Vision, Values, and Victory: A CEO’s Blueprint for Organizational Clarity

One of the most critical roles of a CEO is to create and maintain organizational clarity. This clarity encompasses everything from the company’s vision and values to understanding competitors and defining clear expectations for each team member. Let’s explore how CEOs can effectively cultivate this clarity.

Defining the Organization’s Vision and Values

(1) Craft a Compelling Vision: Your vision should be inspiring and provide a clear direction for where the company is headed.

(2) Establish Core Values: These values should reflect the essence of your company’s ethos and guide every decision and action.

Understanding and Communicating the Business Landscape

(1) Know Your Business: Clearly articulate what your business does, its products or services, and its value proposition.

(2) Identify Your Competitors: Understand who your competitors are and how they impact your business strategy.

(3) Highlight Your Uniqueness: Clearly communicate what sets your company apart from the competition.

Setting Clear Expectations and Priorities

(1) Define Roles and Responsibilities: Ensure every team member understands their role and how it contributes to the larger vision.

(2) Communicate Your Priorities: Set and share organizational priorities so everyone is aligned and working towards common goals.

Leading By Example

Indra Nooyi, Former CEO of PepsiCo: Indra Nooyi is renowned for her role in redefining PepsiCo’s vision and strategy. She led a significant shift towards healthier products, aligning with emerging consumer health trends. Nooyi’s vision, ‘Performance with Purpose,’ aimed to deliver sustainable long-term growth focusing on more nutritious products, a smaller environmental footprint, and empowered people. Her ability to communicate this vision and drive organizational change was vital to PepsiCo’s success during her tenure.

Conclusions on Organizational Clarity

Organizational clarity is not a one-time effort but a continuous process. As a CEO, it’s your responsibility to revisit and reinforce these elements regularly.

Consider scheduling a coaching session to explore further how you can develop and maintain organizational clarity within your company.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is an accomplished CEO coach and the founder of Activate Group Inc. He specializes in assisting leaders to maximize their potential and build high-performing teams, drawing upon a wealth of experience and proven methodologies.

 

Leadership by Design: A CEO’s Strategy for Building a Winning Team

As a CEO, one of your most critical responsibilities is assembling and nurturing a leadership team to drive your company toward its strategic goals. This article provides insights and actionable strategies for selecting the right individuals and fostering an outstanding leadership team.

Understanding the CEO’s Role in Team Building

The CEO is not just a decision-maker but also a visionary who sets the tone for the team’s dynamic and performance. Your role involves identifying potential leaders, aligning them with your vision, and creating an environment where they can thrive.

Strategies for Selecting the Right Team Members

(1) Look Beyond the Resume: While experience and qualifications are important, also consider candidates’ alignment with the company’s values and culture.

(2) Diversity: Often, leaders like to hire people who are more like themselves. A diverse team brings varied perspectives and fosters innovation.

(3) Emphasize Emotional Intelligence: Leaders with high emotional intelligence can navigate complex interpersonal dynamics and foster a positive team environment.

Building an Excellent Leadership Team

(1) Foster Open Communication: Encourage transparency and open dialogue within your team. This builds trust and ensures everyone is aligned with the company’s goals.

(2) Develop a Shared Vision: Involve your leadership team in shaping and owning the company’s vision. This creates a sense of shared purpose and direction.

(3) Invest in Professional Development: Regular training and development opportunities help your team grow and stay engaged with the company’s evolving needs.

Consider how Satya Nadella transformed Microsoft’s leadership team, focusing on collaboration and innovation, which was key in revitalizing the company’s culture and business.

Conclusions for Leadership by Design

Selecting and building an exceptional leadership team is a critical and ongoing process. It requires a strategic approach, a keen understanding of people, and a commitment to nurturing talent.

For personalized advice on building your leadership team, consider scheduling a coaching session to explore strategies tailored to your company’s unique needs.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is an accomplished CEO coach and the founder of Activate Group Inc. He specializes in assisting leaders to maximize their potential and build high-performing teams, drawing upon a wealth of experience and proven methodologies.

Measuring a CEO’s Success: Beyond the Income Statement

Traditionally, a CEO’s success is evaluated based on hard financial metrics reflected in the income statement – revenue growth, profitability, shareholder returns, etc. However, this narrow focus can overlook critical aspects of leadership that significantly impact an organization’s long-term health and sustainability. This article delves into the often-overlooked areas of CEO performance evaluation: Culture, Human Capital Management, Team Cohesion, and the effectiveness of Strategy and Execution.

Evaluating Culture and Human Capital Management

The culture of an organization is a direct reflection of its leadership. A successful CEO nurturing a positive culture fosters an environment of innovation, collaboration, and employee satisfaction. But how do we measure this?

Employee Engagement Surveys: Regular surveys can provide insights into employee morale, belief in the company’s vision, and their perception of leadership effectiveness. We use Gallup’s survey around their renown 12 questions.

Turnover Rates: High turnover can indicate issues with the organizational culture. A successful CEO typically sees lower turnover rates, especially among high performers.

External Employer Ratings: Platforms like Glassdoor provide unfiltered employee feedback, which can be a valuable measure of a CEO’s effectiveness in culture-building.

Assessing Team Cohesion

The ability of a CEO to build cohesive leadership teams is crucial. Cohesive teams are more likely to implement effective strategies and achieve organizational goals.

360-Degree Feedback: Feedback from various organizational levels can highlight how well a CEO fosters collaboration and teamwork.

Team Performance Metrics: Evaluate the performance of key teams within the organization. Successful teams often reflect effective leadership at the top.

Five Dysfunctions of a Team Survey: We administer an assessment developed around Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book. It helps teams self-assess their effectiveness in the areas of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results.

Measuring Strategy and Execution

A CEO’s prowess in strategy formulation and execution is pivotal to organizational success. This is measured by:

Alignment of Strategy with Outcomes: Assess how well the CEO’s strategic decisions align with the outcomes. This includes looking at long-term growth, market expansion, and product development successes.

Innovation Index: Evaluate the company’s investment in innovation and its returns. This could include new product launches, patents filed, and market disruptions.

Adaptability and Crisis Management: How a CEO navigates challenges and unexpected market changes is a critical measure of their strategic acumen.

Measuring CEO Success Conclusion

While the income statement provides a snapshot of financial health, it doesn’t fully capture a CEO’s effectiveness. By incorporating measures of culture, team cohesion, human capital management, and the success of strategy execution, we gain a more holistic view of a CEO’s performance. These soft skills are as crucial as financial metrics in ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of an organization.

For organizations and boards, it’s essential to broaden the criteria for CEO performance evaluation. This comprehensive approach not only enhances the accuracy of performance assessments but also encourages CEOs to focus on these vital areas of leadership.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc., a growth-focused coaching firm for business leaders. With decades of experience, as a CEO Coach and the author of The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket, Howard is dedicated to empowering leaders to unlock their potential and propel their organizations to new heights.

The Paradox of CEO Leadership: Decoding CEO Success

In the ever-evolving landscape of corporate leadership, the role of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) remains pivotal and perplexing. Through my journey as a CEO Coach, I have encountered a spectrum of leaders who, despite their diverse approaches, have steered their companies with varying degrees of success. This article delves into the intricate maze of CEO leadership, debunking the one-size-fits-all myth and offering actionable insights for C-suite leaders.

The CEO’s Diverse Faces

The role of a CEO is not monolithic. I have witnessed CEOs who create a thriving company culture and others who lead successful organizations despite creating a toxic work environment. Consider the case of Company X, where the CEO’s narcissistic tendencies and singular focus on profit yielded significant financial success, albeit with a high employee turnover rate. Contrast this with Company Y, led by a visionary CEO, whose lack of operational finesse was balanced by a strong executive team, leading to sustained growth.

The Misconception of a One-Size-Fits-All CEO

Success as a CEO does not always follow a conventional script. Some leaders check all the traditional boxes of effective leadership – charismatic, empathetic, strategic – yet their companies struggle. This was evident in the case of Company Z, where the CEO’s exemplary leadership traits failed to translate into market success due to external factors like market volatility and competitive dynamics.

Team Dynamics and Leadership

A CEO’s approach towards team building and management can significantly influence a company’s trajectory. Some CEOs are disciplined in crafting exceptional teams and promptly addressing non-performance. Others adopt a more laissez-faire approach, leading to varied outcomes. The success story of Company A, where deliberate team optimization led to breakthrough performance, stands as a testament to the power of effective team management.

Actionable Takeaways

(1) Embrace Flexibility: Adapt your leadership style to your company’s unique context and challenges.

(2) Build Strong Teams: Invest in building a diverse and capable executive team.

(3) Focus on Sustainability: Ensure that success is not just a flash in the pan but sustainable over the long term.

As we navigate the complex realm of corporate leadership, it is essential to learn and adapt continuously. I invite you to reach out for a personalized coaching session to explore how you can enhance your leadership journey.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc., a growth-focused coaching firm for business leaders. With decades of experience, as a CEO Coach and the author of The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket, Howard is dedicated to empowering leaders to unlock their potential and propel their organizations to new heights.

Unlocking Team Success: The Imperative of a Leader’s Commitment to Meetings

In my years working with leaders, a recurring theme has emerged: meetings are seen as both a blessing and a curse. When done well, meetings can drive results. When done poorly, they can bring entire organizations to a halt. The key differentiator between these two outcomes? The leader’s approach.

The Heart of Leadership: Commitment to Their People

The number one job of a leader is to make time and be present for their people. Even though it is evident, leadership must be committed to participating and engaging in the established meeting rhythms for organization and team effectiveness. Commitment differs from a decision. We can decide to have meetings but not be committed. Commitment is the higher standard of dedication to meetings because it will improve communication, teamwork, and decision-making.

Meetings are not about you; they are about the organization and the team. Frequently missed meetings send a message that you care most about yourself and are not committed to being a vital team member.

The Power of Precedent – The Secret Sauce of Effective Teams

Let me share a story: Rachel, a senior executive, prided herself on her team’s agility. However, she frequently shifted meeting times, causing havoc in her team’s schedules. Over time, this inconsistency led to missed targets and a frustrated team.

Consistency of active participation from individual team members is critical. When consistency drops, so does priority focus, agility, and timeliness of decisions. Missing meetings unconsciously causes silos and reduces the effectiveness of the organization.

Top leadership has a higher burden to set the right example. Their actions set precedents and can often be the deciding influence between adoption, engagement, and success; or resistance, withdrawal, and disappointing results – the rest of the team takes their direction from them. Leadership must always be mindful to avoid the Do as I Say, Not as I DO trap.

When leaders aren’t consistent in their approach to meetings, focus wanes, agility diminishes, and the timeliness of decisions suffers. As silos build, the organization loses momentum.

Reframing the Meeting Narrative

Yes, there might be too many meetings. But the real issue? Too many bad meetings. Instead of eliminating meetings, focus on improving them. Engage the right stakeholders. Set clear agendas. And ensure each meeting serves its purpose.

Actionable Steps for Leaders:

(1) Evaluate Your Commitment: Reflect on your meeting attendance and engagement. Are you truly committed?

(2) Prioritize Consistency: Stick to scheduled meetings. Reschedule only when absolutely necessary.

(3) Set the Tone: Remember, your team is watching. Model the behavior you want to see.

(4) Seek Feedback: Regularly ask for input on meeting effectiveness and be open to making changes.

Conclusion: Your Call to Action to Unlock Team Success

Your team’s success rests heavily on your shoulders. But remember, you don’t carry that burden alone. Your team can and will thrive with a committed and consistent approach to meetings. It’s time to recommit, be present, and unlock your team’s true potential.

Activate your leadership potential and make every meeting count. The success of your organization depends on it.

 

About the Author:  Howard M. Shore, CEO of Activate Group, Inc., is an acclaimed leadership coach and author of “The Leader Launchpad.” With decades of experience in guiding leaders and organizations to success, Howard specializes in unlocking the full potential of businesses by driving actionable strategies and fostering effective leadership practices.

Inspiring Beyond the Transaction: Elevating a Value-Centric Workforce in Today’s Business Landscape

In an age where mere service delivery is no longer the golden standard, businesses across the board find themselves navigating a transformative shift. The challenge? Transitioning from transaction-driven operations to a holistic, value-centric ethos. So, how can modern organizations embed this paradigm shift into their DNA? Let’s explore.

Company Culture: The Double-Edged Sword

Every organization has its unique culture, the invisible thread weaving its ethos. While it’s the bedrock of all great companies, a misaligned culture can inadvertently become a straitjacket, stifling innovation and creativity.

Case Example: A client in the financial sector shared a tale of procedural rigidity preventing a groundbreaking solution that could have streamlined a complex customer journey. Instead of breaking boundaries, the firm’s culture erected them.

Actionable Step: Initiate periodic culture assessments. Pinpoint outdated or restrictive practices. Engage teams in suggesting areas ripe for rejuvenation.

Leadership: Pioneers or Gatekeepers?

Leaders wear multiple hats, from guides to decision-makers. But those who limit autonomy or appear unreceptive to diverse solutions might be unintentionally sidelining innovative strategies.

Case Example: In a prominent marketing agency, a newbie strategist proposed an out-of-the-box campaign. Instead of applause, she encountered resistance because she deviated from the “norm.” Such attitudes hinder more than they help.

Actionable Step: Leaders champion open-mindedness. Implement open-door policies and encourage individuals from all ranks to pitch their insights. Leadership isn’t about micromanaging but nurturing and igniting sparks.

Cultivating the Right Employee Mindset

To evolve from transactional thinking to value creation, employees should:

  • View each interaction as a steppingstone for stronger relationships.
  • Constantly scout avenues for refining processes and offerings.
  • Identify revenue potentials, even in seemingly mundane tasks.

Actionable Step: Host regular workshops emphasizing relationship building, critical thinking, and proactive problem-solving. Celebrate value-driven successes to foster a culture of recognition.

Revamping Role Descriptions

Critical thinking must feature prominently across all job roles to truly democratize innovation, not just the higher echelons.

Actionable Step: Reevaluate job descriptions to incorporate proactive problem-solving, critical thinking, and a commitment to continuous learning.

Compensation Strategies: More Than Just Money

While monetary rewards are effective motivators, it’s essential to understand that employees today value more than just their paychecks. Recognition, growth opportunities, and autonomy often outshine financial incentives.

Case Example: One of my clients introduced an “Employee of the Month” title. While the financial reward was symbolic, the esteem and recognition it conferred led to a marked uptick in proactive initiatives.

Actionable Step: Diversify your reward mechanisms. Engage with teams to understand what truly drives and inspires them.

To conclude, the business landscape, be it service or consumer-driven, is dynamically evolving. It beckons organizations to move beyond mere transactions and sow seeds of genuine value.

 

Call to Action: Are you geared up for this transformation? Let’s chart this journey together. Connect with Activate Group, Inc. for a strategy tailored to your organization’s aspirations.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., and the voice behind “The Leader Launchpad.” A beacon in the realm of organizational excellence, Howard’s mission is to provide guidance and help sculpt companies that deliver and inspire.

Breaking Free from the Recruitment Quagmire: A Guide for Overwhelmed Leaders

There’s no doubt that we are currently in the throes of an incredibly demanding job market. As CEO of Activate Group Inc, I’ve had a ringside view of how this has impacted businesses across various sectors. I’ve noticed a concerning pattern: leaders straining under the immense pressure of filling vacancies while handling their managerial responsibilities.

Consider the case of one of our clients, a high-growth tech startup we’ll call XYZ Corp. After one of their key team members left, the responsibility of filling the position fell squarely on the departed individual’s manager. Now, this manager was already short-staffed and had to take up the responsibilities of the vacant position. The added task of reviewing hundreds of resumes, conducting initial screenings, and formal interviews simply exacerbated the strain.

The example above occurs often. Many leaders find themselves stuck in a similar rut, battling to maintain operations with a depleted team while having to recruit new talent. It’s an unsustainable situation that calls for a change in strategy. Here’s how you can escape this quagmire:

(1) Delegate: Distribute some of your non-essential tasks to trusted team members to free up your time for recruitment. This doesn’t mean shifting your responsibilities onto an already overworked team, but rather, empowering them to take on new roles.

(2) Leverage Technology: Invest in applicant tracking systems (ATS) or recruitment software to streamline your hiring process. These tools can automate the initial screening process, filter out unfit candidates, and help you focus on potential hires.

(3) Training: Provide the necessary resources and training to your internal team to screen candidates effectively. Equip them with the skills to identify key traits and qualifications that align with your company’s values and needs.

(4) Engage Recruitment Professionals: If you find the recruitment process too overwhelming, consider getting assistance from external recruitment professionals. They can provide a shortlist of potential candidates, saving you valuable time and resources.

(5) Revisit your Hiring Process: Are your job descriptions clear and accurate? Are you utilizing the right platforms to attract the talent you need? Take a moment to audit your hiring process and identify any areas that need improvement.

We all know that filling a vacant position can be a time-consuming and arduous process, but it doesn’t have to be. By utilizing these strategies, you can reclaim time, focus on your managerial tasks, and still recruit top-notch candidates.

If you need further assistance, I invite you to reach out to our team at Activate Group Inc. Our goal is to provide businesses with the tools and strategies to navigate their growth and operational challenges successfully. Let’s overcome this hurdle together.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc and author of “The Leader Launchpad.” His proven methodologies have guided countless businesses to break free from the barriers stunting their growth. Howard is passionate about helping businesses navigate their unique challenges and achieve their maximum potential. Through Activate Group Inc, Howard continues to empower C-suite leaders to overcome their business hurdles, no matter how complex.

Navigating Leadership Ego: Decision-Making with Humility and Clarity

Today we delve into a critical aspect of leadership – navigating the pitfalls of ego in decision-making. As C-Suite leaders, our egos can sometimes cloud our judgment, leading to biased and shortsighted choices. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of leading beyond ego, embracing self-awareness, and making decisions with humility for the organization’s greater good.

Understanding Leadership Ego: The Hidden Obstacle

Leadership ego refers to our sense of self-importance and attachment to personal beliefs. While confidence is crucial for leadership, an unchecked ego can close our eyes to alternative viewpoints and hinder collaboration.

Embracing Self-Awareness: Recognizing Personal Biases

Developing self-awareness is essential for mitigating the influence of ego on decision-making. Reflect on your biases and triggers, acknowledging that your perspectives may not always align with reality. A humble leader is willing to challenge their own assumptions and learn from others.

Seeking Diverse Perspectives: Expanding Your Vision

When faced with significant decisions, actively seek input from various stakeholders. Encourage diverse perspectives to challenge and complement your own ideas. Remember, a collective decision with a broader vision leads to more thoughtful and robust outcomes.

Balancing Confidence and Humility: Striking the Right Mix

Leadership requires a delicate balance between confidence and humility. Embrace your strengths while acknowledging your limitations. Displaying humility doesn’t diminish your leadership; it humanizes your approach and fosters trust among your team.

Putting the Organization First: Making Sacrifices for Success

A true leader prioritizes the organization’s success over personal glory. Sometimes, that means making decisions that might not be popular but are essential for the organization’s long-term well-being. Leading beyond ego requires making sacrifices for the greater good.

Actionable Steps: Decision-Making with Humility

(1) Daily Self-Reflection: Take time for self-reflection to identify potential ego-driven thoughts and behaviors.

(2) Create a Culture of Openness: Encourage feedback from your team and be receptive to constructive criticism.

(3) Step into Others’ Shoes: Empathize with different perspectives to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of your decisions.

(4) Consult Trusted Advisors: Seek advice from mentors or trusted colleagues to gain objective insights.

(5) Practice Servant Leadership: Put the needs of your team and organization before your own.

Leading with Humility and Clarity

Leadership beyond ego is a journey of continuous growth and improvement. Let’s commit to self-awareness, embrace humility, and make decisions that elevate our organizations to new heights.

 

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a renowned leadership development and executive coaching firm. With 20 years of experience guiding organizations to achieve their full potential, Howard empowers leaders to overcome challenges and achieve transformative results. He is passionate about helping executives navigate complex decisions, build high-performing teams, and create thriving workplace cultures. Howard M. Shore continues to inspire leaders worldwide through his unique insights and proven strategies.

Empowering Your Team’s Input: The Key to Inclusive Decision-Making

As leaders, we are often responsible for making critical decisions that impact our organizations’ future. While it’s tempting to rely solely on our own expertise, there’s immense value in embracing inclusive decision-making. In this article, we’ll explore the transformative power of incorporating diverse perspectives and empowering your team’s input in decision-making.

The Strength in Diversity: Embracing Different Perspectives

As a C-Suite leader, you’ve assembled a team of talented individuals with unique backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. Leveraging this diversity can be a game-changer. When you invite your team to contribute to decision-making, you tap into a wealth of knowledge and creativity that can lead to innovative solutions and better outcomes.

Fostering a Culture of Openness: Encouraging Input

Creating an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas is crucial. Encourage open discussions and actively seek input from all levels of the organization. Emphasize that each voice matters and their contributions are essential to the decision-making process.

Building Consensus: Aligning Towards a Common Goal

Inclusive decision-making doesn’t mean making decisions by committee. Instead, it’s about finding common ground and aligning toward a shared vision. When diverse perspectives come together and reach a consensus, it strengthens the team’s commitment to executing the decision effectively.

Transparency and Communication: The Cornerstones of Success

Transparency is the foundation of inclusive decision-making. Communicate the decision-making process clearly to your team, outline the factors considered, and explain how their input influenced the final decision. Transparent communication fosters trust and shows your team that their opinions are valued.

Actionable Steps: Empowering Your Team’s Input

(1)  Cultivate an Inclusive Culture: Create an environment that celebrates diversity and encourages open dialogue.

(2)  Active Listening: Listen actively to your team’s input, ensuring they feel heard and valued.

(3)  Diverse Decision-Making Forums: Establish various channels for input, such as team meetings, suggestion boxes, or online forums.

(4)  Training and Development: Invest in training to enhance communication skills and problem-solving capabilities.

(5)  Recognition and Appreciation: Recognize and appreciate team members whose ideas contributed to successful decisions.

Unleashing the Power of Inclusive Decision-Making

Inclusive decision-making unleashes the true potential of your organization. As leaders, let’s empower our teams, embrace diversity, and harness collective wisdom to lead our organizations toward sustainable success.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a renowned leadership development and executive coaching firm. With 20 years of experience guiding organizations to achieve their full potential, Howard empowers leaders to overcome challenges and achieve transformative results. He is passionate about helping executives navigate complex decisions, build high-performing teams, and create thriving workplace cultures. Howard continues to inspire leaders worldwide through his unique insights and proven strategies.

Leadership vs. Management: The Symphony of Organizational Success

In the vast business world, two distinct roles often stand head and shoulders above the rest, guiding the fate of organizations: leadership and management. While they intertwine, their differences are what make businesses thrive. Let’s break down these roles and amplify our understanding with a story from the corporate trenches.

The Spark and The Blueprint: A Real-life Account

Imagine a bustling tech firm. At its helm was James, a charismatic leader, constantly illuminating paths to groundbreaking innovations. His team revered him for his vision, but there was a palpable disconnect: those visions weren’t translating into actionable outcomes.

This changed when Maya joined the ranks. Her meticulous planning and execution-focused mindset became the blueprint for James’ spark. Together, they showcased the dynamism of leadership and management. With his ability to inspire and see the unseen, James was balanced by Maya’s knack for transforming vision into actionable steps.

Leadership: The Beacon

Leadership is the heart and soul of an organization. It’s the ability to envision what’s beyond the horizon, inspire, and kindle passion. Leaders are the beacons, shining light on new directions and possibilities. They answer the question of WHY, driving motivation, and setting the bigger picture.

However, a beacon alone can’t set the course; it requires a map and a strategy.

Management: The Navigator

Management is the brain behind operations. It’s grounded in the present, anchored in the HOW. Managers create strategies, allocate resources, and ensure daily tasks align with overarching objectives. They are the navigators, taking the light from the beacon and plotting the best course forward.

Without navigation, even the brightest beacon can lead a ship astray.

Taking Action:

(1) Introspect: Understand where you naturally lean. Are you the beacon or the navigator? Recognizing this can help you strengthen your role and collaborate better.

(2) Collaborate: Pair visionaries with executors. This balance is vital to ensure that inspiration translates to action.

(3) Educate & Grow: The world of business is dynamic. Embrace continuous learning to refine both leadership and managerial skills.

Wrapping Up:

In the grand orchestra of business, leadership, and management are the two hands that play the piano, each vital, each unique. One sets the tone and the other ensures harmony. When businesses understand and respect these roles, they create a symphony of success.

Reflect on your organization. Are you championing both vision and execution? Harness the power of leadership and management; and let your business sing.

 

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc. His decades-long journey in business has seen him help organizations, guiding them from challenges to milestones. Howard’s expertise in both leadership and management has been a transformative force for countless businesses.

Leading Through Disagreement: Navigating Tough Decisions with Grace

This article provides practical strategies for C-Suite leaders to handle disagreements, promote inclusive decision-making, and build a more cohesive and resilient organization. It emphasizes the importance of empathy, teamwork, and constructive feedback to lead gracefully and achieve organizational success.

As a C-Suite leader, you’ve undoubtedly faced situations where decisions were made that you disagreed with. It’s never easy to find yourself at odds with the choices being made within your organization, but how you handle these moments can define your leadership prowess. In this article, we’ll explore strategies to help you move forward and turn disagreement into an opportunity for growth and collaboration.

The Power of Perspective: Understanding the Why

When faced with decisions that don’t align with your vision, it’s crucial to take a step back and understand their rationale. Seek open and honest conversations with decision-makers, allowing them to share their perspectives. Remember, diverse viewpoints can lead to better outcomes, and appreciating different angles is essential for a healthy organizational culture.

For example, at one point in my leadership journey, I found myself at odds with a significant strategic decision to invest in a new market. Initially, I was skeptical about the move and felt it might divert resources from our core strengths. However, after engaging in candid discussions with the executive team and understanding their vision, I realized the untapped potential and strategic opportunities that the new market offered. Embracing their perspective, we collectively transformed the decision into a successful venture that strengthened our organization.

Fostering Constructive Dialogue: Communication Is Key

In instances where you didn’t feel properly included in the decision-making process, don’t let resentment fester. Initiate discussions with the relevant parties to express your feelings and concerns. Share your insights, and don’t be afraid to respectfully challenge the status quo. By encouraging open communication, you foster an environment of transparency and collaboration, which can help avoid similar situations in the future.

For instance, during a time of organizational restructuring, I noticed that the executive team had made decisions without consulting key stakeholders from different departments. Recognizing the potential for misalignment, I organized a meeting where all departments had the chance to share their perspectives on the changes. The dialogue allowed us to address concerns and integrate valuable insights into the implementation plan, leading to a smoother transition and improved teamwork.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Enhancing Collaboration

In an organization, unity is strength. Big decisions require a cohesive executive team that works together seamlessly. If your team lacks teamwork and struggles to implement decisions properly, it’s time for intervention. Consider team-building exercises, leadership workshops, or hiring an external facilitator to address underlying issues and build a strong, synchronized team.

One example from our own organization involved a challenging decision to restructure our departments. The lack of teamwork among the executive team caused confusion and resistance among employees. To rectify the situation, we invested in leadership development and team-building activities that fostered trust and collaboration. As a result, we saw a significant improvement in how decisions were made and executed.

Leading with Empathy: Avoiding Collateral Damage

When organizational decisions cause turmoil, leaders must empathize with their team’s concerns. Acknowledge the challenges and offer support to those affected. Be transparent about the steps being taken to mitigate any adverse effects. Demonstrating empathy will strengthen trust and loyalty within your organization.

I recall a time when a decision to downsize certain departments led to layoffs. The affected employees understandably felt upset and disheartened. As a leader, I made sure to communicate the decision with compassion, provide assistance with job placements, and offer support in their transition. Acknowledging their feelings and being sensitive to their needs fostered a culture of care and unity, even during difficult times.

Complaints vs. Constructive Input: Striking the Right Balance

Feeling exposed or disrespected by a decision can be demoralizing. However, before raising complaints, evaluate your intentions. Instead of simply venting frustration, focus on providing constructive input. Highlight potential pitfalls, suggest alternatives, and collaborate with your superiors to find viable solutions. Constructive feedback shows your commitment to the company’s success and enhances your standing as a valued team member.

For instance, when I found myself feeling left out of a critical decision-making process, I paused and assessed my emotions. Instead of complaining, I sought a meeting with the executives to express my concerns constructively. By presenting alternative approaches and aligning the decision with our organization’s long-term goals, I demonstrated my commitment to our shared success, leading to more inclusive decision-making in the future.

Actionable Steps: Turning Disagreement into Progress

(1) Reflect and Regroup: Take time to process your emotions and gain clarity about your concerns before engaging in discussions.

(2) Seek Dialogue: Initiate conversations with decision-makers to understand the reasoning behind their choices and share your perspectives.

(3) Promote Teamwork: Invest in team-building activities to foster a strong, united executive team.

(4) Demonstrate Empathy: Support and assist those affected by the decisions, displaying genuine care for your team’s well-being.

(5) Constructive Feedback: Present alternative solutions and insights when expressing disagreement, highlighting your commitment to the organization’s success.

Call to Action: Embrace Disagreement as an Opportunity

Great leaders embrace moments of dissent as opportunities for growth and innovation. By understanding different perspectives, fostering communication, and prioritizing teamwork and empathy, we can turn disagreements into stepping stones toward a more successful and united organization. Remember, it’s in these moments that we truly define our leadership capabilities.

 

 

About the Author – Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a successful leadership development and executive coaching firm. With 20 years of experience guiding organizations to achieve their full potential, Howard empowers leaders to overcome challenges and achieve transformative results. He is passionate about helping executives navigate complex decisions, build high-performing teams, and create thriving workplace cultures. Howard M. Shore continues to inspire leaders through his unique insights and proven strategies.

Steering the Ship: Navigating Organizational Changes with Teamwork and Clarity

Today, we’re diving into the world of organizational structure decisions and the challenges they bring. When executive teams fail to work in harmony and proper communication is lacking, the organization can face unnecessary collateral damage. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to steer the ship and guide our teams through these turbulent waters. This article explores strategies to avoid pitfalls and help everyone move forward productively.

A Clear Vision: The Foundation of Successful Decisions

Any significant organizational change requires a clear and compelling vision. As leaders, we must communicate this vision effectively to our teams, ensuring everyone is aligned and understands the purpose behind the decisions. When the vision is embraced by all, it becomes the guiding light through the transformation process.

Unifying the Executive Team: Embracing Collective Responsibility

The executive team plays a pivotal role in implementing changes. It’s crucial to foster a culture of collective responsibility where all members work together towards common objectives. Encourage regular meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and celebrate achievements. Strong teamwork among executives sets the tone for collaboration throughout the organization.

Transparent Communication: The Bridge to Success

One of the biggest reasons organizational changes fail is due to poor communication. Open and honest communication is essential during these times. Share updates, be transparent about the reasons for the changes, and actively listen to employees’ concerns. Embrace feedback and address it constructively, creating an environment of trust and respect.

Mitigating the Impact: Prioritizing Employee Support

Big decisions can create uncertainty and stress among employees. As leaders, we must prioritize supporting our teams through these transitions. Offer training and resources to equip them for the changes ahead. Acknowledge the challenges they might face and provide a safe space for them to share their apprehensions. Be accessible and approachable to address their needs.

The Art of Accountability: Learning from Mistakes

Organizational changes may not always go as planned, but that doesn’t mean failure is the end result. Leaders must take accountability for missteps, learn from them, and adapt the approach accordingly. Use these experiences as valuable lessons to refine the decision-making process and strengthen the organization’s resilience.

Complaining vs. Constructive Problem-Solving: Channeling Discontent

During times of significant change, emotions can run high, and complaints may arise. However, leaders must differentiate between mindless griping and constructive problem-solving. Encourage employees to share their concerns with a focus on finding solutions. This approach cultivates a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Actionable Steps: Guiding Your Organization Through Change

(1) Craft a Compelling Vision: Develop a clear and inspiring vision for the organizational changes and ensure everyone understands and embraces it.

(2) Strengthen Executive Teamwork: Foster a culture of collective responsibility among the executive team to lead the way through the transformation.

(3) Transparent Communication: Keep employees informed through open, transparent communication, and actively listen to their feedback.

(4) Supporting Employees: Prioritize employee well-being by providing necessary training, resources, and a safe space for sharing concerns.

(5) Learn and Adapt: Take accountability for mistakes, learn from them, and adapt your approach to improve future decisions.

Call to Action: Leading with Grace and Resilience

As leaders, we have the power to steer our organizations through tumultuous times with grace and resilience. Let’s embrace transparency, foster teamwork, and prioritize employee support as we navigate the path to success.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a renowned leadership development and executive coaching firm. With 20 years of experience guiding organizations to achieve their full potential, Howard empowers leaders to overcome challenges and achieve transformative results. He is passionate about helping executives navigate complex decisions, build high-performing teams, and create thriving workplace cultures. Howard consistently inspires leaders through his unique insights and proven strategies.

Why Your Business Should Be Prioritizing its Employee Retention Efforts

“Every employee is a cog in your business machine, and losing one can bring the whole system to a grinding halt.”

Allow me to introduce you to Middling Tech Inc., a mid-sized tech company on the brink of disaster due to high employee turnover. Amidst constant project delays and plummeting customer satisfaction, Middling Tech grappled with an impending meltdown.

The management mistakenly thought that all their employees cared about was money. They believed that generous salaries would keep their team loyal. But as I underscored in my book “The Leader Launchpad,” understanding that employees are not solely driven by money but seek to feel valued, involved, and yearning for growth is key to retention.

The Gallup study, in fact, highlighted that a staggering 75% of the reasons for employee turnover are directly under the control of management. Poor management practices like lack of recognition, insufficient development opportunities, and closed lines of communication made up the lion’s share of reasons for employee dissatisfaction.

So, how can you, like Middling Tech, turn the tide on employee turnover and transform it into a win for your business? Here are four concrete, actionable steps to prioritize retention:

Reevaluate Your Hiring Process

Don’t just focus on skill; instead, emphasize on cultural fit. A sense of belonging and alignment with company values significantly contributes to employee retention.

Encourage Open Communication

Foster a culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns. Regular check-ins or ‘one-on-ones’ can provide a platform for this exchange and can act as an early warning system for employee dissatisfaction.

Recognize and Reward

A simple ‘thank you’ or a shout-out in a team meeting can go a long way. Rewards don’t always have to be monetary; recognition and gratitude can be powerful motivators and help employees feel valued.

Promote Development and Learning

Offer opportunities for career growth and continuous learning. This could be through in-house training, webinars, online courses, or mentorship programs.

By implementing these strategies, Middling Tech managed to navigate its way out of the retention crisis. Their journey wasn’t short, but the long-term benefits were well worth the effort, leading to decreased employee turnover, increased productivity, and improved customer satisfaction.

In “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” I wrote, “Every interaction, every project, every meeting is a chance to inspire and appreciate your employees.” If your business is struggling with high employee turnover, consider how you can transform each interaction into an opportunity for recognition, appreciation, and growth.

To conclude, it’s clear that prioritizing employee retention isn’t optional – it’s a business necessity. The respect you show your employees, the value you place on their contributions, and the investment you make in their growth can drive your business to new heights.

Your employees are your greatest asset – treat them well, and they will treat your business well.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc., an organization committed to helping businesses unlock their potential. As an acclaimed author of “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” his mission is to inspire leaders to turn their vision into reality by engaging their teams, developing deep business acumen, and unlocking the hidden potential within their organizations.

Sources:

  1. Gallup, State of the American Workplace Report, 2017.
  2. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Human Capital Benchmarking Report, 2016.

 

How to Incorporate Accountability into Your Workplace Culture

Accountability is the backbone of any successful business. As a business leader and author, I’ve seen firsthand how fostering a culture of accountability can catapult a company’s performance and results. This article will explore what accountability means in a business, why it matters, and five proven techniques to infuse accountability into your workplace culture.

What Does Accountability Mean in a Business?

In business, accountability isn’t merely about pointing fingers when something goes wrong. It’s about nurturing a sense of ownership, where every team member takes responsibility for their actions and the outcomes they produce.

A culture of accountability fosters transparency, trust, and an environment conducive to growth and innovation. It empowers employees to work with a sense of purpose and commitment, directly impacting the company’s bottom line.

The Impact of a Lack of Accountability: Why It Matters

Neglecting accountability can lead to detrimental effects, such as time waste, inconsistent performance, and diminished team morale. It’s like sailing a ship with a hole in the hull; no matter how well you navigate, you’re bound to sink eventually, as I explained in my book “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.”

However, when accountability is ingrained into the workplace culture, it paves the way for improved efficiency, consistent performance, and a higher level of engagement from the team.

How to Develop Accountability: 5 Techniques

Now, let’s delve into how to instill this vital trait into your workplace culture.

(1)  Lead by Example:  The best way to encourage accountability is by exemplifying it. Leaders must walk the talk. Admit mistakes when they occur, take responsibility for team outcomes, and show how you strive for improvements.

(2)  Develop Two-Way Feedback Skills:  A culture of accountability thrives on open communication. Cultivate a feedback-rich environment where team members can freely share constructive feedback, voice concerns, and present ideas.

(3)  Goal Setting:  Goals provide a clear path and end-point for employees to strive towards. Each team member should have a well-defined role with specific, measurable goals that align with the company’s broader objectives.

(4)  Develop Trust and Empower:  Trust your team to take on responsibilities and let them make decisions within their realm. This empowerment fosters a sense of ownership and drives accountability.

(5)  Recognize and Reward:  Acknowledge team members who consistently demonstrate accountability. This recognition sends a clear message about the behaviors and values your organization applauds.

Building accountability into your workplace culture doesn’t happen overnight. It requires consistent effort, clear communication, and above all, a steadfast commitment from leadership. Remember, as I stated in “The Leader Launchpad,” “Your people are your business. Treat them well, and they will treat your customers well.”

 

About the Author:  Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., an expert in business strategy and performance improvement, and a sought-after speaker. He is the author of “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” sharing his extensive knowledge and experience in leadership, team development, and operational efficiency.

Why Knowing Your Leadership Style is So Important

In today’s business world, successful leadership isn’t just about holding a high-ranking title and having your name on the door. It’s about your capabilities, your qualities, and, most importantly, your leadership style. As I often say, “You don’t want to be a leader who’s just filling buckets; you want to be the one who’s building pipelines.” Understanding your leadership style allows you to create these pipelines, leading to better team performance and overall business success.

What is Leadership Style?

Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. It’s how you communicate, manage, respond to crises, and make decisions. Each style has strengths and weaknesses; understanding your own can help you be more effective and impactful.

There are several recognized leadership styles, but let’s focus on two: transformational and authoritative.

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their teams to exceed ordinary expectations and achieve extraordinary results. They’re champions of change, often challenging the status quo and encouraging innovation. Shore aptly describes these leaders in “The Leader Launchpad” when he says, “They build a culture where every team member feels they’re part of something bigger than themselves.”

Authoritative leaders, conversely, are clear, concise, and firm in their guidance. They set high standards and closely monitor their teams. They command respect, and their word often goes unquestioned.

Discovering Your Leadership Style

Identifying your leadership style can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. An executive coach can be an invaluable resource in this journey. They can provide an outside perspective, helping you see your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.

Working with a coach involves self-reflection, observation, and feedback. They’ll help you understand your behavioral patterns and how they affect your team. Once you know your style, you can refine your approach, aligning your leadership style with your organization’s needs and culture.

Case Study: From Good to Great Leadership

Let’s consider a real-life example. A senior executive at a leading tech firm, Jane was well-respected but struggled with team engagement and performance. She worked with an executive coach to understand her leadership style.

Jane discovered she was predominantly an authoritative leader, which, while effective in some situations, created a barrier between her and her team. Her coach guided her to incorporate elements of the transformational style into her leadership. She began to foster a more inclusive, open environment, promoting innovation and encouraging her team to take ownership of their work.

Over time, Jane saw remarkable improvements. Her team became more engaged, productivity improved, and morale skyrocketed. The combination of authoritative and transformational leadership was a winning strategy for Jane.

How to Apply These Concepts

Now it’s your turn to make a change. Here are three actionable steps to find and refine your leadership style:

Self-Assessment: Reflect on your behavior, decision-making processes, and how you interact with your team. Seek honest feedback from colleagues and subordinates.

Get a Coach: Consider working with an executive coach who can provide valuable insights and guidance. They can help you navigate your leadership journey.

Experiment and Adjust: Try out different strategies and observe the results. Not every technique will be right for you, but through trial and error, you’ll find your unique approach.

By understanding your leadership style, you can become a more effective, respected leader, leading your team to new heights of success.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc., a business and executive coaching firm. As a seasoned business executive and coach, he has helped countless leaders discover their leadership styles and unlock their potential. Shore is the author of two books, “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” providing practical strategies for business success.

The High Cost of Poor Leadership: An Unseen Tax on Your Business

Imagine a company, let’s call it XYZ Inc., with the potential to skyrocket. They possess innovative products, robust financial backing, and a promising market. However, despite these assets, XYZ’s growth graph remains stubbornly flat. Employee morale is low, turnover rates are high, and productivity is waning. The culprit? Poor leadership.

Studies have shown that poor leadership can cost companies enormously financially and in their corporate culture. According to Topgrading guru Brad Smart, hiring the wrong leader can cost anywhere between 10 and 25 times the compensation. Moreover, Gallup found that 70% of the variation in employee engagement is attributable to managers.

What this tells us is clear: The price we pay for poor leadership is too high.

Identifying the Price of Poor Leadership

Poor leadership results in a deteriorating corporate culture. Employees lose faith in their organization, feeling undervalued and disengaged. This disengagement manifests in absenteeism, high turnover rates, and underperformance, creating a vicious cycle that saps a company’s vitality.

These issues were quite apparent in XYZ Inc. The symptoms were clear, but they struggled to diagnose the root cause. An unhealthy focus on short-term goals and neglect of employee development created a culture of disillusionment and detachment. This drove their most talented employees away, while those who remained were disengaged and underproductive. XYZ Inc. was, in effect, hemorrhaging potential.

Evaluating Leadership Effectiveness

So, how can we recognize poor leadership and, more importantly, measure leadership effectiveness? It comes down to three factors: employee engagement, productivity, and business growth. Engaged employees are more productive, and productivity drives growth. It’s a simple formula that can quickly become complicated by poor leadership.

Leadership is a tricky metric to measure. However, a good starting point could be regular employee feedback and monitoring productivity and employee turnover rates. In the words from my book, “The Leader Launchpad,” “What gets measured gets done. What gets measured and fed back gets done well. What gets rewarded gets repeated.”

Turning Things Around: Strategies to Improve Leadership Approach

After identifying the root of their problems, XYZ Inc. decided to turn things around. They embraced strategies that encouraged better leadership and cultivated a healthier corporate culture.

Firstly, they addressed the leadership issue by investing in comprehensive leadership training programs. They recognized the need for leaders who could inspire, motivate, and engage their teams rather than merely manage them.

Secondly, they began identifying emerging leaders within their organization. These individuals showed initiative, adaptability, and strong communication skills – all hallmarks of good leadership. These emerging leaders were nurtured, given further development opportunities, and gradually transitioned into leadership roles.

Additionally, XYZ Inc. shifted its focus from short-term wins to long-term growth. They understood the value of employee development and started investing in their people, which improved engagement and reduced turnover.

Turning Potential into Performance

Over time, the results of these interventions became clear. Employee engagement surged, productivity increased, and turnover rates decreased dramatically. Most importantly, XYZ Inc.’s growth graph finally started to climb. It’s not an overnight process, but any company can replicate this success with consistent effort and focus.

The case of XYZ Inc. illustrates the cost of poor leadership and the power of effective leadership to drive growth. In my book, “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” I wrote, “Just because you’re in the driver’s seat, doesn’t mean you know the direction you’re going or how to get there.” Leadership is the compass that provides direction and a destination for your business. Poor leadership will lead you astray, while effective leadership will guide you toward success.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a leadership coaching company, and the author of “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.” With decades of leadership experience, Howard has helped countless companies turn potential into performance. His work aims to help businesses optimize their operations and leadership, ultimately leading to improved productivity and growth.

Unmasking the Productivity Crisis: Is Your Business Suffering Silently?

Nestled in the bustling heart of Silicon Valley, there was a tech start-up named Velocity. It was a name synonymous with speed and direction, yet it had stagnated. The workforce was well-intentioned and diligent, logging extra hours and investing every ounce of energy they could muster. Despite their intense efforts, the firm’s output simply didn’t match the input; productivity was low. The impact was palpable; profits were dwindling, and staff morale and retention were at an all-time low. However, the course of Velocity’s journey drastically changed. But more on that later. For now, let’s explore the crux of a business productivity crisis and how to navigate it.

The Productivity Crisis

A productivity crisis has the power to stealthily slip into your business’s foundations, eroding the essence of your operations. It’s not just about the bottom line, though profits will undeniably take a hit. The ripples of low productivity extend to employee well-being and retention. Chronic overworking without achieving the desired outcomes can lead to employee burnout, further exacerbating the crisis. When employees feel their efforts aren’t resulting in meaningful progress, it creates a disconnect that drives them to seek fulfillment elsewhere.

Addressing the Productivity Gap

Addressing this productivity gap often starts with investing in two vital areas: comprehensive training and equipping your teams with the right tools. Training is paramount. It sharpens the workforce’s skills, aligning their abilities with the company’s needs. It’s not just about hard skills; soft skills like communication, teamwork, and time management are equally essential.

Moreover, the right tools in your arsenal can significantly streamline operations, saving time and resources. This could range from project management software and CRM systems to cutting-edge AI and automation tools. However, simply having the tools isn’t enough. It’s about leveraging them effectively and ensuring every team member knows how to use them fully.

In my book, “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” I wrote, “Even if you have the best people in the world if they don’t have the right tools and processes in place, you will have leaks.” Therefore, training and tool mastery become your business’s sturdy patches, sealing these leaks.

Transitioning to a High Productivity Environment

The transition from a low to a high-productivity environment often requires a paradigm shift in management style. Introducing a more flexible, empathetic management approach that recognizes employees as individuals can have a transformative impact. A culture that embraces autonomy encourages innovative thinking, prioritizes employees’ well-being, and fosters a conducive environment for productivity.

The Velocity story mentioned earlier brings these principles to life. They realized their struggle wasn’t due to a lack of effort or talent but a systemic issue requiring strategic changes. They invested heavily in industry-specific training, ensuring every employee had a clear understanding of their role. They introduced advanced tools, equipping their teams with everything necessary for peak performance. Moreover, they shifted towards a more participative management style, focusing on transparent communication and nurturing innovation. The turnaround was remarkable. Velocity saw a 40% increase in productivity within a year, translating into a substantial profit boost while their employee retention rate improved.

In closing, a business experiencing a productivity crisis isn’t destined to doom. With targeted training, appropriate tools, and a change in management style, you can transform this crisis into an opportunity for growth. I always say, “In every problem, there’s a hidden treasure of opportunity.”

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a renowned executive coach, and a leading authority on organizational productivity. His experience of over 30 years in facilitating business growth culminates in his books “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.” He is passionate about helping businesses optimize their productivity, thereby driving success. With a belief in the transformative power of potential, Howard continually guides businesses to unearth and harness their true capabilities.

Why the Key to Employee Retention is Engagement: Unleashing the Power of People for Organizational Success

When Michigan-based manufacturer Acme Industries noticed a disturbing trend of dwindling employee morale and escalating turnover rates in 2022, they knew it was a wake-up call. The company, recognized for its innovative solutions, was suddenly grappling with a pervasive issue plaguing many organizations today: a disengaged workforce. This article explores why employee engagement is crucial for talent retention and how to create a thriving workplace environment that cultivates this engagement.

The Unseen ROI of Employee Retention

Retaining skilled employees goes beyond mere cost savings on recruitment. Experienced employees deliver superior productivity and work quality, thanks to their extensive understanding of their roles. Further, their deep-rooted knowledge about the business plays a significant role in nurturing customer relationships and driving business growth. A consistent workforce builds a culture of loyalty and commitment, fortifying the company’s stature as an employer of choice.

Essential Drivers for Retaining Talent

The crux of employee retention lies in grasping what motivates your talent pool. At the top of the list is fostering a culture of appreciation and recognition. In my book, “The Leader Launchpad,” I emphasize, “If you want to increase performance, start by increasing recognition.”

Secondly, availing growth and development opportunities is critical. In today’s dynamic business landscape, employees crave learning experiences that guarantee relevance and contribute to their career advancement.

Lastly, promoting a healthy work-life balance and a supportive work environment is vital. Employees stick around where they feel their personal lives and well-being are esteemed.

Effective Employee Retention Strategies

(1) Employee Engagement: Engaging employees is about inspiring them to align their energies with the company’s mission. Advocate open communication, solicit their thoughts, and acknowledge their input.

(2) Competitive Compensation: Ensure your pay scales and benefits package align with industry standards. Employees feel esteemed when they perceive they are justly compensated.

(3) Learning and Development Opportunities: Institute training programs and mentorship opportunities help foster careers instead of jobs. This move will enhance their skill sets and manifest your commitment to their professional progress.

(4) Promote a Positive Company Culture: Foster a workplace that respects diversity, encourages collaboration, and cherishes work-life balance.

It’s essential to remember, as I expounded in “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” “Processes are important, but people make the business.” Investing in employee engagement will undoubtedly reap long-term benefits.

Acme Industries embraced this philosophy. They focused on boosting employee engagement, prioritized open communication, and launched comprehensive training programs. The result was a dramatic turnaround – improved productivity, higher retention rates, and a stronger bottom line.

It’s not just about products or services; it’s about people. Organizations that understand this flourish. Implement these strategies to keep your top talent and build a high-performance culture that drives your business toward success.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc, a distinguished business performance expert, and the author of best-selling books “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.” With his wealth of experience, Shore helps organizations unlock their potential by putting people at the heart of their strategies. His motivational and positive tone empowers leaders to transform their businesses through his innovative techniques and thought leadership.

Innovative Strategies for Middle Market B2B Companies to Disrupt Traditional Industries

Staying relevant and profitable in traditional industries can be challenging for middle-market B2B companies. However, with the right strategies, these companies can increase their market share, disrupt the industry, and ultimately become more profitable.

One example of a middle market B2B company that disrupted the industry is LaSalle Solutions, a leading provider of technology lifecycle management services. They achieved this by redefining what it meant to be a technology lifecycle management company.

One of the ways LaSalle Solutions achieved this was by focusing on innovation. They introduced new services, such as IT asset disposition, which helped their clients dispose of outdated technology in an environmentally-friendly way. They also developed a cloud-based platform allowing clients to manage their technology assets more efficiently.

LaSalle Solutions also focused on customer experience, investing heavily in customer service and support. This allowed them to differentiate themselves from competitors and gain a loyal customer base.

Another way LaSalle Solutions disrupted the industry was by embracing sustainability. They developed a program called “GreenNurture“, which helped clients reduce their carbon footprint by donating used technology to schools and non-profits.

So, how can middle-market B2B companies apply these strategies to their business? Here are some ideas:

Focus on Innovation

Look for ways to improve your services and processes by embracing new technologies and exploring new ideas. Invest in research and development to stay ahead of the curve and cater to evolving customer needs.

Prioritize Customer Experience

Invest in your customer service and support to differentiate yourself from your competitors. This will help you gain a loyal customer base and increase your market share.

Embrace Sustainability

Develop environmentally-friendly programs that help your clients reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their sustainability goals. This will not only differentiate you from your competitors but also help you connect with customers who prioritize sustainability.

In conclusion, middle-market B2B companies can disrupt traditional industries by focusing on innovation, customer experience, and sustainability. By following the example of companies like LaSalle Solutions, middle market B2B companies can increase their market share, disrupt the industry, and ultimately become more profitable.

 

About the author:  Howard M. Shore is a business growth expert who has helped numerous companies succeed in their industries. With over 30 years of experience in business growth and leadership, Howard is a sought-after speaker and advisor who has worked with companies of all sizes and industries. He is the author of the book “The Leader Launchpad: Five Steps to Fuel Your Business and Lift Your Profits.”

From EOS to the Next Level: How an Advisor Can Help CEOs and Business Owners Achieve More with Less Effort

As a CEO or business owner, you may have already implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) or similar approaches like Scaling Up and experienced significant progress in improving your leadership operating systems, meetings, metrics, and priorities. However, there’s always a next level, and you may wonder if there’s a better, faster, and more comprehensive approach to take your business to the next level of excellence.

At Activate Group, we believe that evolving as leaders, teams, and businesses is crucial to success. Growth is like software versions, and there’s always a better version that can produce more output with the same effort. EOS is a great starting point for smaller companies, but you need a more comprehensive approach to scaling as your business grows and becomes more complex.

You likely need a different approach to take your business to the next level. Thanks to Marshal Goldsmith for pointing out that what got us here won’t get us there. We must go beyond EOS execution systems and look at the broader business ecosystem. We must advance soft systems, such as culture, team cohesiveness, and human capital management. And hard systems such as strategy and cash. We believe leaders need to shape and evolve their business ecosystem to grow with the company.

A challenge for successful CEOs is that they usually perform well in two of the six systems: strategy, execution, cash, culture, human capital management, and team cohesiveness. They must work on the other four systems to achieve significant growth and profits. Unfortunately, overconfidence in themselves and their teams can cause them to miss this critical development aspect.

Many people fail to get results with advisors because they don’t invest in the right type of advisor. There are coaches, consultants, and trainers, each with unique strengths and approaches. To succeed we must combine all three aspects into a customized formula focused on outcomes instead of processes. This comprehensive approach helps identify and address the gaps in your business ecosystem and help you achieve your goals with less effort.

Choosing the right advisor can be challenging, especially with so many options. Referrals are an excellent starting point, but your advisor may not be the right fit for you. You need to tailor the approach to your specific needs and goals, ensuring you receive the support and guidance needed to succeed.

It is important to focus on the desired outcomes and not just the process. Often, we confuse activity with productivity. I see many leadership teams following the selected approaches and experiencing less than desired results. And many coaches and consultants focus on the mechanics of the process and are blind to the lack of outcomes. The right advisor will help you see your blind spots and challenge you to address them.

A great example was our helping a leadership team see that there was an opportunity to improve their business model through pricing. After some resistance, the CEO saw an opportunity to change his pricing structure. They have a recurring customer model that increases average monthly recurring revenue by 20%, ultimately improving his business valuation by approximately $40M.

In conclusion, while EOS and similar approaches can be a great starting point for smaller companies, successful CEOs and business owners must look beyond basic execution systems to take their businesses to the next level of excellence. At Activate Group, we provide a comprehensive approach beyond EOS to examine all aspects of your business ecosystem. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your goals with less effort and drive significant growth and profits.

 

About the author: Howard M. Shore is a business growth expert who has helped numerous companies succeed in their industries. With over 30 years of experience in business growth and leadership, Howard is a sought-after speaker and advisor who has worked with companies of all sizes and industries. He is the author of the book “The Leader Launchpad: Five Steps to Fuel Your Business and Lift Your Profits.”

Coaching vs. Consulting: Which One Do You Need and How to Choose the Right Advisor

Are you looking for guidance to improve your business? There are two main approaches to consider: coaching and consulting. While both aim to help individuals or organizations achieve their goals, their methods and outcomes differ. Understanding the differences and choosing the right advisor can significantly impact your success.

Coaching empowers individuals and leadership teams to discover solutions to challenges and develop their potential. Coaches are trained to listen actively, ask powerful questions, and provide constructive feedback. They encourage self-reflection, self-awareness, and both personal and team growth. Coaches often work one-on-one with clients but can also facilitate group coaching sessions.

For example, a business owner who wants to improve their leadership skills may hire a coach specializing in leadership development. The coach would work with the client to identify their strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and create an action plan. The coach would then support the client in implementing the plan, providing guidance and accountability along the way.

Consulting, on the other hand, is more directive and focused on providing expert advice and solutions. Consultants are typically subject matter experts with specialized knowledge and skills. They analyze problems, identify opportunities, and make recommendations based on their expertise. Consultants often work with teams or entire organizations, and their work may result in tangible deliverables such as reports or action plans.

For example, a company that wants to implement a new technology system may hire a consultant who specializes in that area. The consultant would analyze the company’s needs and capabilities, evaluate options, and recommend a specific solution. The consultant may also support implementing the new system and training employees.

So, how do you know which approach is right for you? Coaching may be the way to go if you need someone to help you develop your skills, overcome challenges, or achieve personal growth. Consulting may be the better option if you need expert advice, specialized knowledge, or a specific solution to a problem.

Once you have determined which approach you need, and the answer may very well need to be a hybrid, the next step is to choose the right advisor. Here are some tips to help you find the right fit:

Expertise

Look for an advisor with expertise in your area of focus. An advisor specializing in your field or industry will better understand your challenges and goals.

Credentials and Experience

Check their credentials and experience. Look for advisors who are certified and have a track record of success.

Style and Approach

Schedule a consultation. Talk to the advisor and understand their advising style and approach. Make sure you feel comfortable with them and that they fit your personality and goals well.

References

Ask for references. Talk to other clients the advisor has worked with to get an idea of their experience and results.

In conclusion, coaching and consulting are both valuable approaches to improving your business. Understanding the differences and choosing the right advisor can make a significant impact on your success. By following these tips, you can find an advisor who will help you achieve your goals and reach your full potential.

 

About the author:  Howard M. Shore is a business growth expert who has helped numerous companies succeed in their industries. With over 30 years of experience in business growth and leadership, Howard is a sought-after speaker and advisor who has worked with companies of all sizes and industries. He is the author of the book “The Leader Launchpad: Five Steps to Fuel Your Business and Lift Your Profits.”

The Power of Networking: How Building and Nurturing Connections Can Skyrocket Your Success

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, networking is crucial for career development, business growth, and personal fulfillment. And, likely, you are not doing enough of it. It is no longer enough to rely solely on our knowledge, expertise, or resources. We must expand our horizons, learn from others, and tap into diverse ideas and perspectives. Networking is an essential way to do this. Building and nurturing a network is not only a nice-to-have but a must-have skill that can significantly impact personal and professional growth. I have experienced this firsthand as a successful CEO and advisor to CEOs. My ability to build networks and maintain relationships has been a key factor to success, and I encourage everyone to do the same.

Networking is not just about meeting new people; it’s about building long-term relationships and creating a community of like-minded individuals. A robust network can help us in countless ways, from finding new job opportunities to getting feedback on our ideas, learning new skills, and expanding our knowledge. It can also provide emotional support, boost our confidence, and help us navigate challenging situations.

Staying Relevant and Informed

One of the key benefits of networking is that it can help us stay relevant and informed in our industry or field. Connecting with peers, thought leaders and experts lets us stay up-to-date on the latest trends, news, and insights. We can also learn from others’ experiences and avoid making the same mistakes they did. This can be invaluable in today’s fast-changing and competitive business environment. And having too narrow a network can have severe consequences.

New Ideas and Perspectives

Another benefit of networking is that it provides new ideas and perspectives. By connecting with people from different backgrounds and industries, you can gain new insights and fresh perspectives to help you make better decisions. I found that some of the best ideas come from people without experience in my industry or with my company. I often say that our ego is not our amigo and that we should be seeking as many ideas different from our own as possible.

Build Your Brand and Reputation

Networking can also help you establish your reputation and build your brand. Building relationships with people who respect and trust you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. This can lead to more opportunities and help you stand out. I am known for generously adding value to everyone I meet and am connecting with people daily. When introducing someone, I often hear, “If Howard says we should meet, I need to make time.” And, I find it much easier than colleagues to get key people to take my call.

Leaders with strong networks are more apt to be more effective, produce better results, and get things done faster. Networking can also help us expand our reach and influence. By connecting with a diverse group of people, we can increase our visibility, credibility, and authority. This can be especially beneficial for entrepreneurs, executives, and salespeople who must build a strong brand and reputation. A strong network can also provide new clients, customers, and partners access.

Be a Better Leader and Good Steward of Your Network

Another critical benefit of networking is that it can help us develop interpersonal and communication skills. By engaging in conversations, asking questions, and actively listening, we can improve our ability to connect with others, build rapport, and establish trust. These skills are essential for any leadership role, sales position, or collaborative endeavor.

Finally, networking can be a source of personal fulfillment and happiness. Building meaningful relationships with others can create a sense of community and belonging. We can also help others achieve their goals, which can be incredibly rewarding.

In conclusion, building and nurturing a network is an essential skill everyone should develop. It can help us achieve our goals, expand our knowledge, and create meaningful relationships. Networking is not just about meeting new people; it’s about building a community of like-minded individuals who can support and inspire us. Investing in our network can improve our career prospects, business outcomes, and personal fulfillment.

 

Howard M. Shore is an expert on building and nurturing networks. He has been advising CEOs and their teams for over 20 years and has helped numerous organizations achieve their goals through networking. Howard is the author of “The Leader Launchpad: Five Steps to Fuel Your Business and Lift Your Profits,” a book that provides practical strategies for building a successful business.

Disrupting Traditional Industries: Strategies to Increase Market Share and Profitability

In the fast-paced business world, staying relevant and profitable in traditional industries can be daunting. However, it is not impossible. With the right strategies, any business can increase its market share, disrupt the industry, and ultimately become more profitable. This article will explore ways to change your business in traditional industries and make it stand out in the market.

Let’s take the example of WhiteWave Foods. This company started as a small organic farm in Boulder, Colorado, and grew into a leading food and beverage company with a market capitalization of over $10 billion. WhiteWave Foods disrupted the industry by redefining what it meant to be a food and beverage company.

With an increasing number of people becoming health-conscious, WhiteWave Foods recognized the need for plant-based alternatives that could replace dairy products. One of the ways WhiteWave Foods achieved this was by focusing on plant-based dairy alternatives. They introduced their signature almond milk, which quickly became popular among consumers. This move not only helped WhiteWave Foods gain market share but also disrupted the dairy industry.

Another way WhiteWave Foods disrupted the industry was by embracing sustainability. They became one of the first food and beverage companies to publicly commit to sustainability goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste. This helped them connect with consumers who prioritize environmentally-friendly products and gain a competitive edge in the market.

WhiteWave Foods also focused on innovation, constantly exploring new ways to improve its products and processes. They invested in research and development and introduced new products such as non-dairy yogurts, plant-based creamers, and coffee creamers. This allowed them to stay ahead of the curve and cater to evolving consumer preferences.

So, how can you apply these strategies to your business? Here are some ideas:

Focus on Innovation

Embrace new technologies and explore new ways to improve your products or services. Look for ways to add value to your customer’s lives and make their experience more enjoyable.

Embrace Sustainability

Become more environmentally friendly by reducing waste, using sustainable materials, and investing in renewable energy. Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of their purchases on the environment, and are more likely to support companies that prioritize sustainability.

Offer Alternatives

With an increasing number of people looking for options and choice, consider offering alternatives to your products. This could open up new markets and help you gain market share.

Collaborate with Other Companies

Look for opportunities to collaborate with companies in your industry or related industries. This could lead to new ideas, products, and services you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

In conclusion, changing your business in traditional industries can be challenging, but it is not impossible. By focusing on innovation, embracing sustainability, offering alternatives, and collaborating with other companies, you can disrupt the industry, increase your market share, and ultimately become more profitable.

 

About the author: Howard M. Shore is a business growth expert who has helped numerous companies succeed in their industries. With over 30 years of experience in business growth and leadership, Howard is a sought-after speaker and advisor who has worked with companies of all sizes and industries. He is the author of the book “The Leader Launchpad: Five Steps to Fuel Your Business and Lift Your Profits.”

From Surviving to Thriving: How to Adopt a Growth-Oriented Mindset During Downturns

In times of economic downturns, many companies make the mistake of focusing solely on cutting costs. While this may provide short-term relief, it often comes at the expense of long-term growth. Adopting a growth-oriented mindset is crucial to thriving in today’s competitive marketplace, even during difficult times. In this article, we’ll discuss steps companies can take to shift from a cost-oriented approach to a growth-oriented one, using a real company example to illustrate our points.

First, it’s important to recognize that cutting costs alone is not a sustainable solution. In fact, it can even harm a company’s future prospects. For example, let’s look at the case of Kodak. When digital photography emerged as a major threat to its traditional film-based business, Kodak responded by cutting costs and reducing investments in R&D. This strategy provided short-term relief but ultimately proved disastrous. Kodak failed to adapt to the changing market, and the company eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Instead of focusing on cost-cutting, companies should adopt a growth-oriented mindset that prioritizes innovation and investment in the future. Here are some steps to help make this shift:

Reframe the Conversation

One of the first steps in becoming growth-oriented is to reframe the conversation within the company. This means moving away from discussions solely focused on cutting costs and instead emphasizing growth opportunities. This can be done by setting new goals and KPIs focused on innovation and growth rather than just cost-cutting.

For example, let’s look at the case of Amazon. In 2001, the company faced a major challenge when the dot-com bubble burst. Many companies were cutting costs, but Amazon took a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on reducing expenses, the company set a goal to achieve profitability by Q4 of 2001. This goal helped shift the conversation within the company and encouraged employees to think creatively about achieving it. Amazon ultimately succeeded in reaching this goal, setting the stage for the company’s future growth.

Invest in R&D

Another important step in becoming growth-oriented is to invest in R&D. This means dedicating resources to developing new products and services that can help the company stay ahead of the competition. While R&D can be expensive in the short term, it’s critical for long-term growth.

For example, let’s look at the case of Apple. In the early 2000s, the company faced a challenging market, with declining sales of its core products. Rather than cutting costs, Apple invested heavily in R&D, developing new products like the iPod and the iPhone. These products not only helped to turn the company around, but they also set the stage for Apple’s continued success in the years to come.

Focus on Customer Needs

A growth-oriented mindset also means focusing on customer needs. This means developing products and services that solve real customer problems rather than just trying to cut costs or maximize profits.

For example, let’s look at the case of Airbnb. When the company first started, it faced significant challenges in convincing people to rent out their homes to strangers. Rather than giving up, Airbnb focused on understanding the needs of its customers and developing solutions that addressed their concerns. This included developing a robust verification process to ensure the safety of hosts and guests, as well as building a community of users who could vouch for the quality of the service. This customer-centric approach helped Airbnb to overcome its early challenges and paved the way for its continued growth.

Embrace Risk-Taking

Finally, a growth-oriented mindset means embracing risk-taking. This means being willing to take bold steps to pursue growth, even if it means taking on some degree of risk.

For example, let’s look at the case of the clothing retailer Zara. In the early 2000s, the company faced stiff competition from other fast-fashion retailers. Rather than focusing on cost-cutting, Zara took a bold step and invested heavily in its supply chain and logistics. This allowed the company to dramatically reduce its lead times, meaning that it could bring new designs to market much faster than its competitors. This focus on speed and innovation helped Zara to become one of the world’s most successful clothing retailers.

In conclusion, while it can be tempting for companies to adopt a cost-oriented approach during economic downturns, it’s important to remember that this approach can ultimately harm a company’s long-term growth prospects. Instead, companies should adopt a growth-oriented mindset that prioritizes innovation, investment in R&D, customer needs, and risk-taking. By doing so, they can position themselves for success both during difficult times and in the future.

As Howard M. Shore said in his book “The Leader Launchpad,” “Leaders who understand the importance of growth over cost-cutting are the ones who will thrive in today’s rapidly changing business environment.” So let’s embrace growth-oriented thinking and help our companies succeed, even during the toughest times.

 

About Howard M. Shore: Howard M. Shore is a growth-oriented leader passionate about helping companies achieve long-term success. With over 30 years of experience in business leadership and entrepreneurship, Howard is a trusted advisor to CEOs and business leaders worldwide. He is the founder of Activate Group Inc., a consultancy that helps businesses across a range of industries to adopt growth-oriented strategies. Howard is also the author of two books, “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” both focused on helping leaders drive growth and innovation within their organizations.

5 Highly Practical Strategies for Leaders to Manage Time and Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

Are you a leader struggling to balance your work and personal life? Do you often feel overwhelmed by your workload and find it challenging to prioritize tasks? As I stated in my best-selling book The Leader Launchpad, “Your calendar reflects your priorities, and your priorities reflect your values.” Therefore, managing your time effectively is crucial for achieving a healthy work-life balance. This article will discuss five highly practical strategies for leaders to manage their time effectively and prioritize tasks to achieve a better work-life balance.

(1) Learn to Say “No” – It’s okay to decline requests that do not align with your priorities. Saying “no” is not a sign of weakness. It is a demonstration of your ability to prioritize your time effectively. Real-life example: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, turned down a board seat at Disney, stating that it was not aligned with her priorities.

(2) Use Time-Blocking – Block out specific times on your calendar for tasks that require your undivided attention. This strategy helps you to avoid distractions and stay focused on the task at hand. Real-life example: Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, blocks out five-minute intervals on his calendar to manage his time more efficiently.

(3) Delegate Tasks – As a leader, delegating tasks to team members is essential to ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal. Delegating tasks also frees up time for you to focus on higher-priority tasks. Real-life example: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, delegates tasks to his executive team to focus on strategic initiatives.

(4) Use the Two-Minute Rule – Do it immediately if a task can be completed in two minutes or less. This rule helps you to avoid procrastination and ensures that small tasks don’t pile up, leading to more significant problems. Real-life example: Barack Obama, former President of the United States, used the two-minute rule to manage his time effectively.

(5) Take Time for Yourself – It’s crucial to take breaks and spend time on activities that rejuvenate you. Taking time for yourself helps you to avoid burnout and enhances your productivity. Real-life example: Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, takes regular “Think Weeks,” where he disconnects from technology and spends time reading and reflecting.

In conclusion, effective time management is essential for leaders to achieve a better work-life balance. By learning to say “no,” using time-blocking, delegating tasks, using the two-minute rule, and taking time for yourself, leaders can prioritize their time and achieve their goals while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Call to Action: As a leader, it’s important to prioritize your time to achieve a better work-life balance. Which of these five strategies will you implement first? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

About the author: Howard M. Shore is the founder and CEO of Activate Group, Inc. Howard has over 30 years of experience in the business world and has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, helping them to achieve their goals through effective leadership and strategic planning. He is the author of “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.”

Leadership Lessons: Why Getting Rid of Toxic High Performers is Necessary for a Positive Workplace Culture

As leaders, one of our most important responsibilities is cultivating a healthy and positive workplace culture. But what happens when a high-performing employee exhibits toxic behavior that undermines that culture? It can be a difficult decision, but we must be willing to take action, even if that means letting go of a high-performing toxic employee.

The consequences of failing to address toxic behavior in the workplace can be severe. A prime example is Uber, where former engineer Susan Fowler’s 2017 blog post about the company’s toxic culture sparked an internal investigation that uncovered numerous allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct. The investigation resulted in the termination of over 20 employees, including some of Uber’s top executives. Among those terminated was Uber’s founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick, who had ignored previous complaints about the toxic culture and even intervened to keep a high-performing executive accused of sexual harassment.

Kalanick’s decision to keep a toxic employee had severe consequences for Uber. The company’s reputation suffered, and it faced multiple lawsuits and investigations. Uber’s valuation decreased by over $20 billion, losing significant market share to competitors like Lyft.

The lesson here is clear: as leaders, we must prioritize the well-being of our team members and company culture over the short-term benefits of keeping a toxic performer. It can be challenging to let go of a high-performing employee, but in the long run, it’s the right decision for everyone involved.

So, how can leaders effectively address toxic behavior in the workplace? Here are some practical steps to consider:

Set Clear Expectations

From the moment a new employee joins your team, it’s essential to set clear expectations about workplace behavior. Be explicit about what is and isn’t acceptable, and reinforce those expectations regularly. This clarity helps prevent misunderstandings and gives employees a clear framework for their behavior.

Provide Coaching and Feedback

Toxic behavior isn’t always intentional. Sometimes, employees may not realize the impact of their actions on their colleagues or the workplace as a whole. Regular coaching and feedback can help employees understand how their behavior affects others and allow them to make changes.

Consider Reassignment

 Reassignment allows employees to start fresh and demonstrate their commitment to positive workplace behavior. In some cases, it may be possible to address toxic behavior by reassigning the employee to a different team or role. This approach can be particularly effective if the employee’s skills and experience are valuable to the organization but their behavior is problematic.

Don’t Hesitate to Terminate

 If all other options have been exhausted, it may be time to terminate the employee’s employment. While this can be difficult, it’s crucial to remember that toxic behavior can have long-lasting negative consequences for the workplace. As leaders, we are responsible for protecting our team members’ well-being and maintaining a positive workplace culture.

It’s worth noting that the decision to terminate an employee should never be made lightly. In addition to considering the potential impact on the workplace, it’s important to follow proper HR procedures and seek legal advice if necessary.

In conclusion, toxic behavior in the workplace is a serious issue that leaders must address promptly and decisively. Even high-performing employees can exhibit toxic behavior, and failing to take action can have severe consequences for the workplace culture and the organization as a whole. By setting clear expectations, providing coaching and feedback, considering reassignment, and, if necessary, terminating employment, leaders can protect their team members and create a healthy and positive workplace culture.

 Howard M. Shore is an accomplished author and highly successful serial entrepreneur with a proven track record of creating over $1 billion in value throughout his career. As the CEO of Activate Group Inc., Howard specializes in helping CEOs who are serious about scaling their businesses and want to ensure they get it right the first time. With his wealth of experience and expertise, he is uniquely qualified to guide CEOs through the complex scaling process, from crafting a growth strategy to optimizing their operations and building high-performing teams. Whether you’re a startup founder or a seasoned executive, Howard can provide the guidance and support you need to take your business to the next level.

Three Things To Expect From A Business Coach

As a leader and entrepreneur, I always knew I had more to learn. I always seek ways to accelerate and raise the bar to achieve success. A key to getting maximum results from your advisors is to have a vivid picture of the outcomes you want to change. This allows you to understand the type of advisor required. When it comes to coaching, there are so many different types of coaches: behavioral, accountability, productivity, business, career, life, and other specialty coaching (e.g., communication, sales, speaking, leadership, etiquette, and so on).

Please beware of the term executive coach because it is broad and can mean too many things. To get maximum results, you need to hire a coach that is an expert in the area required. The best coaches focus on one or two types of coaching, and none excel in helping you in all areas. I have focused primarily on behavioral and business coaching, the two areas in which I excel.

I am often approached by people that want to achieve better results and are uncertain whether business coaching is right for them. A business coach brings three things to you and your organization:

 

1. REPEATABLE GROWTH SYSTEM

Your coach must bring a structured and repeatable growth system. This is not a system for every facet of your business. It is a proven leadership system that facilitates working “on” the business rather than in it. It is not a system for every function. Your functions (e.g., sales, marketing, operations) require knowledge from an expert in those functions and how to address those issues in your industry.

Don’t assume all systems are the same. Our Business Acceleration System® is a repeatable framework designed to simplify the ease, speed, and confidence you have in growing your business. Driven by the CEO and delivered by your team, we help the team learn how to master and integrate six areas:  cash, team cohesion, culture, execution, human capital management, and strategy. Most systems are deep in one or two of these areas.

 

2. SYSTEM EXPERT

You need a coach who is an expert in the repeatable process and ensures the team has clarity of role and position while keeping it highly cohesive and focused on the team result. Often you presume someone is expert because they have received a certification. Don’t allow certification to fool you. Certification indicates you have learned and shown proficiency in understanding the methodology. This does not mean they have put in 10,000 hours to master implementing the methods. Reading about and applying methods are both essential to mastery.

It is best if your coach has proven successful in many industries and companies. Otherwise, your company is a test bunny. It takes most coaches three years (or longer) to master a methodology. After being a coach for approximately 20 years, I can tell you my work is far better when compared with my first three years.

 

3. A PLATFORM FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

A software platform that creates daily behavioral habits leading to more clarity and alignment and a higher level of accountability. This is separate and distinct from your accounting, operating, and marketing software. As we have learned, no one software addresses all our needs. You must have the right platform that keeps the leadership focused “on” the business.

 

In addition to evaluating your coach’s ability to deliver the system and platform, I recommend that you evaluate a coach for culture fit, business acumen, and style. A great coach in a wrong culture leads to problems. As for business acumen, there are a lot of people that make good executive coaches but lack business acumen. Don’t confuse business acumen with industry experience. And it would help if you had a coach whose behavior compliments the team. Too often, leaders hire a coach that is most like them. While this may feel comfortable, it may not be what you need.

 

Howard M. Shore, Founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc. is a bestselling author, serial entrepreneur and business coach specializing in liberating leadership teams from the barriers holding them back personally and professionally. Howard has helped create over $1 Billion of value and authored two best-selling books, The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket. 

Law of the Lid

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Law #1 of 21: The Law of the Lid

In John Maxwells book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership he identified “The Law of the Lid”, which states that, “leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. Without leadership ability, a person’s impact is only a fraction of what it could be with good leadership. If a person’s leadership is strong, the organization’s lid is high. But if it’s not, then the organization is limited.”

Leadership Ability

I have spoken with three CEO’s in the last week that I am confident are causing a lid on their organization. All were reasonably successful and suffering from a clear case of “what got you here will not get you there.” We have found that the leaders that are able to take their companies to great heights are committed to identifying and addressing the changes necessary to take the business up a notch.

They realize that those changes begin with changing themselves and permeating that change throughout. As a general rule, the lid is a byproduct of employee expansion and reflects a leader’s ability to gain follower-ship among a greater number of employees. The first major lid happens from between 50 and 60 employees, and the second lid we find around 150 employees.

Leaders Evolution of Growth

It is important to note, that if you have no one following you, you are not a leader. To get more people to follow you (because they want to) you have to become a greater leader. And, the more people you have, the more easily one can see leadership effectiveness. It is all too easy for successful people to get full of themselves and believe they have arrived. In business and success, you never arrive. It is an evolution of growth.

Breaking Through Leadership Lid

Only one of those three leaders mentioned above has positioned themselves to break through their current lid. The biggest difference was her desire to break her personal lid. She has strong self-awareness, self-grounding, and foresight to hire a third party to help with her transition. This person deserves a lot of credit as she runs one of the most profitable companies in her industry sector.

She realized that her company was not growing as it should over the last few years, despite having a better strategy than the competitors. In initial meetings with her coach, she has recognized that she is going to have to learn how to work through an extra layer of management, communicate more proactively and clearly, and to shift her role from top producer to head coach.

Improve Your Leadership Ability

Contact Activate Group, Inc. for a FREE consultation or give us a call at 305.722.7213 to see how an executive business coach can help you run a more effective business or become a more effective leader.

10 Signs Your Employees Are Mediocre

It’s pretty rare to find a product or service that is truly unique. In my opinion, the only two ways to truly differentiate your business from the competition are through people and company culture. So let’s talk about people. Every leader with whom I’ve consulted says they only want to hire top talent. They say they have pride in their people and mediocrity is not an option. So why do they end up with a bunch of “C” players on their team? They don’t have a solid strategy for the management of human capital, and they ignore the following signs of mediocrity:

  1. People picking up the slack of others who don’t do their job.
  2. Positions are created to fit existing employees instead of hiring the right person for a position created to fit the company strategy.
  3. Managers tolerating the same mistake by an individual over and over again.
  4. Persistent complaints from co-workers about a particular employee.
  5. People waiting around to be told what to do instead of taking initiative.
  6. No innovation.
  7. High turnover in key positions.
  8. Higher overall turnover than best-in-class competitor.
  9. Managers spend more time “doing” instead of coaching, mentoring, recruiting and evaluating performance.
  10. Employees who aren’t held to the same standard because of their long tenure. i.e. their job is theirs forever.

At their core, these problems are human capital management issues that result in lost revenue, increased costs and lower margins. Ironically, some leaders find it easier to deal with revenue issues and their consequences than to learn how to build the right organizational structure and manage their human capital. By taking the time up front to do it right, they would grow faster, have more time, reduce costs, and expand margins. Instead, they choose what is comfortable.

Howard Shore is a sought-after business coach and an expert in human capital management who works with companies that need help with recruiting, hiring and developing the best talent. To learn more about AGI’s executive coaching, management consulting, and leadership training, please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

How to Set SMART Goals

The first step in successfully executing a goal is to state it properly. A well-stated goal clearly explains what you are trying to achieve and in what time frame. A well-stated goal is the foundation of an effective business action plan. An acronym that is commonly used to define a properly stated goal is SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistically High
  • Time-based

While these criteria seem simple, they can be difficult to perfect. Allow me to summarize briefly what each of these criteria means:

Specific. Fuzzy goals are destined for failure. For example, “We are going to establish a new training program for our supervisors by 10/1/XX.” You are not defining what you want your supervisors to learn.

Measurable. How do you know when the goal has been achieved? State the goal in a way where this is clearly described. For example, “We are going to increase the frequency of meetings with our hourly staff.” How often will you meet and what will be discussed?

Realistically High. Goals must be lofty enough so you challenge yourself but still realistically attainable. In other words, you don’t want to trip over them. If the goal is too low/easy it will not motivate extra effort, but if it is too high no one will take it seriously because it seems out of reach.

Time-Based. What is the time frame for completing this goal? Set a deadline so the goals aren’t just floating out there for years.

Here is an example of a SMART goal:

Get 10 appointments with decision-makers in the hospitality industry that employ more than 250 people and are located within 50 miles of Miami area by the end of the quarter.

Take a few minutes a write a SMART goal for yourself—personal or professional. Work to refine it until it encompasses all the above criteria.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

Setting Examples Helps Employees Care About the Bottom Line?

As a leader in your company you are the foundation of the company culture. Like many business leaders, you may be struggling with how to build a sense of fiscal responsibility within your team. It’s a challenging thing to try to get entry-level employees to care as much about the bottom line as you do. The number one way to get employees on board with penny-pinching?

Set the example.

Spending money is a responsibility. And it is public, whether you want to believe it or not. When you spend the company’s money, employees make mental notes. If you are spending money frivolously, employees will get the impression that the company is rolling in dough. And when they see company leaders spending money left and right on non-essentials, they usually believe it’s okay for them to do the same.

I’ve seen CEO’s spend thousands on employee outings, perks for management, personal trips and entertainment, gadgets, etc. Not only do employees see this as a sign of prosperity and therefore excess, but also they see it as selfishness and favoritism. Giving certain employees (like yourself) valuable perks and excluding others is favoritism and a huge demotivator for the rest, which equates to less work effort overall.

By not controlling your company spending you are sending two very bad messages to employees:

  1. Spend money carelessly because I do.
  2. Only special employees get perks…and you aren’t one of them.

Double whammy on your bottom line.

The good news is that setting a good fiscal example is pretty easy. All it takes is discipline and prudence. Here are three easy tips for controlling your spending:

  1. Set an annual client entertainment budget. When it runs out, that’s it.
  2. Set an annual employee recognition budget. This could be spent on things like an Employee of the Month program and/or annual team party. Again, when it’s gone it’s gone until the next fiscal year.
  3. Instead of handing out individual perks to management or “favorite” employees without context, hold some kind of internal performance contest and reward the winners. Prizes should come out of the employee recognition budget.
  4. Never pay for personal perks or entertainment out of company coffers. As the company founder/leader you many feel entitled to reward yourself, but resist it because the message this sends is: “I worked hard and deserve a personal perk on the company dime.” You don’t want your employees thinking that way, do you?

Have you ever rewarded yourself on the company dime?

About the Author

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

3 Lessons Learned from the Penn State Scandal

The Penn State scandal has been all over the news these past few weeks and it got me thinking. I wondered how such a respected and seemingly professional establishment could have allowed this situation to go so far. How did these secrets stay buried for so long and how could an organization with such moral conviction let these decades-long accusations fester in the dark without follow-up?

Looking from the outside in, I can only assume that the internal communications and processes for handling crises are severely flawed on many levels. Here’s what I think we as business leaders can all learn and apply to our own organizations after watching the Penn State scandal unfold.

1. The truth will always come out.

It’s the golden rule of public relations: attempting to hide a negative, potentially damaging situation within the company only makes it worse. By trying to bury the accusations against Sandusky, Penn State made the entire situation far worse by being exposed after it festered beneath the surface for years. I’ve seen it happen in many organizations. If someone in your organization—I don’t care who it is—is involved with something unethical or illegal, it must be dealt with immediately. Damage control processes need to be activated with your corporate communications folks and a crisis plan needs to be created. Because the truth will always come out, even if after many years in hiding.

2. The open-door policy must be lived, not just talked about.

Most companies have an open-door communication policy but many don’t live up to it. In the Penn State situation it was clear that Sandusky’s improprieties were witnessed and reported to superiors. Nothing was done about it. But something made the whistleblower stop there. Was he told to let it go? Was he made to feel like a detractor for blowing his whistle? Whatever the case may be, we can all learn that when an employee comes forward with something it must be taken seriously and there must be absolutely no element of discouragement or retribution for being the one that came forward. An open-door policy that is lived is one that instills a sense of comfort and safety for employees that need to bring bad things to light.

3. No one is immune from responsibility.

Joe Paterno is probably the most loved college coach of all time, and clearly a pillar of the Penn State organization—not just the football team. Yet even he is not immune from doing the right thing when faced with a difficult situation with one of his employees. All leaders should take this to heart. As a leader, you are responsible for the wellbeing of your company first. Personal relationships must take a back seat to the law.

Have you ever faced a difficult legal or ethical situation in your professional life? How did you choose to deal with it?

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Successful Sales Techniques: It’s All Semantics

As a long-time sales consultant, I have seen it all when it comes to unpolished sales technique. Of course every industry is different, but industry has almost nothing to do with the tried-and-true tactics of the most successful salespeople within it.

When coaching salespeople, I help them refine their process to encourage dialogue and create more opportunities to get the prospect engaged enough to say ‘yes’. One of the most overlooked skills that can make a real difference in sales success: semantics.

You read it right. Word choice is huge for salespeople. The way you speak to prospective clients can make the difference between closing and not closing the deal. Here are some useful phrase substitutions that will project an air of professionalism and polish that will build authority, encourage dialogue and help close more business.

INSTEAD OF…                                            USE:

Who is the final decision maker?  Who else, besides yourself, is involved in making this decision?

Do you have any questions?         What questions do you have?

Keep us in mind for the future.   When can we further discuss moving forward?

Is now a good time?                      I’m glad I was able to reach you.

Do you have any pet peeve statements or sales don’ts?

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213 or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Make a Decision

Decisions, decisions, decisions…who’s making them in your company? Do you have a good decision process and are the right people involved in the decision making? Are they being made in a timely manner? Are they good decisions? If you find yourself mired down in a bog of disappointment by the answers to these questions, the following reasons may be why:

  • There is a lack of good decision-making processes for key decisions.
  • Too much time is being spent on matters that are unimportant.
  • Not enough time is spent on matters that are critical.
  • Companies fail to make decisions regarding critical matters.
  • Senior management involves itself in the wrong issues.
  • Many decisions should be delegated to lower tiers, but senior management does not delegate responsibility.

Does any of this sound familiar? To start pulling yourself out of that bog of disappointment, there is a framework that we have come up with to guide you through the decision-making process:

For all decisions, 12 questions should be asked:

  1. What is the goal in the decision?
  2. What are the consequences/costs of making a bad decision?
  3. Why am I involved in this decision?
  4. What is my role in this decision?
  5. Do I (we) have the expertise to make a proper decision?
  6. What criteria should we use to make a good decision, and how will we rank and weight them?
  7. Are there proven tools to help us make this decision?
  8. Who else should be involved in this decision, and what rile should they play?
  9. How much information is appropriate for this decision?
  10. How much time should I spend on this decision?
  11. How long am I willing to wait to make this decision?
  12. How many alternatives should be considered?

By using this list, one can help avoid making major decisions without taking proper precautions. The list also helps balance risk, time, and cost.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213 or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Does Beauty Equal Success?

There was an article written I read that can be found on Economist.com that brings up the argument that better looking people are more successful in just about all aspects of business. The article “The Line of Beauty” mentions that “physically attractive women and men earn more than average-looking ones, and very plain people earn less.” It seems that looks are considered more of an asset than the education you earned to be a success.

We are all told during our educational years, that to enter the professional field we must look the part. The clothes we wear are just the superficial aspect of it though. As humans, we naturally gravitate toward beauty. We would like to think we are above it all, but studies have shown that the majority of us are not. Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle, both economics professors, held a study that concluded that less attractive people earn 5-10% less in all occupations across the board.

Surely when planning your business and focusing on making your company a success the last thing on your mind was how your looks may affect that success. And that is where those thoughts should stay, in the back of your mind. Your professional appeal is important, but maintaining your business goals and seeing to the growth of your company take precedence over how someone else may perceive your facial structure. The bottom line is just that, the bottom line, and if that’s where your focus lies and you continue to see that bottom line grow, well then isn’t that a measure of your success?

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213 or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

6 Tips for Setting Better Client Expectations

Think for a moment about your last unhappy customer. Maybe it was a client who didn’t see the results they wanted or a customer who had a bad experience. Continue reading “6 Tips for Setting Better Client Expectations”