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StrategyDriven Expert Contributor Hank Moore

Where Do They Go To Get Business Advice?

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleBusinesses operate at a pace such that they grab for help wherever it is available. More often than not, they reach toward the wrong resources, the untied advisors and sources that send them down rabbit holes.

It is lonely at the top. There are many demands upon entrepreneurs and senior management of companies. Each organization is confronted with challenges and opportunities, both real and perceived. It is tough to tackle all the obstacles and feel that substantial progress is being made.

Businesses spend so much time on momentary pieces of their puzzles that they neglect long-term Strategic Planning and miss potential successes. Costs of band aid surgery and make-good work cost six times that of planning for business on the front end.

The need exists for comprehensive business ideas and growth strategies. The need is ever-present for interfacing with senior executives and updating management skills, to avoid burnout and stimulate the seasoned professionals toward new heights. Top management regularly needs the creative inspiration to take the company to new heights. Cutting-edge executives (the very top and those about to take the mantle) need seasoned advice and inspiration.

Here is where they go to get ideas, strategies and help, in the order where they commonly go. The lower numbers represent introductory resources. The highest numbers are where they should be reaching.

1. Hearsay and third hand

  • Comments heard at parties and networking functions
  • Uninformed sources
  • Friends of friends
  • High participation networkers
  • Research and surveys

2. Special Interests

  • Websites containing educational material as a way to sell services
  • Surveys and their feedback

3. People Selling Stuff

  • Vendors who distract you, using expressions like “funding to grow your business.”
  • Online marketing firms
  • Internet solicitors and sellers
  • Website consulting

4. Internal Management

  • People you work with
  • Mid-managers and supervisors
  • Corporate leadership

5. Niche Experts and Consultants

  • Trainers
  • Freelance consultants, per industry niche
  • Banking, insurance benefits, human resources, etc.
  • Technology consulting firms
  • Researchers

6. Educational Programs

  • Speakers
  • Seminars
  • Panels at forums
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Material published or broadcast in the media

7. Books

  • Articles excerpted for meetings
  • Blog material posted online
  • Thin self-published books by people seeking to establish a platform
  • Online articles and blogs
  • Serious books in libraries
  • Cutting-edge books with original material

8. Advocacy Groups

  • Business clubs
  • Chambers of commerce
  • People with whom you work in community and charity leadership roles
  • Boards of directors
  • The Better Business Bureau
  • SCORE
  • Small Business Development Center
  • Trade industry groups
  • Associations
  • Political action committees
  • Community alliances
  • Professional alliances
  • Consortiums of business
  • Cross-industry cooperative initiatives

9. Mentors

  • Pier advisory groups such as Vistage, Silver Fox Advisors
  • One-on-one coaching
  • CEO roundtables
  • Corporate heir apparent training
  • Programs such as Shark Tank, Fox Den, Ted Talks
  • Leadership programs

10. Senior Business Advisors

  • Professional service firms, including lawyers, accountants, marketing, public relations, quality management

11. Major Business Gurus

  • Track record experts with many years in advising strategically

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article

6 Common Leadership Mistakes in Business

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article

Running a business requires a certain skill set. Whether you are a CEO of a major corporation or a manager at a store, you need to have leadership skills, and you need to know how to use them. Even if you have these skills, you might find that you fall prey to common mistakes that leaders in business environments often make. If you want to be an effective leader, it is important that you be aware of common pitfalls and avoid small mistakes that can undermine your authority. The following are six examples of errors that can derail you.

In addition to avoiding common mistakes, focus on fostering the qualities that make leaders effective. Work on fostering trust and loyalty in the workplace between yourself and your employees. Prioritize transparency and accountability at all levels of your staff. These ideals—in addition to awareness of the following common missteps—will make your leadership endeavors much more successful.

Trying to Be a Friend

It’s a common debate whether an employee can truly be friends with their boss. When you come to work and enjoy the company of your staff, that might seem like a friendship, but the power imbalance created by your role as a leader makes it a little bit more complicated. Regardless of whether bosses and staff can be friends, this should never be your motive when you come into work. Do not approach your employees as potential friends and social buddies. Approach them as your professional colleagues and collaborators. This can help you avoid any emotional complication and blurred boundaries.

Playing Favorites

Playing favorites is yet another dangerous endeavor that too many leaders mistakenly engage in at work. Of course, it is only natural that you will have a better relationship with those employees who exhibit better performance and are productive employees. To make a professional preference known, however, only serves to demoralize the rest of your employees. If you want your whole team to succeed, make it known that you value them all equally. Do not give any preferential treatment to a single staff member. Doing so will only cause strife and frustration throughout the workplace.

Lacking a Major Strategy

The day-to-day minutia of running a business can be overwhelming, and it may feel as though putting out little fires prevents you from focusing on any major strategy. If you do not center your efforts strategically, though, you cannot expect to get much accomplished. It is vital that you develop a specific approach to your leadership responsibilities and maintain that focus throughout your work. This is the approach that professionals such as Don Gayhardt have built successful businesses with. Rather than getting caught up in little issues, focus on the big picture with a professional strategy.

Lack of Direction

It is important to be very clear with your employees regarding what is expected of them and how they should complete their job. If you develop a definitive strategy for your work but do not impart this strategy to your staff, it is essentially useless. As a leader, you should always be directing and leading the rest of your company to ensure everybody is on the same page and working towards the same goals. To this end, schedule daily or weekly meetings to establish goals for all staff members. This eliminates ambiguity regarding responsibility and ensures everybody is treated equally.

Setting Unclear Standards

Professionals such as Don Gayhardt have excelled in business for more reasons that one. Perhaps the biggest catalyst, though, is a set of consistent leadership principles that guide business actions and decisions. One of the most important leadership principles is the responsibility you have to maintain clear standards for your employees. There should be no ambiguity when it comes to what you expect from your staff and how they should be performing in the workplace. If there are questions, you should always make yourself available to answer them and provide professional clarity to your employees.

Delegating Too Much or Too Little

Delegating is one of the most basic tasks leaders must engage in. You cannot possibly do everything you are responsible for, and that is why you have a team of capable professionals to help and report back to you. Too many business leaders, though, make the mistake of either delegating too much or too little—and these are equally problematic offenses. If you put off all of your responsibilities on staff, they will notice and become resentful. On the other hand, if you hesitate to share responsibilities, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work.

No leader is perfect, but there are some essential principles you can follow to become better. More importantly, you can avoid common mistakes and pitfalls to ensure that you are not sabotaging yourself with simple errors. Familiarizing yourself with the aforementioned six common mistakes is a good place to start in your pursuit of effective leadership techniques.

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article

An Important Leadership Lesson

The need to effectively manage others becomes increasingly important as our businesses start to blossom, yet it’s often difficult to balance your position as leader, teacher and every other hat you have to wear as an entrepreneur.

Indeed, some business owners consider undertaking an online masters of education in order to feel confident and competent enough to train their staff and lead their team by equipping them with the right knowledge and strategy to go out and deliver, yet this often isn’t necessary.

This article offers two important leadership lessons for small business owners, and encourages you to quickly learn new employees motivational style in order to manage them effectively.

1. BE THE BOSS

There is of course a fine line between being a leader and being a dictator.  It’s important to remember that whilst you are the leader of the company your role is more that of a director, in that it is directional rather than dictatorial.

Nobody likes being dictated to, and few people actually enjoy or respond well to being directed unless they have complete confidence in your decisions and leadership skills.  It can therefore be a psychological minefield to get this balancing act right.

The best approach is to remember that you are the captain of the ship, and that captain’s unapologetically give orders to their crew.  Now, in a business context, it’s of course much more important to be civil and respectful, than the captain of a ship, but it’s equally important you take the wheel and lead this project to its final destination.

2.  USE THE TWIN FORCES OF MOTIVATION

You may have heard of the metaphor with regard to the carrot and the stick which describes the polar forces of motivation theory.

In psychology there are two broad groups of people; they are known as “toward” and “away from” people.  This means that some people prioritise moving toward pleasure whilst others prioritise getting away from pain.  Of course, most people have a mixture of both, but there is normally one predominant force that motivates a person to take action.

The person that is motivated toward pleasure tends to be the more committed and advancement focused employee, whereas the person motivated away from pain, tends to be the type of person that will do what it takes to keep their job and not all that much more.

You want to get to know your team and see what motivates each team member; is it the possibility of praise and reward or is it the fear of loss, such as missing out on a staff incentive or even losing their job?

By applying both of these psychological forces, in your leadership style means you will be able to manage most people effectively.

The carrot could, for instance, be a cash incentive, public recognition, or simply some one-to-one verbal praise for doing a good job.  The stick, meanwhile, could be the fear of dismissal or having a penalty imposed such as having to stay late at the office in order to get things finished.

If you think back to school, there were gold stars (to acknowledge good behaviour) and detentions (to acknowledge bad behaviour).  Some people would be motivated toward getting a gold star whilst others would be motivated by staying out of trouble.  The same remains true in modern business leadership.

Getting On The Right Side Of The Team

A business is more than the brand or the products and services it sells. The business is also the people who make it and the company culture that forms as a result of their interactions, their cooperation or lack thereof. A business owner who gets on the wrong side of their team might still have the power in the relationship, but they can risk the future of the company by failing to use it responsibly.

Build a better environment

The physical workplace is just as much of an asset, too. The value of that asset is in creating a safe, comfortable, and motivating space for you and the team. By focusing too much on cost-effectiveness in designing your space, you can miss out on both the practical and mental needs that it needs to fulfill. Updating the surroundings, improving lighting, creating workspaces that allow for communication, and implementing access for employees with disability all create a much more positive office space.

Lead by example

You want your employees to be good members of the team, but to improve your chances of getting that, you need to be a good team member, too. For instance, you want employees to take responsibility for their successes and failures, so it starts with you. When a project fails, don’t pass the buck because it’s convenient. Similarly, don’t be afraid to hold others accountable without turning it into a public haranguing. By demonstrating the qualities you want to see in your employees, they are more likely to follow suit.

Ensure their concerns are addressed

Things don’t always go well in the workplace. Arguments, harassment and bullying do happen and are concerns you should be mindful of. Create a set of HR standards and practices with the help of lawyers that deal with employment issues. Ensure that your company policies are up to scratch and that your team has channels by which they can safely report toxic behavior in the workplace.

Develop your team

You want more than just a labor force. You want people who are willing to invest energy, thought, and creativity into the business. But if you’re not investing in them, why should they return the favor? The easiest way to invest in your team is to help develop them. Give them opportunities to try new responsibilities, offer training for them, and even consider setting up a mentorship program within the business.

Encourage and accept feedback

Just like you must be able to accept reports on harassment and other unacceptable behavior, you should be willing to accept feedback from the team, as well. Create feedback loops that allow employees to share their criticism of processes and standards, not just team members or personal interactions. You can encourage it by setting specific agendas for the team meeting taking a closer look at different aspects of the business.

Your people are your most valuable asset when used right and to use them right, you have to treat them right. Create a positive workplace culture and watch as motivation, engagement, and productivity soar.

Top Traits of Socially Responsible Employers

When talented workers are looking for new employment opportunities, they tend to go for the companies that have a proven track record of being socially responsible. If you start to demonstrate that you fit the bill, you should soon have a big pool of excellent employees to choose from. Beyond this, treating your staff members right will result in a team who are highly motivated and more likely to stick by your business. So, here are just a few top traits of socially responsible employers which you can look to emulate.

Encouraging Work/Life Balance

The all-important work/life balance is something which is talked about more and more these days. There are many ways that you can encourage this as an employer. Firstly, you could look into the option of offering flexible hours or the opportunity to work from home. As well as this, you could also offer a competitive number of holidays or even a scheme like giving employees important days like their birthday off from work.

Implementing Employment Standards

Employment laws are changing all the time and you need to ensure that you implement these at all times. You could consult with a legal team such as Ogletree to keep yourself abreast of all your individual responsibilities as an employer. If you don’t implement certain standards, there is every chance that you could get called out on this and in today’s world of social media and instant communication, any reputation as a poor employer will spread quickly.

Establishing Standards of Integrity

As an employer, it is your responsibility to implement certain standards of integrity and ethical behaviour. Not only do you have to come up with these in the first place, you also need to communicate these with your staff members to ensure that they know what is expected of them.

Recognising Achievement and Success

It is very easy for employees to feel overlooked if you don’t recognise their achievements and success. So, you should take the time to do this on a regular basis, whether it is in front of your company as a whole or simply on a one on one basis. When your company starts to grow, it may be difficult to do this as often as you would like, so you need to ensure that your managers are in the habit of talking up your team.

Caring About Health

There are plenty of ways that you can show that you care about the health and wellbeing of your employees. It could be something as simple as offering fresh fruit to eat on a regular basis. Alternatively, you could offer a discounted membership to your local gym or even hire a fitness expert to come in and give classes to your employees.

Social responsibility is one of the greatest traits that you can have as an employer, and these are just a few of the ways that you can achieve this.