January 2014 Newsletter

 

January 2014 Newsletter Image

Will helping others help you achieve your business goals?

Call them New Year’s resolutions, intentions, or goals; the start of a new year is usually the time to take inventory of the past year while looking ahead to a new year.

As CEO of Success Trek, I look back to 2013, it was a year of transition, celebration and growth. We started the new year with an existing growth model, celebrated seven years of business with many dear friends, clients and colleagues in March. After a busy summer, in addition to serving many clients and sharing in their successful growth and transition, we flipped our business model upside down in response to our growth and opened a second office in Chicago. 

It is also in this spirit of reflection that I want to share a more personal message with you. While I have enjoyed my business’ success over the years, I also know that success is a broad term with a deeply unique and personal meaning for every individual. For some, it’s a new car, a promotion or a bonus. For others, it is satisfaction in accomplishing a goal, making a difference in another person’s life or enjoying a meaningful relationship with a spouse, friend or family members.

Years ago I struggled with the concept of success and found myself chasing ideals that failed to produce a true feeling of success for me. It was then that I learned to turn my attention away from what I wanted to helping others get what they wanted. You may remember the late Zig Ziglar’s famous quote “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

I have realized how right Zig was. Through working with community groups and local non-profits, I have witnessed life changing accomplishments for both those that work with these groups and those served by them. It is also deeply gratifying to be told by clients, “Thank you! You’ve made this simple and things are so much better.”

While you are setting your goals or making New Year’s resolutions, this time of year is a great opportunity to consider how you can enrich the life of another. I would wager that if you haven’t done so before, you will find that you experience benefits that will change your own paradigm of success. It just might be a resolution that you can actually keep.

 

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February 2014 Newsletter

 

Gear artwork

Understanding this Difference is Key to Your Project

 

If your business or organization is struggling to stay afloat, investing in an outside perspective is a smart move. While that is an important step on the way to improving processes and utilizing talent most efficiently, understanding the difference between busy work and solid outcome is the key to ensure you are getting the most bang for your consulting buck.

Here are four ways to ensure a successful ROI on your project.

1. Be able to answer the question, “What would you like to accomplish as a result of this project?” Think in terms of outcome, rather than activity. Instead of “a workshop facilitator on teamwork” define the outcome; “Executive leadership is able to consistently map and implement a plan according to priorities agreed upon by the team.”

2. Realize that it may be difficult to quantify results, yet easy to identify them. Many managers flinch at the idea that a desired outcome may not be a solid number. If reduced customer response times is a goal, the outcome should be defined as improved communication between departments, processes are aligned for better efficiency and employees are empowered to implement actions to satisfy the customer.

3. Recognize it takes more than a fiscal period to implement. It is not uncommon to uncover other factors when working on what appears to be the most urgent issue. For instance, the lack of an updated employee handbook may be a result of a disagreement among executive leadership, vacant positions and/or gaps in the workflow. All three contribute to the situation and each must be addressed in order to revise employee policies that apply to the current situation and allows for future changes.

4. Understand that adaptation and response to change is an ongoing process. As system improvements are implemented, new issues may arise, turnover rates may shift or sudden growth will require a review or revision of objectives and results.

Lasting, profitable outcomes result from clearly defined outcomes, adaptability as change occurs and agreement among both parties to see the project through.

 

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March 2014 Newsletter

 

Gears

If it's not broke, should you fix it anyway?

It’s easy to think when a business is running smoothly that if it's not broke, don't fix it.On the other hand, how do you know it’s as good as it can be?

When a process is obviously flawed, business owners are willing to implement the steps necessary to get back on track. It is just as important to be open to improvements even when things seem good enough. Improved efficiencies, increased revenue and even a morale boost to the workforce can all be the results of a fresh look at workflow processes.

Improving what already works is faster and more cost effective than rebuilding from scratch. To an outsider, sticking points are readily apparent. Often, they are also obvious to the employees working closely in the process. Employees provide a unique perspective and are a rich source of new ideas to improve processes and workflow. When working with an outside consultant, they often feel more confident in speaking candidly about their tasks, their frustrations and successes.

As a collaborative effort between leadership, employees and consultant, the resulting strategy helps your workforce realize the value of their skills and contributions to the company. Once they realize this, it often increases morale, productivity and retention.

The exercise of observing the process, workflow and resulting performance of the improvements are often a blueprint for sustaining growth and profitability, and that is when a well-oiled machine can really run smoothly.

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April 2014 Newsletter

It's Enlightening, Provocative and Available to You!2014 April

If you are looking to boost your individual skills, or need to pull together your corporate management into a more cohesive unit, consider one of the most enlightening and provocative exercises I use with many of my clients - the Attribute Index (AI).

Created by Dr. Robert S. Harman, University of Tennessee, the AI is based on the science of Axiology, a formal system of identifying and measuring value. It assesses an individual’s propensity and capacity to value, which is the way a person thinks, evaluates and makes decisions. Think of it as a filtration system that demonstrates our subconscious preference for making decisions, based on one of three distinct styles: personal (intrinsic), practical, (extrinsic) or analytical (systemic).

Using a tool such as the AI highlights how important individuality is, even in a corporate setting. Research has shown that no single human being uses each dimension or thinking module equally to make a decision, so our decisions and actions differ. You’ve already seen this in action. Any time there is a room full of people with a project or issue, there are varying ideas and opinions on how to proceed. Understanding how team members make decisions allows you to leverage that knowledge to make better decisions, maximize strengths, minimize weaknesses and achieve greater success in any project.

When uniqueness is embraced, organizations excel. It increases understanding, allows for better utilization of skills and alignment of work. Using the AI can help you understand your team’s tendency toward decision making as well as identifying strengths and weaknesses in a way that supersedes traditional personality and strength assessments.

Success Trek can provide you with the assessment and results. This tool complies with the EEOC requirements and does not identify or discriminate against different racial origins, sexes or ages. It can also be used in candidate selection because it measures those traits and/or abilities that directly relate to what is needed to perform a particular job.

Next month we’ll dive deeper into understanding how the results of an Attribute Index can be used to increase productivity, employee cohesiveness and effectiveness.

If you are ready to put this powerful tool to work, call us today at Success Trek to get started.

Chicago Office:  2030 Humboldt Blvd., #2N  | Chicago, IL 60647  773.789.8735

Indiana Office:  410 E. Lincolnway | Valparaiso, IN 46383  219.680.7720

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May 2014 Newsletter

End the Square Peg in a Round Hole Syndromeround-hole-square-peg

Last month we introduced you to a powerful tool that can increase productivity, employee cohesiveness, and effectiveness. (Link to last month)(Link to last month) The Attribute Index (AI) evaluates an individual’s decision making preferences as personal (intrinsic), practical, (extrinsic) or analytical (systemic).

Whether you use the enlightening results individually or in a corporate setting, this understanding can result in better decision making, insight into maximizing strengths and minimizing an indivudal(s) weaknesses. In short, it ends the square peg in a round hole syndrome.

Participants who take the AI are often surprised by how much information can be gleaned from such a brief test. However, the results are quite illuminating. Another surprising element is participants find out how they perceive themselves is not always really how they are.

One client, newly tapped for a management role, was convinced they lacked the skills to be a leader. As we reviewed the assessment, it was clear there were many underlying strengths that could be maximized in the leadership role. For the client, it presented a new perspective and better comprehension of what it means to manage others. We worked together to establish systems and processes which resulted in the new manager’s increased confidence.

Other clients retake the assessment periodically which allows them to gauge their professional and personal growth. Often during an employee review, the employee may feel discouraged when their weaknesses are pointed out. The AI identifies these areas as targets for reinforcement and development, which comes across as more constructive and motivational. With these areas identified, the next step is to understand how those areas impact the current job or duties and if some duties should be minimized (a particular task may not necessarily need to be done by that employee). Then, assess the other duties related to the employee’s skill set that benefit both employee and employer by maximizing those strengths.

This helps eliminate the shot in the dark type of duty assignment for various positions. When you place people with the proper skills and strengths in the corresponding job descriptions, it allows them to flourish, which increases job satisfaction, which increases productivity and ultimately, overall profitability. This doesn’t mean that the areas for development are ignored or dropped. Areas of improvement can still be addressed in terms of growth and increasing skills, rather than deficiencies that count against the worker.

It is unreasonable to think that every employee will possess every positive attribute. However, it is reasonable to consider that every employee possesses strengths that can be maximized for the best fit and performance in a job. The AI is a valuable tool to align workers and job descriptions for success, resulting in round pegs in round holes, and well…you get the picture.

Call us today for more information on how you can take the Assessment Index or to discuss the ways Success Trek can help you align your people, productivity and profitability.

Chicago Office:  2030 Humboldt Blvd., #2N  | Chicago, IL 60647  773.789.8735

Indiana Office:  410 E. Lincolnway | Valparaiso, IN 46383  219.680.7720

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