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Rory Brown, Chairman of Goods & Services Partners, Shares How to Develop a Culture That Embraces Technology and Change

Rory Brown of Charleston, SC is a Managing Partner of NB & Co. and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ad Genius, Goods & Services, and Nearshore Technology Company. He works with management teams and experienced leaders on sales and marketing, technology, and strategic initiatives.

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Technology is developing at a rapid pace. However, employees, particularly in industries not generally associated with high tech, can be reticent to embrace change.

Often people operate under a "good enough" mentality. Unless they are suffering, status quo is the path of least resistance. They reason that if the technology and processes they've been utilizing work, why change?

But this sort of thinking is extremely limiting for the organization as a whole, as it prevents it from successfully keeping up with competitors that have created a culture that embraces technology and change. These forward-thinking companies, those that recognize technology's ability to empower employees, will almost always pass their technophobic, change-phobic peers. So in today's hypercompetitive business environment "good enough" is never good enough. But how can an organization change its culture, and go from ignoring technological innovations to embracing them?

Lead by Example

Culture can be built top down, starting with management, or bottom-up from grassroots efforts by employees. The latter is much harder to guide. So start where you can. Show your employees that management accepts new technologies and embraces change. This takes commitment on the part of your management team. They must operate as a unified front. If the employees see their managers frustrated by new business processes, they will emulate this reaction. Be certain every manager throughout your organization embraces continuous improvement.

Listen to and Empower Your Team

It's important to recognize that some employees do embrace change while others don't. It's a mistake to react negatively to the technophobic. This tends to make people entrench into their positions and resent change, which makes change far more difficult. Instead, listen openly to their concerns. Make certain they feel heard. An employee that feels included is far more likely to accept the new direction the organization is taking.

Empower those employees that do readily embrace change. Give them a voice in the organization. Publicly recognize and praise them. This creates a powerful incentive for others to emulate them. Encourage these employees to speak with their less accepting colleagues. Cultural change is driven by critical mass. Once a certain percentage of your employees embrace specific technological interventions the rest will quickly follow suit through natural peer pressure.

Make sure all of your employees recognize they are not only accountable to management, but each other as well. Employees that acknowledge their responsibilities to each other are far more likely to accept correction from their peers, and peer correction is a basic feature of the more difficult to achieve, but more lasting process of bottom-up, grassroots culture change.



Communicate the Benefits

Not all employees will "get it" quickly. Others, particularly those resistant to change, will have a much harder time learning new processes and tools. Instead of getting frustrated, keep patiently working with your team until they have a full understanding, not only of how the technology works but also how it benefits them and helps them do their jobs better. Make sure they understand how these technological interventions make the entire company more efficient, which means everyone can be more successful.

When you and your employees recognize that training isn't a "once and done" event but a process everyone will be better off. Since technology is constantly changing, it's essential for employees to receive periodic training to keep them feeling comfortable with the direction of the company and make them feel the company cares about the work that they do.

Positive Culture Creates Positive Change

If you keep your employees engaged, make certain they understand how their positions benefit the company and their coworkers, and empower them to intervene with each other when negativity creeps in you'll be well on your way to creating a workforce that readily accepts change and champions it throughout the organization.

About Rory Brown (Charleston, SC): Mr. Brown is a Certified Public Accountant and received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Charleston, SC.

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Deadlines Are Not Important

The Deadlines Of Life Do Not Mean As Much As You Think

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merew14
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Deadlines are not important; the deadlines for work, school, and things related to that, those are important. Life's deadlines are not important. Society tells us that we must be married, have the perfect job, and have children by a certain age. A lot of the times we end up believing that if we do not do certain things by a certain time, we have failed or we are not doing as good as everyone else. The truth is, society's and life's deadlines are crap. There is no specific time to be married by, no specific time to have your perfect job by, and no specific time to have children by. These things should not be accomplished until you are ready and capable to accomplish them; this means that if you are not 50 until you have your perfect job, you are not 30 until you are married and you are not 40 until you have children, that is okay. There is nothing wrong with waiting, experiencing life, growing in who you are, and doing what you need to do first. A lot of people do not have their perfect job until later in life because if we are all honest here, that is one of the hardest things to figure out and hardest decisions to make. People stress so much because they have not met these certain deadlines of life that they have been told their entire lives they need to meet by a certain time. So often, the important things like a job, a marriage, and children are rushed and people end up miserable. There is no sense in rushing if you are not ready for it yet. When it comes to finding the perfect job for you, look around, find your interests, and figure out what you can spend years of your life doing; take your time and be patient. When it comes to marriage and having children, do not rush it, it is one of the worst things to rush; do it in the time frame you want to and make sure it is what you want. Take a deep breathe and stop freaking out; you have plenty of time. Instead of going by society's and life's deadlines, go by your own and base that off of your capabilities and your wants.

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Victor Mitchell, CEO of Lead Funding, Reveals 5 Things that Increase Employee Satisfaction

Different things work for different people when it comes to having a productive work ethic.

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According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2013, around 63 percent of workers surveyed across countries all over the world claimed to be disengaged from their jobs. In other words, almost two-thirds of employees are unhappy in their current positions, although not necessarily enough to quit. Instead, they tend to push through each working day with little energy and enthusiasm, while a further 24 percent despised their jobs altogether.

The same study found that only 13 percent of workers felt actively engaged with their jobs, genuinely enjoying their typical working days and taking their responsibilities seriously. Unsurprisingly, these workers tend to be the most loyal and productive ones, since they have a genuine interest in the direction the companies they work for are heading.

Naturally, not all employees share a deep connection with their employer and company. However, Victor Mitchell, a life-long entrepreneur and successful businessman who has successfully founded, acquired, and/or turned around numerous diverse business ventures over the past 30 years, firmly believes in five elements conducive to greater employee satisfaction:

1. A Good Team

Studies have shown that by far the most common reason people like their jobs is that they like the people they work with. After all, it shouldn't come as any surprise that a workplace without a team-driven atmosphere can be an awkward and unpleasant working environment for everyone involved. It's difficult to have everyone get along at all times, but building a good team is undoubtedly crucial to success.

Morale in the workplace is heavily determined by the integrity of your team and how people work together to complete common goals. While no employer wants to sacrifice productivity, it is essential to adopt a work-hard-play-hard philosophy by allowing time for personal projects, encouraging teamwork through fun team-building activities, and recognizing both individual and group achievements.

2. Flexibility

Many organizations adopt an unyielding approach that feels like a soul-destroying chore to become a part of. Those office cubicle farms, fluorescent strip lighting, and grey carpets hardly make for pleasant places to work in. While building a comfortable, bright, and enjoyable workplace is essential for keeping your employees happy, it's also important to give people a reasonable degree of flexibility.

When employees have the freedom to work independently, make improvisations, and feel their actions and decisions are supported, they'll feel more responsible and more important. The risk of becoming disengaged with the job will be significantly less as well. Some ways to increase workplace flexibility include allowing employees to work at home on occasion or choose flexible working hours.

3. Productive Work Ethic

Having a good team and a pleasant physical environment to work in is essential, but those factors alone will not lead to a productive work ethic. After all, no employer wants their staff to be having fun during working hours if it comes at the expense of productivity. A productive working culture requires clear communication and trust above all else, as well as recognition of good work.

Different things work for different people when it comes to having a productive work ethic. Some work better when they prioritize persistence, while others need focus, and others work better when under a sense of urgency. By recognizing the strengths of individual employees, you'll be better equipped to help promote and encourage their skills to increase their productivity.

4. Variety

Some jobs are inherently dull. For example, not many people would claim anything is exciting about data entry, accounting, or telephone marketing. Nonetheless, with creative thinking, it is possible to break the tedious routines typically associated with such jobs by adding some variety. When each day is slightly different, and there's an opportunity to learn new things, people will be happier.

To help keep employees engaged, it is essential to offer the option to carry out other tasks as much as possible. However, this solution may not always be possible, in which case you'll need to take some steps to make boring jobs less so. Short but regular breaks by the water cooler can help a lot, but others might work better when multitasking or setting themselves some productivity goals.

5. Being Challenged

If an employee isn't being challenged at work, then their job is just a job and nothing more. They won't ever have that feeling of pride they would have if they have just completed a challenging task, and there won't be that important sense of accomplishment that helps push people to work harder and earn greater rewards. Challenge often marks the difference between a follower and a leader.

The average person spends almost 100,000 hours of their lifetimes working, so it stands to reason that they want to spend this time learning, developing, and bettering themselves, rather than wallowing in boredom and frustration. Pushing employees to their limits by giving them new responsibilities might sound harsh, but when combined with a highly motivational rewards-driven system, it will more than pay off.

Final Words

Everyone needs to earn a living, but money is not the only thing that influences job satisfaction. Employers often underestimate the importance of other factors, instead offering pay raises to keep people happy. However, about half of the employees who accept such offers still leave within the next two years. When it comes to longevity and loyalty to the company, employee satisfaction cannot merely be bought.

About Victor Mitchell:

Victor Mitchell, 52, of Castle Rock, Colorado is a successful businessman and life-long entrepreneur who has founded or turned around varied companies ranging from wireless to technology to real estate services to finance. Currently serving as CEO of Lead Funding, Mitchell is widely known for his innovative business strategy.

Mitchell previously founded several successful wireless communications companies and turned around several others. His innovative management strategies allowed numerous "mom-and-pop" wireless retailers to achieve financial success by aggregating their selling power to bargain successfully for favorable rights from national wireless service providers. In 2000, one of his companies was named "Colorado Small Business of the Year" by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. The Denver Business Journal placed Mr. Mitchell on its coveted "top 40 under 40" list of business executives, and Mitchell was also a finalist in Ernst and Young's nationally recognized "Entrepreneur of the Year" contest.

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