Austin Business Owners – Is it time for a personal CPR Audit?

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(Communication —- Priorities—-Roles)

When I say personal, I’m not referring to your annual personal health check up, yet when was your last one? I am referencing to your personal behavior as a business owner. Bob Dabic, Vistage Master Chair and Speaker, flew in from Orange County the 3rd week in January and conducted 5 (3 hour) workshops in 3 days on Aligned Leadership. This is the 1st of 5 blogs and my expectation is that after you scan this article, find a nugget or two, save it for you and your leadership team to take a deeper dive. If compelling, forward it to a business owner colleague, friend or family member you care deeply about.

 

CPR – Communication, Priorities and Roles – Thoughts and words worth considering and several Questions you could/should be asking as the owner?
Is it your belief that supervisors and managers are hired and compensated to give answers to their direct reports, while leaders ask questions.

 

Communication – Are you crystal clear with your company Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Objectives for 2016, 2017 and EOY 2018? Shouldn’t you be? Phrases like:

Priorities – First things 1st and second things never or “Less is More”.

Roles – Do each of your direct reports know what is expected of them each month, by end of each quarter, for EOY 2016?

If you are still with me,- let me attempt to build a case that the above audit description is the foundation for a healthy, robust and profitable company and the gateway to establishing and setting measurable business metrics that will increase your employee retention and reduce your turnover.

 

Communication starts with creating your VISION, which to me is a “shared” statement or a Big/Hairy/Audacious/Goal (BHAG) that each of your employees are striving towards over the next three to five years. Think of what your future destination will look like and the internal transformational benefits once you arrive. Your MISSION focuses on the people you serve and products or services you currently provide. One could see this as a “heart warming purpose” on why you exist. Example: We help bring people and commerce together?

 

Priorities start with your company VALUES which are the principles/ideals/guidelines to which your employees can refer and that guide all decisions and behaviors in order to do what is right for each other and your customers. Examples: Respect, Integrity, Safety, Trust, Caring, Challenge, Quality, and Growth. In essence, this is your playground so think how you could put a fence around it because if you don’t your employees will create their own set of values. Dabic shared GOALS are numerical targets that are “Reachable” and “Stretched” (bigger than Reachable). Crystal clear objectives for all to see: 1 to 3 numerical and measurable plus 1 to 2 goals for personal growth and development.

 

Roles-During During Bob’s 3-hour workshop, he built a case for “no B or C players”. Poor performers have to choose to either step up or step out. During your regularly scheduled one-to-one’s, what if you focused on a Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) for your C players to become B players and your B players to become A players? What would it mean to you if the majority of your employees were A players? Self managed department, teams and individuals might be an outcome.

Which would improve or create complete alignment throughout your organization. Increased deliverables of your brand promise, increased revenue and profits and imagine you working 20% less hours a week to improve your work/life balance. If your roles are kind of “fuzzy”, what you tolerate will become policy.

 

In closing, don’t you pay 100% of what you owe; you make every payroll, don’t you? Let this CPR (Communication, Priorities and Roles) focus assist you in auditing you and your leadership team on what you are currently getting in return.

 

Ed Stillman

Austin CEO Group Chairman

Ed.stillman@vistagechair.com

 

 

Ed Stillman is a 9 year Vistage Chair with 2 CEO Advisory groups who is assisting his members to become good to better and even great leaders running great companies. If you live in Austin and want to take a deeper dive into aligning your leadership team and growing your top and bottom lines, let’s have a cup of coffee and see if we are a good fit for you, and you for my members.

 

If you live anywhere else in the United States or the world, connect with me and I’ll personally see that a client representative will reach out to you. We are in 18 countries, with 20,000 plus members creating a better balance between business commitments, personal relationships and their spiritual walk. We will make a difference.

 

Vistage Austin Leadership Workshop for Owners

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Ed Stillman invites you to a “Leadership” Workshop for Business Owners

Please RSVP ed.stillman@vistagechair.com

January 20, 2016 Wednesday 1pm to 4pm – Hills of Lakeway Country Club

January 21, 2016 Thursday 830am to 1130am – Austin Country Club

Bob Dabic, Vistage Master Chair from Newport Coast, California, asks: “Why should we replace ‘yes people’ in our lives with those who care enough to hold us accountable to achieving our goals?”

In this interactive presentation, Dabic assists members and guests in brainstorming a list of issues that exist in their companies. Key issues typically revolve around the areas of: Customer Dissatisfaction, Marketing/Sales/Operations, and Net Profit Growth. Bob defines what Vision, Mission, Values, Goals & Objectives are and encourages attendees to share which of these currently exist in their companies. He then proceeds to show how plans, goals, objectives, people, procedures, decisions and behaviors can be aligned with the so-called “Big Picture.” Members and their guests are provided with a step-by-step process to bring positive results to their organizations!!

About Bob Dabic

Bob Dabic is a Best Practice Chair (BPC), Master Chair, and Lead Trainer for chair candidates & tenured chairs.  He has received the following Vistage awards: Chair Excellence, Master Chair, and STAR.  He is also a recipient of two of Vistage’s most coveted awards: the “Robert Nourse Chair of the Year” Award and “The Don Cope Memorial Award.”

Prior to taking on the above roles, Bob was a successful owner, president and CEO of several airport and aerospace equipment design and manufacturing companies over a 30-year period.  For the last 6½ years in the day-to-day operating role, he was a member of a Vistage CEO group.

About Vistage

20,000 executives, business owners, and CEOs around the world rely on Vistage Private Advisory Boards to get the most out of their businesses. Vistage offers a unique combination of resources for accelerating business performance: monthly meetings with non-competitive business peers; one-to-one mentoring sessions; expert speakers and interactive workshops; a rich online library of content, best practices, webinars, and more; and access to a member community of business leaders across the globe.

 

Leadership Workshop Series – Vistage International

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Austin Business Owners…

 

As you kick-off 2016 Vistage Austin invites you to a “Leadership” Workshop for Business Owners. This is an exclusive invitation-only event.

January 19th – Morning (2222/360)

January 20th – Afternoon (Hills CC Lakeway)

January 21st – Morning (Austin CC)

Bob Dabic, Vistage Master Chair from Newport Coast, California asks: “Why should we replace “yes people” in our lives with those who care enough to hold us accountable to achieving our goals?”

In this interactive presentation, Dabic assists members and guests in brainstorming a list of issues that exist in their companies. Key issues typically revolve around the areas of: Customer dissatisfaction; Marketing/Sales/Operations; and Net profit growth. Bob defines what “Vision Values” and “Cultural Values” are and encourages attendees to list some of the values that currently exist in their companies. He then proceeds to show how plans, goals, objectives, people, procedures, decisions and behavior can be aligned with these Values. Members and their guests are provided with a step-by-step process to bring positive results to their organizations.

After the presentation, members will have a sense of relief that there is a way to make the extremely challenging task of management/leadership easier and much more rewarding.

About Bob Dabic

Bob Dabic is a Best Practice Chair (BPC), Master Chair, and Lead Trainer for chair candidates & tenured chairs. He has received the following Vistage awards: Chair Excellence, Master Chair, and STAR. He is also a recipient of two of Vistage’s most coveted awards: the “Robert Nourse Chair of the Year” Award and “The Don Cope Memorial Award.”

Prior to taking on the above roles, Bob was a successful owner, president and CEO of several airport and aerospace equipment design and manufacturing companies over a 30-year period. For the last 61⁄2 years in the day-to-day operating role, he was a member of a Vistage CEO group.

20,000 executives, business owners, and CEOs around the world rely on Vistage Private Advisory Boards to get the most out of their businesses. Vistage offers a unique combination of resources for accelerating business performance: monthly meetings with non-competitive business peers; one-to-one mentoring sessions; expert speakers and interactive workshops; a rich online library of content, best practices, webinars, and more; and access to a member community of business leaders across the globe.

Please RSVP by January 15th

ed.stillman@vistagechair.com or call, text me at 512.422.6232 to learn more and/or reserve your seat.

Looking around the corner – Ed Stillman, Austin Texas

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looking around the corner

2016 is less than 2 weeks away. When was the last time you did a “reset” of your core leadership fundamentals. Here are 5 that have caught my attention over the past month that you might think about as you set yourself up for success in 2016.

 

  1. Reflect on your “purpose” or as Mike Engels, Chief Revenue Officer for CWS Capital shared recently, “What am I trying to accomplish?”. Are you being your word when is comes to the greater good. Is your culture well defined, can you share your “core values”. How are you changing the world? Believe me when I say … less is more. You want everyone in your company to walk the talk starting with you, the Owner, CEO or President.

 

  1. A recent read, Danny Meyer’s book – “Setting the Table” is focused on the hospitality industry yet B2B enterprises can gain a lot of insight as we continue to focus on the customer experience.

 

Meyers wrote about hiring the 51%’ers. After 10 years chairing Vistage CE Groups, I encourage my members to focus on culture and hire for the things you can’t teach people. The things that are innate are, well innate. It’s an emotional skill vs. technical skill thing. As you review your key directs or L1’s, is there a “will” or “skill” area deficiency or a need for improvement? So as you start your 2016 employee onboarding efforts or your personal improvement plans to those underperforming in 2015, here the core characteristics of the 51%’ers:
1 – Optimistic Warmth
2 – Intelligence
3 – Work Ethic
4 – Empathy
5 – Self awareness and Integrity

 

  1. Jack Welch said some 20 plus years ago, “By not aligning measurements and rewards, you often get what you are NOT looking for”. Eric Stumberg, CEO of Tengo Internet an Austin based wifi provider to the RV traveler shared with me this week he is setting a clear vision to his team and they now know where they are headed. His directors own their deliverables and it is Eric’s position to hold them accountable to a higher standard with monthly one-to-ones. He knows the value of communication, repeatedly, and every chance he can plans on sharing the company’s set of cultural priorities and non-negotiable core values. Have you, are you or should you spend more time on creating a performance based compensation plan for your enterprise.

  1. Looking at my leadership books in my office, somewhere I read a cohesive leadership team trumps strategic planning. If you want to scale you business, Setting the Table author Danny Meyers shared these critical attributes for your L1’s:

Infectious attitude – quite simply, are this person’s way of doing things and attitude something you would want to spread?
Self-awareness – the best managers know themselves, admit weaknesses openly, and work daily on their areas of weakness
Charitable assumption – A charitable mindset assumes the best intentions of others (read speed of trust for this concept). Mindsets often become self-fulfilling prophecies, so what you think of someone is likely to happen. Those who are skeptical as their nature don’t typically strive in organizations built on charitable assumptions.
Long term view of success – The best way to grow a business is with repeat customers, who have great experiences, how are we pushing to that end to grow, what great experiences are your managers creating?
Sense of abundance – this part is a bit long, but the point to me at least is about being charitable, even in tough times caring about your community
Trust – Having people work from a place of fear brings a totally different player to the field. I think CEOs are scary people, and no matter how much we say we want people to feel they can experiment, fail, etc. – it’s critical we work to communicate that daily, as it’s inherent to believe that a mess up will get you fired.
Approving patience & Tough Love – Tough love means being willing to tell someone the truth, even if it is tough for them to hear. Managers must have the ability to do that, they must operate from a place of trying to catch people, in the act of doing things right vs. only when they make mistakes.

Last yet not least and my 5th is “…are you celebrating enough”, is you work environment a warm, fun, place to show up each morning. After you have established your monthly or quarterly revenue, profit, or activity targets for your sales, field and/or back office operations teams head for Top Golf, Dave & Buster’s or the Punch Bowl in the Domain and have fun celebrating your success.

Ed Stillman is a 10 year Vistage Chair living in Austin Texas. Chairing has become the most meaningful chapter in my BOOK OF LIFE. If you want to get to know me better, let’s have a cup of coffee.

ed.stillman@vistagechair.com

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Accountability and Tracking Employee Performance

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Are you measuring what matters most?

Does “what we tolerate become policy” sound familiar?

 

Greg Bustin, Dallas based Vistage speaker was in Austin yesterday and breaks it down into 5 leadership behaviors.

  1. Clear common goals – This is where we are and this is where we want to go. Gathering your team together and ask yourselves “Why are we here?” and “What is our purpose besides money?” Have some fun, get buy in and pass out small post-it pads and have your leadership team spend 30 minutes seeing how many post-its they can post on the wall under these two headings.
  2. Clear deadlines – What is our response going to be for underperforming? Is your vision well defined, your values? Are your “Rules for Engagement” in writing? Over achievers want to know what is expected of them, how am I doing, and what gets rewarded gets done cheerfully. Make tracking visable because great people want to see progress.
  3. Clear Roles – What is it about our organization that prevents us from being our best? Bustin hit hard that clarity creates confidence. What are the expected behavior, activity and performance in each role within your company.
  4. Mutual Respect – your stated company culture and core values needs to have this component for both your employees and how you will treat each other as well as your customer expectations. Does your reputation inside your company match your reputation outside?
  5. Have fun – based on the above are you celebrating your successes, measuring the right indicators and holding your people accountable.

My members have defined their competitive advantage with meaningful, memorable and measureable stated individual, team, department, division and company goals. If you can’t measure it, you need to drop it from your key performance indicators.

 

Ed Stillman

VistageAustin

Ed.stillman@vistagechair.com

Cohesive Leadership trumps Strategic Planning

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Bob Dabic flies in from Orange County, California the week of January 18th for 5 workshops titled “Aligned Leadership”. Bob has presented this talk to over 600 Vistage members and their guests during the past 2 years and has received mostly 5’s and a few 4’s out of 5. January 2016 brings in a new year with new challenges. Being in a room of like minded business owners and senior executives will give you a head-start to your new year and performance. Vistage is a life altering experience. Give us a chance and you will not be disappointed. We are making a difference in the lives of 20,000 members around the world one meeting at a time.

 

Ed Stillman

ed.stillman@vistagechair.com

Mobile and Text 512.422.6232

Are You Coachable? The Five Steps to Coachability

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Read an interesting article by August Turak (in Forbes) and wanted to share some highlights. I see these as a key characteristics for successful business owners who want to move from good to great leaders while creating a cohesive leadership team.

Are You Coachable? The Five Steps to Coachability

Coachable people all share five distinct character traits.

The first trait is humility. Humility teaches that there are things we need to do that we cannot do on our own. Only humility can teach us that the most important things we need to learn require fundamental changes in our behavior and outlook. Humility itself, for example, can’t be attained by reading a book or taking a class. Humility requires a change of heart rather than a change of mind.

The second trait that coachable people share is an action bias.

I’ll add which suggests having a plan, a strategic plan, a cohesive leadership team and ownership at the lowest level. Your pipeline, your sales process, the triggers and gates needed to earn the right to move forward would also add action bias behavior.

The third trait is purity of purpose.

My members focus on vision, with clarity – focusing on 1st things 1st and 2nd things never. They have come to realize if you can’t measure it, don’t do it.

The fourth trait is a willingness to surrender control. Even when we do find a mentor we often put him in an impossible situation. We implicitly insist that we will only give up control once we have seen results. In fact we only get results if we are willing to give up control.

Unwillingness to surrender control is the single biggest reason for the lamentable fact that most authentic change is precipitated by a crisis. Ironically, the reason why most of us need a coach in the first place is to learn how to give up control.

The final trait is faith. The problem with life is that it must be lived forward and only understood backwards. In my own experience this is especially true when it comes to working with a coach. The benefits of change are often only obvious after the change has occurred. An alcoholic only truly understand the benefits of sobriety when he becomes sober.

Only hindsight is 20/20, and that is why we so often hear someone exclaim, “If I knew then what I know now I would’ve changed years ago.”

August Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award winning author who attributes much of his success to living and working alongside the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey since 1996. As a frequent monastic guest, he learned firsthand from the monks as they grew an incredibly successful portfolio of businesses. He shares those secrets in his first book. – See more at: http://www.augustturak.com/#sthash.jAVUnrbi.dpuf