J&M Raising Money for Local Children

In partnership with Victory Family Church and Giving Back to Cranberry Township (501C3), J&M Strategic Consulting is committed to providing opportunity to over 2,000 economically challenged K-12 students in the Pittsburgh area and beyond. The sixth annual Give Pack Golf Classic at Cranberry Highlands Golf Course on June 18 will raise money to provide those students with backpacks full of necessary school supplies. In 2017, J&M helped raise over $10,000 for the cause, and we are looking to double that for this year’s event!

With your help, we can turn the 1,300 backpacks donated last summer into over 2,000 this summer. Participate in our live auction for your chance to join us at the event and play a round of golf with two NHL players! This is a great opportunity for you to meet some of your favorite hockey players while jumpstarting the future of our youth!

At J&M Strategic Consulting, we strive to make a difference in the community, and the Give Pack Golf Classic provides us with yet another opportunity to get involved. We are beyond excited to be a part of the event once again and look forward to seeing you there! Thank you in advance for your generosity and support!

Professional Development in a Small Company

by Natalie Miller

Starting out with J&M around two years ago, Jen and Mike gave me the exposure to different parts of J&M so that I could choose what I liked best and run with it. They provided guidelines on how they wanted me to do things, and they gave me free range to make it my own. Through all my experiences here, it has taught me that I can feel confident in anything that I do by just trusting in myself and withstanding J&M’s Vision & Values. I never knew what to expect as I jumped into all kinds of new tasks, but I was motivated to find my forte.

Project Management is a large part of J&M and the consulting industry, and I gained exposure to this right away with the task of building the website. This project introduced me to all sides of Project Management and the different people I would be interacting with to successfully complete it. At first, I was uncomfortable in this role, but the people I was working with were very supportive and wanted me to succeed. It was difficult at times, especially because of J&M’s commitment to excellence, but this experience provided me with tools to excel as a professional.

  • Timeline planning and budgeting
  • Communication skills between client and company
  • Determining project scope

Now, I wanted to strengthen my people skills, and the opportunity to manage J&M’s summer intern was the perfect experience. I wanted to inspire both of us to be our best and this experience put my leadership skills to the test. It taught me the importance of patience and gaining an understanding for how different people manage their own workload. At first, I found the experience intimidating, but I discovered my comfort zone through the knowledge I gained:

  • Providing feedback and encouragement where appropriate
  • Project mapping
  • Interpersonal communication

I also wanted to try my hand at marketing and sales because I had some creative and fresh ideas thought to enhance the J&M brand as well as my own experience. Although some of these ideas were very effective, I was never crazy about this type of work. It tested my integrity by requiring a lot of tedious solo work, and I felt as if I would be beneficial in another place. However, I am still thankful for this experience, as it expanded my creativity and communication skills.

  • Production of marketing materials
  • Creating new slogans and campaign initiatives
  • Analyzing trends of potential clients – what they want to see
  • Learning how to sell the J&M brand through social media and marketing tools

I believe that each of these experiences have brought me to where I am now and have made me successful as a recruiter. It is my job to maintain communication with people and develop strong professional relationships. Recruiting is way more than just selling a brand; it is selling people. I quickly found a passion in connecting with new people and exploring each new gig to see how we can create a fit. I have pride in this position and providing excellent people with great opportunities, and I would not be here without Jen and Mike’s flexibility at the beginning.

 

J&M Stepping Up Involvement in 2018

by Koby Uhrig

Last summer, J&M Strategic Consulting sponsored the Give Pack Golf Classic, an event supporting economically disadvantaged K-12 students by providing them with essential school supplies for the year. We are proud to announce that we are extending this partnership, and will be a major contributor once again this season as the event’s name sponsor for the first time. For last year’s event, J&M raised over $10,000, and we are looking to raise over $15,000 for 2018’s fundraiser.

Give Pack is an outreach of Giving Back to Cranberry Township, whose goal is to provide better lives to the people of Cranberry and the surrounding areas. For this year’s initiative, proceeds will benefit students from three school districts and several not-for-profit and mission-based organizations.

J&M maintains its commitment to the community and developing lasting relationships with people who share similar Vision & Values. Our entire team will be at the event on Monday, June 18th at Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, and we would love to see you there! For more information on the event including how to register and donate, visit Give Pack to learn more. 

Olympic Caliber Consulting

by Koby Uhrig

The 2018 Winter Olympics are coming to a close, but our team is still at the top of its game and ready to take on any challenge ahead. For the last two weeks, the nation has come together to watch our best athletes test their talents on the world stage. At J&M Strategic Consulting, we too are celebrating team spirit and placing our abilities on full display.

Similar to Team USA, Our Team at J&M has spent their entire careers preparing to be a part of this team. We all have different roles, but we march together under one symbol and each resemble a specific set of traits. These traits are the J&M Vision & Values and are the backbone for everything that we do. While our experience and expertise may vary, our commitment to the team is unwavering.

Our team is successful because we each understand our roles and support each other in those different roles. Here’s how we view ourselves as an Olympic contingent:

  • Coaches – Executive Team. They inspire us to always be better and constantly encourage us continue down the path to success. We may hit some bumps on that path, but they are there to motivate us and keep us focused on the task at hand. No matter our role, they are focused on us and guiding us to achieve our goals.
  • Biathletes – Strategic Consultant Team. These dedicated individuals are in it for the long haul. They understand that it may take time to reach the objective and are ready to adjust to any setback that may occur. Their experience and professionalism is loud via their ability to multitask and determination to get to the finish line.
  • Curlers – Business Development Team. These individuals utilize their unique finesse to guide and support J&M as it hits the button and approaches its goals. They are always looking ahead and taking advantage of opportunities to allow J&M to grow.

We view each of these roles as equally important and continue to motivate and evaluate each other on how we are tracking. Like Team USA and their fans, we support each other. Through this support, our focus will keep us on top of the podium. 

Trust Yourself

by Koby Uhrig

J&M’s consultants have over 100 years of combined experience and have worn several different hats with many different companies. It is their expectation to excel in every project they oversee and that starts well before the first meeting with a new client. Confidence is everything when opening fresh, and preparation is the first major step in developing a mutual trust that will maximize productivity for the entirety of the relationship.

Our consultants agree that researching the client and learning as much as you can about everyone you will be working with is key to your success as a team. “Typically, when I first meet someone, I am shy, introverted, and timid,” admitted strategic consultant Joseph Nabity. “As I get to know the people and the company within the first few meetings, I find myself capable of standing out in future meetings, and this knowledge influences me to make better recommendations.”

Do you really know their initiatives and goals or are you just guessing? Get an idea for this BEFORE you embark on this new chapter so you can focus on the task at hand with everyone being on the same page. President Jen Dodge defends Joe’s stance, adding “It is dangerous to walk into a new project by just assuming you know everything.”

Now that you know the ins and outs of the company you will be working with, you can focus on the people. Develop interpersonal relationships early and build on them as you move forward. Engage with the team continuously and make it a priority to offer your input. Ask questions when needed, as this is one of the best ways to ensure everyone is on the same page. Provide feedback where appropriate and compliment team members for good ideas. Give them credit for their contributions even if they weren’t entirely their own.

Once your relationships are in place, it is time for you to deliver. Take initiative and drive the project before it drives you. Trusting in yourself is as important as anything, according to Vice President Mike Dodge. “Trust in your abilities,” Mike stated. “Your experience has led you to that client for a reason and you are there to make great things happen. You may not know what those great things are right now, but you will soon realize them through hard work and commitment.”

Provide suggestions that prove why they brought you along in the first place. Be clear and concise with goals and consistently report how you are tracking towards said goals. Respond to any problems that arise in a timely manner and stay focused on the task at hand. Any form of these three is adding value to the project in the form of information or results.

How will you react when taking on a new project or starting with a new client? Are you confident in your abilities to deliver results? Our consultants are ready to guide your next project to its fullest potential and develop a relationship that sparks the efficiency of your business.


Carolyn Lewis and Cheryl Wilson also contributed to this blog. Learn more about our strategic consultants.

On Solid Ground: Making the Jump From a Corporate Job to Consulting

by Cheryl Wilson

Packing a 28-year career into a few banker boxes – knowing I would not be employed the following Monday – was more than I was emotionally prepared to handle. Lost and vulnerable were foreign feelings that forced me to acknowledge how much of my personal identity I had tied to my career. Coaching and a sincere desire to learn and quickly adapt led to a solid foundation and propelled me into a rewarding experience. 

Interacting with various consultants during my career always peaked my interest.  I often wondered how their careers began and found them to possess great knowledge, drive, passion, and energy. New clients, new projects, setting goals, and working as a team towards a shared vision was something I always enjoyed. Finding a company that shared my values was imperative. When I began discussions with J&M about consulting, I felt confident this was a place I could succeed and grow.

It didn’t take long to realize the transition into consulting required a different mindset than the corporate world.  Through trial and error and networking with my peers, I found a few fundamentals to be successful:

  • Perception is everything –  Clients will quickly form an opinion about you and your ability to successfully manage their projects.  Be mindful of this short window of opportunity to make a positive and lasting impression; deliver quality results quickly.    Make sure the way you present yourself conveys the right message.
  • Build trust quickly –  Your resume and interview may have opened the door, however, you will not have years of shared experiences to lean on.  You are at ground zero with every new client; establish positive relationships right away.
  • Exceed client expectations – anticipate needs and take the pressure off of your client.  Let them know “you’ve got this” and deliver on time.  Overcommunicate your project status and volunteer to take on those additional tasks to keep the project on track.  Address all risks swiftly.
  • Be transparent in all areas – be sensitive to client culture, but transparent in all activities and perceived roadblocks.  Be candid and solution oriented.

While my journey into consulting is still very new, I have learned these simple, but not always easy, concepts to be successful.  They lead to valuable client relationships and often times, extended contract engagements.  Building trust and delivering superior results for each and every engagement will help drive your success in consulting.


Read more about Cheryl Wilson, and check out the rest of our consulting team.

 

Starting Off on the Right Foot

by Koby Uhrig

Time is one of the most valuable resources to your business, so it is important to make the most of it when planning a new project. Part of this process may involve familiarizing oneself with the leadership team for that project. This is a step that should be done well before the project commences, as it will maximize your time and also reduce the pressure one might be facing with regards to project deadlines.

Upon gaining knowledge of an upcoming project, take note of the project manager and any other individuals responsible for a leadership role on that assignment. If you are unfamiliar with anyone in these roles, send the leadership team a quick email:

  • Introduce yourself and explain how excited you are to get started.
  • Include some of your skillsets and decide where you believe you should be positioned to create the best outcome.
  • Carbon copy the entire team to create an avenue that brings everyone together and encourages others to do the same.

Now you have taken initiative to get to know everybody and are leading in your own way by creating conversation. This will allow your first couple meetings to run smoothly without taking any unnecessary time to introduce each other any further than a name. It also helps the leadership team in placing everyone in their best positions to succeed. This will ensure the team can live up to its full potential and over-deliver on results.

Once the team is organized into different roles, the knowledge of each other’s skillsets comes into play in minimizing pressure. You know what you excel in, and that’s why you are in the position you have been placed into. You also know what some of the strengths of your coworkers are as well as their areas of improvement. Do not hesitate to ask questions or offer help to any of your teammates if you think one of the parts of the project would benefit from a bit of collaboration. This will solidify the trust between each member of the team, reducing the pressure and concern of deadlines.

Take the initiative to get ahead on your projects today and build that much needed trust with those around you. Your meetings are valuable and limited, so it is important to maximize that time by starting off on the right foot with your team to avoid future conflict.

Energizing Your Workplace Through Recognition

by Joseph Nabity

J&M Strategic Consulting dedicates time each month to discuss leadership and equip its employees with techniques to grow in their individual leadership journey. One topic of this discussion has been developing engaged employees through recognition. Recognition is a tool through which managers and other colleagues can motivate employees and showcase their accomplishments to inspire others.

Recognition is a great motivator in the workplace. The sense of accomplishment that accompanies recognition drives employees to continue to excel in the workplace. However, the recognition process can lose value through predictability. Recognition is not meant to be developed into a routine or a step-by-step checklist to receive an award; it is meant to be tracked so that it showcases work that is above and beyond the expectations of an employee. If it becomes a predictable pattern, recognition loses its impact and employees no longer strive to achieve what they now view as meaningless recognition. In addition, predictable and systematic recognition systems can be twisted to reward employees that exhibit poor work behavior. This action reinforces this bad behavior as acceptable within the workplace for other employees.

As an employer, you can still utilize and manage an effective recognition program while avoiding predictability. Here are a few simple ways to keep your team motivated through recognition:

  1. Small gestures
    • Pick one person each day and point out something they did well
    • Leave a note telling an individual how great he or she performed in a recent meeting
    • Thank the person who started the second pot of coffee
    • Explain the impact of someone’s actions and why those actions mean so much to you
  2. High Visibility
    • An announcement via email to the company that you are impressed with an individual’s recent work or how those efforts went above and beyond
    • Recognize an employee during an in-person staff meeting to showcase his or her accomplishments to the team
    • Offer to take an employee to an off-site, non-work environment to grab lunch or drinks to remove the stress of the office while expressing appreciation for the employee’s work.

Keep in mind that it is important to display recognition based on the individual’s personality. Some employees may prefer a sticky note or one-on-one recognition while others may respond more favorably to a public announcement. It is important to provide a range of recognition efforts that suit each person within your company. The last thing you want is somebody to feel uncomfortable or lose the sincerity of the recognition because it fails to meet their personality.

Regardless of the type of recognition, it MUST be sincere. While having a conversation with a coworker promotes positive social interaction in the workplace, it does not always enhance recognition. Recognition has a purpose; recognition is targeted. Insincerity in your recognition effort will cause a decline in its impact. The recognition effort you choose should be something sought after by employees. It is an effort that goes beyond the traditional day-to-day activities for managers and employees alike.

Whether it’s a small gesture for delivering your document from off the printer or a large celebration for nailing down a huge sale, I challenge you today to make a difference in your workplace by providing proper recognition to someone around you!

J&M Strengthened its Bond with the Community in 2017

by Koby Uhrig

J&M Strategic Consulting stayed committed to its support of the community all throughout 2017 and even expanded its outreach. By contributing over $35,000 to more than ten causes as well as countless hours of time, J&M is proud to have made a difference for so many.

We are humbled to have been a part of so many great initiatives this year, and are equally passionate about each and every one of these worthy causes. A couple of our most notable contributions include the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and Give Pack.

The J&M team participated in the LLS Light the Night Walk in Pittsburgh in October and helped generate over $15,000 towards the cause. In total, the initiative has raised over $685,000 – as of December 13, 2017 – for blood cancer research and awareness and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

In June, J&M proudly sponsored the Give Pack Golf Classic, where they raised $10,000 to help provide backpacks full of school supplies to K-12 students in need. Give Pack donated 1,368 backpacks in total across two local school districts, a few other outreaches, as well as those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

J&M also supported the following groups in 2017:

  • American Cancer Society
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • St. Jude Hospital
  • Light of Life
  • Food Bank for the Heartland
  • Disabled Veterans
  • First Responders
  • Disabled Athletes
  • Salvation Army
  • Other Various Fundraisers

J&M strives to uphold and display its Vision & Values on an everyday basis, and this is something that will continue into 2018 and many years to follow. We look forward to further expanding our community outreaches in 2018.

 

J&M Thankful & Giving Back During Holiday Season

by Koby Uhrig

This fall, J&M Strategic Consulting continues to display its commitment to supporting local communities. On October 29, Briceon, Joseph, Kathleen, and Terry of J&M in Omaha assisted in putting on a local production at the Lofte Community Theatre in Manley, NE. According to the theatre’s website, they have placed quality entertainment on the stage for over 40 years thanks to incredible volunteers. J&M is proud to be a part of this outstanding legacy!

Along with other volunteers, the J&M group and their loved ones helped enhance the overall experience of all guests at the event. As part of their volunteering, they managed the flow of cars into the lot as parking attendants, scanned event tickets of guests upon arrival, and escorted guests to their seats as ushers. They also helped clean up the theatre after the performance.

Strategic Consultant Joseph Nabity has been volunteering at the Lofte Community Theatre for a little over a year now and spoke about the experience. “There is an amazing community of volunteers that work together during each show to perform and run the theatre. Each time I volunteer is a chance to meet new members of this community. It is rewarding to spend time bringing the fine arts to the rural areas of Nebraska.”

J&M’s commitment to the community continues to be centered around the Vision & Values. Our team is always searching for new ways to get involved and recently volunteered with more local organizations.

Foodbank_Heartland
Briceon, Terry, and Kat help to organize meals for 1,632 children in need on November 17 at Food Bank for the Heartland, which serves 93 counties in Nebraska and Iowa.
Light of Life
Koby, Carolyn, and Scott pass Thanksgiving baskets along an assembly line to the loading dock at Light of Life on November 20.

J&M Strategic Consulting maintains a long-lasting relationship with the community. We encourage you to join us as we strive to make a difference in the lives of those around us!