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Submitted by Paul Butler, Client Partner, Newleaf Training and Development
What I have come to realize after nearly 20 years as an employee and now 10 years as a business owner, is that essentially all organizations are the same inside.
All organizations want their income to be bigger than their expenses. All organizations want their assets to be larger than their liabilities. All organizations want to have more cash coming in (as a result of their operating, investing and financing activities), than cash going out.
What I have also come to realize is that organization's who thrive, help educate their employees, on how their work on a daily basis impacts the organization's money-making model. This is what we call, "Building the intrapreneurial spirit." Can you imagine an organization (regardless of whether its a corporate business; an educational entity - private or public; a non-profit organization or governmental municipality), where every employee treats their organization’s resources as if they were their own?
It is very effective if you supervise the work of others to invest some time, educating your direct reports on how their work impacts income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Every person has an impact on the financial health of the organization. Great leaders are able to make the connection between input (labor) and output (financial performance). If your employer is a publicly-traded corporation, its easy for you to access the latest financials and draw the connection for you direct reports. If your employer is a private entity, ask if you can share a snapshot of the financials with your direct reports and cite your reason. If you work for a non-profit entity, public educator or government entity, your financials are publicly available information anyway and so they should be easy for you to access. Great leaders are great educators and they invest time, regularly to help their people learn.
I’ll guarantee you that if you invest some time educating your direct reports on how to read financial statements and are able to connect the work of each person to the financial statements, you will collectively make a much more positive impact on the financial health of your organization. Likewise, you will be able to garner ideas as to how to improve financial performance, once people better understand the statements and see they connect with their daily work.
One of the areas Newleaf Training and Development specialize in is teaching Business Financial Intelligence.
5 tips for effective networking at professional events
By Paul Butler, Newleaf Training and Development
We moved here ten years ago from England to pursue our dream of running our own business in California. When we first started, we were on an Entrepreneur’s Visa (an E2) that roughly translates into “If you don’t sell and create jobs you can’t stay. I just had to learn how to network or else the business would fail and we’d have to go back to England.
I didn’t learn these 5 tips in a book — these are just principles about human behavior that I’ve found just simply work to build profitable business relationships, first formed at professional events. I hope they help you.
1. Be interested, not interesting
Have an authentic curiosity in other people, their story and their business. Really try and understand them and think how you can make connections for them, or even use of their services. The Law of Reciprocity between people is an amazing principle: when you help others, someway, sometime and somehow it will always come back to you and you’ll be helped by them or someone else.
2. Listen twice as much as you speak
We have two ears and one mouth. At networking events, try and listen twice as much as you speak. Most people love the sound of their own voice. I have found that if you listen carefully, you might be able to help someone. I have also found that if you demonstrate attentive listening, they are then more apt to really tune in when it’s your turn to speak.
3. Look for an opportunity to serve within the organization
Professional associations are always looking for people to step up to serve in some capacity within the association. I have found that when you serve alongside people, something wonderful happens: you both are putting your shoulder to the plough for a common cause. As a result you build better and more meaningful professional relationships. By serving you will likely be recognized for your contributions on the association’s website or program materials.
4. Do what you say you’re going to do
I love living in Los Angeles but I have found that most people within business associations don’t do what they say they’re going to do. When they say, “I’ll call you” or “Let’s do lunch” or “We should get together” or “I’ll email” they don’t mean it. I have found that having a reputation for good follow-through sets you apart.
5. Be present
When you’re at the event, be present. Really listen to the announcements and consider what you can learn from the speaker if there’s a formal presentation been given. I have observed that most people are not present but instead are distracted on their phones. Be present — people notice.
I hope these 5 simple points are good reminders of common sense — my observation has been that common sense is not that commonly-practiced.
Paul Butler - ACMA, CGMA
Newleaf Training and Development
27433 Tourney Road, Suite 120
Valencia, CA 91355
Tel: (661) 288 1004
Two Types of Leaders
If you are a supervisor, manager, or senior leader you have a sacred responsibility. If you don't do what you need to do, the organization's results will suffer and the people that report to you will suffer. All work matters, but yours has a multiplying affect.
I have noticed there are two types of leaders - let's call them Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 leaders focus on themselves. They don't really care about the people who report to them. They are primarily interested in managing upwards for their own selfish career goals. Type 1 leaders are threatened by the greatness of people around them. They want to suppress and contain any such flashes of brilliance within the ranks so they themselves get the glory. They think independently in interdependent situations. They see the world with their eyes turned inwards. Their best friends are Me, Myself and I - the unholy trinity.
Type 2 leaders focus on others. They genuinely care about the people on their team. They see their roles as bringing out the very best of others to achieve excellent organizational results. They think interdependently but will take personal responsibility for any omissions, errors, or oversights of their team's work. Their best friends are You, Us and Together.
Type 1 leaders tend to think that when they're the boss they can kick back and just tell others what to do. Type 2 leaders work even harder than they did before they became a leader.
This begs the question, "Why do some choose the Type 1 style of leadership and some choose the Type 2 style?" From my observations and experiences, the directional compass of these two leaders is set by such elements as:
Look around your workplace and you will see Type 1 and Type 2 leaders. Which ones do you think are making the best contribution to the organizational results and work culture?
Choose to be a Type 2 leader. That's one of the wonderful things about human beings: we're able to learn and adapt. Our tomorrow as a leader doesn't have to be our past because we can choose to change it in the present. Organizational results will improve and your team will thrive under your leadership because Type 2 leaders are people of exceptional character and consistent competence.
Paul Butler, Client Partner, Newleaf Training and Development; email@example.com; (661) 877 6833
Think Like a Business Owner
If you were to ask for my top tip for not being laid off in today's highly competitive workplace; one where outsourcing is becoming the norm, where the jobs get less plentiful the further you advance up the organizational pyramid, and where change is the only constant - it would be to sharpen your business intelligence.
Remember every business is a business. An educational entity (private or public) is a business. A non-profit entity is a business. A city municipality is a business. The definition of a business is an organization that sells goods and/or services. If it generates a profit (defined as income being greater than expenses) that's taxable, it's a for profit business. If, due to its social purpose it is not taxable, it's defined as a non-profit or not for profit business. Notice the last word in each definition? Yes, business.
Think. You can only advance so far in your career based on your technical ability. If you're also good at managing yourself you may be asked to lead others. But if you're technically excellent and a superb leader your contribution is capped if you lack business financial intelligence.
If your personal finances are a mess, please don't do the same with the organization's resources! One of the consistent findings in the financial mess of AIG, Enron, Tyco International and the web of Bernie Madoff was dreadful personal financial management. Funny how that works, isn't it? These folks may have had bigger pay checks than us but their personal financial affairs were a complete mess.
I remember my father saying to me as a young man: "You'll never be able to lead others if you can't manage yourself." I believe it's the same with business finances. How can you be invited to manage the organizational finances if you can't manage your own household?
I highly recommend websites such as ibd.com to sharpen your knowledge of the stock market. Check out seekingalpha.com for understanding earnings calls. Read a good book or two on the subject, such as What the CEO wants you to know by Ram Charan or How to read financial reports by John Tracy.
Find a friend in finance within your organization and see if they will mentor you for a few working lunches on how to understand the organizational money-making model and to demystify the financial terms you hear in meetings (but presently nod your head pretending to understand them).
You may even consider bringing us in to teach a seminar called Business Financial Intelligence. We also offer this as a webinar, as well as an architecture for executive coaching.
No organization ever wants to let go of someone that is technically excellent; someone who manages themselves well, leads other superbly, and thinks like a business owner.
Paul Butler, Client Partner, Newleaf Training and Development
(661) 877 6833
Hello Employers and Job Seekers,
Did you know that ATD Los Angeles offers a “free” job listing bulletin board? Yes, it’s available to you twenty-four hours a day at no cost. Our bulletin board is designed specifically for talent development related positions, like: training managers, organizational development consultants, instructors, learning specialists, instructional designers and others.
Looking for an instructional designer, instructor, organizational development specialist, training manager or leadership development professional? When you use the ATD Los Angeles job bulletin board your postings can reach hundreds of talent management and human resources professionals from around the Los Angeles and the nearby communities. It’s simple and free to use! Click here to post a job.
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Tomorrow Never Comes by Paul Butler
Why do we tend to procrastinate? I am not a psychologist but I find it so interesting that the vast majority of people I ask when teaching seminars, webinars; when delivering a keynote address, or during executive coaching assignments gladly admit to a strong tendency to procrastinate. Come on be honest, I am sure you (just like the rest of us) can think of times when you dragged our feet or left something to the last minute.
Procrastination is a self-management issue that impacts others. Just imagine the organizational ramifications of someone, (say a supervisor), who tends to procrastinate – at minimum, they will be influencing mediocrity, and worst-case scenario, they will definitely lose high-potential talent who get frustrated with not getting it done!
There's a lot of common-sense wisdom out there on tips and techniques to overcome procrastination (as well tips and techniques to influence those whose work you depend on to not procrastinate either). It's worth reviewing some of the best of these because we know common sense is just not commonly practiced!
If you're a morning person, hit the hard tasks in the morning when your energy is optimal. Obviously if you're an afternoon person, do the opposite. If you're neither, maybe you ought to consider night security as a career.
If you get your energy from people, carve out time to get the input of others to avoid inertia on the tough assignment – hey, you may be able to engage help from others who become keen to help you because you've asked their opinion. If people drain your energy, be sure to carve out some quiet, undisturbed time on a regular basis to get the assignment done.
Break the project down into bite-sized chunks and ask yourself every day, "What are the 1 to 3 things I could get done today to move this forward?" Analyze the assignment to identify what sections can be completed in parallel (A, D, and E at the same time), rather than looking at everything linear (A then B then C, etc.).
Set yourself (and maybe others) tighter deadlines to get sub-tasks done to be able to have some wiggle room towards the end of the project to ensure you have quality time to review before submission or to allow for unforeseen problems.
Remember great leaders have a reputation for getting things done. I’ve taught in 28 states in the U.S., China, India and 4 countries in Western Europe, and to this day I still haven’t found anyone who says they are impressed by people who are always late or busy, who don't do what they say they're going to do when they say they're going to do it, or are full of excuses why they missed a deadline!
Here's a thought: have you noticed how many people appear to get their identity, or sense of self-importance and value by their busyness? I have seen this especially over the last few years with the economy being how it was and to some extent, still is.
It's almost as if some people in today's downsized, globally competitive, technologically enhanced, fast-moving workplace want to create lots of frenetic motion and as much noise around them as possible. They want to be seen as rushing from one meeting to another, giving the impression of being overwhelmed with their emails, schedule, and task list. Why? It's as if the mindset is: "I have to look crazy busy because if I am not crazy busy I might get laid off!"
Is that really an effective way of leading? Is that really a supervisor you would like to work for? Rather like pebbles in a pond, can you see how that mindset and those behavioral tendencies would ripple out into other aspects of their life – as a spouse, partner, parent, friend, son, daughter, neighbor, or community member? Maybe it just doesn't have to be this way.
My experience and observation is that leaders who lead in a completely different manner become talent magnets. They become someone others want to work for. People who work in a calm, intentional, and present manner tend to make better people to be around and don't we all want to enjoy the people we work with? Isn’t it better to work with men and women of high character and high competence? Wouldn’t we rather return home knowing we've done a good day's work and have enough energy to be fully present with the ones we love? Isn't that why we work?
Yes, our work matters but what really matters is who we are while doing that work and who we are when we get home. For some of us, or all of us at one time or another, this would be turning over a new leaf.
Business Financial Intelligence – Time Is Money
Time is money – we’ve all heard the phrase but do we always honor it?
For most organizations, the largest expenses (liabilities) are wages, salaries, and the future obligations to employees (such as pensions) . Make no mistake - human resources are expensive and that’s why we constantly see down-sizing, right-sizing, labor force reductions, and constant advances in technology directly or indirectly focused on reducing such costs.
Are you maximizing your personal efficiency and effectiveness during the course of your working day? If you influence the work of others, how are you maximizing the output from their combined input? Imagine if the organization you work for was instead the business you owned. Would you spend every dollar on labor as it is presently being spent?
Top tip for job protection and career advancement in an ever-changing world of commerce: focus on doing your own job superbly well and constantly think and implement ways of doing it even better! Tap into the intrapreneurial spirit that’s within each of us; always asking yourself whether a certain task adds value to the organization or are you wasting resources? Think about your email management, meeting protocols and daily management of your energy and time.
How do we measure productivity in financial statements? Short answer – how does the bottom line of the income statement compare with the top or bottom of the balance sheet? You may have heard phrases such as ROA (Return on Assets, which is Net Income over Total Assets) or perhaps ROE (Return on Equity, which is Net Income over Total Shareholder Equity). These are productivity measures – sometimes called velocity measures. Closer to home of course, we measure quite simply, wages and salary expenses as a percentage of sales.
Regardless of how accountants measure it – lets continue to use time wisely in the workplace and think and act like a business-owner with every dollar of time that passes through our hands. You win and your organization wins when everyone behaves in such a way with this vitally important and incredibly expensive human resource.
Paul Butler ~ (661) 288 1004 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT NEWLEAF TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT (newleaf-ca.com): Newleaf Training and Development deliver seminars, keynotes, coaching and online to help people and organizations better manage themselves, lead others and build business financial intelligence.
What on Earth are we Doing Here?
The objective of a for-profit entity is to make a profit or in academic terms, to 'maximize shareholder/stakeholder value.' Coming from a publicly traded corporate background, I understand that, as I think we all do. Even a not-for-profit or a non-profit entity has to have its income at least match it's expenses but is that all? Is that the only reason why we do what we do at work?
Many organizations have tried to take a more balanced view of looking at the world of commerce over many different generations. I originate from Birmingham, England, where the Cadbury brothers started their chocolate empire and they viewed business a little differently to how entrepreneurs do nowadays. Their mindset was that if they looked after their employees; those employees would reciprocate with hard work and loyalty to the Cadbury family. They provided good compensation, healthy working conditions, and even good quality housing, if needed, close to their factory in Birmingham.
The Cadbury organization was well renowned for paying vendors on time and donating significant amounts of money and time to many charities and well-deserving causes. You could say, in modern parlance, they operated their business to a Balanced Scorecard, well before the term was coined. They measured true business success in their profits; their quality of product; the happiness of their employees; the satisfaction of their vendors, and their positive impact on their communities. The Cadbury family was a highly principled family.
Peter Drucker, the great management thinker, based out of Claremont for many years, also wrote and taught on this broader concept of organizational responsibility. Jjust a couple of decades later, Kaplan and Norton launched their Balanced Scorecard.
With all this knowledge, why do most organizations ignore this balanced approach? I think for publicly traded companies that focus purely on profit it's because of the short-term nature of the stock market. For private companies and other non-profit or not-for-profit entities, I believe most of them falter because they fall into the trap of thinking their status just means they don't pay tax, and so for all intents and purposes, they behave like a for-profit entity.
But you know, I believe it's deeper and more personal than that. I think human beings are innately selfish and when they band together in something called an organization they can easily lose sight of their purpose. Match this innate nature with short-term goals and high rewards, and many men and woman are blinded by the singular focus on profit and their own egotistical agenda as leaders: the vicious cycle continues.
I remember delivering some professional development a few years ago to a very well-known charity. Their culture was without doubt the most cut-throat, ruthless, and toxic I have ever worked with. They were laser-focused on making their numbers. I spent many, many hours with their senior leadership and I never really once heard any reflection on the purpose of their organization. Their purpose looked great represented in the brochures and emotionally moving pictures hanging in the hallway, but just didn't seem to be important to the folks on a day-to-day basis. I think they'd forgotten what was truly important and it was sad, very sad.
Corporations generate tax dollars that help the world work. Educational institutions help create jobs that generate income tax dollars, which help make the world work. Charities fulfill missions to help provide the dollars that tax dollars can't. City, state, and federal governments spend the tax dollars on infrastructure that's needed to enable all of the above to happen. Work seems to work best when we remember we're meant to be working together to serve each other.
I have a very simple view of the purpose of commerce, which is to provide products and services to help people. I believe after it's all said and done, it's about people. History tends to teach us that when we serve people well, (be they customers, employees, or vendors) the entity thrives. History also tends to teach us that when we put profits first, put ourselves first, or lose sight of the purpose of the organization, failure of one type another is not far off.
I think this is why I still like Cadburys chocolate after all these years.
“A corporation is an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.” undefined Anon
ABOUT NEWLEAF TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT (newleaf-ca.com)
Newleaf Training and Development (based in Valencia) deliver seminars, keynotes, coaching and online to help people and organizations better manage themselves, lead others and build business financial intelligence.
People are Our Greatest Asset!
We have all heard a senior leader say this. We like the sentiment but of course, it’s inaccurate from an accounting perspective. Employees are not assets. Their wages and salaries are an expense and future obligations such as retirement benefits are liabilities.
Having taught business financial intelligence within many organizations now for many years, I am no longer surprised to hear that most mid-senior level leaders don’t understand various terms associated with assets such as: CURRENT assets, FIXED assets, INVESTMENT assets, or INTANGIBLE assets. How about we invest a few minutes and demystify those now if you’re not 100% clear?
First, assets are what the organization owns. CURRENT assets are those items the business owns that will be converted into cash (if not already cash) in less than 12 months - hence the term, “current.” FIXED assets are those items are tangible (they exist physically); are used in the normal operations of the business; are not held for resale and are permanent meaning they’re likely to last more than one year (they’re not “current”). FIXED assets are depreciated over their estimated useful life.
INVESTMENT assets are items the organization owns but ARE held for resale; for example, Newleaf is a staff training and development company - we’re not a commercial real estate company. So, if we bought a property or a piece of land, (for example, with the intent to sell it for a profit at some point in the future) that item would be listed on our balance sheet as an INVESTMENT asset. When we sell it, it comes off the balance sheet (as we no longer OWN it) and we make a profit or sustain a loss on disposal which impacts the income statement (aka the profit and loss account).
INTANGIBLE assets are those items the organization owns but do not exist physically. Examples of intangible assets include goodwill, copyrights, trademarks, royalties, and patents. They key to remember here is that INTANGIBLE assets (a) arise through acquisition and (b) are not depreciated, they’re amortized (same accounting principle, different terminology).
Homework: I dare you to call out in future a senior leader when s/he says: “People are our greatest asset.” Feel free to let me know how that goes for you!
Newleaf Training and Development (based in Valencia) deliver seminars, keynotes, coaching and online to help people and organizations better manage themselves, lead others and build business financial intelligence.
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