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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/

Sometimes you initiate change, and sometimes it is forced on you.  Regardless of how you got there, you must deal with it.  Facing change isn’t always easy or wanted.

Key employees leave.  New technology disrupts the market.  Your exit strategy or timeline changes.  Maybe your business has grown beyond your capacity to manage it all effectively.

As a business grows, business owners eventually come to a point where they need a leadership team to share the load.  Depending on the where the company is, hiring full-time executives may not be needed or even financially realistic.  The decision to expand the leadership time is a change you initiate.

The sudden loss of a key leader is but one change that is forced on you.  You must decide how to re-organize the workload and responsibilities or to find and replace that leader.

In all these situations, a fractional COO can step in.  They can be a part-time resource to bridge the gap until you are ready and need a full-time executive.  They can also help define the COO role so you can find the right candidate.  Whether you need someone for a few hours per week or several days per week, you can keep the business moving forward.

Opal Partners offers COO Bridge as a way to help businesses bridge the gap when they need to add to their leadership team but aren’t ready for a full-time resource.

If your business is facing change and a fractional COO can help you, CONTACT US  or find us at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/.

 

Business owners can be idea machines.  Your business started as an idea, and ideas keep the business fresh and relevant.  By themselves don’t accomplish anything unless you turn ideas into reality.

Unless you can accomplish something by the stroke of a pen, you have to dedicate time, staff, and resources to a project to bring ideas to life.

Do you have more ideas and initiatives than you or your staff have time to actually execute? You aren’t alone.  Augmenting your team with a temporary resource may be the answer.  Engaging a fractional COO for a project is often a business’ first foray into the world of fractional executives.

Fractional COOs have the experience to understand the goals you want to achieve, provide leadership to the project team (both internal and external), and guide the project from planning through execution.

Hiring a fractional COO for a project gives you the additional horsepower you need when you need it for as long as you need it.  It’s a cost-effective way to do more with less.  At Opal Partners, we have a service called COO Project to fill that need.

If  you need help to turn ideas into reality, contact Opal Partners at CONTACT US. You can also check us out at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/.

Do you feel stuck?

On one hand, you’ve been “all in” on building your business for a long time. You need time to do those things that only you can do, or you need to devote time to family or passions outside the business. You can’t continue to do it all.

On the other hand, you don’t have the right people to offload certain tasks and you don’t want to add people in the current environment.

If you don’t change your approach, you will continue to get the same results. And you will feel stuck in the same place next year.  Things don’t just get better on their own.  You have to make a change.  Einstein is reported to have said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Fractional executives may be the solution. Experienced C-level part-time leaders who can take on responsibilities you don’t want and don’t need. Someone who can come alongside you to share the load and bring fresh experience and insights to your business.

Fractional leadership can bring your team needed bandwidth without adding full-time costs.  You save money on benefits, taxes, and PTO and you only pay for the expertise you need when you need it.  You can move your business forward without breaking the bank.

It’s time to get unstuck.  CONTACT US  for help or connect with us on https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/

“What took you so long?”

It was the worst feedback I ever received in my career.  And it came from someone I managed, not my manager.

I had failed to act.  I failed to lead.  I didn’t make the tough decision.  I thought I was being nice.  I thought I was getting results by keeping someone on the payroll who was good at what they did.

I knew they had a bad attitude and could be caustic in their interactions with others.  I knew that I, as the manager, sometimes had to be cautious when discussing an issue with them.  I saw others had the same issue with this person.

After an especially unpleasant episode, I finally made the decision that this person no longer belonged on the team.  They didn’t match the values the company was built on.  I let them go.

Within minutes after the decision became known, another team member asked “what took you so long?”  Others echoed the same sentiment.  They were telling me they agreed with the decision, but in reality, they were teaching me a lesson.  Until that moment, I had failed to lead.

Leadership isn’t easy.  You have to make tough decisions for the right reasons.

In this case, I put the values of the organization at risk.  Businesses can state their values, but if they aren’t exhibited, they don’t mean anything.  People will see through them and view it as hypocrisy.  It is a cultural disconnect.  The real values of any company are the ones they actually exhibit and tolerate, not the ones they state on their website.

What tough decisions are you failing to make right now?  Do you have employees who don’t belong on the team?  Do you have people in the wrong seat?  Do you need to change what you are doing or how it’s done?  What will you look back on one day and wish you had taken action?

If you need help sorting through tough decisions, contact us at https://opalpg.com/contact-us/ or at http://linkedin.com/in/cmatt

A lack of organizational clarity may be the root of many of the issues you face.

Without organizational clarity, you have no accountability.  Team members don’t know what is expected. They don’t know how their performance will be judged. They don’t know what the standard is.

When employees aren’t clear on expectations and outcomes, they operate in the dark.  Fear rather than confidence affects their decisions.

The results are confusion and inefficiency.  Money isn’t spent wisely.  Employees don’t feel the freedom to take care of your customers.  People invest energy creating cover for themselves in the event they are questioned.  Trust is eroded.

Remove doubt and the problems it causes by providing clarity.  Your company will not operate at peak performance until you do.

The question then becomes “how do I create clarity?”

Creating organizational clarity starts with leadership.  Make sure your company vision and values are known.  Create a strategic plan, making sure there are goals and targets that everyone understands.  Every group or department should have known and published key performance indicators so they know if they are doing the right things and doing things right.  Make sure best practices and processes are documented, shared, and enforced.

Clarity doesn’t come without effort.  You may even need outside help to guide you on the journey.  But it is worth it to have a healthy business environment and engaged employees.

If you need help creating clarity in your organization, contact us.  https://opalpg.com/contact-us/

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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/

The coronavirus and its effects on our communities are evident all around us.  We are awash in information and misinformation, given opinions that run from wildly pessimistic to optimistic, and left confused and not knowing who or what to believe.

We don’t have to be led by fear and uncertainty.  We can remember that God is in control even though we don’t see it, don’t understand it, don’t like it, and don’t want to deal with it.

Paul told Timothy “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

This is what we must do today, whatever our ministry, calling, role, or occupation.  I encourage Christian business leaders around the country to pray for our nation.

Pray for the physical, financial, emotional, and spiritual well-being for our families, friends, and neighbors.

Pray that God grants our government, medical, media, business, and community leaders wisdom to make the best decisions possible for their areas of influence and responsibility.

Pray that we re-evaluate how we do business and education, remember what is important, and invest our time and efforts into what really matters so we come out of this stronger and better than before.

Pray that businesses and jobs are protected, that families renew their bonds, and that we turn back to God.

God is not a God of confusion.  This is a time where Christians can be salt and light to a world that needs it.  Take care of others.  Don’t panic.  Be prudent but not fearful.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  – John 16:33

Do you wish you had more accountability in your organization?  Business owners commonly express the need for more accountability when talking about their challenges.  I have found leaders actually mistake other issues for a lack of accountability.  Leaders build accountability over time using what I call the 4 C’s.

Clarity – Sometimes people mistake accountability for clarity.  People and teams can’t be held accountable if their goals and responsibilities aren’t clear.  You must provide clarity before you can have accountability.

Communication – Team members need to know they can have an open dialog with their manager to discuss issues and ideas.  Likewise, leaders must make themselves available to their teams on a regular basis in both group and one-on-one settings.  Lack of communication can lead to culture and accountability issues.

Coaching – Some managers and leaders struggle with having difficult conversations with team members who aren’t meeting expectations.  People can’t improve without knowing where they fall short.  It is the leader’s responsibility to identify inadequate performance or behavior early and help their team member correct it before it becomes a problem.

Consequences – Sometimes managers jump straight to applying consequences when they ask for accountability.  You have to check yourself on Clarity, Communication, and Coaching first; otherwise, you risk creating a culture of fear.  Fear is the result of people facing consequences without knowing why or being given the chance to improve.  If you have the other three C’s and have built a strong culture, positive peer pressure may address some issues organically on its own.

Accountability isn’t a system or an action.  It is a culture.  Leaders build accountability by consistently providing clarity, having meaningful communication, proactively providing coaching, and only then having consequences if the team isn’t self-correcting.

If you need help building accountability, let a fractional COO help you.  Contact us at https://opalpg.com/contact-us/ or https://www.linkedin.com/in/cmatt/.

It’s true- you have influence.  People notice your actions and your words.

If you are a leader – at work, at home, in the community – in any capacity, people do pay attention to what you do and what you say.  Every interaction or observation can leave a lasting impression.

It’s up to you to decide if the impression left will be positive or negative.

I was reminded of the impact individuals have on those around them several times recently on both a personal and professional level.  It can be frightening and humbling.

Frightening when you realize that you don’t always live up to your own expectations much less the example you want to be for others.

Humbling to realize that no matter your circumstances, you have an impact.

It can also be energizing. As a leader in your company and your neighborhood, you have the potential to quietly make a tremendous impact – often without saying a word.

Are you living up to your stated values and beliefs?  Does every interaction make a deposit or withdrawal from someone’s emotional bank account?  Are you living life as a servant leader putting others first?  Does your presence inspire your team?

If you can answer “yes” to all the questions above, you are a leader no matter what your role.  You have influence.