Tag Archives: C-Suite

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job descriptions

Job Descriptions For The Small Business

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According to the Small Business Administration small businesses make up 99.7% of U.S. employer firms. Chances are good that you, or someone you know is employed by a small business. Are job descriptions really necessary for the small business?

C-Suite View

Many small business CEO’s are not so motivated to have job descriptions in place. Unfortunately, some just don’t connect with the reasons why it matters. They may consider it to be a nuisance, and just another reason to avoid human resource subjects.

Too much red tape, a waste of time, and not connected with making money (in their mind) so the ROI just doesn’t seem to justify the effort.

Interesting, because this same demographic is represented in much of my client base. I am often working with them to help improve morale, reduce employee turnover, and grow their business. Is the lack of job descriptions part of this problem?

Job Descriptions

Job descriptions can serve many different functions. Of course, they are largely designed to help the employee understand the expectations of their job. In many other ways they provide vital links for organizational success.

Here are a few of my favorite ways formal job descriptions contribute to organizational health, they:

  • provide clarity to the employee of what is expected;
  • ensure that every job has a purpose and that the purpose is connected to the mission;
  • appropriately motivate employees and create pride in their work;
  • set standards for roles that link to strategies for growth;
  • help establish qualitative (perhaps quantitative) measurements.

Many job descriptions are a collection of statements with creative verb usage. For a manager, we may see many statements that include words such as: manage, direct, or supervise.

Regardless of job level, the best organizations are getting even more creative to include cultural factors that are important for the organization. So we now see softer words such as: add energy to, encourage, and engage.

Job descriptions matter. Yes, they matter for small businesses too.

Organizations that want people to take pride in their work must first take pride in their people.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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c suite authoritarian

How to Navigate the C Suite Authoritarian

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We know that we should do it his or her way. We know enough not to speak unless we are asked. The C suite authoritarian is out there. Is there one in your organization?

C suite Authoritarian

They are out there, thriving on the throne. They probably are not guiding the best organizations but they may be guiding one that is reasonably successful.

The C suite authoritarian thrives on a mismanaged and misguided means of power. They typically live by the, “my way or the highway” approach. They are the authority, sometimes in their mind, the only authority. You should listen, or else.

What is missing with the C suite authoritarian, nearly everything except for the flexing of muscle and the motivation caused by fear.

Motivation through fear is almost never a good thing. Motivation through inspiration is the standard to set. The authoritarian lacks this though, leaving the employees feeling forced to participate.

Navigating the Rough Stuff

Navigating the C suite authoritarian can be tricky, but here are a few universal guidelines that may help.

  • Expecting Change. If you are expecting to change the authoritarian, you may face much disappointment. Remember this person typically only see’s things his or her way. They know it to be the best way (in their mind) and you’re not going to change that. Stubborn is a word sometimes used. Don’t expect them to change.
  • Understand Metrics. Most authoritarians are pushing towards some specific metrics. For them, the value of the person typically takes a backseat to the value of the metric. They, by nature, are not really a people person. Results are what matters and the employees are merely a vehicle to get results. Consider focusing as much as possible on metrics.
  • Gain Trust. Probably no one feels lonelier than the authoritarian does. They like it that way, since everyone knows [sarcasm] it is lonely at the top. The authoritarian typically doesn’t trust, that is part of why they command through demands. They also may be a bit paranoid but will deny both. Show them you’ll take the hits and keep on ticking, you’re here for them.

There are so many factors to consider and for the employee who doesn’t know which way the wind will blow today, it is terribly disappointing.

Authoritarians Thrive

Generally speaking the authoritarians thrive in areas where or when unemployment is in their favor.

They often appear in the mom and pop business, or are often present in the largest gig (or only gig) in town. If unemployment is high, there are fewer choices so people put up with it. Still, trust is typically very low in these organizations and turnover and absenteeism are high.

Not surprising, the C suite authoritarian is often the first to complain about a lack of available workforce. Sometimes it is true, sometimes it is the organizations reputation that limits interest.

Your Choice

Long term you typically have two choices. You can leave, or you can lower your expectations and navigate the system. If you navigate carefully and get closer to the top, you may be the shining example, the light in the tunnel, or the hope that the rest of the team needs.

Every great future story of success probably has a chapter about hardship. I have always liked the story where the underdog wins.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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stop listening

When To Stop Listening and Other Failures

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Listening is one of the most important parts of communication. It is also the most taken for granted. Do you know when to stop listening?

A few years ago, I was facilitating a session with a group of senior managers and executives about communication. During a subgroup breakout portion, I overheard the CEO say, “It is impossible for us to fail.”

It grabbed my attention and I listened more carefully. At first, I thought perhaps he was mocking a comment from someone else, soon I realized he was completely serious. It told me a lot. A lot about his Company and it provided the only answer I needed about why we were there in the first place.

Generations of Ownership

This business is in its second or third generation of family ownership. In terms of workforce generations this CEO is a traditional. It includes a disruptive workforce resisting a turnover to the next in line in the family tree.

I have often wondered about the long-term positioning for their future.

“Impossible to fail” can probably be translated to, “We have stopped listening.”

A service and technology driven economy have cause many shifts in many sectors. This business was an exception. An exception because there hasn’t been a shift. There hasn’t been a shift for decades. Sure, they’ve installed some technology, but only for metrics and measurements.

Don’t get me wrong, metrics and measurements are critical, but the culture of the organization is still in the 1970’s or 1980’s at best. Who wants to work there? It is an easy answer, very few. Pay scales also tend to match the decade correlation of culture, which makes it even more difficult.

Stop Listening

My presence with this team was really a recognized effort to appease and silence the management team critics. The C-Suite team was hearing the outcry of need, but change was really about everyone else. They weren’t listening.

My impression is that the Company is not doing any better today.

When should you stop listening?

The answer is easy, “Never.”

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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confused about the customer Dennis Gilbert

Confused About The Customer And Surviving The Storm

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Know your customers. That is just one phrase of many that might relate to the worth of understanding more about your customers. Have you ever been confused about the customer?

Blockbuster might have been confused because if they really knew and wanted to be a top player they might have looked closer at streaming video before they lost so much of their market share. I’m not sure they will survive the storm.

Educational systems, whether it is public schools or colleges and universities, they might want to work hard on understanding the customer and their products. Otherwise, their customers might continue to move away from what has been a long-standing tradition. Storms sometimes change traditions.

Brick and mortar retailers, luxury goods, and traditional advertising agencies are also among those who have a lot to consider. The storm is hitting them too. It’s likely that only a few are exempt and that exemption is temporary.

Reality Is Tough

One thing is certain. Most things aren’t staying the same. For good or for bad, things are constantly changing. Name an industry, name the traditional giants of that industry and if they haven’t substantially changed they are probably diminishing in size.

Many industry leaders claim allegiance to doing everything possible to better serve their customers, few of them get it right. Sometimes they get it right in the C-Suite but they fail to create the right culture. The opposite is true too, sometimes businesses get it right in the trenches only to hit roadblocks in the C-Suite.

Confused About The Customer

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to avoid being confused about the customer:

  • What are we doing that punishes the customer?
  • Who is defining our product and what is it?
  • What makes our product valuable?
  • Are we listening to the customer and how?
  • How are we measuring customer satisfaction?

Perhaps there isn’t a perfect answer to any of those, but honest assessment of these and many more are critical for success. I promise you that most who read those five questions believe they are already beyond them. I wonder what their customers would say.

Surviving The Storm

Customer service isn’t just a department, and neither is sales. Businesses that lack an understanding of a customer service and sales culture are businesses who won’t survive the storm.

Those who understand, well, they are the storm.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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20 Items to Squeeze into Your Leadership Budget

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Everything on the budget might not have a direct connection with money. Budgets are important and so are trust, talent, and teamwork. What is in your leadership budget?

leadership budget

Leadership is important for the C-Suite and it is important at all levels throughout the organization. It doesn’t really matter if you have formal direct reports, if you are a team leader, or a committee chair.

Sure organizations budget for salary and wages, marketing, and office supplies, but what about the things which are harder to measure? What about the intangibles connected with culture?

Leadership Budget

Some of the most important things we do often don’t have a direct cost associated with them. They still require effort, heart, and a commitment.

Here is a list of some of my favorites:

  1. Ask more questions
  2. Listen to understand
  3. Recognize facts versus opinions
  4. Be accountable
  5. Acknowledge extra efforts
  6. Be trustworthy
  7. Do what you say
  8. Stop judging
  9. Give more credit, take less
  10. Be consistent
  11. Make decisions
  12. Show passion
  13. Take responsibility
  14. Care about people
  15. Live up to standards
  16. Show appreciation
  17. Be ethical
  18. Have courage
  19. Keep your promises
  20. Be respectful

Money might not buy love or happiness, and when it comes to leadership it doesn’t guarantee success. Organizations need leadership and it’s hard to put a price tag on culture.

If you want to budget for employee of the month, the pizza party, and a night of bowling that is great. Those things sometimes help and they matter.

Budgeting for the video about your culture matters too, but it’s much less important than what you illustrate off camera.

The next time you’re struggling to balance the budget give extra consideration to the things that cost less and but give more.

You might find that doing the right thing doesn’t really cost that much. It pays.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Communicating with the C-Suite

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It can be elusive, scary, and a place where people sometimes go and are never seen again. Some people will work for most of the career striving to get to the C-Suite, others prefer to avoid it.

business people group on meeting

Is it harder to communicate with those occupying the tower of the elite? If you’re not in the tower, the feeling just might be an overwhelming, yes.

What makes it so difficult? Aren’t these just people?

Yes, of course, but their charge is somewhat different. Sure everyone is working toward some contribution for the greater good of the organization, but those in the C-Suite are operating under a different kind of pressure. Their pressure is intense, their time very limited, and often they face decisions for setting direction that could result in an enormous victory or become the harshest defeat.

Do you have success communicating with the C-Suite? Are you looking for ways to improve?

Here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Be straight forward. Time is critical for everyone, and those in the C-Suite are definitely concerned about time. Details, drama, or indecisiveness tend to slow things down and time often feels like it is already working against them. Dance less, and give it to them straight.
  2. Bring evidence. Opinions are not facts. If you’re seeking permission or direction for a decision it might help to have a little proof in your proposal. Statistics, white papers, or stock reports might help your cause, but so will street smart news reports or details about a marketing campaign recently launched by a competitor.
  3. Be compelling. If you deliver like a church mouse, you’re probably not commanding enough respect. Chances are good that arrogance is too much, but having appropriate confidence, showing passion for your thoughts or ideas, and having a concise delivery will help bring clarity to your message.
  4. Deliver trusted information. There is a good chance that your C-Suite executive needs more information but their challenge is getting the right information. Their data needs to be reliable and valid. Often they are provided with so much information from so many different resources they simply don’t know who or what to trust. Become that trusted resource.
  5. Be patient. While the C-Suite often operates at a lightening pace, it might seem like a turtle race to others in the organization. If you’re going to build a strong relationship with those in the tower you’re going to have to learn to be patient. What feels urgent to you might have a very low priority for them. When in doubt, stay calm and be patient.

Communication drives all that we do. The very best organizations are great communicators from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top.

Avoidance, hesitation, or procrastination likely won’t improve the outcomes of any communication, especially communication with the C-Suite.

Make sense?

Sweet, you’ve got this!

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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