Visionary Leadership!

I had lunch today with an individual that I respect and have a great deal of affection for, not only as a consummate professional, but as a friend.

Our discussion centered around the topic of organizational culture and how growth influences that culture in either a positive or negative way based upon whether or not the leader of the organization understands the influencing factors involved. The most difficult part of organizational change is helping the workforce understand why the change is necessary and even inevitable, especially if the change is a product of growth. Understanding how such change will influence the culture of the company is critical to ensuring that such change will not only be positive, but ultimately successful.

When the organization is unwilling to adequately prepare the workforce for significant change, (such as broad restructuring), it’s most often because the leadership of the company was in too big of a hurry to complete the task. When that happens, I always wonder if there was enough vision in the leadership group to plan far enough ahead to consider not only the short-term effects on the workforce, but more importantly, the long-term effects on the culture of the company.

Till the next post, Safe Journeys!

Visionary Leadership.

I had lunch today with an individual that I respect and have a great deal of affection for, not only as a consummate professional, but as a friend.

Our discussion centered around the topic of organizational culture and how growth influences that culture in either a positive or negative way based upon whether or not the leader of the organization understands the influencing factors involved. The most difficult part of organizational change is helping the workforce understand why the change is necessary and even inevitable, especially if the change is a product of growth. Understanding how such change will influence the culture of the company is critical to ensuring that such change will not only be positive, but ultimately successful.

When the organization is unwilling to adequately prepare the workforce for significant change, (such as broad restructuring), it’s most often because the leadership of the company was in too big of a hurry to complete the task.

When that happens, I always wonder if there was enough vision in the leadership group to plan far enough ahead to consider not only the short-term effects on the workforce, but more importantly, the long-term effects on the culture of the company.

Truth Be Told, people and culture matter the most!

The Rhetoric of Small Business!

If I hear any of our political leaders say again that this country was built on the backs of small business, I think I’m going to just implode!

It’s such an insult to the intelligence of small business owners and operators everywhere to hear the same rhetoric over and over. At the same time, they know by personal experience that they are being treated exactly the opposite by the majority of the lenders in the financial community. Even the most well-prepared business plans are of no use.

It’s also ironic that the banks and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are playing ping-pong with the country’s small business entrepreneurs, as well. Why do banks tell small business clients they choose not to lend to that they can go to the local SBA office, when they know that SBA loans are funded by the banks?

While all of this is happening, small business owners with existing loans at the banks, especially those that chose to take TARP funds, are under attack. These financial institutions continue to more than double interest rates at loan renewal, modify loan parameters to include interest plus principle, or demand 80% to loan value immediately, and all of this with very little notice.

The reality of all of this flies in the face of all the rhetoric! Why continue to talk about lending to small business with the knowledge that absolutely nothing has been, will be, or can be done to force any of the lending institutions (including the SBA) to comply? I guess because it has been, is now, and will always continue to be politically expedient to do so!

Till the next post, Safe Journeys!

The Brett Farve Syndrome

Image result for brett favre

If you’re a sports fan, especially professional football, then you’ve kept up with the retirement saga of Brett Favre over the past two years.

As I watched the playoff game yesterday evening, I witnessed the “value” of a 40-year old quarterback, who simply refused to be set aside because he knew he could still perform at a high level. I watched a 40-year old leader perform with great courage; an individual that has been subjected over the last two years to a barrage of intense criticism, sarcasm and ridicule for refusing to just go away.

More importantly, as I watched the sidelines during the game, I witnessed an entire team look to this 40-year old individual for wisdom, maturity, and experience. I watched him encourage, motivate, embrace and lead by example; characteristics that any of us would aspire to, not only as leaders, but for what we look to from those who lead us. As I watched, I knew that if he faltered, they would all falter. He knew that, as well.

I’ve often wondered over the past few months, why it made any difference at all to so many of the experts and analysts. Why did they invest so much time trying to influence this particular individual to just go away? What was so bad about this individual still wanting to be given the opportunity to contribute and continue to add value; especially because he knew he could?

At the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder how many “Brett Favres” there are that have been restructured out of the workplace in the last eighteen months. How many organizations have taken the position that a professional of a certain age has reached their maximum potential, is no longer of value, and simply needs to be ushered out to make way for the next generation.

Truth Be Told, each individual’s circumstances are unique, but I wonder how many organizations will never get to the “playoffs,” much less the marketplace “super bowl” because they spent more time and money trying to replace their “Brett Favre’s” instead of investing in them.

The Brett Favre Syndrome!

If you’re a sports fan, especially professional football, then you’ve kept up with the retirement saga of Brett Favre over the past two years.

As I watched the playoff game yesterday evening, I witnessed the “value” of a 40-year old quarterback, who simply refused to be set aside because he knew he could still perform at a high level. I watched a 40-year old leader perform with great courage; an individual that has been subjected over the last two years to a barrage of intense criticism, sarcasm and ridicule for refusing to just go away.

More importantly, as I watched the sidelines during the game, I witnessed an entire team look to this 40-year old individual for wisdom, maturity, and experience. I watched him encourage, motivate, embrace and lead by example; characteristics that any of us would aspire to, not only as leaders, but for what we look to from those who lead us. As I watched, I knew that if he faltered, they would all falter. He knew that, as well.

I’ve often wondered over the past few months, why it made any difference at all to so many of the experts and analysts. Why did they invest so much time trying to influence this particular individual to just go away? What was so bad about this individual still wanting to be given the opportunity to contribute and continue to add value; especially because he knew he could?

At the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder how many “Brett Favres” there are that have been restructured out of the workplace in the last eighteen months. How many organizations have taken the position that a professional of a certain age has reached their maximum potential, is no longer of value, and simply needs to be ushered out to make way for the next generation.

Granted, each individual’s circumstances are unique, but I wonder how many organizations will never get to the “playoffs,” much less the marketplace “super bowl” because they spent more time and money trying to replace their “Brett Favres” instead of investing in them.

Till the next post, Safe Journeys!

The Human Spirit!

I never cease to be amazed at the strength and potential of the human spirit!

I was invited to give a presentation today to a group that comes together for the purpose of providing support, encouragement and resources to marketplace professionals, who have been displaced in the recent wave of restructuring.

I don’t use the term “professionals” in an exclusive sense. Any of us that have had a position of responsibility in an organization for an extended period of years is, in my opinion, a professional. In fact, I wish more of us would embrace that mindset rather than thinking that a professional is just someone with specialized training that can only be attributed to a very few. This group of people were definitely professionals in every sense of the word and they came from all walks of life.

What overwhelmed me today was a conviction I felt in the room that derived from a group of people making a conscious choice to do everything they can to move forward as proactively as possible. Even more amazing was the fact that this group was doing so based upon a shared faith that their mutual experiences were purposed and part of a plan that held more promise than disappointment. As a believer, this resonated with me in a very unique yet familiar way.

The emotion of that conviction really overwhelmed me this morning to the degree that I had to compose myself before speaking. I was humbled and honored that I would be asked to share my perspectives with a group of people who have no idea how much they blessed my day and reinforced my own conviction to keep moving forward in faith regardless of the circumstances.

Till the next post, safe journeys!

The Human Spirit!

I never cease to be amazed at the strength and potential of the human spirit!

I was invited to give a presentation today to a group that comes together for the purpose of providing support, encouragement and resources to marketplace professionals, who have been displaced in the recent wave of restructuring.

I don’t use the term “professionals” in an exclusive sense. Any of us that have had a position of responsibility in an organization for an extended period of years is, in my opinion, a professional. In fact, I wish more of us would embrace that mindset rather than thinking that a professional is just someone with specialized training that can only be attributed to a very few. This group of people were definitely professionals in every sense of the word and they came from all walks of life.

What overwhelmed me today was a conviction I felt in the room that derived from a group of people making a conscious choice to do everything they can to move forward as proactively as possible. Even more amazing was the fact that this group was doing so based upon a shared faith that their mutual experiences were purposed and part of a plan that held more promise than disappointment. As a believer, this resonated with me in a very unique yet familiar way.

Truth Be Told, the emotion of that conviction really overwhelmed me this morning to the degree that I had to compose myself before speaking. I was humbled and honored that I would be asked to share my perspectives with a group of people who have no idea how much they blessed my day and reinforced my own conviction to keep moving forward in faith regardless of the circumstances.

The Value of Wisdom, Experience & Maturity.

I hope that everyone had a great holiday with their families and that they are entering the new year with a renewed sense of hope and enthusiasm.

As we see the trend in Organizational Restructuring continue, it saddens me to see the wealth of experience, wisdom and maturity that is being culled from the workplace. This is not to say that the restructuring is not necessary or, in some cases, vital for the survival of the organization. More often than not, it’s the result of years of not monitoring expenses during prosperity and allowing layers of bureaucracy and administration to build to the point that the organization is not as responsive as the marketplace or the consumer requires.

The troublesome part of this process of streamlining the organization are the methods chosen to do so. Too often, little thought is given to the effect the process will have on the members of the marketplace, the community, the employees that are removed, the employees that remain, and the long-term effects such a process will have on the culture of the organization. For the most part, it becomes a knee-jerk reaction to declining revenue and profitability that is conducted almost overnight with a lack of empathy that is reflective of a lack of vision and consideration by the leadership of the company.

Truth Be Told, the least amount of consideration given is to the potential that is still available in long-term employees that could be tapped by assessing the level of wisdom, maturity, and most important, the desire for continued learning that is still there.

The Value of Experience, Wisdom and Maturity!

I hope that everyone had a great holiday with their families and that they are entering the new year with a renewed sense of hope and enthusiasm.

As we see the trend in Organizational Restructuring continue, it saddens me to see the wealth of experience, wisdom and maturity that is being culled from the workplace. This is not to say that the restructuring is not necessary or, in some cases, vital for the survival of the organization. More often than not, it’s the result of years of not monitoring expenses during prosperity and allowing layers of bureaucracy and administration to build to the point that the organization is not as responsive as the marketplace or the consumer requires.

The troublesome part of this process of streamlining the organization are the methods chosen to do so. Too often, little thought is given to the effect the process will have on the members of the marketplace, the community, the employees that are removed, the employees that remain, and the long-term effects such a process will have on the culture of the organization. For the most part, it becomes a knee-jerk reaction to declining revenue and profitability that is conducted almost overnight with a lack of empathy that is reflective of a lack of vision and consideration by the leadership of the company.

The least amount of consideration given is to the potential that is still available in long-term employees that could be tapped by assessing the level of wisdom, maturity, and most important, the desire for continued learning that is still there.

Till the next post, Safe Journeys!

The Future of Training & Development

I’ve written recently about several trends I’ve been seeing in the marketplace as a result of the organizational restructuring that is sweeping both the small and corporate business landscape. Another area that is being influenced is the process of Training and Development.

More and more companies have been outsourcing the process over the last few years, relying on subject-matter experts and training companies to provide training and facilitation, both in-house and otherwise. Even larger corporations like Wal-Mart, that have been conducting training and development in-house for some time, with field training being provided via the company’s web-based intranet, have been using external facilitators to meet the continuing demand for training from all of their Associates, suppliers, vendors, manufacturers, etc.

Companies are having a difficult time working half-day, full-day, or multiple day seminars into the work schedules of the employees and into the expense budgets of the organization. As a result, there will be a continuing demand for training specialists and facilitators to provide what I’ll call “Snapshot Seminars.”

Truth Be Told, I’ve been providing just such a vehicle for the last few years with amazing results.