Monthly Archives: May 2012

[video post] Attract Young Employees…and make it worth doing

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Attract Young Employees…and Make it Worth Doing

Supervising Generation Y employees (born 1977 – 1990) and Millennial employees (born 1991 – ) poses several challenges.  One of my clients, who has become fairly frustrated, says:

“It isn’t just that younger employees have short attention spans and lack social skills and basic manners.  The biggest challenge we see if that today’s young people exhibit an odd mix of insecurity AND cockiness.  One minute they are convinced they know everything and should be in charge.  The next minute, they don’t know very basic aspects of the work to be done.  They simply don’t know what they don’t know.”

“As a result of that one factor, younger people think they deserve fascinating high paying positions with a degree of independence and authority…before they have done anything to earn those jobs. And if they can’t easily land one of those rewarding jobs, they actually give up and settle for entry level roles at fast food restaurants.”

If your business is experiencing something similar…don’t ignore it. More and more executives are starting to realize that the disconnect between various generations will soon stunt their business growth and profitability.

Many younger people crave the opportunity to create. Installing a highly participative interdisciplinary approach to product development is one way to reach and retain young employees.  No matter what their core jobs are, younger employees can often provide new insights and ways to utilize technology.  If your Baby Boomer managers can get past the negative/provocative manner used by Generation Y and Millenials to make suggestions (“I don’t know why you don’t…”), your business can end up with some exciting ideas. If the cross functional product development groups are then expected to go far enough with their analysis that they can present actual business proposals, your younger employees have the opportunity to learn what they did not realize they didn’t know…and have a reason to stay.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

[video post] Watch Your Words When You are Updating a Strong Strategic Plan

Watch Your Words When You are Updating a Strong Strategic Plan

It’s so exciting to work with high performing organizations.

I was recently invited to speak at an all staff event for a regional organization that is part of a national entity.  National headquarters had required four locations to merge a few years ago.  Everyone had to reapply for their jobs and/or express an interest in another role…even the people who had been with the organization for over 20 years!

The leader of the new combined regional organization had welcomed input and guidance from the national headquarters.  They did pilot projects.  They established new procedures.  They embraced national’s updated vision and mission.  This region is now the role model for others. WOW have they been busy!

The pre-merger regional strategic plan was exceptionally well done.  And now it was time to “refresh” the strategic plan.  So they created a few task forces. They brought in board members, employees, customers, and volunteers for a few full day Saturday sessions.  And they utilized conference calls in between. Very impressive, huh?  Clearly, this organization has proven that the people are capable, dedicated, team players who want things to turn out well.

When the board convened to report out on the conclusions reached by the task forces, there were tweaks to the mission statement and updated numbers for goals.  And there were major initiatives proposed. It’s helpful that the “refreshed” strategic plan had been a participative process because the proposed new initiatives are very ambitious.

Before being a guest at that board meeting, I had just spent a day conducting back to back interviews with key employees and board members from various locations. They are bright, hard working…and tired.

I found myself speaking up at the board meeting asking the leadership to revise some of the wording on the refreshed strategic plan so they wouldn’t sound like the next wave of effort would be as difficult and stressful as the last. Instead of a big new initiative or asking MORE MORE MORE, it pays to use words that convey that they are building on success, can become more specific now, can realize better results if some details now develop.  They built a great huge cake coming through that merger intact.  A request now must sound like the addition of icing and not like a demand to bake tons of pies.

A few years living and experiencing a bold strategic plan surfaces insights, deeper details, and raises the bar. It’s important not to skip past the celebration of success before demanding bigger and better things from people who are already tired.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

[video post] Ah…Family

Ahhh, Family

The brother came to quarterly board meetings, but that was about it. He happily pulled his share of the profits from the family business for years and years and years.  Amazingly, he became tired of having to go to board meetings and asked his siblings to just buy him out which they did.

The sister had an impressive title.  According to the company’s organizational chart, she oversaw four departments. The reality was that professional managers had been brought in to really run the departments.  They each kept her informed just in case, but no real value resulted from their meetings with her.

The younger brother was president, and he wanted the business to truly grow, be successful, and stand for something.  He developed a strategic plan, invested in multiple locations, and occasionally tried to motivate his sister. One day, the sister came into a management meeting and loudly declared, “I don’t want to be held accountable by anyone,” and the sibling president was put on the spot.  He could have just fired his sister, bought her out, and kept growing the business.  But instead, he invested hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks to get a fair valuation, find buyers, and negotiate the best price.

The parent and each sibling ended up with a great deal of money…multi-millions.

So now, no one in the family is talking to the younger brother. He got them more money than they could have ever imagined. He was the only sibling actually working.  The reasons?  “[He] had embarrassed his siblings.  [He] should have tried harder.”

The sister spoke up recently and actually asked to help.  She didn’t want her children to think that she didn’t work/have a job or career.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

[video post] Before You Get Drunk with the Concept of Greatness…

Before You Get Drunk with the Concept of Greatness…

…make sure that your entire executive team wants to do that too. Without real buy in and compelling reasons for each executive, a commitment to greatness can be very fragile.  After all, they were already very good.  Without the shared belief that greatness is worthwhile and possible, it can seem like nothing could ever be enough for you.  A lone drive for “greatness” can seem like obsession or greed.

One of our clients is a very very good company with an executive team that has recently committed to dramatic growth and industry leadership. Of course, they would each make more money as the company grows, but that isn’t what drives them.  They want to get ahead of their clients…way ahead of their clients… to advance what their clients are doing and prevent important problems for their clients.

Their strategic plan involves some heavy lifting. Several interdependent strategies must advance at the same time.  If technology improvements move too slowly, the marketing campaigns could be delayed or less effective.  If the operational advances get bogged down, some of the human resource approaches would become more difficult to execute. It the sales prospecting model isn’t followed everything else would be compromised.

Everyone in their company will be learning new skills and dealing with change.  Even with HR initiatives related to upward mobility, career development, and rewards for improvement this company seeking greatness will inevitably lose employees who don’t crave continuous learning.  Maybe that will be helpful.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

[video posts] Face It – Geographic Expansion Happens

Face It – Geographic Expansion Happens

Is geographic expansion really an optional growth strategy?  As soon as someone on the other side of the globe orders one of your products from your website, you have been thrust into geographic expansion, right?

Although an investment in bricks and mortar locations is not always necessary, attraction of more customers in a variety of locations requires intentionality.  Some basics:

Consider your marketing. Are you conveying that you truly welcome purchases from customers based in Beijing or Shanghai if your website hasn’t been translated into Mandarin or Cantonese? Which currency are you prepared to receive? Can you handle letters of credit? Most midsized companies don’t have enough money to appeal to every country. You can start with English speaking countries. When you are ready to tailor your marketing messages to specific countries and cultures, consider using the services of companies like WELOCALIZE, Inc. To listen to my interview with their CEO, Yewell Smith, visit www.TheGrowthStrategistShow.com.

Consider your approach to sales.  It makes a HUGE difference if your sales professionals clearly respect people from a variety of cultures.  It pays to bring in coaches who can teach you and your employees about cultural nuances. Although my years of traveling 250,000 miles/year are behind me, I have worked with clients in 33 countries and enjoy learning about different cultures. But I feel like a neophyte compared to other globe trotters. Maybe that’s good because no one should get complacent. Before I travel to a new location, I like to read books, go online, review recent news articles, and brush up on language and the pronunciation of peoples’ names.

Consider your approach to customer service.  Are you sensitive to different time zones? Have you developed strategic alliances around the globe to provide technical support and problem solving on a local basis? If you place expatriates, are you ready to handle local laws and regulations related to payroll?  Check out www.Expaticore.com.

We have found that memberships in the Global Speakers Federation and the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs (FCEM) have been helpful to us.  Plus we have appreciated the help provided by the US Chamber of Commerce and US Embassies around the world.

 

Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.

Growth Strategy Tip

Testimonials

Aldonna has been a very valuable business confidant, advisor, motivator and mentor. It is very obvious to our management team that she has a keen insight into and genuine interest in our business and our success.

Mary Casey
Former CEO, HealthBridge, Inc.

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