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Employee engagement is currently a hot topic discussed among business owners and management teams alike. Everyone is looking for the secret to create more focused, productive, high-performing employees – especially when it comes to motivating millennials. While there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy that will inspire and encourage your workforce to become more engaged and invested in the work they do, there are many small techniques that can appeal to your employees differently.

Keeping your employees engaged is important for the success of your organization. According to Entrepreneur, highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave your company and are 21 percent more productive. There is a 51 percent difference in...

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What makes a company good? You may examine your organization and check off the boxes of key factors that make a business successful: profitability, a strong product offering, satisfactory customer service, etc. However, success does not always equal greatness.

How do you take a good company and make it great? I argue that there are two defining factors that can take your business to the outstanding next level.

Great companies make conscious choices and defining decisions, and they stick with them:

  • Great companies have an established purpose, and they live it to the fullest. They know why they exist and are clear about the value they create in the world – a value which often goes beyond what they sell.

  • Great companies are bound to their values and beliefs, which shape a unique culture. Great companies not only understand what they stand for, they embody their values every day through their work. They use their values and beliefs to shape how they hire, develop skills and make decisions.

  • Great companies define their priorities annually and make the conscious choice to improve upon them every day. For example, if they decide to improve their market position in 2017, they find key ways to do so and have the discipline to stick with their decision and follow through.

They have strong leaders and strong management (there is a difference and you need both!):

  • Management and leadership are two different skill sets, yet both are needed in a great company. The key difference between leadership and management is – leaders lead people, managers manage tasks. While management creates a competent and productive workforce, leadership creates passionate and focused people who value your organization. Leaders and managers are not always the same people, but both are found in great companies.

  • Good organizations solely rely on executives and department heads to manage and lead others. Great organizations are heavily dependent on self-management/self-leadership. Self-management is where individual team members hold themselves accountable for how they spend their time, focus and energy. Self-leadership involves individuals being proactive in their thinking, planning and interactions. Team members in great organizations lead and manage themselves to success.

What is the first step towards making your organization great? By identifying where you, as a manager and leader, can begin to improv...

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Is your whole organization aligned in contributing to the growth of your company? Your goal as a business owner or executive is to create a company where the team is engaged; the customers are doing your marketing; and everyone is making money. When your company moves in sync, you will see accelerated profitable growth.

To reach this goal, you need to scale up four key factors in your organization that contribute to growth: people, strategy, execution and cash. By making critical decisions and creating strategies to improve these four concepts, you will see greater alignment, acceleration in success and the advancement of company revenue and reputation.

I will go in depth on these strategies at a lunch and learn, co-hosted by CFO S...

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Creating the right team is a vital step in growing a successful business. Business owners often share that a pain point in their business is that they can’t recruit, train or retain the right employees to build a winning team. The truth is, hiring the right people is just the first step towards building a successful team in your business. Without the right guidance or leadership, your team alone will not transform your business and take it to its next level of performance.

Great leaders build a great team around them. You will never build a great business on your own. The bigger and better the business you want, the bigger and better the team you will need! To be successful you must find the right people, give them the right traini...

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Happy Holidays! In last month’s blog, I asked the question, “What is your #1 priority for 2017?” based on the four decisions (People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash) that every business owner and executive has to make to maximize their revenue, productivity and company. A majority of our readers mentioned that “driving flawless execution” was their main decision to focus on this upcoming year. Because of this, I will focus this month’s blog on ways to improve your business’s execution strategy.

In order to execute well, you must know what success looks like. Success means something different to every business. Hitting a specific amount in revenue, having a certain number of employees, profit growt...

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Running a successful business requires making a lot of decisions. As a business owner or executive, your business’s success depends on the sum of all the decisions you make. Base your decisions on your company’s goals and priorities for 2017. What do you plan to focus on this upcoming year?

Verne Harnish, founder of Gazelles and author of “Scaling Up,” identified four decisions that growth companies must get right to maximize their revenue, productivity and time. These four decisions involve the areas of Strategy, Execution, People and Cash. Focusing on these “Rockefeller Habits” will help you achieve your growth targets and stay ahead of your competitors.

Here are the four critical decisions facing every business leader. Please identify what decision you plan on focusing on and share it with me here:

1.Attract and keep the right PEOPLE Is everyone in your company pulling their own weight and contributing as they should? If you had to start the company all over tomorrow, would you enthusiastically rehire everyone on your team? Growth companies’ most difficult decisions revolve around getting the right people in the right seats.
Actions to take:
– Becoming a magnet for A Players who are dedicated to your goals
– Increasing accountability and results

2.Create a truly differentiated STRATEGY Do you have a solid top-line revenue growth strategy in place? The key to sustainable top-line growth is three-fold: knowing your core customer, developing a clear brand promise, and developing your Big Hairy Audacious Goals for sustainable revenue growth.
Actions to take:
– Clarifying your core values
– Discovering your SWOTs and trends
– Determining your 3-5 year key strategies to catapult your growth
3.Drive flawless EXECUTION One common challenge that quietly sneaks up on successful growth companies is the subtle transition from excellent, precise execution to passivity, complacency, and eventually poor execution disciplines. By simply tightening up your execution habits, you can dramatically improve gross margins and profitability while reducing the time it takes everyone to complete their work.
Actions to take:
– Learning and applying great business habits – click here to see
– Creating a culture of accountability
– Fine-tuning processes to run without drama
4.Have plenty of CASH to weather the storms And the last decision is cash. The first law of entrepreneurial gravity is “Growth Sucks Cash.” We encourage companies to calculate their Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC) which measures companywide how long it takes between when you spend a dollar (marketing, design, rent, wages, etc.) until you get that dollar back.
Actions to take:
– Accelerating cash flow to fuel your growth
– Improving your sales cycle and make sure you are never short on cash

By understanding which decision your company should prioritize in 2017, your team will align to get faster results through organizational clarity and accountability. You will also see an acceleration in your growth by having a strategic advantage over your competitors and will position your brand as a market leader.

While each of the identified decisions requires energy and attention, there should be one that needs the most focus to reach your goals in 2017. Click here to share it with me! I look forward to your response and will use your feedback to focus the theme of next month’s blog.

It is time to begin (if you haven’t already) planning for success in 2017! Luck favors the mind that is prepared. How is your strategic plan coming along? For 2017 strategic thinking and execution planning, contact me for guidance and facilitation.

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Thank you to all who attended the Des Moines Live2Lead 2016 simulcast, and to our sponsors and volunteers who helped make this event possible! L2L took place on October 7th at Valley Church in West Des Moines, with 250 local leaders in attendance. At the event, we heard from four amazing speakers – John C. Maxwell, Simon Sinek, Liz Wiseman and Dan Cathy.

Below, enjoy the key findings from each speaker:

1. Simon Sinek: “Empathy”

Sinek believes that empathy and perspective are the most important instruments in a leader’s toolbox. Empathy is the root of human connection. It can be expressed in simple ways, like reaching out to someone and asking, “What do you need to do your job? How can I help you?” Prac...

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