Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

Leadership Blog

Manage the Top and the Bottom Line

Many business owners seem obsessed with sales growth. Increasing sales volume will probably be a popular 2009 New Year’s resolution. A focus on sales growth, in most instances, should be reinforced. But don’t lose focus of the bottom line. Several years ago a study revealed that the best performing Fortune 500 companies shared equal focus/management of their top and bottom lines. The companies that only focused on sales growth frequently found themselves with little or no profit due to lack of expense controls or deep discounts that eroded net income. Think smart – and play a balanced game!

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-29 at 07:44 AM
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Facing the Public

The best leaders possess the ability to positively move groups of people. Yet, statistically public speaking is one of our greatest fears – even more so than death. While many good public speakers have natural acumen, most speakers are created, not born. So how do you become a great speaker? Quick answer: become a student of speaking publicly. In other words, carefully observe public speakers that you admire, emulate their strengths, and in the process, develop your own style. Oh yes, and practice the craft of public speaking as much as possible.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-26 at 08:02 AM
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Corporate Teambuilding

During 2008 many businesses downsized, right-sized, upsized, and, well you get the picture. So as we head into 2009, corporate teambuilding may be quite the rage. Trimmed down staffs will seek to reorganize, become in synch, and move forward. There is plenty of opportunity during a teambuilding initiative to introduce tools and techniques that enhance collaboration and quickly set and adjust priorities. The key to teambuilding success though, may be centered in the communication plan and the execution thereof that companies put in place.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-21 at 02:26 PM
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HR Directors – How to Handle Layoffs

1. If your company is going to experience a reduction in force of more than one employee, you should first check your federal and state labor laws. Specifically WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification). This may impact your decision on the extent of the layoffs.
2. Create and implement a severance plan. Assuming that you are providing severance, require the employees affected by the layoff to sign a release in order to receive severance and/or extended benefits. Treating all employees the same under a severance plan limits the company’s exposure and sends a consistent message to the group.
 
3. Have a clear plan for communicating the layoffs to the employees. Make sure the managers deliver a consistent message and coach them on exactly how the meeting should be conducted.  If there are any inexperienced managers delivering the message, draft a script to help them with the process.
4. Make sure that you are prepared for the unexpected.  If necessary, have security on standby to assist with any possible disgruntled employees or disturbance.
5. As soon as possible after the layoffs occur, communicate with the remaining team members. Either managers should meet with their employees, or a company meeting should be held to let people know what just happened and to give them some direction on the future. This will help stem rumors and keep productivity going.
 
6. Finally, managers need to be compassionate, clear, and consistent with their messages. Depending on your company’s size and industry, you may want to have a termination policy/procedures document in place.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-14 at 06:48 PM
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The Keys to Staying Positive

1. Surround yourself with positive-minded people who believe in themselves.
2. Surround yourself with can-do type people who believe in you!
3. Distance yourself from negative people.
4. Push negative head trash from your mind.
5. Purposefully place positive thoughts in your mind.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-08 at 07:26 AM
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Deep Recession - A Comparison

Just where is this economy going? And how long will it stay in the doldrums?

While our current economic predicament may feel quite unique, there is actually a case study that we can examine to try to get a predicative handle on this beast. Take a look at Japan in the late 1980’s. Their economy, the second largest in the world at the time, was percolating along. Many economists in the mid-80’s projected that Japan’s gross domestic product would surpass the United States within fifteen years due to Japan’s efficiency and business work ethic. By 1990, however, Japan’s economy was not humming along. They suffered a huge real estate bust. In reaction to falling real estate values and activity, the Japanese government lowered their equivalent of the Fed Funds rate to zero (that’s right, zero). Then their stock market lost more than 60% of its value. Sound familiar?

So what the heck happened to Japan? The answer: for the next ten years (i.e., all of the 1990’s) they experienced comparatively low real estate values and a languishing stock market that basically went sideways as opposed to cascading upward. For the Japanese people it was financially painful.

Are we in for a worse experience? Well, Japan had two huge advantages over the United States current situation: 1. They were, and still are, a net exporter of goods. 2. Their population was, and still is, voracious savers of money. In other words, the general population actually had non-401K cash savings to fall back on during hard times.

Are the next ten years going to be gloom and doom for us? Perhaps not. While the government certainly got involved in Japan’s recovery, their efforts paled in comparison to the capital infusions that Uncle Sam has ponied up. With proper stewardship of recovery dollars, coupled with some healthy behavioral changes by the general population, there is a good chance that we will emerge from this mess a shaken, but strong nation.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-07 at 09:33 AM
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Quick Productivity Boost: Fitness and Stretching?

High performing professionals are always looking for a competitive edge. They read a ton of books and are voracious consumers of educational seminars (by the way, my current favorite book and seminar is Leadership Simplified). So what are some non-business activities that people can engage in that are actually possess the subtle bonus of helping business professionals perform better? Well, the answer lies with stretching and some cardiovascular exercise. That’s right, at a minimum stretch for 10 minutes each day. Yoga and Pilates also counts in the stretching category. If possible, get 12 – 15 minutes of cardio four times a week. From a business standpoint, do these things early in the morning. They help your lymphatic system and get tons of oxygen flowing to your brain. Make sure you drink lots of water as well. Our brain needs lots of oxygen and water to think optimally.

Okay, stop reading and start moving. Remember: stretching your body makes hitting those stretch goals much easier!

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-02 at 07:07 AM
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You Must Win

One of the delicious byproducts of a tough economy is the thrill that can be enjoyed by flourishing during it. This statement may read like an oxymoron, but for those of you who are sports oriented ponder this: which is more satisfying a blowout victory, or a tough, hard-fought battle from which you emerge victorious? Whether you actively participant in an athletic contest or view a game on TV, there is nothing like the nail-biting tension of a close game, coupled with the ultimate supremacy of you or the team you are rooting for.

Okay, so economic times are tougher than we have experienced for a long time. Are you going to roll over, hide, or worse yet, lose? No way. Stand tall, work hard, think ultra creatively, work smart, and WIN. And, oh yes, help others win along the way. You know, we are not in this alone! 

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2008-12-01 at 02:09 PM
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