5 Qualities of an Effective Manager

by Michael Guberman

Good managers, in any industry, are hard to come by.  Every company wants the manager who is respected by their peers, brings out the best in their subordinates and always has the company’s best interests at heart.  Unfortunately, these types of managers do not grow on trees, but through our years of managerial experience, the consultants at J&M have devised a list of qualities that any effective manager needs to be successful.


They Radiate Positivity

An effective manager needs to remain positive, no matter the situation. Very few projects go exactly according to plan, and it is the manager’s responsibility to keep workplace morale high when their team is faced with adversity. Positivity in the workplace is infectious and as a manager, your team will use your attitude to set the tone for the office.

They’re Knowledgeable

Fake it ‘til you make it does not apply.  A sturdy knowledge base of the company’s practices and technical tools is essential for an effective manager.  Team members look to a manager to help them through roadblocks and not having the knowledge and skill to navigate your team back on track can undermine the confidence they have in you.

They are Decisive when Necessary

Managers need to make key decisions that have a great effect on the company.  It is necessary that an effective manager takes the time to weigh the pros and cons with the information given, then make a decision that benefits the company most and stick to it.  If subordinates see indecision within management, it can blur the lines of what the project goals are, creating more indecision down the ladder.

They Set Ego Aside

When a member of the team establishes a good idea, the manager needs to understand that when one wins, they all win.  Setting ego and personal gain aside for the good of the company is one of the most important qualities a manager can have.  It is important to not feel threatened, but empowered by the successes of your team members.  After all, they are a reflection of your leadership capabilities.

They are Respectful

No matter the position, everyone within the hierarchy of a company adds value.  Whether you believe an individual is presenting good or sub-par work, it is key to remain respectful and not dismissive of your subordinates.  When team members feel respected and empowered by their superiors, there is a far greater likelihood of having a mutually respectful work environment.  That being said, a manager must always be truthful when providing feedback or criticism.


At J&M, our consultants are committed to providing excellence in leadership as we strive to exceed expectations put forth at the beginning of every new project. With over 100 years of combined experience, Our Team is ready to guide your next project to its peak.

Finding Your Work-Life Balance

by Koby Uhrig

Are you feeling mentally strained by one of the busiest times of the year? The kids are fresh out of school, your family vacation is a month away, and the work days only seem to get longer. How are you able to manage an increase in workload while maintaining a healthy home life? You may be feeling increased pressure to spend time with your family and do your part to provide for them, and J&M Strategic Consulting is here to help you.

Balance is one of the core principles outlined within J&M’s Vision & Values. J&M values the time you dedicate to your work, and we believe you should be rewarded with some quality time outside of the office focused on family, community, and faith. With that in mind, here are a few tips for establishing a healthy work/life balance.

  1. Prioritize.
    What does your upcoming week or month look like? Create a calendar and make a note of any big deadlines forthcoming. Include important personal events, such as planned family dinners or your nephew’s hockey game next weekend. Determine whether that networking event that your coworker invited you to is worth it. Could you use that time to review for your upcoming presentation or perhaps prep dinners for the week? Be realistic with your expectations so that you are not causing yourself to experience burnout.
  2. Establish boundaries.
    Communication is critical in any relationship. Do you feel as if you are being overworked? Sometimes, overtime is necessary to ensure the quality of work is nothing short of excellent. Mentally, you need to know when it is time to take a step back and refresh. Let your boss know that you value balance between work and life. At J&M, we believe that your work should not interfere with your personal life, and vice versa. If either is causing enhanced stress on the other, it may be time to step away and focus on something fresh.
  3. Self-assessment.
    What does your balance look like? The best way to tell if your are in balance is to take a step back and assess your work and home happiness. Ask your significant other if they notice any changes. To stay in balance determine what keeps you in balance, and focus on what is healthy for you.

J&M believes it is important for you to be the best professional and individual that you can be as this summer takes flight. Prioritize your schedule, establish boundaries at home and at work, and reassess how you are spending your time to maximize your productivity. Summer is a time of warm, lasting memories, and we encourage you to savor every one. Follow these guidelines to experience a healthy work/life balance that will leave you and your family in a better place.

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!

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!

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!