Category Archives: Keith Chagnon

Leveraging Your Assets

My father was a man that I truly adored. He had a long and illustrious career in the military which lasted over 30 years. Once he had made a decision to leave the Army the rest of the family was pretty sure he would never be able to survive off a military base as a civilian. The first few years he went through an array of different employment choices. It wasn’t until he took a position at a major newspaper in Florida that he began to realize that he had found his second calling. His first assignment at the newspaper was literally in the print department…not glamorous work at all. He did it because he enjoyed the challenge and more importantly he had a family to support. After a short time at the newspaper someone in upper management scoured through my father’s records-a glorious history of success and achievements. It was then quickly decided that it was time to put my father’s talents-his assets to work. Within a few short years my father became an editor at the newspaper. This was a position he held until the time of his passing more than 20 years later.

My point is this. You and your employees are the most valuable asset to the success of your company. When you begin to optimize the talents of each individual that works as part of your team you will then be able to put your business on your path to success.
Optimizing these assets can often times be the great differentiator between your company and the competition.

You might be asking yourself-what exactly are some of these assets? Some of them will be tangible-degrees, awards, certifications, etc., while many others might not be quite so obvious.

Here is a quick list of assets to consider-for yourself and your employees:

• Intuition – This can be an invaluable asset. Perhaps there is a team member that goes on “feel and instinct” rather than always relying on critical analysis of data. Coupled with team members that do work strictly from data analysis can sometimes be an interesting match.
• Life Experiences – Team members that possess diverse and rich experiences in their life can often times bring new, unique and fresh perspectives and ideas to their work.
• Connections/Relationships – Nothing better than to find out you have a tenacious networker on the team. Those relationships and connections can be a potential gold mine of new clients.
• Creativity – Creativity can show itself in many ways other than just concepts, campaigns and designs. It can also be applied to the way that you and your team communicate and problem solve. Instead of thinking outside the box…perhaps you might be able to completely do away with the box.

Hopefully some of these ideas and suggestions will allow you to see yourself and your team in a different light. It can be a rejuvenating process to approach things from a different angle by utilizing all the assets of everybody involved with your business!

Creating The Culture Of Your Business

digital marketingThe word culture in the title above most likely has some of you wondering-why is culture in your business so important? Here’s one of the most important reasons. As a small business owner, you are able to create a company culture of your own making!

Whether it’s part of your mission statement or “understood”, your sense of culture for your business can only grow and thrive through the efforts of the people working for you. Even the best strategic business plans on the planet mean absolutely nothing without the proper people to do the work. Attracting driven, inspired, capable employees is the one of the most crucial steps in creating a new business. However, beware. Being part of a startup isn’t for everybody. It takes a particular type of individual-someone who possesses a taste (translation: high tolerance) for risk and is willing to get in the trenches to get the job done. Very often projects can require long work days that quickly turn into long nights. It’s vital that you consciously work to create a healthy, encouraging culture which will help to remind people “why” they have chosen to be part of your business.

Below you will find a short list of factors that can contribute to your business culture in a positive manner.

Accessibility/Communication. There are advantages to working with a small staff. It gives you, as the leader, an opportunity to sit with small groups or in one on one employee sessions to let people voice their questions and concerns about the business. It’s also a great forum to let everybody know where the business is headed. Warning…you must be brave to sit and listen with open ears and an open mind to what your people are saying and then devise an action plan to deal with their questions and concerns.

Appreciation. This can be as simple as buying the entire staff pizza on a Friday for lunch or planning once a quarter outings-away from the office. Whether it’s a company day outing with employees and family or a pint at the local pub there’s no better way to get to know your people then by spending time with them out of the office. Lampshades are optional.

Flexibility. Allowing employees to have the option to work from home a certain amount of days within each work quarter of a year accomplishes two things quickly. It sends a message to your employees that you value them and it also develops a sense of loyalty.

Giving Back. This can be as simple as rallying the troops to vote for a cause that the company will support. Perhaps let the staff suggest different ways to help through on-site messaging for volunteering or providing info for fundraising. In addition to the company chosen “causes” you might want to consider the creation of a program where interested employees are allowed to take off a certain amount of days per calendar month to volunteer for causes that are more personal.

I’ll leave you today with one of my favorite quotes about business culture from Edgar Henry Schein, a former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management: “If you do not manage culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening.”

In other words, what happens in the office doesn’t always stay in the office.