Making Change Easy

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Resisting change is a natural reaction for many people. We often find trying to adapt to a new way of doing things uncomfortable or too much of a struggle. However, personal and professional changes can be some of the most important factors when trying to improve your life and world as well as improving your business or organization.

Understand that when you want to act or react differently you must think differently. Any major change requires us to train our brains to step out of our comfort zone to accept something new with trust.

While going through changes in life, surround yourself with the right people. This can make a difficult process easier and more fulfilling by having a support system in place. Identify people who have toxic personalities and avoid them particularly during any time of stress or change in your life. Spend your time with positive people who understand the differences you are attempting to achieve.

Make sure you are always looking at the positive benefits when change is needed to improve yourself. Focus on how this will benefit your life, your accomplishments and your overall well-being. This will help give you motivation to keep evolving.

Personal and professional change is not something that happens naturally for any of us. Allow yourself to think differently to accept the new changes you are experiencing throughout life

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Consistency is Key

 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
~ Aristotle

Staying “consistent about consistency” is not an easy thing to practice when it comes to your personal life or career. Consistency is the single most important factor in growing your business while improving upon your own brand.  If you think about it, would your business or in fact your life be successful without consistency? Simple matters of consistency are taken for granted, eating and sleeping well, coming into work the same time each day, opening the business on time in an orderly fashion and presenting a consistently positive face to the world are all matters of positive organizational skills.

Consistency is necessary for your business to build a positive reputation. You cannot establish a good track record with clients and customers if you aren’t consistent in your product or services performance.  Typically, certain efforts fail because of a team not staying organized and on course to attain the overall goal.

Consistency is also a great habit to form as a leader of a business or organization. Don’t be surprised if your team loses interest in a business platform when you aren’t consistent in your message, agenda and goals as a leader.

In the work place, if new processes and programs are implemented to create a better functioning office environment, remember to always look at the lack of consistency as the culprit if failures are on the horizon.

Everyone should strive for consistency, whether it be in the office, running a business or a personal improvement plan like a workout routine. Develop consistency in everything you do to create a stronger self-image while building your business.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results
 

Train Your Brain


“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future,
concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
~ Buddha

We have all experienced a time sitting in front of our computers waiting for our brain to organize our thoughts into forming a cohesive breakthrough idea. But what if there was a way to trigger these actions to activate creative moments more often? Brainstorming ideas are often effective in prompting our brains to reach the goal oriented network, allowing access to the insightful and creative functions of our brain. Learn a few daily activates to train your brain to give rise to more breakthrough thinking.

Oddly enough, the most useful way to create a lightbulb idea in your mind at work is to focus on something completely different, a quick meditation, a stand up and stretch exercise, reading a news article or learning about a new product or service often helps you refocus. This allows your brain to recharge with new and innovative information that will help trigger a refreshed mindset.

One of the most common and beneficial activities to help with brain function is exercise. Put on your walking shoes during your lunch break and get moving outside. Physical activity allows the blood to circulate and gives you a second burst of energy to your brain for the second half of the day.

You might think being at the office is the best time for breakthrough thinking but, physical activity before or after work can also be very compelling. Allowing yourself to be entertained by reading books, magazines or even playing video games can help build those brainstorming muscles.

Professional life should be enjoyable, including incorporating creative and thoughtful ideas. Take time to focus on training and building your brain to let in growth and understanding in other areas of interest.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Skills for Current and Future Success

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
~ Oscar Wilde

When it comes to standing out from the crowd experience and knowledge of advanced skills can give you a jump start in the world of growing technology. We all want to get ahead and have the tools to make our professional lives more productive but don’t always take the time it takes to be proficient.  Be proactive and take the time to learn and practice new technical skills in the coming year to help keep you at the cutting edge of your team.

It seems we are made aware almost daily of a new tool or software update promising to help us get through our work day faster and easier. Advancements in online programming and editing are a high priority for large companies looking to promote products and services and the people who are proficient in operating these programs are of high value and importance.

As an example, Adobe Photoshop is a graphic design software that has been around for years and not utilized by many companies because of its difficulty. Having the patience to take the steps to learn this one program could make the difference in adding value to your resume and to your team.

Updating personal and professional skills can be an ongoing goal that can be a lifelong resolution for positive change.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Fishing for Top Talent

Fishing for Talent

“Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.”
~ Maya Angelou

We have all seen or heard about extravagant and over the top parties thrown by large corporations with food, drink and top tier entertainment. Often the aim of these gatherings is to retain top employees and to attract new talent. With the big business world filled with employee perks and incentives costing thousands of dollars per employee how do small businesses compete for some of the best talent out there?

Now more than ever employees are recognizing the importance of intrinsic value and personal rewards for their performance and efforts. Most of us in the end are motivated by a single purpose, appreciation. This simple act has been shown to keep employees and staff interested in staying with smaller companies.

Instead of the food chain approach of larger companies, smaller companies may offer a way for a new hire to feel personally welcomed and included quickly. Most small businesses bring to the table a way to feel embraced and equal without the risks of being lost in the crowd or feeling as though they are under the microscope of big management.  

Small businesses are also a great way to give your employees special attention that big companies can’t compete with. With large companies that employ hundreds or even thousands of people, getting company perks may be more difficult due to competition and access. Whether it’s a discount on a certain affiliated product or a great deal on a service, small businesses may have access to unique and appreciated incentives.  

The good news for small businesses is that you don’t need costly items and high end parties to attract talented staff, with great relationships, intrinsic rewards and the benefit of small company comfort, a small business can really stand out among the crowd. 

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Multi-tasking or Single-tasking?

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“The scarcity of time is the reason we have to concentrate on one thing at a time.”
~ Matt Perman, Author

In the busy business world, it seems that everyone is multi-tasking to get as much done in one day as possible. But, does it really work? Over time, if you don’t give a specific task all your attention, the outcome often suffers. Research has shown that about 40% of productivity is reduced when we try to get multiple things done at one time. Of course, multitasking increases the margin for error dramatically. In a world where multitasking has become the norm, instead relearn to single-task to increase productivity while reducing daily stress.

One of the most important things to remember during our daily lives is to live in the moment. Most of us spend every minute looking at the next project we need to tackle. When we constantly look ahead and never focus on the tasks at hand we often forget to enjoy the journey and the little things that make life worth living.

We all have so many thoughts whirling around in our minds each day we sometimes overlook truly significant reflection. We often overload our senses and tend to stress over the accumulation of smaller, less important things and forget more important life goals. Simple changes such as practicing the old habit of writing things down can be very helpful. This simple exercise helps to reinforce a realistic view of your schedule and helps our memories focus on the immediate rather than the eventual.    

Once you have written things down, schedule time for each task and work to simply check each item off your list. Make sure you have fully completed one task before moving on to the next. This type of progress can be very fulfilling as opposed to having 5 tasks partially completed.

Overloading yourself is never a good idea. It can lead to forgetting more important tasks and cause stress related problems. In your busy life, learn to single-task to take control of your time. You will find there is always enough time to do it right the first time.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

The Changing Face of Insurance

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Our first Question from Vistage Chair, Jaynie Smith:

What are companies doing today about health insurance as rates climb?  Are you covering employee only?  Family?  How much are you passing along to the employee?

There appears to be no question that at the beginning of the New Year, health insurance rates will increase. In 2016 premiums increased an average of 7 percent and the predictions for 2017 are that premiums could increase as much as 50 percent. Like many decisions made by companies, both large and small, the pros and cons of every decision should be researched and the repercussions should be considered before a final procedure is implemented.

Here are many advantages of offering high level health benefits to employees even though the majority of the financial burden usually falls on the employer. The following are a few key items to consider.

  • To retain the most qualified and effective employees companies must stay at least competitive if not superior to other employers who offer similar benefit packages.
  • The company may be allowed significant tax deductions through a tax credit making the out of pocket costs far less for both the employee and corporation. This should be researched and shared with those affected.
  • Group purchasing power may significantly reduce costs overall for premiums.
  • A healthy workforce is more productive and has less absenteeism due to illness. Insurance coverage offers preventative care that without insurance many people avoid.

The downside to offering high level health benefits are more than just the effect on the bottom line.

  • Particularly with smaller companies with less resources other programs or benefits will need to be cut in order to afford more insurance expenses.
  • The employer and employee relationship may suffer as a result of passing on some costs to the employees who may be seen as unsympathetic to the plight of the worker while the reality is the employer and employee have to be realistic about future increases.
  • Ongoing insurance changes have become an ongoing expense and burden to employers as the administrative costs are high in order to stay current and provide the best coverage for the employees.
  • There is a risk of liability as the employer becomes in charge of selecting the insurance company type and coverage’s offered. Most employers hire consultants and employ staff to seek out the best advice however this information can be challenged by disgruntled employees and others who feel they may have not had the best coverage offered in a changing world.

The Affordable Care Act is an option that can be taken. The employee can decline the company health coverage if the ACA is better. The choice is up to the employee. If a company does not have specific qualified healthcare, the employees can purchase the ACA. The company must provide coverage if they have over 50 employees. If the company has healthcare they must offer it to the employees who can decline it if the ACA is less expensive. If you make under a certain income, the ACA coverage is subsidized by the government. If not, you pay whatever the cost is. If an individual does not have coverage they can be fined.

Uncertainty is uncomfortable for all involved and financial planning is near to impossible without accurate predictions. Companies should be looking at ways to offer different levels of family and individual coverage’s and to provide information to employees from outside experts on what best to choose to save money and be cost effective for all involved. It’s incumbent on all of us to take personal responsibility to know what plans are available for ourselves personally and for our employees and what the right fit is. Communication as always is key with your employees, understanding the costs of insurance will need to be shared in some way so that options are on the table.

 The big question we are all facing is, “How can we afford all these new expenses.” One benefit of the ACA has been that many people who were not able to have any health insurance prior now have coverage however; the cost may soon become prohibitive for many more. If new plans come to offer the benefits of the ACA along with lower premiums of course there may be good news on the horizon.

We have no verified data on costs at this point however it appears that now is the time to actively seek input from industry experts to help balance the costs to all parties involved and to balance the financial burdens. Utilizing your employees as a source of input, is one way to get a positive conversation going about their needs and the company’s best interests.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Enthusiasm is Contagious

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“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
~ George Bernard Shaw, Playwright

Throughout the normal work day, we interact with a great deal of people, but how effective are our communication skills? It takes honest communication with customers to build good relationships that will help make your brand standout. Within a few seconds of hearing your phone voice, customers and clients can pick up on your level of truthfulness and warmth that’s either welcoming or off-putting. Train yourself and your employees to maintain a positive attitude and improve your communication with customers.

A key factor in demonstrating a passion for communication with customers is to put a face with the name. Most of us email customers regularly which can create a very effective method of communication, but is always impersonal. A simple and easy way to make customers feel more comfortable is to add your professional social media accounts in your email signature. In this way customers can access the links and see images of you and get a better feel of who they are communicating with.

With the internet and social media so popular, being recognizable to customers has never been more important. Of course, it’s increasingly important to be careful of what you post and utilize appropriate images in all cases.

We have all had bad customer service experiences, but taking the time and patience to put a name with a face and creating an interest level with your clients can make a very positive difference in your company.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Smarter CEOs Plan

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“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”
~Jim Rohn, American Businessman

In order to achieve the vision you see for your company, specific goals targeted for present and future growth are necessary to continue further success. Whether you’re planning to expand your company, increase revenues, or just make the workplace a more enjoyable place to be, setting goals should be the very first step for business owners.

Finding the time to work on business goals is not always easy but, remembering what makes your business successful and what you want the future to become can make all the difference.

Start with your long-term goal plans, which are meant to take several years to accomplish. These types of goals should reflect the essence of your business motto or mission statement and should focus on what makes your business unique in your industry. Example of long-term goals include; higher customer satisfaction ratings, giving back to the community by donation or volunteering and recruiting new employees who share your vision.

Once long-term goals have been set, create short-term goals or objectives to specifically target how you will accomplish your long-term goals. Short-term goals should be the pathway to long-term growth. Have a ready plan for what needs to be done by who and when.

Bring your future goals to present day attention by focusing on the creation of both long-term and short-term goals to enrich the quality of your brand.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

How to Sell Your First Impression

stand-out

“To succeed in business it is necessary to make others see things as you see them.”
~ John H. Patterson, Businessman

Whether you’re looking for a new career path or determined to climb the corporate ladder in your business, marketing yourself to the right people in an effective way can make all the difference. During our day to day lives, we learn the skills to sell or promote a certain product or service to all kinds of customers but, do we know how to promote our self-image to build our careers?

The power of future potential is more important to most companies than your past track record. Having an impressive track record is something to show off and be proud of but, it’s what you could become that will make business professionals stand up and notice you. Focus on improving your personal sales pitch by including important topics like; your future goals as an individual as well as for the company, share your values and the ways you operate to show you have the potential to go above and beyond what is needed.

Knowing the brand is also another key factor in selling yourself. The strongest businesses know themselves, their values and purpose in their consumer’s life. Learn and promote the brand and industry to have a notable pitch that leaves the company wanting more of your ideas and thoughts.

In this day and age when anyone can look up a person’s name on social media sites, it’s important to show that you aren’t just a profile, you are a proactive business professional looking to prove yourself. Selling yourself should make you look passionate about your work and further your career. 

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results