Sustaining Success
May 2010
Envision, Evolve, Achieve

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Laurie Mrva
Achieve Success LLC 
A Picture of Results
Achieve Success LogoWhen an artist sets out to create a painting, a sculpture or any type of art form, they start by having a vision of what the masterpiece will ultimately look like. They take the time to focus on the feeling the piece will call upon from those that gaze at the final results. They consider the tools, the colors, the materials necessary to bring their art to life and deliver meaning to the admirer. Their original thought of the piece might have to come to them in many ways. They transform these ideas and thoughts to the art piece via a vision on what the end product will look like.

This same process of a vision of what the end result looks like applies not only to the artist but also to businesses and people that make up the business. At some point in time every business started with its owner having an idea and then putting together a vision and a plan to realize the objective. As the business market changed, the owner adjusted the plan to remain current and provide new ideas and products to the customer.

The current business conditions are ever changing. Customer requirements are changing. Employee requirements are changing. Technology is changing. We are in the midst of an ever evolving information revolution. These and many other reasons must prompt each of us to revisit our company and personal vision. Make adjustments to it so the future results we picture in our minds are realized.

A vision by definition is a mental image produced by the imagination. As we apply this to business and personal life, our vision is the picture of what the business or person will look like at some point in the future. It is the visual image and supporting words that paint the picture for the business and its employees as to what it will be in the future. Consider your vision as the statement placed in the headlines of a future business publication acknowledging the results, the success of your company or yourself. What do you want it to say about you or your organization? How do you want to be recognized? How do you want to describe your potential?

This central focus of a vision should define for your company and yourself that you can succeed and you will know when you arrive. The vision keeps you on track while knowing when to change tracks or add a new one. The vision should be stated positively and in the past tense, as if you had already achieved the potential identified as the "Ideal State." It should create excitement and commitment.

While all of this may appear to be common sense and sounds reasonable, the challenge is to create your vision and communicate it to your organization and yourself. This communication and support of the vision will demonstrate your true commitment.

Take some time over the next week to create a vision for your business if you don't already have one. If you have one already, test it against what is really going on in the business. Are you achieving your "Ideal State?" Do you need to re-kindle the commitment, the passion? Be proactive, be positive, be an artist - go paint that picture of your future ideal state.

~ Copyright 2010 JKL Associates (313) 527-7945

Job Benchmarking to Improve the Bottom Line

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When a company goes to hire someone for a particular position, the trusted method for a long time has been to accumulate a large number of resumes. From there, somebody sorts through the resumes and then attempts to find potential candidates that will suit the position and be a good employee. Those that are selected from the pile of resumes are then invited for a face to face interview.

Consider how many things can go wrong with this process; the person who is screening the resumes is likely not familiar with the job duties. The resumes might have incorrect or completely falsified information on them. Most screeners are looking more for spelling mistakes than they are for the proper skill set.

Now consider what can go wrong when some of those people who submit resumes are invited to go for an interview. There is a personal bias on the part of many interviewers. People might get selected more on their looks or the clothes that they wear instead of how effective they are going to be. They may be from the interviewer's home town or they may have practiced the correct canned answers and ace the interview as a result.

Wouldn't it be good if there were a better approach?

There is, and that is working from the standpoint that the requirements necessary to be successful in the job should first be analyzed, instead of finding good candidates first and trying to fit them to a job. Job benchmarking involves taking all of the necessary key accountabilities, personal skills, behaviors, and motivators for a position and identifying them. When this is done, you can then look for those qualities in the candidates to find a match. The best performer is not necessarily going to be somebody who has had that same job title in the past at a different company, or somebody who has worked in the same industry for a long time. It is somebody who fits the requirements of the job and possesses many of the qualities & traits that the benchmark identified.

From the start, companies who utilize job benchmarking will have a better understanding of what is needed in the candidates filling the positions. Not only will they be more likely to effectively perform in their role because of their job match, but they will do so enthusiastically. The hiring manager can go over all of the things that are necessary for the job so everyone is on the same page. At this early stage, the candidate can be asked to commit to those responsibilities.

Once hired, employees are more productive and happier if they clearly know what their objectives are and are more likely to have the ability to meet them. It's obvious that more productive employees are good for a company. An added benefit to having fulfilled employees is that retention is better. If you consider how much it costs to go through the process of hiring an employee and then subsequently training them, you can see how this can affect the bottom line.

Companies that engage in job benchmarking will show better profitability because getting the right people into the right position at the beginning means less strain on human resources and more productivity from employees who are engaged in their job.

Here a just a couple of our job benchmarking successes:

      Success Story - 50% of a company's new hires were lost during the training program. After benchmarking the job, they were able to hire the right people and increase retention to 80%.

      Success Story - An organization had a 74% turnover in their sales force. After benchmarking and debriefing, they retained 100% of the sales force for the last 18 months.

In our next issue we will explore how to use job benchmarking to avoid unnecessary costs. 

~ Copyright protected, all rights reserved worldwide. Written for us by Gary Sorrell

In This Issue
A Picture of Results
Job Benchmarking to Improve the Bottom Line
Upcoming Events
Wednesday, May 12th at 8:00am
GPS for Business - Sponsored by the SBDC
Monday, May 17th at 6:00pm

Achievement by Getting the Right Things Done First - Sponsored by Pampered Chef 

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Things to Remember About Planning
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Vision - Your vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all your strategic planning.
Provides direction - a broad statement of end results

Values - Establish four to six core values from which the organization would like to operate. Consider values of customers, shareholders, employees and the community.
Determine rightness of the direction for decision making
Decision Making - The foundation for business today is provided through values and value-based decisions and behaviors. Business values define the beliefs, standards, and acceptable behaviors.

Clearly defined values simplify decision making

Mission - The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making.
Clearly states the steps needed to achieve your vision and how you're going to get there
Critical Goal Categories - Critical goal categories serve as the foundation for implementing your plans, they focus on building upon your strengths and identifying and overcoming any limitations.
What must happen to achieve your mission
 ~ Gary Sorrell. Copyright protected worldwide
About Us
Laurie helps organizations and professionals make positive changes to achieve their goals.  Achieve Success offers customized solutions to your business challenges including strategic planning, leadership development and employee assessment tools to assist with hiring, promoting and developing key skills to enhance success.   

Achieve Success LLC

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

~ John Wooden


"Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile."
~ Gary Ryan Blair


"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."

~ Gloria Steinem