The Vision Gap

Leaders eat, sleep, and drink their business. It's a constant flow of thoughts, challenges, and opportunities. New insights and strategies are constantly popping off in their head like fireworks - often happening so fast it's hard to really take it all in. Their vision of what their business is and where it is going is constantly being defined deeper with more detail.  Great leaders have a clear vision because it is key to driving a business towards success.  It’s not just that point in the horizon you are aimed for, but also all the details of exactly how you are going to get there.

Leaders eat, sleep, and drink their business.

It's a constant flow of thoughts, challenges, and opportunities. New insights and strategies are constantly popping off in their head like fireworks - often happening so fast it's hard to really take it all in.

Their vision of what their business is and where it is going is constantly being defined deeper with more detail.  Great leaders have a clear vision because it is key to driving a business towards success.  It’s not just that point in the horizon you are aimed for, but also all the details of exactly how you are going to get there.

The problem is that most leaders are terrible at articulating and communicating that vision. Months of mental dialog and chicken scratch turns into a series of meetings and one-on-one conversations that exist to unsuccessfully shovel it all into the minds of the team. 

The leader sees the spot on the horizon and how to get there, but the rest of the company are all headed in slightly different directions and taking different routes.  But what's potentially worse than the team being completely misaligned is the company's brand and messaging becoming convoluted as well. 

Prospects and customers have to be hammered about who the company is, why they are different and what they do because what’s in the leader's head doesn’t match what's on paper.

This gap between the true vision and the articulated vision is The Vision Gap.

It's the space between the team, customers, prospects, and what a business truly is. A Vision Gap manifests itself in a business in a number of ways:

  • An unengaged team
  • A misaligned team where not everyone is on the same page
  • People working on the wrong things
  • Having the wrong people on the bus and a challenged culture
  • Inconsistent marketing messages that aren’t effective
  • A sales team that struggles to close deals

By not defining a vision in a way that articulates it correctly and clearly to an internal team and the outside world, stagnation sets in because the team isn’t performing their best and the outside world is confused.

Bridging the Vision Gap can be one of the most important and powerful strategies for top-line growth and increased profitability.

We built the Envision and Captivate programs to help companies bridge that gap and create a foundation to scale. 

Check out our seminar this month that explores more on The Vision Gap - the process of bridging your vision to impact employees, customers and prospects.  

Learn more at insivia.com

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  • Next up: Three Steps to Furnishing Your Office in a Rush and on Budget ­— and Making it Awesome
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  • Three Steps to Furnishing Your Office in a Rush and on Budget ­— and Making it Awesome

    Imagine this: You’re the office manager for a company with 50 employees. You come into the office one Monday morning to a note that reads, “We have a training class starting next Monday. Please have the new training room set up and ready to go.” What?!? Deep breaths. You can do this.

    Our team at Workspace Interiors deals with scenarios like this every day. In fact, we’ve done it enough times to know that we can help you keep calm and furnish on — and be the hero in your office.

    Now comes the time to break things down, so we can make this happen. Below are things to think about in order to dot the i’s and cross the t’s without breaking a sweat.

    1. Confirm the specs.

    How many people does the space need to accommodate? What seating arrangement is preferred? What A/V and technology elements do you need? Once you have outlined the must-haves, you can begin to slice and dice the budget.

    2. Establish your budget — and how much wiggle room you have.

    We’ve all been there: being asked to do something great with a seemingly impossible budget. It helps to know where the guardrails are. Is the first budget you were given the bottom line or is there wiggle room? If so, how much?

    3. Set your due date and work backward to schedule interim tasks.

    First things first: Order the hardware — office furniture, plus computers if needed. Prior to delivery and installation, you can complete other work that may need to be done. Think about whether the following need to be addressed:

    - Painting

    -Electrical

    -Carpeting

    -Phone lines and internet access

    -Projectors, screens or whiteboards

    -A solid speaker phone

    -TV or monitor

    -Frosted glass

    -Coat hooks

    Although we specialize in office furnishings, we also offer project management services, so we can assist with as much of the project as you need. Because we are a division of Office Depot®, we can be your white-glove one-stop shop and connect you to our technology or office supplies division to make sure that everything else you need is lined up...fast.

    Make Carol from Workspace Interiors at your first call at 440-452-3199. She can help with office space planning and can confirm on the spot which furnishings are available in a rush — plus we’re nationwide. You may be surprised by the selection of sleek styles that are available.

    If your rush project isn’t a training room but instead requires desks for a new employee or a group of employees, you may want to think about other options like sit-stand desks. A design trend in workspaces is flexibility in general. Desks that can be reconfigured on the fly have obvious benefits.

    Whether you need desks, a training room or a conference room, let us help you through your next workspace furnishing emergency. You’ll be glad you did.

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  • Next up: Tips and Strategies to Retain Employees
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  • Tips and Strategies to Retain Employees

    It’s one thing to attract the employee to your company and then hire them. It’s another to then keep that employee for the long-term if you don’t have retention strategies in place to keep them.

    It’s one thing to attract the employee to your company and then hire them. It’s another to then keep that employee for the long-term if you don’t have retention strategies in place to keep them.

    When you find yourself someone that you feel like fits the company and shows that they are willing to give you optimal output for the company and its customers, it’s time to start thinking about ways to you can keep that person around for the long-term.

    Tip #1

    Performance. The benefit of having measurable objectives for employees is fairly obvious to most business owners and managers, but this perception usually stops short of relating performance metrics to employee retention. Study after study confirms that people have a deep desire to feel they're succeeding and that their talents and capabilities are being used in a way that makes a difference to the business. When people sense their actions are fulfilling this desire, they begin to develop a sense of belonging and a feeling that your company is their company.

    Performance should be rewarded not with gift cards or a company car, but with projects that can give the employee opportunities to work with others. They should be given high-level priority pieces to be viewed as an investment.

    Tip # 2

    Communication. The second essential element in a retention strategy is communication, specifically a communications process that's structured to inform, emphasize and reaffirm to employees that their workplace contributions are having an impact. Since we're dealing very directly with how employees feel about their performance, the company and their work environment, the question becomes, "How do you know how they feel about these matters?"

    Seems simple right? Tell the employee that they are important to the organization, but ask them how they feel too. It needs to be a two-way street. It’s one thing to tell them how much they mean to the organization, but give them no clear path as to how they fit or where they can go. Just keep that in mind when communicating things.

    Tip # 3

    Loyalty. The third element in a successful employee retention strategy is employee loyalty. True loyalty is not an enforced requirement but an earned response to the trust, respect and commitment shown to the individuals in your company. When you demonstrate loyalty to your employees, they'll reciprocate with commitment and loyalty to your business. Remember that people don't begin their employment with you as loyal employees, but will develop loyalty over time as they're trusted, respected and appreciated by you.

    What does loyalty do for the life of a company? It’s maybe the best way to create a culture of trust that your employees will go the extra mile for the company without even being asked. When there’s an opening for a position that requires maybe a year more experience than someone at the organization, it’s probably best to look internally only and give it to the employee that’s given you everything they have. It’s a win for you, the customers and this person can grow with the organization. Save the new hires for the entry-level positions so the current employees can train them and bring them into the organization the way they were.

    Tip #4

    Competitive advantage. The fourth and final element in your strategy to retain employees has to do with your competitive advantage. While that may seem odd at first, think about it: People want to work for a winner. What sets your company apart from your competition? How are you--and as a result, your employees--making a difference in your industry, in your community, and for your customers? Take the time to identify and inform your clients and your employees about your unique competitive advantage. If your product is similar to others in the marketplace, your service can be what distinguishes you (and probably should in any case). People want to be with a winner...and that includes employees.

    Apply these tips as soon as you can if you haven’t done so already. They are important to keep your organization vibrant and employer of choice within the competitive IT industry in Northeast Ohio.

    Reference: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/76456

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  • Next up: 13 Tips for Successfully Onboarding New Employees
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  • 13 Tips for Successfully Onboarding New Employees

    To help ensure the long-term success of an employee, your company needs to have an effective onboarding process and training opportunities in place. Follow these 13 tips—ranging from providing a mentor for new employees to clearly stating your definition of success in the job—to properly welcome new hires.

     

    As a small business you face many challenges daily, but having properly trained employees is one of your biggest challenges and is crucial to the success of your business. Your ability to train your employees and get them up to speed as quickly as possible will save you both time and money.

    Hiring and training new employees is a long and stressful procedure. Once you have hired a new employee, it generally takes 3 to 6 months to properly train them. Training is crucial for business development and success, so it is up to you to help a new employee to become efficient and productive. Providing proper training your employees gives them the tools they will need to perform well in their duties. A good training program will include the tasks they will be doing in their jobs, any rules, and an overview of the company culture. It is not as complicated as it may seem.

    Here are 13 basic tips for a successful onboarding process:

    Onboarding tip no. 1: Before hiring, make sure that they are a good fit, both experience wise and culture wise.

    Onboarding tip no. 2: Have a procedure in place to train them. This is best done with a written document that details the job requirements.

    RELATED: 5 must-have items for your staffing toolkit.

    Onboarding tip no. 3: Utilize other employees or managers to oversee and mentor the new employee.

    Onboarding tip no. 4: Figure out the employee’s strengths and how you can best optimize them. Take note of the best way they learn---observation or hands-on practice.

    Onboarding tip no. 5: Utilize a new hire training checklist so nothing is missed.

    Onboarding tip no. 6: Train them in your company culture as well as in the job responsibilities.

    Onboarding tip no. 7: Provide guidelines to help them understand the job and the company.

    Onboarding tip no. 8: Make sure they have an understanding of what is expected and how you define success.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff.

    Onboarding tip no. 9: Set goals and revisit them as necessary.

    Onboarding tip no. 10: If it makes sense, you can utilize e-learning.

    Onboarding tip no. 11: Take advantage of other employees’ expertise and encourage them to share their knowledge.

    Onboarding tip no. 12: Plan follow-ups with them in the first few months. Give them constructive feedback.

    Onboarding tip no. 13: Training isn’t a one-time thing. Continue to offer training to all employees as procedures change.

    If you follow some of these suggestions, you will find it easy to onboard new hires and to help them get up to speed and become a contributing and valuable employee.

    President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security ExpertTimothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com.

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  • Next up: Tips for Safely Reopening Your Business After the Coronavirus Shutdown
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  • Tips for Safely Reopening Your Business After the Coronavirus Shutdown

    Everyone is eager to get back to work and to reopen their business. The problem is that it may not be as simple as just hanging out a “We are Open” sign. How can you instill confidence in your customers? Here are a few ideas you may want to consider. 

    Everyone is eager to get back to work and to reopen their business. Ohio has lifted much of its shutdown order so many small and medium businesses can now reopen their doors. The problem is that it may not be as simple as just hanging out a “We are Open” sign. In order for your reopening and business to be successful, the public must feel that it is safe to return to your establishment. So how can you instill confidence in your customers that will make them want to visit your business? Here are a few ideas you may want to consider:

    - Ramp up your communication efforts to make your customers feel that it is safe to return. Let them know, through emails, social media or other forms of communication, about all the efforts you are taking to clean and sanitize the premises. Tell them about how you are checking and reinforcing your employees’ health and what steps you will take if an employee gets sick. Let them know steps you are taking to abide by social distancing requirements. And don’t forget to mention what you expect from your customers. For example, if you will be requiring them to wear masks, social distance guidelines, limiting the number of customers who can enter at one time, etc.

    - Show your customers your efforts. It’s all well and good to say you are taking the necessary cleaning and sanitizing steps, but it will also go a long way if they can see them. For example, have your employees clean and wipe down surfaces throughout the day so customers can see what you are doing to protect them.

    - Be obvious about your security efforts. There have been a lot of protests and people who don’t believe this virus is serious. If you have to limit the number of people entering your premises or feel you may need help enforcing your mask or social distancing rules, you may want to post a security guard to prevent any possible confrontations. Make sure the guards are posted in a prominent position where they can easily be seen. If you need help, you can contact a security firm who can provide you with guards and help you put together a security plan.

    RELATED: Read more by Tim Dimoff

    - Be obvious about your rules on the premises. Clearly post your rules using large, easy to read signage. Guidelines should include your social distancing measures, mask rules, limits on what can be purchased, etc. Post these signs all around, wherever they are needed. One sign is probably not enough. 

    - Provide necessary safety products for your customers. Put hand sanitizers around the premises. Provide masks for customers who may not have them. If needed, install portable hand washing stations. Use as many “no touch” processes as possible.

    - Train your employees on this new normal. Since it is possible that both your employees and your customers could be wearing masks, the normal human communication process will be different. No one can see your employees smiling so their tone and body language is very important. Everyone is stressed and on-edge, so hearing an employee be extra nice and explain that they are keeping 6 feet apart for everyone’s safety can go a long way towards making customers feel secure. Let your employees know that it’s OK to tell customers in a nice and friendly manner that everyone wants to stay safe and that respecting these measures are important to achieve that goal.

    Some of these measures may be costly, but not opening your business will be more costly. Taking the time and effort to implement these measures will go a very long way towards getting your business going again. Customer confidence is a crucial part of being successful in your reopening efforts. 

    Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at info@sacsconsulting.com

     
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  • Next up: Top Tech Companies Honored at 11th Annual Best of Tech Awards
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  • Top Tech Companies Honored at 11th Annual Best of Tech Awards

    Here’s who came out on top at the Nerd Oscars.

    Seven different companies took home Best of Tech Awards on April 27, 2017, during OHTec’s 11th annual Best of Tech Awards night held at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland.

    Awards were handed out in the categories of: Tech Team of the Year; Tech Company of the Year; Most Promising Startup; Best Tech Workspace; Best Software Product; Best IT Services Company; and Best Healthcare Tech Product.

    RELATED: Check out what attendees had to say about the “Nerd Oscars” on Twitter

    “This year’s crop of finalists shows the deep bench of tech talent that exists in Northeast Ohio,” OHTec’s Executive Director Dean E. Brainard says. “At OHTec, we’re proud to support the work of these innovative companies and individuals and connect the fabric of the region’s IT community together through a variety of collaborative and educational efforts.”

    A list of the winners and finalists are below:

    Tech Team of the Year
    Winner: PolyOne

    With its world headquarters based in Northeast Ohio and through the dedication of 7,000 employees in more than 30 countries, PolyOne Corporation (NYSE: POL) is a leading global provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions. The company’s IT Department focuses on transforming technology into value as a high performing member of the PolyOne team.

    Finalists

    • Accellis Technology Group
    • Dakota Software
    • n2y LLC

    Tech Company of the Year
    Winner: Futuri Media

    Futuri Media is a global leader in audience engagement technology and tools to help broadcasters and publishers drive audience and revenue growth. Launched in 2009 with its award-winning Listener Driven Radio (LDR) audience engagement platform, Futuri Media now holds 11 published or pending patents and has been named to the Inc. 5000 List of America's fastest-growing private companies for three consecutive years.

    Finalists

    • MRI Software
    • n2y LLC
    • Hyland

    Most Promising Startup
    Winner: Wheedle

    Wheedle is a ticketing and marketing platform, designed specifically for the hospitality industry, which allows businesses to get more customers in the door by promoting their events and experiences. Wheedle ticketing turns ordinary experiences into in-demand events, allowing event hosts to create and sell tickets, promote the event, and manage the guest list.

    Finalists

    • Votem
    • Heureka Software
    • Revenue Conduit

    Best Tech Workspace
    Winner: Accellis Technology Group

    Founded in 2001, Accellis Technology Group, Inc. has built a tier-one nationally recognized technology services business by focusing on one simple principle—deliver great service first. The company hires bright, friendly technology resources and backs them with the tools and resources to make their jobs simple and let them focus on service. One customer, one business, and one person at a time.

    Finalists

    • Technology Recovery Group
    • FIT Technologies

    Best Software Product
    Winner: OEC

    Founded in 2000, OEC develops parts ordering solutions for the global automotive industry. The company’s customer base includes more than 13,000 auto dealers and more than 100,000 repair facilities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Nearly 100% of revenues are generated domestically; 1% internationally.

    Finalists

    • MRI Software
    • Hyland
    • Dakota Software

    Best IT Services Company
    Winner: Bluebridge Networks

    Headquartered in Cleveland, BlueBridge Networks boasts best-in-class Datacenter Services, including Work Group Recovery, Virtualization, Cloud Computing, Disaster Recovery and Managed Storage and Security Services, maximize the opportunity for businesses to get their messages across, save on costs and remain highly available for their customers. With a network of state-of-the-art, geographically diverse collocation facilities located in Cleveland, Mayfield Heights, and Columbus, BlueBridge maintains the highest standards for uptime, quality and service, backed by the most powerful Service Level Guarantees in the industry.

    Finalists

    • FIT Technologies
    • Vizion Solutions
    • Level Seven

    Best Healthcare Tech Product
    Winner: OnShift

    OnShift delivers cloud-based human capital management software and proactive services to solve every day workforce challenges in healthcare. Its suite of products for hiring, scheduling and employee engagement drives quality care, lower costs and higher performance by empowering providers to staff consistently and efficiently. Intuitive design, predictive analytics and customer success management are why thousands of post-acute care and senior living organizations rely on OnShift.

    Finalist

    • iRxReminder LLC

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