So You Cut Your Price – Now Recover Margins FAST!

332a3802-5432-4393-97b6-5b5246f0e9feYou cut your price, you downsized your staff and you tried to innovate?  You have even considered the 2015 CEO challenges and strategies focused on human capital, innovation, customer relationships, operational excellence and sustainability.

So what actions should you take now that will assure success as you move forward?  You do not have untold resources available to study all of the potential opportunities.  How can you recover 25% to 65% lost margin, this week, month or quarter?

Business is Process and People Driven

Your business is principally made up of a series of projects, resources, processes and deliverables.  They are either internally or externally customer driven.  Internally, they can range from payroll and accounting, human resources, training, HSE, procurement, administration and more.  Externally, they can relate to management of resources, estimating, bidding, delivering the products and services to meet customer’s expectations and more.  Either way it really comes down to the people and processes as you count on these to delivery results.  If you could find one strategy that could impact your bottom line quickly it would be through the application of “SPEED.”

Application of SPEED

You’ve heard a lot about Lean and Six Sigma as they impact processes in our business.  However, both principles, individually or jointly cannot deliver fast results. Adding the concept of “SPEED” impacts more facets of business and its financials than any other strategy available today.  “SPEED” impacts the time to delivery, allocation of resources, cost of money, efficiency and effectiveness, waste, risk and more.  By focusing on “SPEED” you can impact your bottom-line results FAST.

In order to gain the maximum benefit from the concept of “SPEED” you need the following:

  1. Top-Down Strategy – Commitment to achieving the ROI otherwise it will be construed as another flavor of the month initiative.
  2. Value Focus – Selection of the high value “CORE” business processes that will yield the greatest ROI.
  3. Defined Objectives – Clearly defined goals and commitments.
  4. Bottom-up Redesign – Using the proven “SPEED” implementation model to redesign and acheive the ROI changes.
  5. Implementation – Approve, implement and assure ongoing achievement of the strategic objectives.
  6. Repeat “SPEED” learning for the next high value “CORE” business process to compound the ROI.

Benefits

The benefits of an internal and external “SPEED” program of this nature are overwhelming.  Proven results have yielded 25% to 65% recovery in cost savings, increased capacity, minimize waste, improved profit margin, reduced overhead, improve quality, shortened schedules and cycle times to delivery, creates ecstatic customers,… and more.

For a free introduction and evaluation of how “SPEED” can increase your margins by 25% to 65% in less than a week, give me a call. This short call could result in the greatest ROI you every experienced.

Results Assurance

“If we improved any single process in our business by just 1%, or even 0.1%, but we did that every single day – what do you think the effects would be in a month? In a year? In five years?”

Are you looking to assure more successes with sales, profit, satisfied customers and employees, promotions, bonus or more? Do you know the formula for success and have you mastered the art of achieving success? We all know what we want to do and maybe what we should do, however, do we have the behaviors and the know-how and support needed to achieve real success?

There are four key components to being highly successful. Those are:

  • The Want To!
  • The What To!
  • The How To!
  • The Where To!

If you have ever played organized sports you know what it’s like to have a coach encourage you and help you understand the rules, strategy, plays and the behaviors necessary to be successful in that sport.

Business is the same. Be it building teams, managing people, successful sales, career advancement, project management, profitable operations and projects and more we all need a valid success formula and the support to achieve our goals and objectives. It’s a team sport!  If it was all so easy, then why aren’t you already getting the results and rewards you deserve?

The solution is simple; we can give you a proven process today that you and your teams can use to achieve phenomenal long term results, FAST. The ROI starts on day one!

As some of our clients put it:  “It helped me get organized and focused not only on my work but also on what I want to achieve!”,”It helped our team to discuss shared issues and find solutions to common problems.”, “Our sales could double using this formula!”, “The gains we are realizing are priceless!”

There is no charge for the first consultation.  You have nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain – more profits, advancements, improved retention of mission critical resources, more sales, satisfied customers, reduced risk, behavioral based change, goal driven management teams with results and more! You could say that we are in the Results Assurance Business!

If you’re interested in learning how this success formula can help you get more from what you already have, then give me a call today at 713-249-9569.  I guarantee it will be life changing for you and your business results!

Dedicated to your success!

Your Results Assurance – Executive Coach

Successful Daily Habits

Start each day with successful habits!
Start each day with successful habits!

Make it a successful  habit to end every working day by doing these things:

Clear you desk. Never leave your desk messy. Put everything in a file or to-do folder and in a designated spot. You will start each day off on a positive note. An uncluttered desk will also help to keep you organized and possibly prioritized. (You’ll get tired of seeing the things you haven’t finished in your to-do folder and finally do it to get it off your mind)

Reflect upon the day. Ask yourself some questions and evaluate yourself.

  • “Did I accomplish a goal today and did I record it in my
    goals accomplished journal?”
  • “Did I spend my time wisely today?”
  • “Am I moving closer or farther away from my dreams and
    goals?”
  • “Would I do anything differently if I could do it over
    again?”

Plan for the next day. Transfer your tasks in your daily planner, make a prioritized list of to-do’s, list the goal(s) that must be accomplished, etc. By planning for the next day today you will relieve stress and be prepared to be off to a fast start tomorrow. You will also create a routine of successful daily habits.

– Sorrell Associates

Transformational Leadership Theory – The 4 Key Components in Leading Change & Managing Change

Transformational leadership theory is all about leadership that creates positive change in the followers whereby they take care of each other’s interests and act in the interests of the group as a whole. James MacGregor Burns first brought the concept of transformational leadership to prominence in his extensive research into leadership.

“Essentially the leader’s task is consciousness-raising on a wide plane. The leader’s fundamental act is to induce people to be aware or conscious of what they feel – to feel their true needs so strongly, to define their values so meaningfully, that they can be moved to purposeful action.”

In this leadership style, the leader enhances the motivation, moral and performance of his follower group. So according to MacGregor – transformational leadership is all about values and meaning, and a purpose that transcends short-term goals and focuses on higher order needs.

At times of organisational change, and big step change, people do feel insecure, anxious and low in energy – so in these situations and especially in these difficult times, enthusiasm and energy are infectious and inspiring.

And yet so many organisational changes fail because leaders pay attention to the changes they are facing instead of the transitions people must make to accommodate them.

In my view it is the responsibility of the director leading the change to supply an infusion of positive energy.
The transformational approach also depends on winning the trust of people – which is made possible by the unconscious assumption that they too will be changed or transformed in some way by following the leader.

The transformational approach also depends on winning the trust of people – which is made possible by the unconscious assumption that they too will be changed or transformed in some way by following the leader.

This is often seen in military commanders and wartime political leaders. An example of this would be the way in which Lady Thatcher – as Prime Minister of the UK Government during the Falklands War in 1982 – was able to engender an enhanced feeling of British national identity amongst the UK population.

Sounds like this leadership style is ideally suited to change management, doesn’t it? However – this approach requires absolute integrity and personal behaviour that is consistent and resonant with your vision and message.

I can recall a ridiculous situation, at one UK company I was involved with, where the directors were attempting to effect a culture change of greater inter-departmental trust and communication yet still retained a separate directors dining room and specially allocated car parking places closest to the office front door!

OK here’s the important bit – how NOT to apply transformational leadership theory to change management

– Be preoccupied with power, position, politics and perks
– Stay focused on the short-term
– Be hard data oriented
– Focus on tactical issues
– Work within existing structures and systems
– Concentrate on getting the job done
– Focus processes and activities that guarantee short-term profits

Doesn’t all this just sound like a description of a typical good project manager with a task driven mentality?

And hey, I have nothing against this style of leadership and management. There is a time and place for the Attila the Hun school of leadership. I have done it many times myself and very effectively – and with no regrets.

But, this leadership style is not enough in a change management situation and particularly in the current climate.

The four components of the transformational leadership style are:

(1) Charisma or idealised influence – the degree to which the leader behaves in admirable ways and displays convictions and takes stands that cause followers to identify with the leader who has a clear set of values and acts as a role model for the followers.

(2) Inspirational motivation – the degree to which the leader articulates a vision that is appeals to and inspires the followers with optimism about future goals, and offers meaning for the current tasks in hand.

(3) Intellectual stimulation – the degree to which the leader challenges assumptions, stimulates and encourages creativity in the followers – by providing a framework for followers to see how they connect [to the leader, the organisation, each other, and the goal] they can creatively overcome any obstacles in the way of the mission.

(4) Personal and individual attention – the degree to which the leader attends to each individual follower’s needs and acts as a mentor or coach and gives respect to and appreciation of the individual’s contribution to the team. This fulfills and enhances each individual team members’ need for self-fulfillment, and self-worth – and in so doing inspires followers to further achievement and growth.

Transformational leadership applied in a change management context, is ideally suited to the holistic and wide view perspective of a programme based approach to change management and as such is key element of successful strategies for managing change.

And, to ensure that you ARE employing successful strategies for managing change – that are appropriate to your organisation – you need to know how to apply: (a) these transformational leadership skills, AND (b) how to apply the supporting programme management based processes – to ensure that you avoid the catastrophic 70% failure rate of ALL business change initiatives.

For more on this: ” Transformational leadership theory

I invite you to take advantage of this FREE download: Starting the Change Process

Find out the 3 main reasons for the 70% failure rate of all step change initiatives and how to avoid it. This FREE 29 page document offers a brief introduction to some of the key themes and key points that you need to consider in starting the change process.

Stephen Warrilow, based in Bristol, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Stephen has 25 years cross sector experience with 100+ companies in mid range corporate, larger SME and corporate environments.

Author: Stephen Warrilow
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

How Can You Improve Your Company’s Organizational Design?

The organizational design of your company is very important to its success, because this is the network that will decide whether your company is fruitfully chasing its goals or not. A company that has a good organizational design will design all its procedures and functions towards the fulfillment of its goals and objectives. Whether they know the term or not, every company strives to improve its corporate design so that it becomes more productive to everyone involved.

Here are some ways in which you can improve your company’s organizational design. Now, it is important for you to note that this is quite a difficult thing to accomplish and you won’t observe overnight results. However, consistent and dedicated approaches will help you get closer to where you want to be.

1. The managerial posts should be filled with efficient people. These people should be the true team leaders that your organization needs. They should be motivating and inspiring, and at the same time they should be effective taskmasters who can distribute work according to people’s capabilities and get the jobs done on schedule.

2. There should be clarity of purpose through all sections of your organization. This means everyone working in your establishment should know what they are working towards, and they should be kept informed of any changes. This helps because people then feel they are vital to the progress of the company’s tasks and they work in harmony with each other.

3. One of the key aspects that a company with good organizational design should have is communication. It is crucially important that communication be clear across various departments of your organization and not just within a single team. The seniors should be able to convey what they want to their subordinates and this should follow down the networks that prevail in your organization.

4. Your organization should be open to changes. Today’s corporate world needs to be dynamic and implement the various gifts that technology has to offer. You should also be able to foresee the future of your company and take strides towards expanding it beyond conventional boundaries. Companies that are risk takers are considered to be the ones with the best organizational stability nowadays.

These are four effective areas in which your organizational design can be improved. If you want your company to be more successful in chasing its goals, it is important that you begin implementing these points as soon as you can.

If you’d like more information about executive coaching, business transition and group coaching, download your free guide Organizational Transition and Culture Organizational Transition and Culture

Jodi and Mike specialize in executive coaching and business transition with a focus on organizational culture. http://lighthouse-leadership.com

Author: Mike Krutza
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Leadership and Organizational Change – A Team-Based Approach

Change is never easy; it is in our human nature to resist change – whatever the cause. However, despite this fact, many organizations have managed to overcome the barriers to change and have adopted new models for not only leadership styles, but many other organizational processes as well (Nahavandi, 2003). As you might have already identified, one of the most difficult models to change is moving from a typical hierarchical or autocratic style of management to a more democratic or team-oriented style of leadership. However, the key to effective organizational change is a sound change management process (Dudink & Berge, 2006). Part of that change management process, is also preparing your business for a new shift in leadership methods and requires that the organization build a team-oriented culture – starting from the top and communicating down (Rosenburg, 2001). Managers at all levels must identify and leverage each person’s top skills, and create sound value-based communications between team members (Dudink & Berge, 2006).

Change can be the ultimate test of a leader. As the leader of an organization, you should implement a solid change management strategy in order to effectively manage not only your people, but the business dimensions of the organization as well (Dudink & Berge, 2006). According to John Kotter (2007) a leading expert in change management, leaders often make several key mistakes – those of which Kotter has specifically narrowed down to eight key steps. As the leader of the organization, you should consider taking these eight steps into considering in order to develop a solid approach and framework for transforming your organizational leadership methods.

The first step in dealing with change is to establish a sense of urgency. Most change begins when leaders look at the firm’s current situation, performance and customer satisfaction (Kotter, 2007). Is customer satisfaction being affected because of a slow decision making process? Are there “too many cooks in the kitchen” so to speak? This is perhaps the most important step in the process and requires involvement and “aggressive cooperation” by everyone in the organization.

The second step is to create a powerful “guiding coalition”. But what does this mean? Not only must the department or divisional leader become a key stakeholder and supporter, but so must the top-levels of the organization: the Chief Executive Officer and other senior executives. If the most important people in the company do not buy in, the rest will not either (Kotter, 2007). In a small company, this guiding team may only be three or four people, however in a larger organization, this could be a wide range; twenty to fifty people.

The remaining steps include:

1. Defining a long-term vision;

2. Communicating that vision aggressively (i.e., ten times more than you initially think);

3. Removing obstacles that do not support the new vision and empowering others to support that vision;

4. Planning for, creating, and celebrating short-term “wins”

5. Consolidating improvements and preparing for more change (i.e., do not declare victory too soon), and;

6. Institutionalizing the new approaches.

But, how do you effectively persuade others to buy-in to organizational change; specifically from an autocratic to a democratic style of leadership? The first question that should be posed to each and every individual in your guiding coalition should be, “What is leadership?” Carefully listen to each person’s definition: one will typically find many different versions of what each person believes leadership is. However, despite these differences Nahavandi (2003) points out that leadership contains three similar elements: (1) leadership is a group phenomenon; there can be no leaders without followers and therefore is already a team environment, (2) leadership is goal directed, meaning leaders always influence or guide teams to a specific course of action to achieve a specific goals, and (3) in the presence of a leader, one assumes some form of hierarchy or autocratic leadership. However, while this may be the case, it can also be informal, flexible and with mostly equal power.

By addressing these three similar elements, Nahavandi (2003) continues to show that by joining them, we define a leader as any person who guides or influences teams and helps them in establishing and reaching goals and objectives in an efficient manner; in a non-autocratic fashion. This shows that to be an effective leader, one does not have to use a top-down approach, and the responsibilities and accountability of the decisions can be shared amongst the team.

But, the next question is, “How do you get them to change their style of leadership?” In order to sustain a revolutionary change in an organization, you need to first motivate those in your guiding collation or transformational leadership team. Nahvandi (2003) believes transformational leadership is best achieved through inspiration of your followers, which enables them to “enact revolutionary change”. Transformational leadership ultimately includes three primary factors: charisma and inspiration (i.e., creating emotional bonds), intellectual stimulation (i.e., challenging followers to solve problems instead of you), and individual consideration (i.e., developing personal relationships with each follower). When these three factors are combined, they allow a vehicle for change in not only the organization, but in the individuals themselves.

By following these types of steps an organization will consequently produces better ideas while forcing shared accountability of decisions. The greatest implication of these actions will be to change the way in which people think, act and share ideas; consequently changing the very culture of the company and how it does business.

In the words of Kotter (2007), “guiding change may be the ultimate test of a leader.” Human nature is to resist change, and an aggressive and sustained change management process for the organization must be implemented as the framework for leading a significant transformation in organizational culture. Once this framework has been implemented you as the business leader will have efficiently and effectively persuaded your followers, and the rest of the organization into a new way of thinking. Thus, allowing for better, faster and higher quality decisions that in turn provide your customers with what they need: satisfaction.

References:

Dudink, G., & Berge, Z. (2006). Balancing Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Peer-to-Peer Approaches to Sustaining Distance Training. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education , 7 (3), 144-152.

Kotter, J. (2007). Leading Change. Harvard Business Review , 85 (1), 96-103.

Nahavandi, A. (2006). The art and science of leadership. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Rosenberg, M. (2001). E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Ryan Strayer has been a successful business executive for over 13 years consulting for some of the largest companies in America such as JPMorgan-Chase, BlockBuster, Boeing and IBM. With an MBA in Operations Management, his experise and experiences range from total quality management methodologies, information technology and process re-engineering to theories in management, leadership and motivation.

Author: Ryan Strayer
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

How Our Brain Really Remembers Things

We have been equipped with the finest computer to ever be developed. It’s positioned between your two ears and functions at speeds that would boggle the mind. The functionality of our brain is expressed in conscious and unconscious commands to our autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Systems that controls, stimulates and drives our dreams, feelings of emotion, fear, happiness, sadness, sexuality, sight, touch, and many other sensory perceptions. We have been gifted with a non-eraseable tape the problem is in accessing it sometimes. You also have the best camera because as you look around the room you are taking 52,000 pictures per second.

I am asked many times in our workshops what makes us forget? Am I getting early onset of Alzheimer’s, or am I in the early stages of some other dastardly cognitive decline that will send me into a life of not knowing who I am or how I got here. The good news is everyone has a perfect memory it’s just some are trained and some aren’t. Were lucky in the fact, many of our motor skills and reflexes of our big, small or smooth muscles are driven by our autonomic nervous systems. This is in order to keep us breathing and our heart pumping while we sleep or relax.

Most people will never get Alzheimer’s. We all have what we call MCI or Mild Cognitive Impairments because most of us have never been taught formalized memory training. I remember talking with my brother and sister in law who are both medical doctors at a family dinner. We normally have lunch at our mother or mother in laws home where we meet every Sunday. They both expressed how the inclusion of a formalized mnemonic or memory training class would have assisted them in loading pharmacology, microanatomy or some other integrative biological based medical school requirement. They both said that they had to create their own mnemonic systems to help in their studies. The use of acronyms, association, storytelling or just basic mnemonic systems to assist them in their studies involved research in the library to get the information they needed to help them.

I also recall teaching memory training to the graduating seniors at Yale law school in New Haven Connecticut back in 1993. The session was right before they had to sit for their bar exam and the universal comment from the majority of them was why weren’t you here before law school?

I felt the same myself 19 years ago while sitting in the final night session of my formalized memory training workshop in Dallas, TX. I was one of a hundred and thirty other souls seeking help in multi-tasking. I had similar thoughts of why didn’t they teach this in grade school? It would have given me the self confidence and self esteem needed to overcome what I didn’t realize I had at the time, Dyslexia, and ADHD. Back in the late sixties the push was to achieve, don’t share information and our ability to advance was measured by how well we did on test. We didn’t have the advantage of being taught by affirmation it was usually by humiliation and not as productive as it could have been. The norm to achieve, compete, and advance didn’t give you much chance to do the social connectedness or social norms now being considered to assist in the more casual creative way to learn. Therefore our bodies, and minds as well as our family involvement suffered a great deal. It caused us stresses that sent a lot of us spiraling into a medley of maladies both physically and mentally.

Our mind remembers through the experiences we encounter every day. Some transfer to our long term memory and allows us to recall when we are in a similar state. It is triggered by our cognitive ability to retrieve that memory. We can teach our brain techniques to proactively encode information, store it and retrieve it by a queue being stored with that memory. It’s actually called the encoding specificity principle and says that stimuli can cause a memory to be recalled if the stimuli are created with a queue. So the queue actually retrieves the memory.

The types of memories we use are, flashbulb memory, iconic memory, semantic memory, and episodic memory, implicit memory and other types as well. Each type has its place in history and can be used individually or together. The state that we are in when the memory trace is laid down is also a major factor in recalling that memory. Some of these memories are transferred to the long term, some short term only and some developed at times we can’t explain. So if you are drinking when you learn that joke you may have to be in that state again to remember it completely.

The technical way or physiological process of memory traces being built is phenomenal. Environmental factors play a very important role in creating and decaying memories. We do however have a proactive way to create the memories in our mind and then help the process of memory distribution into the neo-cortex of our brains. Technically what happens in our mind is electrical and chemical. We reach a plus or minus sodium solution of 70 which causes two or more brain cells to connect. This is done by the firing of synapses between receptors at the end of our dendrites spines in turn combining the two brain cells together. This completes the process of forming a new memory trace. The chemical neurotransmitters cause an electrical impulse of about 5 watts to join the two brain cells thus forming the new memory trace. The process of transferring it to the long term memory is dependent on many factors. One is the need, the selectiveness, the priority in life, our existence and the necessity to use it in the future.

Implicit memories are formed without our knowledge and locked in a lockbox of selective unconsciousness’ within the brain. We are not sure how they get there are how our prejudices or biases are formed but the environment we are raised in must play a major part of the cohort effect of each 10 year time span. We now believe that our memories are actually laid down between the 3rd and 4th stage of our sleep cycle while we sleep and can be restructured over a possible 2 year time span.

We are still not a 100% sure how our memories are built but that’s a pretty close explanation of the process as I see it now. These theories are based on the fact that we now have the technology to measure our brain more effectively. So I offer you this please take care of your brain. I tell my son-in-law and future son-in-law this cage fighting or mixed martial arts they pay to watch will ultimately lead to brain damage or trauma disorders. This ultimately will be something to be dealt with in the future for these young mindless athletes. The brain is the only organ in the body that is incased in a hard shell for a reason and not intended to be hit on or traumatized.

So exercise it, feed it the right nutrients and expand it every chance you get. We are living longer and will need it a lot longer in the future. I have to challenge myself everyday because my lovely wife has a rapid brain wave and processes much faster than the normal individual. So I have always told my children when mom finishes a subject and moves on we need to bring her back into our conversation because she is too smart. She was just gifted with a rapid brain wave and beautiful too! We still get a good laugh out of that process daily.

The Memory Technologies Institute is a company specializing in experiential training. Training business professionals and students in corporate environments and personal settings on how to develop an instant recall memory. The skills that are necessary to maintain a productive position in today’s competitive world and brain maintenance.

MTI, by simplifying the memory process has become one of America’s leading memory training workshops. Their trained memory speakers and instructors are certified in accordance with “HR Bill 6578 by President Bush Sr. in 1989 for the decade of the brain”. They speak on national keynote speaking circuits nationwide. The skills taught at their workshops have been featured on television talk shows, radio programs and ABC’s channel 8 nightly special “Information overload” as well as in newspapers and magazines throughout America.

Harold Mangum Psychologist/President MTI has been studying mnemonics for 19 years and currently teaches at universities, and corporations like Texas Instruments, Halliburton, Schlumberger, AT&T, Xerox, Eastman Kodak, Microsoft, Entex, Sprint USA, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, 3M and many more fortune 500 companies.

The style of experiential instruction shortens the process of learning and aligns the conscious and unconscious cognitive ability of the mind. He has developed in authorship several memory programs, like Maximum Recall Memory, Advanced Memory Recall, Maximum Scripture Memory Recall, and Advance Numbers and Playing cards leads the industry as the most used mnemonics training in the industry. The newest program Maximum Name recall is the newest addition. Harold is featured as Keynote speaker for hundreds of associations and conferences all over the U.S. Ezine members receive a 50% price reduction of all audio programs and corporate group rates at the workshops.

Visit memorytech.net for more information, products available and how to book a presentation or keynote address at your next conference or convention.

Author: Harold Mangum
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

When Employees Set Standards

Source: Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success, by Lou Holtz

When Andy Heck played football for head coach Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, he switched positions on the offensive line. It was a tough transition.  One day, watching game films with the assistant coach, Heck complained about a negative grade the coach gave him for a play that Heck thought was OK.”Andy, I don’t think you’re an average player,” the assistant coach said, stopping the film. “Do you want me to grade you as an average player so your mark will be positive? Or should I grade you as a great player, in which case your performance on that play was a minus? You choose.”Heck chose “great player,” and Holtz says, “He immediately elevated his personal standards.”Heck became Notre Dame’s team captain and enjoyed a solid professional career with the Chicago Bears. Holtz believes the coach’s question that day—and Heck’s choice—launched that success.

Suggestion: Challenge employees to set their own standards. Their motivation to succeed will bestronger than if they try to reach goals others impose.

Leadership

The Challenge

People everywhere continue to look for the secret to becoming a better leader. Thousands of books and articles have been written on the art of leadership all claiming to have the “answers.” The fact is there is no one answer, no “secret.” However, some guiding principles and skills are fundamental to successful leaders everywhere. These skills, principles, and traits can be developed. Rate yourself in each area below, identify areas of weaknesses, and then create some goals and action steps to help you develop the successful leadership traits.

Leaders are grounded. They know who they are and where they are going. They set the direction and pace for the organization/department and lead by example. An effective leader helps to create an organization where everyone feels free to be open, innovative, and alive to possibilities.

Leaders provide the vision, values, and strategies to transform their organizations to higher levels of sustained success. Leaders take the company to where it has not been. Leaders are visionaries, coaches, mentors, teachers, students, and more. They are constantly seeking, learning, improving, and stretching their capabilities. They set the example, establish the environment, and implement the processes for everyone in the organization to adhere to the same standards.

Successful leaders have personal and organizational values, which govern their behavior. They lead by values. Balancing the needs of the individuals with the needs of the company by aligning the vision, values, and resources of all concerned. Organizational values are an integral part of your Strategic Plan and the cornerstone for the actions and decisions of everyone in the organization. Those values are driven throughout the organization by your behavior and your example. As a leader, if you engage in behavior which conflicts with your values, you will sacrifice your credibility. The end does not justify the means.

Risk Management – Business and Projects

In today’s world RISK can come from many directions.  In controlling risk, management should understand the nature of the structure of its business and the keys to successful execution.  Business and projects are similar and comprise of four primary components: strategy, people, processes, and customers.  Controlling these areas of your business or project can result in significant success.

STRATEGY – Whenever a project or business starts its formation, understanding the strategy and how to achieve the objectives is key.  Preparing the strategy is fundamental.  Components of your strategy include the vision, mission and objectives, evaluating the internal and external factors that affect the operation, understanding the driving issues and variables will lead to success, and then mapping out the goals to which they operation will strive to achieve.

PEOPLE – The people are the engine of your execution.  It is recommended that you prepare an organizational execution plan which defines the roles and responsibilities, processes and approval procedures for execution. It should also include the schedule budget and approved process for continued monitoring of progress. Be sure to communicate your execution plan and secure feedback and commitment.

PROCESSES – Once you have a strategy and team organized it is important next to have processes.  These processes will outline the requirements of the team in both collecting, organizing, completing and presenting the end results to the customer.  It is important to assure that the team has a clear understanding of these processes and how they fit the strategy, objectives, structure, and client wants and needs.

CUSTOMERS – Without customers you do not have business.  We need to understand their wants and needs as well as their processes that they must follow in achieving their objectives.  Assuring that you have alignment with a customer’s needs, your strategy, your organization and your processes will help you advance to a successful conclusion or continuation of your project or business.

These are the four top areas of risk management and are fundamental to achieving success.  Over the next few weeks we will be adding more commentaries related to these subsets of risk management.