Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cultural Assessment: A Vital Part of the Road Map to Success for Your Organization

Have you ever noticed how preoccupied businesses are with communicating their image? Marketing plans, slogans, advertising strategies—all designed to convey who they are and where they’re going.

How about you? Have you been working on a long-range plan? Maybe you’ve thought about creating a new slogan or logo to give you a fresh outlook.

On the surface, those things look great. However, when it comes to long-range planning, there’s a vital question to ask: What if you don’t make it? More to the point, what if you can’t make it?

The simple truth is this: It’s impossible to get to where you want to go—to reach your goals as an organization—if you don’t know where you are to begin with.

Let’s say that your business has been going gangbusters for several years, when suddenly a game changer appears. One or more competitors arrive on the scene with new business or operating models that change the marketplace for your industry. How well would your company respond such a dynamic challenge?

Think of the leaders and team members in your organization. How prepared are they to compete in this fast-moving, digital age—to adapt swiftly, effectively and collaboratively to keep your company in the game?

I recently read an article suggesting that global Internet traffic will increase eight-fold by 2025. This, after it had already surged 18-fold since 2005! The pace of change in business and technology today is mind-boggling. It’s a challenge to keep up, let alone get ahead.

That’s why it’s important to do a cultural assessment, to determine what your company’s strengths are and how prepared you are for the challenges you will face. What opportunities do you and your leadership team see for your company? Likewise, what are the challenges that threaten your business? Are you able to adapt to those? You need to know where you stand—right now, today.

Many of the decisions that you and your leadership team are going to make could very well be “bet your company” decisions; in other words, the very future of your organization is at stake! That’s why it is imperative to know if you have a leadership team and a corporate culture that will rise to the challenges at hand.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to initiate the assessment process. Individually and organizationally, it’s important for everyone to clearly understand how success is going to be measured, as well as how and why adjustments will need to be made. Set the tone by starting with your self, and asking others on the management to do the same.

For many years companies were encouraged to develop five-year plans as a road map for success. But times have changed; today, a two-year or three-year strategy is recommended, due to the rapid pace of change in our technology-driven world.

Do you have a plan? Think about how you can involve your entire organization, including management and employees, in the process of completing a cultural assessment. Determining where you are as an organization is the vital first step that will help you manage change effectively and bring about the results you desire.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself" — Henry Ford

Jim Ondrus pioneered the management concept of Leadership Transitioning. He is president of JA Ondrus, LLC, a Canton, Ohio executive coaching firm.

Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Truly Make It a Year to Remember

“Let’s make it a great year!”

We’ve all heard motivational statements like that one. Maybe you’ve even said something like it.

While it’s a great sentiment, it can be pretty intimidating. A whole year? That’s a big challenge.

But you can do it, and the simplest, most practical way is to break that year down into smaller portions.

Before you can have an excellent year, first have an excellent month. Before that, an excellent week…day…hour…and so forth.

When I say excellent, I don’t just mean in the business sense. Remember, it’s important to have balance in the four key areas of life: physical, spiritual, intellectual and personal.

Too often we feel like we need to fill every minute with activity and accomplishment. That can cause us to lose sight of what’s truly important in life. Relaxation and quality personal time are important to accomplish our goals in all aspects of our lives.

So how can we achieve that balance? By creating a plan, reviewing it on a regular basis, and remaining committed to carrying it out.

I’ve written before about the importance of reminding yourself when you were at the top of your game. Maybe you’re there now. Maybe you were there in the past. How did it feel? What were you doing? Who were you spending your time with, or working with, and how did they influence you in a positive way?

Sometimes the secret to personal success can be found in recapturing those moments and making them a reality once again. When we’re at the top of our game, we’re more focused and more balanced in our professional and personal lives. Just as important, we need to be surrounded by the right people, people who support us and are willing to give honest, constructive feedback, because they have our best interest at heart.

How is this year going for you? If the big picture has you feeling overwhelmed, break it down into smaller snapshots. Make the next hour a great one. That can lead to a great day…week… month…and you’ll be on your way.

At J.A. Ondrus, LLC, we personalize our coaching process to fit your specific needs and goals. Give us a call at (330) 754-5767, and let’s talk about your business and what we can do to assist you.

Jim Ondrus pioneered the management concept of Leadership Transitioning. He is president of JA Ondrus, LLC, a Canton, Ohio executive coaching firm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Don't Just Set Goals...Achieve Them!

pro-football-hall-of-fameOne of the unique aspects of living in the Canton, Ohio area is that we have the Professional Football Hall of Fame located here. I have been to numerous events sponsored by the Hall over the years and I am continually inspired by the stories behind the men who are forever enshrined there.

Inside each of those stories are accounts of their dreams, goals, successes, failures, challenges, coaches, family members, mentors, endless practices, courage, pride and lifetime friendships—just to name a few.  If there are some common themes that I note, it is how they emphasize that they did not do it alone, never gave up and are honored to have earned the right to be a member of this elite fraternity.

So as you and I focus on achieving our goals for this year and beyond, let’s be clear on why we are doing so and how they will help us attain the legacy that we are striving for.

One thing I stress to my clients is that it’s critical to surround ourselves with people whom we trust and who believe that we can accomplish our goals and are willing to give us honest and valuable feedback on how we are doing. It might be a family member, a close friend, a mentor, or a business associate. Not only will they serve as a source of encouragement, they’ll help us be accountable to do the things we need to do to succeed..

At our company, we model our programs, coaching and training techniques on helping our clients focus on balance in four key areas of life: physical (health), spiritual (service), intellectual (wealth) and interpersonal (communication/relationships). We firmly believe that BALANCE is a key to power and success.

So here’s a quick way to be more productive, personally and professionally. In each of those four areas, set three important manageable goals. Then, assess yourself daily on how you are doing by asking three simple questions:

   1. Are my goals clear, and am I properly focused and willing to pay the price to achieve them?
   2. What have I learned about myself today and what do I need to adjust?
   3. What is my level of commitment and how will I feel when I attain my goals?

We must also make sure we have the resources to achieve our goals, and then be sure to do something every day to take us one step closer to achieving them. One helpful technique is to keep a journal, and write in it every day. You don’t have to say a lot, but keeping track of your progress and key learning by writing it down will give you a greater sense of accomplishment, while always keeping you focused on where you want to go.

Declaring a set of pie-in-the-sky New Year’s resolutions that end up tucked away in a mental drawer leads to nothing but futility and frustration. Focus instead on the key areas of your life and set goals that are realistic and measurable. The results will be longer-lasting, and well worth the effort.

Jim Ondrus pioneered the management concept of Leadership Transitioning. He is president of JA Ondrus, LLC, a Canton, Ohio executive coaching firm.