Category Archives: Dave Blankenhorn

Are you an effective time manager?

Dave Blankenhorn

 

A recent Harvard Business Review CEO survey tracked how CEOs spent their time over a three-month period. As you might guess CEOs have huge demands on their time and use a mix of strategies to manage these. However, they found CEOs could become more effective if they paid more attention to what happens when they aren’t crossing items off their to-do lists and planning ahead. Getting out of the “weeds” is important in every size organization

More time to think- CEOs need more time to reflect, recharge, strategize, and prepare for upcoming events. Many CEOs easily fall into the habit of being reactive not proactive. Time can help them and others in their organizations come up with new ideas and strategies to implement them. 

Attend fewer meetings- the higher you climb in the ranks the more meetings you will attend. The surveyed CEOs spent over 70% of their time in meetings. It may help to take stock of the types of meetings attended and pull back from those less strategic ones.  Also having a clear agenda and prepared participants will reduce the time by half. 

Delegate and move on– great CEOs try to surround themselves with a highly qualified and dedicated team. These CEOs then try to delegate as much as possible to this group. By empowering them you have more time to spend at the strategic level.

Author: Fave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Is your organization ready for Telecommuting?

Dave Blankenhorn

 

A growing number of workers are looking for benefits that lead to a greater balance between and home life. Recent research from the staffing firm of Robert Half found 77% of professionals surveyed would be more likely to accept a job offer if there is a possibility of telecommuting at least part of the time.

53% of employees polled by Gallup say a role that allows them to have a greater work-life balance is “very important” when considering a new job with 37% indicating they would switch jobs if an opportunity arose with a telecommuting option at least part of the time.

An organization needs to decide if there are positions that would lend themselves to this model. It seems people who perform creative tasks can be 20% more effective but those with repetitive roles 10% less so. There is a proven cost savings factor in reduced turnover and absentee rates by allowing people to work from home.

The drawbacks according to the Half survey include people abusing the benefit (22%), and strained personal interpersonal relationships due to a lack of face time. Many people like to be around other “team” members and are more productive in that atmosphere.

When it comes to telecommuting there are no easy answers. However, as the job market tightens and more competitors move this way, it makes sense to evaluate it and see if this a time to take the step.

Author:  David Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Do you have Board term limits?

Dave Blankenhorn

 

A recent survey on boards by a community bank trade group highlights issues pertinent to not just banks but also to nonprofit organizations.

While many board members are “baby boomers” and getting older many boards have avoided the issues of term limits. This is a touchy subject as many are “founders” and feel a proprietary interest in the group. On the flip side without limits directors can become stagnant or cliquish and can stunt the success of the organization. In some cases, the long-term directors may prevent a younger and more diverse crop of leaders from joining the board.

Advantages to setting term limits include: the ability to add directors with specific skills, avoids stagnation, group-think, boredom and loss of commitment, avoids the potential for unhealthy insider attitudes, allows for a respectful and efficient way to remove ineffective directors, and most importantly brings in new ideas, perspectives and contacts.

There are some disadvantages to term limits; potential loss of expertise, loss of organizational memory, the time spent required to recruit and educate new directors, a loss in board cohesiveness and possible donation losses.

It is important for the current board leadership to step back and view what is right for them. While new blood and fresh ideas are vital to any organization so to are the loyalties and knowledge of existing members.

A way to retain these valuable people would be to set up an “Honorary Board” informing them of current activities, soliciting their input, and giving them the recognition, they so deserve.

No matter the path you choose about this issue not making one is a decision in itself.

Author: Dave Blamkenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC,org

Is turnover higher than you would like?

Dave Blankenhorn

 

Then maybe you need to look in the mirror and see if you have been a factor in that number.

A recent poll by BambooHR found that 44% of respondents said that very thing. Specifically, they pointed to a boss’s management style, condescending attitude, temperament inappropriate behavior and harassment as top reasons for leaving.

The top most egregious behavior is taking credit for employee’s work. 17% of the respondents said they left because the boss stole their ideas. Age played into this. 57% of employees between the ages if 18 to 29 say this totally unacceptable while 77% of workers over 60 feel the same way.

Number two on the list is a boss who doesn’t appear to trust or empower employees.

Number three is a boss who doesn’t appear to care when employees are over worked and number four is a boss who doesn’t advocate for employees when it comes to monetary compensation. Rounding out the list is a boss who hires and/or promotes the wrong people.

The study finds notable differences in how men and women view these behaviors. Men were more apt to find the bad behaviors more unacceptable and were more likely to leave compared to the percentage of women.

What are some good ways to retain your best employees.

Promote appropriately, pay according to the employee’s job and performance, solicit and employ input, encourage innovation, and encourage healthy competition for increased engagement.

It is easy to get caught up in the daily routine and overlook certain things. However, the future of your organization relies in large part on your human resources. Keeping good people around will most certainly lead to positive results.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.orf

Employee Improvement

Dave Blankenhorn

 

Indulging in our favorite foods is wonderful but can be unhealthy at times. Too much chocolate, ice cream and cake can add those calories very quickly and cause you problems. In the same vein playing favorites with employees can also result in negative results.  We are all human so we tend to gravitate to those with similar interests and personalities. To avoid that perception, you may need to validate that you are not playing favorites and are willing to treat everyone  evenhandedly.

Giving everyone a chance to grow and develop produces a team that can accomplish much more through expanded perspectives and creativity.

Here are some things to consider in this area;

Think inclusively when you assign work. Give people things to do and ideally tasks that will help them grow.

Hand out assignments on an equitable basis. Keep track of who is doing what. Rotate project leadership roles.

Encourage employees to participate. Greet new ideas warmly in meetings even if you don’t ultimately implement them. This will encourage more creativity within the staff.

Look for things you may have in common with others. Cultivate conversations about similar interests.

Wear their shoes. See their points of view.

Skipping that second helping of potatoes and gravy will do wonders for your health and in the same vein focusing on employee togetherness should result in a more effective organization.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

 

Nonprofit Budgets and Forecasts

Dave Blankenhorn

 

Is the way your organization budgets and makes projections getting the job done?

If not take a look at zero based budgeting and rolling forecasts to improve the accuracy of your results.

Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is the idea of looking at your expenses from the ground up rather than using your existing figures and adding some percentage. ZBB can reduce general and administrative costs by 10% to 25% if done right.

Another approach to think about is the use of a rolling forecast which allows continuous planning through a number of periods. For instance, if your period is a fiscal year you will always be forecasting 12 months ahead. As one month ends you will add another. You can always add more months.

Rolling forecasts are living documents allowing you to make decisions during the year based on changing information and data. Because you always have 12 months (or what whatever period you choose) you have long term data when you need it or can change your plans for the short term when circumstances demand it.

Rolling forecasts can also give you more accuracy than the traditional budget. By the time you complete a standard budget it is probably already out of date. The rolling budget is more flexible so you respond rapidly to changing conditions. As factors fluctuate you may respond accordingly. The results of adding new expenditures or adding to old ones can immediately be forecast as well as increases or decreases in income.

So if your present system is not what you want it to be give this new approach a try.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org 

Giving Employees Feedback

Dave Blankenhorn

 

Do you believe you know how to give employees proper feedback? Do they learn and develop from your assessment?

If you believe you could do better think about some new ways to become more effective. No one really likes to hear criticism but there are ways to make it more palatable and productive for the organization and the employee.

When giving negative feedback decide whether it is better to do so immediately when you see the problem or at the time of more comprehensive review. No matter the approach when you give negative feedback be specific. While there is no need to bring up every single time the employee has erred it should be detailed enough that the employee clearly understands your concerns and sets the stage for a solution.

As part of this tie the comments into the employee’s values and goals. For example, If the behavior causes others to do more work the employee who values what others think about them will be more receptive to changing their behavior.

When giving feedback maintain a neutral voice and watch your body language. Yelling is counterproductive. Being calm sends the message that you are there for constructive purposes, that it is part of the normal business world.

Be specific about the solution. Be sure you have a remedy in mind before talking with the employee but before you do so ask the employee if they might have a solution to the problem. If it matches yours so much the better.

Lastly infuse any criticism with words of encouragement and praise for what they are doing well. This is a coaching opportunity to build confidence, communicate respect, and hopefully build a better relationship with the employee.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Change Leadership

Dave Blankenhorn

 

 

What are you as a leader doing to adapt to our fast paced world.? The skills that got you where you are might not be enough to ensure your success in the future. Recent studies by Accenture and others have revealed new focus areas for the successful managers of the future: They must be nimble and innovative in directing their organizations. Leaders must create a larger vision for their organizations and unite people behind a common mission. While these are not new their future importance is even more critical.

Navigation of ambiguity is another component as the leader of tomorrow will face ever changing cultural, regulatory, technical and social needs. Making sure you understand these ongoing changes will position your organization for success in the future.

Multigenerational management is another such area. The leader must be able to bring together millennials, gen-xers, and baby boomers as an effective team. By 2020 millennials will be 50% of the work force and will have a major impact on the economy. Creating harmony among these disparate groups will be essential. As part of that the leader must empower and promote co-creative teams to bring about the best results.

Measuring the results will not only rest on achieving the numbers but on your ability to reduce the turnover of those high value employees who make the organization what it is. Some things don’t change

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

Have You Thought About Cyber Insurance?

Dave Blankenhorn

Dave Blankenhorn

 

Having proper insurance coverage is vital in any risk management plan. In today’s world being covered for fire, theft, internal fraud, business interruption and general liability is not enough because one of the major causes for losses is cyber theft. Some businesses and nonprofits are more reliant on their computer sites than others but all need to think about purchasing a cyber insurance policy to cover any losses due to illegal entry in your systems. It is not enough to say I have a protection service as today’s thieves are quite sophisticated and know how to penetrate most of these. Evidence of this is the hacking of government sites and the largest retail chains.

If you buy a policy be sure that it includes coverage not just for a direct hacking event but includes coverage for a “voluntary parting” wherein the insured is induced into sending out information or funds by a fraudulent scheme, trick or false pretense. Some insurance companies have exclusions for these types of actions which negates one of the reasons for the purchase. There are many other gray areas when it comes to cyber insurance coverage which is why it is so important to understand coverage limits, and sub limits that may exist.

Because there are so many variables you might seek out a broker familiar with these new types of policies and is current with the ever changing dynamics of this form of protection. Cyber attacks are not going away so protect your nonprofit accordingly.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org

So you want to go to Rio……

Dave Blankenhorn

Dave Blankenhorn

 

If any of you are contemplating a trip to Rio this summer to attend the Olympics you might consider the risk profile you are willing to take given the state of emergency there. You might also consider the risk of visiting our own Hawaii.

The problem in both areas relate to the mighty mosquito and the virus it carries causing the Zica virus and Dengue fever. These two diseases can cause serious problems sometimes leading to death. The Centers for Disease Control currently have no vaccine or medications to deal with them.

I bring this all up as you normally wouldn’t even contemplate this sort of risk when traveling to some exotic and fun place. Now you will need to focus on the “risk-reward” of such a journey.

It may be a good time to revisit your own non profit’s Risk management plan to see if you have identified the current risks and updated your plans to deal with them. A recent BofA Merrill Lynch CFO poll indicates that most companies have plans in place for data security (91%), disaster coverage/protection (84%), and other types of fraud (77%), operational risk (71%), and succession planning (68%). Hopefully you have addressed these issues as well as the others that could affect your ability to perform your mission.

We are always available to review your current plan or help you establish one if you need help in doing so.

In the meantime if you still want to go to Rio or Hawaii check with the CDC as part of you pre planning. Enjoy.

Author:  Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org