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Dr. Merlot’s Perspective: Leading from a place of Position vs Personal Power

I knew it was not going to take long for Loyd to get me back for my, ehhem, outburst the last time we spoke. How was I to know that he had the client on speaker, while golfing? Thankfully, the client did not seem offended as he ended the call with a little trash talk in expressing I am a better golfer than Loyd, which probably sent Loyd into golf orbit. I suspect Loyd has been practicing his game, since I was on my way to join him for a round while I was in Orlando.

Even though, Jack our client seemed fine at the end of our last conversation, I still couldn’t shake the feeling my Dr. Merlot “straight talk” had potentially offended him. Normally, I don’t care much because truth is truth and people need to hear it, but since I talked so freely not knowing Jack was on the phone in addressing Loyd’s question last month about “Is enhancement of personal lifestyle reasonable motivation for growth?” I was certain I had stepped in it somehow. This made me reflect more on a topic we are seeing more and more when clients are focused on building teamwork. What has become increasingly clear, especially with the multiple generations in a workspace, is the impact of tone and communication and how it relates to strong leadership.

Before Loyd could get his firs t-shot off, I thought this might be a good topic to dive into, while also offering myself up as the sacrificial token in a means of saying I was sorry. For the next eighteen holes, Loyd and I discussed how management style impacts people, attitude, recruitment and retention and overall culture of the business. Loyd also asked me to express my thoughts on leaders who try to rule from a place of positional power. Needless to say, this conversation took up the majority of our golf round, and could have continued into the dinner we had later that evening.

Loyd and I first focused our discussion on managers who “rule” from a place of positional power. What I shared with Loyd is it’s a touchy subject. It requires leaders to identify their style, and in most cases, make adjustments because positional power, or influence, is commonly a factual or implied superior role. We see it directly with owners, department managers, bosses, older siblings, or parents. It is, in simple terms, a “power” position where the leader uses their title or standing to influence those around them, and it often leads to malicious compliance.

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Dr. Merlot’s Perspective: Growth of Lifestyle Motivation for Business Growth

After an interesting golf game with Loyd, I was left contemplating why business owners often look at reasons other than their existing or potentially enhanced lifestyle when it comes to evaluating business growth. In the case of our conversation with Jack last month, Loyd and I had the opportunity to share with him why growth matters, even if the business is doing well. It is an easy area of confusion. If your business is in a good spot, you are making money, your people are happy and your bank account can sustain a future for you in retirement, why care about growth? A very simple answer is - life changes in a moment. What may look like is going well today, may in fact change in an instant. Therefore, if you are not constantly looking forward and trying to achieve more market share/growth, the lifestyle that you may wish to lead long after you have left the business, may not be a reality.

So, then we must take a look at motivation and understand as business owners, what is our real motivation to not only be in business, but to take on risk and continue to strategically grow and enhance the business to sustain the future? For some, it is likely to give back, develop people, contribute to the community, build something – which ultimately is to build a legacy.

Irony. Loyd happen to give my office a call as I was sitting here pondering this thought. I picked up the phone and answered, “Hey there, scratch golfer, to what do I owe the honor of your call?” With a slight chuckle, Loyd did what he does best. Without a hello, he simply asked me, “Is enhancement of personal lifestyle reasonable motivation for growth?”

I am not going to lie. I about fell off my chair because it was like he was in my head, and here I was thinking, I was the shrink in the relationship! I was not going to let Loyd one-up me, so I responded with,

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Dr. Merlot’s Perspective: Motivations and Strategies for Business Growth

Loyd and I found ourselves both with a Friday free from client travel, so we decided to meet for a round of golf. I always love an opportunity to talk some smack to Loyd about his golf game.

We were rounding the turn to move to the 10th hole and ran into a friend of ours, Jack. We took a minute to catch up, giving updates on family and business. As Loyd and I were about to pull away, Jack asked if he could ask us a quick question about his business. Jack was scratching his head, so I could tell he was really struggling with something. In short, Jack had been in Board meetings the previous day, where most of the conversation focused on strategic planning and growth. Jack’s business had a strong customer base, reputation in the community and product/services. To him, he felt everything was great and his mentality was focused on sustaining success, but his Board members were more focused on growth. As such, Jack felt at odds with his Board and was struggling with the direction of the strategic plan. Other than a date confirmed for the next Board Meeting, there was no resolution or next steps identified at the end of the day. Knowing our backgrounds, Jack asked:

“If everything is going well, why is business growth so important, other than to fill someone’s ego or make more money? I need a compelling reason to take on the risk."

I opened my mouth to speak, but Loyd beat me to the punch.

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As Seen in Multi Unit Franchisee - Strategic Planning Creates Exciting Future

As Seen in Multi Unit Franchisee - Strategic Planning Creates Exciting Future

Some things in life are actually fun to plan - weddings, vacations, and special celebratory events. The planning that goes into the event usually leads to a happy outcome, even when there are bumps along the way.

Business Planning, however, usually gets a bad rap. Mention business planning to a multi-unit franchisee entrepreneur or a fast moving, high-energy executive and watch their eyes begin to gloss over. So how do we make business planning fun, exciting, and worthwhile for those involved?

Read the complete article on the Multi Unit Franchisee website

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Case Study – 50/50 Partnerships Impact Business Decisions

Industry: Franchise

Company Overview: First generation, multi-unit and multi-brand business across several state lines

Challenge: 50/50 first generation business owners. One partner actively involved in the day to day operations, while the other has become less active, yet very much involved in overall business decisions.

Second generation family members and a few “friends of the family” are becoming interested in the business. The partners have different opinions about the strategic direction of the business, compensation plans based upon their contributions, and the appropriate way to integrate and develop family member employees in the business. Partner conflict is impacting teamwork and performance.

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Case Study – Right People Drive Performance

Industry: Franchise

Company Overview: First generation, multi-unit franchise business, two partners with locations in multiple states and a diversity of brands

Challenge: First generation business owners, needing to recruit and retain key employees to build leadership bench strength. The owners have always simply hired to fill positions and were experiencing continual turnover, which was not only costing money, but also preventing the company from growing due to lack of leadership in key roles.

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How to Build Teamwork Amongst Key Managers and Family

Your management team and family member employees should form the backbone of your business. Ideally, they know and live your values; they are in alignment with your goals; and they are your boots on the ground interacting with customers, employees, and vendors. At their best they optimize resources to achieve a high level of performance, and drive your business onward to future success. So what happens when your managers and family don’t work as a team, and how can you turn things around?

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Is Your Business Vision Working for You?

Did you know that it is impossible to not communicate? In the same way, you can’t be in business without a succession plan. Whether or not you have spent the energy and taken the time to engage a host of experts to help you plan for the transition to the next generation of owners and leaders, you have a succession plan.

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How to Improve Teamwork and Increase Productivity

Organizational productivity is dependent upon teamwork, which I describe as two or more people working together for a common goal. “Team” can be expressed or implied, conscious or unconscious, but regardless, organizational productivity depends upon the effectiveness of interdependent, collaborative effort.

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What's The Purpose Of Your Success?

Succession is dependent upon success. Therefore, mediocrity is not a succession option. In order for you to have confidence your successors can survive the predictable distractions, issues and problems associated with the transfer of ownership and management control your business must perform above benchmark to assure that there is adequate margin for a dip in productivity.

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Pursuit of Perfection: The Game That Can’t Be Won

Some people are obsessed with perfection. Recently, a Board of Directors asked that we conduct a 360 Evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer of their organization. When asked if there were any specific performance concerns, the response was “Not really, we think that Mary Beth is an exceptional leader, organizes well, thinks strategically, and has the full confidence and support of the Board. We just have some concerns that we’re not doing all we can to help her develop, and a 360 will help us identify areas that are deficient.”

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How to Move Under-Performers Up or Out of Your business

Take stock of the employees in your company; most likely you have already mentally classified them into categories of nonperformers, underperformers, average performers, or super performers. Hopefully, you have the majority of your people in the super performer bucket, but in all likelihood, you have a mix of all four types.

As the business environment becomes more complex and even more litigious, it's important to know how to deal with each of the 4 groups for two very different and yet related reasons: Risk Management and Productivity Management. With the concept in mind that you are only as strong as your weakest member the following will provide insight into how to address those in the non performer and under performer buckets.

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2 Key Areas Impacting Your Ability to Take Your Business to the Next Level

When working with a team of business leaders, one of my first questions is "How many of you are ready to go to the next level?” Either a lot of hands go up or there is a chorus of "Absolutely." And then I ask them "How many of you know what the next level looks like?" The near to total silence is deafening. They don't know what the next level looks like; and there is some concern that somehow, it might require more work and effort.

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Why Do So Many Businesses Underperform?

When the opportunity to work with a team of business leaders presents itself, one of my first questions is "How many of you are ready to go to the next level"  Depending on how I ask people to respond, either a lot of hands go up or there is a chorus of "Absolutely" that deafens the room.  It seems like everyone is in love with the idea of going to the next level.

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Operating Your Business Like it’s Always For Sale

In early October, Berkshire Hathaway announced it had agreed to buy Van Tuyl Group, the nation’s largest privately held auto dealership group. Warren Buffet, having dipped his toes into the automotive industry by taking a stake in GM, sees the opportunity to replicate Van Tuyl’s success by consolidating dealership groups throughout the Sunbelt.

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Bulk Up and Charge Up - How Vacation Can Reveal Your Business' Bench Strength

I recently wrote an article about managing one’s business as if it were always for sale. One of the key points was getting management proficient at running the business successfully in the owner’s absence. But what about management’s absence?

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Transfer Stock: Gift or Sale

Recently a business owner approached me with the following: I am considering transferring some company stock to my son and possibly some talented managers. He stated, each person has made significant contributions to the business and a few of them feel they have already earned the right to some of the stock via sweat equity. He asked, should I gift or sell the stock to them?

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Developing Your First Round Draft Pick

Your family business is like a professional sports franchise: You are the owner and your successor is a first rounder. The future of the organization depends on you and your team’s ability to properly develop your first round pick.

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Are You Missing Out on the Successor Right In Front of You?

 "Loyd, thank you for coming to see me. Please sit down," Mr. John Doe, the elderly but fit gentleman, offered as we settled into his office. Settling back into his chair, he continued. "My accountant attended one of your succession planning seminars and suggested we talk. We have three dealerships. I have a son who is pretending to run our stores. I also have a daughter and a son-in-law who work here. I own 35% but 51% of the voting stock. I don't know what to do," he continued apparently relieved to have someone to speak to. "My son will not listen to me. And unfortunately he is the only capable family member. I doubt he works 40 hours a week; he says he works from home. I know he trains for marathons, coaches his son’s baseball team and never misses a school meeting. Meanwhile, the businesses underperform. When I threaten to fire him he just smiles and says do what you have to do. My son-in-law wants me to appoint him the Dealer but he's had some issues with drugs," he offered with a conciliatory shrug of the shoulders. 

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Don’t SWOT the Small Stuff

Probably since the beginning of strategic planning, business owners and their key leaders have been sitting around tables talking about Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  Maybe you’ve even done engaged in the SWOT process with your team.  The primary reason for a SWOT analysis is to identify and deal with the critical issues affecting your business.

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