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Strategic Planning for 2022

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

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

Make strategic planning simple. 

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

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

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

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

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

Foundational to strategic planning:

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

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

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

It is important to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Leadership Events:

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

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

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

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

Navigating Unfamiliar Waters:  Business Predictions for Upcoming Months

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

December Round Table Discussions:

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

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

2.  Optimism.  Keep a focus on your blessings. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Commit to be informed

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

4. Be gracious at the points of our differences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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

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

The Dramatic Need for Nurturing the Soul of Business Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Your Remote Workforce

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

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

Flip the script.  It’s all about outcomes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Ideas Shared:

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

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

Ideas to assist with employees who may be struggling:

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

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

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

Success depends on how one leans in.

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

Upcoming Events:

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

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

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

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

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

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.