Create A Positive, Productive Workplace

Have you ever worked in a setting that was not a happy place? Ever had a boss that always had their door closed and did not welcome questions or conversation, which created an isolated environment. Plus, the company’s structure was continually changing, so job security was always in question. And there was a definite pecking order of favorite employees, causing animosity among teammates. Working in an environment like this can be stressful, distracting and downright depressing.

Today, we share a model for creating a happy workplace by looking to one of the most cheerful places on earth—the North Pole—and Santa’s workshop. Human resources expert Susan Heathfield has studied the elves who work there (well, the concept anyway), and says they are always happy and continue to meet production demand for toys as the world’s population of children increases. Based on this model, here’s what Heathfield says are the keys to a creating a happy workplace.

Create a purpose. Santa’s elves have a higher purpose than themselves by providing little boys and girls all over the world with exactly what they want for Christmas. Bringing joy through their work and knowing that they are participating in an activity that impacts millions in a positive way brings a sense of purpose and happiness.

Know your customer. Elves have a customer intelligence gathering system that allows them to get up close with customers—literally. They get to see people in shopping centers all over the world and ask them what they want. Elves listen and they build intelligence on the customer. These insights are rewarding in allowing them to be targeted in their work. And by meeting the customer needs, they have happy customers who will refer their work to others.

Create a sense of security. Elves feel totally needed and secure in their employment. Santa simply can’t serve the entire world on his own. It takes a spirit of teamwork between the elves, reindeer and the entire North Pole operations team. Elves have lots of customer orders and they know they will never run out of work. Job security and teamwork are desirable conditions to create happy employees.

Live the mission and vision. Elves have clear direction. They must meet the goal of delivering presents on Christmas Eve. They must do whatever it takes to make that delivery happen. And they have a vision: to create joy for boys and girls around the world. It’s an aspiration that keeps the elf team motivated and focused, and when they hit their goals, the impact is highly rewarding. Elves know they make a difference to millions of lives.

Have an open-door policy. One key principle at the North Pole is that jolly old elf, Santa. He creates an atmosphere of laughter and trust, yet he motivates and delegates across the elf teams. He doesn’t play favorites because every elf matters to get the work done, and every elf’s ideas are seriously considered. Santa creates an environment in which he’s approachable by all elves, no matter their roles.

Tap into these elf-friendly tips to create a happy and productive workplace for your team in 2018.

Source: Susan Heathfield is a human resources expert. She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward-thinking workplaces. She is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer and writer.

Four Ways To Combat Lukewarm Leadership

In the backdrop of uncertainty, a mere spark of ambiguity or apathy by leadership can ignite the pervading fuel of resistance among the masses. Today, we will share four ways to combat lukewarm leadership from business coach and author Brian Braudis.

1. Set the tone: Begin with the energy and gusto you want to see in others. What you do as a leader has tremendous influence on those throughout your team and even your stakeholders. People respond to what you initiate. Demonstrate how much you are willing to give and show that you are duty-bound early and often. Make your messages steadfast. When people see and feel your energy, enthusiasm and promise they will not only buy in, they will help spread your all-in message.

2. Communicate: Communication is a standard by which leaders guide, direct, motivate and inspire action. Clear, confident, resonant communication will engender trust and gain followers. Here’s how:

  • Get specific: Simple and concise is more effective than complicated and confusing. Hit the high points in your speeches and save the granular details for in-person communications.
  • Get face to face: Aim for dialog rather than monologue. Employees and team members know the demands on leaders and managers. They know the value of authentic live contact and informal dialog where they can see and feel that their message is being received.
  • Demonstrate beyond words: What you do supersedes what you say. The proven formula for personal communication is 55 percent body language, 38 percent tone and seven percent communication through words. Body language and tone will validate everything that you say. Sending protocol out in a memo is not nearly as effective as walking around and informally sharing your thoughts and expressing yourself on the need for procedures.

3. Be the Island of commitment in a sea of uncertainty: Increased global influence, more demanding customers and disruptive new players are challenges to be surmounted. But to your team members the new economy means uncertainty. Uncertainty leads to anxiety that makes people susceptible to stress, and being less productive and more vulnerable to conflict. During times of upheaval we need leaders who

are anchored in commitment. They bring a calming presence and a higher perspective to the context of uncertainty. There will always be some degree of uncertainty. But when leaders show resolute certainty in their commitment, team members take note and follow suit.

4. Show consistent enthusiasm: Leaders who show enthusiasm remove any hint of being lukewarm. People can visibly see and feel your passion, energy and commitment and they buy in. Your team wants to win and they want you to be successful. No one tries to be second best. Show consistent enthusiasm and your team reciprocate with buy in and enthusiasm of their own.

When savvy followers see and feel your energy, commitment and enthusiasm shining through the daily challenges and frustrations, there’s nothing lukewarm about that.

Source: Brian Braudis is a highly sought-after human potential expert, certified coach, speaker and author of High Impact Leadership: 10 Action Strategies for Your Ascent. He has also authored several audio programs from executive leadership development to stress management. Braudis believes “leadership” is a verb not a title. His passionate and inspiring presentations are based on the foundation that regardless of your position or role everyone is a leader.  Image courtesy of google image search.

Regaining Focus

It starts the moment you wake up in the morning, or maybe it’s the reason you wake from slumber. It’s the buzz of notifications on your smartphone or tablet. Most of us immediately check the devices by our bedside. It’s the first thing we do in the morning, even before kissing our spouse or letting the dog out.

This is one example of how digital devices have inundated our lives. In fact, studies show that people use digital devises an average of 12 hours a day. And the digital deluge is distracting us from gaining focus in other areas of our lives—including work.

 

Another area of distraction is our excessive addiction to meetings, according to William Treseder founding partner at BMNT and HBR.org contributor, who adds that studies indicate that we spend anywhere from 35 to 55 percent of our time in meetings.

To stay focused on truly meaningful activity at work, something has to change. Today, we share a few tips from Treseder on how to regain focus at work.

Practice mindfulness. The single biggest mistake most of us make is in how we start the day. As we mentioned above, the first thing most of us do is check our phones. Treseder quotes Stanford psychologist Emma Seppälä, author of The Happiness Track, who says that “By constantly engaging our stress response [when we check our phones], we ironically are impairing the very cognitive abilities—like memory and attention—that we so desperately need.”

Instead, begin your day with some quiet time. Take a few deep breaths or even meditate for 20 or 30 minutes. This allows you to train your body to stay calm in the midst of stress. It helps you make better decisions.

Organize tasks. Another common mistake is letting other people fill in your calendar, particularly in the morning. You have to make sure you leave enough time to accomplish complex, creative tasks. Schedule time for this type of work in the morning, when you can be most creative, and push other types of activity, like status meetings, to the afternoon.

Clean up. Is your desk a mess? What about the desktop of your computer? Your smartphone’s home screen? These areas might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but your environment affects your productivity and quality of work. As Treseder says, keeping a neat work environment, both physical and digital, is essential to your ability to stay focused. So, create folders on your desktop to get rid of all the random files, and keep only the most important eight to 12 apps on your home screen. And turn off all unnecessary notifications.

Shrink meetings and schedule time between. How many people were in your most recent meeting? More importantly, how many of them were actually involved in the creation or fulfillment of deliverables from that meeting? Limit the number of people in your meetings to ensure focus. Make sure each meeting results in action items, a timeline for each action item, and one person who is responsible for ensuring that it gets done. This takes the load off of you to “babysit” or spend your time following up.

Also, be sure to add time between your meetings to reflect and prioritize. It seems that a sign of status at the office is the person who has back-to-back meetings (read: that person must be very important)., Well, that person will not have time to do his or her own work and will experience burn out very quickly. Be sure to build in buffers in your calendar so you can have time to process.

Source: William Treseder is a founding partner at BMNT, a problem-solving consultancy in Silicon Valley. He loves to find creative ways to improve the everyday behaviors that define our lives. Images courtesy of Google image search.

How Do You Rate As A Boss?

Have you ever had a great boss? I mean a really great boss? I’ve had many good bosses over my long career. Looking back, the ones who had the most impact on me were those who were knowledgeable, pushed me by setting high expectations and taught me new skills.

National Bosses Day is coming up on October 16. If you are a boss, it’s a perfect time to take stock and determine what improvements would make you an exceptional boss. Today we share these insights from business author Jeff Haden.

1. Look past the action to understand the motivation. Sometimes an employee makes a mistake or does the wrong thing. Sometimes an employee takes over a project or role without approval. Sometimes an employee jockeys for position, plays political games or ignores company objectives in pursuit of a personal agenda. When that happens, it’s easy to assume that person won’t listen or doesn’t care. But there is usually a deeper reason for the behavior. A good boss will look at the underlying issue to determine why the employee is frustrated or if there is any justification for the employee’s action.

2. Forgive and forget. We all make mistakes at times. When an employee makes a mistake–especially a major mistake—it’s easy to label that employee as incompetent. A good boss will view the mistake as one incident and use the opportunity to educate the employee, not judge the employee in the future based on theerror.

3. Focus on employee goals as much as organizational goals. An effective and memorable boss will inspire his or her team to achieve corporate goals, but tie in how employees will benefit by achieving the corporate goals. Whether they get professional development or an opportunity to grow, those who feel a sense of personal purpose almost always outperform employees who feel a sense of company purpose. If you’re a great boss, you know your employees well enough to tap the personal, not just the professional.

4. Provide support without seeking credit. A good boss is not about self-promotion. For example, if there is an issue with a client who is upset or an employee who is frustrated, a good boss will support the employee dealing with the issue. This means getting all the facts and giving the employee the benefit of the doubt. A good boss will support the employee, even if it sheds a negative light on the boss.

5. Make fewer public decisions. When a decision needs to be made, most of the time the best person to make that decision is the employee closest to the issue. Great bosses trust the expertise of their employees and select the appropriate person to make a decision.

6. Don’t see control as a reward. Many people desperately want to be the boss so they can call the shots and be in control of the team. An effective boss is not focused on gaining control, but instead is focused on helping others and the organization as a whole.

7. Let employees have the ideas. A good boss is a nurturing boss. You get to know your employees, their strengths and what motivates them. Then you put them in situations where they can generate ideas and have a vested interest in the goals and action steps. You see the potential in your employees—and you find ways to let them “take the ball and run with it.”

8. Always feel like you could do better. Good leadership never stops. You always strive for process improvement, better quality, faster service and a better bottom line. Good leaders also strive to understand and elevate their employees.

Looking for another great way to be an exceptional boss? Read about 14 of the industry’s best bosses in PPB‘s October issue.

Source: Jeff Haden is a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer, and contributing editor to Inc. He learned much of what he knows about business and technology working his way up to managing a 250-employee book plant; everything else he picked up as a ghostwriter for innovators and business leaders. He’s written more than 50 nonfiction books, along with hundreds of articles and reports. And he’s collected four years of tips and advice in his book TransForm: Dramatically Improve Your Career, Business, Relationships, and Life … One Simple Step at a Time.
Image courtesy of Google Image search.

Three Ways to Honor Your Team For Labor Day

Sure, many of us got a paid day off last week to celebrate Labor Day. But do you know why? President Grover Cleveland established Labor Day as a federal holiday in 1894 to recognize the American labor movement, workers’ rights and the contributions workers made to the strength and prosperity of the country. We get to commemorate Labor Day because it forever changed the relationship between employer and employee.

Today, we’re sharing these three tips from Gusto.com on how you can have a post-Labor Day celebration with your employees as a way to honor them. These tips are easy to implement. Pick one and try it today.

Provide a free lunch. For many companies, free meals are a great way to reward your employees for their hard work. According to the IRS, employee-provided meals do not count against employee income if 1) they are furnished on your business premises and 2) they are furnished for your convenience. In addition to tax benefits, there is a positive ROI to employee meals. So grab a menu, go online and order a special lunch delivered in for the entire team. What a great way to start the week!

Give spot bonuses. It’s important to assign value to the exceptional work of employees, and unexpected spot bonuses are a great way to honor them. It allows for immediate recognition of your employee and it doesn’t have to break the bank. The bonus does not have to be large— $100 could be very reasonable—but it shows your appreciation.

Recognize achievements with personal notes. Everyone loves getting a bonus, but it turns out that money isn’t the primary motivating factor for employee morale. People respond to different types of incentives, and many value words of appreciation as much as compensation. A personal note gives you the opportunity to thank employees directly in a very authentic, meaningful yet simple way. It’s a great way to strengthen your relationship with your team.

Try one or more of these tips today and enjoy the surprise, appreciation and loyalty from your team.

Source: Founded in 2011, Gusto provides payroll, benefits and HR to modern companies. It has offices in San Francisco and Denver, and 40,000 small business customers and employees, in all 50 states.

Four Strategies For Making The Right Connections

Networking is critical to keeping the momentum of growth and opportunity throughout your career. Unfortunately, networking comes easier to some people than to others. Today we share these five strategies from Jill Johnson, business author and speaker, on how to build your network of connections.

1. Build Your Network Before You Need It:
 Johnson says the best time to start networking is while you’re still in school. Look for professional groups in your field. Attend their events with the goal to meet people working full-time in the field and learn from the speakers. Many of these groups need volunteers.

As a student, I was a member of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and had opportunities to interact with public relations professionals. It was a great way to ask questions, learn about the skills I needed and make connections for internships.

Be sure to follow up your meeting with a thank-you note and reach out to make a connection on LinkedIn, along with a personal message. These are the details that get you remembered.

2. Be Specific In Asking For What You Want: Don’t waste the time of your networking contacts. Be clear about what you are hoping to gain from the meeting. Tell them exactly what you want to do and why you think they can help you. “Informational interviews” are a terrific method for learning about their career path and gaining their insight on how to build your career. Make sure you have a stated purpose for the meeting and then stick to it. Ask if there are any events, trade association meetings or volunteer opportunities that you should consider to help you build your network and gain some good foundational experience.

3. Face Time Is Critical:
 We’re all too used to communicating by text and email. While that works in many situations, networking requires a personal connection. People can only get to know and like you as well as help you when they meet you in person.

You can get face time simply by asking for it. Request a 15-minute face-to-face meeting. Prepare for your meeting by reviewing your contact’s professional LinkedIn profile and company website. Have your question list ready, then greet them and listen carefully as they answer your questions. Conclude the meeting with a sincere “thank you,” in person and with a follow-up handwritten note.

4. Use Your Expertise To Help Others: Ready to pay it forward? Share some of your learnings and perspectives with your new networking connection and keep in touch. One interaction is not enough. Remember to pay it forward by asking if there is anything you can do to for them. There might not yet be an answer, but it counts that you’re interested in a two-way street if possible. You have valuable knowledge, too.

Whether starting out early in your career or looking for the next right opportunity, try these tips and branch out with new contacts.

Source: Jill Johnson is the president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant and author of the forthcoming Bold Questions Series. Johnson helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted nearly four billion dollars’ worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results.

Collaboration Is A Tool, Not An End Goal

How often have you heard a statement in your work environment that sounded like this: “The objective of this program is to foster more effective collaboration.”

As business author and blogger Andrew Pope points out, collaboration is often mistaken for the end goal, rather than the means to get there. And in fact, we see companies putting a lot of time, dollars and resources into collaboration tools like Sharepoint without having real goals for the collaboration.

Here are some of Pope’s recommendations on the role of collaboration and its best use in meeting your organization’s goals.

Collaborate With Purpose. The role of collaboration is anything you want it to be, but you have to take the effort to define the purpose. For example, you don’t go and buy a lawnmower then take it home and figure out what to do with it. Instead, you invest time, money and effort in things that have a clear and distinct purpose.

Pope suggests beginning by looking at your team or organizational goals. What do you do for your customers or your stakeholders? How can you leverage trends to do better?

Next, work back from these goals to your teams. How can you better utilize the knowledge, experience and problem-solving potential that you have to meet these goals? Collaboration will be the force to make it happen.

Give Permission To Collaborate.
Once we have a purpose for our collaboration tool, the other essential need is the missing set of instructions. We spend time providing guidance on how to use the individual tools, yet rarely do we provide guidance on how to collaborate.

Where and how should you initiate and join conversations that drive collaboration? Do we give our teammates permission to collaborate or do we create a culture where employees feel constrained by expectations of management that we shouldn’t be spending time talking among ourselves unless it’s to do with a specific task?

Allow for a collaborative culture by giving people the permission, time and resources to collaborate.

Goals And Guidance Direct The Way.
Finally, what are we collaborating towards? How do we collaborate? How can we encourage people away from the safety of their desks working like robots on individual tasks? We must answer these questions before we can expect the buzz of collaborative teams in an open environment.

Once we are ready to cultivate collaboration and have the goals in place which collaboration supports, then we can create a physical collaborative space. Some companies designate collaboration rooms or brainstorming rooms. Many companies such as Trello, Yammer or Microsoft Office 365, put digital tools in place. No matter the structure you create, be sure you provide both the tools and instruction for collaboration.

Remember, the software won’t give you collaboration. It will only support it. Identify the goals, create some instructions and empower your team to collaborate. It’s a powerful way to solve problems and support your goals.

Source: From environmental science beginnings to project management, knowledge management and innovation management, Andrew Pope always appreciated how mature collaboration is critical to the success of any project. Advising global investment banking and professional services sectors, Pope worked on some wonderful knowledge and collaboration projects. His biggest challenge was being asked to help a global engineering firm be more innovative. The experiences of all of this motivated him to co-establish Innosis, helping organizations focus collaboration towards innovation and continuous reinvention.

How To Choose The Right Organizational Structure

It’s the fourth quarter, and that means it’s time to finalize budgets for 2017. One of the budget considerations is determining what staffing will be required to carry out next year’s goals. This planning process has caused me to stop and consider: does my current organizational structure make sense?

Here we will look at three key organizational structures and considerations a small business should take into account when determining the right structure to achieve its business goals.

Business writer Kristie Lorette says that a small business can achieve both efficiency and effectiveness by implementing one of three primary organization structure options: functional, divisional or matrix.

Functional: A functional organization is one in which the hierarchy of the business is based on the job role of each employee. The structure features groups of employees who are focused on a common goal. For example, all accounting roles would be on an accounting team. Even if you only have two or three employees who fulfill the marketing role of your small business, you would structure it so one person is in charge, such as the vice president of marketing. His team would consist of a marketing manager and a public relations manager. This is a traditional organizational structure.

Divisional: The divisional organizational structures place specific roles within divisions or business units, products or regions—decentralizing specific functions. For example, you could divide the United States into four divisions: north, east, south and west, and each division would have its own specialists, such as a marketing director. Each division would then have its own employees.

Matrix: A matrixed organizational structure is a hybrid of functional and divisional organizational structures. The matrix organizational structure works more like a team. Instead of department heads, each team has a leader. Matrix organizational structures bring together employees who focus on a project, but fill different roles from across your business. The matrix organizational structure often works if your business serves different geographic regions.

If you have a small business, how do you take in elements of these organizational structures? It depends on your growth. For example, says Lorette, if your business starts out by only serving the local city where the business operates, but eventually serves the state, you might start with one structure and change to another one to better fit the needs of your business and its customers.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, no right or wrong. Try elements of each of these structures to see what works best for your business.

Source: Kristie Lorette is a marketing copy and content expert who works with small business owners and entrepreneurs who struggle to market their business effectively to attract the right clients on a consistent basis. What separates her service from other marketing professionals is that she only works with small business owners and only specializes in creating marketing content and copy. Because of this, Lorette’s clients receive proven, effective and extremely specific step-by-step information on exactly what they need to do to attract clients with their marketing. As a result, those who work with her attract more clients and make more money than that would have on their own.
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Build Unshakable Confidence During Shaky Times

We all know that the world today is not what it was 10 years ago, or even five years ago. Our mobile phones, laptops, tablets and televisions frequently depict images of the political, financial and international upheavals that have an effect on our economy.

With so many stressors and distractions, it can be a challenge to stay confident and maintain a positive attitude as a leader. In a recent article, highly regarded sales coach Joel Garfinkle shared 10 tips for building an unshakable confidence. Here is an excerpt from his article:

1. Know that things will not stay the same. They will change, they will get better. In the meantime, recognize that you can’t change the direction of the wind. But you can change the direction of your sails.

2. See the bigger picture. We’ve had economic and financial crises over the past 80 years. From the 1929 Great Depression, lines at the gas pumps in 1973, Black Monday in 1987, the 2001 dot.com bust and the Great Recession in 2008-2009. With each economic crisis, we haven’t just recovered; we have seen a very positive turnaround. You will get through this.

3. Take action that shows you are in charge. Perhaps the most frustrating part is feeling that your situation is out of control—that you can’t do anything about it. Instead, take action, even if it’s small steps, to show you can make a difference in your own future. This will empower you and build your sense of self-confidence.

4. Cut back on expenses. Make small adjustments to your spending habits and lifestyle. List all your expenses and see what and where you can cut. Instead of looking at budget cutting as a pain, consider it a challenge or opportunity.

5. Bring in extra income. You could get a part-time job or spend a few hours a week doing something extra to bring in more money. Or consider asking for a raise or working more overtime.

6. Limit the amount of news you take in. In one day, you can easily read the paper, watch the internet and then consume the TV news stations. All of this is overkill and will just reinforce the negativity. Limit how much news you take in. This will help you not get overwhelmed and swamped in doubt and fear.

7. Use your savings—it’s a rainy day. You know the adage, “Save for a rainy day.” Guess what? It’s raining! Now is the time to use the money you have put aside. Tapping into this rainy-day fund might take some of the pressure off.

8. Be willing to take on additional responsibilities. As companies downsize, the “survivors” are often asked to pick up the additional work. Understandably, this causes resentment and hard feelings. Instead of complaining, look at this as an opportunity to increase your value to your organization. Then, even if you are laid off, this additional experience and responsibility will make you that much more employable.

9. Surround yourself with positive people. Put an end to the pity parties. As Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway, once said, “Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A word of optimism and hope. And you can do it when things are tough.”

10. Spend more time with the people you love … doing the things you love. Turn off the TV or computer and work on your golf game. Surprise your spouse or partner with breakfast in bed. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or your local humane society. Look for reasons to celebrate the people you love and the friendships you’ve enjoyed over the years (in good times and in bad).

Source: Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of seven books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work Newsletter and receive the free e-book, 40 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now! Copyright ©2005-2016 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.

How to Create New Opportunities

In today’s business environment, there’s no such thing as “watching and waiting.” If you do, you get left behind. For example, a company that keeps moving forward is Apple. The unveiling of the iPhone 7 with its latest features such as water resistance, dual camera and no headphone jack positions Apple as an organization that is continually pushing the market.

While we can’t always control circumstances and events in business, like Apple, there are things we can do to minimize problems and leverage new opportunities for growth and profitability.

Add New Value To Your Current Customers
Changes in the economy may sensitize your customers to the value of the things on which they spend their money, where they spend it and when they spend it. But, the good news is they are spending money. Three things you can do to create new value for current customers include:

  • Adapt products and services to meet customers’ new needs . For example, IBM, a company that traditionally made typewriters and copiers, and transitioned into computer equipment, started offering more services so their customers could more effectively and efficiently use the hardware they already owned. (Example: services include consulting, training and coaching in addition to different levels of hotline and field service support). As a result, the company has rebounded from its slump of a few years ago, and has posted steady gains in revenue and profit, even during the recent economic downturn.
  •  Demonstrate how the same products/services can address new needs. Customers will continue to buy the same products and services at premium prices—even in a down economy—provided that customers recognize how the value of the product/service meets their most important current objective. (Example: If buyers can’t justify buying a luxury car for “fun,” they may still justify it for business reasons, performance, safety, security and other practical reasons).
  • Provide incentives that increase value: Find new ways to add value for buying now rather than later, for buying bundled service packages or for buying in larger quantities by offering special deals (Example: a storage company offers two months “free” if the customer purchases a one-year contract instead of a monthly contract).

Find New Markets For Your Products and Services

Increasingly, the answer to less demand from current customers is for companies to reach out to new markets. For example, both Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue Airlines—traditionally focused on leisure travel—are now aggressively pursuing the business travel market.

This approach has promise, but to be successful it’s important to remember one thing: The key to successfully entering a new market is to adopt an investment mindset. For example, both airlines discovered they needed to make a number of changes in order to be “business-traveler friendly.” Everything from flight schedules, layout of gate areas, accounting systems and reservation management systems had to be adjusted to meet the needs of corporate travel departments. Clearly, these two airlines are evolving in ways that will eventually impact every aspect of their company.

Entering a new market has the potential to profoundly and permanently impact the nature of your company. Be sure that your key stakeholders (internal and external to your organization) understand and are committed to the significant investment and change it’s likely to take in order to succeed.

Ultimately, the world is changing and we must adapt to this, even if it means reinventing our businesses to create new opportunities for long-term success.

Source: Pamela S. Harper is the founding partner and CEO of Business Advancement Inc. (BAI), based in Glen Rock, New Jersey. She is an internationally known business performance expert, author and professional speaker with more than 20 years of experience in internal and external consulting to entrepreneurial, middle market and Fortune 500 companies. D. Scott Harper, Ph.D. is senior partner and COO of BAI. He is a globally recognized expert in innovation processes and systems with a unique ability to translate technical insights into desired business results gained from more than 20 years of leadership experience in Johnson & Johnson Consumer Company, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and Warner-Lambert Company.