Category Archives: Teams

Role changes

Your company grew 30% so far this year. Yahoo! Guess what? This may cause role changes for you. Are you good with that? >

Seek first to understand and other great habits from Stephen Covey

In 1989 Stephen Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is still a source of wisdom to me and one of the few books I revisit to align to my true north. My 2 favorite habits are  “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” and “Begin with the end in mind”. They both play a part in today’s discussion. >

Stories and Pictures

My friend, Pam, visiting from Seattle, inspired a trip to the Grand Central Market and Little Tokyo in downtown LA. When guests ask you about your town, what do you say? What do you show them? >

Culture Committee

Does your company have a culture committee? Before you swipe left, let me say that they are present in Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and everything in between. What are they and why would you have them? Let’s start with why people start them. >

Jobs and skills not matching

Jobs are going vacant and skilled/educated people are unemployed. Whatttt? Or should I say, why?Are jobs and skills not matching? Who is supposed to address this?

We say that you must have a college degree to get a good job and when the young people amass a mountain of student debt to get them, they discover they aren’t trained for the available jobs. No surprise that there are few good jobs for the high school graduates where they used to get them – in  the manufacturing sector. The only jobs around for those without college experience are in the retail or service sector at or near minimum wage.

Why is there a mismatch in manufacturing? Low skill manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and taken a lot of the auxiliary jobs with them. That would be the tool-makers, the machine makers and repairers, and  the packaging designers and manufacturers.

Manufacturing jobs that remained in the US are higher skilled. Automation has driven productivity increase and today’s manufacturing employee has to program the computer to operate the machinery. They can run 1 to 3 lines by themselves. These jobs now pay an average of $26.75 nationwide* and they go unfilled because applicants don’t have the computer skills to run the machines.

Doesn’t it seem obvious that companies will have to hire differently? Test applicants for aptitude and the right attitude. Don’t just interview. Then, do the training yourself.

Here are other steps I have seen companies make: partner with local community colleges and trade schools to get training for your people..Post jobs at the technical schools. Get to know the guidance counselor at your local high school.The state of California will reimburse a lot of that training.

If you are looking for people who can analyze and write well, who have complex reasoning abilities, look for college graduates and then, yes, you will have to train them.

This week, assess what training your workforce needs. What can you teach internally to improve the skills of the people you have? Long term employees know a lot that could be part of “How we do things around here training”. In addition, many Vistage Members have regular “lunch and learn”s where the staff picks the topic. Sometimes it is a TED talk or a youtube video. All it costs you is the food for lunch.

*ITR On the road blog

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Is what you say what your team hears?

What is it you say all the time?

“Is it finished?”

“It’s okay.”

“That’s not right!”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“Can we make it cheaper?”

“Where is the data?”

“We don’t have time to get more data.” >

Are you prepared for the health crisis of a KEY team member?

I was talking with a Senior Executive the other day about his 67 year old colleague who had a health crisis 3 months ago. The good man has not returned to work and they don’t know when he will. Further, they don’t know what is wrong so they are all in limbo. This month they have created a plan that goes beyond temporarily filling in to a plan that will work if he comes back or not. What would you do? How long would you wait? Could you wait?

Or, more to the point, is this you? Don’t think this is not your issue if you are under 40. When something goes wrong when you are young-ish, it goes really wrong. This subject cries out for planning. Lots of it!

Start with the following:

Do you have:

– Key Man insurance (ladies too!)

– Buy-sale agreements if you have co-owners?

– Succession planning for all “A” positions in the company?

– Cross-training for key positions?

– Job descriptions?

– Written manuals (not just tribal knowledge)?

You must have your own list of “terribles” that could really hurt your company if they were to occur. This week, address the most critical one. If you don’t know who can help you, start with your insurance agent, your attorney and your Human Resources folks. If you are in Vistage, talk with your Chair and the group. Someone may have ideas as to how you plan for that “terrible”.


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