Blog

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!

Meet Carolyn Lewis, Our New Strategic Consultant

J&M Strategic Consulting is excited to announce the addition of Carolyn Lewis as a Strategic Consultant. Carolyn is a quality-focused professional that adds 25 years of experience to the team. She has spent the last 15 years in various management roles focused on problem resolution, project management, workforce development & planning, client management, and more.

Carolyn is a detail-oriented individual who is naturally organized and is focused on the betterment of the team. Her positive attitude coupled with her tremendous listening skills enable her to resolve all conflicts with the best outcome for her and those around her. Carolyn is a true team player that we believe is a perfect fit with J&M.

When asked what appealed most to her at J&M, she explained it was about the atmosphere and the emphasis on the Vision & Values. “It feels that some places I have worked, everyone has just been treated like a number with no personality or individuality,” said Carolyn. “J&M seems different in that it displays a family-type atmosphere where we all rely on each other to be great as a team. We hold each other accountable according to the Vision & Values and there is a sense of openness that allows each of us to comfortably display these traits.”

Mike Dodge has this to say about Carolyn joining J&M,  “When you meet someone that fits the J&M Vision & Values, you know instantly, and I knew instantly that Carolyn would be a good fit for our team.”

During her free time, Carolyn enjoys traveling and finds the beach to be one of her favorite destinations. She is a Pittsburgh sports fan and prefers to take advantage of good weather days by playing a round of golf at a local course.

It is a delight to have Carolyn join our team and we know it will lead to great success for J&M as well as all of those she crosses paths with. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Carolyn Lewis as she joins us on this journey!

Favorite Vision & Values

October marks the birth month of J&M’s Vision & Values. By now, you are probably familiar with these terms as they are the backbone for all things J&M. To recognize its significance, we are dedicating the entire month to the Vision & Values and how important they are to each of us as well as how they came to be. Today, we share with you our favorite Vision & Values and why they mean so much to us. We encourage you to get involved in the conversation and mention your favorite.

Scott Schramm, Wellness Coordinator

“My favorite part of J&M’s Vision & Values is commitment. Commitment hits close to home for me. Every good thing I have going for me can be attributed to staying committed and seeing it through. From my current job situation to my weight loss and weightlifting success, I owe it all to keeping myself committed. To me, commitment encompasses all of the other Vision & Values.”

Natalie Miller, Director of Recruiting

“My favorite is teamwork. I remember when J&M meetings were just a call with me,  Jen, and Mike. As the years have passed, J&M has changed a lot and in a very positive way. We have added a ton of employees and in better words, teammates. This group of people we have are on all different types of projects in all different settings, but they all find time weekly to come together as a team to support, motivate, and inspire one another.”

Cheryl Wilson, Senior Strategic Consultant

“My favorite Vision & Value is faith. Sharing faith with Jen, Mike, and Natalie was a big reason I felt confident taking the step I did to become a consultant. Just over a year ago, we all stepped out on faith and worked through everything as it came up. I believe it is faith that led me to where I am today and what continues to lead J&M towards growth and success. Faith provides me with hope on a continuous basis and gives me someone to rely on in the form of God. I don’t need to separate church and work because I am working with people of faith. That foundation builds trust. This is something I haven’t seen in other companies because it is risky and may be viewed as politically incorrect. I love that we boldly proclaim faith as one of our Values!”

Joseph Nabity, Strategic Consultant

“I truly appreciate J&M’s emphasis on transparency in all aspects. I have been a part of organizations that are less transparent in their decisions, and it leaves individuals guessing their intentions and benefits. I have found that the best way to be successful is by being honest and transparent. In meetings, it is better to share as much information as you can so all parties involved can make informed decisions and effectively participate in discussions. Transparency has inspired many people I have interacted with to trust and collaborate with me, whereas keeping individuals in the dark has led to a cessation of communication and a lack of willingness to collaborate.”

Terry Langholdt, Senior Strategic Consultant

“Inspire – make everyone better. Take a moment out of your day to give someone a written or spoken complement or something as simple as a high-five. These little things can help someone take that extra step that they need to accomplish a goal. Encouraging the people around you by cheering or openly showing your commitment or support will create a great return on investment.”

Kathleen Conklin, Strategic Consultant

“My favorite Vision & Value is definitely passion. I have a lot of passion in everything I do. Passion is the driving force that allows me to naturally incorporate the other Vision & Values into everything that I do.”

Briceon Mundt, Strategic Consultant

“Balance. ‘Work hard, play harder’ is the mantra constantly used at J&M. Here, life is more than just a job. This does not mean that J&M is not producing the highest quality of work possible. It means that J&M promotes that work should not consume life, and that is something that has always resonated with me.”

Linda Vance, Sales Associate

“The Vision & Values that I admire most is faith. Everyone at J&M is committed to our faith discussions and it brings us closer together as a team. I appreciate how everyone is always available to discuss faith and other topics at a personal level.”

Koby Uhrig, Social Media Consultant

“Without a doubt, my favorite is teamwork. I have been on a countless number of teams in my life. Some have been dysfunctional and some were like family. None fit that family label quite like J&M. These people are the easiest I’ve worked with and together, we embody every piece of the Vision & Values. Each of us stay committed to the Vision & Values and it creates a positive work environment for everyone we encounter.”

Mike Dodge, Vice President

“My favorite Vision & Value today is passion. When you are passionate about your work and the people you work with, that passion becomes contagious. At J&M, we talk about our Vision & Values everyday, and we measure each other based on how well we live up to these Vision & Values. Across the board, I believe that when you are truly passionate and that passion spreads, the other Vision & Values are naturally elevated in everything we do.”

Jen Dodge, President & Founder

“Definitely faith. I give 100% credit of where I am today to Jesus. I didn’t have the best childhood. I chased sports to stay off the streets. I earned okay grades and had no grandioso plans of building a consulting firm. I have no business being here…a president of a million-dollar company. But, God had a plan for me. All along, I had thought God paved the way for my boys’ dreams, but his plan is much bigger than just hockey.”

The J&M Hat Trick: People. Process. Technology.

by Koby Uhrig

Hockey holds a central role at J&M Strategic Consulting in that it is the reason why we are here.  You may recognize our slogan “People. Process. Technology.”  At J&M we refer to this as our hat trick, and all three are key to implementing a winning IT strategy.  When these resources align properly, success is sure to follow.  Allow us to break down the importance of all three.


People

People are the most valuable resources to any business.  When your people are placed in the right positions with positive engagement and healthy relationships, your business will reap the benefits.  J&M will ensure that you have the right people in the right positions doing the right things to maximize their skills and potential.  When you maximize the human potential amongst your team, it will be realized collectively as you push each other to achieve the overall goals.

Process

Your business is unique.  Your process should be unique, too.  You have your own way of doing things and J&M is not going to change that.  We simply analyze your current processes and work within your methodology to accomplish your goals.  Once we completely understand your processes, we can implement effective, long term improvements.  Often, there are several ways to reach the same goal, but we will be your GPS.  J&M will find the most efficient way to get to your destination.

Technology

Without the latest updates to technology, your projects could be coming up short and your business might be falling behind.  What technologies do you need right now to help you complete the upcoming projects?  J&M can help assess which technologies are guiding your projects and which ones are actually costing your business money.  If your people and processes are aligned, it’s time to complete the hat trick by updating technology.  With the proper tools and training, your team is ready to take on any challenge ahead of them.


People.  Process.  Technology.  It’s more than just our motto.  It’s the focal points of any successful business.  When a company has all three on the same line, they are due for continued success.  J&M Strategic Consulting will commit to getting you on the path to long lasting success.  Get in touch with us today to set up an assessment!

A New Path Emerges

Part One: The Culmination

by Scott Schramm

Imagine a time in your life when you were on the cusp of a big, life-changing decision and pulled the trigger. Why did you make this decision? What events occurred in your life that led you to make this choice? For me, this life-changing decision was to start my own personal training business. When I left my training gig at a national fitness chain at the end of October 2016, I only had a few clients to my name and was nowhere near busy enough to survive off my training business alone. I worked hard to make ends meet for a few months, but I still wasn’t close to having enough clients to maintain a stable business.

One evening in December 2016, I received a personal training request from Jen Dodge for her and her husband, Mike. After about ten minutes, I had already set up a meet a greet for us to work out fitness goals and plans. Meeting Jen and Mike at first was a little intimidating but also a breath of fresh air. I could tell right away that they were very disciplined and driven people, which isn’t always the case with personal training clients, so I was looking forward to testing my abilities on these two highly committed individuals. We reached an agreement in January 2017 and began our sessions a couple days later. It took some finagling to initially get into a groove, but their motivation and feedback made the early morning workouts run smoothly.

Over the next several months, we guided each other to become better people and our relationship grew to a more personal level. They inspired me to continuously put effort into becoming a better trainer. I began researching new exercises regularly that we would later try during sessions together. Both Jen & Mike were excited with the results they were seeing, so we started talking about an expanded role that branches into J&M. This was a big step for me and slightly over my head at first, but I knew I could take on the challenge. I accepted the position as Wellness Coordinator in April and felt right at home because of how well Jen & Mike treated their employees.

Among the first things I learned upon joining J&M were their Vision & Values and how they are the foundation of the company. Right away, I appreciated each of the Vision & Values and how they are placed at the forefront of everything J&M does as a company. It was apparent that Jen & Mike lived their lives with the Vision & Values holding priority. If I wasn’t sold yet, I was at the words commitment, teamwork, integrity, and passion. These are four traits that are critical to my craft as a personal trainer and words that explain my journey in getting to this point today. Reflecting back on that journey made me recognize that J&M is the perfect fit for me.

TO BE CONTINUED…