How to Recession Proof Your Business

Recessions are cyclical and many experts are saying that in 2020 – election year – we’re heading into a recession. Just as many people, including our president, say the economy is strong…and it’s not.

It’s hard to tune out all the noise and know what to think. Most people were caught off guard during the last recession and some of the smartest guys on the planet lost their businesses.

Duke professor and economist, John Graham said in a recent interview, “CFOs are growing more certain of a 2020 recession because of the paralyzing consequences of economic and political uncertainty — including trade wars — on business. Faced with uncertainty, companies may pause by holding off on spending and hiring. That can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Regardless of what’s being said on either side, what you can do is prepare your business through careful planning to minimize the effects of a recession and to build on the inherent opportunities that arise in challenging times.

Dwight Eisenhower famously said, plans are useless, but planning is essential.  Over the weekend I did some digging into our financials and realized some things I wasn’t aware of. Typically, we business owners are happy when there’s money in the bank and the company is in the black which can lull us into stopping short of further analysis. 

Engaging in business planning forces us to confront every aspect of the business, what’s ahead and how we’re going to make that happen. We have to evaluate our market strategy in light of technology advances and disruption in every industry. From there we must determine our people strategy, succession planning and future team needs. Discern how we’ll measure our results against clearly defined targets. How we’ll fund growth and what our financial milestones including profit and cash need to be. 

Since history tends to repeat itself our best defense is an offensive approach through thoughtful planning. We can help and now is the perfect time. Call us today at 305-285-9264 for a complimentary strategy session and get started on your Action Plan today!


How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

Hello. In today’s video I’m going to talk to you about how to be successful as an entrepreneur.

I’m Doug Barra and this is business success with Doug Barra.

So one of the things about creating success as an entrepreneur is to understand the entrepreneurial ladder. So what am I talking about with an entrepreneurial ladder? Well the entrepreneurial entrepreneurial ladder starts with, basically, as a student. A student is below the first rung, it’s where we all start. And the first couple of steps on the entrepreneurial ladder are actually dictated by society. We all start as students. We all start in school. And what’s the job of being in school? The job of being in school is to learn how to learn, it’s to learn problem solving skills.

Once we’ve gone through that stage then we go to the first rung of the ladder, which is an employee. We all get that first job. It might be a job where we go out and do odd jobs for others. I remember, for myself, my first job really was doing odd jobs for other people. And I actually enjoyed doing that. I learned lots. I mean I learned things that I’ll never use, but I learned them. And, I learned how to do lots of different things that have served me over the time. I mean I learned how to do things like put in sprinkler systems, polish floors, re-tar a driveway. I mean all these things that I would never actually use, but it did teach me how to be an employee, how to get the job done and that’s a lot about what we’re doing as an employee.

Now, a lot of times people think well I’ve been in business doing the same thing for 30 years, therefore I should be really good to go out in business for myself. Well unfortunately that’s not actually the case in the world of being an entrepreneur. In the world of being an entrepreneur that would be like having one year’s worth of experience 30 times! In the world of entrepreneur, when we’re an employee, we want to actually have as many kinds of positions as you possibly can.

I was a dishwasher. I was a a line cook. I sold greeting cards door to door. I’ve done a lot of different things before I went into being an entrepreneur.

Now, once we learn all of that, then we move up to being self-employed. Now self-employed is where you are the business. It is all about you. You do most if not all of the work.

All right. Even if you have people that are working for you you’re doing most of the work. If you are not there, the business stops. This is what it’s like to be a self-employed person. Now self-employed is critical because we learn how to be in business. We learn how to have a business. We learn how to take care of our customers. Unfortunately, it’s also the biggest struggling point of being an entrepreneur and learning the entrepreneurial ladder, because this is the point where you’re totally overwhelmed. You’re trying to make it all happen. And a lot of times, people from this place go: “Ah! I just can’t do this. I’m just going to go out and get a job.” Now, for some people that might be OK, maybe they prefer to be an employee. But, if you’re committed to being an entrepreneur, then this is the point where you start to learn how to delegate. This is the point where you start to learn how to go from that step of being Self-employed, to being the manager. Now you might have thought well wait a minute, I would go from self-employed to being a business owner. Well not really. And I’m not necessarily talking about being a manager in a business. Although you might get there that way. Right. Working for somebody else. But as a manager this is where you start to learn how to delegate properly. How to have people actually take over stuff for you and do it effectively. You need to learn delegation. You need to learn measuring, accountability, how to actually make it happen that once someone takes a task that that task gets done properly. OK, a lot of times lately I think we’ve collapsed leadership and management because they are not the same thing.

Management requires that you actually get people to produce results. All right. You could be a great leader but not a good manager. And there’s where the the problem lies. Because a lot of people skip over that manager place and they try to go straight to being a great leader. And yes being a great leader as a manager is useful. But you absolutely have to be able to do the management. You have to understand how to manage people.

Once you understand how to manage people then you can move into the business owner rung of the ladder. This is where you’re actually starting to work on the business, not just in the business. You’re not just managing people you’re leading them, you’re seeing the vision, you’re looking for where you’re going. You may even higher managers at this point to start to take care of managing your people. And this is where you truly have to have your vision, your mission. You truly have to understand where you’re going and inspiring your people on getting their.

Once we have that managed then we can think about moving up the entrepreneurial ladder. A lot of people think well if I’m a business owner I’m an entrepreneur. Well no! An entrepreneur has other kinds of ways that they’re bringing in income. They might have additional businesses. So you have to go from business owner to investor and an investor is someone who’s now starting to go outside of their business and invest in other ways of bringing in money. As an investor you’re now looking out there as to where. You can have your money work for you and you can start to invest in other businesses, in real estate, in stocks whatever it is that works for you to invest in. This is how you can start to expand that and start to take yourself to that investor level.

Only once you start to really have it working that not only do you have a or several businesses that are bringing you cash flow but you have investments that are simply making you money from your money. Then you can start to move into the entrepreneur level of the ladder. Now entrepreneur is where you actually have other people’s money working for you.

Now, I know this is the place where you start to go: “Oh man, that’s awesome! I would love to have other people’s money working for me.” But, keep in mind, unless you understand how to manage your own money, no one else is going to let you manage their money. And I don’t mean manage their money from the place of oh I’m a stockbroker. I mean manage their money in the sense that they’re going to invest in you, in what you’re going to create, because they know that you can create it. You’ve done it. They’ve seen it. You have a track record for making that happen. That’s when you truly get to the place where you’re making money with other people’s money.

And that is being an entrepreneur.

Thank you so much for listening. This is Doug Barra with ActionCOACH business coaching and I look forward to seeing you in my next video.


The First Step In Project Management

Hello followers. I am Amanda Noboa, your business coach with ActionCOACH Team Sage.

It is great to be back with our next episode of Think Big Stay Focused. In my next video series I will discuss six basic principles of project management.

My goal is to show you that you don’t have to be a certified project manager or a project management guru to implement these principles when launching a new initiative.

These six basic principles will be your roadmap to the desired outcome.

Principle number one: you have to create the vision and mission.

In order to successfully execute projects or initiatives you should always begin with the end in mind.

This is effectively accomplished by designing the vision and mission of the project so it is crystal clear to everyone involved.

When designing your project vision and mission you have to make sure you are concise, clear, future-oriented, challenging, abstract and inspiring.

So let’s recap the first of the six basic principles of project management is to create a vision and a mission for your project that will help clarify the expected outcome.

I’ll say good bye today with a great quote by Steve Jobs: “If you’re working on something exciting, that you care about, you don’t have to be pushed, the vision pulls you.”

Till next time.


9 Strategies to Help You Retain Key Employees

It is frustrating to lose hardworking, high-performing employees. It can leave employers blindsided and wondering what went wrong. The best way to retain your key employees is by understanding what they’re looking for in their jobs and in their work environment and by prioritizing the things that are important to them. 

Countless interviews with HR professionals show consistent findings. Nine important measures your small business can take to nurture your top talent include: 

  • Work/life balance: Satisfy your employees by accommodating their personal needs. Many employees appreciate the option to telecommute when they have a sick child or other urgent family matter to attend to. Big city employees may benefit from flexible commute hours to avoid rush hour traffic. Offering a fitness center pass is another way to show employees that you care about their overall wellbeing – not just their time in the office. 


  • Consistent workload: High-performing employees are easily overworked. Because they can be counted on to produce quality work in an efficient manner, managers often send them more tasks than they can comfortably manage during the workday. This easily leads to frustration and burnout. On the flipside, these same employees may start looking elsewhere if they feel like their skills are underutilized at their current job. 


  • Promotional opportunities/career pathing: While employees may be content for awhile in their current positions at their current pay scales, eventually most employees expect a raise and an opportunity to advance their careers. While it can be challenging for small businesses to outline a clear path for advancement, employees stay engaged within companies where they can identify internal opportunities that match their skill sets. 


  • Effective management: A lack of training in their positions or a fear of giving honest feedback are two main reasons managers fail to earn the respect of their teams. Invest in your managers with proper training that teaches effective interpersonal skills and conflict management and encourage your leaders to get to know each of their team members and their personal motivators. When managers earn the respect of their team members, these employees are motivated and loyal to their team and their company. 


  • Raises and recognition: Keep employees engaged and motivated by recognizing outstanding employees for their achievements. This can be in the form of verbal praise, an email you send out to everyone in the company highlighting their achievements, lunch on the company, a pay raise…Be sure your employees know that you value their hard work.


  • Attractive benefits: Just as important as an attractive salary, benefits say a lot about how much you value your employees and an employee that feels valued is more likely to stick around. Offering fully funded professional development opportunities, plentiful sick days and vacation time, generous maternity and paternity leave…These benefits are just a few great ways to invest in your employees. 


  • Trust and autonomy: No one wants management looking over their shoulder but this is especially true of high-performing employees. They have worked hard to earn your trust. Give them the autonomy they deserve. If you do, they will continue to deliver quality work and reward you with their loyalty.


  • Retaining other key employes: Like it or not, employee resignations can be contagious. Oftentimes when one good employee leaves, particularly one in a managerial position, team members will follow suit, often following that manager to the next company. Working hard to implement these steps to retain your key employees will help curb this trend. 


  • Aligned values: Ultimately, people want to work for a company that aligns with their core values, goals and objectives. When this is the case, employees tend to be more like-minded and develop an emotional connection with each other and with their jobs. 

Want help attracting AND retaining your top talent? We can help! Give us a call at 305. 285.9264.


Case Study: Continental Global Services

The Background

Chinedu Okoro started Continental Global Services in 2014 as a compliment to his father’s commercial janitorial service business. Consequently, his father was his largest client. His business was growing slowly and organically. When we first met Okoro, he had just completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and he’d learned a lot; however, implementing all the new information was a whole other matter. Okoro had two employees and was working days, nights and weekends trying to grow his client base and move away from dependency on his father’s business. He was working hard to fulfill orders, invoice, collect, purchase products and run the business, all the while seeking government contract certifications. Shortly after we met, his office admin assistant – pregnant in her third trimester with her first child – broke her foot. All the things she was responsible for then fell onto his plate as well. The way things were operating was simply not sustainable.

The Solution

We got clear on the processes for each of the different organizational functions and began systemizing the business. We set up financial tools to analyze the business and set profit margins and brought in professional help to get the books accurate, then outsourced the bookkeeping. We let go of a team member that wasn’t working out, or government contracting, we hired a new team member who was familiar with this type of business development and began training her to be an asset and free up Okoro’s time. We set sales targets and business goals and then we set up tools that allowed Okoro and his team to access company data remotely. Our coaching also provided a structure of accountability that helped move the business forward.

The Outcome

In December of 2018, Chinedu was called to Nigeria where his family was involved in a hotel development project. He remained in Nigeria until early June of this year. During his time in Nigeria, Chinedu ran his business remotely, growing revenue by 147.49% and gross profit by 107.42%! He attributes this success to the team and systems we put in place prior to his departure. Our actions granted him the freedom and flexibility to simultaneously pursue business endeavors in both countries and experience substantial growth.


Chinedu states, “Running a business is like having a child. If you let the child run wild, there’s chaos. Having a business coach is like the parent providing guidance – one who helps you by looking from the outside, one who is experienced at reducing the chaos. You stop running around doing this and that and formulate a clear vision and effective actions. Developing a clear vision and prioritizing what to do, when and how to do it, is the most valuable thing I’ve received from working with my ActionCOACH. Her guidance has been invaluable.”


Make Time for Your Mid-Year Course Correction

It’s hard to believe that summer is already here! The kids are out of school and vacation season is in full swing. For business owners and their teams, it’s time for the mid-year course correction. June and July are the ideal time to review all your dreams, goals, plans, strategies, learnings and assumptions. It’s the time to take stock of what’s working and what’s not. Based on your findings, you can make course corrections to ensure that you and your team accomplish your goals and stay on track with your dreams. If you set aside the time and put in the effort for this process, it can make a difference this year and in the years to come. Here are seven things to consider and possibly modify mid-year.

  1. Review your budget and forecast. Are you on track to achieve your projections? If you are ahead of budget, you must determine if sales will continue to exceed expectations. If you do exceed your sales targets, what will you do with the extra revenue? Is production on track? If you’re falling short of budget projections, can you honestly create the additional revenue to make up the difference? If not, how will you bring your costs down to remain profitable?
  2. Review all expense categories. Are all your expenses in line? Are the programs and processes you put in place achieving their targets? Are there any that are just not working? If so, what’s the cause? Does the program or process simply need more resources, time or attention or has it totally missed the mark? If there’s no chance it will be effective and profitable, stopping will free up resources for other programs that will give you a return on your investment. Has an unexpected opportunity come up? What will it take to make that work and keep the business financial goals in line? What have you learned?
  3. Analyze your cash flow. 
  4. Review all your product and/or service offerings.  Is there an offering that needs to be dropped? If an offering isn’t performing, what’s the source of that? Would more sales and marketing attention make a difference? Has your offering become irrelevant in the marketplace?
  5. Have you identified new opportunities? What resources will be required? What’s the timeframe? What benefit do you expect? Will additional funds be required? Where will this money come from?
  6. Take a look at your competitors. Where do you stand in relation to your competitors? What can you do to become more competitive? What sets your business apart from the competition? Are you living your brand promise?
  7. Evaluate your marketing programs. Review and assess the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Which programs and campaigns are working? Which ones aren’t? Is there sufficient time and money to be effective? Should you outsource implementation?
  8. Bonus question: What do you and your team need to learn to course-correct successfully?

When your review and analysis is complete, you will be in a position to make helpful mid-year course corrections. Doing this will limit the money you invest in unsuccessful efforts, help you keep your goals front and center, and allow you to build on accomplishments from the first half of the year.

You’re halfway through the year! It’s time to make those goals and dreams a reality! Please reach out to us and let us know how we can help!


How To Engage Your Team

A lot of people are asking me, “How do I engage my employees? What do I do? There’s so many things. I’m hearing all these conflicting ideas.”.

In this video, I’m going to tell you exactly how to engage your employees.

Hi, my name is Jody and welcome to another video. If you’re new to this please Subscribe and be sure you ring the bell so you don’t miss a thing.

Let’s start off with where employee engagement starts.

Now many people are going over there with them. They need to be engaged.

It’s not something you can put on their job description. Engagement actually starts with you and me as business leaders.

Many business leaders and managers are lacking in the skills that are required to engage and to manage and to lead their teams. They’re lacking in communication skills, problem solving skills, decision making skills, team building skills.

They’re missing in many of the skill sets that are required in order to be able to be effective in leading and managing people. Employee engagement isn’t a secret. It’s human interaction and it’s not easy.

Most of the time we’d rather get on with it than to have to slow down long enough to learn to think and to interact with our teams in effective ways. However, there’s a strong business case for why it matters.

You have to believe in it and you have to be willing as a leader to let your ego style, of command and control, go in order to be able to connect on an emotional plane with your employees.

Now when I say that I can hear, in the background, “Oh God, this soft stuff mushy I’m not interested. All I want is the results. Well guess what. In today’s day and age the only way you can get results is by being willing to get engaged with them because in the industrial age where we treated people more like parts of a machine you might have been able to be more forceful command and control.

But today, knowledge workers may have more knowledge about an area of say accounting, or marketing, than you do, and your success rides on their willingness to engage on your behalf.

So, how do we do this?

Engagement is about ownership. So, let me take you through an exercise. I’m going to give you a couple of math problems, and then I want you to tell me what’s the first thing you notice. OK.

Four plus five equals nine.

Twelve minus five equals six.

13 plus two equals 15.

So what’s the first thing you noticed?

That’s right. Twelve minus five doesn’t equal six, Jody, it’s seven. And that’s typically what we do as managers.

The first thing we do is, we notice what’s wrong, rather than two of those problems were actually right! And then, we go to the employee and we focus on what they didn’t do right rather than what they do do right, and then we wonder why they avoid us, why they don’t want to interact, why, the moment they see us coming, they put their heads down.

Because the environment isn’t safe.

So one of the first things there is to do is just just start looking for catching people doing things right. That’s number one.

Another thing you can do is you can ask, “What do my people need from me, in order to be able to do their best work?”.

Another question is, “What’s it like being led by me?”.

I can tell you, years ago, I wouldn’t want to have been led by me. That’s for sure! I’ve learned a lot in the last 14 years of having this business, but I can tell you in the beginning, when I was scared, and I was new, I probably wasn’t very easy to work for.

You could go and you could ask each of the individual people on your team: “What’s important to you?”; “What’s interesting to you?”; “Where do you want to make a contribution?”; and listen for their answers, so that you know maybe this person is looking for expanding their capacities or gaining mastery in an area in the business or maybe they’re interested in working in another area of the business.

But just listening is going to point you in the direction of ways that you can improve their experience of being on your team.

I’m going to share with you a couple of things that you can do, places to look, that would be almost like keys.

First of all, set clear goals and expectations. People always want to know where they stand and what’s expected of them. If they don’t have a job description with key performance indicators of how you’re going to measure them in terms of their performance that’s a really good starting place.

Secondly, train them. Only 5 percent of employees that were surveyed said that they’ve had any training in the last five years. 5 percent!

Communicate with them. How many team meetings do you actually run? Is it once a month, once a week, every day huddles? Is it a year ago? Team meetings really matter. People want to be abreast of what’s going on in your organization.

Coaching your team. This one actually demonstrates a 100 percent return on your investment in coaching your team, taking either your time or having an outside coach helping them to improve their productivity and performance.

The next one is leadership flexibility, being who’s needed for that employee. Everybody’s behavioral style, everybody’s motivator and everybody’s strengths and attributes are different.

So rookie leadership is, this is who I am, take it or leave it. Whereas mature leadership is who’s needed for this individual, and this individual, and this individual, and being able to modify our style to be a match for that person so that we can have the best rapport and the most effective way of interacting with them.

Be careful in the way that you recognize employees. Because a lot of times we reward our top performers, and what that does is it actually creates an environment where other people on a team feel like losers. So, really look at your recognition and rewards programs and make sure that they’re aligned with creating an environment where everyone is honored and valued.

Retention starts in the hiring process. The experience that people have when they come to interview for you, the way the job ad is written, when they walk into the office, how prepared are you for onboarding somebody, what’s their first six weeks like in your business. So, all the way from recruitment through onboarding and into the ongoing training and development, engagement starts way beyond where you might think, it starts starts all the way back at who’s going to be a good fit for our company.

And, lastly, there is honesty. Trust is the number one foundational aspect of engagement. The team doesn’t care if you make a mistake. They care how you handle something. So if you do make a mistake and you can honestly say hey, you know what, I behaved badly here, it’s not what I’m committed to, please forgive me. And then, you put in a practice to make sure it doesn’t happen again. They can respect that. They’ve got a lot of room for that. But when we pretend like we’re infallible, we erode trust. So, actually being willing to be honest, and authentic, goes a really long way on the emotional plane, which is what engagement is all about.

Employees, who carry their weight and act responsibly, lose respect for leaders that don’t hold everyone to the same standards, and when they lose respect, and when they lose their will to add that discretionary effort to do a job at that next level, then your zombie behavior starts to creep in and people just go through the motions.

Sometimes, we justify, as leaders, why we let this one off the hook and not the others, but that actually erodes the confidence, and the will, of our high performers.

So, if you want to have a highly engaged team, it’s important to recognize that the environment that pulls everybody up to high performing has to be managed by you, you the leader.

We need people who are ready to lead when we’re ready to stop leading. So, the development of your team is in your own best interests, aside from the business case, aside from the profitability growth, aside from outperforming your competition.

Actually engaged people, who are pulling learning toward them, who are pulling growth toward them, give you the freedom in your business to either focus on something else that you want to do, or going to the next level of expansion, or diversification.

But, unless they’re engaged, they’re not going to be there doing that kind of work that will free you up, when you’re ready to move back.

A few moments ago, I was mentioning about the math problems and the first thing that we notice is the one that was wrong, well Shawn Anchors got a great TED talk on happiness in the workplace. And, his research showed that when we create an environment where people feel safe and they’re happy that all the metrics in business actually increase.

And, rather than going into the 19 percent here, and 21 percent there, and 13 percent here, knowing that when you create an environment where people feel safe and they feel happy, it actually releases the endorphins in the brain that create greater levels of awareness, and focus ,and energy, to do better work, more productive work, more creative work.

And so, rather than going around and looking for what people are doing wrong and pointing out what they’ve done that they could do better actually going around and saying, “Hey, that’s awesome. Could you show me how you did that?” Or “Could you show so-and-so how to do this?”, and engaging them and what they’re doing right, will go a long way towards creating an environment where people feel engaged and want to contribute more.

Because I work with a lot of businesses, I know that from the old days, and there’s still remnants of it in many of us, myself included, where we find what’s wrong. If all you do, is stop that behavior and start catching people doing things right, you’re going to go a really, really long way on creating sustainable engagement with your team, and that doesn’t cost you anything.

A couple of years ago, I got certified in an engagement program called ‘Engage and Grow’, and the reason I chose to get certified in this particular program is that unlike many of the other engagement programs that are out there where we’re laying a program on a team, this particular program has a framework.

It’s a framework, but inside of it, while it’s guided, the actual content is created by the members that are in that group. And that leads to buy in, it leads to a public accountability – nobody ever wants to be the one who didn’t do what they said they were going to do. It also creates a relatedness. And there’s aspects of it that includes feedback.

Believe it, or not, as much as people say: “Oh My God! Feedback from my peers, I don’t want that!”, that routinely, around the world, is the aspect that people say they loved the most and it’s the one that, when the program is complete, they’re committed to continuing to do on their own.

Other tools for engagement include Gallup’s survey. Gallup has the 12 questions you’ve probably heard of these in the past. I’ll go through and read them to you in a moment.

But, the Gallup organization does a lot of work as it relates to engagement and they do it mainly through the StrengthsFinder assessment. So the StrengthsFinder is an assessment tool where they will give you your top five natural attributes that still have to be developed into a strength but that you’re born with. It’s like a natural wiring and they couple that with what are the things that they found have people follow a leader, and creates teams that have high, high levels of engagement.

The Gallup organization was study high performing people, and high performing teams and they were looking for what’s common. They figured if they could isolate what was common then everyone would have access to high performance. Well in their studies what they found was there was no single attribute that everyone shared in common like say discipline. What they did find was that people who were reliably able to deliver results were working to a natural talent that they had developed into a strength, and in the assessments they give you those, your top five. You can get all 34, but really the top five are most important.

You still have to develop a natural attribute into a strength. However, that’s where it’s easy, because you have a natural attribute. You still have to learn, but it’s easy to learn, it’s easy to develop.

While they were doing that work, they were also looking at what do our corporations, and our school systems, and organizations, focus on. And, I don’t know about you, but certainly for me and many people I speak to, they say well you’re really good at this, but you better work on this thing you’re not so good at, again going back to what we’re not so good at.

And that research showed that no matter how much time, attention, energy and money you throw at a non-talent it will only ever improve between 10 and 15 percent. So, what we do is, we create mediocre, miserable people trying to get better, working really hard to get better at, something they’re never going to get much better at.

But this is important because, engaged people are people who are working to something they enjoy doing, a place where they can experience mastery, a place where they have autonomy, so that they’re in an environment that allows them to be a contribution. People want to actually contribute, they want there to be purpose to what they’re doing, rather than pushing a boulder up a hill till you get to the top and it rolls back down again.

When people feel like they’re moving forward, they’re engaged. And, a way that you can have people on your team be engaged is to know their strengths, and to help them to work in an environment where they can develop those strengths.

So I’ve shared a lot of different things that you can do anywhere from looking at what are people doing right, to investing in StrengthsFinder, to looking at engagement programs like Engage And Grow, one I know and love, but there are others.

Perhaps, one thing that you might consider doing is choosing someone who’s going to be the engagement champion. Somebody who has the listening of other people on the team and who would be willing to be the person who keeps that conversation for engagement alive in your organization.

And then, talk with your team, see what it is that’s working and not working.

I’ve shared with you some simple things that you can do, some inexpensive or free things that you can do to begin engaging your team and you can go on up the up the ladder to all manner of levels.

All of the teams that I’ve worked with, that have invested in their teams, are getting astounding results because their team feels valued.

So, if all you do is make sure that they experience being valued, you’re going to go a long way on getting engagement in your company.

Great companies improve engagement by focusing on the culture. Ninety percent of the people in a great company say they believe in the purpose of that company. Sixty seven percent say it’s safe for me to speak up, it’s safe for me to challenge the status quo in my company, and they believe in real change because they’ve seen steps being taken that are producing results. It’s not a quick fix. It’s got to become part of your business strategy. Investing in the growth of your people. And that will give you the kind of engagement that will let your company soar.

We’ve gone through lots of ideas here. Take the ones that are simple for you to start with and then build on that. Start with finding what people are doing right. Find somebody who can be the champion. Do the team meetings. Start investing at higher and higher levels. And, as you do, you’re going to see astounding results in your company.

So thank you for watching this video. And before you leave please subscribe and ring the bell so that you don’t miss a thing.

Till next time.


How to Determine the Scope of a Project

In today’s episode I want to share the definition of the scope of a project in the business world.

The Scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, deliverables, features, functions, tasks, deadlines and, ultimately, the cost.

In other words it is what needs to be achieved and the work that must be done to successfully deliver a project.

I have a client that owns a very exotic flower shop. Their arrangements are sophisticated, unique and highly seasonal. The uniqueness of the business brings marketing challenges. Their strategies need to be changed and addressed on a monthly basis.

My client was experiencing some frustration because she felt the team was having the same conversations about marketing almost on a daily basis, thus affecting productivity.

We introduced to the team the most basic concept of project management: Before the beginning of each month, gather the team, determine and document who’s responsible for what, define your deliverables for the month broken down by weekly deadlines, assign a cost and time to each task, follow the plan and adjust as needed.

This small change in the way they run the business made an incredible contribution to the productivity and team engagement.

I now will leave you with a quote by International Project Management gurus Bentley and Borman, “A good plan can help with risk analysis, but you will never guarantee the smooth running of the project.”.


Made In Miami – Blue Leaf Miami

Jody: Hello everybody. Welcome to the next episode of Made in Miami where we speak with entrepreneurs who are. Core to the Miami business scene. Jody Ann Johnson, and today I’m interviewing Stan.

Stan: Shockley

Jody: So Stan, can you tell us a little bit about how and why you started this business, and what do you provide, what services?

Stan: How did I start the business. I was working for a manufacturer of furniture for the hospitality industry and that was the largest supplier in its day.

Stan: And the company was being sold, and when the company was sold, I was not comfortable with the new owners, and I decided to start the business, my own business, doing basically the same thing that I had been doing previously, manufacturing hospitality furniture for the hotel restaurant industry.

Jody: And I’ve heard the story that there was a key person who you had a relationship with who recommended that to you. Say a little bit about that.

Stan: The gentleman that owned the other company, that I worked for, that was sold, had recommended that, in order to do what I enjoy doing the best, that it would be better for me to start my own company than continue working for the old one.

Jody: So how many years ago was that?

Stan: That was 20 years ago.

Jody: 20 years ago. And you manufacture what?

Stan: We manufacture seating, case goods, furniture for hotels restaurants. Hospitality industry products.

Jody: So what’s your favorite project that you ever did?

Stan: My favorite project that I ever did was the Old Post Office in Washington D.C..

Jody: Tell us, what was your favorite thing about that project?

Stan: Well. It was beautiful furniture. It was great design by Hirsch Bedner which is one of the top design companies in the United States, and it was just a beautiful project.

Jody: Looking back, Stan, do you think that you were destined to be in this business?

Stan: I don’t know if you can say you were destined to be in the business. I think I was destined to be a business.

Jody: Yeah, to be an owner of a business.

Stan: I was destined to be a business.

Jody: Yeah. So what is it that you love about this business?

Stan: I love the versatility of working with people in all corners of the United States, actually, all corners of the globe. We manufacture some product in Europe. We manufacture some product in the Philippines and we make some product in Asia in Vietnam.

Jody: So that capacity to interact with lots of different people in many different parts of our country and the world.

Stan: Yeah. We have we have friendly relationships with with great people in the Philippines. And it’s nice to be able to go and visit the factory in the Philippines. We also have factories that we’ve worked with in the past that were in Thailand. We have factories that we work with in Vietnam. And it’s always a great experience to go work with those different people in the world.

Jody: What would you say is the biggest challenge of your industry?

Stan: Making a profit.

Jody: Of any industry!

Jody: Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of juggling, how do you stay focused?

Stan: I don’t necessarily think I do. You know they used to always say that if you have a little attention deficit that you’d make a good salesman.

Jody: And you’re a great salesman and of great business owner.

Stan: Maybe.

Jody: If you could start your business all over again, what would you do differently?

Stan: Nothing.

Jody: What have you learned?

Stan: Be fair and honest and you will succeed.

Jody: It’s funny that you say that because my dad always said that. My dad was a business owner and he said if you do the right thing you’re gonna be okay, just be fair, be honest and you’ll be okay. That’s good advice. Sounds like you might have heard that from maybe your mentors as well.

Stan: Absolutely.

Jody: Alright, what are three words you would use to describe your organization.

Stan: Really great people.

Jody: Yeah. That’s it. Those are three words.

Stan: That’s what you asked…

Jody: That’s exactly what I asked! How long have you been in Miami?

Stan: Moved to Miami in 1976.

Jody: So a good while. What do you like about doing business here?

Stan: Diversity of people.

Jody: You know it’s funny that you said that because I think I’ve done a number of these and that always comes up. Can you say a little more?

Stan: I mean that’s what Miami is made up of a diversity of people, so you have a great workforce to draw from.

Jody: So what advice would you give to somebody who is starting a new business?

Stan: Put on your seat belt.

Jody: I’ve heard this, this is a recurring theme. So Stan, the best way for people to get in touch with you, if they want to learn more about what you do what your company provides, would be how?

Stan: E-mail.

Jody: And your e-mai?.


Jody: Well Stan, thank you for taking your time to talk with us about your business today.

Stan: Thank you.

Jody: And that wraps up this episode of Made in Miami. See you again soon.


How to Foresee, or Predict, as Many Dangers and Problems as Possible in Your Business

In today’s episode. I share the purpose and importance of project management in the business world.

The purpose of a project management actually is quite simple. It is used to foresee, or predict, as many dangers and problems as possible.

With project management in place you plan, you organize and control activities so that the project itself is completed as successfully as possible, in spite of all the risks.

Project management is important because it ensures what has been deliver it’s right and of value to the business opportunity. In addition implementing project management in your business creates leadership, clear focus and objectives, realistic project planning, Quality Control, Risk Management and orderly process.
I will now leave you with this great quote from famous author and mentor Arnold Glasow: “One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”