The hill was more than I bargained for.  It was a struggle and I should have realized earlier that is was time to act now.

I had all kinds of excuses: the weather was bad.  I didn’t have time.  It could wait another day.  I had other plans.

No, I wasn’t hiking up a steep section of trail or riding my mountain bike up a hill.  I was mowing my yard. If you have ever used a manual reel mower in a bermudagrass lawn, you know what I am talking about.

You can’t put off cutting the grass or the work required to cut it goes up exponentially.  The grass grows taller and thicker every day.  It is much easier to stay on top of it before it gets out of control.

The issues we face in business or life are the same.  Avoid, ignoring, or putting off the issue rarely makes it easier to deal or go away.  Usually it just makes it harder to deal with later.

For example, an employee who isn’t a good fit isn’t going to just change.  They will create friction with others on the team or not produce the results you want.  You either must intervene through giving feedback, or you have to remove them from the team or the company.

And while you wait to take action, the damage they cause continues to mount.  Bad attitudes become contagious.  People leave to find

Decisions and actions about upgrading your infrastructure, replacing your software, adding or removing products and services you offer are no different.  And you aren’t going to magically get in better shape physically or strengthen relationships with inaction.

If you need to make a change or address a problem, act now.  Don’t let it become a bigger challenge than it has to be.

OPG can help you assess your situation and walk with you as you take action. You can reach out to us here CONTACT US or connect with us on https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/

It’s lonely at the top.  We’ve created a myth of the confident CEO or business owner who has all the answers. Deep down, you know you don’t have all the answers.

The truth:  no one does.

CEOs of larger businesses may have a proven executive team who can act as a sounding board.  They can bring different perspectives to important issues.  Together they develop strategies and implement plans to grow, strengthen, and increase the value of the business.

Small business owners may not have the luxury of an experienced leadership team.  The need to have others challenge ideas and talk through issues is just as real.  An outside advisor may be the answer.

Fractional COOs can fill that need in a few hours a month.  They bring real-world experience from other companies and industries building on past successes and lessons learned.  They give the business owner a confidential resource to discuss real problems with someone who understands.

If you own a small business and need someone to bring a new perspective, challenge you, or just bounce ideas off, consider engaging a fractional COO as an advisor.  They can help you explore ideas and options when you don’t have all the answers.

If you are interested in OPG’s COO Advisor services, contact us at CONTACT US or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/.

On a Saturday morning walk, I witnessed something so common we ignore the lessons it teaches – a tennis match.

On the face of it, it was nothing extraordinary.  Three matches, three courts, and twelve players. No umpire, no coach, no scoreboard, and no announcer.  Just a regular competition between two teams.

What caught my attention was the fact that twelve players all assembled independently at an appointed time and location to begin playing.  No one directed them on the sidelines.  They called shots that were out of bounds or winners.  They all knew the score.

They had clarity.

The tennis league has rules, and the coaches had given the players instruction on how to be their best.  The game itself has rules agreed to by all.  Because of these things, the teams knew what they were supposed to do and simply set about doing it.  The objective – beating the other team while having a good time – was clear to all.  Everyone agreed on how the game, sets, and matches were scored.  Players knew what to expect from their teammates.

Wouldn’t it be great if our businesses operated with the same clarity?  Businesses can learn from the world of sports.  Think how well your team could function if your company had the same clarity of goals, rules of engagement, and KPIs as a sports team.

If your team isn’t operating at its best, perhaps you could take a page from the sports world.  Make sure everyone knows their roles and your expectations.  Establish clear goals and measurements.  Hold people accountable.  Coach employees so they can perform better and break bad habits.

Opal Partners helps small businesses with challenges like these. If your business can learn from sports,   Contact us or connect at https://linkedin.com/in/cmatt to discuss how you can help your team excel.

Each one of us is wonderfully and uniquely made.  We were made for something purposeful.  Are you doing what you were made to do?

This question applies equally to your personal life and your work life.

No one else has the same mix of gifts, skills, education, experiences, and personality as you.  There are certain things you love and derive great joy from, whether it is solving a problem, crunching numbers, closing a deal, supporting others, teaching, or creating something beautiful and one-of-a kind.  When you use your talents and experiences while doing the things that bring you pleasure, you are in a special place.

For me, I have a passion for small businesses. They create local jobs, bring opportunity to the communities they serve, and have a sense of purpose and pride in what they’ve built.  I was fortunate to have learned much from my time at companies both large and small and get to apply those things to companies and people to help them succeed.

My education as an engineer allows me to naturally think about logical next steps, structure, and scalable processes.  I like solving problems once so they don’t continue to be issues.  I enjoy helping businesses work through these challenges.

Sometimes we fall into jobs and learn we have skills or abilities that allow us to excel.  Other times we learn that we don’t like a particular type of task, responsibility, or industry.  What we learn by trying new roles and new industries can help guide us to roles that were seemingly made just for us.

If you are not doing what you created to do, you may feel overwhelmed, tired, or frustrated.  It may be time to make a change.  If you have the ability, you may need to delegate or offload some aspects of your job to someone else; it will make you more productive and possibly help someone else find their niche at the same time.

When you do what you were uniquely made to do, you will find more success and satisfaction.

Feel free to CONTACT US or connect with us at https://linkedin.com/in/cmatt.

Do you trust your employees?  A better question is whether they trust you.  High-performing teams require trust at all levels of the organization.

A lack of trust limits innovation and collaboration.  It keeps good ideas, good processes, and good people from becoming better. Without trust, people are unwilling to take risks.

Sadly, trust is often lacking, especially as you go down the organization.  A survey of 33,000 people in 28 countries found that 1/3 of employees didn’t trust their employer. Almost 2/3 of executives trust their organizations compared to less than half of staff-level people surveyed.  Workers said they trust their peers more than their executives.

When we talk about trust in the workplace, we normally think about employees or managers being reliable, doing what they said they would do, and being competent in their job.  Hannah Price, in her blog for Jostle.me, calls this “practical” trust.  An organization can’t run without it.

There is another level of trust.  Price calls is “emotional” trust. This is when people believe you are on the same team, support each other, and have some level of vulnerability.  You have each other’s backs.  Emotional trust is where performance kicks into another gear.  Performance requires belief that the leaders trust and support their teams.

With emotional trust, people are willing to take risks.  They feel safe to propose or try something new or different.  They are comfortable challenging how things are done. They know – they trust – that questioning or evening trying and failing, if done for the right reasons, won’t end their careers.  People are willing to step up and take on new responsibilities.

If your team isn’t performing at its potential or innovation is missing, a lack of trust may be the root cause.  Building trust starts with the leaders.  It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen unless you intentionally create it.  High-performing teams require trust.

CONTACT US  or connect at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/  if your team isn’t performing at its best.

I was not moving, stuck against a rock and fighting the current.  It took all the effort I had to make progress.  My choices were to figure out a new approach to moving my kayak or getting out and admitting defeat.  I finally leveraged my way into open water.  In that moment, a river, some rapids, and a kayak reinforced the difference between strategy and tactics.

Kayakers know the joy from hitting a set of rapids just right with your boat flowing perfectly through the water and rocks, enjoying the ride, and coming out with your kayak positioned to take on the next challenge.  You also know it takes a lot of work and things don’t always go as planned.

Sometimes you get a little off course.  You underestimated the power of the current.  You didn’t act early enough to put the kayak in position to navigate the rocks or shallow water.

When that happens, you react.  You paddle harder to change direction.  You temporarily get stuck by the current, and it takes strength and willpower to get free.  You may have to get out of the boat and reset.  You may need help from your companions along for the journey.

When you first approach the rapids, you look downstream and assess the path you should take and where you want to end up.  That’s your strategy.  As you begin navigating downstream, you respond to obstacles and successes, moving closer toward your destination.  Those are your tactics.

Business is no different.  You have a path you believe will take you to destination successfully.  As you work toward your goal, wins and obstacles come at you randomly and unexpectedly along the way.  You change your tactics and adjust, keeping your eye on the future. You create a strategy and implement tactics to take you to your goal.  And sometimes you may need to reassess your situation, change your direction, and maybe ask for help.

If you are stuck against the rocks and fighting the current in your business, take a moment and reassess the situation.  How do your tactics need to change?  Would you benefit from help or a new perspective?

Contact OPG if you need help with your strategy and tactics.  http://linkedin.com/in/cmatt

https://opalpg.com/contact-us/

In our bodies, our DNA is the genetic code that makes us unique individuals.  It contains all the instructions needed to build a complex, living, breathing organism.  DNA is the master of each cell and is passed on through successive generations.  Our DNA determines our physical characteristics, and damage to our DNA can cause problems that range from minor to catastrophic.

Your company has its own DNA – those things that make it unique, give it vitality, and must be passed on as it grows.

A business’s DNA is comprised of two components:

  • What we do
  • Why we do what we do

“What we do” describes our ideal customer – the customer we are uniquely set up to serve well maximizing the strengths of our organization.  It also answers the question “why do customers choose us?”  It is your market niche but it goes much deeper and understands why you can claim that niche.

“Why we do what we do” describes you.  It informs the entire team of the passion and purpose that led to the creation of your company.  It defines the values that are present in the organization and must be modeled and protected if the company is to survive and thrive.

Understanding your company’s DNA is the first step in building a strategic plan that works.  Your company DNA guides and defines everything about your business.  Make sure it is defined, known, and used to make decisions.

Many people are re-examining their businesses due to changes caused by technology and the health emergency.  If you want to build a durable, resilient business, your company DNA is your anchor.  It will keep you from drifting wherever the winds blow.  Knowing who you are lets you build on your strengths rather than reacting to circumstances.

Contact us if you need help mapping your company DNA.  https://opalpg.com/contact-us/

http://linkedin.com/in/cmatt

The Brady Bunch sang “when it’s time to change, then it’s time to change, from who you are into what you’re gonna be.”

How is your business going to change AFTER the COVID-19 crisis and things begin to look a little more normal?

You’ve been forced to learn, adapt, and change with some level of success or failure to face the current reality. We are all waiting to get back to normal.

But normal is going to look a little different. Customer and team member expectations will change. New products and services will be born and old ones will fade away.  We may have new rules and regulations.  What worked before may not be sufficient or desirable tomorrow.

The question becomes “How will you make your company better based on your experience during the crisis?”  You need to begin thinking about how you re-envision your company’s future, what your business version 2.0 looks like.

If you aren’t thinking about this yet, you should be. You will have to answer this sooner than you think.

We are here to help.  Contact us at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/ or https://opalpg.com/contact-us/

People like to be in it, no one likes to be called out of it, and Janet Jackson even wrote a song about it.  What is it?  Control.

It’s natural to want control – to be in command of your life, your destiny, your job, your customers.  And we all realize that there are some things we simply can’t control.

To a degree, we do have some control.  We can control the activities of those in our charge at home, at work, or elsewhere.  We can determine how and when to make investments and utilize capital.  We can chart a new direction and set new goals.

But there are things we can’t control either.  People can make their own decisions that may be counter to your goals.  We can’t stop natural disasters.  Sometimes actions of others come crashing into your industry or personal life.

When it comes down to it, what we cannot control exceeds what we can control.  What does that mean for your business?

It means your strategy must focus on what you can deliver.  It can’t rely on hope or feelings or guesses.

It means you evaluate people and companies by how responsible they are with what they can control and how they respond to the things they can’t.

It means you must guard your reputation and attitude.  In the end, those are the only things in which you are in 100% control and how you and your business will be remembered.

Growth: Can you afford it?

“Grow or die!” is a common, well-accepted business principal. Businesses must innovate, stay relevant, seek new customers, add locations, and offer new products.

But growth brings its own challenges. You have more products/services to support. You need more people. Rapid hiring makes maintaining culture harder. New tools and technology – and the time to integrate and use them – are expensive.

Your bottom line may suffer from your growth!

You may need to take steps to grow your bottom line instead of your top line. Eliminate products/services that aren’t profitable. Eliminate processes or activities that don’t add value. Don’t do things just because you’ve always done them. And, as hard as it may be, let go of employees who no longer fit culturally and don’t contribute to you vision.

Your bottom line profitability ultimately decides if you can afford top line growth and how long you can sustain it.

Read more about the good and bad of business growth here:  https://opalpg.com/2018/08/21/growth-good-bad-ugly/