Thursday, December 15, 2016

Utilize Social Media -- But Why?

We’ve all considered both sides of the saying, “change for change’s sake.” On the one hand, there’s the argument that there’s no point in changing things around if it just represents something to do. On the other hand, there’s the idea that it never hurts to shake things up and challenge the status quo.

When it comes to marketing, the landscape has changed for us. Digital marketing—in particular, social media marketing—has presented tools and options we’ve never known before. The question becomes, how should you use it? And, as a CEO or manager, how involved should you be?

Joe Pulizzi spoke to the Akron Advertising Federation in May
I had the opportunity earlier this year to attend a seminar presented by Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of several books on the topic, including his most recent, “Content Inc.” While he certainly advocated jumping into the world of content marketing and social media, he also pointed out that the process is more a marathon than a sprint. In fact, he advises businesses to be prepared to wait as long as 18 months for a content marketing plan to produce concrete, measurable results.

Are you utilizing social media for your business? I am, and I think you should be, too. That doesn’t mean you need to do everything. I’ve turned to professional colleagues to help shape and implement my content marketing plan, which includes everything from Facebook to blogging to e-newsletters. I’m able to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening, without being bogged down in the details. As a result, we can keep things moving forward—almost in spite of me, you might say.

It’s also important to know why you’re utilizing social media. Simon Sinek, a noted author and speaker on the topics of management and leadership, poses the question, “Do you know your why?” Sinek, who shares his ideas online at, gave a popular TED Talk on the topic, in which he shares his Golden Circle concept.

At the center of the circle is the why, the core of your business; next comes the how, as in how you fulfill your core belief; and then comes the what, as in what you do to achieve it. Sinek suggests that most of the time we actually get it backwards. We start with the what, and work from there. His ideas are thought-provoking and compelling. A simple change in perspective can make all the difference.

When it comes to social media marketing, rather than resist it or place it on a mental back burner, why not embrace it? Learn all you can about it. Actively plan for it. And begin your plan with why you’re doing it. You’ll soon recognize that it’s more than just change for change’s sake—it’s change for your business’ sake, and an important element to your future success.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Interview: Dave Kirven

I have had the good fortune of working with, and learning from, great leaders during my career. One of the keys that has been evident to me is their ability to build great relationships and focus on bringing people and resources together to get results. Dave Kirven, business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 94 in Canton, has spent 32 years in the labor field, working to bring the community together by getting people and organizations to go outside of their comfort zones for the common good.

In addition to his responsibilities with Local 94, Dave is also president of the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council, which comprises 22 local trade union chapters, and is chairman of the Stark Carroll Oil & Gas Partnership, an alliance of local community and government groups that promotes understanding of the oil and gas industry.

Dave is a good friend and I am honored to feature him as one of our spotlight interviews this month. Here are his comments:

Heroes, coaches and mentors: My most significant hero was my sister Laura, who battled cancer for 20 years. I have also taken bits and pieces of learning from various union leaders and managers over my career.

Most significant “a-ha” or “wow” moments to this point:  I’d have to say the importance of my family, and the realization of how fast kids grow up. I’ve also learned the importance of not second-guessing myself and being professional and self-confident.

Greatest insights and experiences:  I am the first plumber in 35 years to sit in this chair and have the responsibility of being business manager for our union. So I’ve learned the importance of getting past stigmas and:
  1.) being more inclusive and learning how to treat people;
  2.) being more transparent; and
  3.) learning how to deal with people and getting more people involved.

Three key pearls of wisdom to share with young aspiring leaders:
  1.) Share your success.
  2.) Own your mistakes.
  3.) Nine out of 10 times if it feels good in your heart, it is probably the right thing to do.

The legacy that you want to leave: I want organizations to see the integrity of the work that we do.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Personal Accountability: The Difference Maker

Fifteen years ago, author John G. Miller summarized one of the greatest pitfalls to productivity in his book, “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question.”

The book remains popular in management circles today, because it summarizes the need for personal accountability. Miller says that when problems arise, instead of pointing fingers at others and playing the role of victim, we need to ask a simple question: What can I do to make a difference? It is only by looking for solutions, rather than laying blame, that we can best solve problems and be productive.

The concept of personal accountability is nothing new. It’s been the topic of countless books and articles over the years. Just Google “personal accountability” and see for yourself how many results come up.

But if it’s so widely talked and written about, why is it so difficult to practice? Perhaps it’s because of our human proclivity—and the fact that the idea is ingrained in us in today’s society—to play the victim role.

When problems arise, it’s too easy to try and shift the blame elsewhere. When things don’t work out for us, it’s because of factors that are out of our control. We point fingers and make excuses, and nothing is truly resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.

Miller is on target, then, when he suggests simply turning the equation around. Instead of looking elsewhere, look within. What can I do to make a difference? It’s a simple question, but the answer can have profound effects.

For one thing, it’s empowering. By taking responsibility for our actions, we take control of the results. In reality, that makes us more effective. Who wants to be victim of outside forces deciding our fate for us?

At the same time, when we practice personal accountability, it builds trust. Our colleagues know we’ve “got their back.” An atmosphere of trust is a productive atmosphere, and a productive atmosphere produces successful results.

Truly, personal accountability is a "difference maker" in business and in life. Imagine if everyone were to choose to act in an accountable manner, not only for their own actions, but for the overall welfare and benefit of the whole. We would have fewer problems, and more answers.

Are you asking the right question? What can you do to make a difference, today?

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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Interview: Mike Boyd and Lauren Boyd

This month’s featured interview offers two for the price of one: Mike Boyd, president of Creative Source in Canton, and his daughter Lauren, who recently joined Cleveland Clinic as assistant director of development programs.

Mike Boyd and Lauren Boyd at an OSU game
I met Mike six years ago in a networking group meeting, and he’s been a great friend and colleague ever since. We’re both members of the Rotary Club of Jackson Township, and he’s provided outstanding leadership for the club’s signature event, the annual Field of Honor/Field of Heroes, for the past five years.

I first met Lauren four years ago, when she attended a communication styles workshop I conducted at Creative Source. She graduated from Hoover High School in North Canton in 2008 and went on to graduate from The Ohio State University.

I thought it would be interesting to interview Mike and Lauren and see how their perspectives align on such topics as learning, mentoring, and being open to new opportunities.

First, I’ll let Mike’s words reflect the values that have shaped his leadership style and sharpened his focus:

Business story: “After working in the marketing and advertising department for Camelot Music for thirteen years, I was at a career crossroads when Camelot was facing the prospect of bankruptcy in 1996. So several of us who were colleagues there decided to start our own business, which became Creative Source. Today only Dave Hess and I remain with the company. We drew on our experience with creating in-store promotional materials for Camelot and applied it to producing high-impact signs, displays and printing for businesses of all types and sizes. This is our twentieth anniversary year, and it’s been an enjoyable journey and a fantastic learning experience.”

Heroes, coaches and mentors: “My good friend Dean Langfitt from Sandler Training showed up at just the right time in my career, and has taught me a lot about sales. I also got involved in Toastmasters International a few years ago, which has helped me become more comfortable with public speaking and making presentations. The Rotary Club of Jackson Township has provided me with an outlet for public service and networking. I also serve on the board of directors of CommQuest Services in Canton and have been inspired by their work.”

Pearls of wisdom: “Don’t be too busy doing the work to be engaged and network with people. It is important to give back to the community and pass on what you have learned. It is important to be an influencer. Be an active impact player, playing to win versus playing not to lose. Reach out to connect with people face to face.”

Your personal legacy:  “To be engaged and know that I have touched someone's life in a positive way!”


Like her father, Lauren’s experiences and personal values have shaped her perspective on leadership and success. Here are her thoughts:

Business story: “While I was still an undergraduate at Ohio State I worked as a communications assistant in the University Communications office. After graduating I worked in University Marketing as a social and multimedia specialist, focusing on alumni, fundraising and recruitment initiatives. I joined Cleveland Clinic in March of this year as assistant director of development programs, helping patients and donors find ways to support the causes, projects and research that are meaningful to them. The key to the opportunities I’ve had in my career to this point has been to build and nurture strong, lasting relationships.”

Heroes, coaches and mentors: “My dad is my greatest hero and mentor! He has provided me with a solid foundation and helped me forge my independence. He never forced me to go a specific direction, but was always there to offer solid guidance, and in a kind manner challenge my thinking. At his urging I joined Toastmasters International, and it has been one of my greatest assets for professional development.”

Pearls of wisdom: “Everything happens for a reason; if you work hard, you’ll stand out and the pieces will begin to fall in place. The best way to overcome age and stereotypes is by proving yourself and making a difference. Always be willing to be involved, and always be willing to learn.”

Personal legacy: “That I made a difference; that I was inspirational, enthusiastic and passionate about everything that I did. That I worked toward a good cause and enjoyed a happy and fulfilling life.”


For more information about Creative Source, visit For more information about giving programs at Cleveland Clinic, visit

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

Monday, July 25, 2016

Happy Together: The Secret to Staff Success

Recently there was a fascinating article published by Inc. magazine detailing a two-year study conducted by Google that revealed what factors were the keys to staff performance.

The article on the Inc. website
Author Mark Thompson, a California-based business consultant, summarized the study, which ultimately revealed that it’s how a team works together that matters more than who is on it. In other words, recruiting an all-star team of performers isn’t what makes the difference; rather, it’s the common focus and mission of the people on the team—as a whole—that leads to success.

As Thompson wrote, “the rock star status of the individuals selected for the team played a smaller role in organizational success than the willingness of each member to commit serious effort to work together to achieve big hairy audacious goals as a team.”

Big hairy audacious goals. There’s a phrase you don’t hear every day. But it illustrates the point perfectly. You want people working for you, and with you, who are passionately committed to a common purpose—who have the community’s interest at heart, and not just their own.

The survey results align with what we know about Millennials (a topic I wrote about in my last blog post). Millennials are value-based, and expect companies and organizations to focus on people, products and purpose over profit. In a few short years, they will make up the majority of the work force.

In business today, it’s not the top-down-oriented, authoritarian leader who gets results. The old style of leadership has been replaced with one that focuses on bringing a team together and letting them come up with solutions that work.

Our consulting and team-building sessions are oriented to this new way of thinking for a new century. What we’re witnessing, and our clients are discovering, is that management’s job today is truly to bring out the best in people—to motivate them to optimum performance, as a team.

Click here to read the entire article by Mark Thompson at the Inc. website.

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Recognizing the Impact of Millennials in the Workplace

leadership transitioning jim ondrus
There is seemingly no end to the research, surveys, and reports being produced about Millennials and the impact they are having, and will continue to have, on our world and the workplace.

Recently Deloitte, a multinational professional services firm based in New York, released a fascinating report about Millennials and the workplace. The full report is available online as a PDF, but here is a summary, as shared by Deloitte:
  • Forty-four percent of Millennials say they will likely leave their current employers within two years. Why? A feeling of being overlooked for personal and professional development is paired with an intense desire for work and life balance, a desire for flexibility, and a perceived lack of shared values.
  • Millennials are values-based, and it affects how they choose employers, accept assignments, and make decisions as they move up the career ladder.
  • Millennials expect businesses to focus on people, products, and purpose over profit. They warm to the role of P&L as they gain experience, but not to the point of sacrificing their perceived values.
  • Speaking of which, seven in 10 Millennials believe their personal values are shared by the organizations for which they work. Deloitte calls this the “silver lining” for organizations aiming to retain these young professionals—an indication that this new generation can be happy and motivated when their voices are heard.

In all, it’s a fascinating report—one well worth the time to read and understand. Businesses often succeed or fail based on their ability to adapt, and recognizing the changes that are occurring in the work force is a fundamental skill facing employers in the 21st Century.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Interview: Jane Vassas, Vassas Telecommunications Consulting

With this blog post, I'll begin a series of interviews with entrepreneurs, executives, and other business influencers, to share their experience and insight.

Jane Vassas
Our featured entrepreneur for this month is my friend Jane Vassas, owner of VassasTelecommunications Consulting, LLC. Jane works with clients to analyze and fulfill their data, voice and IT needs.

As we were sitting down for our interview, I shared my frustration that I had worked on a proposal and speech for two hours prior to our meeting and, just as I was getting ready to push the save button, all of my work disappeared. I was sure all was lost.

Jane’s response was typical for her; she was on her cell phone within seconds, talking to one of her techs, who in turn provided valuable guidance and support to assist me with a solution. To me, that is one of the keys to Jane’s success. She is always looking to provide solutions and results for her clients and colleagues. I learned a lot about auto-save and document recovery that day.

The excerpts below, taken from our conversation, share some of Jane’s personal values and observations on how she has evolved, how she continues to fine tune her leadership style, and her clear, passionate focus on results:

On her heroes: “I am inspired by people who stood for what they believed in and stepped outside their comfort zone. A few of those include my sister-in-law Judy, who is driven and successful; my close friend Krys, who defied the oddsI look to her for guidance and support—and my close friend Debbie, who is excellent in building solid relationships in B2B and has become a mentor to me.”

Pearls of Wisdom: “Listen to those who have experience and are well-rounded and willing to share their learning from those experiences. Listening is important for my own personal growth and development. The key in sales is to listen to your clients and potential clients as a valued advisor, focused on building trusted relationships as an advisor and project manager.”

On her legacy: “I want to send a message to other women entrepreneurs that one of the greatest challenges is to stay focused on the ultimate. I want to actively support my community through my business, creating jobs and being a role model for other women entrepreneurs.”

For more information about Jane and Vassas Telecommunications Consulting, LLC, visit

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Relationships and Values: The Essentials for Success

I speak often of the importance of relationship power in today's business world. The way people buy into effective change in a corporate culture is dramatically different than it was just a few short years ago. The top-down model of directional/positional relationships does not appear to lead to the employee development and results that we desire.

Trust me, I work hard and am committed to practicing what I preach. More than anything, I value building dynamic and results-based relationships with exceptional people. Over the years, I have been blessed to have a number of key mentors who have coached and guided me in the principles of success.

One of those is Dr. Larry Senn, chairman and founder of Senn Delaney, a Heidrick & Struggles company. I was honored to be a partner with Senn Delaney and for almost 20 years worked with and learned from some of the most talented leadership consultants, who believed strongly in the Senn Delaney values-based approach of creating solutions for organizations, their leaders and employees at all levels of the organization.

Senn Delaney refers to them as the "Essential Values Set." They are:

  • A performance value, which has a results focus, high expectations and an emphasis on personal accountability.
  • A collaborative value, which promotes cross-organizational teamwork, mutual support and decisions for the greater good.
  • A change value, which encourages innovation, openness to change, individual and organizational coaching, mentoring and learning.
  • An ethics/integrity value, which provides an essential foundation for all else.
  • An organizational (individual and team) health value, which creates and energized, open, trusting, respectful, positive, hopeful and optimistic environment.
It is through the implementation of allnot just someof the above values that organizations can achieve lasting, positive change and approach the future with confidence. I worked closely with Larry Senn over the years, and traveled with him on many sales and consulting calls. I know the Essential Values Set worked because I saw them in action. Larry and our team lived by them, and taught me to live by them as well.

Today, I utilize those values in the practice of Leadership Transitioning. They have made a difference not only for me, but for hundreds of corporations and organizations the world over. I know they will help you, too. To learn more, please visit my website at, or call me at (330) 754-5767.

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

Monday, May 16, 2016

Leadership Transitioning: At Your Service

In a nutshell, it's my elevator speech. It's my response to the question, "So, Jim, what do you do?"
I educate people in the skill of Leadership Transitioning, which focuses on three areas: leadership development, coaching leaders, and a focus on health and wellnessboth personal and organizational.

To elaborate, Leadership Transitioning™ is the ability to embrace change, envision success, adapt to the environment and surround ourselves with others committed to their own personal success. It's the ability to be disciplined and passionate on our leadership journey to develop the personal skills and capabilities necessary to achieve excellence in an environment of constant change. It's the ability to actively navigate the chaos and constant change of our modern worldand win!

How is it achieved? Three ways.

  • Leadership development recognizes that we all have God-given skills that need to be honed and developed in order to maximize our leadership success..
  • Coaching leaders reinvigorates willing leaders, builds effective teams and enables a team to capitalize on their capabilities and opportunities using their corporate culture as a base. The coach and the "coached" relationship is critical and special. Respect, trust, caring, honesty, commitment, perseverance, clear goals, work ethic and personal attitude are the key to success.
  • Health and wellness focus recognizes that nothing is possible without a sound mind and body, and that balance is different for each individual and organization. It involves a mental toughness and proper mindset to be the best at achieving health, spiritual, mental and financial goals.

In a nutshell, that is what I do. Over the past 30 years of my career I have successfully worked with numerous leaders at all levels of organizations in the US, UK, Canada and South Africa. The industries and size of companies that I have worked with have included: manufacturing, energy (electrical, natural gas, governmental, international and support companies), major insurance companies, non-profits, universities and small family owned businesses.

Leadership Transitioning™ is the culmination of more than 30 years of learning, listening and sharing the principles that create high achieversin both the professional and personal sense. Please visit my website,, to learn more. Then give me a call and I'll be happy to help you transition to the level of success you desire and deserve.

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

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Five-Star Lesson in Leadership

When I was a young officer in the United States Army, I had a number of unforgettable experiences. Perhaps none made more of an impression than my encounter with the legendary General of the Army Omar Bradley, one of the truly towering military figures of the 20th Century.

Gen. Bradley commanded troops in North Africa and Western Europe during World War II, and after the war headed the Veterans Administration, became Army Chief of Staff, and later was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Harry Truman. He is one of only nine people to have held the rank of five-star general.

1st Lt. Jim Ondrus (L) meets Gen. Omar Bradley
So you can imagine my excitement when he visited Schofield Barracks, where I was stationed in Hawaii in 1976. I had the opportunity to meet this remarkable leader and have my photo taken with him. I was a 1st Lt. and Executive Officer of the Headquarters Company of the 2nd Bridage, 25th Infantry Division, and one of my responsibilities was the Dining Hall in Quad C. General Bradley was adamant that he wanted to see the troops. As he put it, all he wanted to do was spend time with the soldiers, to greet them, encourage them and see how they were doing. As luck would have it, the "Soldiers General" met with about 50 of our great soldiers in "my" Dining Hall that day in 1976.

I’ve shared that story many times over the years as an example of true leadership. Despite having risen to the highest rank possible in the U.S. Army, and to the highest military position under the Commander-in-Chief, General of the Army Omar Bradley knew the importance of building confidence and trust with the people who were on the front lines—the troops who had to get the job done and perhaps even make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary.

It’s a great reminder to executives, managers, supervisors and anyone else in a position of responsibility in a company or organization. People matter. Relationships are the key. And nothing good happens when morale is low.

Take stock of your organization by examining the relationships you have with your staff. See where there’s room for improvement, and commit yourself to doing something about it. When you do, you’ll see a change in their performance—and yours—and in the overall effectiveness of the organization as a whole.

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