Building a G.R.E.A.T. Company | What is T?

Components of a G.R.E.A.T. Company V T: Teamwork and Transformation. Great companies are not groups of individual agents with everyone doing their own thing. Instead, they are focused places where collaboration and involvement are the currency. Employees know that customers experience the company as a whole and that any negative experience from anywhere in the company can sour the relationship. It takes a whole company to make a customer wildly loyal. Transformation means that the company touches its employees in meaningful ways. People see themselves differently due to their relationship with the company. Employees are committed for having worked there, customers are loyal for having bought there, and owners are invested for having generated a company that makes a difference. Great companies do more than just provide a service and generate a product. There is clearly a much bigger game that molds, impacts, and transforms the lives that they touch. Want to create a collaborative and transformational work culture?  Visit CMI’s...

Building a G.R.E.A.T. Company | What is E?

Components of a G.R.E.A.T. Company III E: Entrepreneurial Great companies engage in proactive and creative actions and activities. They focus on cutting costs and thinking about ways to improve efficiency. They create a culture where employees proactively make things happen rather than standing around waiting for orders. Great companies know their destiny is in the hands of their employees, and they get them actively engaged in creating a bright future. Interested in taking control of your company’s future?  Visit the CMI...

Building a G.R.E.A.T. Company | What is A?

Components of a G.R.E.A.T. Company IV A: Attitude. While “entrepreneurial” and “generous” speak to this type of attitude, great companies also exhibit plenty of spunk, vim and vigor. They have attitude with a capital A. This may mean going the extra mile for the customer. It may mean being on time, no matter what. It may mean that top executives double up in hotels to cut costs and contribute to their profit. Whatever the context, great companies exhibit an attitude and view of the world that clearly sets them apart. Want to change your company’s attitude?  Visit CMI’s...

Building a G.R.E.A.T. Company | What is R?

Components of Great Companies II R: Revenue and Reflection Revenues are central to any business. The reason great companies stand out is they generate a lot more revenue than their competition. Revenue can also mean (although not necessarily) that they generate profit. For many growing companies, profit can be elusive during the times when revenue must be put back into infrastructure and additional resources in order to grow. In great companies, revenue is understood by everyone, not just the top executives. All employees understand how revenue is generated and consumed. More importantly, each individual understands how he or she can increase and impact revenue. Reflection is the planning piece. In great companies, long-term success is supported by some sort of disciplined business planning process that engages the leadership group. The leadership group regularly assesses where the company stands and what future they want to design. The leadership group also provides an organized and focused way for problem solving and lessening the pain of growth. Early on, great companies establish and implement a formal annual planning process from which to design their growth. In other words, Reflection can lead to Revenue and long term success. Want to create a wise and profitable culture in your company? Visit the CMI website to learn...

Building a G.R.E.A.T. Company | What is G?

Components of Great Companies Now that we have defined a great middle market company, what components make up greatness? They can simply be found in the acronym G.R.E.A.T. G: Generous and Growth. The dictionary defines generous as “liberal in giving or sharing; not petty or mean; magnanimous; abundant and ample”. These are also apt descriptions of a great company’s culture. Great companies provide space for people to grow and develop. They accept human foibles and allow mistakes to be made. Great companies are not mean-spirited or punitive. They have rules, but only a few. They are willing to give and bend, and they come from a mindset of abundance while avoiding notions of scarcity. Generosity enables Growth. Growth causes all the progress and wealth of a company but it also causes all the problems and pain. Without growth, a company stagnates and becomes internally focused. Great companies use growth as the engine for their internal and external development.   Want to create a generous and profitable work culture at your company?  Visit the CMI...

Building a G.R.E.A.T. Company

    Over the past 30 years of working with CEO’s, business owners, and senior executive teams, I have learned the key components to design and grow great small to mid-sized companies. Follow my posts over the next couple weeks to learn all about how to make your company a G.R.E.A.T. one.    ...

What’s the Future Worth?

The million-dollar question is this: what, from a business perspective, is being green worth? Will customers be attracted to environmentalism and pay for it? I have watched leadership groups gasp in horror at the thought of being seen as “tree huggers.” As a recovering hippie who listens to Rush Limbaugh, I don’t think being a tree hugger is such bad a thing. But for some executives, this connotation apparently carries horrific implications—might they be turning into … hippies? Is it the possibility of taking drugs and wearing tie-dyed shirts that scares them? Is it that they think listening to the Grateful Dead is mandatory? In fact, this is a generational issue. Executives in their 50’s and 60’s are environmentally sympathetic; we all want fresh air and clean water. However, this age group tends to have parameters around how far they will allow their companies to go toward sustainability. Meanwhile, employees in their 20’s and 30’s—whom I will affectionately call “Enviro-Fanatics”— find great excitement in environmental development. They are passionate about moving sustainability initiatives forward and tend to be extremely motivated by making a difference. This generation perceives that it has more at stake in the environment and the future. If an organization goes in a sustainable direction, it can build employee loyalty as well as public goodwill. If you are looking at whom to put in charge of researching environmental initiatives, it is the younger group. They will find the options and possibilities. The older set of business managers and executives will think it through and implement, and the younger set will do the passionate heavy lifting. Both will lead...

Make Green from Being Green

In honor of earth day on April 22, our next blog series will feature some tips for creating more sustainable business practices. Let’s start this series of posts with a disclaimer: I do not consider myself an expert in sustainability. However, I probably know enough to be dangerous. In my view, sustainable business practices means your business is conducted in such a way that it can exist without being environmentally destructive. At the very least, environmental neutrality is what your company wants to achieve. An even better aspiration is to positively impact the environment. There are dozens, hundreds of ideas, large and small, that organizations can implement to positively impact the environment. Additionally, your company can make money as you create a green reason for customers to buy from your organization. When real dollars can be made from environmentalism, then environmentalism is good for you and good for business. This epitomizes “making green from green.” Learn more about CMI...

Green On!

I strongly encourage your organization to adopt a direction towards sustainability. This is not a political statement but one that reflects the reality of the times. Of course, there needs to be authenticity. Just saying you are sustainable by your attempts to recycle is not sufficient. If there is not sincerity in the actions your company takes, customers will see this for what it is: an attempt to take advantage of the latest fad. By the same token, you do not need to be perfect. This is a new direction for mainstream businesses, and there will be mistakes and false starts. The payoff for attempting to create a net zero environmental impact is worth it. For example, a client of ours recently installed solar panels on its roof. The electricity generated will not be much—maybe enough to power their offices. They are in the Midwest, after all, which is known for long overcast winters. These solar panels, however, look impressive and have great buzz value. Supporting the solar industry also creates a feel-good value for the company. Five years ago, solar panels were not recommended for Chicago, but now, after dramatic improvements in price and function, they make sense. The panels will pay themselves off in ten years. Make this year your “green” year. Consider your options in manufacturing, packaging, and recycling products. Think about the savings you can achieve from a green facility. Research government grants and funding available for sustainability initiatives. Look to see where, by cutting costs and differentiating your products, you can make green from green. When your customers see the value that your environmental...

Let’s Spring Ahead with CMI’s Team Building Programs!

  Let’s Spring Ahead with CMI’s Team Building Programs!   Spring is just around the corner! As the weather gets nicer and everyone emerges from a state of cabin fever have you noticed … Productivity slowing down? Employees seeking more time out of the office? Less than outstanding customer service? Cranky attitudes on the job?     This year, be proactive. Get your team together for a morale boost and learning opportunity with one of CMI’s team building programs. At CMI we are constantly coming up with ways to stay ahead of the changing seasons in the Midwest. It’s not too late to schedule an event to kick off the spring/summer season!    Here are some ideas for outdoor events: Team building in local parks or at the beach Outdoor team rope courses or rock climbing activities Team building Kayaking Team Building Orienteering Adventures   For more information please contact us at (708) 383-7970. To start the planning process, contact me, Bruce Hodes, CEO and Facilitator Extraordinaire! I am eager to assist...