Loading...

Follow Marco's Leadership Blog on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

I recently presented to a high school leadership class and the graduates of a local chamber of commerce leadership program. During the dialogue, I felt as though the participants viewed my tenured career and business accomplishments as something they aspired to for themselves. 

My response and advice to leaders at all levels in their careers is this: Don’t wish time away. I’d rather be younger sitting in their chairs than 59 as the accomplished business man that they see. I’ve enjoyed the journey and I’d love to do it all over again. 

Now in the fourth quarter of my career, the game takes on a different tone. It’s more about planning for others than it is for myself.

I know some people who count down the days – or even years – until they retire. I’m not. That feels like wishing time away and I enjoy what I do. Here’s my advice at this point in my career:

  • Live well while you work hard.
    One of the reasons why I am not looking at the calendar is because I have balanced my work time with my family and friends and doing what I enjoy. Work-life balance looks different for everyone. When you have it, you know it. I believe if you’re working more than 50 hours a week, you’re impacting the rest of your life. My head is always in the game, but you won’t find me putting in long hours week after week, and I encourage my team to strive for the same balance.

  • Contribute to retirement before you pay yourself.
    So often finances dictate retirement dates. The best advice I can give young professionals is to take control early and make investing in retirement a top priority, starting with your first regular paycheck. Invest in retirement before you spend money on anything else – including a mortgage. I know it takes discipline. Do it anyway (and you’ll thank me later).

  • Keep work fun and engaging.
    This requires you to challenge yourself, keep your skills sharp and stay focused on your purpose. Don’t get old school or people will help you with the decision. If you allow yourself to do that, your motivation will fall and so will your performance and satisfaction. Be open to change and stay engaged. With the sale of our company a couple of years ago, I now have a boss, new measurements for success and renewed energy and focus.

  • Make proactive career moves.
    Don’t wait for things to happen to you. As you look around corners, you may recognize that you need to shift your focus and the type of work you do to stay contemporary. Pay attention to growth areas and position yourself accordingly – throughout your career.

  • Resist the temptation to think short-term.
    Whether you’re just starting your career or nearing retirement, focus on the long-term. Short-term thinking leads to short-term performance. A key measurement of leaders' success is how well the organization thrives after they leave. Do the necessary succession planning, but don’t lead with one foot out the door.

  • Tackle your bucket list early.
    Retirement used to be the time when professionals created a bucket list of places they want to travel or activities they want to do. What if you started that list this year? Take extended trips. Carve out time each week to do what you’d like to do. Besides building in more fun and balance, checking off the proverbial bucket list prevents professionals at any age from dreaming for “one day” in retirement. They’re more satisfied and contribute longer to the workforce.

Time really does go faster as you get older. Don’t wish time away. Be present and proactive, and be the one who chooses where your path goes.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As leaders, we’re often asked to join a board of directors – for a community cause, our industry or a business. It’s an opportunity for us to share our experience and skills with others. So, we oblige. But are we really being good board members?

How we participate matters. I still remember the very first board meeting that I participated in my early 30s. It was for a nonprofit that provided a home and services for single pregnant women, new mothers and their babies. The whole protocol was new to me, and I had to learn how to initiate a motion, participate in discussion and gain approval. Ultimately, I went on to become the board chair. It was a good experience.

From the beginning, it was clear that as board members, we have a fiduciary responsibility – or, as I see it, a role in ensuring the organization’s viability. Over the years, I have participated in a variety of boards, including our Marco board. While their missions vary, the primary purpose is usually some form of governance. That means assessing if the organization has the right structure, leadership and strategies to achieve its goals.

Today, as CEO, I encourage and support our Marco leaders to serve on boards. Serving is both a responsibility and a privilege. When we sign on, it’s important that we are effective in our role as board members – and not simply a name on a list or in the meeting minutes. From my experience, here’s what it looks like to be a good board member:

  • Show up.
    It sounds simple, but have you checked your attendance record? Serving on a board means we attend most of the meetings. If you’re not participating in at least 80 percent of the meetings, you’re falling short of your No. 1 duty. Make these meetings a priority on your calendar, and work to build your schedule around them. It’s not always easy, but showing up is critical to the job.
  • Be up to speed.
    Take the time to prepare before the meeting. Read the packet, do your homework and be ready to engage in the process. When you miss a meeting, you have extra time to invest to ensure you have the information you need to provide value in future meetings. This will prepare you to make decisions, especially the hard ones.
  • Speak up.
    Some people talk more than others. Some say more than others. Strive to do the latter. Seek meaningful opportunities to share a perspective or pose a question. Asking good questions can spark impactful dialogue that brings the board to the best decision.
  • Know the numbers.
    Some organizations do a better job than others simplifying the reporting of the key metrics. If the reports are not provided in an easy-to-understand format, ask for a change. (Your fellow board members will thank you). All board members should be able to see at-a-glance how the organization is performing and where improvements need to be made. You shouldn’t need to be a CPA to understand and participate.
  • Sign up.
    Committee work is an inherent responsibility of every board member. Find a committee that interests you and get involved. This is where you can use your skill sets to help make a difference in the organization. For one organization that I currently serve on, I’m involved in multiple committees and yes, that means more meetings to attend. It is time well spent. Each of them gives me a deeper understanding of the organization and how I, as a board member, can more effectively govern.
  • Get to know the leadership.
    Every board member should build a trusted relationship with the executive leadership. With a strong leader, you can tackle just about anything – including the not-so-fun stuff that inevitably will come along the way. Get to know the leadership, including the top executives’ strengths, weaknesses, style and vision.
  • Drive up revenue.
    Start with your own personal financial contribution. Board members need to be supporters. That also means helping bring in revenue. Not everyone is comfortable with fundraising, but it is every board member’s responsibility. It ties back to our fiduciary responsibility and commitment to improving the vitality of the organization. Without money, you can’t execute on the mission.

Board involvement starts with interest and a commitment. If you’re really not all that interested in the organization’s mission, it becomes easier to miss a meeting and harder to contribute. Sometimes “no” is a good decision when asked to join a board. In situations where I’m appointed the board chair, my first order of business is to offer a “get off the board free” option. I’d rather have people “opt out” if they’re not “all in.” Being a good board member means commitment and active participation.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Ask professionals to share the qualities of a great leader and you’ll get a long list. But one of them trumps all the rest: decisiveness. You can be likable, collaborative and trustworthy, but if you lack decisiveness, you fail to lead.

Most organizations face a crisis of opportunities. Every day, leaders are expected to make many small and big decisions. Some have short-term gains, while others have a lasting impact. They all matter. Good leaders are good decision makers. 

Here are a few keys to success:

  • Rule out a middle vote.
    Maybe is the easiest vote, but it’s ineffective. Take maybe off the table when making decisions in your organization. Challenge yourself and your team to choose yes or no. Then, talk about why.
  • Expect a quick turnaround.
    The time it takes to decide depends on the issue at hand. Easy decisions can happen the same day – or on the spot. When making harder decisions, it’s often best to take a night to sleep on it. Few decisions should take more than 48 hours to make.
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong.
    As leaders, we will not always make the right decisions. Don’t let that hold you back. Doing nothing can be far more damaging. Choose progress over perfection. I haven’t always made the right decisions, and there are repercussions – but that is part of leadership. You’re not always going to be right, but once a leader is labeled as indecisive, it’s hard to recover.
  • Let logic drive the decision.
    Focus on the facts and use common sense. This does not mean feelings have no place in decision-making. They do. But they can block logic. It’s the job of leaders to temper feelings and be level-headed. Applying logic can make decision-making easier.
  • Prep people for the decision.
    Discuss the idea prematurely with key people involved in the decision. Give each of them time to assess, share obstacles and process it with you. Ask questions that will help everyone identify the best path. Then, when you believe a decision is headed in a certain direction, share it individually with the people impacted before a decision is made in a meeting or made public.
  • Be prepared to change your mind.
    When seeking input and gathering facts, keep an open mind. Ask open-ended questions, and let the feedback and data help you make a more informed decision. Sometimes you have to change your mind. Just don’t do it all the time, or you risk coming across as indecisive.
  • Identify your criteria upfront.
    Determine the key factors that will guide the decision-making process. One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make was selling our office furniture division. It is where I started my career, where many of my friends worked, and it was still a profitable part of our business. But it did not fit our business strategy, and that was a key factor in the decision-making process.

Decision-making can be the hardest part of leadership. Yet it is what defines us as leaders. As CEO at Marco, one of my major roles is to make and facilitate sound decisions. As leaders, we cannot leave items unattended. We’re expected to decide. Having a track record of good decisions goes a long way in gaining followership.

 

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

A business can have strong talent and great products and services, but still not perform well. It may look good on the outside, but the data shows the business is not run well and profitability is below industry benchmarks.

The business is missing its potential. I’ve seen it as we have pursued acquisitions and as I’ve been approached by leaders to provide advice for their organizations.

So why do some organizations soar and others stall?

Here are 10 common mistakes:

  1. Leaders are not making decisions.
    They get too much input, fail to use data or spend too much time analyzing. They may also be overly collaborative or take too long to move. Good leaders are decisive and are willing to make the hard decisions.

  2. They hang on to employees too long.
    They don’t let people go. It’s uncomfortable. So, they overlook the incompetency. They work to make the person “fit” into the organization. This affects the culture and brings down the performance of others. It spirals into a bad situation that is difficult to get out of, and it doesn’t reflect well on the leader.

  3. The leaders don’t have experience running a business.
    It’s common to see the leaders charged with running the business with little to no experience or expertise in doing so. A person could be a good sales rep, attorney or CPA, but they are not necessarily the best at running a company. The skill sets are different.

  4. Top performers dictate decisions.
    Even if top performers are not charged with running the business, they can become highly influential in decision-making. Leaders cannot let the top performers choose the organization’s path. That’s the job of the leadership team. 

  5. They lack execution.
    The intentions often are good. They may even bring in third-parties to provide analysis, strategy and plans to improve the organization. The recommendations are sound. They can name three steps to take and agree on them. It looks promising, but the organization fails to act. Wanting it to happen is not the same as making it happen.

  6. They get caught up in personality when hiring.
    They hire based on the likability of candidates instead of the core competencies they hold. They tend to hire people just like them. They fail to hire based on the gaps in the organization or to augment their own weaknesses.

  7. They determine success only by annual growth.
    While annual revenue growth is an important indicator of success, it is not the only one. Effective organizations benchmark not only against themselves, but what good looks like in their industry. Not having defined goals and metrics leads to “best efforts” versus determined results.

  8. They justify data.
    Even if they are using data and benchmarking, they are quick to justify or rationalize why the data is trending downward. They discount the data, saying “our market is different” or “our customer is different.” They blame the economy, their market, the industry and other factors instead of looking inside and holding themselves accountable. 

  9. They stay on defense.
    They worry too much about the competition instead of looking at how they can set the pace. When we were building the business, I never looked at our competition. I stayed on offense and where we needed to take the company to be successful.

  10. They like being “old school.”
    Or they don’t realize they are. They lack technology to work smarter. An “old school culture” impacts their ability to attract contemporary workers and young professionals. This may mean they overvalue longevity of employees rather than how well they perform. Employees who have been with the organization the longest aren’t necessarily the best. Yet in many organizations, they can dictate decisions and hold the organization back.

Do any of these reflect your organization? Even effective leaders may struggle now and again with one or two of these. Ask your trusted advisors how many are true for your organization and be willing to make a change. Your organization will thank you.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Kevin Schwantz’s career with Marco started 20 years ago. The local plumbing supply company where Kevin had worked closed and he found himself unemployed. The conditions of his unemployment led him to interview and ultimately accept a position with Marco in our warehouse. He initially turned down the job that would only pay $7 an hour before learning from the Unemployment Office that he couldn’t.

Kevin expected it would be a short stint. This month, he will retire and leave a legacy as one of the most successful, non-traditional sales guys at Marco.

After several years working in operations, Kevin took a risk and made a rare move to sales. He went from a comfortable support role with a set salary and stability to a straight commission-based sales position. The opportunity to earn more money and have a bit more flexibility was what interested him most about sales.

From my experience, these types of moves typically don’t work, but he definitely forged his own path at Marco and serves as an example for others to follow.

Kevin and I recently reflected on his journey. Here’s a look at a few takeaways:

  • Be open to an untraditional profile.
    Kevin is naturally reserved and doesn’t fit the traditional sales profile. Cold calling was not in his DNA. In the hiring process, we often let personality profiles decide our next steps. In this case, we didn’t – and it worked.
  • Stay committed to the journey.
    Kevin did not make an easy move, and we both knew it likely would take longer for him to reach his potential. Sales leadership intentionally invested more time in mentoring him than the average sales person. He clearly was mentorable and was open to the coaching and learning. It took several years, but we both stayed committed and ultimately received a return on the investment.
  • See the broader picture.
    Because of Kevin’s background in operational support, he had the advantage of seeing multiple sides of the organization. So, when it came to the sales process, he understood that it impacts a variety of people inside Marco and demonstrated great respect for their roles. That helped him gain support of team members across our organization. He brought the same attentiveness to his clients, listening and responding to their needs.
  • Likability matters.
    Kevin is one of the most likable people you’ll meet. He brings a positive attitude to every situation. His demeanor helped him build trust in his territory in a rural Minnesota market and led to great loyalty among his client base. He didn’t try to be someone he’s not. He stuck to his roots. He grew up on a farm in the small Minnesota town of Bertha and still operates a hobby farm today.

Kevin didn’t fit the traditional sales profile, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t be a successful sales professional. He’s been a great example to others on the value of hard work, persistence and getting outside of your comfort zone. This is one of my favorite Marco stories, and I wish him the very best in his retirement. He certainly deserves it. We’ll miss you Kevin.

Read about more Leaders to Follow: Jennifer MrozekScott RoederBarry OpatzSteve Gau and Trevor Akervik.


Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I just returned from a week in Montego Bay, Jamaica with a group of about 100 people representing the highest sales achievers at Marco. When I was a full-time sales guy, it meant I had hit my quota and was in the top quartile of performers in the company. It’s a trip that I have come to look forward to each year and I know others do, too.

As CEO, I continue to see the value in hosting a sales quota trip. While it does require a significant investment, it’s definitely worth it. The trip has been an essential part of our sales culture and a key driver of behavior. People want to make it, and it’s no fun staying back when you don’t.

The quota trip each year demonstrates our commitment to being sales focused and keeping score. Typically about 20 percent of our sales team earns the annual trip. What started as a group of about 15 people now is around 100, including a guest of each quota achiever and our leadership team. (One of our attempts at a group picture below).

So, what makes a quota trip drive behavior so effectively? It needs to be attainable, strategic and fun. Here’s what I mean:

Make it attainable…
The effectiveness of the trip starts with setting a fair quota for each member of the sales team. Too often, this is where organizations misstep. Sales quotas don’t need to be created equal.

We want this trip to be an incentive that’s within reach of those who put in the work. We know that the product they sell, where they sell it and how long they’ve been doing it matters. We have 230 sales reps and work with each one individually to establish their yearly target.

We take into account these key factors:

  • Past performance of the individual – We want our team members to continue to grow and perform to their ability.
  • How long the individual has been selling – We work to make it within reach for even our newest reps. About 10 percent of our salespeople with three or less years of experience have earned the trip. Occasionally, some achieve it in their first year (we love it when that happens).
  • Market share and location – We know it is easier to sell in one of our mature markets with an established client base, compared to one of our newer markets. We also consider their geographic location. A rural market, for example, naturally has a lower potential volume than an urban market.
  • Product profile – The type of product and its status in the marketplace impact the ability to sell it. Some products and services have a higher price tag, target enterprise-level clients or naturally generate a higher sales volume. We want all our product categories to perform so we set quotas accordingly.
  • Industry growth rates – There are external forces at play. Some solutions are growing faster than others. We want to lead the curve in the high-growth areas and recognize some may actually be in decline. The growth rates of an industry impact potential.

Make it strategic…
Earning the quota trip also requires the sales reps to support our strategic focus. For example, to grow our Managed Services practice, we assigned a quota to cross-sell into their existing account base. We want our sales team to collectively drive strategic outcomes for our business, and we found the best way to accomplish that is to make it part of their sales quota.

Make it fun…
From the day we arrive on the trip, we’re intentional about the experience. We host an informal meeting and reception for team members and their guests to mingle and get to know one another. 

We take care of the transportation, accommodations and meals. We make sure the location has a variety of activities to engage in if they choose. It’s up to the individual members on what they want to do. They control their schedule and who they hang with. We set a casual atmosphere and want it to feel like a vacation – not work.

I make it a point to organize dinners with small groups to personally connect and get to know them better. The networking and team building comes naturally.

Make it an honor...
The quota trip has become a badge of honor within our organization. Earning it appeals to the majority of our sales team. Once you make it, it’s something you never want to miss.  

I’m often asked what it takes to create a high-performing sales culture. One way is to offer an annual quota trip. This supports the theme, that until we sell something around here, not much else matters. We get back far more than we spend; and those who attend feel it’s priceless.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I will always remember the business colleagues who called me or showed up at my doorstep after my wife died. And the ones who flew in to attend the funeral. And those that I lean on for guidance and support when I need to make difficult decisions. None of them has to do it. It goes well beyond our vendor agreements.

So, why do they do it? It’s because they genuinely care. While talking to a few of them recently, I also learned that it’s because they have received so much from our relationship as well. Marco has helped them become better in business, too. It goes beyond the bottom line or even being their biggest customer. We’re partners.

The word “partner” can almost feel like an overused term that is sometimes used interchangeably with “vendor.” Not all vendors are true partners, and that’s OK. I prefer to reserve the word for those vendor relationships that are mutually beneficial. Hundreds of vendors support Marco as a business, but I’d only consider about a dozen of them “partners.” They’ve become trusted advisors and have a hand in making Marco a better business. 

Sometimes we can take good vendor relationships for granted. At Marco, we recognize the importance of them. It’s one of the pillars of our Gold Standard and an area that we plan to focus more on this year. We want to be good customers. We also want to be good partners.

So, what makes a good partner?

  • Deep and wide relationships in the organization.
    Partners do not just have one or two connections in the organization. They build and maintain relationships beyond procurement. They invest time in your people and develop relationships across multiple areas of the organization.
  • Trusted to look out for our best interests.
    Every day, there are opportunities to build and diminish trust in a business relationship. While partners get paid for providing a specific product or service, they have greater value because they continually look out for what’s in the best interest of our organization. They are good advocates for our business personally and professionally.
  • Respected by executive leadership.
    Good partners are connected to the executive leadership team and respected for the value they bring to the organization. When they need something, they know they are going to get a timely response. When all things are equal, the leadership team will always err in their favor.
  • Show up in unexpected ways.
    Partners see their role beyond the contracted agreement. They show up when it counts. They care about us personally and support us during both the highs and lows. I wouldn’t think less of them if they didn’t, but it definitely is a lasting impression that solidifies our relationship when they do.

How many of your vendors earn the title “partner?” I’m grateful for the ones we have at Marco and the opportunity to help one another and be better together.

 

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Jennifer Mrozek started at Marco in 1998 in leasing before becoming our controller and being named Chief Financial Officer in her early 30s. Today, she serves in a key role as the Executive Vice President of Business Development and Operations.

She’s a leader to know in the community and our industry, and I have had the privilege of learning from her over the years. Jennifer has been part of our leadership team since I became president of Marco. She’s a big part of why our culture is recognized for being both fun and high-performing.

Early on she became a trusted advisor of mine and I have watched her serve others well, too. She is the next leader I am highlighting in the Leader to Follow series that has included Scott Roeder, Barry Opatz, Steve Gau and Trevor Akervik. I see all of them as “untraditional” in their roles. Jennifer has never been a traditional finance person either.

Here’s a look at a few attributes that make Jennifer worth following:

  • Understands our sales culture
    If I had to choose a single defining characteristic that makes Jennifer so successful at Marco, it’s that she understands that “sales” is our core competency. As a finance person, she has been very supportive of our direct sales strategies to drive growth. It’s unusual for a numbers person to be so collaborative with sales.

  • Responsible risk taker
    Jennifer’s primary role is to execute on Marco’s acquisition growth strategy. While she is responsible for mitigating and managing our risks as a company, she’s also willing to initiate some. Naturally analytical, she can negotiate creative deals and figure out how to get them done.

  • Self-aware
    Jennifer knows herself well and plays to her strengths. While she may be an “accountant” by trade, she has never limited herself to that label. She has a strong understanding of the client interface, the importance of a sales engine and the value of relationships. She is one of the smartest people I know, but she’s also very humble.

  • Sees the big picture
    She does a good job coaching others (including myself) to look beyond the tactics and take a broader perspective of the situation. This is especially evident in her leadership role for acquisitions and operational excellence. Jennifer probably has the best end-to-end view of our business. 

  • A committed mom
    Jennifer is proof that a successful business woman can also be a fully-committed mom. She manages her household well and is very active in the lives of her two teenage kids. As a busy executive and dedicated mom, she’s a great example for others to follow.

It’s been a lot of fun growing the business with Jennifer over the past 20 years. She is a trusted advisor and good friend. Jennifer is a respected leader in our company, community and industry, and she continues to use her strengths to make us better.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

One of the best pieces of advice I received in my career is this: Minimize your highs and maximize your lows. We can easily get too confident when we win – or have a series of wins – or get too down on ourselves after a loss. Neither are productive.

I was at U.S Bank Stadium for the playoff game when the Minnesota Vikings were losing to the New Orleans Saints. The feeling of defeat was already in the stands – with only seconds left in the game.

Then, Stefon Diggs pulled off that historic catch in the final 10 seconds to win the game and the “Minneapolis Miracle” celebration began. It became the #1 NLF play of the year and likely will go down as one of the best NFL plays of all time. 

After that unbelievable win, I wondered if the players would be able to minimize that high to stay focused on the next game. It wouldn’t be easy, but it would be necessary for them to earn their spot in the Super Bowl. The same psychological hardiness that leaders need to overcome challenges and defeat is needed to ground them in the highs of victory.

Being a performance-driven technology services company is not that different from a professional sports team. Like a Super Bowl team, even high-performing companies lose sometimes. The teams that effectively come back after a loss seem to be the ones that end up in the championship. 

After the Vikings’ disappointing playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, a millennial I have had the pleasure to get to know asked me – so how do you come back after a loss? He thought it would be a good blog topic and I agreed. Here’s my response:

  • Balance your perspective.
    Practice psychological hardiness by staying steady. In the final seconds of the Saints’ game, Vikings’ Quarterback Case Keenum demonstrated the calm and steady demeanor that he had become known for all season. Even when under pressure, he didn’t seem shaken. He positioned himself to launch a “Hail Mary” to wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Unfortunately, he didn’t carry over his calm demeanor to the next game.

  • Break down the plays.
    When we lose there’s an opportunity to evaluate performance and uncover the lessons. The high performers know where things went astray. Professionals analyze what went wrong and make the necessary adjustments. Often in business we think we lose out because of price, but that’s rarely the case. Let go of excuses, own what you can and find ways to up your game next time.

  • Move on, expecting to win.
    This is easier said than done. You shouldn’t dwell on the past, but instead focus on your next game. Whether you win or lose, you need to move on and focus on the next opportunity with the confidence that you will be successful. At Marco, we go into every opportunity thinking we are going to win, even if the odds may not always be in our favor. Confident players know the value they bring and the attitude it takes to be a champion.

Whether we’re on the field or in the board room, we need to be as good of a loser as we are a winner. We all know some poor winners and good losers. Sometimes it’s not about who wins or loses (although I much prefer winning) – but how they handled it. Stay humble when you win. Don’t lose your confidence when you lose.

 

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

As we start the new year, it’s natural for us to focus on implementing some new initiatives. Yet, one of the best moves we can make for our business is to fix what’s not working. It may sound simple, but too often it is one of the hardest tasks in leadership.

I think it’s fair to say all organizations have opportunities for improvement. Most of these negatively impact us financially or from a client and employee satisfaction standpoint. We all know it and talk about it. But for some reason, we shy away from taking the necessary actions to resolve it. And we find that the issue doesn’t just go away.

Before you initiate anything new this year, fix what’s not working. If it doesn’t fit your strategy, get rid of it. If it does, put in the work to make it better. I shared the thought process we go through to determine if it’s worth fixing in a previous blog.

Here are the steps that we use to fix parts of our strategy that aren't working:

  1. Call a timeout.
    When you know part of your business is underperforming (we all have them), it’s your job to call a time out. You need to set an attainable goal and achieve it. Identify and hold accountable the appropriate leader(s) to make sure your organization executes. One of the first items that we successfully fixed at Marco was our copier service margin. We were performing well below industry standards. So we called a time out and committed to changing it. Today we operate at the top of our industry.

  2. Call in help.
    Too often we think we can do it alone. We’ve seen better and faster results when we engaged third-party consultants that hold us accountable. We tend to justify practices that become normal to us, but actually may be part of the problem. Consultants can see what we are overlooking and bring insight into what better looks like in our industry.

  3. Undergo a continuous improvement exercise.
    It’s a good practice to adopt a continuous improvement discipline so when something’s not working or stuck, you can address the problem using a consistent, systematic approach. At Marco, we have committed to Lean as our continuous improvement process. This has proven to be invaluable for working through and solving complex problems. If you’re not using some form of continuous improvement, I highly recommend you consider it.

  4. Don’t be afraid to restructure.
    Restructuring can be a necessary move to fix an issue. Laying out a new structure is not overly complicated. It’s the implementation that can be taxing. I recommend you take the individuals out of the equation and identify what you’d do if you were to start all over. Ask the question, “If it didn’t matter where people reported, how would we do it?” It is a sensitive issue because we’re talking about people’s “turf”. Giving something up always seems to be harder than taking something on. So you’ll need to manage the psychology with the change.

I’ve been called a “wedge buster” in our organization because I’ve gotten pretty good at getting things “unstuck” and promoting change. It’s a trait that I think all effective leaders need to have. We all get stuck sometimes. It’s when we see it and make the necessary changes that we become high-performing organizations.


Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview