Your People - Bellwether Q4Y11


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Your People - Bellwether Q4Y11

  1. 1. BELLWETHER Volume 2 | Issue 4 | Fourth Quarter 2011 YOUR PEOPLE
  2. 2. Are You OVERPAYING for an EDI system that UNDERPERFORMS? EDI Advantage 2010 reduces your total cost of ownership with a convenient “all in MAS” solution. Choose any VAN or EDI happens automatically EDI inside Sage MAS 90: eliminate VAN costs with as a result of standard built-in communications direct communications Sage MAS processes and translation Learn 5 Ways to Cut Your EDI Costs 800.562.5456 2 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011©2011 Kissinger Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited, and information contained herein is subject to change without notice. Kissinger, EDI Advantage 2010, Smart Software That Means Business, and associated Kissingerlogos are trademarks of Kissinger Associates, Inc. Sage, the Sage logos, and the Sage product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software, Inc., or its affiliated entities.
  3. 3. 90% of spreadsheet budgeting RESULTS IN errors* Budget Maestro® makes spreadsheet errors a thing of the past with budgeting and reporting software designed for SAGE ERP. • Cut budgeting time by up to 50% • Eliminate formula errors • Generate results you can trust • Direct Integration to your SAGE ERP • One Click P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow reporting* PwC studySEE BudGEt MAEStRo in Action, now! tAKE A cALL QuicK touR 800-366-5111 Certified Solution or visit© 2011 Centage Corporation. Centage, the Centage logo, Budget Maestro, Planning Maestro, Link Maestro and Analytics Maestro are trademarks or registeredtrademarks of Centage Corporation. All other brands or products mentioned are registered trademarks of their respective holder(s). All rights reserved.
  4. 4. It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miser- able man. ~Benjamin Franklin Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. ~Eleanor Roosevelt 6 Letter from the Editor 5sections Leadership Sales and Marketing 6 10 8 Cover Story 12 Book Report 16 Customer Relationships 18 Industry News Customer Story 19 24 12 Human Resources 26 26 22 4 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  5. 5. LETTERFROMTHEEDITOR BELLWETHER A Blytheco, LLC Magazine Volume 2 Fourth Quarter, 2011 STAFF EDITOR Apryl Hanson CREATIVE DIRECTOR Greg Went OPEN FOR AD CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alicia Anderson Steve Geske Howard Hansen Apryl Hanson Jeff Johnson, CPA and Tom Siders, CPA Brian Kelly Nicole Laurier Mike Marino, Ph.D. Lt. Col. Rob ‘Waldo’ Waldman Dawn Westerberg Geni Whitehouse ADVERTISING SALES Dori Fitch SUBSCRIPTIONS Or contact Dori Fitch - (800) 425-9843, Extension 1168 Bellwether Magazine is published by Blytheco, LLC with principal offices at: 23161 Mill Creek Road Suite 200 Laguna Hills, CA 92653 If you wish to be removed from the mailing list or to add names to the mailing list, send your request, including name, business name, and mailing address to the above address or to This is a copyrighted publication and all articles herein are covered by this copyright. Any use of the content for commercial reasons or other form or reproduction of material herein is strictly prohibited without prior, written approval of Bellwether Magazine. 5 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  6. 6. LEADERSHIP What the Experts Couldn’t Tell You about Communication, Relationships and Creating Change H ave you ever found yourself baffled and frustrated by someone’s inability to understand your point of view? Have you ever found yourself driven to order the latest book or attend the latest seminar in an attempt to improve your communication skills? Of course you have.With all of the “communication” out there about communication, But what if all that you’ve learned was not the whole story? Whatwith all of the articles, books and 3-ring workshop binders, what if all these observations and rules only represented a “virtual”if there was a secret dynamic that all of them have been missing? reality? (like the Matrix!) What if there was a whole other realityWhat if that secret was so fundamental to every relationship behind what you’ve been doing that changes all the rules?that understanding it would revolutionize your understanding What if it turned out that in your game of “communicationof communication and completely transform your relationships pool,” someone secretly replaced the cue ball with one madeboth business and personal? of steel and then placed magnets under the table?As it turns out, there is such a secret. And though it takes a The “Hidden Level of Communication Reality”lifetime to learn to use it fully, understanding the basic dynamic As it turns out, the process of communication is far morebehind all relationships and all communication is fairly simple. complex than what we have been led to believe. For over 20Communication Skills - a “Virtual” Reality years now, theorists in a field called “Family Systems Theory” have been uncovering the hidden reality behind the reality inThe first step in understanding this secret dynamic is to which we have been operating. These theorists have learnedopen your mind about what you’ve been taught about that communication is not a logical process; it is an emotionalcommunication so far. You’ve been taught that communication process. They have learned that communication is not linearis a straightforward, logical process of cause and effect. cause and effect. You can’t control outcomes by controlling theRooted in common language and standardized meanings, input. They have uncovered a reality behind the virtual realitycommunication has been presented as a skill in producing and hidden “rules” that operate quite differently from what weshared meaning. Pay attention to definitions, syntax and the normally expect. In the same way physicists have discovered aorganization of ideas, take into account cultural, gender and quantum reality with its own rules that makes up our universe,generational differences, toss in a few neurological studies these theorists have discovered a quantum level of reality withand rapport skills and you’ve got your basic recipe. When “the its own rules that is hidden behind the level we observe withbubble” over the other person’s head matches “the bubble” our five senses. To continue our billiards metaphor, they haveover your head, you’ve been successful. discovered the “magnets” under the table of communication.Communication is presented much like learning to play billiards. So what is this reality that underlies the “virtual” reality withinYou learn some basic rules of physics. You learn to predict the which we have all been tying to operate? What are the rules?outcome of certain trajectories and interactions. You learn the What makes up the “underside of the table” regarding ourcause and effect rules of the billiard balls so you can plan your behavior and our relationships?next shot on the table. Once you’ve sunk all the balls on thetable and taken care of the 8-ball, you win!About the AuthorSteve Geske is President and Co-founder of the consulting firm Healing Leaders, whose mission is “To develop enlightenedleaders through self awareness, resourceful responsiveness and authentic presence.” He is a frequent author and speaker on thetopic of leadership development. Learn more about Steve at www.healingleaders.com6 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  7. 7. The “Magnets” Under the Table An Emotional Triangle understands that relationships are ALWAYS in threes. There is always at least one otherAs it turns out, this reality is not logical. It is emotional. By person, entity or thing that makes up the third element in“emotional”, we don’t mean happy or sad stuff. I’m not a relationship.talking about our emotions. We are talking instead aboutthe set of instincts developed through thousands of years The Third Elementof evolution that motivate our most basic behaviors. These Almost anything can make up the third element in aninclude the flight or fight response, the herding response Emotional Triangle. It can be:(yes, we are a herding species) and the shortcuts that havebeen hardwired into our brains causing us to act first and • A personthen make up the logical reason for acting a millisecond • A roleAFTER we have responded. • A belief • An addictionNeurological research demonstrates that logical choice and • A neurosis or a fearvolition are primarily an illusion created by our consciousawareness. We have the impression that we make many Positions within an Emotional Triangleconscious choices each day. Some of us believe those Emotional Triangles have two “positions.”choices are mostly ruled by logic. The research indicatesotherwise. Muscle responses can be observed moving 1. Inside - containing two people, or one person and aan arm or a finger BEFORE conscious awareness of any thing or entity. This position is always shared and feelsdecision to do so. While conscious intention and choice are comfortable and safe. It is the position we instinctivelypossible, in fact, most of us are running on automatic pilot prefer and seek in all our behaviors.during most of the day. Our brains are creating the fictionwe call “choice.” We are emotional beings operating on 2. Outside - containing one other person, thing or entity.these well established internal programs This position feels anxious and threatening. Instinctively, we avoid the outside positionThe automatic, non-logical, emotional character of ourinner selves presents a challenge to communication and Emotional Triangles - Illustratedthe way we behave in relationship to each other. One Emotional Triangles are evident in all relationships. Anbasic premise, proposed by Family Systems theory, is that example can be seen in the relationships of children -a relationship between two people will always contain especially girls.a certain level of anxiety and over time, this builds upand threatens the relationship. In order to stabilize the Observe, Mary and Jane on the playground. They are bestrelationship, these two people subconsciously collude friends forever (“BFFs”). They like the same clothes, music,in redirecting the anxiety between them towards a third pop stars but unfortunately, the same boy. Now that’sperson, entity or idea. This means that the basic unit of a problem because it threatens their “BFF” status andall relationships is not two but three. This unit of three is creates anxiety between them. What are they to do?called an “Emotional Triangle.” Emotional triangles (ET’s)make up the “magnets under the table” in the game of Unconsciously, to help stabilize their friendship, they startrelationships and communication. Emotional Triangles whispering about Suzie behind her back. They make fun ofmake up the crucial dynamic that has likely been frustrating the way she looks and acts. They tease her, Suzie gets madyour best efforts “on top of the table” as you try to “line at both of them.up your shots” in attempting to communicate with others. BFF status secured! Mary and Jane’s friendship is nowBelow is a brief tutorial: tighter because of a common enemy without having toEmotional Triangles address the fact that they both like the same boy.ET’s are a way to understand how relationships REALLY “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”operate. They provide a reliable “map” that is an alternativeto relying on linear, cause and effect understandings of Continued on page 30relationships based on the social science model of reality. 7 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  8. 8. SALES&MARKETING by Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman (The Wingman) wo long minutes passed since I last changed radio frequencies. We were approaching the Iraqi border and my flight lead still had not checked mein. I was getting nervous.Having no radio contact at 20,000 feet and separated established during critical elements of a mission.from my fellow pilots by 10 miles on a night combatmission in hostile territory was a dire situation. What 4. Brief a back-up plan in case communication failsif I lost my engine or was engaged by ground fire? (known as “radio-out” procedures).How could I call for help? Without my radio, I felt very 5. Debrief every mission to review lessons learnedvulnerable. If I didn’t get checked in, I would have to and reinforce training.abort the mission and head back to base. When the heat is on andSuddenly my back-up VHF radio blared with the adversity strikes,terse sound of my flight lead, “2, come up 239.9.” how doI breathed a sigh of relief and immediately changedfrequency. “Vipers, check-in, confirm master-armhot!” We acknowledged his call on the radio in a youcrisp, monotone cadence, “2, 3, 4.” communicate withI flipped the master arm switch to the “hot” position your team? Do you have aand readied my weapons. My wingmen and I were “comm plan” with your employees, colleagues,now one synchronized formation, with a clear flight and customers? Are you taking the time to briefplan and a mission objective that had been delivered your missions to ensure all your wingmen are onin our pre-mission briefing. Our radios and radar the same wave length and understand their roles,linked us together. We were ready for battle. responsibilities, and objectives? Finally, are you aware of those who might be on the wrong frequencyCommunication in combat is essential to successfully or off course? If so, what’s your plan to get them backexecute a plan. It ensures safety, keeps everyone on target?focused on their responsibilities, and buildsawareness in rapidly changing environments. Checking in with your wingmen, listening to their questions, and understanding their challengesIn order to communicate effectively in the heat of are fundamental components of teamwork andbattle, fighter pilots: leadership. They are the cornerstones in building an environment of mutual support and trust, especially1. Brief the mission in order to establish objectives, in rapidly changing, competitive environments. delegate responsibilities, analyze threats, and review contingency plans. Want to communicate better with your team? Try out these communication “wingtips” and watch the2. Establish a communication (“comm”) game impact they have on your organization. plan which confirms when and where to change frequencies. 1. Have a ‘mass briefing’ at least once a month. Gather your troops and communicate the latest3. Ensure positive two-way communication is8 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  9. 9. LEADERSHIP trends, organizational goals, sales updates, and execution. The greater your SA, the greater your ability product upgrades etc. Your wingmen need to hear to solve problems, handle contingencies, and adapt to important news (both good and bad) from you first. change. This is also a great time to publicly recognize your top performers. So, make it a priority to check in and stay in communication with your team. It’s one of the most2. Conduct feedback sessions on a consistent important things you can do as a leader to build basis. Sit down with your wingmen and let them situational awareness and trust. For if you fail to check know how they are doing. Are they meeting your in with your wingmen, they’re likely to check out. expectations? Ask about their goals and challenges and how you can help. Then solicit feedback on you as a leader. What could you be doing better? About the author: What would they like to see from you? Avoid letting your ego get in the way of their Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman (The Wingman ) is the New York feedback. Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Never Fly Solo. A leadership speaker and consultant, his clients include HP, Verizon, Aflac, Nokia and New York Life and he’s been featured on CNN, Fox News, The Harvard Business Review and MSNBC. To learn more about Waldo and his programs and to download his Top Gun Sales Team white paper, visit or call 1-866-925-3616. 3. Walk the flight line. Get your hands dirty with your wingmen. Spend time with them on the job and observe how they do business. Ask questions. Show them your appreciation by connecting with them as people first and employees second.4. De-brief your missions. Remove your ‘rank’ and conduct a nameless, blameless, and rank-less de-brief after every critical mission. Find out if objectives were met and analyze why they weren’t. Search for trends and communicate these to the rest of your organization.Your aim when communicating should be to create anenvironment where others can come to you for help.Try to listen as much as possible in order to buildwhat’s known as Situational Awareness (SA). SA is acomprehensive understanding of the mission, yoursurroundings, and the variables that can affect its 9 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  10. 10. SALES&MARKETING Y ou want to grow your company, and your sales team is critical to enabling that growth, right? But hiring good salespeople is tough for two reasons: 1) great salespeople are always in demand so the by Alicia Anderson market is always tight, even when economic times are tough; and 2) salespeople are really good at selling themselves, so they can tell you what you want to hear. It’s your job to be prepared. Early in the hiring process, review the job posting to be Set expectations very clearly. What will it take for your sure it’s still relevant for your business. Map out what you new salesperson to achieve success at your company? The are looking for in a salesperson, and write down some more details you can provide about what you expect, the potential interview questions. Having a few qualifications easier time a salesperson will have managing their time in mind will help you weed out resumes. and resources to achieve those goals. Take a look at your buyer. If your decision-maker is a Let them learn from others. Have them ride along with highly technical manager, you need a salesperson that can more experienced salespeople. Let them spend time get very deep technically. If your buyer is more of a CEO, a with the customer service representatives. Expose the candidate with experience meeting with executives will be new salesperson to team members who know what they a good fit. Match your sales team to your buyers. are doing – this will help them learn the language and processes of your company. Listen and watch for clues. Did the candidate research your business before the interview? If not, will they be Have regular one-on-one meetings with your reps. equally unprepared for the meeting with your prospect? Is This is some of the most important time you can spend their resume clear, persuasive, and free of errors? If not, will with your sales team. Individual representatives need they carry a similarly sloppy proposal out to your prospect? time with you that is structured and consistent to go over their specific deals and challenges. This gives the two of Seek energy and positivity. Both are important to success you time to work on how to strategically approach certain in sales. Selling can be disheartening and draining, but deals and work on how to win. Here the salesperson can the good salesperson is persistent, with the ability to look be more vulnerable and let you know how it is going for at themselves, their companies, and their industries with them personally without having other sales team members optimism and perseverance. involved. Keep this a safe place for them, and a way to Training salespeople encourage growth and learning. There are two types of sales training: the basic mechanics of Keep it up. Training should not end for ANY of your staff selling, and specific training on your company or products. after the first few weeks of employment. Make learning an Hopefully most of your team is familiar with the mechanics, ongoing part of your company culture. It keeps your team but helping them sell your product or company will require energized and challenged, which means greater results for a few important steps: your business.10 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  11. 11. by Apryl HansonS omehow along the way, with the web being invented and completely changing our sales process, we have forgotten that we are still selling to people who are trying to solve a problem. There is value in solving that problem and people are willing toexchange money for that solution. Yet, we’ve created mounds and mounds of contentsitting upon pages and pages of the web describing a product that doesn’t really addressa problem at all.What may be helpful is if we think of that person, sitting Here’s a hint – most users are going to start with theirin their home or office. What are they going through right What are they experiencing? AND what will they type Most of our websites are calibrated to show up based oninto Google? solution-related information, like aspirin. Unfortunately,This may sound like a strange way to go about designing very few people search on this type of key word. Sure,your web pages and content. But the user experience is aspirin is popular, people know what it is and a certainwhat we should be trying to understand and develop our number of people will search on that. What I’m suggestingpages based on the content they are looking for. is that while you must have product-related information out there, you can’t ignore the fact that there is an entirely largeLet’s take a simple example. I love cooking. I’m working population that isn’t finding what you’re selling.away in the kitchen while preparing a meal; I’m moving toofast and accidentally smash my finger in a cabinet drawer. Suggestion:It hurts, but I have no idea how much I’ve injured myself. I Run a brainstorming session inside your organizationignore it and keep cooking. I wake up in the middle of the to come up with as many searches people might use onnight, my finger now swollen and throbbing. What do I do? Google to look for what you’re selling. You can even turn itI turn on my computer to research what??? into a contest. Research how often people are using theseDo I search for a “solution,” which might be a splint, a terms and phrases and incorporate new pages into yourbandage, or aspirin? website that talk specifically talk to those issues.Or, do I search for my problem, like “how to determine ifyou have a broken finger” or “broken finger” or “sprainedfinger”? 11 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  12. 12. COVERSTORY by Howard Hansen F ewer questions we ask in private conversations or public dialogue with leaders create more surprise than this one: “How much time (as a boss) do you spend with the least mature people in your business?” Sometimes we ask this question when speaking with • High performers don’t groups who consist mostly of business owners, managers need much attention. They are self-proficient and and leaders. We purposely use the term “least mature” self-sufficient. because we have come to believe that performance • It’s a good path to becoming problems in companies are nearly always demonstrated a Leader Hero, one who in those who not only have fundamental disconnects with appears to care deeply about the positive contributions and the organization’s values, but also possess lower levels of success of everyone. emotional maturity. By raising hands, audiences usually indicate more than half of their number spend “more than All this is largely myth. fifty percent of their time working with employees whose Experience shows efforts to performance is below acceptable standards.” improve others’ performance, particularly in those whose When raising their hands, some audience members look performance is impaired by their like they are ready to be complimented on their dedication own emotional immaturity, creates to coaching higher performance from those who most need almost no R.O.I. Most managers and it. We change that expectation when we reply, “What if you leaders tell us that, despite their best intentions spent that much more time with your best performers”? and large investments of time, the likelihood of turning immature team members into adequate Why is this so? Leaders have been taught to believe in the performers is slim and turning them into star following thinking: performers is none. As a result, more than half of • Efforts to improve substandard performance are likely to leaders’ time is often spent on non-productive efforts. improve group aggregate performance. • Identifying poor performance and “turning people around” is All the while, those who are depended upon to produce one of the sacred responsibilities in every leadership position critical results get less time from their leaders. This is description. It may invoke a high score on the leader’s performance review from her boss. considered acceptable since these high performers appear to be on performance auto-pilot. When our audience • Performance review systems mandate spotting low performance and documenting efforts to improve it. members consider what they might do to stimulate even12 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  13. 13. higher performance from the best, had they more time • High reactivity; the tendency to intensely react to challenges andavailable for them, our listeners surprise themselves with crisis which others take in stride and manage with calm ideas. • Herding; the movement of the emotionally susceptible to gather together, communicate with high anxiety, over define problems and avoid creative efforts to find best solutions.Performance reviews, long the bane of managers who dreadthe responsibility of undertaking them, contribute to this • Blame displacement; a focus on personal victimization by believing challenge and uncomfortable moments andproblem of paying attention to the immature. Performance environments are created by systems were designed to equip managers with a tool • Quick fix mentality; the process of rapidly selecting a solution –to constructively address poor performance and, with any any nearby and available solution (often the first one considered) luck, influence an improvement in that performance. – to quickly dispose the uncomfortable existence of an anxiety We argue that performance reviews producing problem. worsen the time-with-the-immature The least mature (or more immature) in any group, ratio by consuming more energy from including families, tie up energy resources. They are leaders and placing its focus on the eager to create a negative presence. We have come usually irredeemable performer. to call these people, “step up transformers”. Neutrally Performance reviews are conducted anxious energy goes in. Highly anxious energy comes through emotional prisms. As out. The net outcome is leaders’ energy levels are time for review discussions reduced along with the capacity to focus on creative work. draw close, both managers and employees began to dread the meeting. About Howard Hansen: Howard Hansen is a principal with the consulting During review meetings, firm Healing Leaders, whose mission is “To develop awkward and sometimes fearful enlightened leaders through self awareness, resourceful defensiveness prevails, despite responsiveness and authentic presence.” He is a the best intentions of managers frequent author and speaker on the topic of leadership to make it positive, look to the development. future and offer development assistance. The result is poorer Learn more about Howard at preparation and uninspired delivery of feedback. Those who measure aggregate organizational improvement wonder whether so much effort for so little gain is worth the cost. Who are the least mature? They can be identified by characteristics offered by Edwin Friedman: 13 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  14. 14. COVERSTORY by Mike Marino, Ph.D. W alt Disney once said “you can dream, build and create the most wonderful place possible – but people make it happen” … he was right! Your company’s greatest asset is its people. According to the National Institute of Health, half the workers in America, 51%, will have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder during their lifetime. Your workplace is filled with people who are wrestling with stress, anger, anxiety and depression. In fact, anxiety is the leading mental health issue in the United States closely followed by mood disorders like depression. Statistics from a recent study done at Harvard Medical School, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed the average person with depression and anxiety issues can’t work or do normal activity for 5 weeks in a year – comparing with just 15 days for diabetes or hypertension. Employed adults with major depression lose about 8 hours of productivity a week on the job. Depression alone costs US employers about $31 billion annually in productivity, not counting disability leave payments. Depression and anxiety sap energy, cause problems with concentration, memory and decision-making. Supervisors or managers are extraordinarily impaired because the nature of their work is to – make decisions! And, the personal and financial costs escalate still further if a worker’s untreated depression and anxiety contribute to alcohol or drug abuse. Sadly, only half the people needing treatment are getting any and many of those receiving treatment are still struggling. Frankly, what we’re doing these days isn’t working very well. The use of anti-depressant medications in the United States doubled from 1996 to 2005. Smart employers are beginning to seek expert assistance for their employees, helping them balance their lives from biological, psychological, social and spiritual perspectives.14 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  15. 15. If stress could be defined as overburdening an existing • Poor concentrationstructure or capacity, in general, humans have more stress • Changes in appetitetoday than at any time in history. We have more sensory • Either slowness of movement or fidgety physical affectinput today than ever before. One Hundred years ago our • Dark thoughts and talktwo primary sources of information and communication Teaching your supervisors to watch intently for signs ofwere speech and written materials like books, mail and emotional and mental strain will ultimately make themnewspapers. The came the light bulb, movies, radio, better and more productive leaders. It’s imperative thattelephones, TV, faxes, computers, the Internet, e-mail, cell supervisors develop and maintain an open and honestphones, texting, Facebook, Twitter and who knows what dialogue with employees … one that centers on activeinstant communication method lies ahead? All the modern listening. This is not the time for a supervisor to giveconveniences that were supposed to make life easier have direction, but rather to listen intently to how the employeealso increased the pace and sensory overload of life. Your answers key questions like…employees likely have their stress cup filled to overflowingbefore they even arrive at work! • How are you doing? • What are you feeling?Companies are finding that when they help their people • What are you thinking?– productivity increases, the bottom line is better and • What is helping you here and what is not?everyone sees the difference in the work environment. This opens the door for pro-active intervention that willSmall changes in developing an employee’s thinking ultimately yield more productivity, better performancepatterns, relationship skills, healthy diet and exercise habits and higher company morale. For example, you maycan make a huge difference in defeating workplace stress, discover your employee cafeteria serves mostly high-fat,conflict and apathy. high-calorie foods which are counter-productive to qualityInvesting in employee in-service training for stress brain function and overall energy and health. You canmanagement, offering incentives for participation in make a change there painlessly and the message to yourstructured exercise programs and providing professional employees is – we care about you!counseling through an Employee Assistance Program have Offering free wellness classes to your employees is anotherproven to be winning strategies for building a vibrant, great way to build your bottom line. Most communityproductive workforce. health centers have exercise, yoga and stress managementLooking for tell-tale signs of discouraged and overwhelmed teachers who would be pleased to come to your placeemployees can save your company a lot of money, grief, of business and lead a class for a nominal fee. Again,time and turnover. Depressed and anxious employees the message is – you are not just an employee, you are atypically show signs of… person to us.• Sleep deprivation When your employees have better lives, they are better• Sadness employees! Investing in their emotional, psychological and• Loss of interest in life physical success pays dividends in every way – you won’t be• Low energy disappointed! About the Author Dr. Marino has an extensive background in communications and mental healthcare, hosting a nationally-syndicated call-in radio program for 5 years and directing an in-patient psychiatric hospital. He has also served as Corporate VP at the world-renowned Amen Clinics and has presided over a nationwide network of over 600 mental health clinicians. Information about his Managing Workplace Stress and Conflict seminars can be found at 15 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  16. 16. BOOKREPORT by Geni Whitehouse H uman resources are one of the most valuable forms of business capital. But people require constant care and support. These books address three important aspects of working with people – how to motivate, entertain, and inspire them to become the kinds of creative thinkers who can excel in today’s businesses. Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul | Stuart Brown, M.D. Most business people associate game playing with non-work time. Stuart Brown is out to change that mistaken impression. Brown illustrates the value of play in “sparking curiosity and alert observation.” He talks about the developmental importance of child’s play and play’s positive impact on brain development in children and adults. He shows how play gives people distance from a problem so they can identify a new solution. Rather than advocating for a game of Angry Birds at every desktop, Brown suggests starting with physical activities and then finding a way to tap into whatever activity gives you joy. He puts the impetus on individual employees to find aspects of their job that allow them to play and explore while staying true to themselves. Just don’t buy the book as justification for that new office pool table you’ve been wanting to purchase. Drive : The surprising truth about what motivates us | Daniel H. Pink Most traditional businesses use one of two approaches to motivate their employees – reward or punishment. In this book, Daniel Pink offers research to prove that neither of these methods are successful in the long run. He examines a number of interesting scenarios from late pickup fees at Daycare, to the candle problem as evidence of failed motivational schemes. Once Pink finishes tearing down the old “Type X or Extrinsic” reward systems, he teaches us how to construct “Type I or Intrinsic” motivational environments. In order to give people Intrinsic rewards, he says they must have autonomy over “their task, time, technique, and team. “ By the end of the book, you will want to reconsider all aspects of your compensation and reward systems. Six Thinking Hats | Edward De Bono Edward De Bono calls thinking “the ultimate human resource.” In his book, “Six thinking Hats” he offers a methodology that helps individuals and teams think more clearly. He uses a metaphor of different colored hats to separate different types of thinking. A white hat represents a neutral perspective and is mainly concerned with facts while the red hat represents an emotional perspective. De Bono says the red hat allows a thinker to say “ This is how I feel about ...” By walking individuals through a discussion of ideas or topics one brightly colored hat at a time, De Bono frees people from their limited perspective and forces them to consider an issue from six different angles. The book is step by step guide to using his methods in every situation imaginable and will forever change the way you approach brainstorming. About Geni Whitehouse A self-proclaimed nerd, former technology executive and CPA firm partner, Geni Whitehouse has made it her mission to eliminate boring from the world of presentations. The author of “How to Make a Boring Subject Interesting: 52 Ways Even a Nerd Can Be Heard,” Geni believes her mission as a presenter is to understand a subject well enough to approach it from an angle that will not only educate her audiences—but will resonate with them. Learn more at Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  17. 17. The goal is for you to Geni Whitehousefall in love with your SPEAKER AUTHORbusiness again. CONSULTANT NERD Marketing Strategy She’s been called the “comedian CPA.” Marketing Plan and Calendar A self-proclaimed nerd, experienced software Campaign Development executive and former CPA firm partner, Geni Whitehouse has made it her mission to Marketing Metrics eliminate boring from the world of presentations. Content Development Public Relations STRATEGY Social Media EXECUTION EVANGELISM CONTENT DEVELOPMENTBegin a process of fun work with the purpose of awesome results. (wanna advertise in Bellwether? drop us a line) 17 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  18. 18. CUSTOMERRELATIONSHIPS by Alicia Anderson T he bottom line is this: you cannot understand how to move your business forward until you understand your customers. Here are some good ways your business can listen to customers more effectively, while at the same time creating a feeling of community among customers. Host a user group Create loyalty programs and rewards If it’s appropriate for your business, consider getting Everybody wants to feel special. Your customers are your customers together to talk about your product or special, so create exclusive programs and offers for your service. Offer learning opportunities or helpful resources loyal customers. Maybe it’s a “frequent buyer” card and encourage them to share ideas with each other. with a free gift or product after a certain buying limit is Encourage them to connect with each other and expand reached, or new and unique content that no one else has their own networks. Who knows, you might even get a access to. Segment your customers to find out who your great new idea from your group! repeat buyers are, and reward them. Start an advisory board Use social media When it comes to buying behaviors for your company, your Too many times, the job of “customer service” is customers are the experts. Invite your best customers to relegated to front-line staff – the call center team or participate in an advisory board. Have regular meetings salespeople. Social media can help get everyone in your (quarterly is fine) where you run new ideas by them or business – executives, HR staff, and managers – on the get their feedback on previous concepts. Their input will “front line” with your customers, so that everyone can usually surprise and revitalize you, and client rapport will understand more clearly what it takes to serve customers be strengthened because you respected them enough well and meet their needs. to ask for it. These tools can also help you sell your business to prospective customers. When they see how much time and energy you spend creating customer communities, it reassures them that they will be well cared for when they choose to do business with you.18 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  19. 19. INDUSTRYNEWS by Nicole LaurierG ood customer service has always been a key component to the success of any business. In the past if you didn’t treat a customer well it didn’t necessarilymatter because new customers might not hear about the poor customer service untilthey experienced a problem themselves.With the advent of social media, you can no longer hope For example, one company’s customer serviceto sweep the problems with customer service under a representatives were being swamped with a repetitive‘virtual rug’. If a customer has a problem with a company manual process. Their customers were going to theiryou can be sure that they will post about it on Twitter, website and registering to receive containers for recycling.Facebook, Google+, anywhere to let others know about The registrations were arriving by email and the customertheir dissatisfaction. Larger companies with a strong social service representatives had to manually rekey themedia presence who are watching all relevant feeds can information into their CRM system.jump in and handle the problem. They used a BPM tool to set up a series of tasks toHowever, small and medium-sized businesses can’t always automate the entire process. The emails now come in frombe monitoring social media - they don’t have the time or the website and automatically generate a customer servicethe personnel, they need to run their business and ensure ticket in the system. A notification of the order is sent to thethey get sales. So what can they do to ensure they always appropriate customer service representative. If the emailgive great customer service? is from an existing customer, the refill request is recorded onto their account. If they are new customer, an accountCustomers using Business Process Management is automatically created and the order details recorded.technologies report that by automating customer service Additionally the task sends out confirmations and thankrequests, they are able to ensure that they can respond you messages to the customers for their orders.immediately and automatically to a problem and put trackingprocedures in place so that the problem is monitored and Since this automation process has been inresolved in a timely fashion to the customer’s satisfaction. production, the customer service representatives have been able to focus on real customer serviceBusiness Process Management applications ‘loosely issues and are much more efficient.couple’ business applications enabling organizations toautomate virtually any employee-driven business process. The question is ‘what doThey usually include features like automated alerts, you want to automate?automated web content publishing, document automation, What manual processesworkflow and routing requests, and data services and are burdening your staff,integration. They use data within existing systems to make slowing down responsemanual processes more automated and bring important time, and inhibiting greatinformation to light. customer service?About the AuthorNicole Laurier is VP of Sales and Marketing at Fisher Technology, the NorthAmerican distributor for TaskCentre authored by Orbis Software. Follow Nicoleon Twitter at @nicolelaurier. 19 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  20. 20. INDUSTRYNEWS “Begin with the End In Mind.” -Stephen Covey, speaker and author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. by Jeff Johnson, CPA and Tom Siders, CPA S erving customers and growing the business. For many people in your shoes, those are the two tenets that drive most decisions. That’s great, but you also need to factor in where you’re headed, right? You will leave your business. It may not be today or tomorrow. It may not be by choice, but you will leave your business. Do you have a plan for that? When you leave, what would that look like? If something tragic happens and your exit is unexpected, what happens to the business? What effect will it have on your family? A plan not only provides context and the basis for adapting to unanticipated events, it also provides alternatives based on assumptions about your goals, objectives and resources that may need revision. Unfortunately, even owners who have great business plans often fly without Exit Plans. If an unanticipated event arises (such as a deterioration in the economy), they shelve their exit plan thinking (and thinking is all they have since they haven’t created a written plan) because their only option is to wait for conditions to improve. These successful owners would never consider a similar passive response to be acceptable in a business plan. If the importance of an exit plan isn’t obvious yet, consider this: First, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ survey of 364 CEOs of privately held, fast-growing companies, 65% planned to exit within a decade. Translation: there may be a glut of companies on the market which may drive down the value of your firm. Second, if you’re a Baby Boomer, the generation following you is smaller in size so expect far more sellers than buyers in the marketplace. Third, even during boom times less than half of the owners who have tried to sell their business actually were able to accomplish it (2005 Business Reference Guide, Tom West).20 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  21. 21. INDUSTRYNEWSFourth, if you choose to wait for a rising tide in the economy and the M&A market to exit, you’ll lose control ofthe timing of your exit, how much and the terms of payment you’ll receive, and even the type of buyer.Exit planning is what we mean by working on, not just in, your business, and it pays off long before you leave.The process of creating a plan involves determining the firm’s current value, the factors that may have thebiggest impact on future value, your financial needs and taking time to consider what different exit optionsmight look like. These are all factors that can, and should, play a role in your day-to-day decision-making,providing one more tenet to guide you.When you begin with the end in mind, you’ll know what to do when you get there, despite the glut of sellers,dearth of buyers, volatility of the market, and the myriad of known and unknown influences on your business.One of the most successful entrepreneurs and planners in American history, John Pierpoint Morgan, said, “Thewise man bridges the gap by laying out the path by means of which he can get from where he is to where hewants to go.”About the AuthorsJeff Johnson and Tom Siders are CPAs and partners with L. Harris Partners. Jeff and Tom each haveover 30 years experience in successfully helping business owners plan for and transition out of theirbusiness. You can reach them at or (952) 944-3303. Time & Attendance • Data Integration • Labor Costing • Security Are You Compliant with Your State Labor Laws? Protect your company and your employees by having a robust time-keeping system that integrates seamlessly with your Sage Solution. We can help! Over 20 years experience with Sage products. Call today and be on your way to avoiding lawsuits and audits. (800) 822-0973 21 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  22. 22. INDUSTRYNEWS by Brian Kelly In these challenging times, here is a way to save money, with Work Opportunity Tax Credits. “WOTC” is a federal program designed to promote the hiring of individuals who qualify as a member of a target group with barriers to employment (see Qualifying Groups on next page). Employers participating in the program can receive a Federal Tax Credit (typically $2,400.00) for each qualified employee, which can be used to reduce your company’s federal income tax liability. Who can take advantage of these tax credits? Just recently in August 2011, President Obama announced an initiative for employers to hire 100,000 unemployed For profit companies in the United States, i.e. C, S and veterans by 2013, the “Returning Heroes Tax Credit”. LLC’s can all apply these tax credits to their Federal Tax This initiative will offer participating companies a $2,400 Liability. Because non-profits and municipalities don’t pay tax credit for hiring short-term unemployed veterans. The taxes, they would not qualify. In addition, some states White House also put on the table for Congress to approve have also started similar programs to provide incentives to an additional tax credit incentive of $4,800 to companies employers hiring. hiring service members who have faced unemployment for The WOTC tax credit is renewed by congress every few years. six months or longer. CMS, LLC’s Brian Kelly explains “The Work Opportunity Tax Per Brian Kelly, the president of CMS, LLC, an organization Credit is not going away. If anything, we see the program that provides a full processing service for WOTC, the expanding with the current high unemployment rate, average tax credit is $2,400 per qualified new hire, $4,800 expansion to hire more veterans, expansion to Natural for each new disabled veteran hire, and $9,000 for each Disaster Zone(s) and possible US Territories.” new long-term TANF recipient hired (over a 2 year period). On average, 10-15% of the workforce may be qualified. If22 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  23. 23. you have 15 qualified new hires per year, that translates situations and shields them from a liability standpoint. into potential savings of $36,000. “I don’t know anyone Qualified Employees who would turn that down in this economy,” said Kelly. “Saving money is making money.” The WOTC qualified employee will be a member of a qualifying group, and must work at least 120 hours for the Why aren’t companies taking advantage of this employer. If the employee works between 121 and 399 program? hours, the employer could receive a partial credit of 25% CMS finds most companies are not aware of this federal of their wages up to $6,000. tax credit, or if they are familiar with the program, they To obtain a maximum credit of $2,400 the WOTC-certified don’t have the resources or don’t want to ask the sensitive employee must work a minimum of 400 hours or 180 days questions needed to acquire the tax credits. That’s exactly of service for the employer. There is no limit to how many the reason many companies outsource this function to qualifying new hires your company can have. CMS. CMS performs the screening process of each new hire and thus protects the employer from any sensitive About the Author Brian Kelly is the President of Cost Management Services (CMS) and has over 25 years experience in the Employee Management industry. CMS has been providing employment tax credit “WOTC” processing services for over 15 years for companies of all sizes, including several large CPA companies, across the United States. Follow Brian on Twitter @cmsbrian or visit his website at www.cmshris.comQUALIFYING GROUPS • Long-term TANF recipient -- member of a family that received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) for at least 18 consecutive months ending on the hiring date, or a member of a family that received TANF for any 18 months beginning after August 5, 1997, and the earliest 18-month period, beginning after August 5, 1997, ended during the past 2 years ending on the hiring date, or whose family stopped being eligible for TANF because Federal or state law limited the maximum time those payments could be made, and the individual is hired not more than 2 years after such eligibility ended. • Other TANF recipient - member of a family that received TANF payments for any 9 months during the 18-month period ending on the hiring date. • Veteran – member of a family that received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (food stamps) for at least a 3-month period during the 15-month period ending on the hiring date, or a disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service- connected disability hired within one year of discharge or release from active duty or unemployed for a period or periods totaling at least 6 months of the year ending on the hiring date. • 18-39 year-old SNAP (food stamps) recipient -- member of a family that received SNAP benefits (food stamps) for either the 6-month period ending on the hiring date, or for at least 3 of the 5 months ending on the hiring date in the case of a family member who ceased to be eligible for such assistance under Section 6(o) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977. • 18-39 year-old designated community resident -- individual who lives within an Empowerment Zone (EZ), or Rural Renewal County (RRC). New: On December 17, 2010, P.L. 111-312 reauthorized each HUD-designated urban Empowerment Zone (EZ) and each USDA-designated rural EZ from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011. • 16-17 year-old summer youth -- individual who works for the employer between May 1 and September 15, and lives in an EZ. • Vocational rehabilitation referral -- disabled person referred to the employer upon completion of (or while receiving) rehabilitation services approved by the State, the Ticket-to-Work Program, or the Department of Veterans Affairs. • Ex-felon -- individual who was convicted of a felony and who is hired within one year after the conviction or release from prison. • SSI recipient -- individual who received Supplemental Security Income benefits for any month ending during the past 60-day period ending on the hiring date. 23 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  24. 24. CUSTOMERSTORY Emphasis on Employees by Alicia Anderson C urrey & Company is an Atlanta-based company that manufactures and sells high-end lighting, furniture and accessories to the designer market. Currey designs are featured in designer showrooms, elegant hotels and restaurants, and stylish homes. The company’s focus on its employees is what truly sets it apart. Robert Currey, the founder, is a visionary whose philosophy is that people are the heart of a business, and an individual’s capabilities are essential to developing a company to its highest level and utmost potential. In that spirit, the company offers unique educational programs to its employees. All staffers are eligible, regardless of position or tenure. Almost 70% of Currey employees participate in some program. Currey’s education program consists of several offerings: • English as a Second Language classes. About 60% of its roughly 100 Atlanta based employees are non-native English speakers – many employees come from Atlanta’s Hispanic and Vietnamese communities. • GED classes so employees can get their high school diplomas. • Citizenship classes for those seeking to become American citizens. • Computer classes, in Excel and other commonly-used applications. • Work-specific instruction to help employees cross-train or acquire needed skills. • Tuition reimbursement - the company pays 100% of college tuition for its employees. You can learn more about Currey & Company at: www.curreyco.com24 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  25. 25. In the shipping department, Alma Solano clearly summarized the benefits of the education program – she is working towards getting her GED on a “fast track,” hoping to finish within six months. “To me, it’s been great. Without this program, I would have to drive to a school and spend three or four hours a night attending school,” said Alma. “Here, I can spend an hour and a half, not have to commute, and have more energy and time for my job – it’s really Employees being trained at the Currey & Company facility in Georgia motivated me!”The company’s emphasis on employees doesn’t Currey’s internal newsletter is an elegant,stop with the education programs. Controller printed piece which highlights employee “Mike Moran says, “During the height of the stories. A recent version includes a story from arecession, we opted to sales representative, whofurlough workers instead I love the heart and says “I love the heart andof instituting layoffs.” soul of this company soul of this company andThe company also offers feel very honored andstandard benefits (health, and feel very honored blessed to be a part ofdental, 401(k), disability), it.” Currey & Companyas well as the ability to and blessed to be a truly understands thatpurchase product samples part of it.” investing in employeesat significant discounts. pays off in loyalty and productivity, and the result is an environment ofLauren Gold is Currey’s Education Coordinator. high achievement and cooperation among allGold started at Currey as a part-time ESL levels of the company.teacher, and now teaches many of the coursesherself in the company’s dedicated trainingroom. Since the program’s launch in 2002, yearlyemployee turnover has decreased to almostzero. Employee loyalty means that companymanagers spend relatively little time and moneyon staffing or recruiting.Team member Juan Miguel Mir was recentlyawarded his GED, opting to take the exam inhis second language, English. Mir said “I feelso little, so now I need to grow.” Mariana Lealtook citizenship classes at work, and became anAmerican citizen in April, 2011. 25 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  26. 26. What Is Preventing Your People from Achieving Optimal Performance? by Dawn Westerberg A sk any employee and they’ll tell you that they’ve taken on a lot more responsibilities over the months and years – most of it maybe not what they wanted or expected. A lucky employer has people on the team who eagerly look for new challenges, a better way to build the mousetrap, ways to use tools to streamline tasks so that they can dig in to metrics and results that might suggest a more effective approach to attaining goals. But often, these employees can be few performance. I can still remember Julie and far between. More frequently there is Andrews’ lovely voice singing “In every job a mood of resignation, doing what needs that must be done, there is an element of to be done and hoping that things will get fun – you find the fun and snap – the job’s better or another job opportunity will come a game.” While this is an admittedly corny along. While there may be some hopeless reference – there is undeniable truth in the cases, as leaders, part of the burden is on message. Look around. Has the workplace us to make the workplace and the company become dreary and devoid of fun? Is it an objectives dynamic and inspirational to our environment of optimal performance? team. Leading researcher, psychologist and Mary Poppins (magical motivator and author Mihaly Csikszetmihalyi uses the term practically perfect in every way) used fun to “Flow” to define when we achieve optimal inspire her young charges to seek optimal performance in an activity. You’ve probably26 Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011
  27. 27. experienced flow – it’s when you become so challenge – that’s the perfect environmentabsorbed in an activity that you lose all track for flow and optimal performance.of time, thoughts settle down and you’re in As leaders, we can help our team find thata mode of complete focus, and you seem zone where flow is most likely to be operating at maximum effectiveness. Do we throw tools or technology at our teamThere is an enormous sense of satisfaction and wait to see if they sink or swim? Couldthat follows achieving the flow state. an investment in training help to better “It seems almost like serendipity when we position our teams to feel equipped toenter a flow state. Most meet the challenge in frontof us would love to be of them? Could a thoughtfulable to enter the flow In every job conversation helpstate on demand. So to illuminate awhat prevents us? that must be boring process done, thereC s i k s z e t m i l h a l y i ’s as being vital to the company and give theresearch is an element indicates person responsiblethat there are twoimpediments to flow of fun - you a different mindset to bring to the task?state:frustration. boredom and find the fun If we’re Can we as leaders enable a little bit moreunchallenged by an and snap fun in the workplaceactivity, it becomesboring. If we are too - the (getting back to Mary Poppins)?challenged by an activity, job’s ait becomes frustrating. I think we can. AndWe enter flow state game.” the degree to which wewhen we are in the assist our team in findingzone between boredom Mary optimal performanceand frustration. We Poppins directly affects the degreefeel challenged but at to which we will enjoy athe same time we feel transformed workplace.equipped to meet theAbout Dawn WesterbergDawn Westerberg is the President of Dawn Westerberg Consulting LLC where shespecializes in helping business owners fall in love with their business again throughinstalling marketing systems that optimize fun work and awesome results. She is anAuthorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach and has held senior management marketingpositions at Sage, Lawson, and Open Systems. You can learn more about Dawn 27 bell•weth•er -noun: one who takes initiative or leadership
  28. 28. HUMANRESOURCES Much Ado by Apryl Hanson about Culture B uilding culture in an organization sounds like a daunting task, and if you think of it that way it will be. Culture isn’t a set of initiatives or tasks that you assign to someone on your team to execute in hopes that at the end of the performed tasks there will be culture. It is so much more. The everyday interactions inside your organization and the people you choose to work with as a part of your team determine the collective group culture. Let’s take an example of a CEO who has built a small company from the bottom up. This CEO cares deeply for his people. Often times during the day he can be found wandering from desk to desk asking people not only about their day but also about their families. When times are tough, he focuseshis teams on how to get things done instead of blaming people for what hasn’t been done. He doesn’t yell but remains calm,and when people bring things to his attention he listens. If an employee has a family issue, he takes the time to understandthe situation and work with the employee on what is needed. What type of culture is this building in the organization?Take a look at another CEO - one that puts strict guidelines on his people about how many family photos can be left on theirdesk. He monitors the times they clock in and out of the office and puts limitations and consequences in place if people arelate. He installs cameras to watch his employees when he is not in the office because he is worried that they aren’t being asproductive as they could be if he isn’t there driving their behavior. What type of culture is this building in this organization?What type of leader are you?Every leader and every employee in a business builds culture. That seems to put a lot of responsibility on the Human Resourcesteam in a company along with managers to find, hire and develop excellent people that build upon the culture. It only takesone bad manager, who takes his or her own approach, to misalign and derail a team and subsequently and entire company.As leaders, it is our role to keep managers and employees aligned to mission and vision and therefore culture.Who do you have in your organization that is risking your company’s culture?Think about how your developing culture is impacting the productivity of your business.Many of us tend to avoid conflict and often sweep what we consider small issues under thetable. Small issues and challenges that we see as potential derailing qualities need to beaddressed as they appear so that your teams know that certain behaviors and attitudesaren’t permitted. This is the way that culture begins to develop. Likewise if behaviorsare excused, ignored, or even tolerated, the culture learns collectively that this is whatis accepted, and this is how the company develops.As a leader think about: 1. What are you ignoring that you shouldn’t be? 2. Who on your team is at risk for derailing the culture you want to have? 3. What type of leader are you, and what culture is that building in your organization?For more stories on cultures that have been developed, check out our blogseries under the “Leadership” section of Bellwether Magazine | Fourth Quarter 2011