Hillsdale College Freedom Forums freedomforum@hillsdale.edu  Peggy Youngs 888-886-1174.  Hillsdale also offers the Imprimis newsletter and other free information. 
  • There is a new government program ERTC (Employee Retention Tax Credit).  Check with your tax advisor for details.
  • Suggested groups/organizations/publications:  Purpose Point” organization (Davin Salvagno), sunrise Networking Group, Rodger Price YouTube videos, St. John the Evangelist Church in Naples, FL. 
  • A positive attitude is essential to surviving these difficult times. 

Our next webinar/Leadership Event will be on Friday, April 16 at 7:30am.  See the Events Page to register for this FREE event.  If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

Get the latest information on next month’s Round Table venues on our website.  Options will include hybrid, in-person only or online only.  

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting!  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link or location near you.

Solutions for the HR Challenges Keeping Us Awake

In February 2021, our 13 Round Tables shared solutions surrounding the human resources challenges our business are facing today. For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review. 

Key ideas and solutions shared by our Round Tables:

  • Working from home is a skill—some are successful, but some do not have the focus or motivation to work independently.  Connection with employees through virtual methods can help monitor activity.  One suggestion is to hold the entire workday on Zoom; i.e. employees available to each other for collaboration at all times during the workday. “Start Zooming the whole office.” For some businesses, the idea that “If you’re not on screen, you’re not working” might be appropriate.  Visual meeting formats may also engage employees to a greater degree. 
  • Leadership may be using COVID as an excuse for staffing changes.  Instead, we should be using this time to identify and fix organizational flaws and problems.
  • Anxiety in employees.  High emotion and fear are present in our workplaces today.  Conduct 1:1 conversations with employees to understand and address issues.
  • How do we return to productivity?  Results matter.  Leaders must have clearly defined responsibilities for their teams.  Every company is different, but leaders must define, track and follow up on goals and expectations.  Be clear what roles must be done on-site.  Utilize daily targets and goals.
  • What’s the plan to get people back into the physical workplace?  “Come on in, the water’s fine!” 
  • Waiting culture.  As leaders, we need to be decision-makers and a driver for business success.     When we are “stuck” and cannot find a way to move forward, we need to turn to God to ask what HE wants us to do in the next 24 hours.  Then hopefully He’ll give us another 24.
  • From the Global Round Table:  Employee attendance issues.  Many jobs are available, but people are not showing up/doing quality work.  Solution:  Continue to keep your funnel of potential employees full.  Keep hiring, keep potential hires engaged.
  • Returning your team to business passion—where is your fire?  It may be time to return to cracking the whip while being as compassionate as you can be to move forward.  Offer empathy and support for employee concerns as reasonable. We need to change the direction of waiting and disconnection in our teams.
  • Overcommunicate on the issues that drive business performance. 

Other ideas: 

  • Human Resources/people discussions at the Round Tables also led to open discussion on general business struggles like keeping the faith during what is for some a challenging business climate.
  • Additional comments from Birmingham RT:  CBRT attendance by virtual means today lends itself to greater relationship investment—the leaders in attendance clearly truly want to be here.  CBRT is here to help participants solve problems and support each other as we lead in Christ.

Our first Leadership Event in 2021 will be a Global Webinar on Friday, February 26 at 7:30am.  See the Events Page to register for this FREE event.  If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

CBRT Round Table venues will be changing again for March—for the latest, always check our website for your group details.  Options will include hybrid, in-person only or online only.  

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting!  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link.

January Theme: Goals & Plans for 2021

For our January Round Table meetings, participants joined an open discussion on the topic of “Goals & Plans for 2021.”  For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review.  In our Round Table virtual format, groups shared how the unprecedented challenges in 2020 are impacting planning for 2021.

In January, CBRT also introduced The Global Round Table, a permanently virtual group designed to be joined by participants in any geographic location. 

How are our Round Tables planning for 2021?

From Birmingham Round Table:  Leaders may be seeking clarity at this time, as they create a top-down environment of calm and intentional direction.  Focus on small goals and alternate solutions, to give a sense of accomplishment. Alternately, consider the legacy goals—focus on the legacy plan if that makes more sense for your organization.

If your workload has lightened due to the pandemic, capitalize on the opportunity that open calendar creates.  Learn how to manage an updated team.  Be present for God.  Pause and reflect—reprioritize what is really important.  Suggestion:  use the Benedictine model to reflect every three hours.  Don’t stress out about those things you cannot control.  Make sure your foundation is strong and build on that.

Fear is rooted in uncertainty.  The Bible tells us that we are God’s children.  Evil is not prevailing; it only seems that way when Christians take a backseat.

From the Global Round Table:  Remember what you learned during a previous hard time.  If you survived before, you can do it again!  Consider where God wants you to join him right now.  Listen, give of your time, money.  We may not be comfortable right now, but slow down and be thankful for specific things.  Daily reflect on 25 things that impacted your heart.

Leaders, reassure your people. Be the light. Jesus came to serve.  How will you serve?

Where does God want you right now? He is our only Truth. Use your listening skills to develop the trust of your team—especially if your team is growing.  Seek first to understand, regardless of the position of the speaker.  Then quietly execute God’s will.

More suggestions:

Jay Ott, Chairman of the Grand Rapids Thursday Round Table reminds us of 1 Chronicles 12:32—a tale of tumultuous times and crisis in leadership, plus a reminder that God will inspire our minds and spirits to understand today’s challenges and discern God’s new vision for our organizations and our leadership.

Jack Kelly and his Lansing Round Table discussed the December Gallop poll showing those positive mental health changes in those who attended church weekly.  An article in the Daily Caller describes those results.  

Other ideas: 

Be a force of good in the community.

Stay positive and grow.

Try to relieve anxiety and stress within your team and in the community.

Our first Leadership Event in 2021 will be a Global Webinar on Friday, February 26 at 7:30am.  See the Events Page to register.  If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.

Due to ongoing Michigan pandemic response, our February 2021 Round Table groups will meet Virtually, via GoToMeeting.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting!  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link.

December Discussion…plus creative solutions!

For our December Round Table meetings, we continued the open discussion on the topic of “What’s Your Biggest Challenge?” For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review.  In our Round Table virtual format, groups shared current challenges in the business environment that are arising out of the ongoing pandemic.  Several Round Tables combined for December, to create new dynamics for conversation and fresh connections.

Frequently mentioned challenges:

Starting new businesses in a pandemic environment.

Motivation issues with staff that may not be putting in full effort in remote settings, not caring about rules, regardless of that impact on others in the company.  How do you keep employees from getting “safety fatigued?”  “If it’s on your walls, it must be in your halls” slogan—live the rules your company is preaching and make sure staff knows you are adhering.

Questioning of leadership in our organizations, political leadership.

Making time for the important things—our teams are working from home with kids that are working on school at home, impacting everyone’s time management. How do we take care of our families and get the work done?  Chaos may be the new reality—how do we operate in this?  Take it a day at a time and make a schedule that works for today.

Some industries are struggling with finding and keeping staff due to changing state mandates.

As leaders, how do we deal with work that’s not being completed?  We need to be accommodating and empathetic, while still keeping our companies afloat.  Openly ask employees to identify and share roadblocks and challenges so we can pick up the slack for each other and be aware of tasks that may not be getting handled.

One leader had a suicide in his organization two months ago.  This has changed his mindset to encourage others to “lighten up” and keep morale up.  How do leaders recognize mental health issues in the workplace?  How do leaders make sure these are addressed?

We are all tired.   Tied of creating new plans and strategies, tired of the required flexibility. 

Creative Ideas & Solution Suggestions:

Draw strength from each other, pray together and for each other (Round Table connections, family, friends, other believers).  We need to come together even stronger to deal with these challenges.

Rely on core values:  We are driven by a higher power.

Change your mindset from “I have to” to “I get to.”

Make a phone call, send a handwritten note—unexpected communication can be very impactful.

Adapting to lockdowns and the current environment:  Don’t be obsessed with fear and doubt.  Upskill yourself to make sure you stay on top of business needs. Call someone every day. Pull out your contact list and work with the people you know. Get people around you excited—its contagious. 

Celebrate wins together with your teams.

Teach calming techniques.

Own what you are working on and welcome debate in a n organization to bring in fresh ideas.  Have the courage to stand up for what you believe in, even if it doesn’t withstand the conversation. 

Into 2021:

As a reminder, our next Leadership Events are scheduled to be Virtual and Global, for maximum impact.  Please save the following dates:

February 26, 2021 Virtual Leadership Event with HR Resource Panel (Q & A Style)

March 19, 2021:  Annual Summit featuring speaker Bill Kieffer

April 16, 2021 Virtual Leadership Event with speaker Brig Sorber (Two Men & A Truck)

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

Due to ongoing Michigan pandemic response, our January Round Table groups will meet Virtually, via GoToMeeting.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting!  RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org to receive a meeting link.