Starting or running your own small business involves a great deal of hard work, commitment and the ability to understand a great deal of information. The initial catalyst to being a business owner is usually predicated around being a believer in a certain product or a trend that you think can be addressed or an opportunity to be your own boss.
Meet Lisa Cefali, B. Comm. (Hons), FEA, Partner, Strategic Development & Executive Search at Legacy Bowes Group who recently obtained her designation as a Family Enterprise Advisor™ from the Ivey Business School – University of Western Ontario. She joins a group of only 3 others in the Province of Manitoba, with this designation! As a Family Enterprise Advisor™, she is now well equipped, with a team of multi-disciplinary professionals, to further assist clients in the various areas of the Family Enterprise that require a broader and more holistic approach to understanding the people dynamics of the organization – Owners, Family, Cousins, and non - family member employees all working together under one roof!
With the New Year upon us, resolutions abound. Some will last, some will fade. Many are based on achieving a healthier lifestyle of better food choices and more gym time. Others are made based on making a change that can positively affect their careers. Recently, I read a book for my FEA designation that lends itself well to starting off a new year with new aspirations and hope. With the newsfeeds full of questionable behavior by leaders or figures of authority; of fake news and questionable decisions or intentions, one could ask – are we simply kidding ourselves in believing that the good guy can finish anywhere but last?
I attended a wedding this weekend which was very touching and beautiful. It had all the elements that one would imagine with family, friends, and an outdoor ceremony encompassing tradition and modern day inclusions that made the event even more personal to the bride and groom. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were elegantly dressed, the bride and groom were stunning and as the evening continued on with the celebration of their union, there were speeches sprinkled throughout the multi-course meal and dancing into the wee hours.
Often when we think of trust in the workplace, the general belief is that a good workplace environment has trust. Trust must exist amongst the employees as coworkers and trust must exist with the management team. Employees must feel trust that the decisions being made are being made with everyone’s best interests in mind, while meeting the objectives of the company. This trust forms the basis of the culture of the company that will propel the company forward towards success and will sustain the organization when times are tough and the employees are counted upon to do even more to ensure the company bounces back. When trust exists, employees are able to change direction, seek out new ways of doing things, and embrace the work they are doing as they are committed to the success they are witnessing by the actions that follow, the decisions that are being made.
“The hiring outlook for the Winnipeg area for the next few months doesn’t look great….only five per cent of the employers surveyed said they plan to hire more workers during the first quarter of 2015. The vast majority — 88 per cent — said they plan to maintain current staffing levels, while seven per cent said they anticipate cutbacks.” – December 9, 2014 – Winnipeg Free Press
As the calendar year comes to an end, what are your plans for the upcoming year? How are things looking so far? If you are one of the companies that will be looking to hire or you’re an individual who will commence a new job in the New Year, congratulations!
For the hockey fans this past weekend, the game on Sunday night against the Anaheim Ducks and the Winnipeg Jets was truly outstanding. The game itself went into overtime ended in a double shoot out – with a Finnish player making the winning goal. How appropriate! It was action packed, the energy on the ice was very obvious by both teams, and the fans you could tell had been provided quite the show!
Nurture your important relationships at work
There are many business books that have been penned over the years by very astute individuals on almost every topic. I came across one, this past year unexpectedly as the authors were typically writing about improving personal relationships and now had made the leap to expand their message into the workplace.
The Canada Winter Games, held in Prince George. B.C. this past February, brought together a collection of Canada’s finest Junior Athletes across a multitude of sports. Individual athletes and teams competed to attain personal bests and medal achievements for their provincial organizations. For some, these Games would bring them one step closer to possibly representing their country at the next Olympics. From the start of the Opening Ceremonies, to the daily meals in the dining hall, to the conversations heard at the Athletes Village, Prince George was a bevy of excitement, pride and positive energy that everyone could feel – including the local residents and volunteers. Each training day and each competitive event was evidence of not simply the best of the best on display, but of the many hours, determination and dedication needed to get each and every athlete to that point.
In April we are reminded that the filing of our personal taxes are due by the end of the month. Although this does not often have a favorable connotation to it, along with all the many slips we need, we also collect all of our charitable receipts with pride and can assess, through an actual numerical figure, how giving we truly were this past tax year.
With the longer daylight hours, our ability to want to do more and feel we can do more flourishes. We wake up energized as we head to work in daylight and we even return home and it’s still daylight. The entire evening available to spend with friends, get caught up on household projects or take part in a favorite hobby.
Engaged Employees contribute to your Company’s Success
Often times, businesses are faced with situations they need to increase the output of what they accomplish without adding any additional cost to do so. A daunting task to say the least! During my career, I was once employed with an organization to do just that – seek out the creation of a Strategic Business unit within the existing organization, with the intent of increasing revenues to the Western Canadian Producer. Along with three other consultants, I met with numerous groups within the organization, asked questions, uncovered information and came out with possible scenarios and two business cases that could support creating revenue without adding cost to the bottom line. We were able to present the two cases to the executive and, through this exercise, the executive were then faced with the decision on which initiative or initiatives should be implemented to generate additional revenue and achieve success.
The interview starts here
When it’s time to search for that new role, individuals go through the process of updating their resume to ensure it not only contains the most up to date information, but that it is relevant to the current role that is being considered. Often, today, most resumes are sent online to an email address or uploaded through the company’s website. These methods, although extremely convenient for the individual looking to apply to many roles at the same time and for the employer wanting to receive a number of resumes as efficiently as possible, it really does not offer the individual the opportunity to present himself/ herself in such a way that will make them stand out.
A company’s desire and action to grow is often spurred by market demand and current results. Conversations take place at the executive table, recommendations are presented to a board, decisions are made and a plan is developed to realize this growth. Usually, the focus of the growth is financial, and although the human resource aspect is considered equally important, it is not given the same amount of due diligence to how this growth will be realized. Understanding what the current climate is and knowing where the organization needs to get to is crucial. So what are the 5 key areas that should be examined?
Organizations are always in a state of change and movement. Rightfully so. Whether it be growth of existing lines of business, entrance into new lines of business, or closing down business units because they are not contributing to the bottom line. This is all a good thing! Organizations who remain stagnate and in one place, don’t remain there for long.
When we consider the people factor in this equation, organizations must consider: Do we have the right type of individuals at any given point in time? Do we have enough Builders? Do we have enough Maintainers/ Stewards? Are they each in the right roles to take us to where the organization needs to go?
With the Grey Cup Championship just around the corner at the end of the week, the moment of truth for the final two teams – the Ottawa Red Blacks and the Edmonton Eskimos – has arrived. Next Sunday the real test of Team Dynamics will be apparent. All the individual training, the personal commitments and the individual talents of each player and coach better be at 100%, in a unified, true team effort in order to win the ultimate prize and be crowned the Grey Cup Champions.
I recently spent a long weekend in the Lake Louise and Banff area. Although I’m an avid skier, I decided to forego skiing and participate in other activities the area has to offer – as the area does offer an abundance.
One such activity was Dog Sledding. My initial attraction was simply seeing a poster in the Lake Louise Tourism shop and thought if for no other reason, then when I travel to a southern, warm destination and was asked by locals if I have ever experienced dog sledding being Canadian, I could honestly then say – “Yes! I have and it was very cool!” Little did I know that I would gain more than simply, a fun excursion amongst a beautiful snowy backdrop and the thrill of trying something new, but see evidence of typical organizational dynamics in a unique setting!
A class that we should all embrace!
With April coming to a close, so do Exams and in some cases Post Secondary programs – a new group of graduates are about to enter the workforce! So, if I were asked to present a Valedictory Address to the Post Secondary Class of 2016, this is the message I would leave: Keep reading – it’s relevant to us all, no matter what stage of your career, you are at.
There is a great deal of interest at the present time in understanding what motivates Millennials and why they behave the way they do within the workplace. In fact, the interest is on the rise as it would appear that they are behaving very differently than past generations. Employers have been known to consider them one homogeneous group, thus placing them all in the same stereo typical box with mis-construed labels – such as “Entitled, Lazy, Impatient, Demanding and Unreliable as Team Members.”
Organizations are continually going through change. Change allows them to grow, meet new objectives and veer toward new directions. This of course is not new information. For the number of times a new Strategic Plan is worked upon or unveiled or a new fiscal year’s budget is rolled up, change is expected. Yet, there are always people who are caught off guard.
Unearth the Hidden Talent From Within
I recently attended the Associates AGM where the keynote speaker at the dinner presentation, Perrin Beatty, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, spoke on the topic of Canada’s Business Competitiveness. One of the key points that he referenced was the Skills Gap that many Canadian organizations face today. Organizations are desperate to meet the needs of today while also understanding what they will need for the future. He went further to say that it is imperative that they have this understanding, if they want Canada to be competitive globally.
Today’s business environment is fast paced and the need to have top performers in your organization is critical. We often talk about the importance of a good functioning team; a team that works well together, understand the company’s objectives and how their own performance and deliverables affect those objectives. As leaders we know that we need to set clear goals and work with our teams so that they have the skillset and any additional support they need from us to get the job done well.
As organizations bring on new employees a great deal of detail goes into the letter of offer to ensure compensation and benefits are compelling. The business leader and HR also ensure that the onboarding process is ready to provide a smooth transition into the organization. After all, the effort and approach taken with a potential candidate is, in itself, being considered and evaluated before the final outcome is determined. It should be – word gets around! A great hire can be your best ambassador to continually attracting good people.
“Pat, I’ll Buy an L for $200!”
As a manager, you have a team and are often tasked with hiring on a new individual to complement the team. You work with your HR department or a Recruitment Firm to ensure that you choose the right person that can complete the necessary job requirements and will fit into the culture of your existing team. You want a productive, strong relationship within your team that will last so that success can be built and reached!
What boxing and recruitment have in common
Last fall, I along with 13 other business women were asked to take part in a unique fundraiser for iDE Canada. We were asked to commit to a 12 week training program, consisting of 3 Days of Fitness Training and 3 Days of Technical Boxing Training per week and while we were at it, we were each asked to raise $5,000. At the end of the 12 weeks, we were then paired up and we competed in a real Manitoba Boxing Association sanctioned Boxing Match in front of a crowd of 300 people - music, lights, and even an official boxing name – Vegas Style! Lisa “Badda Boom” Cefali was in the building!
Every spring, I spend time in the garden. There is something about taking the tired, dry look of winter and turning it into something new and vibrant. I usually take Thursday and Friday off so that I can spend 4 days straight, preparing, planning, planting and watering. I take note of which perennials didn’t survive, I consider the colour scheme that I want this year, and off I go to buy all the bedding plants and supplies I will need. The efforts required to take me to an objective defined by a vision of beauty and vibrant colour.
"Today is the day of the rest of my life – diploma in hand – it’s time to start my real –life career job!"
"Today is the day that you have decided - it’s time to leave the current role you and go out and find that next challenging role – perhaps even a promotion!"
"Today is the day and you have realized that enough is enough - it’s time to find your next role!"
"Today is the day and someone else has decided (due to company results, a change in future direction, etc.) that your role no longer exists and its time you find your next role!"
Handling your shortcomings so they aren't detrimental to your career.
So you’re in a job interview and you are asked: “What is Your Biggest Weakness?” After you get over the initial surprise (even though you DID know that this question was coming,) you take a deep breath, and you respond. You share one weakness that you hope presents you in the best light, and that it does not hurt you in receiving the job offer – because you really do want the job!
You can't help being excited for the Canadian Athletes competing and achieving such success in Sochi. Patriotism, acts of kindness, examples of hard work and dedication are all around. Then, when we experience moments of surprise and see life altering defeat, those emotionally impacted moments pull a heart string or two – no matter who you are or where you’re located!