Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cutting Costs Without Cutting Labor

By Nathaniel Davis
When it comes to companies saving money, the first go to is labor. What organizations don’t understand that when cutting labor in the short term, it can cost you in long term. So instead of cutting your labor force, there are other methods that can benefit your organization. I have listed a few decisions that can keep your labor force intact while saving money.
  1. Four-day Work Weeks
  2. Voluntary or Enforced Furloughs
  3. Unpaid Vacations
  4. Removal of Bonuses
  5. Wage Freezes
  6. Pension Reductions
  7. Flexible work schedules
  8. Reduction of Travel
  9. Reduced Office Supply Purchases
  10. Reduced Equipment Purchases

These are just a few measures that can minimize your organization’s costs while retaining good and skilled labor. Why would you want to get rid of “good” people who are “skilled” and add “value” to your organization? A few changes can go a long way while keeping your organization fully staffed and effectively functioning.
Nathaniel Davis is the Owner and CEO of SWIPE Consulting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How A Leader Deals With Moments OF Existential Crisis


Jay Myers didn't start his video conference technology company Interactive Solutions, Inc. in 1996 thinking it would be easy. But he also didn't imagine getting to the point a few years ago when he’d be reeling from so many crises that he’d be scared to turn off the lights at night in his bedroom.

A gloomy pattern had emerged for Myers. Hit the lights. Crawl under the sheets for a few hours’ sleep. The shuteye meant it’s much closer to a new day, when fresh chunks of sky would fall, and more bad news would land atop the pile he thought had already stretched him to his limit.
All at once, a handful of sales and customer service representatives at the Memphis-based company he founded resigned, which simultaneously threatened to vaporize a big piece of the company’s income if Myers didn't do something about it.
“You feel almost traumatized,” Myers says. “I was feeling kind of lost at first and had to gather myself. Thinking about this leadership-wise, though, the one thing we didn't do is we didn't panic.”
Also around that time, a technician at ISI went into the hospital for a liver transplant--and never left. While changing shirts so he could attend the funeral of a close friend, Myers got a call from one of his managers warning him the technician had taken a turn for the worse. He’d soon be attending two back-to-back funerals.
If that wasn't enough, doctors diagnosed Myers’s wife Maureen with breast cancer around the same time. In addition, the Great Recession was gearing up to tear a big hole in the balance sheets of companies like his.

"When is all this bad stuff going to end?" Myers remembers thinking. "How much can one person take?"
Uncertainty is part of a start up founder or small-business owner's career path. That uncertainty includes crises; everything from typical ups and downs to dangers more existential. This is when one wrong move--such as a big customer departure, or just a run of bad breaks like Myers experienced--can make it seem like an untimely end is in sight.

Entrepreneurs say these experiences have taught them a variety of lessons about leading in a crisis.
The departures en masse at ISI left Myers stuck with many challenges to grapple with, including how to replace several million dollars in annual sales revenue that had basically walked out the door.
His immediate battle plan: 
·         Don’t waste time
·         Reevaluate business strategy
·         Figure out what resources are on hand
·         Immediately get to work squeezing the most out of them.

Myers recalls ISI had hired some younger sales professionals, so the way forward partly involved giving them “a good pep talk and intense training,” and bringing them up to speed--fast.

“I grabbed some sales accounts, too,” he says. “I improvised. Engineers pitched in to fill the gaps. People can look at a crisis, and panic and fall apart. We said: ‘Let’s look at this as a clean slate.’”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Time Management

Time Management 101
by Nathaniel Davis
Here are some basic steps, which should give you a basic idea of what it takes to get you going:

  1. Define what you want out of life. Do this by listing your goals and values. What do you really want out of life? When you do this step thoroughly, you will notice a difference. You will also see that 90% of people have not completed this first essential step towards a more constructive life.
  2. Figure out some next steps towards your life goals. After that, start taking small steps towards them. If you define your goals tonight, you can start taking steps tomorrow. Even if these are fundamental steps, they do not have to take forever. You can always come back and revise your goals later.
  3. Take a firm control of your everyday tasks, and projects. This is a basic time management habit needed at your hectic workplaces today. Techniques of these sorts really represent "hands on" time management. Knowing that you have your tasks under control will also help you to stay calm. Stress won't catch you easily.
  4. Take control of your incoming paper flow (brochures, magazines, invoices, etc.). Also organize your existing papers and documents.
  5. Clean your desk at work, and keep it clean. It really benefits your time management.
  6. Transform your email software from a task overwhelming enemy, to an effective tool, which actually helps you keeping in control of things. You will find joy in an empty email inbox, once you learn how to do it.
  7. Start using your increased free time to develop yourself in new or lost areas of life.