When I took over ACAM Advisors in early 2003, investment returns had been below average for several years, and two important clients had recently defected. The majority owners hinted to me that, in their view, layoffs might be in order. From my perspective, the firm’s client list had enough A-list names still on it, and the CVs of the professional staff looked impressive. Surely there was value here.

When a new manager takes over a troubled business unit or company, often the culture of that unit or company demands immediate attention. But how to do it quickly? Turnaround situations call for urgent moves, and entrenched cultures are highly resistant to change. It usually takes a long time to change the existing one or to create a new one.

In such situations, a manager must look for openings where an action on his or her part will send a short, sharp message that things are changing. (read more…)

In Western society, capitalism often earns a dog-eat-dog reputation. We’ve been led to believe that we can either make money or do good. But it is possible to do both. Your business can benefit your employees, customers, and the world at large if you learn to balance your ideals and pursuit of profit.

The core idea behind conscious capitalism is to marry business goals with a higher purpose to make the world a better place. It’s important to understand that capitalism doesn’t equate to greed. Our society needs businesses to survive — businesses produce necessary goods and services and provide employment opportunities.

If you’re a CEO, an owner-operator, or a board member, conscious capitalism may be just the approach you need. Conscious capitalism takes these economic benefits a step further by recognizing the link between building a world-class enterprise and serving others.

The business benefits of conscious capitalism

Conscious capitalism offers concrete benefits for businesses beyond feeling good — such companies have been shown to outperform the Standard & Poors 500 and Russell 3000 indices. (read more…)

Major change initiatives may bubble up from the ranks, but their success depends upon the advocacy of those at the top. Winning those folks to your side is essential, but it’s not enough. You have to make your influence felt one on one, person to person.

Get involved where you can have the most positive impact.

As a change agent, your challenge is to integrate your way of thinking into the organization in ways that do not threaten individuals but rather complement the goals and strategies of the organization.

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. 11 on its list of global leadership experts. (read more…)

All that planning, hard work and sweat equity is paying off. Your business is growing. Is it time to grow your workforce, too? You could be ready for hiring an employee if you:

  • Get bad reviews or complaints. Negative customer feedback is an early indicator that something’s amiss. Analyze this data to determine whether the issue is related to insufficient staff or a problematic process/procedure, and to identify specific times of day or functions where you need the extra help. The Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey found 62% of customers switched service providers because of unsatisfactory customer service or experience. So hiring an employee can address the problems and improve business.
  • See a new revenue opportunity. Sometimes in the course of doing business you uncover a new line of revenue stream or line of business that’s worth pursuing. But if you’re like most small-business owners, you’re already working at full tilt.
  • (read more…)

If you Google “gift ideas for your boss,” you will find pages of results, mostly from companies that sell gifts.

However, if you search “should I get a holiday gift for my boss,” the consensus answers seems to be “absolutely not!”

At least according to Miss Manners (Judith Martin), Emily Post, Ask a Manager (Alison Green), and the Evil HR Lady herself (Suzanne Lucas), all very credible workplace etiquette experts. They say it’s either blatant sucking up, or could at least give the appearance of sucking up. Holiday office gifts should be given “down” but not “up.”

On the other end of the boss gift giving continuum, you find holiday gifts that will impress your boss. While I think the idea of giving a holiday gift to impress your boss is pretty slimy, I have to give the author credit for being transparent.

Where do I stand on the issue of holiday gift giving for the boss? (read more…)