Friday, December 30, 2011

Success = Attitude + Habits

Welcome to 2012!  It's a bright new year, full of opportunities and enjoyment for those willing to embrace new ways of doing things.

The greatest bar to success is the inability to change.  The old saying "If you only do what you have always done, you will only get what you have always gotten -- only less" is absolutely true.

Just as Dickens' Christmas Carol discusses the past, the present and the future, business leaders need to consider the entire continuum of time -- and decide how much they want success.


Your organization's past may not have been as positive as you wanted it.  Many times, organizations fail to understand that they are "over-investing" their energies (as well as their cash) in only HALF of the "KASH BOX".

Every day, you have the opportunity to "turn the page" and make SURE that you spend EQUAL time with ATTITUDE and HABITS as well as KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS.

So, how much should YOU INVEST in YOUR ATTITUDE and HABITS? Consider the "TEBOW EFFECT":

"He just wins."  "God doesn't win games for him, his attitude and his hard work are what wins."

A positive attitude -- backed up by total diligence and hard work are what have allowed "a guy who shouldn't be in the NFL, let alone be starting quarterback" to have success. Tim Tebow isn't a "miracle," He just believes he can win and works hard at it.

What's the business lesson here?
Tebow has invested EQUALLY in both halves of his KASH BOX.  He studies the playbook and he practices his quarterbacking skills, BUT he also developed the habit of focusing on a POSITIVE ATTITUDE and being faithful to his HABITS to win.

What About the Future?
Is your business running at it's highest "value"?  Not just efficiently or effectively but "valuable"?

HOW CAN YOU TELL if your business is performing at optimal "value"?

It's Simple  -- Always focus on the "sale" of your business.
Whether you think at the end of your run you want to sell your business or transfer it to family or employees or simply sell off the assets, you need to PLAN to build your business so you can SELL it when you want -- for the amount you want.

If you want to reap the rewards that come from balancing the KASH BOX investments YOU'RE making AND develop a business you sell -- you need to contact LMI Columbus.

We have the tools and the processes to help you not only BALANCE the investments you make in YOUR KASH BOX, we can help you get the FUTURE YOU WANT by enhancing the total ROI from them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Poor Leadership Skills =
Business Cost, Waste and Even Failure!
Here are three of the most vital areas of business leadership.  Displaying adroit and well-planned efforts in all three will virtually guarantee success.
  ·  Lack of leadership in one will cause issues of cost and  
  ·  Mistakes in two will have serious negative consequences
      and jeopardize the organization’s long-term viability
  ·  Mismanagement in all three will cause total failure – sooner
      rather than later

Unhappiness is EXPENSIVE

Years of studies have shown that the number one reason -- 85% of the total -- BOTH customers and employees leave a company is – “They just didn’t care about me” – because of LEADERS who DON’T appear to care!

Unhappy Employees
  Leadership Objective:
   Cut Down Turnover

Skilled and experienced employees are vital assets. Not doing a good job of hiring, training and nurturing human assets can be VERY costly, and possibly terminal.

The expense caused by unhappy employees leaving is a CONTROLLABLE COST.

Employee turnover drains your organization of time, money, and talent. It costs employers 30-100% of base salary (depending on skill level and market conditions) to replace experienced employees.

Costs of turnover include:
   ·  Covering the position while it is vacant
   ·  Recruiting, interviewing and training a replacement
A study by the Saratoga Institute -- a leading turnover and retention research organization -- shows enhanced leadership skills can cut the costs of voluntary turnover by up to 1/3.

Unhappy Customers
Leadership Objective:
  Retain Customers

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review every 1.3% increase (or decrease) in Customer Satisfaction scores = .5% increase or decrease in revenue.

Better leadership can generate a 3% to 4% improvement in customer satisfaction scores and a corresponding 1.5% increase in revenue growth.

Leadership Objective –
Increase Productivity

Psychologists have estimated that most employees are using LESS THAN 30% of their true potential. That means they are WASTING around 70% of it on non-productivity activities.

Multiple research studies show that employees who have a POSITIVE attitude can increase productivity by at least 30%.

Happy, WELL-LED and WELL-SUPPORTED employees -- who have the right direction, the right tools and resources and who feel supported in their desire to do good work -- will, in fact, work more efficiently and produce MUCH more.

Want to know what YOUR costs may be?
Based on the research cited above, take a few minutes to discover the impact of turnover, customer satisfaction and employee productivity in your business.

** Calculate your potential turnover loss - multiply your average salary by 50%.  Are you ready to pay?

** Calculate your potential customer satisfaction gain – multiply your sales by 1.5%.  Do you know how to increase your Customer Satisfaction score by 1%?

** Calculate your productivity improvement – multiply your total employee salary by 10%. Do you know how to find that wasted productivity?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Checklist for Lasting Leadership

Checklist for Lasting Leadership
by Michael Diercks
Managing Partner, LMI
I have been involved with leadership consulting for years, and have frequently witnessed the frustration of men and women who have been unable to get traction on lofty, conceptual descriptions of "leadership."
After someone has read a book or gone to a seminar on the ever-elusive topic of leadership, they will call or email - sometimes even buttonhole me in person - and ask the question - "What does this mean - especially to me?  What do I have to actually DO to become a successful leader?"
My response is always "If you feel that what you are doing isn't working, you have to do something DIFFERENTLY."  Over time, I have developed a ten-point checklist of things to do DIFFERENTLY to get different results.
1. Do I have a clear VISION of what I, my team, and my whole organization want to  become?

2. Do I have a detailed PLAN - including quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily benchmarks of what I want to achieve?

3. Am I openly and genuinely OPTIMISTIC about my role and the organization?

4. Do I have a clear understanding of my role, how I am viewed by the other people in the organization AND am I willing to listen to criticism, even when I don't want to?

5. Do I VALUE my employees and colleagues as people, taking time to get to know something personal about each of them, rather than as just "workers?"

6. Do I try to catch people doing something RIGHT?  Have I offered praise and thanks to SEVERAL of them TODAY?

7. Do I LISTEN fully and completely to others - regardless of the issue - BEFORE speaking?

8. Do I share information PROMPTLY - even if it's not all good news?

9. Do I view conflict and disagreement as OPPORTUNITIES to learn rather than being unpleasant and disagreeable?

10. Do I exhibit INTEGRITY in all aspects of my life? Do I stay the course - no matter how rough or lonely - when I know I am right? Can I be counted on to live up to all my promises?
You might want to print out this list and keep it handy to remind you of what leadership requires.  


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Do You Possess the Discipline to Lead?

  Do You Possess the Discipline to Lead?
by Michael Diercks
Managing Partner, LMI
Do you FEEL it?  Do you have it?  It's that single-minded focus that's driven by something seen in your mind, felt in your heart, but not visible to the eye.
Do you have the fortitude to stay the course in spite of adversity? Do you have the determination – the sheer will and grit -- required to lead your organization through all types of situations with your eye on the prize -- long-term survival and success?
The bottom line is: Do you have the discipline to lead?

John F. Kennedy wrote, "The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often amid deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intensive application and intense discipline"
An artist sees a masterpiece where others see only a blank piece of canvas.  He creates an ordered work of art, a picture that transcends "just drawing." The disciplined leader sees structure when others see only chaos and an untidy bundle of unrelated problems and creates a successful organization. 
Unfortunately, the need for truly disciplined leadership is not always clear to others. This lack of vision is even more pronounced in today's business environment. Today, we refer to the "New World Economy" and the "Information Age" as if businesses just "happen" like falling in love does in a Hollywood movie.
We saw the dot com millionaires as high-profile geniuses – but what about the dot-com failure?  Weren't they all about "right time, right place" – then "wrong time, wrong place?"  In point of fact, today we live in a world of increased competitive pressures.  Pay-at-your-laptop M.B.A. degrees and webinars in and of themselves are NOT going to produce the next great business leaders.   Great business leaders are disciplined, but the concept of disciplined leadership is fading away.

 That picture has faded because of the worldview of business leadership. Instead, the world sees business leaders such as Lee Iacocca and Bill Gates as if they were Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. These businessmen are high profile – and highly accomplished. We see them on television. We read about them in our local newspapers. They always seem to be in the public eye. That is the world's picture of today's business leader: charismatic and combative, aggressive and arrogant, and powerful and omnipotent.  But each and every one of these men has failed – they failed whenever they stopped being disciplined.

The real picture of the truly disciplined leader shows continuing and constant courage and consideration, intellect and integrity, and determination and dependability. This style of leadership captures the essence of discipline. You can see it. You can feel it. You know what it is. You know what it is not.

Discipline is a structured system of rules governing conduct or activity, not a quick fix leading to instant fame. Leadership is the directing of activities, not the manipulation of the press. Disciplined leadership is about long-term, endurable success, not quick profit. A disciplined leader uses a structured system of rules to govern the directing of activities. The disciplined leader is not a performer.

Disciplined leadership requires the kind of resolve that results in years, even decades, of continuous success. In the Harvard Business Review, consultant and author Jim Collins calls this disciplined leadership "Level Five Leadership." Philosopher Peter Koestenbaum, writing in Fast Company, calls it "transformational leadership." But they both are talking about the same thing: Long-term, sustainable leadership through personal humility, authenticity, professional competence and will combined with personal and professional integrity.

This long-term, sustainable leadership requires that structured system of rules to govern its behavior. This type of leadership possesses the character described by Collins and Koestenbaum. This type of leadership requires the discipline described by President Kennedy. This is the type of leadership of a disciplined leader.
Do you possess such a structured system of rules that governs your leadership behavior? Do you have the unquestionable character described by Collins and Koestenbaum? Do you have the intense discipline described by President Kennedy?

     And do you really have the discipline to lead?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Leaders Fail

  Why Leaders Fail
by Michael Diercks
Managing Partner, LMI
FAILURE!  It's every leader's greatest fear. Whatever the reason for a career fall, it's considered shameful and causes scarring.  Yet, nearly every leader trips as he or she moves along in life.  In a study of nearly 200 executives, virtually all had suffered "hardship experiences," from missed promotions or opportunities to firings and business failure.
What causes the problems - why DO leaders fail?  The prime reasons -- 

1. Unable to Get Along Poor interpersonal skills - relationships and communications - was the single largest reason for failure, and the most crucial flaw to recognize and remedy.  Leaders can't inspire and keep loyalty with their "underlings" because they aren't good listeners, don't give and take criticism well and view conflict as something bad instead of something that is inevitable that has to be handled to succeed.

2. Failure to Adapt  Times change  and those who don't change with them fail.  Clinging to a once-successful management style long after it stops producing results -- what worked in the 80's and 90's -- is another fatal flaw.  Failing to "keep up" has caused scores of leaders to fail and led to organizations  restructured, acquired -- or closed companies.

3. The "ME ONLY" Syndrome  Every leader wants to recognized and rewarded for his or her efforts.  BUT some are too preoccupied with the themselves.  Their overriding concerns are much credit they're getting, how much money they're making and how fast they're moving up the corporate ladder.  Leaders have to be authentic team players in today's lean environment.

4. Fear of Action  Halfhearted leaders may be limited by their inability to put themselves on the line.  They be diligent workers with great new ideas, BUT they lack the passion or conviction to sell them to their superiors or workers.  Underlying this commitment is fear of failure.  Such leaders try to prevent a fall by avoid action, but actually hasten their own demise by doing so.
5. Unable to Rebound  Leaders who succeed early in their careers but then are unable to weather a setback aren't that much different than those who reach the top.  Both groups are incredibly bright and ambitious and make many sacrifices.  BUT those who don't rebound from failure tend to become defensive, trying to conceal their failure or blaming it on others.  But the successful leaders admit where they've erred and work to correct the problem.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And The Survey Says...

And The Survey Says...
by Michael Diercks
Managing Partner, LMI

We just got the results of a major survey of managers and executives conducted in the middle of February this year.

The topic was "What is the greatest challenge ahead of your organization in 2011?"  

We believe that ALL businesses will have to find a way to deal with these issues, IF they want to be successful.

The First Issue Respondents mentioned was "We need to execute better!"  Better execution was seen as being essential to increased productivity.   Many organizations need to increase productivity NOW, gaining a competitive edge from being able to get things done faster and better. 

The second issue was " We need to think and act more strategically."  Strategic thinking and acting was seen as critical to becoming better goal-setters.   Without well thought-out goals, using insights gained from real world thinking coming from solid strategy, many organizations drift, not only losing momentum but also wasting scarce resources. 

The third issue was "We need to invest more effort in leading our people."  The broad consensus was that executives and managers need to be BETTER LEADERS in order to gain better results.  Organizations do NOT just succeed, they must be well led in order to produce superior results.  Abdicating responsibility for achieving success to others produces few good results.  Organizations need to take the responsibility to train leaders and support their efforts. 

The final issue was "We need to get some balance in our lives." Survey respondents voiced the need to be a "total person" with balance in all areas of their lives.  The old saying that all work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull person has never been truer.  And, survey results make that point clearly.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Take the Leadership Challenge!

Does your organization have a leadership problem?
The best way to answer this question is to take The Leadership Challenge.
At my organization do I hear ...
  • "Who dropped the ball?" when mistakes are made
  • "When is management gonna tell us what's going on?" when uncertainty reigns 
  • "Why do we have to go through all this change?" when change happens
  • "Why don't they walk their talk?" when leadership disseminate values for all
  • "When will that department do its job right?" when others don't follow through
  • "Why don't others pull their own weight?" when there is much to do
  • "I wish my people were motivated!" when the team is struggling
  • "When will we get more tools?" when resources are tight
  • "Who's going to train me?" when the job is difficult
  • "Why don't we have better systems?" when competitors surpass you in technology
  • "Why don't they communicate better?" when communication suffers
  • "When are we going to find better people?" when recruiting
If you even heard just a few of these questions there is a most likely a leadership crisis in your organization. So what?
Every organization is a direct reflection of it's leadership, for better or worse - and leadership is a direct reflection of the CEO / Business Owner. The "So What" is your leadership is in crisis!
What are you reflecting?