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The High Cost of Not Taking Action….

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In times of great challenges or change of any kind, it is easy to hunker down, withdraw and attempt to white knuckle it.
“Our run rate doesn’t allow any investments at this time.” 
“Our revenues can barely service our debt so we have to wait until more debt is retired before we can make investments.”
“We have to fill 1-2 more key positions and then our team will be ready to take on new strategic initiatives.”
Yes…all these excuses, justifications and rationales make sense if you want to continue to do what you have always done.
However, if you are ready for transformational growth, ready to use new and different approaches, ready to shake folks out of their comfort zone then let’s talk.
The only sustainable approach to transformational growth is by building alignment at all levels.  If you delay making the investment to shake things up, you delay the growth potential.
In order to build the degree of alignment that will establish a solid platform for growth, we must be willing to get out of our own comfort zone, create environments for our colleagues to feel safe getting out of their comfort zones and be open to using new and different approaches, regardless of the risk.  High risk equates to high rewards.
Until we get everyone focused on our top 3 strategic growth priorities, communicate this clear focus in a way that engages every employee, contractor, supplier and vendor and get the right people in the right roles, we will never be ready because we will never have a solid foundation for transformational growth.
As Walt Disney said so eloquently, “The only way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Don’t wait another day to start to build the foundation you need so you can achieve the profitable, sustainable growth you deserve.
The Halpin Companies have been facilitating mergers, acquisitions and management/leadership transitions since 1995.  Our clients experience transformational growth that results in greater shareholder value.  For a complimentary, confidential consultation, contact Katharine Halpin at [email protected] or 602-266-1961.

Harness the Power!

The CFO is often the first to recognize the high cost of chaos. It does not appear as a line item in the financial statements. But, a CFO recognizes the warning signs. Performance, productivity, and profit fall below expectations. Rick McPartlin, co-founder and CEO of The Revenue Game, believes the cost of chaos runs as high as 30 percent of gross revenue in many organizations.  That means that if you are a $50 million company, you are wasting $15 million year after year.

Chaos means confusion: both individual confusion about what we are trying to accomplish, and team-wide disasters when people are confused about how we will accomplish it.

A CFO brought me into an organization where chaos reigned. The shareholders were happy with the return on their investments because revenue grew year over year. The company enjoyed a steady supply of new customers. By all appearances this was a very successful company.

However, the CFO was able to detect those early indicators that are always present but rarely captured. He saw that their method of driving new customer growth was unsustainable. He saw that the leadership was aging-out without new leaders being developed from within. He saw that, while they were successful, the chaos, the pace and intensity for this level of success was also not sustainable. He worried that key leaders would burnout or die before building a more sustainable business model. Their success was coming at a very high cost and he knew this model was unsustainable.

The Halpin Companies team started working with this leadership team to gather information and identify alternative approaches.

Fairly quickly, using our methods, we identified a potential future CEO from within the ranks. At first, the current leadership team was disdainful of our recommendation but this candidate did emerge over time as the key player with the greatest leadership capacity. He currently serves successfully in that CEO role.

More importantly, we were able to work with the two top layers of leaders and, based on our recommendations, build a more inclusive and transparent approach to driving new customer relationships.

Through mentoring by the senior leaders and using this more inclusive approach the former #1 sales person was able to build a dozen sales executives with his same level of success.

Using our processes he was first able to articulate his values – he cared deeply about their customers. He then started to articulate his sales approach – he was an extraordinary listener. We then helped him document and communicate his organic sales approach in meaningful and easy to understand ways. Over time, in one-on-one mentoring sessions, he trained each of his key people to replicate his success.

Not everyone had the same capacity but 14 or his 22 colleagues were able to step up. As a result the company grew by 300% in a few short years because of this velocity.

The CFO was thrilled, the shareholders were thrilled and more importantly, this construction-related company was able to sustain the economic downturn and continues to thrive today.

Six of the other colleagues self-selected out of this company with their dignity intact. Why did the go away? They saw that they could not be successful in the new business model. Two other leaders came to the leadership team and asked to take a step sideways or even backwards. They knew intuitively that they could not be successful in the new business model, given their own strengths.

When you harness the power you already have within your organization, the results will be extraordinary. Often our clients experience growth in shareholder value in amounts that were never imagined or forecasted. Building alignment, inclusiveness, and transparency drive success.

 

The Halpin Companies has been facilitating transitions in organizations of all sizes and levels of complexity since 1995. Our proven methods create work environments and corporate cultures where shareholder value grows consistently. Learn more about our methods at www.HalpinCompany.com

For a complimentary consultation, contact Katharine Halpin at 602-266-1961 or [email protected]

 

 

 

 

Greatest Source of Stress? Un-negotiated Expectations. How to fix!

Why Some Executive Demonstrate Bad Behavior

Brian Evje had a recent piece in Inc. Magazine titled, “Why Executives Are So Bad At The Behavioral Side of Management”.

After a 40-year career, I certainly do not believe that all execs are bad at the ‘soft’ skill issues (which we all know are really the hard issues to address).

Mr. Evje states that “In reality, there is nothing ‘soft’ about the skills need to relate to people well enough to lead them.  True leadership involves both hard skills and harder skills”.  I love this quote.

He summarizes that there are ultimately 3 things leaders have to do to be more effective:

1) Admit that inter-personal skills are important.  He even posits that we must be able to lead ourselves.  I call this self-management.  Being able to bring the required perspective to every situation and to do this ‘in the moment’ requires presence, discipline, thoughtfulness and a feeling of being grounded.  Humans don’t gain this ability without getting exercise, getting out in nature, taking think time, and having a variety of reserves of time in place every day..

2) Rethink your definitions of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills.  He’s got great questions to ask yourself.  See the full article here:  http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-leadership-skills-2012-11

3) Get some help.  As a Leadership Strategist for almost 18 years, I, of course, love this idea.  Just like in sports, we don’t know what we don’t know about our levels of effectiveness. An outsider can help you raise your awareness and ultimately, make different choices.

When I re-tweeted this article yesterday, one of my Facebook friends added a comment that most execs put their self-interest over the interest of their employees, companies, communities.  Again, I don’t agree with the broad generalization.  I have seen more execs do this than I’d like to admit. However, the key here is to only hire values-based people and people who share your values.  If you value transparency, figure out what questions to ask in the interview to assess the applicant’s perspective on transparency.  If you value integrity, ask them to share an experience when they’ve been asked to compromise their integrity.  The interview might  be very short based on their response to this question.

If you enjoy these posts, you probably would enjoy our free report, 7 Secrets to Making More While Working Less at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

 

 

 

Execution is Not Easy! If it was, everyone would be doing it…even the US Air Force

How can really bright people screw up to the tune of $1 billion?

Our colleagues in the US Air Force were successful in just that.

They selected a software vendor in 2006 to “configure, deploy and conduct training and change management activities” related to a $628 million contract for an off-the-shelf enterprise-wide software system.  Randall Stross, a Silicon Valley author and professor at San Jose State University, captures the details in Sunday’s New York Times.  He quotes an Air Force executive,  laying the groundwork for this debacle by 2010, “We’ve never tried to change all the processes, tools and languages of all 250,000 people in our business at once, and that’s essentially what we are about to do.”

Mr. Stross attributes the failure to endless meetings, complex bureaucratic requirements and the constant need to fight wars.  My assessment of the situation is much simpler.

My experience working with leadership teams for over 30 years tells me that the team’s Vision and planning process was flawed.

This is what happens when the collective attitudes and beliefs are not addressed as part of the vision process.  This is what happens when the vision cannot be articulated or is not embraced by every member of the team.  These are the obstacles to almost every planning process.  When the planning process is flawed, no amount of expertise in execution can bring an initiative to a productive close.

If you would like to align your team around a vision for a $1 billion initiative or something smaller in scope for 2013, get our free report at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

Here’s the full article in the Sunday business section of the  New York Times: http://nyti.ms/YOI6CF  It’s worth a read.

Self Awareness – A Key to Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

In Sunday’s NYTimes’ Corner Office by Adam Bryant, Tony Tjan, Founder and CEO of Cue Ball, a Venture Capital Firm in Boston offers extraordinarily valuable insights.

I thought his most poignant point, in talking about the dot-com buts of 2000 was that “…self-awareness trumps all.  You need to know what your superhero strength is, but you really learn at tougher times what your and others’ weaknesses are.”

His point is like that Hallmark Card that says something like people are like tea bags.  You never really know them until you put them in hot water.

What does it take to have a level of resiliency that allows us to bounce back from setbacks and obstacles?  What kinds of self-management tools do we need to practice consistently so that when an obstacle arises we can easily circumvent it?

A key self-management tool for many of us is Strategic Think Time.  I’d encourage you today to give yourself this gift to read and reflect on this piece.  Here’s the link:  http://nyti.ms/YOzNGN

 

Gratitude Week – Be Thankful for Real Rejuvenation

Thanksgiving week is ending and we have the benefit of moving from 2-3 days of Holidays into a weekend . For me, I am on Day 3 of 5 of my Holiday Weekend .

Today I am grateful for this time away from my normal routines and obligations . I am grateful for time to be in nature and for a beautiful mountain setting. I am grateful for my health and mobility that allows me to move and breath in the mountain air.

How much time have you given yourself this holiday weekend for real rejuvenation ? How much time could you carve out today ? What would have to happen to allow you to give yourself this gift?

The more we can create an experience of real rejuvenation during our time ‘off’, the more likely we will be to build this into our regular routines .

This week I have been writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all. I hope you will read all my posts this week.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Gratitude Week – A Powerful Example of Using Gratitude to Control Our Own Destiny – Karen Perry’s journey from loss to gratitude

In an effort to not offend my friends and colleagues who chose not to celebrate Thanksgiving, but focus on celebrating with their loved ones a Fall Harvest Celebration, I hesitate to say, “Happy Thanksgiving”!

I am with family and friends in the mountains of Northern Arizona with amazing weather and time for real rejuvenation.

This week I have been writing about aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all. In yesterday’s AZ Republic, Pulitzer prize-winning, columnist, Laurie Roberts, shared the amazing story of Karen Perry. Karen is the mother from Mesa, AZ that lost all 3 of her young children last Thanksgiving eve.

Her story is a powerful testimony to resiliency, gratitude and moving forward powerfully. She really is controlling her own destiny after devastating losses.

Please take the time this holiday weekend to read the full article at www.azcentral.com to read Laurie Robert’s 11/21/12 column on Karen Perry.

A search for Laurie Roberts will bring up yesterday’s column. Give your self the gift of this inspiring account.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Gratitude Week – Are we controlling our own destiny?

Sometimes life is hard.  Our loved ones become ill or even transition on.  We have health challenges ourselves.  People we care about lose their jobs and their homes, often for no fault of their own.

Sometimes, we just can’t sleep or relax.

Whatever we are faced with we still retain the opportunity to look for the silver lining.  While hokey, this is really our only productive approach.

When we adopt the victim mindset, we give control of our destiny over to someone else.  When we maintain a productive mindset and look for the growth opportunities and even the blessings, we remain effective and we move forward.

This week I’ll be writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Gratitude Week – Be Grateful for the Little Things!

My older sister and I received a text on Sunday from our baby sister who was attending a bi-annual Women’s Retreat.  She acknowledged us for the ways we had contributed to her life when she was a child and now as an adult.

The text meant a  tremendous amount to me.  I believe we all have a basic human need to feel valued and appreciated.

Further, I believe that need is so great that it is just above food, shelter and safety.

Who in your world could benefit from an expression of gratitude and acknowledgment?

How might you provide that acknowledgment?  For me, the key is to first put pen to paper and to make a list of all the aspects that I can be grateful for.

From this, I typically find a theme. With or without this level of ‘think time’ and preparation, I am confident that your connection with this person will be strengthened.

More importantly, you will be helping this person get this basic human need met in a powerful and effective manner.

This is a powerful way to experience the full power of gratitude.

This week I’ll be writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Gratitude Week – Try Post-it Note Coaching this week!

In an effort to not offend my friends and colleagues who chose not to celebrate Thanksgiving, but focus on celebrating with their loved ones a Fall Harvest Celebration, I hesitate to say, “Happy Thanksgiving”!

However, regardless of our beliefs and traditions, we can all benefit from more gratitude in our lives .  Gratitude is the single most powerful tool according to experts like Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman in the new field of Positive Psychology.

I know that when I have been feeling anger and intensity and literally feeling the adrenaline pumping through my veins, gratitude washes away those feelings in an instant.

I call it my Post-it Note Coaching Program.  If you know me, you know that I say my job is to work myself out of a job.  I believe that because I want my clients and their teams to coach themselves and each other.  This Post-it Note Coaching moves people in that direction with velocity.

Think of a situation where you are NOT getting the results you need or want.  Think about the people who have become obstacles to those results.  Think about the circumstances that have allowed this situation to fester.

Now, take a Post-it Note and write down 3 learnings for yourself from this experience. Think of mistakes you’ve made that you will absolutely not make again.  Think of things you’ve learned about yourself, your colleagues, and the situation.

This exercise only takes about 10 nano-seconds.  Once you’ve written down the learnings or gifts, the frustration will melt away nano-seconds later.  This is a powerful way to experience the full power of gratitude.

This week I’ll be writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Get Your Growth Opportunities or They Will Get You!

When I was a struggling CPA/Management Consultant, I changed jobs about every 18-24 months. It did not matter if I was in tax, auditing or consulting. It did not matter if my Boss was male or female. I had a daily conversation in my head that when something like this. ” Bob (Fill in the blanks with the Boss’ name) is an Idiot”.

You can imagine that with this perspective and negative mindset, I was not able to win a lot of friends or influence many of my bosses.

The growth opportunities were always therefore me. The problem was that I wasn’t picking up on these opportunities. I was in a victim mindset. People like my Mutha supported me in staying stuck. She said…”it’s not your fault you are really smart!” and she went on to say, “it’s not your fault you are a really hard worker!”. I would say “…you are right! It’s not my fault”.

That mindset kept the growth opportunities coming my way with more and more velocity. By the time I was 32 years old I had been diagnosed with a stress related chronic illness.

We can either get these growth opportunities when they come to us as a whisper, floating by our ear. Or we can wait until they feel like a rock in our shoe. If we continue to run from meeting to meeting in maniac mode, we will not be able to connect the dots or see these escalating patterns. Eventually the growth opportunity will be like a brick, hitting us on the side of our head!

Timothy Gallwey, Author of The Inner Game of Work, says that we all have to be a Student in the greatest seminar on Earth. The seminar is called: My Life. He goes on to say that maintaining this mindset of a student exponentially expands our intellectual, creative and emotional capacities.

Let’s all commit to take time today to give ourselves the gift of think time to reflect. Let’s start to put the pieces of our puzzle together. What are we putting up with? Where are we feeling frustrated and when have we felt that frustration before?

Don’t do what I did, spend almost 20 years of my life in a reactive, victim mindset, where the Boss du jour was controlling my career success and my quality of life.

What Does It Mean to Get The Right People In The Right Roles Doing the Right Work?

A few weeks ago during a radio interview, I had an aha moment.  The interviewer, Carol Blonder, was excellent and was really pounding me about this topic.

I shared my perspective on this critically important issue.

Not only do we, as leaders, have the mandate to help our colleagues identify their strengths  in order to align their roles with those strengths, we also must be willing to address their greatest vulnerabilities too.  If we want significant improvement in our teams’ productivity, we must be open to this level of forthright communication.  We must also provide ongoing encouragement to build in support structures to minimize the risk of those vulnerabilities becoming obstacles.  All of this is  critical to significant improvements in a team’s productivity.

I know that’s a mouthful so let me break it down so it can be easier to understand.

We all have these strengths that we are born with, like our thumbprint.  Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, the founder of the new field of Positive Psychology, says that our strengths are our ‘core values in action’.  For more about Dr. Seligman see his website at www.authentichappiness.org.

When we get the volume turned up too high on these strengths they become vulnerabilities.  Here at The Halpin Companies we have a program to help individuals grasp all this.  The program is called The Gifts and Gaps Program.  When we over-utilize a strength or an asset, it becomes a liability.

The key is to be willing to be vulnerable and share our own Gifts and Gaps so that others feel safe to share theirs.

The aha for me this morning is that there are still opportunities for me to be more vulnerable in my life, career and within The Halpin Companies.

Who might benefit from your sharing about your own vulnerabilities?

How might this level of authenticity aid in helping others see their own strengths and vulnerabilities?

How might these conversations help better align roles, responsibilities and expectations?

What would it take for you to create a work environment where people felt comfortable addressing these critically important issues?

How big would you want to play?

For our E-Book on Making More and Working Less click here: www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

We All Have Issues, The Question is….Can We Laugh About Our Issues?

For some decades now, I’ve been saying to clients, colleagues and friends, ‘We all have issues….the question is…are we working on our issues?”

About 6 months ago I had a shift and I realized the opportunity for growth for all of us, individually and as teams, is not to continue to beat ourselves up, working on our issues. The real opportunity for growth is to be able to share our vulnerabilities freely and with lightness and humor.

We all have vulnerabilities. If you’re breathing, you have them. We over-utilize our strengths and get the volume turned up too high. We move too fast and can’t think strategically. We clam up and withhold when we need to find our voice and share our needs, preferences and objectives. We confuse activity with results.

As Brene Brown, PhD shares in her TED Talk, vulnerability is the birthplace of Joy, Creativity, Belonging and Love. In a business setting, think of your team’s need for greater alignment, clarity, innovation and connections. Being able to laugh about our vulnerabilities and issues is the key to creating an environment where others bring their best selves and thrive. Record results will follow.

If you’d like to watch Brene Brown’s video, click here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what structures are missing?

Interim Check-points?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.