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!

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!

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.

 

My Journey to Become a Strategic Consultant

Part 1: The Beginning

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.”

I am 48 years old, married, with a family and an incredible group of friends.  I work for a company that “gets it.”  Our company’s core, or GPS, includes leadership, faith, integrity, passion, and community.  Our company’s vision consists of six words:  balance, transparency, commitment, teamwork, excellence and inspire.  We work hard, play hard, and I am extremely proud to say that we even pray together.  Together, we are family.  We celebrate together.  We cry together.  And we rely on each other.  This togetherness makes J&M an amazing company to work for.

I have been blessed with a passion for IT, which I discovered when I was 12 years old when my math teacher introduced me to an Apple computer.  It was the most pleasant green screen my eyes had ever seen.  I was immediately hooked, and wanted to understand everything about this exciting new technology.

When I was 13, I worked an entire summer to save up and buy my first computer.  The drive to learn how to program was so compelling that I took nighttime college courses while finishing the eighth grade.  These classes were comprised of people that were much older than me, which was uncomfortable at the time.  But once we got into the lessons, our shared interest and eagerness to learn allowed me to relate with them.  That’s when I realized that I could  turn my knowledge into something much bigger.  

At 14, I wrote my first “system” to print customer labels for a local business.  Manually writing these labels took an entire day, once a month.  I was compelled to find a way to automate this repetitive, time consuming task.  This was the first time I saw the value and efficiency that IT held in automation.  Still, I wanted to make these systems faster.  That process only took one day out of the month, but it took me almost two months to write it.  It only fed my desire to find innovative ways to write programs, and to learn how to type faster.  That provided the motivation I needed so that I could take the next step.

I was now 16, and this drive to improve technology led to a week-long course at a University that was reserved for college students.  Imagine the tenacity of a high schooler to meet with the head of the college department and convince him to let you attend after he had rejected your application on the first attempt because you were not old enough.  I worked three jobs to be able to afford this class.  I wanted this more than anything and wasn’t about to miss out.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Are your meetings costing you money?

by Koby Uhrig

An email recently circulated through J&M about meeting etiquette and recognizing the importance of being focused on the preparation and structure of a business meeting.  Every business reviews its policies and expectations for meetings, but how do you maximize productivity in a business meeting?  Time is valuable to any business, so it is important to have all attendees on the same page.

Obviously, effective communication is critical to a business meeting, and this starts in the meeting’s development stage.  Every attendee is responsible for understanding the purpose in order to enhance the overall effectiveness of the meeting.

We’ve talked so much in the past about the direct impact relationships have on business and communication.  These relationships can really drive the productivity of the meeting.  In addition to preparing for the content that will be discussed, it is key to get to know everyone that will be at the meeting.  An email could be sent out with a brief background of yourself for others to get to know you.  Or, better yet, arrive early.  This shows you are prepared, ready to go, and provides an opportunity to mingle with someone you do not know or have not worked with before.

While relationships can keep a conversation going, it is ultimately up to the attendees to be heard.  Meetings are set up to reach a common goal or to discuss a given topic within the company.  They are created so that everyone involved has the ability to provide input.  It is one thing to check into the meeting, but it is another to participate.  When invited to a meeting, you are expected to reveal any questions or concerns so the entire team is on the same page and can exceed the common goal.

Our president, Jen Dodge, once saved a project over $7,000 a week by making the following suggestions to the Project Sponsor in regards to recurring meetings:

>> Meetings are meant for collaboration only; information sharing should be through email, SharePoint, Corporate Information Sharing vehicles.

>> Agenda and purpose must be clear; parking lot all discussions that don’t contribute to the purpose.

>>Do your homework prior to the meeting; Organizer should set alerts to remind them about their homework.

>> Leadership should not tolerate late or unprepared attendees; lead by example.

>>Invite only the necessary resources; the FYI resources should be copied on the meeting minutes.

 

J&M has experience working with many different companies that employ people of all different backgrounds.  When taking on a new challenge, we take the necessary time to thoroughly understand the business and the people we are working with.  This perpetuates successful meetings in the short term and extraordinary results in the long term.  Build your company’s working relationship with J&M today.

Happy New Year?

It’s officially transition time for your business.  You are nearing the end of your fiscal year and want to gain some momentum as the new fiscal year opens.  So how do you stay on track and lead your business to success as the fiscal year changes?  It is important to track progress made in the past year and build on it moving forward.  At J&M, we are here to help this process.  We offer a number of services directed at guiding your team along the correct path as you embark on the new fiscal year.

  • Complete assessment
  • Plotting a roadmap
  • Resource management
  • Organizational readiness

With over 100 years of combined experience, J&M Strategic Consulting knows what it takes to ensure long term success.  We value your time and resources just as much as you do and will create a custom strategy guaranteed to be unique for your business.  J&M has all the tools to assess your company’s readiness to turn the corner.

One of our goals at J&M with every new challenge is to exceed your expectations.  That is why we take the necessary time to perform a complete assessment of your business to discover what is working and where you can improve.  An assessment can be a very useful tool at the change of a fiscal year as our team analyzes your resource management and will provide any recommendations to efficiently complete upcoming projects.  This allows us to construct a roadmap towards success for the upcoming fiscal year, and J&M will start you out on the right foot.

At J&M, we are committed to guiding your team down the right path towards success in the new fiscal year.  Our experienced consultants have all the tools you need to make this transition a smooth one.  Check out what we have done for other businesses on our testimonials page.  We wish you all the best in your next fiscal year.