Don’t Struggle with Your Bottom Line: More Effectively Reach Better Profit Goals

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We are operating in a new disruptive world that’s defined by a high-demand for innovation, dynamic work, rapid-fire decision-making and more. In the new book “DECIDE TO PROFIT: 9 Steps to a Better Bottom Line,” author and consultant Dorriah L. Rogers, Ph.D argues that leaders and employees need “a renewed focus on the very reason businesses operate if they want to thrive ahead of the curve. That is, a simple and clear-cut path to a profitable bottom line that anyone can implement.” She outlines 9 clear steps that will give you and your company the tools and roadmap to more effectively reach better profit goals.  

In this episode of In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century, hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel speak with consultant and author Dorriah L. Rogers, Ph.D about profit. Rogers began her career in engineering and technology. She founded her consultancy firm in 2003. She specializes in identifying and solving issues affecting efficiency, productivity, and profitability. She has worked with Fortune 500 organizations as well as many smaller progressive firms.

We asked Rogers what led her to write the book. She went on to explain that in her experience, she’s come across many cases where poor decisions are made by decision managers that have nothing to do with the ultimate goal of the company – to make a profit. In other words, decisions are made to purchase equipment or implement some processes that are completely unrelated to profit making. “And so a light-bulb went off in my head…why don’t I write an operations manual for this company…and during the process of that it became a book.”  

During the course of the interview, Rogers discusses the nine steps to a better bottom line.

The 9 Steps (according to Dorriah L. Rogers):

 1.      Identify the system that needs improvement
A “system” is defined as any operation, process, method or organization. The identified system produces work inefficiently and, if improved, will positively impact the business goals of the organization. Often times, consultants are brought in and they can help organizations identify that area you need to focus on.

 2.      Put the right team together
Ensure you have the right balance and diversity of ideas by inviting team members with the right mix of experience together with member from outside the traditional or expected network.

 3.      Identify the goal
Identify a specific, measurable, achievable, and timely goal that will ensure that any improvements to the system will result in positive impacts to the business goals of the organization.

 4.      Observe the system
Utilize the correct analysis tools appropriate to your system, include and listen to input from those involved, observe objectively, document and present findings.

5.      Identify bottlenecks within the system
Ensure that the focus of system improvements directly targets those areasthat will impact the business goals of the organization most significantly.

6.      Brainstorm
Utilize the right team to accumulate a list of the best possible solutions for improvement to the system.

7.      Select optimal solution(s) for improvement
Ensure the best recommendations for system change are selected based upon thorough cost-benefit analysis, peer and stakeholder review.

8.      Implement one change at a time
Implement any proposed change independently of any other changes to ensure any measured impacts are the result of this change alone.

9.      Sustain a culture of continuous improvement
Ensure that the inertia of success or failure does not stop a culture of continuous innovation and improvement.

Rogers ended our interview with the following thought. “If you’re fundamentally happy with where your business is, don’t bother to read the book, but if you think there’s something that you could do better, read the book! The nine steps are meant to be easy to understand. This isn’t mean to be a bang-your-head-on-the-table process.”

Do you want to get the full conversation? Stream this episode in the player below. You can also subscribe on iTunes to receive new episodes of In Process Podcast directly on your smartphone.

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Investment's New ROI: Empowering Entrepreneurship for Social Change

 Photo Credit: The Center for Civic Innovation (Atlanta, GA)

Photo Credit: The Center for Civic Innovation (Atlanta, GA)

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, even in communities that have been hit hard by financial recessions and divestment. Our innate drive to fight and remain entrepreneurial doesn’t ever go away. But, finding access to community resources and early-stage funding is not always equally or readily available for every entrepreneur with a dream of success.  

Take a city like Atlanta, as an example, which by all media accounts is thriving economically and is often touted as the next city for economic growth. Its skyline is graced with a number of Fortune-500 companies. However, Atlanta consistently has one of the highest income inequality gaps in the United States. Upward mobility in Atlanta is 4 percent, meaning there’s a 96-percent chance if you're born poor in Atlanta, you’ll die poor in Atlanta. 

This is a dichotomy that has to change―not only in Atlanta but across the globe.   

This week in In Process (Trusted Counsel's bi-weekly podcast show), Rohit Malhotra, founder and executive director of the Center for Civic Innovation, discusses how the Center is focusing on social entrepreneurship to bring community organizations together to solve civic solutions in order to transform business in Atlanta―and how this approach can serve as a model for other U.S. cities and even worldwide.

“Whether you're suited and booted at a Fortune 500 company on the 50th floor or you're on the ground working a farm each and every day, the joint thing we have in common is a love for our city,” said Rohit. “Atlanta's history is built on businesses and communities, both the public and the private sector, coming together to fight for what's morally right. To drive what business will look like, rather than business driving our morality.”

During the course of the podcast “Investment’s New ROI: Empowering Entrepreneurship for Social Change,” investors as well as community and business leaders will learn:

• The definition of social entrepreneurship

• The Center for Civic Innovation’s mission, goals and future plans

• Challenges and opportunities for social entrepreneurship in Atlanta as well as other metropolitan areas

• How to shift the conversation in terms of distributing capital and investing in true “economic value” that produces social change

• Real-world social entrepreneur success stories 

Stream the conversation with Rohit in the player below to learn how you, your company or any association you belong to can invest in Atlanta and/or contribute to social entrepreneurship in your city. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.

Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion as Business Drivers

 Strategies and Tactics for Implementing Diversity and Inclusion into Your Business

Strategies and Tactics for Implementing Diversity and Inclusion into Your Business

Even though we’ve made a lot of strides during the last several years, particularly in the last decade, when it comes to creating a more diverse workplace, there’s been huge interest of late in enabling and leveraging diversity and inclusion as key business drivers―whether to spark innovation, improve operating profit or enhance a company’s reputation, for example.

Eighty-five percent of new entries in the workforce are women or minorities. And, you can’t discuss women and diversity obviously, without talking about the impact of multiculturalism and millennials in the workplace. When you figure in the 10,000 Baby Boomers who are leaving the workforce each day, there’s a talent tsunami headed our way for which many companies simply aren’t ready. 

This week in In Process (Trusted Counsel's bi-weekly podcast show), we revisit a previous interview with Jeffery Tobias Halter, gender strategist and author of “WHY WOMEN – The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men”; and Sharon Orlopp, retired global chief diversity officer and senior vice president of corporate people at Walmart.  
 
“Using a dancing analogy: Diversity is about being invited to the dance, but inclusion is actually being out on the floor dancing,” said Sharon. “Inclusion is an action verb; it requires each of us to do something, to include others. Diversity is a lot about metrics and measurements and what makes us different.”

In terms of creating a 21st century workforce, “Diversity and inclusion have to be embedded throughout the business―in marketing, operations, the supply chain, etc. It cannot be solely owned by HR or the Diversity Office. That’s how companies run and operate,” said Jeffery.

During the course of the podcast “Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion as Business Drivers,” working professionals―in both large corporations and small-to-medium-sized companies―will learn:

•    Today’s definitions of diversity and inclusion and how they differ
•    The tangible and intangible benefits of diversity and inclusion
•    Current barriers to diversity and inclusion in the workplace
•    Strategies and tactics for implementing diversity and inclusion into business
•    How to create an environment of support 

Stream the conversation with Jeffery and Sharon in the player below to learn how a workforce built on diversity, inclusion and differences can help your business seize the competitive advantage. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.

How I Did It: Building and Selling a First Business

 A discussion with Atlanta Tech Executive Darrell Mays

A discussion with Atlanta Tech Executive Darrell Mays

This week in In Process (Trusted Counsel's bi-weekly podcast show), we revisit a previous interview with Darrell Mays, who successfully built and sold his first business to a multi-billion-dollar corporation. But his first entrepreneurial foray started with an unexpected beginning: getting fired.

In 2003, Darrell founded nsoro LLCas a turnkey telecommunications infrastructure services company, which he sold to MasTec, a $4.4 billion corporation providing end-to-end solutions designing, building, installing, maintaining and upgradinginfrastructure in the telecom, energy and communications industries. He went on to become Senior Vice President at MasTec, Inc., and President of MasTec’s wireless division―and now serves as a Senior Advisor.  

Prior to that, Darrell’s telecommunications career had included 12 years in leadership positions with AT&T, serving in network operations, engineering, marketing and sales organizations, and in various positions with Ericsson, Inc., Motorola, Palmsource, and a consortium account of British Telecom and AT&T.

Everyone wants to leave a job on their terms. But when that didn’t happen for Darrell, he was able to turn an uncomfortable situation into business success.

“Everyone has that ‘A-ha’ moment,” Darrell said. “This was mine.”

With an immediate need for income, Darrell spent the first few months “working for himself” doing whatever it took to secure business and build trust with his clients.

The wireless industry was in its infancy and growing at lightning speed, but Darrell still had to convince his friends and professional connections that it was worth the risk of trusting huge projects with a small, unknown company.

“You know the old story: No one gets fired for using IBM,” said Darrell. “The ones who do take a risk [on your new company] are brave people, and they’re few and far between. Because you could fail—most people do. And that person would fail along with you.”

During the course of this podcast learn how Darrell has been able to turn risk-takers into heroes and grow and sell a successful business along the way through:

  • Leveraging industry knowledge and connections
  • Adhering to a philosophy that outmatched "Big Bureaucracies"
  • Hiring the right employees with the right leadership and skill sets
  • Using experts to negotiate a sale that's a win-win-win for the buyer, seller-and customers
  • Ensuring a smooth transition after the sale

Stream the conversation with Darrell in the player below to learn how you, too, can start, grow and sell a successful business. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.

Need a Responsible and Committed Workforce? Hire a Refugee. Here's How and Why You Should.

Happy Warehouse Workers

The city of Clarkston, Ga is a top destination for refugees and the Mayor, along with business leaders, have seized the opportunity to tap into a pool of workers who are responsible, committed and capable. Clarkston  is located  just 10 miles northeast of Atlanta that has earned the nickname “Ellis Island of the South.” In the 1990s, refugee programs in the United States identified Clarkston as a good fit for displaced persons of many different backgrounds based on its housing market and convenient access to public transportation and major highways.

This week in In Process, we speak with Clarkston Mayor Edward “Ted” Terry and Chris Chancey, CEO of Amplio Recruiting, a staffing company for the talented refugee workforce, about the innovative and compassionate things this small Georgia town has done to earn its tagline “Where Possibilities Grow.” 

Mayor Terry, the youngest person to hold this position in Clarkston’s 135-year history, has more than 17 years of experience in public service and is leading Clarkston's vision to become a more welcoming and compassionate community. Earlier in his career, Mayor Terry worked as a consultant for a wide array of legislators, school board members and non-profits. During that time, he helped raise millions of dollars for campaigns and causes, focusing on uniting individuals and businesses behind a common goal of creating a better society. 

“I’m a millennial mayor and have often been called a hipster, which I think is a compliment,” said Mayor Terry. “I came to Clarkston almost seven years ago just as a temporary situation, but got involved politically because I saw there was a need in the community. The more I learned about its 35-year history of refugee settlement, it became apparent to me that this really is the best of what America has to offer.”

For Mayor Terry, he saw an opportunity to build on the microcosm of what a “more peaceful and prosperous world could be like.”

Similarly, Amplio Recruiting’s Chris Chancey sees himself as a social entrepreneur. In 2014, Chris visited Clarkston to learn more about the refugee resettlement process in America. He saw an opportunity to employ these legal and diligent newcomers while providing much-needed resources for companies all over Atlanta.

The dream of staffing Atlanta companies with talented refugee workers became a quick reality. By 2016, refugees placed by Amplio Recruiting were deeply engaged with products and services offered by Wal-Mart, Google, Tesla and dozens of other companies in Atlanta. This year, Amplio Recruiting has launched locations in Raleigh, N.C., Austin, Dallas, and London.

“We've been in the process of opening the London office and have had conference calls with several major companies such as Starbucks and L'Oreal, as well as mom-and-pop stores and manufacturing facilities that are already interested in using our services there,” said Chris. “Clarkston has a good concept so we can look at that and replicate it  in other parts of the world where that same kind of collaboration and cohesiveness is needed to really find a path forward for refugees in need of a new start.”

According to Mayor Terry, refugees who come to America are almost exclusively families, and often three generations in one household. The goal is to help get one of the adults fully employed so the family can afford housing and transportation. To further help its residents, the city is focused on creating affordable housing, access to public transportation, and other refugee resettlement issues such as innovative new models around civilian-led policing, tiny-house development, and micro-farming. As if that’s not enough, Mayor Terry has also committed Clarkston to a goal of 100-percent clean energy by 2050.

“We’re creating a walkable community,” said Mayor Terry. “The grocery store, the schools, the community center, the library, the houses of worship―they're all literally in one square mile within a 10-minute walk.”

He believes there’s good reason why the city is nicknamed “Ellis Island of the South.” According to Mayor Terry, “The average refugee stays two to four years, some a lot longer. Once people gain employment, they are looking for homes to buy or other places to move to and expand, so it's a good entry point for a lot of new Americans.”

At the Intersection of Three Great Needs

Chris started Amplio Recruiting in 2014 after working with an international business in  microfinance. Helping people get capital enabled him to follow that process all the way to his own backyard and find a way to do something for the refugees who needed help getting settled in the United States. Despite the resistance to the refugee influx, and the fears some had about dangerous people coming into the country, Chris forged on with his venture to perform a vital recruiting service.

"Whether or not we agree that these refugees should be resettled in the United States or in Clarkston, they are here. If they can add value to our community and we can pay a living wage to them, then it seems like a great match,” said Chris. “There's one gentleman I recruited, a former Iraqi Air Force General under Saddam Hussein, who is now a property manager at an apartment complex. He resettled in Clarkston almost 15 years ago. Although I don’t think he ever thought he was going to become an Air Force General in the American military, we were able to apply those same skills in managing a really good property.”

According to Chris, most of the refugees are just looking for an opportunity to work, learn quickly, put food on the table and give their children a good education. Many of the golf-course communities in and around Atlanta have cooks, servers and turf maintenance people employed through his services.  

He also partners with The Lantern Project to help train people in construction skills. “Right now there's a ton of electricians who need a good place to work. They’ve been training for a year to go into welding or pipefitting. We have a lot of folks who are stepping into those roles, and as you know Atlanta is booming with opportunities in construction. There's a huge labor shortage, so it's been great to be able to fill in those spots,” Chris added.

Over the years, Chris has witnessed the impact his efforts have had on the business community. For those companies that hire refugees, they learn quickly that a hard work ethic, combined with investments in training, pays off. The business gains a qualified, dedicated employee; the workers are able to give their families stability in an unstable world; and the community becomes more acquainted with the refugees and embraces them―instead of fearing them.

Chris and Mayor Terry are believers in pushing one’s comfort zone. “Chris is connecting people face to face,” said Mayor Terry. “That's what we’ve got to focus on now. Forget the media, forget what's on the Internet, and take that next step out into the real world and see for yourself.”

Stream the conversation in the player below to hear about the interesting ways Mayor Ted Terry and Chris Chancey are helping to build a city that serves as a safe landing spot for refugees, while giving employers access to an eager, dedicated and dependable workforce. You can also subscribe to In Process on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show on your smartphone.