Vantage Associates http://www.vantageassociates.com
Success in 2012
This time of year, people like to speculate about what the new year will bring. I'll add my two cents and hope you get your money's worth. Like you, I have no idea what the government will do or how the economy is going to respond. However, I have worked with, and listened to, a number of leaders and business people over the last few years and this is what I am hearing:

Uncertainty rules - The growing complexity of organizations, and the globalization of our economy have combined to create more volatility than ever before. The number of variables at work at any given time is mind numbing. The greatest frustration is that we have no control or even influence over 80% of those variables. There is a great temptation to throw up our hands and give up. But here is the good news. The 20% that we can influence will have a huge impact on our future. It is worth the investment to focus your attention and resources on deliberately identifying and driving the issues that will determine your ultimate success.

If you can't understand it you can't manage it - Technology, increased competition, and changing customer expectations are just some of the things making our organizations more difficult to manage. Many have come to realize that the old ways are not good enough anymore. We must dig deeper into what makes our organizations tick. We must understand the driving forces but also some of the subtleties. As students of our industries and our organizations we become much better equipped to know what is right and do what is right.

Manage to your revenue - A high tide floats all boats. But the tide has been out for a while. There are shallows and shoals that were never a problem before. In order to keep the boat afloat, we have to make the most of the revenue we have. That has forced us to do two things: Better anticipate the business we can capture and manage our expenses accordingly to realize profit where before there was none.

The right people make all the difference - Slower growth and lower employee turnover have created an opportunity and a necessity to expect more from our employees. Many positions have been eliminated and the responsibilities have been divided among remaining employees. We have spent years de-skilling work into specialized tasks that reduced the need to think. Now we are rolling those tasks back up and requiring employees to make complex decisions about priorities and resource allocation (e.g. should I be out selling an new account or taking care of an existing customer problem). Now, which work we do is just as important as how well we do it.

So it is unlikely 2012 will be a cakewalk. However, even with the challenges, there is plenty of room to succeed if you stay focused on the things that matter most.
Nonprofit Governance
I have made my online board assessment tool available to any nonprofit with an interest in improving governance. Now I am offering a short white paper designed to be used with the assessment tool to diagnose and improve board governance issues. The document can be downloaded at the following link: Governance White Paper
Poll Question
The poll question last quarter asked: Of the front runners, which republican candidate is most likely to receive the party's nomination? Here is the result:
18%Cain
5%Gingrich
5%Perry
73%Romney
0%Santorum
Our poll question this quarter is: How likely is it we will see substantial improvement in the 2012 economy?

  • Very Likely
  • Somewhat Likely
  • Don't Know (50/50)
  • Somewhat Unlikely
  • Very Unlikely
  • We will report the results in the next issue. Click here to participate in our poll. You may return to the Poll Page to monitor the results as often as you like.
    Group vs Team
    What is the difference between a group of employees and a team? A group is a collection of individuals who coordinate their individual efforts. On the other hand, at team is a group of people who share a common team purpose and a number of challenging goals. Members of the team are mutually committed to the goals and to each other. This mutual commitment also creates joint accountability which creates a strong bond and a strong motivation to perform.

    Without purpose and goals you cannot build a team. The purpose must be worthwhile and create a sense of doing something important together. The goals must be challenging and specific so that each member can understand how they contribute to the success of the team.

    A well-defined strategic plan outlining the purpose, values, goals and objectives of the team becomes the glue that binds the group together and helps transform them into a team. Participation in developing that plan helps to build understanding, consensus, and commitment. As a leader, you use the plan to set expectations for individuals and the team as a whole.

    The power of a team emerges from the sense of community that develops and exerts strong influence on the attitudes and behaviors of the participants. Peer pressure and a desire to be a productive member of the team helps to shape priorities and direct efforts where they will support the team goals.

    As a leader and manager, you are no longer limited to managing individuals. You have an opportunity to manage the team as a whole and enlist the support of the team to help manage the individuals.
    For more information contact - Jim Sisson
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