Tag Archives: Management

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Infographic: It’s 2020, is your business AI-ready?

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One in three business leaders believe AI will have the greatest impact on their business in the next year, but few are acting on this knowledge. So, how can your enterprise get ahead of the competition with artificial intelligence? Find out more with this infographic.

Infographic courtesy Noodle.AI

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An acquisition could be your next great business move

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Consolidation is the name of the game in the architecture and design industry these days. Firms are combining to expand into more practice areas and beef up their menu of services to appeal to a broader base of clientele.

On their part, clients are looking for a “one stop shop” of design and build to simplify and speed up project delivery, pushing firms toward a more integrated business model. If you’re contemplating what should be your next business move, now is a good time to consider an acquisition.

By and large, acquisitions are rare in the interior design side of the industry. Designers are more likely to form partnerships or merge firms to expand their practices than acquire another business.

Acquisitions can be lengthy and costly, not to mention disruptive for staff in both entities. On the flip side, a well-planned acquisition can give a firm a big growth boost by providing access to new markets, increasing expertise and technical skills, and/or expanding into new types of business.

In the coming year, the economy is expected to slow, and demand for design services likely will soften as a result. That may not sound like a great scenario under which to expand your business, but down times often are very good times to make an acquisition.

More firms may be more open to an acquisition, especially if they are struggling for some reason or the owner is thinking of retiring. Undertaking the acquisition now will allow you to complete the process and enhance your business so you’ll be better positioned to take advantage when the next up-cycle starts. Plus, interest and tax rates are low at present, making funds more accessible and affordable than they may be later.

If you’re thinking of adding another practice area to your firm, to tap into a niche market that you detect is currently underserved, to compete for bigger or better projects, or extend your reach into more markets, an acquisition may get you there more quickly. Another option would be to diversify your business by acquiring one in a related area, such as wholesale or retail, consulting or a technical specialty. The synergy you create could be of substantial benefit to both businesses.

A variety of factors can make a business an attractive acquisition. It may own real estate or hold a favorable lease that can be assumed. It may have inventory, cash or billings owed, physical assets, brand equity, or desirable clients or existing or committed projects that would be a valuable addition to your firm. There may be staff with experience, talent and expertise you need or want — provided they choose to remain with the company.

When contemplating an acquisition, you need to consider a number of factors. Is the company you’re thinking of acquiring sound financially and operationally? Would the cost of the acquisition exceed the benefit it would bring to your firm? Would you want to keep the management of the new company or would you need to replace it? Are your firm and the new company culturally compatible? Are you prepared to devote the time and resources to acquiring and transitioning the new company into your firm?

You need to take the time to perform a thorough due diligence, with the aid of your attorney and accountant, to discover the answer to these and other questions.

Maybe you’re reading this and wondering if you should be looking for a firm that would be interested in acquiring your firm. The process is very similar. Depending on the time frame you have in mind, you may want to explore some other options as well, such as searching for a partner who is interested in acquiring full interest in the firm gradually or phasing out your practice and then selling the assets to another firm.

Normally, we read about large corporations acquiring small or startup businesses. In part, that’s because they have the capital and a greater tolerance of risk. Yet, mergers or acquisitions between small or midsized businesses can be successful if done for the right reasons and properly. If you’re looking to take your firm to the next level, an acquisition may just be the way to get you there.

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Top 10 signs of a dysfunctional board

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In 2002, attorney Mark D. Alcorn pointed out the key indicators of a dysfunctional association board of directors. He said, “I believe the troubled boards outnumber focused, efficient boards by a substantial margin.

“When a board of directors has more than its share of trouble and struggles, it can be dysfunctional. The presence of more than a few of these signs is cause for concern,” he added.

I wanted to review the dysfunctions identified nearly two decades ago to check their relevance to today.

Power Struggles: While directors should be focused on the mission and strategic goals, fighting for power among individuals and subgroups on the board is destructive. The board should be guided by equality and a shared responsibility.

When any person or group portends to be more influential than others, the concept of democratic governance is unworkable. The board should address power struggles to return harmony to the governing process.

Voting Blocks: Counting and collecting vote commitments prior to a meeting is inappropriate. It breeds distrust to learn that some directors are lobbying and collecting votes prior to the duly called board meeting.

Votes should be based on facts and the deliberation at the board table. Proxy votes and alternative directors is a concept long abandoned.

Lack of Respect: The appearance of hostility, aggressiveness and disrespect at meetings diminishes good governance. While many of America’s institutions are facing problems with integrity and civility, one would hope it does not penetrate association governance. One of the most adopted guiding principles of boards is that of respect for people, ideas and diversity.

Micro-Management: The board’s role is to advance the mission and strategic goals, while serving members and making best use of assets. If directors start to call or visit the staff with questions like, “I just wondered what you are doing today,” they have fallen to the level of micro-management.

Employee oversight and evaluation is the responsibility of a CEO, not the board members. A guiding altimeter for governance places the board at 50,000 feet, committee work at 25,000 and staff management at 10,000 feet.

Preoccupation: The board is guided by authorities such as parliamentary procedure and bylaws. When directors use those concepts to hinder progress, it wastes valuable time.

Too many organizations feel a need to amend the bylaws annually, appointing a committee to find faults and offer ideas. The governing documents are a guide, not tools to obsess over.

Disparaging the CEO: When one or more directors are critical of the chief staff officer, or any staff member, it distracts from the board and its purpose of governance.

The relationship of the board and CEO is that of a working partnership. Board focus should be on governance, while the staff manages the association. Openly criticizing staff is a serious problem.

Last-Minute Proposals: The board should not be hoodwinked by a last-minute motion as the meeting is about to adjourn. A board that is swayed by last minute proposals, overly enthusiastic discussions (groupthink), and slick presentations without the benefit of facts, is not doing its fiduciary duty.

To avoid surprise motions, ask directors to submit their ideas to the association a week before the meeting so it can be properly reviewed and scheduled. Remove “new business” from the agenda to avoid surprises.

Heavy-Handed CEO: Some executives amass too much “control” over the association, leaving the board to feel powerless. Governance requires a balance between board and staff.

If the CEO is heavy-handed, the board should look for balance and ask themselves why that occurred. The opposite is a board that relinquishes their duties to the executive by neglecting their responsibilities.

Representative Directors: There was a time when board composition was built on representation, for example a director from every chapter or someone to represent special interests.

Alcorn emphasizes, “Directors must represent the organization as a whole, not subgroups and special interests.” The board’s role is to advance the organization’s mission, not to represent subgroups. When directors walk into the boardroom, they should take off their specialty hats and work as a team.

Rump Sessions: Informal meetings outside the boardroom nearly always exclude some directors and facts, undermining trust within the board. Rump sessions digress to discussions that should not be had. Turn to the CEO and officers to get impartial, factual answers.

It seems the dysfunctions of a board have not changed much since this was first published in 2002.

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12 tips to get the most out of your bid and proposal dollars

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Every time I go shopping, I try to stretch my dollars to get the best possible products for the most favorable prices. Consider using your bid and proposal (B&P) funds in the same way. Spend just enough money to create a winning proposal and use the leftover cash to fund new bids, improve your B&P infrastructure and/or enhance your team’s skills.

However, maximizing your B&P is difficult due to unknown variables. Changes in the customer’s priorities and budget, moving Request for Proposal (RFP) release dates, unforeseen RFP amendments, and internal workforce constraints can easily derail a B&P budget.

However, through careful planning, there are measures you can take to stretch your B&P dollars, including the 12 tips listed below.

1. Identify the amount your company can comfortably spend on B&P without impacting its competitive edge or profitability.

2. Create mock customer scorecards and debrief statements to help identify the level of effort you must expend to each win bid. Using this information, identify the bids most likely to win.

3. For bids with the greatest win possibility, create a B&P budget and schedule with milestones.

4. Allocate business development, capture, and proposal resources to the bids. Identify any resource gaps and dependencies, while keeping in mind your two most important bids are likely to occur at the same time, so identify flexible support options to fill gaps.

5. Develop an efficient information collection plan to obtain the best customer intelligence and corresponding processes to keep the information efficiently updated and disseminated.

6. Conduct just-in-time training so your bid resources understand their roles and responsibilities.

7. Update your corporate infrastructure documents such as past performance summaries, resumes, customer recognition documents, and awards store them in a central repository.

8. Verify your collaboration tools are in good working order and quickly assign new IDs and passwords to new users so their work is not delayed.

9. Update your bid plan and schedule at least every two weeks to reflect new priorities and dependencies. Use action item lists, a Kanban board or ticketing systems in combination with daily standup meetings to quickly brief status, remove blockers, and enforce accountability.

10. Keep the mock score card and debrief statement updated to brief executives. If a bid is unable to make progress, the executives can pull the plug early to stop wasting B&P.

11. No writer should stare at blank page, pair writers with experienced writer buddies to accelerate their productivity.

12. Reduce the number of reviewers down to those who can score like an evaluator and provide actionable feedback.

Performing initial planning and keeping the plan updated every two-weeks in addition to maintaining accountability can help a company stretch its B&P dollars and keep those dollars focused on efforts that are best placed to win new business.

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Feeling the way to better acoustics

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Dozens, if not hundreds, of studies have demonstrated the negative impact noise has on occupants. Yet, even with advances in materials and technology, noise continues to be a major challenge to designing today’s interior environments.

Perhaps the solution lies deeper than controlling for noise. It may have to do with how we respond emotionally to the sounds around us.

Much of the controversy concerning noise in interior environments has followed from the widespread adoption of open-plan and active space layouts. These environments are designed in large part to encourage and facilitate human interaction, both formal and informal. In the workplace and in educational spaces, that intensified interaction can create problems for others engaged in solitary work. In healthcare facilities, it can disrupt patient rest.

These issues are well-known but finding a balance between increased interaction and minimizing the disturbance it creates remains elusive. A study of more than 500 recently produced workplace change projects conducted by workplace design consultancy Leesman found, “noise levels’ remain a widespread and highly problematic issue, with a catastrophic satisfaction score of 33.4% across all new workplaces, with one in four scoring below 25% satisfaction.” The only feature that scored lower in satisfaction was an employing walking past one’s workstation.

One of the key differences in level of satisfaction with ambient noise identified in the Leesman study was the level of complexity of one’s work.

Similarly, researchers from the School of Architecture at Huaqiao University in China who compared two open-plan workplace environments — one for administrative staff and one for researchers — found that although the acoustic environmental quality was better in the researchers’ workspace, their level of satisfaction with the acoustic environment was lower than that of the administrative assistants. The researchers conclude, “These findings reveal occupants’ perception and IEQ demands can be different.”

A subjective evaluation of the impact of the acoustic environment on occupants conducted by researchers from the School of Architecture at Tianjin University in China helps to shed light on why these differences occur. They fielded a questionnaire to people attending one of eight large-scale interior environments (train stations, convention centers, sports facilities) to try to determine what was their feeling about the acoustic environment and what effects it had on them.

From their analysis of the responses to the questionnaire, the researchers identified three classes of acoustical stimuli that produced negative or uncomfortable feelings: those that had an emotional effect (e.g., irritating, anxious, sad), those that influenced attention or thinking ability (e.g., distracting, inability to concentrate, distortion of speech comprehension), and those that affected behavior (e.g. difficult to have a conversation, discomfort, eager to leave noisy space vs. eager to remain in quiet space). They conclude, “Through detailed analysis, results showed that there were significant differences in the acoustic environment on people’s emotion.”

Context also made a difference. When a space has a special function that is intended for crowds and high levels of emotional interaction, users are more accepting of the resultant noise.

Occupants in sports facilities, for example, responded positively to crowd noise whereas those in convention centers and train stations did not. This helps to explain why persons engaged in social activities in open-plan spaces are less likely to be aware of or negatively impacted by ambient noise than those performing solitary tasks.

Unwanted noise and lack of privacy are among the leading causes of poor productivity. These studies indicate that it is not only the level and type of noise that can have a negative impact on occupants, but also its emotional affect and the occupant’s expectation of the desired level of environmental quality. Spaces should be designed to isolate individuals from noise that is not only distracting but also potentially distressing.

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Pancakes and the value of reinvention

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How do you like your pancakes? With or without butter? What kind of syrup?

Beginning this spring, IHOP is betting that you’ll take them to go. Late last year, the breakfast giant announced the upcoming launch of Flip’d, a new fast-casual option designed to attract the Starbucks crowd by offering the usual IHOP fare in more portable options — for example, pancake bowls and egg sandwiches instead of the traditional breakfast platters the chain is known for.

This latest venture is not unusual for IHOP, a franchise that notably stirred up a tempest on the internet in summer 2018, when it temporarily rebranded as “IHOb” to shine a spotlight on its burger menu. The change drew some backlash from commenters who suggested the chain should stick to the breakfast arena, which is why the chain came back a year later with a new selection of “pancakes” — which were, in fact, just burgers going by a different name.

Once again, IHOP succeeded in capturing the internet’s fickle attentions. And in case you’re wondering: Yes, the burger stunts did translate into profit; according to AdAge, IHOP restaurants reported four to seven times as many burger orders in the days following the IHOb unveiling, even as its breakfast business grew.

If you’re looking for a way to reinvigorate your brand, you could do worse than to follow IHOP’s example of rebranding. But where do you begin?

Build your future by owning your past

In 2009, Domino’s Pizza did something unthinkable in advertising: It admitted its pizza was terrible. In a short online documentary, Domino’s highlighted the most scathing tweets criticizing its food, from the “processed” cheese to the crust that tasted like “cardboard.”

Obviously, bashing your own product is generally not advisable in marketing, but Domino’s used the criticism as a springboard to highlight the improvements the company had made to its recipe. By rebuilding and reintroducing itself, the company turned its biggest weakness into its greatest strength, drawing back many previously lost customers.

The takeaway from Domino’s example is that your deficiencies aren’t always something you should hide or shy away from. By owning your faults — and demonstrating to the world that you are being proactive about addressing them — you can win over hearts and minds.

Know your customers

IHOP’s push to portability makes sense for a chain hoping to capture more weekday traffic. Since consumers can’t make the time to sit down for a morning meal, Flip’d is IHOP’s strategy to meet them halfway — and perhaps sneak some business from the fast food chains that are always crowded during the morning rush. This is a prime example of knowing your customer and positioning yourself to meet their needs.

When you consider reinventing your brand, think about what you can do to meet your own clients halfway. Technology moves fast; needs change. It’s very likely that some of the services you offered in the past are no longer in demand, or at least in the same way you offer them. What can you do to meet your customers halfway?

The seven most dangerous words in business are “But we’ve always done it that way!” If your brand is treading water and you’re feeling apprehensive about making a change, consider whether you can afford not to rebuild and rebrand. And if you still find that prospect scary, just remember: IHOP was brave enough to call a cheeseburger a “pancake” and got away with it.

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How HR technology is mitigating compliance risk in 2020

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Each year, ensuring HR compliance gets a little harder, and 2020 is no exception. States are increasingly creating their own compliance regulations — and each of them is unique. Meanwhile, the human resources landscape continues to evolve at rapid pace, and each industry faces its own set of challenges.

How can an employer keep up? One powerful strategy is to utilize HR technology that automates and optimizes labor compliance.

Maintaining HR compliance isn’t simply a way to avoid government fines and work site investigations. It helps ensure the security of your business and employees, while providing a consistent experience to clients and customers. Adopting compliance-focused HR tools not only improves the accuracy and efficiency of your HR administration but can enhance your appeal to potential hires and prospects.

Whether it’s differentiating statutory pay rules within your time-tracking system, applying special scheduling rules and alerts where necessary. or updating your technologies to resolve specific workforce liabilities, modern HR tools and workforce management software can help ensure that you’re running a fair, compliant operation. Best of all: some of these tools not only mitigate compliance risk but can also improve your bottom line.

Common Compliance Pitfalls and How HR Technology Can Overcome Them

Certain aspects of HR technology — such as cloud-based onboarding platforms, automated payroll processing, and customizable scheduling software — are particularly effective at eliminating compliance risk. These solutions provide employers with transparency into their entire operations, utilize built-in compliance safeguards, and allow for customization that allows employers to address specific HR challenges.

Here’s an example: as you know, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees’ overtime (i.e., time and one-half) for hours worked beyond 40 hours per week.

If overtime pay isn’t calculated or paid properly, employers put themselves at risk of fines and lawsuits. (In 2019 alone, The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division collected $322 million in back wages from U.S. employers!) Time-tracking software that automatically calculates even the most complex overtime rules and blended pay rates help ensure overtime pay is handled correctly.

In addition, since accurate time-tracking is critical to complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — which defines eligibility around employee worktime — a highly accurate time and labor system is essential to ACA compliance, too.

Furthermore, HR technology helps address everything from complying with meal break regulations to providing evidence against baseless workers comp claims. If you haven’t explored the technological solutions available to you lately, you owe it to your business to do so.

Trending HR Technologies in 2020

This year, more and more employers are turning to certain specific HR technologies to help them avoid labor compliance pitfalls. These include:

E-Verify: This technology is a powerful feature for successful onboarding of new hires, providing easy, speedy I-9 verification. How it works: your HR system is integrated with the Department of Homeland Security’s database, allowing you to confirm an individual’s employment eligibility in just a few keystrokes.

Daily Safety Attestations: Fraudulent workers’ compensation claims cost employers millions every year. Some time and labor systems can be programmed to ask each worker if they had a “safe day” each time they punch out.

If an employee answers “no,” their manager is alerted immediately so they can address the incident. If an employee indicates they had a safe day but files a claim later, their documented response can be used to challenge it. This not only promotes worker safety but protects against false claims.

HR Analytics and Reports: When you use the HR analytics or reporting capabilities offered by some HR software solutions, you gain transparency into myriad aspects of your operation. You can identify compliance inconsistencies in payroll (i.e., rate changes, time changes, etc.), paid time off, time sheet reporting and more, while verifying compliance with EEO, OSHA, VETS, and ACA regulations.

Real-time Alerts: Real-time alerts are a helpful management feature offered by some advanced time and labor systems. These enable frontline managers to receive texts or emails immediately after workers do (or fail to do) certain things, such as taking mandated meal breaks or crossing into overtime — both of which play a big role in wage and hour lawsuits.

In short, if one of your 2020 priorities is achieving labor compliance on the federal, state, and local levels, see how state-of-the-art HR technology can help you meet your goals. You may be surprised.

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Tips for choosing to make smarter decisions

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If you’re driven and ambitious, you know that there’s usually a trade-off in life. Typically, your health and relationships suffer in the process, and it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to sustain long-term success while protecting what matters the most. However, it’s possible to have your cake and eat it, too.

As a result of 25 years of extensive study and executive coaching, international leadership coach Janine Woodcock has developed a trademarked program for making smarter decisions and developing skills to gain liberation from the unrelenting pressures of success.

She has coached high-performing individuals at companies ranging from Facebook to the Red Cross and is the author of “The Power of Choices: 7 Steps to Smarter Decisions About Work, Life and Success.” We asked Woodcock to share some of her secrets with MultiBriefs’ readers.

Understand your brain to remain open

“Understanding how your brain works is key to understanding how you interpret facts and experiences, and how these interpretations are then encoded into memories,” Woodcock says. And in turn, those memories serve as the lens through which you interpret the next set of facts and experiences.

“When you realize that it’s all about our own perception, you can step away from the judgement that your own worldview inevitably brings.” However, the key to remaining open is to let go of always having to be right. “By releasing your hold on being right and silencing the judgmental narrative that the human brain naturally creates, your engagement with the world and everyone in it shifts significantly to one of being able to hear and see things more openly.”

This allows you to have conversations that explore new possibilities instead of having discussions that circle around entrenched views. Actually, Woodcock says the latter is really unproductive. “The problem with everyone trying to get everyone else to see the world in the way they do is that it is impossible — if you understand the brain — because everyone’s worldview is unique.”

Being open to new and different ideas is crucial to your success. “If you can’t be open to hearing challenge, support, suggestion, criticism, encouragement, bad news or good news, it will be much harder to sustain and nourish your success,” Woodcock explains.

Understand and use your energy wisely

Ambitious people often find it hard to just do nothing, but not everything you do is productive. “Understanding our energy is a vital part of being able to survive and thrive in this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world,” Woodcock says.

Most people think of something that they keep using up, but she says this is the wrong approach. “A crucial underpinning mindset is to think of our energy as something to manage, replenish and nourish.”

Also, as you’re completing various tasks throughout the day, each one will prompt a different energetic response. “Our personal energizers are unique to us, and tuning into things that have you feeling energized, enthusiastic, and empowered, compared with those things that make you feel drained, uninspired and lethargic, is a key starting point in being able to choose how to manage your energy.”

By understanding your own personal patterns, you can make better choices on how to use that energy.

Woodcock advises using your calendar to manage your week from an energy perspective. “For example, if completing a complicated and involved spreadsheet is not something that energizes you, plan that into your diary around some other activities that will reenergize you,” she recommends. “This will help motivate you to complete the non-energizing task rather than see it in your diary with a sinking heart, which might make you more likely to procrastinate.”

Understand your own resilience and what you can actually control

You often hear people describe themselves as being resilient or having a high level of resiliency. However, Woodcock recommends thinking about resilience as something you do and practice, instead of just something you have.

“What one person needs to maintain their resilience will be different from what another person does because we are all unique and our individual choices should be, too.” Ultimately, she says only you know what you need to thrive. “It can be tempting to dip into the myriad self-help books available and to take on board what we ‘should’ be doing to stay strong and capable.”

However, she says this “shower of should” could increase your stress levels. “We can’t control what happens around and to us, but we have full control over how we choose to respond to any situation that arises.” By understanding yourself, your responses, and your habits, Woodcock says you can make choices that create the future you desire.

Also, understanding your resilience requires self-reflection — thinking about your actions and the outcomes they produce. “Far too often, the things we do to manage stress — for example, high-intensity exercise, alcohol consumption, staying up late — have unintended long-term consequences,” she explains.

Sometimes these are great stress remedies, but other times, they’re not. “There is no fast-fix, one-size-fits-all definition of how to manage your own resilience. It’s a question of taking the time to engage with your own physiology, psychology and physicality to make your own unique choices.”

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4 tips for managing last-minute ideas

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“I have an idea…” This phrase tends to mean an avalanche of work is headed your way. While the idea that’s coming may be excellent and worth doing, what a church business administrator dreads is the likely effort to cram too many tasks into a short time frame.

As you know, turning vision into reality is a tall order. For a new church event it includes promoting the event, finding volunteers to work it, identifying space to hold it, buying or making decor, securing food plans, and too many other details to list.

If the idea involves launching a new small group ministry or other initiative, there are volunteer leaders to train, website pages to update, and much more. Add a tight deadline and a few extra “ideas” to the mix and you have a recipe for stress and late nights at the office.

If you’ve been hearing those dreaded words a lot lately and feel like your team is in a vicious cycle of last-minute planning, here are four tips to break the cycle.

Tip No. 1: Bring up the Budget

Obviously, money isn’t everything. It is, however, part of the planning equation. Sometimes you have to bring up the budget to add a dose of reality to those regular procrastinators on the team.

The next time a department leader mentions a last-minute event he wants to do, kindly ask him about the budget for that event. If he didn’t include that event in his department’s annual budget, then he’ll have to request an exception or reallocate budget dollars from the budget. It’s my experience that if you do this often enough, your repeat last-minute offenders will start speaking up more in annual budget planning meetings.

Tip No. 2: Provide Options

Now, Tip No. 1 only works if the procrastinator isn’t your boss. It doesn’t work if the person dropping last-minute ideas is the Senior Pastor. In this case, brainstorm a few options on how to make his vision happen on short notice.

Those options should include the corresponding price tag, how many volunteers you’ll need, how much overtime the staff members will need to work, etc. Of course, be respectful in how you deliver these options. It’s not about trying to get the pastor to ditch the idea in light of the dollar and time costs, but to make sure he clearly understands the potential impact of this last-minute decision.

I’ve personally worked with leaders who were frustrated at staff members who didn’t inform them about these impacts. When they learned of the real time and money costs after the fact, they wished they’d known ahead of time so they could have made adjustments or scrapped the idea completely.

In short, know the full effects of a last-minute project before you begin to plan, and make sure your leaders know, too.

Tip No. 3: Listen & Be Proactive

We all have different talents and abilities. Some of us are hardwired as planners while others are dreamers. Both sides of that spectrum are important to strengthening the reach of the ministry. That’s why it’s important to take the time to understand each other’s perspectives.

Get to know your visionary team members or leaders. Find out what drives them and why they tend to come up with these big ideas somewhat late in the game. Then, help them understand how you can make their ideas happen when you have sufficient time to plan.

Commit calendar dates to discuss the next three, six, or 12 months and use these scheduled meetings to get their creative juices flowing. These sessions are a great way to gauge what ideas they really want to execute. From there, schedule additional session time to brainstorm on specific ideas.

Tip No. 4: Offer Tips & Planning Tools

Since some of us are more geared to plan than others, take the time to share your knowledge. Offer a few planning tips at a staff meeting, share your best planning tools and strategies, and train staff and volunteers on how to use a central project management tool (Asana, Basecamp, Trello, etc.).

What’s important here is to identify ways you can help your team members. Don’t just get frustrated by someone’s lack of planning but educate them on how not planning ahead creates extra work for everyone — and ultimately costs more.

Making a ministry vision happen requires time, talent, and resources. If you frequently end up on the receiving end of an “exciting new idea” that needs to happen right away, investing time to address what that does to the church’s resources and team members is in everyone’s best interest.

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Podcast: Transitioning an in-network practice to cash-based

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In this episode, Meredith Soelberg and Brooke Mitchell describe their experience as employees in an insurance-based physical therapy practice that had to “weather the storm” of massive reimbursement cuts.

The impact of those cuts made it apparent that they’d have to change their business model or face economic ruin. The cash-based practice model seemed to be the obvious solution, so the decision was made to give it a try.

Soelberg and Mitchell explain exactly how the transition to cash-based was managed so the practice could remain viable for the long term. This information is especially relevant in light of the recent announcement of the coming 8% cuts to Medicare reimbursements for physical therapy services that will soon leave many practices facing similar situations.

Their ultimate success with the cash-based practice model as employees helped prepare them to open their own out-of-network practice, a concierge physical therapy and fitness facility that combines rehabilitation and wellness services.

Their highly successful California clinic has grown to employ multiple physical therapists, personal trainers, Pilates instructors, and massage therapists.

This “highlight” is from a full episode on how to succeed with a cash-practice partnership.

More specifically, we discuss these cash-based practice topics:

  • How the large reimbursement cuts of some major insurers forced the practice where they both worked to change their billing model in order to survive.
  • Exactly how the transition from an insurance-based to out-of-network was successfully managed in that practice.
  • What worked and didn’t work to maintain patients during the transition to cash-based physical therapy.
  • Which forms of marketing were most effective in bringing new patients into the cash-based model.
  • How they managed the relationships with physician referral sources during the transition.
  • The characteristics of the physicians who embraced the out-of-network model and continued referring patients.
  • The characteristics of their current patient population and how they provide the value that makes their patients choose them over in-network practices.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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