Blog

Five Benefits of a Portfolio Assessment

by Koby Uhrig

J&M Strategic Consulting is committed to partnering with your business to walk with you towards your goals.  We will assess your company from the top down and discover what is working as well as the areas that need some improvement.  Here are five reasons why your company should consider working with J&M:

1.       Align your people with your goals.

This step seems obvious but it is crucial to ensure that everyone is on the same page with where you are now and where you expect to be.  Everyone on the team must understand what will make the business better as a whole to produce outstanding results.  Sometimes, this means rearranging members of the team to place them in a position that maximizes the use of their skillsets.  When a person’s position matches their skillsets, the entire company will benefit and satisfy their goals.  J&M Strategic Consulting will create a custom roadmap for your business based on your goals.

2.      Structure your team effectively.

Develop a structure that allows your team to work most effectively.  Once each of your team members are placed in their most beneficial positions, your business should have a structure in place that determines the process by which projects will be completed.  Is your company most effective when working in groups?  How big should your groups be and how will this increase your overall productivity?  J&M will provide these answers.

3.      Increase your ability to multitask as a unit.

Your business likely has numerous projects going on simultaneously that each require attention.  This can cause unnecessary stress for everyone involved.  To avoid the pressure, assess the skillsets of each group within your company and assign projects accordingly.  You can create balance in your business by assigning two projects to each group per week instead of assigning the entire team to all projects.  It will enhance communication and productivity and allows you to advance on multiple projects at a time in an effective manner.  Ask J&M how to improve your task management.

4.       Evaluate and park underperforming projects.

On the surface, every project that gets approved has high and attainable ROI.  The J&M team will help evaluate if the project is even aligned with business priorities, let alone if it stands a chance of meeting its deliverables and outcomes.  How does the project relate to your company’s vision?  Is it effective in the long term and worth your time?

5.      It’s FREE!

At J&M Strategic Consulting, we offer your company a FREE initial assessment to determine the best course of action and to prove that we have the experience and tools that will propel your business.  There’s nothing to lose and the world to gain with J&M!

Get started with J&M today!

J&M Brings in Briceon Mundt as Strategic Consultant

J&M Strategic Consulting is elated to announce our addition of Briceon Mundt as a Strategic Consultant.  Briceon brings enthusiasm to his work every day and shares his positive attitude with everyone that crosses his path.  His dedication and passion for being a leader make him the perfect fit for J&M’s Vision & Values.  In fact, it was the Vision & Values that enticed Briceon to become a part of the team:

“When talking with Mike and Jen about J&M, I was completely sold the second I saw the company’s vision and values.  Many companies talk a great talk, but hardly follow through on their vision.  Jen and Mike not only built a company around balance, excellence, and being an all-around good person, but they exude what they preach in everything that they do.  That difference is what puts J&M above the rest.”  -Briceon Mundt

Briceon graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2014 and has been working in IT ever since.  He interned at Kiewit, where he first encountered Jen Dodge.  Upon meeting Briceon, Jen spoke highly of him.  “It only took ten minutes after meeting Briceon to figure out that it’s just a matter of when, not if, he will join J&M Strategic Consulting.”  She went on, “His great attitude, willingness to learn, and leadership is what stood out immediately.”

Briceon’s unrivaled commitment to excellence allows him to stand out among his peers.  Strategic Consultant Tracie Hephner has also worked with Briceon in the past.  When asked about him, she chimed in, “Briceon is an incredible asset to any team.  His dedication to each task regardless of the assignment is detailed, thorough, and efficient.”

As J&M continues to grow, we want to place the right people in the right places to be successful.  We are delighted to welcome Briceon to the team as we believe he is in a position that will benefit himself as well as everyone he encounters.  His personality and professional ability make him an ideal representative of J&M Strategic Consulting.  We are blessed to have him on our team and are excited for the remarkable things to come.

Please join J&M in welcoming Briceon Mundt!

J&M Continues its Support of Local Communities

On Monday, June 19th, J&M Strategic Consulting proudly donated nearly $10,000 to Give Pack in support of underprivileged Seneca Valley and Ellwood City students.  The event’s host, Victory Family Church, says it was the most successful Give Pack Golf Classic to date.  All proceeds from the event will be used to purchase backpacks full of school supplies for children who otherwise would not have them. “You know you are doing something right when you show up for an event like this and need two large tables for our employees and friends who took a day off for children in need,” said Jen Dodge.

As part of J&M’s Vision & Values, our team is continually committed to supporting local communities.  J&M’s sole motivation is people.  Jen also spoke of the event, “We had folks from Boston, Detroit, and Omaha fly in to join the Pittsburgh team to spend time giving back to the community.  It’s exciting to see how our employees, friends, and family embrace our vision and values.”  We show our strength as a team and commitment to excellence by focusing on the strength of the people around us.  This includes our own people as well our clients and all those associated with J&M within the community.  We aim to develop a great reputation in the community by maintaining our Vision & Values and simply by doing the right thing.

Our experience with Victory Family Church and Give Pack was so rewarding that we will be continuing this partnership moving forward.  The event goes full circle in early August, when they will be distributing the backpacks which were purchased with the golf outing’s proceeds.  J&M is proud to announce that our team will once again be providing our support.  J&M employees will be present at the event, volunteering to hand out backpacks as the students arrive to pick them up.  Pick up will take place at Victory Family Church in Cranberry Township on the following dates.

  • Thursday, August 3 from 5 – 8 p.m.
  • Friday, August 4 from 3 – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 5 from 9 a.m. to noon

J&M Strategic Consulting will continue to place our Vision & Values at the forefront of everything that we do.  They are the foundation that we are built on and our motivation to make an impact.  We look forward to teaming up with more local outreaches and making a difference every day.

Terry & Cheryl Promoted to Senior Strategic Consultants

For the last six months, Cheryl Wilson & Terry Langholdt have served J&M in the role of Strategic Consultant.  Due to the company’s aggressive growth and expansion in major markets, J&M has formalized a Senior Strategic Consultant role.  The role has specific responsibilities to coaching J&M consultants for individual growth and development and preparing them for an exciting career working with our valued clients.

Cheryl explained of the move, “Helping new consultants become successful and fully embrace J&M’s Mission, Vision and Values is critical to our continued growth.  I’m excited to lend some of my experiences to our new consultants”.

Terry added, “In my 30 years in this field, I have never seen such a deep and family-like commitment between a firm and its employees.  To be a part of this culture and help establish a strong bond with employees will further our market differentiator from other consulting firms”.

J&M Strategic Consulting continues to grow because of the dedicated people that make the firm what it is.  With that growth comes opportunity.  We are extremely happy to share this opportunity with our talented team members so that we continue to grow and do incredible things together.

Please join us in congratulating Cheryl & Terry on their new role!

Tracie Hephner Joins J&M as Strategic Consultant

J&M Strategic Consulting is pleased to announce our addition of Tracie Hephner as a Strategic Consultant.  Tracie has over twenty years of experience in IT and has worked as a project manager for almost four years.  She has focused in implementations and has been a key member of IT support teams on major financial projects in the past.

With J&M, Tracie will be a project manager to ensure that our clients are headed down the right path in order to exceed their goals.  She will assess client needs to create and implement a custom IT strategy that aligns the people, process, and technology by which our clients will succeed.

Our excitement at J&M stems from Tracie’s success and her relationship with J&M President Jen Dodge.  Having collaborated on numerous projects in the past, Jen knows how Tracie will exemplify the Vision & Values in and out of the office.

“I met Tracie on a project a few years ago and it didn’t take long to realize that our engagement wasn’t just a reason or a season,” Jen stated.  “As hockey moms, we have a unique connection.  We treat our projects just like our children’s hockey games: no excuses, work like a team, and no “I can’t.”  When upper management asked me if she was in the right role or could handle a transformation, I explained without hesitation that she could be placed anywhere and will succeed.  The most important thing to Tracie is the success of everyone else around her.”

Tracie’s selflessness and dedication will make her successful in everything that she does.  We are honored to have her as a part of our team and look forward to our shared success.  Please join J&M in welcoming Tracie Hephner to our team!

Question of The Month: How do I lead when I am not in charge?

Every month, the J&M team gets together for a leadership meeting discussing a topic chosen by one of our employees.  The most recent topic is relevant for anyone in any business that lacked authority at some point in time.  How do you lead when you are not in charge?  This question goes deeper than just trying to lead other people.

Our discussion spawned from an online webcast on May 17 called “How To Lead When You’re Not In Charge.”  The entire premise of the two-hour show focused on leading yourself before you can lead other people.  By managing yourself in a positive manner, you can influence those around you without being in a position of authority.  Be an observer, stay positive, think critically, and reject passivity.  Stay within yourself in that no one person is more important than the mission and the vision of the company.

That meeting got many of us thinking here at J&M about how we manage ourselves and how we can be better individually to lead each other to success.  Now, we want to know your thoughts on this topic.  Comment below and tell us: 

  • How do you lead when you are not in charge?
  • What have you done in the past to overcome this challenge?
  • What have you done in the past that backfired?

Missed the webcast?  No problem.  Click here to register for an encore presentation this Wednesday, and let us know what you think!

My Journey to Become a Strategic Consultant

Part 3:  Becoming a Professional

by Terry Langholdt

When I was 10 years old, my grandfather Russell told me, “If you want to write a good story, grab their attention.  Start at the end, and then take them to the beginning.”

Through the first two parts of my story, you have seen how the intrigue of technology formed the path that I followed through high school and college.  In my third and final of installment of this trilogy, that endless path continues to where I am today.

I accepted my first job in IT.  It was exactly what I hoped it would be.  Uniting people with technology by making the machines perform all the repetitive, mind-numbing work was immensely satisfying.  I worked long hours and traveled frequently, but I didn’t care.  This was the IT learning curve.  As an IT professional at the time, I had to do everything from gathering the requirements to delivering the product.  It was the full package, and I couldn’t think of a better way to begin this career.

In reflection, my career was so focused on technology and people that I didn’t realize my customer service skills were radically evolving to this new thing called the “internet.”  I owned a small computer store that sold “customer service” and invested in people to show them how we could close distance with technology.  For example, there was a man that used to mail letters to a friend in Germany on “onion paper.”  This onion paper was lighter and cheaper to send via the post office.  Little did he know, there was an even better way.

The idea of electronic mail baffled him.  After hours of practice, his world seemed to shrink as he could email his friend and get a reply within an hour without spending any money!  The entire process used to take weeks and could get expensive.  Now, through technology, he could experience the flow of conversation in only a few minutes!

My career quickly moved into large corporations that needed assistance in introducing new, cutting-edge technologies.  This sparked the leadership phase of my career.  I chuckle that I’ve been managing people for 20 years because it only feels like a blink of the eye.  Helping people find their passion and encouraging them to be the best is truly where my career feels complete.  I’ve made many friends along the way and earned a title from some as a “great boss”.  I smile, as I feel all I did was listen, and push them to be better than they could ever imagine.

Now, I’m 48, married, with six kids, and I look back at all I’ve done, but more importantly, what I still want to do.  I want to find the people that want to help others through technology, and teach them as much as I can.  My title reads strategic consultant.  To me, it’s my passion and drive culminating a 30 year career that gives me the ability to lead, the perseverance to get through the hard times, and the never ending hope to find the best of everyone.

As I close this series, I hope that I have inspired you to keep going in your career.  Know that there will always be challenges and that the biggest thing is to believe in yourself and play every day like it is the Super Bowl.  I love my career, and I thank my higher power for giving me the drive to take that 12-year-old kid and mold him into what I am today:  a leader, a manager, a strategic consultant.

 

Congratulations to Our New Sales Associate

For the last six months, Linda Vance has been a critical piece of the J&M puzzle.  As Executive Administrator, she has guided many projects on the marketing and sales sides of the company while maintaining an organized back office to keep our entire team on track.  Her commitment to the team and the energy she brings to work everyday reflects highly on the growth and success of J&M over her time.

Given her proud track record and past sales experience, J&M has promoted Linda to Sales Associate, focusing on inside sales.  In her new role, Linda will continue to support marketing campaigns by building relationships with potential clients.

Linda continues to be a role model to everyone both inside and outside of J&M, as she resembles our Vision & Values in the finest form possible.  We know this move will lead to even greater success for J&M, our clients, and for Linda herself.

Please join us in congratulating Linda Vance on her new role!

My Journey to Become a Strategic Consultant

Part 2: College and the Early Years

by Terry Langholdt

When I was 10 years old, my grandfather Russell told me, “If you want to write a good story, grab their attention.  Start at the end, and then take them to the beginning.”

In part one, I took you from the genesis of my career through the first half of high school.  Now, my journey continues into college.

As I went through my junior and senior years of high school, I excelled when I could use my computer to write papers or enter data on the early forms of a spreadsheet.  I assisted many of my classmates with an introduction course, and helped my teacher answer questions during lab time.  It was rewarding for me to assist them in seeing how this could really guide their futures.  I graduated with straight A’s in any course that was technology-based.  Although I had discovered my passion, the next stop on my journey was still unclear.

I remember the thought of college being heavy on my mind.  Several universities offered me scholarships, but surviving a four-year education that wasn’t solely based on technology seemed impossible to me.  Being young and very strong-headed, I chose to attend a two-year tech school that would provide me with the necessary experience to pursue a career in IT.

Western Iowa Tech Community College was the quickest  way for me to get into the technology world.  In college, we had a computer that was a NASA grade machine.  By today’s standards, that machine’s power is nothing compared to your smartphone.  But to a young mind that had been focused on basic computers, the power and capabilities of this mainframe was extraordinary.

My classmates and I relied on each other.  We pushed each other to succeed.  Almost 150 of us began this journey together.  When it was all said and done, less than 30 of us earned a degree.  I’m proud to say I was one of them.  It required grueling work seven days a week – constantly reading books and learning about the inner workings of talking in zeros and ones.  I lived in the computer room every day from 6AM to midnight.  If IT was a drug, I was a dealer, and I loved the high of the breakthroughs by exploring things that were just being created.

In the winter of 1988, I began my search for a job.  I bought “the” suit, attained “the” business haircut and spent hours of practicing my job interview skills.  These interviews were very difficult since I had never had a professional role before, but I kept going and never gave up.  This is what I wanted to do, and I was meant to do it.

I interviewed with several firms that winter, and came away with highs and lows.  The struggle of not being offered every job was a new feeling to me.  My instructors kept with me and said the right one will be out there: “Just keep looking, and be yourself.”  I spent my Christmas season hunting for a job.  That’s not exactly how I planned on spending my holidays, but at 19, I expected the world to move faster.  It was early January when I received my first job offer, and a day later, a second.  Now, the world was operating at my pace.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Healthy Habits for Women

by Scott Schramm

J&M Strategic Consulting is always committed to providing a rewarding and fulfilling environment where teamwork, community, and passion are of the highest priority. This week, we have been celebrating National Women’s Health Week by keeping with the spirit of J&M’s Vision & Values.  They were created by J&M’s president, Jen Dodge, and no one resembles these traits better than Jen.  Her work ethic and integrity are exemplary of the strong women in today’s world.

Here are a few health tips that will benefit all women in our lives.

Have A Screening Plan

Women should make it a priority to visit with their doctor on a yearly basis and discuss a variety of topics including:

  • Family planning
  • Family health history, particularly about cancer
  • Weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Any mental health concerns
  • How often to get specific tests (ie. mammogram)

Get Your Vitamins

Women need a variety of vitamins and minerals that may not always be feasible to consume through diet alone. Do your best to make sure you get the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamins A and E – reduce macular degeneration and cataracts, protect skin from signs of aging and skin cancer
  • Vitamin K – maintaining strong bones, blood clotting, and prevent heart disease
  • Folate and Folic Acid – cognitive function, metabolism regulator, aids in fetus development and birth defect prevention
  • Iron – transfers oxygen to various parts of the body, reduces fatigue, boosts immunity, and reduces blood loss during menstruation

Exercise!

Keeping a strong back is important for women as the weight of the chest could cause rounded shoulders, which leads to poor, hunched posture. Incorporating squats into your daily exercise routine will maximize calories burned and reduce fat stores in the thigh and buttocks areas. For the quickest and best results, try the following exercises:

  • Squats
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • Hip Raises

Women are a crucial and indispensable part of our society as well as the J&M team. Integrating a sound fitness plan including medical visits, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and regular exercise will improve the overall health and well-being of all women.