Tag Archives: Management

  • 0

Can employees take time off from work to vote?

Tags : 


Voters have until Nov. 3, 2020, to cast their ballots in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. With the deadline imminent, employees who haven’t voted already may be wondering whether they can take time off from work to vote. As with many things employment-related, the answer boils down to state or local law and company policy.

Federal law does not mandate that employers give employees time off to vote; however, many states do. Depending on the state, the time off may be paid or unpaid.

The state may:

  • Require employers to inform employees of their right to take voting leave.
  • Designate the amount of time off — such as 2 or 3 consecutive hours — that employees must be given to vote.
  • Permit employers to choose the hours during which employees can take voting leave.
  • Allow employers to dock an employee’s pay if the employee took state-mandated voting leave but did not use the time for that purpose.
  • Require employees to give their employer advance notice of their intention to take voting leave. The state might also say that employees must submit proof of voting (to their employer).

In some states, employers must offer voting leave only if the employee cannot make it to the polls before or after work. In addition, state law may impose penalties on employers that fire or punish employees for taking state-mandated voting leave.

Below are the states that mandate and do not mandate voting leave.


Since Washington, D.C. is entirely vote-by-mail, no mandatory time off is needed.

Oregon is a vote-by-mail state that offers the option to vote in person.

North Dakota does not require voting leave, but encourages employers to give it.

Ohio requires paid voting leave for salaried employees, but not for hourly, piecework, or commissioned employees.

Some local jurisdictions require voting leave. Therefore, employers and employees should be aware of any city or municipal ordinances mandating time off to vote.

Employees should check their employer’s time-off policies, as well.

Some employers provide voting leave on their own accord. Further, many employers voluntarily offer paid sick and vacation leave (or PTO) that employees can tap into if they need time off to vote. When voting leave is given at the employer’s discretion, employees must follow company policy when requesting the time off.

Another factor to consider is whether the employee is exempt or nonexempt. (Most salaried employees are exempt, and most hourly employees are nonexempt.)

Under federal law, exempt employees must receive their full day’s salary/pay when they take a partial day off from work; however, the missed time can be deducted from their PTO balance. If they have no more PTO and take a partial day off, their pay still cannot be docked — because exempt employees must receive their full day’s pay if they perform any work for the day.

So, if you’re an exempt employee and you take a few hours off from the workday to vote, under federal law, you must receive your full day’s pay — though your employer may deduct the missed time from your PTO balance. But if you take the entire day off to vote, your employer can dock your pay (for the full day missed). Alternatively, your employer can use your available PTO to cover the full day taken.

On the other hand, nonexempt employees are paid based on hours worked. So, if you’re nonexempt, time off to vote is likely unpaid — unless you’re entitled to paid voting leave under state/local law, company policy, or an employment contract, or unless you have PTO available to cover the time off.

For more information on voting leave, contact your human resources department or state labor office.

Share This:

  • 0

Conducting a virtual board orientation

Tags : 


Fall and winter months are prime season for board transition and orientation. Because of the pandemic, most board trainings will occur virtually.

Rather than postponing orientation, do it online with an emphasis on these areas. The 20-page Board Orientation Workbook is available free to support the process.

Entire Board: A frequent question about orientation is whether to include only new directors or the entire board. The answer is the full board. If there is resistance because they’ve already had the training, position it as “refresh and blend.” This is the time to make everyone feel confident and comfortable in their duties.

Governing Documents: Distribute the governing documents in a notebook, memory stick or through internet access such as Dropbox. Be certain to note in the minutes that all directors received the documents. The doctrine of volunteer immunity is based upon directors working within the governing documents.

Program of Work: The budget, financials and strategic plan are ever-dynamic. Report on their status and progress.

Fiduciary Duties: Often, directors say they know their fiduciary duty is to raise money. Clarify that a fiduciary represents the interests of members through the duties of care, loyalty, and obedience.

Conflicts of Interest: The IRS queries exempt organizations if a policy exists on disclosing conflicts of interest. Use orientation to discuss conflicts and the process for disclosure.

Protections: Describe the protections afforded the board. These usually include: 1) directors’ and officers’ insurance, 2) indemnification, 3) corporate veil, and 4) volunteer immunity.

Risk Management: A role of the board is risk awareness and avoidance. Share examples of how to avoid risks related to serving alcohol, finances, copyright laws, and antitrust violations.

Meetings: Discuss the year’s calendar and meetings. Explain processes that make for more effective board meetings, whether online or in person.

Familiarization: Orientation is like a tour. Introduce directors to the organization’s structure, milestones, achievements, and mission.

Financial Acumen: Explain the process associated with budgeting and financial reports. Ensure understanding about IRS Form 990 and requests for public records.

Orientation should be a high-impact one- to three-hour session led by an executive or consultant who can communicate the importance of good governance.

Share This:

  • 0

Survey: Employers face potential exodus of supply chain talent

Tags : 


In the face of record unemployment, many workers are staying put — and frankly, glad to still have a job. But despite the current labor market, employees in some industries are hedging their bets that the grass is greener on the other side. Those are the results of the Job Confidence Index 2020.

The annual report by DSJ Global, a logistics and supply chain recruiter, includes responses from workers in the U.S., Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. It reveals that even though 40% of employees believe it may be difficult to find a new job opportunity, only 36% plan to stay with their current employer over the next six months.

Why supply chain talent is leaving

Employees who plan to leave are actually being proactive. “The effects we’ve seen, particularly across the manufacturing market, have been concerning, with mass layoffs, countless people furloughed, etc.,” says Emily Prendergast, director at DSJ Global. She believes that these workers are open to new opportunities because they don’t have a lot of confidence that their companies will be able to keep them over the long-term. “It is much easier to put yourself out there in the market while you’re still comfortably employed versus becoming an active candidate when you’re unemployed and in a more desperate situation.”

U.S. vs. global data

The report reveals distinct differences between U.S. workers and employees in other parts of the world. For example, U.S. respondents had the most negative outlook regarding the job market (51%) versus the global figure of 43%. “However, the U.S. respondents (41%) were also the most optimistic about the future job market improving in the next 12 months,” Prendergast explains.

And there’s another stat that was also higher among U.S. workers. “Our report reveals that 46% of supply chain professionals in the U.S. did not receive a bonus this year, compared to the global figure of 33%,” she says.

Job security is another area that reveals significant differences. “Globally, half of respondents are confident or very confident in their job security, and 50% believe that they will keep their jobs over the next six months.” However, Prendergast says only 37% of U.S. respondents are confident in their job security.

“When seeking new employment, the majority of respondents globally said they would change jobs for the opportunity to progress their career (60%), to pursue a higher salary (53%), and for a new challenge (48%).” And Prendergast says these figures are similar to U.S. results: 62% would change jobs to progress their career, 56% would change jobs to pursue a higher salary, and 38% would change jobs for a new challenge.

Another interesting note about U.S. workers: The majority (69%) would move to a new region for the right opportunity, and among relocation choices, the Southeast region was the most popular destination.

U.S. workers also believe they shouldn’t solely bare the financial burden of moving. “Three-quarters (82%) expect some kind of assistance from a new employer, with 60% expecting moving expenses and 60% expecting a lump sum to use as needed,” Prendergast says.

So, what accounts for the differences between U.S. views compared to the rest of the world? Matthew Wood, another director at DSJ Global, has a few theories. “The differences in outlook from U.S. to European job markets may, in part, be related to the way they operate under normal circumstances anyway,” he says. “The U.S. labor market moves faster and is more fluid, compared to longer notice periods in Europe, a more cautious approach to changing jobs and the logistical challenges of moving across Europe (language, tax, legislation) compared to the U.S.”

What (if anything) companies can do to retain supply chain professionals?

If employers have any hope of keeping their workers from jumping ship, they’ll first need to understand the contributing factors leading to the desire to leave. “Employers need to know and address what their employees actually want — in this case, offering them the career progression and challenges they crave, in addition to adequate compensation — or risk losing them, with all the cost that entails,” Wood says.

He admits the current environment makes it a heck of a lot more difficult to offer these incentives in a timely manner. However, Wood says organizations need to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Do we offer a clear path for progression and is that clearly communicated to employees and candidates?
  • Are we creating a diverse and inclusive culture that supports meaning?
  • Are we continuing to challenge our people and pay them appropriately?

In addition, he recommends that companies engage with employees in three key areas:

Their mission and purpose. “There are a lot of companies doing a lot of great things in the world and if the role that the supply chain plays in enabling this is clear and communicated in an authentic way, it will appeal to the sense of purpose and challenge that is desired in a role in supply chains.”

Their own development and trajectory within the company. It’s great to contribute to the company’s mission, but the ability of employees to develop their own skills — which can open new doors and opportunities — is even more appealing. “Being able to simply and transparently bring to life the career trajectory and development available in the supply chain team will contribute massively to retention,” Wood says.

Reward according to the contribution being made. Make sure that the rewards are fair and provide transparency regarding how they can evolve. “This isn’t the factor that will keep your talent happy on its own, but it will certainly be noticed if there’s something wrong here.”

Share This:

  • 0

How manufacturing issues will affect the election

Tags : 


Manufacturing is a crucial issue for the 2020 election. According to a Morning Consult column, this was supposed to be the year of the manufacturing election. Both Biden and Trump have revealed plans to revive the economy and the manufacturing sector. The latter is directly proportional to the well-being of the former.

However, when Morning Consult made that prediction, in February, it had a robust and running industry in mind. But then came COVID-19 and lockdowns that brought entire industries to a halt. Yet, manufacturing remains a pivotal factor.

The Morning Consult column referenced a study finding that nine in 10 voters believe manufacturing is critical to economic revival. Months after the disruption wrought by COVID-19, those views are as strong as ever.

Each presidential candidate has proclaimed to bring about political and economic stability. To do so, they will have to overcome an unprecedented pandemic, usher in an era of domestic manufacturing jobs, and establish sound international trade policies.

Some of the key election issues for manufacturers are:

  • Creating and training a skilled workforce to match the digitization of the industry
  • Encouraging companies to invest in R&D with less red tape and tax credits
  • Help manufacturers navigate the complex international trading environment
  • Incentivize companies to digitize on their own like their international counterparts
  • Bring about digital transformation and agile supply chain resiliency
  • Immigration reform and employment-based visa categories to develop a diverse and talented workforce
  • Permanent pro-growth provisions in the tax code and continual assessment of the competitiveness of the U.S. tax system

Most local manufacturers want the next president to focus on coronavirus recovery. Next, they want to bridge the skills gap, workforce development, provide better healthcare, and fix aging infrastructure.

Diversifying the talent pipeline is essential to sustain the evolving manufacturing landscape. A study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute stated that the sector would need 4.6 million workers by 2028.

Both candidates plan to spend on infrastructure during the next four years. Improving aging infrastructure would benefit manufacturing to a certain extent.

Biden’s manufacturing plan involves tax credit for businesses that bring back manufacturing jobs by revitalizing a closed or existing factory. He also mentioned a penalty tax on foreign earnings. Trump announced a tax credit for companies that bring back jobs from China. He pledged no federal contracts for companies that outsource to China.

Economists agree the next administration has a crucial role to play in the future of U.S. manufacturing. Biden’s plans also include investing in vocational training. He is encouraging partnerships between employers and community colleges. The Trump administration is creating incentives for private-level apprenticeships.

One thing both candidates agree upon is the difficulty of maintaining a trade relationship with China. They are equally concerned about the rise of China as a formidable rival in trade. However, their approach to international trade is vastly different.

Trump likes to make discrete trade deals between smaller parties. Biden favors trade agreements where a coalition between the U.S. and a larger group of countries can be built. This would lead to more comprehensive trade rules. Economists feel that the coalition-based trade philosophy improves access for small manufacturers. They can bypass the complex web of trade relationships with each country this way.

Share This:

  • 0

What you should know about the virtual strategic planning process

Tags : 


Virtual strategic planning should be as effective and comfortable as an in-person retreat. As associations consider their position and value to members, communicating a strong plan is critical. Members want to know a strategy for recovering and rebound exists.

The plan has multiple purposes:

  • Guide for successive boards for 3 to 5 years.
  • Empowerment of staff to advance the vision set by the board.
  • Careful alignment of the committees and task forces with goals and projects.
  • Communicate value to members.
  • Distinguish the organization for similar entities, for example the chamber of commerce is not the economic development council, or the beef and cattle association is not the beef check-off board.

60- to 90-Day Process

Working virtually, the steps are a little different than an in-person meeting. Ideally, through research, input, and analysis, up to 70% of the work will be done before the online retreat. (It is possible for a hybrid retreat with some directors attending in-person and others preferring to join online.)

Success comes from breaking the process into steps. With webinar fatigue, it is not likely that the board wants to sit in on lengthy Zoom calls.

Reverse Engineering

If the board sets a deadline for when the strategic planning process should be completed, it is possible to reverse engineer the process.

Reverse engineering sounds like a term from NASA sending a manned spacecraft to the moon. The concept is to set a desired outcome and work backwards. Thus, the need for a strategic plan is to present to the membership on a specific date and would walk backwards to schedule all the necessary steps.

The aim is to instill confidence in the process.

Data Gathering and Study

It has been said if you can read a budget, you can identify the priorities. That’s a start, but there are more clues in the bylaws, committee roster, org charts, meeting minutes disclosing recent board discussions, IRS Form 990, and the prior strategic plan. Gather the documents, often in the format of the board’s Leadership Manual, and analyze organizational strengths and structure.


Member surveys should be a regular practice to gauge satisfaction and needs. The more targeted survey is of the board of directors. Ask them three questions about priorities, goals, and if anything should be dropped from the program of work. The input of the board, and invitation to the senior staff, will help populate the first draft of the plan.

First Draft

The study of documents and input of the board is vital information for creating a framework for a new strategic plan. Create an outline or template to be shared by officers and senior staff of should be included in the plan based on initial findings.

Comfort and Confidence

Circulate the draft outline or plan template to ensure officers and senior staff are comfortable with the process. Ask if they have additional input. Facilitate opportunities for further collaborate as recommended.

Brand Strength: Mission, Vision and Values

Every exempt organization has a purpose or mission statement. Vision and value statements are at the preference of the board. Acquire feedback about the mission to affirm or offer alternative drafts. Most mission statements are easy to understand and articulate in a single sentence.

Additional Input — Strategy Development

Keep the board and staff fully engaged in the process. Circulate updates and drafts. Encourage more input on the direction and findings thus far. The board may want to conduct focus groups, hold caucuses, or survey stakeholders for maximum input.

Circulate Draft

As the date for the virtual retreat draws near, share information with the board. Familiarize them with the agenda, desired outcomes, terminology of planning, process to date and the outline or template based on all the study and input. In advance of the retreat, introduce the full board to the draft mission, goals, and recommended strategies.


Plan a retreat that is effective with detail to audio and camera needs. There is little use to a retreat if people cannot hear each other or see the subject matter on screen. Allocate about three hours to review details of the draft outline or template, asking for input, omissions and understanding. The board is affirming the mission, goals, and priorities. They are not making a to-do list for staff or delving into committee work.

Final Report

Within a week following the retreat, a comprehensive report of process and board input should be shared. The directors have a final opportunity for input before it will be on the agenda at an upcoming board meeting for a motion to approve.

Performance Metrics Added

The plan has little traction if metrics are not set. While the board may suggest KPIs at the retreat, where metrics were not offered, the senior staff can suggest performance, accountability, and timelines. The annual budget may need adjustment based on strategic plan opportunities for revenue generation or spending.


Members and stakeholders should be informed of the new strategic plan or “Vision 2025.” Committees will work to advance elements of the new plan. Staff may create their program of work based on board plans. The plan should always be on the board table to guide board discussions and decisions.

Plan Champions

To track progress on the plan, appoint a “Strategic Plan Champion” or assign directors to be responsible for tracking program as “Goal Monitors.”

Annual Updates and Tweaks

At least annually, review progress on the plan, and external influences and achievements to make adjustments. Most plans are updated every three years.

The steps will differ for every organization, some wanting to hold focus groups while others want an in-depth survey of members. Use these steps to stay on track and maintain confidence in the process.

A free, two-page Guide to Strategic Planning is available here.

Share This:

  • 0

5 data protection trends of 2020 that will define security next year

Tags : 


As more businesses move online, the field of cybersecurity has grown in importance. Workplace digitalization has led to many changes, including a move to new platforms and strategies. Many companies are adopting a cloud-first strategy, requiring new methods of protecting data.

Consumers are more empowered than ever — and they demand transparency and security in how their data is stored and used. Data protection will become vital to an organization’s success.

1. Data Protection in the Cloud

The cloud is becoming an increasingly common platform for both storage and communication. From a hosted contact center to cloud-based digital asset management, the peace of mind and ease of use of these technologies make them ideal for businesses.

In order to use these technologies, you need to consider:

  • Data protection regulations
  • Privacy standards
  • Risk management

In 2018, the Bitglass Cloud Adoption report showed that over 81% of organizations used the cloud in some form. The problem with the cloud is the varying measures businesses use to protect online data stored within it. For instance, there are different standards on password strengths, how widely passwords are distributed, and where they’re stored.

Luckily, one major trend in 2020 was an increased focus on data protection. Going forward, you should expect to see a shift in company policy and government regulation to protect data in the coming year. The shift to online operations will see companies on the lookout for the best e-commerce platforms and data protection and storage services.

2. Continued Rise in Regulations

Commerce and business activities are increasingly digital-based. This means governments are stepping in to regulate the use and protection of data. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates data protection and data privacy within the EU and European Economic Area.

The GDPR also applies to any organization processing data of EU and EEA citizens and residents. These regulations have created a precedent for other governments. Moving forward, it’s likely government legislation will focus more on creating increased data quality and governance.

Image: Gartner

These regulations have provided increased security on cloud services and increased the attention on third-party risk management. Businesses will need to be vigilant on how they use and protect data. The potential financial burden of breaking government regulations can be detrimental to your business. France fined Google over $50 million for GDPR violations. Overall, the GDPR fines have amounted to over $126 million and continue to increase.

This means that companies have begun to create frameworks to take responsibility for how they protect data. One component of this includes increased monitoring of third parties who have access to consumer data. Certifying third parties means that their use of data and practices meet legal standards and your organization’s privacy policy.

3. Increased Privacy Standards and Transparency

This year we saw an increased awareness of how companies process, store, manage and secure data.

While data storage is important for tracking your customer lifecycle, there is such a thing as unnecessary data. Data graveyards — repositories of unused data — will continue to be increasingly undesirable. This unused data jeopardizes database utilization and creates an unnecessary financial burden. Storage not only costs money but also unnecessarily increases the scope of a potential data breach.

The coming year will see businesses attempt to limit the amount of unnecessary data they store. It will also revolutionize how they manage automated systems of obtaining user data. We saw companies, like Google, commit to a cookie-less future. Cookies store information to provide consistency as users navigate through pages and sites.

The way companies manage this data can violate trust. The unnecessary holding, selling, and use of data collected by cookies can lead to legal and public relation nightmares. In the event of a data breach, the information stored from cookies can also lead to problems for the organization collecting this data.

Even matters of telecommunication, such as inbound call center solutions, demand transparency in order to maintain consumer confidence and trust. B2C companies need to take extra care with transparency. It can be detrimental to a business when a data breach occurs, or if customers find companies not managing their data responsibly.

4. Job Creation and Shifts in Responsibility

This emphasis on data protection has increased the need for oversight of digital operations. The move towards remote working has already made IT staff essential for business operations. Data Protection Officers (DPO) now have more responsibility than ever.

However, DPOs cannot single-handedly manage all aspects of cybersecurity. They are responsible for supervising and the implementation of data protection laws and policies. This means that human resources, marketing, and legal departments must also be involved in data protection.

Workplace digitalization has also created new positions within companies. New roles like Chief Data Officers (CDO) and Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) need to communicate with their IT teams in order to work together, align priorities, and build value-based recommendations. In many companies, this will require finding software to enable video conferencing for small business.

As we shift to more online operations, jobs will be created within HR, Marketing, and Sales departments to manage digital operations. It will require more than just IT to ensure organizations are running smoothly and efficiently.

5. Training

New jobs mean increased training. With people working from home and online activities on the rise, remote training will be an essential aspect of business operations.

Responsibility for data protection should not fall solely on your IT staff but should be spread throughout your operation. Knowledge is power. Staff who interact with data at any level should be informed about company policies and practices.

Some questions that should guide your training are:

  • What data do you need?
  • How long do you need to store it?
  • Who should have access to data?
  • What security parameters are in place?

Throughout the rest of 2020, and continuing into the next few years, we should expect to see data protection become a key part of all employees’ responsibilities, not just IT.

These five key trends for data protection seen in 2020 will define how we store, manage, and disseminate information next year and for years to come. The use of cloud-based systems can ensure business continuity and create greater protection of digital data. It is important for your business to be aware of regulations and trends within cybersecurity to protect your business, your employees, your customers, and your reputation.

Share This:

  • 0

Grab this opportunity to finance business growth

Tags : 


You may have seen mentions in the business news of late to “free money.” Perhaps you thought to yourself, “how do I get some of that?” In reality, of course, the money isn’t free. But interest rates are so low right now that, relatively speaking, by traditional lending standards it is practically “free,” which is to say that the cost of borrowing is not much more than the cost of the principal. That makes this a great time to raise money to fund business expansion and new ventures.

Many commercial real estate and retail properties have declined in value due to the efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. This could be a good time to purchase an office space or storefront property that may have additional rental income potential in the future. Consider, though, how working from home, online shopping and relocations have and may continue to have an impact on where people will want to work and shop.

Speaking of online shopping, it has skyrocketed in recent months, and that trend is only going to keep growing. With more and more clients preferring to do their own purchasing, consider engaging some tech expertise to build out an online store and/or a smart device application. An app could serve both to market your interior design services and to facilitate purchases of a collection of items that you have personally curated.

Any financial planner will tell you that having a diversified portfolio is your best hedge against any sudden downturn in the economy or a particular business sector. If all your assets are invested in your design business, a low-interest loan can be a less risky means to help you branch out into other ventures. You may know a local supplier or service provider who’s wanting to expand their business or a promising startup looking for investors to help them grow.

Given the current uncertainty about the economy and the COVID-19 health crisis, many major and local commercial banks have tightened their criteria for qualifying small business loans. If you have a line of credit or have had a previous loan with them and a good credit history, and your business is on a sound footing, you have a better chance of being approved. Talk with the loan officer at your bank about what types of loans are currently available and at what terms.

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest loans for improvements and real estate purchases under certain conditions. These and other types of credit, including startup loans, are available through many credit unions. Another option are online lenders who cater to small businesses, many of whom offer rates lower than traditional banks, and, in some cases, require no application fees. If you have a PayPal or Square business account and meet their criteria, you can apply through them for a capital loan or line of credit. Online applications processes and approval decisions often are much quicker than through a bank.

You can increase your chances of obtaining credit by first making sure all your business banking and accounting documents are up-to-date and in good order, with no blights on your credit history. It’s easier to borrow against an existing entity rather than a new one, unless you are specifically applying for startup funds, so begin there. With mortgage rates so low at the moment, in a pinch you could take out a home equity loan or personal line of credit secured by your home equity to fund your expansion or venture.

Finally, consider partnering with someone who can bring both financing and applicable knowledge and skills to make your new venture a success. Having a business partner one trusts can make launching a new venture more fun as well spread the risk and the work.

Take some time to research your options before you apply for credit. Search “small business loan” and you’ll find lots of good information online about qualifications, lenders and offerings. Be prepared for some paperwork and, depending on the lender, to wait a bit for approval. If you get turned down, try another source. Lending is tight in some quarters, but money is available for proven businesses and at rates that make borrowing now a good business decision.

Share This:

  • 0

The leadership style that turned Ford Motor Company around

Tags : 


This article first appeared in RealLeaders.

It’s no secret that many businesses are hurting in 2020. Transportation, hospitality, and brick-and-mortar retail outlets selling nonessential goods and services have been hit the hardest. The last time we were in a similar situation was during the Great Recession of 2008. Although the causes were different, both situations flattened revenues so much that business as usual led many companies to failure.

How are leaders supposed to navigate such tough challenges? One way is with humility.

Why does humility matter?

Leadership requires working together. A leader’s biggest challenge is to inspire others to fully engage with a shared goal, whether that’s to improve financial performance, increase safety, launch a new product, or undertake a major change. Leader humility is an extraordinarily powerful way of influencing those around you to volunteer their full support to achieving shared goals.

I define leader humility asa tendency to feel and display a deep regard for others’ dignity. Because leadership requires working together, this is a game-changer. You can still be strong and have high standards but demonstrate respect for others’ sense of self-worth.

How humility fuels a turnaround

As a great example of this, consider one of the toughest cases of performance management in business history: the rescue and turnaround of Ford Motor Company from near bankruptcy to a soaring success following the Great Recession.

The leader behind this success story is Alan Mulally, former president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, who took over as CEO of Ford in its decline. Mulally applied a management approach he developed and used at Boeing, which he calls the “Working Together Management System,” or WTMS™ for short.

Mulally transformed an organization that was failing—losing $17 billion the year he arrived—into a dynamic enterprise by creating full employee and union engagement with his “One Ford” plan. Under this plan, Ford became the only major U.S. automobile manufacturer to survive the threat of bankruptcy without federal bailout money.

Mulally earned the trust of jaded employees because he personally delivered and accepted nothing less than behaviors based in humility from everyone on his team. In a short period of time, Mulally galvanized a company of more than 300,000 employees, moved from failure to profitability, and was ranked No. 3 on Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders of 2014.

When you study how Mulally leads, you see that WTMS™ rests on four prime principles: 1) embracing the leader’s most important responsibility, 2) identifying a roadmap for creating value, 3) establishing behavioral norms for working together, and 4) creating a structure and process for how you oversee the work to ensure implementation. Let me briefly discuss each of these.

1. Embracing a leader’s most important responsibility. Mulally states that a leader’s most important contribution is to hold himself or herself responsible and accountable—collectively with the team—for defining a compelling vision, comprehensive strategy, and relentless implementation.

Leaders create the container for how the work gets done: the direction, structure, and processes that determine how to work together and what the results are. Mulally sees this as the “leader’s unique service.”

2. Identifying a roadmap for creating value. Every organization exists to add value. Leaders need to guide the organization in identifying the best path to create value for all of the organization’s stakeholders. This should result in a compelling vision, comprehensive strategy, and performance goals and measures.

From there, leaders and team members can create an appropriate workstream for implementing the vision and agree on performance goals and measures for achieving the desired results. Importantly, measures need to address the interests of all stakeholders.

3. Establishing behavioral norms for working together. WTMS™ is explicit about what Mulally calls “expected behaviors.” Among these, Mulally emphasizes:

  • People first. Love them up.
  • Everyone is included.
  • Respect, listen, help, and appreciate one another.
  • Have emotional resilience—and trust the process.
  • Propose a plan, and have a positive, find-a-way attitude.
  • Have fun. Enjoy the journey and each other.

These behaviors reflect leader humility because they show deep regard for the dignity of others. Mulally also allows no jokes at others’ expense, noting that they’re never funny!

When a leader models these behaviors, and when others are expected to demonstrate these same behaviors, the organization becomes open, trusting, and thriving.

4. Creating a structure and process for ensuring implementation. Other expected behaviors Mulally stresses are practices for managing the work or overseeing implementation. WTMS emphasizes having “One Plan” that everyone is working together on. As Mulally says, “Everyone should know the plan, the status, and the areas that need attention.”

WTMS also uses facts and data to assess progress and move away from personalities and politics. Data can be quantitative or qualitative, as long as the data are tied to key indicators that ensure a successful implementation.

Leaders need a strong plan for how they and the team will use data to monitor progress frequently. Mulally’s approach, a weekly business plan review, works well for most organizations. However, small or nimble organizations may be able to monitor progress with less structure while still keeping everyone informed.

A rigorous system that works

The challenges we face today are no less daunting than what Mulally faced when he stepped into Ford. Having used this system at both Boeing and Ford, we know it works. It combines structure and high standards with the humility required for working together well. There’s nothing touchy-feely about this approach; it’s rigorous and demanding. But the demands come from clarity, standards, and collaboration built on trust and transparency across the team.

The only way to create an environment like this is by fully respecting the dignity of everyone. And that requires a leader who shows genuine humility—and holds everyone else accountable for showing it, too.

Share This:

  • 0

Infographic: What has COVID-19 taught us about cybersecurity?

Tags : 


If we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s that we aren’t prepared, and that is especially true when it comes to cybersecurity.

There has been a sharp increase in hacking and phishing activity since the start of the pandemic because hackers knew they could exploit our stress while we were adjusting to working and schooling from home and all the technological changes that come with it. Find out more about the new state of cybersecurity with this infographic.

Infographic courtesy Data Connectors

Share This:

  • 0

5 key factors in e-commerce to adapt your digital marketing strategy to as COVID-19 continues

Tags : 


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, your marketing strategies for your brand have likely boiled down to two essential goals: stay alive and be profitable. Now it’s time to start shifting the nuance of your approach a bit.

In order to thrive and increase your brand’s profits as your customers accept their “new normal,” you need to read some tea leaves. Specifically, you need to understand how to navigate five crucial e-commerce conditions that will determine how well your messaging reaches your audience — and meet their shifting needs in real time.


COVID-19 has created a wildly fluid environment regarding the information your customers are reading online, especially in terms of whether the news on the virus they receive is accurate. Google has analyzed this situation extensively, and its approach has been to ask of its key personnel, “In what instances are we comfortable putting our brand alongside news content?”

This debate, and local nuance, has helped Google choose how to place and tailor ads on a granular local level, especially in terms of paid advertising. How you should evaluate a website for accuracy, slant, and COVID-19 language sensitivity before pairing with it?

First, do a deep dive and see what the voice and philosophy of both online and print news outlets in your target areas is like. Next, when you decide on an outlet that reflects the values and principals of your brand, choose content to run with it that speaks authentically to your audience’s viewpoints and needs.

Fluctuating consumer technology choices

According to Social Media Today, social media platforms will have to continually update their platforms to meet the demands of constantly plugged-in consumers during the pandemic. Your brand’s messaging needs to fit the speed of these changes, and you need to adjust your specific targeting campaigns to reflect changes to privacy and data restrictions as well.

Expect your customers to get a little “fidgety” when it comes to their tech security in particular during lockdown. They will be seeking safety at this uncertain time in every way, and that extends to their device and personal info security features as well.

Innovative referrals

Data from SCORE suggests that link building is the most neglected digital channel. This is because backlinks are going to both generate more traffic to your site and create authority for your brand profile. Pursue “high authority” referral partnerships in a daring and expansive way.

Pitch the potential partners you’ve always wanted to collaborate with fearlessly and quickly so you can take advantage of these important benefits. You may find these partners are eager to get maximum exposure right now and that it will be easier to attract them than you may have expected.

Affiliate marketing

This is a swift way to boost your revenue, because affiliate marketing liaisons are extra-hot in today’s COVID-19-driven climate. Additional data from SCORE suggests mining options like Google’s Pay Per Click; you also want to expand your reach across Facebook and Instagram.

Don’t worry about oversaturation with your ads right now — you have a captive audience of consumers who might not know about the great products you have to offer. Let them know in a bold way.


When you do let those consumers know about your brand, though, you have to do it appropriately. Tactful, positive, truthful messaging is the only way to go.

Be humane, and let your audience know you understand their needs, and want to fill them. Striking the right tone at this unprecedented time so you entice, not alienate, your emotionally sensitive demographic is the way forward.

Share This: