Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Small Biz CEOs: What makes an employee thrive? Its not complicated.

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Last week, an HR person called me to do a reference check on a guy I worked with a while back. Let’s call him Craig. She asked 4-5 of the usual reference check questions. The final question she asked was:

What do you think Craig needs to flourish in this role?

Its an interesting question to answer off the cuff because, by definition of the situation, the response is spontaneous.

In other words, because I have almost zero time to think about it, my answer is right from the gut.

My response was something like this:

“Well, I think its important for Craig to feel involved with what he’s doing and involved with other folks to make it happen. You could “put him a corner” and ask him to do his thing and he’ll perform his duties, but he won’t thrive. He needs to be entrusted to do his thing and he will flourish in his role which is good for him and for the company.”

I paused for a moment and then said … (more…)

Survey results: Who is credible? Implications for smallbiz CEO.

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Just came across a fascinating survey conducted by a company called Edelman Employee Engagement. Its called the Edelman Trust Barometer 2012 Annual Global Survey.

The survey dives deep into what people and institutions are trusted and has a decade of results for comparison.

Here is the chart that I found most interesting. The rankings for trusted information sources from the point of view of CEOs and employees:

Survey results: Who is credible? Implications for smallbiz CEO.

A few observations and thoughts:

1. Firstly, you have CEOs and employees trusting each other the least, next to government. That’s wild.

Is this a chicken and egg thing? Who started to mis-trust the other first? In any case, IMHO, the CEO is virtually 100% responsible to assume that it started with him/her and therefore must make the effort to build trust once again with employees. When successful, I think the mutual ratings will skyrocket.

2. Government official or regulator. I would hypothesize that when the average respondent hears the descriptor “government official or regulator”, they think of politicians and not government department leaders and workers (i.e. the ones that work FOR the government). So its hardly surprising that this group is at the very bottom.

3. There is a clear inverse relationship between the trust granted to a group and that group’s perceived sense of self importance and interest in personal or organizational gain.

At the top you have academics and technical people. Arguably, they are primarily motivated by and  interested in espousing only what is accurate and true to the best of their knowledge and ability. Conversely at the bottom you have CEOs and politicians who, fairly or otherwise, are labeled largely as self interested: How much money I can make (CEOs) and how much power can I wield and how can ensure I get re-elected (politicians).

So its easy to hypothesize that you’d trust someone more if their perceived motivation is not self centred.

For CEOs of small business, its never been more important to earn the trust of your employees to ensure the success of your business and ergo, your own personal financial success. This survey should be mandatory reading for every CEO. And the honest and gutsy ones will realize they’ll be better off if they make the first move to build great employee relations and engagement.

Thanks for reading my blog and please visit again.

Vincent out

Related posts:

Authored by Geoff Vincent

Introversion in smallbiz: A strength or weakness?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Introversion in smallbiz: A strength or weakness?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come across several articles and blogs about being an introvert within a business environment. This topic resonates with me because I am an introvert and had frequently found myself challenged in the work place because of it. Note the past tense “had’. More on that later.

In the Hamilton Spectator, Jay Robb pens an article entitled How companies fail to listen to their quiet thinkers. The is actually a review for a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking written by Susan Cain.

While I have not yet read the book, the article provides highlights of it. It says that, to their detriment, typical business cultures tend to favour more outgoing people.

“It’s an omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight” says Susan Cain. “If you’re not an extrovert and want to get ahead, the message is clear. Fake it”.

More quotable quotes from Cain:


Smallbiz case study: Is it time to ramp up management ranks?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

In this continuing series of real life small business dilemmas, as profiled in the Globe & Mail’s small business “challenge” section, we have a company called Domain7 Solutions.

With 50 employees (and plans to add 10 more this year), they operate without any middle managers. Instead, they have 3 directors who “find themselves spending an increasingly disproportionate amount of their day – about 70 per cent – dealing with staff and client issues, instead of their own revenue-generating duties“.

The issue for the founder and CEO: He’s thinking of implementing a layer of middle managers to relieve the directors but doesn’t want to negatively impact the culture of the company that values openness, collaboration, autonomy and individualism.


Smallbiz culture and office politics? The CEO ALWAYS sets the tone.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Smallbiz culture and office politics? The CEO ALWAYS sets the tone.

Real life small business challenge: DINE.TO, a company with over $2 million in revenue and 30+ employees, is having some issues with office politics. This is manifested with instances of an employee bad mouthing the company and another trying to foster discontent with other employees about the benefit plan.

The co-founders are distressed about the office politics. Although not specifically articulated in the article (see full text of article called How to nip office politics in the bud), its implied that the two examples cited above are the tip of the iceberg. They have tried a number of things including:

  • team-building events
  • sharing corporate news
  • 1-on1 employee chats
  • empowering managers more
  • employing aptitude tests for employment candidates


B2B and Small Business Miscellany for December 16, 2011

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Throughout each week, I share what I consider to be interesting articles, blogs or web pages/sites. I appreciate quality so I’m somewhat selective about what I pass along.

The best way to keep track of these is to follow me on Twitter at @bizcompare. But in case you missed any, here’s a list of my faves that I sent out this past week.

Sales, Marketing & Managing:


Web, Social Media:

Thanks for reading my blog and please visit again.

Vincent out.

Small Business: Expand or play safe? Ask your employees.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Today’s small business challenge in the Globe & Mail is concerns an aluminum coating company who is grappling with expansion. Should they spend (by borrowing) $600,000 to expand their facility in anticipation of growth or play it safe and wait for the growth to come before making the investment. Read the full article here called Expand in uncertain times or play it safe?

The three experts offer good advice ranging from intensive evaluations of scenarios, negotiating with banks and suppliers to gain the best deal over a longer period of time, consulting with customers, etc.

This is a huge challenge for this company. Their revenues are about $4 million so a $600,000 investment is very large and the success or failure of it will have broad implications for the busines and their 35 employees. My suggestion:

Put this challenge to the employees.

I have always, always been amazed at the creativity and varying perspectives that employees at all levels can bring to the table if asked. This is a fantastic opportunity at, arguably, a turning point of this business to tap into their people to help them guide a solution. (more…)