10 Ways Your Company’s Core Values Can Promote Success

Your company’s core values are too important to hide them away in your HR manual. In fact, you could be leveraging them to help your business grow. Learn how online retailing giant Zappos has aligned its business model with its 10 core values and has achieved success.

Throughout 2018, Mind Your Business will be reviewing the highlights of the 2017 BizConCLE event hosted by COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Today’s article focuses on the importance of a company living by its core values, as explained by Zappos’ Erica Javellana. Read the other stories in this series here.

For too many companies, the commitment to their core values extends no further than a few sentences found on a plaque hanging in the lobby. But during her keynote address at BizConCLE 2017, Erica Javellana, the “Speaker of the House” at online retailer Zappos, believes culture is much too valuable to be a throw-away statement added to a HR manual.

In fact, she believes it’s possible for companies to leverage their culture to not only increase employee morale and retention, but to grow their business as well. How? Read on below for the list of the 10 core values at Zappos, why Javellana believes they’re important and how they are contributing to Zappos’ success.

Core value No. 1: Deliver a ‘WOW’ customer service experience

Javellana recalled a time when a Zappos customer service representative helped a customer find a hoodie she was looking for, even though it was on a competitor’s site. Going above and beyond like that is a great way to generate return customers and to spark word-of-mouth advertising for a company.

Core value No. 2: Embrace and drive change

Don’t be afraid to be innovative. Don’t embrace the status quo. Most companies fail because they just don’t adapt to changes in their marketplace quickly enough.

Core value No. 3: Create fun and a little weirdness

Relatedly, don’t be afraid to try new things internally, too. Get your people excited to come in to work and let them know they can show their whole self at work—that is, the side they show their friends and not just their coworkers. She added that a lot of companies spend time talking about creating a work/life balance. But if you make it just about life, your staff might be happier.

Core value No. 4: Be adventurous, creative and open-minded

Think outside the box. For instance, have you considered instituting an employee-recognition program where employees can recognize their coworkers for going the extra mile?

Core value No. 5: Pursue growth and learning

Most employees will leave a job because they feel there is nowhere left for them to grow. Promote a culture of continual learning and also get employees trained in other departments, so that is an opening becomes available elsewhere in your company, they could be a candidate.

Core value No. 6: Build open and honest relationships with communication

This is important because if someone trusts you, they are much more likely to react positively to the message you are trying to get across.

Core value No. 7: Build a positive team and family spirit

Zappos made this a core value because the leadership team recognized that employees who work in this kind of an environment are going to be more likely to help each other. This line of thinking can extend to the vendors a company works with, too.

Core value No. 8: Do more with less

Be efficient with your resources and focused on business-wide financials. How can your team be more resourceful?

Core value No. 9: Be passionate and determined

Is your heart in the role that you play with your company? Passion is infectious. People see it and they want what you have, which is how passion spreads. At the same time, negativity is infectious, too.

Core value No. 10: Be humble

How do you keep that negativity away? By hiring the right people. A good way Zappos has found to weed out the negative/not humble candidates is by telling potential new hires they will need to go through a month-long training course to answer the phones because all employees are expected to handle customer service roles during busy times. To this end, Zappos also gives their workers the option to quit, with severance, after four weeks if they find the job is not for them.

How is your company using its value system to promote growth? Let us know on Twitter! And learn more about BizConCLE and how this event provides small- and medium-sized businesses the education and resources they need to succeed.

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  • Next up: 11 Business Books You Should Have Read by Now

    11 Business Books You Should Have Read by Now

    With so many business books out there, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which ones will help you accomplish the goals you have set for you and your business. To help you narrow down your choices, here’s a list of quality reading material and what aspect of your business they will help.

    It started during my military career. Successful leaders provided reading lists prior to new assignments or to help us prepare to successfully operate with and visiting nations around the world.

    The list included articles, books and policy publications that helped us become knowledgeable of a culture and history of people. It was clear: The better I prepared to work in new environments the more effective I was as a leader.

    As I moved into my business career, addressing new challenges or gaining new insights came from a well thought out reading list. Successful leaders know and accept the markets they compete in are not static environments. Success in business is a choice. Be ready to adapt to ever changing conditions or become irrelevant and perish.

    So, my stack of books, my reading list, helps me stay ahead of my client’s need by:

    1. Being a student of the business they are in and increase my business acumen, my strengths and my ability to impact their results.

    2. Being responsible for my own professional development. My customers, their employees and their customers need me to help them prepare to win. I need to be viewed as ready for the challenges they face.

    3. Being distinctive by outlearning my competition and prepared to anticipate and overcome new or unforeseen challenges.

    With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 business books that you should have on your own reading list, and how these books will help you accomplish your business goals.

    To grow professional relationships and networks
    I recommend Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” These focus on developing relationships and self. I also added Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” among many titles to help build the relationships I need in my coaching business.

    To increase business acumen and strategic thinking
    There are many but Jack Stack’s “The Great Game of Business” is a solid reference based on the real story of turning around a dying company. His “Open Book Management” is a great resource to help my clients grow their businesses. 

    To grow as a leader
    Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” addresses the impact of fixed vs growth mindsets. Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, John C Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” and John Kotter’s “Leading Change” help develop “rising” leaders.

    To build and lead engaged teams
    Building and leading engaged teams requires leaders getting results through engagement and accountability. I start discussions with Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and ideas from Roger Connors’, Tom Smith’s and Craig Hickman’s “The Oz Principle”.

    What am I reading now?
    Right now, I’m reading Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” to find ideas, strategies and blueprints of success that will help my clients.

    So … which of these do you need in your “stack” of books?

    Wayne Bergman is a business and executive coach and founder of Consistent Business Growth. Questions or comments about this piece? Email him directly at wayne@cbgrowth-gfm.com.

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  • Next up: 12 Takeaways from the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting

    12 Takeaways from the 2018 COSE Annual Meeting

    Did you miss all the action at the COSE Annual Meeting this year? Not to worry, we have you covered! Here are 12  takeaways from the event at the Terrace Club inside Progressive Field.

    Takeaway No. 1: Honoring COSE’s 2016-2017 Chair Michael Stanek

    The 2018 meeting began with the recognition of Michael Stanek, the outgoing 2016-2017 COSE chair. During his chairmanship, Stanek oversaw a closer alignment between COSE and the Greater Cleveland Partnership; worked to more closely engage members in broader economic development and advocacy work; and was engaged in the rollout of the COSE Health and Wellness Trust, a health benefit option designed specifically for small businesses that was introduced in 2017.

    In addition to his significant focus on COSE, Stanek also took a high-profile role in advocating for the larger business community via testimony at the state level and as an officer and leader of the nonpartisan National Small Business Association.

    During his remarks, Stanek highlighted some of the ways COSE delivered on its mission of helping small businesses achieve their vision of success, including providing opportunities for education; health insurance; and savings on energy and workers’ compensation. Read on below for more details on each of these areas.

    Takeaway No. 2: Welcoming the 2018-2019 Chair for COSE

    John Young of Speed Exterminating was named as the Chair of COSE for the 2018-2019 term. In his address to the hundreds of COSE members in attendance, Young outline three goals for his chairmanship:

    • He will work to create more opportunities for COSE members to be involved and connected to the organization’s work.
    • Second, Young said he will focus on ensuring that the GCP’s work is also felt by and connected to small business members. Young will be focused on making sure that the voice of small businesses is actively connected to all the work being done at the GCP.
    • And, he will work to increase the awareness of members of the variety of additional resources available to support their success through COSE.

    Takeaway No. 3: Events and education

    With a total of 58 education and networking events under its belt in 2017 and 3,475 attendees, COSE delivered opportunities for small business professionals to meet, network and be educated on topics that will help them grow their business.

    Takeaway No. 4: COSE MEWA

    The COSE Health and Wellness Trust helps small businesses access health benefits. In just the past 15 months, COSE has had more than 2,500 small businesses join this program and it continues to grow.

    Takeaway No. 5: Energy audits

    COSE’s energy programs continue to deliver savings in electric and gas for small businesses and the organization performed 90 energy audits and 191 energy efficiency projects for small- and mid-sized businesses in 2017. This resulted in more than $3.2 million in rebates to those companies for their energy investments. Contact the COSE Energy Team to learn more about how they can help your business save.

    Takeaway No. 6: Workers’ compensation

    COSE’s workers’ compensation program serves more than 2,300 small businesses and, in partnership with Minute Men HR and 1-888 Ohio Comp, the program saw growth in 2017. More than $7 million in savings were created via the program for COSE members.

    Takeaway No. 7: Advocacy

    Working with the large business community, COSE has been actively advocating on behalf of small businesses and participated in such initiatives as:

    • Supporting the creation of a safe harbor for small businesses from cybersecurity risks;
    • advocacy for intrastate crowdfunding opportunities;
    • ensuring that marijuana legalization does not adversely impact business owners; and
    • securing business income tax exemptions for small business owners in the most recent biennial state budget.

    Takeaway No. 8: Cleveland Chain Reaction

    Following up on the successful Lebron James-led CNBC production of Cleveland Hustles, Cleveland Chain Reaction was an independent follow-up economic development project led by COSE and its partners, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Glazen Urban, that matched local investors with local entrepreneurs to open five new businesses in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood.

    Takeaway No. 9: Recognizing leadership

    COSE relies strongly on its volunteer leadership to help provide the organization with vision and guidance. In addition to naming Young as Chair of COSE, the following leaders were also recognized during the 2018 Annual Meeting.

    Outgoing Board Members

    • Michael Baach, Philpott Solutions
    • Michael Canty, Alloy Bellows
    • Roxanne Kaufmann, ProLaureate
    • Laura McPhee, Parts Pro Warehouse
    • Michael Obi, Spectrum Global
    • Jonathan Slain, Autobahn Consultants
    • Sam Steinhouse, Excel Air Tool
    • Keith Williams, Good Karma Brands

    Current Board Members

    • Brian Alquist, 1Direction, Inc.
    • Julie Brandle, Metis Construction
    • Stacy Bauer, BauerGriffith, LLC
    • Tim Dimoff, SACS Consulting
    • John Doyle, FASTSIGNS Downtown Cleveland
    • Tim Opsitnick, Jurrinov
    • Damon Piatek, Welke Custom Brokers
    • Vince Salvino, CodeRed
    • Tameka Taylor, Compass Consulting
    • Tony Weber, Goldfarb Weber Creative Media
    • Mireille-Wozniak-Michalak, Petiole HR
    • Patty Zinn, Micro Systems Management
    • Bonnie Matthew, Food For Thought
    • Rion Safier, Rion Safier Accounting, LLC
    • Mike Stanek, Hunt Imaging
    • Sharon Toerek, Esq., Toerek Law LPA
    • John Young, Speed Exterminating
    • Nevin Bansal, Outreach Promotional Solutions
    • Diane Helbig, Seize This Day
    • Kevin Johnson, Glenwood Management
    • Marvin Montgomery, The Sales Doctor
    • Deborah Rutledge, Rutledge Group
    • Jose Vasquez, Quez Media Marketing
    • Stacy Ward Braxton, The Significance Group

    Incoming Board Members

    • Fernando Bertero, Fully Promoted
    • Cheryl Perez, Benefits Innovation Group
    • Alex Gertsburg, The Gertsburg Law Firm
    • Bob Pacanovsky, The Black Tie Experience
    • Russ Schabel, Philpott Solutions

    Outgoing 2016-2017 COSE Chairman

    • Mike Stanek, Hunt Imaging LLC

    2017 Volunteer Service Award

    • Marvin Montgomery, The Sales Doctor

    Takeaway No. 10: Learning from the Cleveland Indians

    The location of this year’s Annual Meeting inside Progressive Field served as an important clue as to who the stars of this year’s event would be. And that would be a trio straight from the leadership team of the Cleveland Indians. Manager Terry Francona, legendary play-by-play voice Tom Hamilton and Chairman and CEO Paul Dolan took part in a panel discussion on leadership strategies and how to build a winning team during a session moderated by Hamilton.

    Click here to listen to the full audio from this unique session.

    Takeaway No. 11: Encouraging young entrepreneurs

    COSE is working with the Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI) to help our youth become more aware and inspired by entrepreneurship. Founded in 2006, YEI is a local non-profit organization that provides experiential entrepreneurship education to more than 7,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students annually through collaboration with schools and organizations in Northeast Ohio. Learn more about this partnership and how you can also support this work by clicking here.

    Takeaway No. 12: Essay judges needed

    Northeast Ohio high school students and the business community will come together for the third year to raise awareness and provide realistic solutions to critical issues facing the nation’s teens. High school students from Aurora, Beachwood, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Chagrin Falls, Kenston, Newbury, and Orange school districts will be given a voice and the power to solve, through an essay, a problem they see impacting themselves, their peers and their community, through the “We Solve Problems Essay Contest”, which was created by the Gertsburg Law Firm and the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce.

    The success of the contest relies on judges and generous donations from the community and businesses. Business, government, and community leaders are asked to read about 10 one-page essays – from the comfort of their home or office - over a two-week period in February 2018.  Winners will be announced in May. Jeff Hoffman, an inventor and serial entrepreneur with accomplishments going back to Priceline.com, will serve as the final judge.

    Additional information about the contest, including how to become a judge or sponsor, can be found here.

    The COSE Annual Meeting isn’t the only important event small business representatives should have on their calendar. Click here for a list of upcoming COSE events where you can network with fellow small business professionals and attend educational sessions that will help your business succeed.

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  • Next up: 2018 Year in Review: The 12 Stories You Loved the Most

    2018 Year in Review: The 12 Stories You Loved the Most

    As we ring in 2019, let's look back at our favorite articles from each month on the blog in 2018.

    It’s hard to narrow it down to just one per month, but here are some of our favorite highlights from Mind Your Business in 2018. We wish you a happy New Year and thank you for reading all year long!

    January: Emergency action plans 101

    The United States has averaged almost one mass shooting per day since this article first ran back in January. Does your emergency action plan include what to do in the case of an active shooter at your place of business? Don’t ring in another New Year until you are covered in this area. Here are nine things to include in your emergency action plan.

    February: So much to love about Tech Week

    In this February piece we did to show some love for the upcoming Tech Week 2018, we sat down with the 2017 winner to find out how their business has changed over the past year. So check out this feature on 2017 Tech Company of the Year Award Winner Futuri Media and don’t forget to save the date for Tech Week 2019.

    March: Protect your business against phishing scams

    Were you or anyone you know a target of the DocuSign email scam? One of our goals for Mind Your Business is to keep readers aware of threats that might impact their businesses, and in March we focused on this phishing email scam. Read on to find out the characteristics of this specific scam and how you can protect your business from future similar threats.

    April: Don’t make these networking mistakes

    In April, the self-proclaimed COSE godfather of networking Phil Stella shared with us ways to take the effectiveness of your networking efforts from drab to fab. Follow these guidelines to avoiding the most common networking mistakes and get a better return on your investment.

    May: Don’t be an annoying salesperson

    In one of our notable pieces from May, we helped steer you away from being a pain-in-the-neck salesperson. Check out the eight selling tactics to avoid, along with five steps to ensuring you are seen as a valuable, effective seller.

    June: Lessons you can learn from the Cavs

    Remember last June when we were still holding out hope for another Cleveland Cavaliers championship? It may not have been our year in that regard, but your business can still learn several lessons from last season’s Cavs team and the experiences they went through.

    July: Creating a strong presence for your brand

    We encouraged the idea of doing your due diligence before beginning a brand-building exercise in July. While you’re trying to create a strong presence for your brand, don’t infringe on anyone else’s—find out what you need to do to make informed branding decisions for your company.

    August: Drug testing policies in the workplace

    In August, we took a deep dive into the benefits, as well as the downsides, of drug testing in the workplace. Here’s what you need to know about the impact various drug testing policies can have on your business.

    September: An update from the COSE Chairman

    COSE’s Board Chair John Young provided an update in September following a series of informal meetings with board members. Grab a cup of Joe and read what John learned about the organization and the priorities its members have in mind—and find out how your voice can be heard as well.

    October: Leveraging content marketing

    If you missed the COSE Business Growth Boot Camp on building a content marketing program from the ground up, check out the October recap of this informative event. BoxCast VP of Marketing Sam Brenner laid out the blueprint of how his company leveraged its content marketing strategy to grow its business—and how yours can, too.

    November: Improve sales in 2019

    As we entered the final several weeks in 2018, we took the opportunity to discuss the importance of conducting a positive and honest evaluation of your sales successes and failures. Here are some questions to help guide that review and improve results for 2019.

    December: Don’t be an annoying coworker, either

    To end the year we’re checking in on your workplace etiquette. For those people who weren’t born with—or taught—common sense, here are 10 things you should do (or stop doing) to stay on the good side of your coworkers. A New Year’s resolution, perhaps?

    What was your favorite Mind Your Business article from 2018? Let us know on Twitter!

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  • Next up: 2010 CIO Symposium Plenary Session - CIO 3.0

    2010 CIO Symposium Plenary Session - CIO 3.0

    CIO: 3.0 - A forward view of the industry landscape from CIOs and select vendors. 

    CIO: 3.0 - A forward view of the industry landscape from CIOs and select vendors. 

    Panelists: Lev Gonick, CIO - Case, Sandra Rapp, CIO - LinguistaLogix, Dan Dugan - Cisco; John Sprecher - Microsoft

    Listen here.

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  • Next up: 2011 CIO Symposium - A View to the Near Future

    2011 CIO Symposium - A View to the Near Future

    As the pace of advances in technology continues to quicken, leveraging new technologies can be a challenge as well as an opportunity. Advances in mobile technologies, open source applications, collaboration platforms and more provide IT executives with wide-ranging tools to foster IT innovation in the enterprise. 

    As the pace of advances in technology continues to quicken, leveraging new technologies can be a challenge as well as an opportunity. Advances in mobile technologies, open source applications, collaboration platforms and more provide IT executives with wide-ranging tools to foster IT innovation in the enterprise. 

    But what are prominent technologies being deployed or coming on the horizon? And how are CIOs innovating in their organization with new technologies? 

    This opening session features successful CIOs and prominent vendors sharing their vision of "the near future". Confirmed panelists include Bill Blausey, CIO-Eaton Corporation; Greg Kall, CIO-Summa Health Systems; Jim DesPres, Regional Manager, Google Enterprise; and Terry Quinn, District Sales Manager, Hewlett-Packard.

    Listen here.

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