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StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business Article

The Big Picture of Business – How Business Advice Turns Into Company Strategy

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleWithin every corporate and organizational structure, there is a stair-step ladder. One enters the ladder at some level and is considered valuable for the category of services for which they have expertise. This ladder holds true for managers and employees within the organization, as well as outside consultants brought in.

Each rung on the ladder is important. At whatever level one enters the ladder, he-she is trained, measured for performance and fits into the organization’s overall Big Picture. One rarely advances more than one rung on the ladder during the course of service to the organization in question.

  1. Resource: equipment, tools, materials, schedules.
  2. Skills and Tasks: duties, activities, tasks, behaviors, attitudes, contracting, project fulfillment.
  3. Role and Job: assignments, responsibilities, functions, relationships, follow-through, accountability.
  4. Systems and Processes: structure, hiring, control, work design, supervision, decisions
  5. Strategy: planning, tactics, organizational development.
  6. Culture and Mission: values, customs, beliefs, goals, objectives, benchmarking.
  7. Philosophy: purpose, vision, quality of life, ethics, long-term growth.

7 Levels of Authority Figure

  1. Self Appointed. Flash in the Pan. What they were doing five years ago has no relationship to what they’re now marketing. They reap temporary rewards from momentary trends. They’re here today, weren’t an authority figure yesterday and likely won’t be tomorrow. Yet, today, they’re demanding your complete trust, respect and allegiance.
  2. Temporary Caretakers of an Office. Public officials. Appointed agency heads in a government bureaucracy. Respect is shown to the temporary trust they hold.
  3. Those Who We Think Control Our Destiny… for the Time Being. Caretakers of corporate bureaucracies, departmental supervisors, short-term clients, referral sources for business development and those who dangle carrots under people’s noses.
  4. Those Who Remain Through the Peter Principle. Supervisors and public servants who made fiefdoms by outlasting up-and-comers. Longevity is due to keeping their heads down and noses clean, rather than excelling via special talents-achievements. Still living on past laurels.
  5. Those Who Really Empower People. These are a rare breed… the backbone of well-run organizations. Some do what they do very well in poorly-run organizations. They may not be department heads, but they set exemplary standards and inspire others toward positive accomplishments. Category 2, 3 and 4 authority figures either resent them and try to claim credit for what they do… or are smart enough to place them in effective, visible roles. Some advance into management and encounter similar situations there too.
  6. Have Truly Earned Their Position-Respect. Also a rare breed. Those who excelled at every assignment given and each stage of their career. Never were too busy to set good examples, share ideas with others and help build the teams on which they played.
  7. Never Stop Paying Dues, Learning, Sharing Knowledge. The rarest breed of all. Distance runners who created knowledge, rather than conveyed that of other people. Though they could coast on past laurels, for them, the best is yet to come.

7 Levels of Advice Given

  1. Answers to Questions. There are 7 levels of answers which may be given, depending upon how extensive one wants: Easy and Obvious Ones, Knee-Jerk Reactions, Politically Correct, What People Want to Hear, Factual and Complete Explanations, Answers That Get Them Thinking Further and Deep Wisdom.
  2. Observations on Situations. These take the forms of “When this happened to me, I did X,” or “If this occurred with me, I would Y.” It’s often good to see things through someone else’s perspective.
  3. Subjective Viewpoint. Friends want what is best for you. This level of advice is usually pro-active and is influenced by the advisor’s experiences with comparable situations.
  4. Informed Opinion. Experts have core-business backgrounds upon which to draw. Advisors bring facts, analysis and methodologies of applying their solutions to your case. Niche consultants provide quality viewpoints… as it relates to their talents and skills. Carefully consider the sources.
  5. Researched Options. Investments in research (formal, informal, attitudinal, demographic, sociological) will avert unnecessary band aid surgery expenses later. Research leads to planning, which is the best way to accomplish tasks and benchmark success.
  6. Discussion of Outcomes-Consequences. Most actions and decisions in an organization affect many others. At this level, advisors recommend that sufficient planning be conducted… please take their advice. The more strategic and Big Picture in scope, then planning reaps long-term rewards.
  7. Inspiring Directions. This gets into Visioning. Planning and going to new heights are stimulating. The mannerisms and substance by which any organization achieves its Vision requires sophisticated advice, deep insights and creative ideas.

7 Levels-Tiers of Qualifying Consultants

  1. Wanna-be consultants. Vendors selling services. Subcontractors. Out-of-work people who hang out “consulting” shingles in between jobs. Freelancers and moonlighters, whose consultancy may or may not relate to their day jobs. (26%)
  2. Entry-level consultants. Those who were downsized, out-placed, retired or changed careers, launching a consulting practice. Prior experience in company environment. (19.5%)
  3. Grinders. Those who do the bulk of project work. Conduct programs designed by others. 1-10 years’ consulting experience. (35.49%)
  4. Minders. Mid-level consultants. Those with specific niche or industry expertise, starting to build a track record. 10-20 years’ consulting experience. (13.5%)
  5. Finders. Firms which package and market services. Most claim they have all expertise in-house. The more sophisticated ones are skilled at building and utilizing collaborations of outside experts and joint ventures. (3.5%)
  6. Senior level. Veteran consultants (20 years+) who were trained for and have a track record in consulting. That’s what they have done for most of their careers. (2%)
  7. Beyond the strata of consultant. Senior advisor, routinely producing original knowledge. Strategic overview, vision expeditor. Creativity-insight not available elsewhere.

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 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 Corporate Cultures Article

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.

StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article

Encourage Your Employees to Be Their Authentic Selves – And Improve Workplace Morale

Often people attempt to conceal their personalities at work. This might mean concealing their interests or their passions, but sometimes it goes even deeper. Occasionally, people try and change their accents, or hide their sexual orientation.

Sometimes, employees are concerned that their authentic selves will mark them out as too ‘different’ or ‘quirky’ or ‘airy fairy’ to succeed in the workplace. However, this means that they might be selling themselves short – and in the process, holding back your business.

More Authentic Personalities = Better Business People

People who feel more comfortable in themselves often have greater confidence in their own ability to get the job done. They can be resourceful and quick thinkers who are able to solve problems – because they feel empowered enough to do so. These kinds of individuals are only an asset to a business.

Individuals who are in a role that involves facing clients or closing deals should always present their authentic selves to sell well. Most people can detect fakery and avoid those people, choosing not to spend time with them and trust them in a business relationship.

Fostering an atmosphere of inauthenticity will only impact negatively upon your business. Your staff won’t be happy, productive staff – the kind that are so important to getting a job done well.

Encourage Your Staff to Be Themselves

There are many ways you can encourage your staff to be more authentic in the work place. Mostly it starts by allowing an environment where people feel empowered enough to be their authentic persons, while still being respectful.

It’s mostly about fostering trust between management and colleagues and allowing personalities to shine.

Here are our top tips on how to encourage your staff to be themselves.

1. Get to Know Them

Make sure that you devote some time to each individual member of your staff at least once a month. Ask them what their ambitions are and how they want to get there.

Frequent performance reviews create an environment of trust, so staff feel more empowered to give you honest feedback – something which will only be beneficial for the company.

2. Offer the Training They Want

Staff feel happier and more fulfilled – two elements which are crucial for authentic living – when they feel they’re moving into the future with skills.

If you have ambitious staff, offering them distinct training opportunities to foster their goals and talents. This will help them feel more confident and empowered in the workplace.

3. Don’t Enforce a Strict Corporate Dress Code

You might find a couple of Patrick Bateman weirdos who love wearing a full suit every day, but most modern men and women don’t. Let your employees express their personality in their clothes without judgement.

Most people won’t turn up to the office in sweatpants even if your dress code is more relaxed. People also pick up visual cues off leaders in their environment – if most people dress smart every day, they’ll dress well too.

4. Allow Employees to Personalize Their Workspace

Make sure people feel comfortable personalizing their space in their office. Allowing people to bring in photos of their friends and family, or adding a plant really makes the space more comfortable for them.

If employees have a work phone, let them choose the best phone case for them.

5. Hold Team Idea Meetings

Don’t wait for employees to come to you with ideas. You may never know but there could just be an idea that’s about to revolutionize your company and increase your profit margins in the head of someone sat down in a cubicle in your office.

Foster an environment where people feel comfortable enough to throw out ideas, to help people grow in confidence as they know their opinions are valued.

6. Encourage Structured Growth

To really get the best out of the people you work with, make a plan for each individual’s development. Make sure everyone has a set time each week to do their training or develop their passion projects, for the benefit of the business.

Remember: happier staff can only mean better things for your business.

StrategyDriven Corporate Cultures Article

How to Create a Stress-Free Work Environment

Unfortunately, in today’s society, jobs are becoming more and more difficult to come by. Maybe that’s why some companies are starting to put pressure on their employees. Being stressed at work can come with many disadvantages, but some of the main ones include lack of productivity, constant pressure between employees, lack of professional growth and development, long and inflexible work hours, job insecurity and many more.

Regardless of the workspace or type of work that employees need to perform, it is important to create a more relaxing and chilled environment. In order to do so, it is vital to think about a great variety of aspects.

What are the main reasons for that certain pressure? Is stress generated because the office is too cluttered? Or is it because of the lack of communication? Either way, both the employer and the employees need to discuss these aspects and make some changes. At the end of the day, the employees are going to use all of their energy and skills to improve production and adopt a positive attitude that is of great help for any workspace.

Create a Room for Relaxation

These days more and more companies are starting to think about their employees and are providing them with a room where they can meditate, relax and put their thoughts in order. Having a room for relaxation should be a compulsory aspect for every company. Humans need to take breaks and relax as many times as they need in order to be able to give 100%. It has been proven that the human brain can be a lot more productive after even after a short break between two tasks.

The human brain needs a break so that it can recharge after performing different tiring operations. The room for relaxation doesn’t necessarily have to be a fancy one. Even a very simple space that is decorated accordingly can be a great help that will bring a lot of advantages over time. Once you find out what are the needs of your employees, it is quite easy to create that certain space. You could add a nice corner sofa and some beanbags, a table where they are going to have lunch together and why not a few plants or a small garden space that brings peace and fresh air to the “zen space”.

Communication is Key

Even though many people might not be aware of it, communication is a very important aspect that makes people who they are. People need to communicate in order to survive. So why would they stop communicating at work? These days more and more individuals suffer from physical or emotional stress because of the lack of communication and disorganization at work. A disorganized office usually leads to wasting time of finding important papers, missing deadlines, decreasing the level of productivity and even slowing down the mental energy. In order to be able to create a stress-free work environment employers are advised to encourage their employees to express their ideas and opinions as often as they feel that they could be beneficial for the office atmosphere and not only. Moreover, an employer who is able to communicate well with the team will most likely eliminate misunderstandings, creating a healthy work environment. Efficient communication with the employees is the main aspect that leads to getting the work done quickly, in a much professional manner.

Make the most of the Online World

Every employer aims to create a workplace where the team is able to innovate and come up with the best ideas to increase the productivity. In order to do so, it is important to make the most of every resource that is close to us. These days one can find so many useful applications and websites in the online world. One can find apps that are meant to create a peaceful environment at work, one can find posters that they can print out and frame in order to create a very relaxed and positive atmosphere and last but not least, one has tools that help them facilitate their day to day work. Meteor Forms is essentially a technology that helps its clients build customized forms. This company fills out your forms while you relax and enjoy high security of your data.

Keep Active

Doctors and experts inform us that in order to live a healthy life both mentally and physically, it is important to keep active each day. They advise us to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, which is not always possible when working in a sedentary office job. However, there are a few tips and tricks that every team can do so that they eliminate the sedentary way of life, enjoy a nice activity together and create a less stressful work environment.

A simple but very effective way of keeping active at work is by taking the stairs as opposed to the elevator. Stretching is also a good way of relieving the tension in the muscles and preventing eventual back problems that might appear over time. Even though most of the time corporate jobs imply the idea of wearing formal attire, employees can always opt for a comfortable option that will allow them to move freely all day long. Another great activity that every team of office workers could do would be taking a walk in the park while on lunch break. This kind of activity prevents a sedentary lifestyle, adds to the daily amount of walking steps, burns calories and helps build a more relaxed work atmosphere.

Learn to Be Tolerant

Everyone needs to remember that every individual is different and they might have personal issues that don’t allow them to be the best version of themselves. A lack of tolerance gets in the way of making personal connections with people around us. Moreover, it can also create unprofessional behavior and misunderstandings. In a workplace, just like in our day to day life, people should be treated with respect. Building tolerance and learning to accept different cultures are great aspects that help eliminate pressures or stress in the work ambience.