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As a coach and workshop facilitator, I frequently get calls that sound something like this:

“I’m looking for someone who can give a workshop to my staff on the topic of _________. My plan is for us to do an introductory session in a few weeks and then follow up soon after with the next phase of the professional development. Can you help us?”

If the date and other details work out we move forward with scheduling the session. At the end, I debrief with the coordinator, to ask for feedback and to plan the next steps. That conversation often goes as follows:

“The workshop was exactly what we needed! Thank you so much. Please give us a little time and me or one of my associates will be back in touch to schedule the first follow up session.” However, on more than one occasion, that was the last that I heard from them. (read more…)

Crises often occur unexpectedly. What can never be unexpected is a leader’s response.

The leader must assume control of the response with alacrity as well as authority. Integral to the response must be the leader’s command presence and the ability to communicate coherently and correctly.

Do these things and the crisis will remain, but people involved in the crisis will be assured that someone is in charge and is mobilizing the right resources and right people to solve the problem.

  (read more…)

baron.hansonSMALL“Cut, cut, cut!” This is one of the most overused fiscal mantras recited by company management of all shapes and sizes, yet one not practiced granularly or wisely enough to actually sustain retained earnings.

Cost-cutting — or phrased more positively “rightsizing expenses to improve profits” — requires new mindsets and new frameworks as opposed to old negative hatchets. Today, C-suites locally and globally are re-examining their internal dynamics, fiscal positioning and how they negotiate with vendors and employees to find new value.

About 80% of my consulting experience is turnaround management: Triage finance mixed with operational math, HR improvements and refreshed branding and marketing to revitalize business models — very, very quickly.

Growing or turning around any company’s profits requires finding new value that new customers are willing to pay for, and employees and vendors are willing to deliver.

PROBLEM ONE: Companies facing fiscal trouble typically have no idea which customers are their most profitable customers, which employees are their most profitable employees and which vendors are their most profitable sources of supply or service innovation. (read more…)

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…)