Monthly Archives: July 2014

Take these steps to promote stong morale on your team

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I was speaking with a friend of mine this week. We were discussing how she has been passed up for a promotion or two over the past two years. Obviously this isn’t an uncommon problem. Many people are passed up for promotions all of the time, whether it’s for a better candidate, a stronger fit for the organization, or they just aren’t the right person for the job.
penguin loves his job
What struck me about our conversation was the ways in which she was passed up. She mentioned she never even received an interview after many years working for her organization. She was obviously qualified for the roles that she applied for so this seemed strange. She also mentioned that some of the positions didn’t seem to get posted internally so that current employees could have the opportunity to apply before the job was advertised outside the organization.

If there is one thing that will destroy morale it is making your employees feel like they have no room to grow. When you choose to hire from outside of the organization before giving your own loyal employees a chance first you have a recipe for mutiny. Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take that will please your employees and also help assure you hire the best person for the job.

You should always post all positions internally before looking outside the organization for a candidate. Be clear about the requirements of the position so that your employees know whether or not they have the skills needed to apply. Some employees may still apply even though they do not meet the qualifications. Take this opportunity to coach and mentor them on what they would need to do in order to apply in the future. This will help them realize you care about them as an individual and their career path.

Give those current employees that are qualified a true chance to win the position. The old adage the grass isn’t always greener on the other side usually holds true. Sure, the employee you have now isn’t perfect, but who is! It’s amazing when given the opportunity how many will rise to the occasion. There is nothing more motivating to someone than knowing their superiors believe in them enough to take a chance on their success. You know your staff well already which is a positive. Those candidates outside the organization also aren’t perfect, but you do not know what their imperfections are and rarely will an interview give you that information.

If you are in a position to do so, make sure your entire management team and human resources group are on board with your plan. It does no good for your organization to have one or two departments that don’t adhere to the company policy. It undermines your credibility and in the end will make all of your hard work for naught. If you aren’t the head decision maker at your company, implement this practice to the best of your ability within your own team. You will soon be known as the leader that everyone wants to work with.

Having a professional work environment with consistent policies encouraging promotion from within will not only improve morale, but it will also cut down on attrition saving your company time and money while helping you grow stronger in the years ahead. Commit to this philosophy and you will soon see your team become the happy and motivated workforce you have been striving for.

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC

Organizing a meeting? Set yourself… and your space up for success

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Over the years I have been involved in many meetings, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Board meetings, fundraising meetings, planning meetings, town meetings, the list goes on and on. Some are successful and productive while others keep you watching the clock from the minute you walk in. Why does this happen? Is it the subject matter? Perhaps our mood that day?

Many times it has nothing to do with any of the above. It is something that is quite often over looked by those planning the meeting. Simply put, it’s the meeting space itself.
people meeting round table
I can think of dozens of examples of meetings that took place in too large a room for our group. This left people feeling disconnected from one another and out of place. Other times I can remember being around multiple tables scattered in a disorganized fashion when we needed to be around a single table working together. I can even recall an occasion or two walking into buildings where we were unable to find the room where our meeting was to take place.

On the flip side I always remember the meetings that I felt were well organized and thought out. Experienced meeting planners start their successful meeting before you even arrive. This begins with providing good directions helping you find your way to the meeting. Once you do reach your destination, things are well marked and labeled helping you find your meeting space. One of the nicest touches of an organized meeting is having someone greet people as they walk in to provide them with a warm welcome. A warm welcome should never be overlooked and can set the tone of the entire meeting. You may want to consider the use of creative name tags if the group is unfamiliar with each other or if there are new people joining the group.

Your meeting space should also be appropriately sized for the group you are expecting. It shouldn’t be too big, or too small, but just the right amount of space with enough room available should people want to chat before or after the meeting. We all want to feel comfortable and having a nicely sized space truly creates that feeling.

The seating in your meeting space should be well thought out and appropriate for your discussions. I recommend round tables whenever possible to encourage more open discussion and dialogue. If you are working in groups, then smaller round tables may work well. There are many different types of meetings and each require a different seating configuration. It’s important to give this some thought so you place your tables in a manner which promotes the collaboration you are looking for.

We all know it is time consuming to organize a meeting. If you want to make sure your time is well spent and your meeting is productive and enjoyable, take these extra steps to assure success. This may take a few extra minutes of your time, but you will reap the rewards and receive many compliments in the process.

I have the best idea… but no one knows about it

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kid with lightbulbHave you ever been involved in the creation of a really special idea? Maybe it was an invention, or something revolutionary that would change things in a big way? Or perhaps something on a smaller scale that you could just tell was going to make a difference. I’ve been involved in many of these situations over the years and it’s a very exciting feeling knowing that you have something new that is going to surprise and maybe even help people.

There’s usually a sequence of events that happens when a new product or service makes its way onto the market. There are many steps but we can summarize them into three basic ones. First you envision the idea. Then you physically create the product or service. Lastly you implement the distribution; or in other words, figure out how you can get people to use it.

Over the weekend I watched a very small example of this unfold. I volunteered on the last day of our local fair. A fantastic idea was dreamed up to manufacture and sell tee shirts and apparel to celebrate the fairs anniversary. The vision was turned into reality and a nice product was created. The problem occurred in the distribution phase. The shirts were sold in a small building that was not in highly visible and off the beaten path. If you were walking around the fair you would never have even seen the shirts and therefore never bought one. With thousands of people making there way through the fairgrounds over the weekend, an opportunity was missed to showcase this great product. Although this was a great idea and creation, the message wasn’t received by the thousands of people in attendance, and thus very few shirts were sold.

Too many times ideas and businesses aren’t successful because the entire process of vision to delivery is not entirely thought out. Maybe you have a a great idea but aren’t sure how to deliver it. Or perhaps you feel like you have a great product already, but are lacking ideas on how to create new variations that appeal to a mass market.

Whatever your challenge is, put a good plan together and think through the entire process before moving forward. There are plenty of options available and many of them free. Most states offer programs to help with marketing and business planning. Or check with your local chamber of commerce. You can also ask questions of experts or people you trust and feel have been successful in similar businesses before you move forward with your own product or service. You would be surprised how many people are willing to share their knowledge to help a fellow entrepreneur.

Proper business planning will assure that you will not only come up with well thought out ideas, but that your audience will know about them. In the end, if you have a great idea that is highly visible, everyone wins!

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC

Buying local means more than just saving money

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Gas is $3.95 down per gallon right down the road from you but it’s only $3.75 in the next town over. That’s a decent savings and worth the drive right? It might seem so, but by time you drive there, sit in line for 10 minutes and drive back it’s been 45 minutes and you’ve saved a total of $2.00. All of a sudden it doesn’t seem to make that much sense anymore.

All too often we forget to look at the big picture and how buying locally relates to our daily life. This gas scenario is only one example of fooling ourselves into feeling like we’ve received a bargain.

Of course there are the obvious reasons for supporting the local economy. The fact that we are supporting our neighbor when we purchase goods or services locally. That we are keeping tax dollars in our local communities. We are also helping to keep our friends and neighbors employed when we spend money using local stores and services. These are all certainly great and important reasons to support local businesses, however, one of the biggest personal gains from using local businesses is that it usually makes financial sense too! You might assume that the bigger stores have the better prices but this is quite often not the case.
main street matters pic
I am reminded of when I owned a small beach store and was selling my beach chairs at $49.99 per chair. I thought this was a lot of money, but it kept my margins reasonable and I was able to sell quite a few chairs over the years. Late one season I happened to take a trip down the road to a big-box store and was astonished to see them selling a very similar chair (of lesser quality) for $10.00 more per chair! They obviously were paying a lot less for their chairs than I was, and customers certainly weren’t receiving the same level of service when they shopped there. I’m sure most people would have thought they would pay more at my store being that it was right on the beach, and after all, the big-boxes are always supposed to have the best prices right?… Wrong! Most times we are lured into these large stores with a couple of “specials” that are priced very low, but by the time you’ve bought many other items in the store you can throw your savings out the window.

Take the time to sit and analyize your monthly purchases. Factor in the time and effort you spent buying these items. You will quickly realize how much sense it makes for you in so many ways to buy locally no matter what you are purchasing. You will feel great about supporting your neighbors business, and gaining valuable extra time for yourself during the day.

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC