Sunday, July 28, 2013

Business Owners; What Are You Waiting for?

Remember how you felt when you didn’t have the courage to ask out that cute guy/girl you had such a crush on back in school? Remember how you felt when that  couple outbid you and your spouse on your dream house by just a few bucks? Don’t let that feeling creep back into your life in the corner office.
According to the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey released Friday, Americans are more confident about the economy than at any time since July 2007. UM’s index of consumer sentiment rang in at 85.1 in July—that’s up nearly 13 points from this time a year ago. Researchers said rising home prices and consistent job gains are boosting feelings of household wealth and income. While the beige book statistics coming out of Washington are consistently underwhelming, we’re putting more stock in the psychology of the U.S. consumer and business owner than what the economists’ numbers indicate.
According to the UM data, the proportion of Americans who expect their incomes to rise in the coming year is greater than at any time since late 2007. And the percentage of Americans who say they believe their home values have risen is also at a six-year high.

If your firm or business is still in “hunker down” mode—afraid to hire the help you need and too insecure to upgrade your systems and infrastructure—then that whooshing sound you hear may be your competitors (and top talent), blowing right by you. Borrowing costs (for you and your customers) will not get any lower. The financial markets, while at record highs, are still historically cheap. If you’re serious about taking your firm or business to the next level, then the time’s never going to be better than RIGHT NOW. Be a bold leader, not a disconsolate shoulda-woulda-coulda. Make your move today and go all in. You’ll be glad you did. 

More tips can be found on the FREE Resources page of our website.

Tags: Consumer confidence, University of Michigan survey 

Friday, July 19, 2013

What Successful People Never Do

It’s a Friday and we’re in Day Six of a near-triple-digit heat wave here in the Northeast. Obviously productivity is not at 100 percent across most of the working world (look how late our post is this week).
Half the people you count on are away for vacation or pretty much mailing it in before they leave. The other half are running around like chickens with their heads off, frantically checking things off a punch list that seems to gets longer (not shorter) the closer they get to their vacation departure date.

Some of our clients are blowing off our weekly “gut check” calls and that’s where the highest performing organizations separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Like great sports teams, elite military units and award winning symphonies, they find that extra gear that allows them to grind it out and focus when everyone else is mailing it in. The dividends for that kind of discipline will be huge after Labor Day.

Bernard Marr, a best-selling author and business performance expert sent us this great post the other day and it really gave us a lift around the office. “The is one thing all radically successful people have in common,” notes Marr, “Their ferocious drive and hunger for success makes them never give up.” Contrary to popular opinion, they’re not always successful at everything they do, but they have a unique ability to “pick themselves up, dust themselves off and carry on trying.”
To drive his point home, Marr deconstructs the failures of Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Bill Gates and other luminaries before they hit it big. And what struck us the most was that some of their ideas that didn’t catch on actually sounded pretty good. It’s not just having a great idea, but having a great idea at just the right time, with the right team and resources behind you to execute it.

“The truly successful won't be beaten,” observes Marr. “They take responsibility for failure, learn from it and start all over from a stronger position.” Amen, Bernard.

Stay cool. Work hard. Play hard. And for goodness sakes, don’t ever take your foot off the accelerator. Life’s too short not to get the most out of each and every day.
More tips can be found on the FREE Resources page of our website.


Tags: Bernard Marr, What successful people never do

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Can the Young and Old Co-Exist in the Workplace?

If you have summer interns or recent college graduates at your organization right now, chances are you’re pretty frustrated. If you’re a young person just starting out in your career, chances are you’re pretty frustrated as well. So who’s at fault when both sides just aren’t getting it?

According to a new report by The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace published in March found that about half of 704 employers who participated in the study said they had trouble finding recent college graduates qualified to fill positions at their company.

What really caught our attention was the lack of “specific technical skills” wasn’t the whole story. Turns out employers are even more distressed by job candidates’ lack of “written and oral communication skills, adaptability and managing multiple priorities, and making decisions and problem solving.” In other words THE ABILITY TO THINK!

Jaime S. Fall, a vice president at the HR Policy Association, who was interviewed in
Alina Tugend’s piece in last Friday’s New York Times about this report said young employees “are very good at finding information, but not as good at putting that information into context.” In other words, “They’re really good at technology, but not at how to take those skills and resolve specific business problems.”


Mara Swan, executive vice president of global strategy and talent at Manpower Group, told Tugend that young workers have problems with collaboration, interpersonal skills, the ability to deal with ambiguity, flexibility and professionalism.

On the flip side, young workers think there older co-workers and superiors are technology dinosaurs, slow to adapt and resentful that they’re not willing to pay their dues like they did.


There’s truth to both sides of the argument. What our highest performing clients are doing are finding ways to bridge both the generation gap and technology gap by allowing their employees to make contributions on the terms they prefer via the communication tools they prefer. Regardless of where you are in your career or your hiring process, you need to understand what  makes your non-peers tick and help them get the most out of their talents.

Have a great 4th.  HB

More tips can be found on the FREE Resources page of our website.