OBU Business Presentation at ACBSP #6 Conference

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On October 4th,  Dr. John Cragin and Dr. Daryl Green shared their presentation, “Developing Entrepreneurs & Innovators in legacy institutions struggling with new market realities desperately clinging to the past” at the 2019 ACBSP Region #6 Conference at Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Dr. Cragin is a Professor of Social Entrepreneurship & International Business with extensive global experience.  Dr. Green, Dickinson Chair and Associate Professor, is a nationally recognized author and speaker.

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Getting 5 Great Business Tips From A Real Father Figure

When I think about how far I have come from a boy growing up in Shreveport with humble beginnings to a retired manager from the Department of Energy with several national achievements, including books, I must thank my parents for raising me the ‘right way.’ I know my father, Edward Elias, left an immeasurable influence on my life. He was old school… hard, stern, and purposeful in making sure that his children did not land on the wrong side of life.

Several years ago, I spoke at my father’s funeral, and I could not hold back the tears. God had given me a great mentor to guide me through manhood; God was now taking him back. My dad had achieved so much despite his lack of formal education. He had set a standard for me… my measuring stick. I felt my father’s shoes were too large to fill; however, I could not hide from my responsibility. It was my turn. Would I falter under pressure? Passing the family’s collective experience to the next generation is a necessary part of building strong leadership within families. How can families preserve this rich knowledge base? Who is going to remind us of the old ways?

With that said, I’d like to share one special story about the power of a good father’s influence on  a boy’s business perspective. My father worked for the public library system in Shreveport for several decades, and he was faithful. The workers all called him ‘Elie.’ My father was also entrepreneurial. He had a lawn service on the side. In many cases, he would leave one full-time job to work a part-time job. He never complained. I now recognize that good parents sacrifice a lot for their children, even to their own detriment. In this discussion, I will share 5 business principles I learned from my own father.

When I was in junior high school, my father got me a job working for a wealthy family with a huge home. My father had several yards he was serving. I can remember him push, mowing large yards (1 acre) for $20. To me, that was cheap. He would perform a lot of work for small sums of money. Well, I started working for this family. I was a boy Friday. I worked all sorts of odd jobs outside, including cleaning out flower beds. It was really a lot of work and hard work. In the middle of the day, my father would visit me. The wife of the home would come outside and bring us water and prepare lunch for me… peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I would thank her. I could tell that, inside, my father was laughing at me. I ate sandwiches.

My father knew I hated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Despite this fact, I ate those sandwiches and thanked the wife. I would work at least five hard hours. At the end of the day, the wealthy owner would come out and hand me $6. This wealthy man was extremely cheap. He thought he was doing me a favor by giving me an extra day (he was paying me a $1 per hour). However, I can remember that the minimum wage at the time was about $3.15. My father knew that this was crazy to work a teenager this hard for nothing. Yet, my father never said anything to me about this situation. The following are the lessons that I learned from my father:

  1. Always work hard, even when people are not watching you.
  2. Master a skill to the best of your abilities.
  3. Create a product or service of value and someone will always pay you for it.
  4. Always be respectful and polite to customers, even when you think you are being taken for granted.
  5. Always know your worth. People will often pay what you suggest. Make sure you are not underselling your value.

From working with my father, I learned some hard business lessons in life. In fact, that situation drove me to always get paid what you are worth in any job situation. I learned that I had to value my expertise and that some people would take advantage of you if you do not understand your value. That experience with the wealthy family taught me a lesson that I could never get at a business school or from a management expert. I learned this lesson from a hard knock.

unnamedMy father, in his own way, was grooming me for the decisions I would later have to make as a man. No! I know he never imagined that I would be an engineer. He would not have thought I would be an author of several books. He probably never envisioned as a business owner.  But—my father knew that I would need to have a basic understanding of life and how to manage as a man regardless of what happened to you. My father, Edward Elias, made a lasting impression on me as a man and a hard-working business owner. This business savvy will have a lasting impact on future entrepreneurs in our family. Knowledge is wasted if it isn’t used. I have always tried to pass on this simple wisdom of my father to everyone that I happened to meet. R.I.P my dear father!

© 2019 by D. D. Green

Please share your insight on this topic.

Providing Good Customer Service

If America is going to survive this economic crisis, businesses will need to change what they are doing. Behind this backdrop is a lack of understanding of a holistic approach in providing good customer service. Companies should not believe that they can provide good customer service while treating their employees badly. Bad treatment of employees will eventually show up in unpredictable ways.  

I’ve spent some time studying customer service as a practitioner and scholar. In fact, one of my star MBA students, Jalene Nemec Davis, and I co-authored book Good Customer Service: The Definitive Handbook for Today’s Successful Businesses.  United States companies are finding it harder to compete abroad. Is there any wonder why some individuals want to give up? This article examines how to create an amazing customer service for sustainable success. What follows will help you revamp your organization and, hence, the focus of your business’ customer service.

Defining good customer service is an essence. Before you can decide what good customer service is, you must first think about what it means to your company or your industry. Defining what good customer service is for any one company is difficult. A hospital’s idea of good customer service will differ from that of a restaurant. To help you determine how it is defined for your company, look first to your mission statement.

Every little detail counts for good customer service.  Paul B. Thornton, a Massachusetts-based business consultant and author of Leadership-Best Advice I Ever Got, suggests, “Customer service should, if written well, state what is most important to your company and why it exists. It should focus on the organization and keep everyone going in the same direction to achieve the same goal.” After all, when it comes to customer service, no matter the industry, isn’t it getting everyone to work as a team believing in the same mission? The mission being to service their customers to the best of their ability, regardless of whom they might be (shareholders, consumers, suppliers, co-workers, etc.). Look again at your company’s mission statement; does it include providing good service to your customers?

Build an organization that is built to serve the needs of the customers and be prepared to see better results. In fact, the business must determine what kind of customer service you and your company want to provide. Businesses should ‘WOW’ their customers. Organizations should create memorable moments for their buyers. Here’s a test. Take out a piece of paper and jot down what first comes to mind. Review your list. Are the items listed those that your customers truly value? If not, that is okay. In business operations, sometimes it is difficult to separate what the company wants versus what the customer wants because most companies only want to see the bottom line.

In fact, review some businesses that are very successful in the realm of customer service and see where they place customer service as part of who they are as an organization. For example, Let’s review Southwest Airlines, one of the most reputable airline companies. This airline states, “Southwest Airlines is a company that is for anyone and everyone that wants to get from point A to point B by flying. Our service and philosophy are to fly safe, with high frequency, low-cost flights that can get passengers to their destinations on time and often closer to their destination. We fly in 58 cities and 30 states and are the world’s largest short-haul carrier, and we make sure that it is run efficiently and in an economical way.”  

With enormous competition for customers, can you afford not to provide good customer service? Does your mission state measure up to the needs of your intended customers? This article demonstrated how to create an amazing customer service for sustainable success. In the end, customers are individuals who determine good customer service. Therefore, businesses should think from the mindset of the buyer, not the seller. Even if you cannot see room for improvement off-hand, what I have to say may strike up some ideas that will prove beneficial to you and your company. I pray that it is not too late.

Please share your insight on this topic.

 

© 2019 by Daryl D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:

Dr. Daryl D. Green is the Dickinson Chair of Business professor at OBU’s Paul Dickinson College of Business, teaching leadership, management, and marketing. In 2016, Dr. Green retired from the DOE, where he worked in the Environmental Management Program for over 27 years. He is the author of Amazon.com Hit Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence. For more information, please visit http://www.darylgreen.org.

Gaining More Job Opportunities With LinkedIn.com

Today’s job seekers face a landscape of great opportunities as employers look due to growing competition and limited job openings. In fact, college graduates are under tremendous pressure to land a high-paying job to cover their college debt. In recruiting young engineers and scientists at the Department of Energy, I soon discussed a major disconnect between what employers desired from potential employees (i.e., college students) and what today’s job seekers expect of employers. According to a Glassdoor.com survey, each corporate job on average attracts over 250 job applicants. Of those individuals applying, four to six will be called for an interview. However, one person will get a job offer. With that said, individuals need to implement the right job strategies to be successful. This article examines how LinkedIn.com can help you build your professional brand for greater job opportunities.

Are you ready for the competition for your ideal job? According to Business2community.com, 427,000 resumes are posted each week on Monster.com, an online job board; 8 million job applicants said they found their job on Twitter.com. Having an online presence is vital for today’s employment opportunities. LinkedIn is the perfect digital footprint for working professionals. Being the world’s largest online professional network, LinkedIn.com has more than 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Professionals are signing up on LinkedIn.com at a rate of more than two new members per second. In fact, 89% of employment recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.com. College students may flock to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, LinkedIn is the website that makes them credible to future employers while building their own personal brand.  

Getting started on LinkedIn is easy. Connecting with the right person can increase career networking opportunities with the basic “Six Degrees of Separation” principle. In 1929, Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy coined the term ‘six degrees of separation.’ According to Whatis.techtarget.com, six degrees of separation is the theory that “any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.” When a person is established on LinkedIn, the individuals can see how their connections are linked to other influential people. To get the most attention on LinkedIn, individuals need to achieve the “All-Star” status. Some of the requirements include a completed LinkedIn profile, including a professional photo and summary. Below are steps to build an effective LinkedIn Profile:

  1. Submit a professional photo.
  2. Create a catchy headline aimed at potential employers.
  3. Write an incredible summary statement.
  4. Select a unique LinkedIn URL for your profile.
  5. Obtain recommendations from professors, employers, coaches, and other influencers who can speak to your character and leadership abilities.
  6. Post relevant articles on your LinkedIn profile (i.e., LinkedIn Pulse) that demonstrate your critical thinking and writing style.
  7. List appropriate work and volunteer experiences.
  8. Upload presentations and written documents that showcase your professional abilities.
  9. Follow businesses and organizations that are potential employers or contacts.
  10. Join LinkedIn Groups that add to your professional network.

With fierce competition for jobs, job seekers need to present a great image to future employers. LinkedIn provides an excellent gateway to more employment opportunities online. This article demonstrated that LinkedIn.com can help you build your professional brand for greater job opportunities. Unlike traditional social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn allows individuals to establish professional networks, obtain needed resources, and foster a professional relationship with prospective employers, clients, and partners. Creating an effective LinkedIn Profile can garnish great career and professional networking opportunities.

Please share your insight on this topic.

© 2019 by Daryl D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:

Dr. Daryl D. Green is the Dickinson Chair of Business professor at OBU’s Paul Dickinson College of Business, teaching leadership, management, and marketing. In 2016, Dr. Green retired from the DOE, where he worked in the Environmental Management Program for over 27 years. He is the author of Amazon.com Hit Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence. For more information, please visit http://www.darylgreen.org.

Finding Your Ideal Customers

Today’s businesses must build value for customers if they hope to be successful. Yet, value is a moving target. In our discussion, we will examine how businesses should target their ideal customers by building value for their customers. All customers do not have the same measuring stick for sellers to apply a cookie-cut approach. In fact, globalization has created all types of problems for businesses. One of the issues is how to stay ahead of the competition by exploring new markets while keeping the same customer base. Doing this action is not easy. Many businesses build their profitability on this simple equation. Companies seek to reduce their inputs (i.e., outsourcing labor, using better technologies) to obtain greater profitability. Still, the process is often self-serving with little regard to the customer and lesser value on employees. Therefore, many people might insist that some businesses simply stumble on what customer value is and how it affects their business.

Creating value is not that simple. Some businesses seek to take shortcuts in building relationships with customers with marketing smoke and mirrors. Some organizations simply believe that hiring a large sales force is enough. Jeb Blount, author of Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide for Starting Sales Conversations and Filing the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, E-Mail, and Cold Calling explains, “Lots of salespeople have the intelligence, talent, skills, and education to be top performers. Lots of salespeople are competitive, understand the sales process, and know how to ask for the business. Yet they consistently underperform the superstars… Superstars are relentless, unstoppable prospectors. They are obsessed about keeping their pipeline full of qualified prospects.” Thus, knowing your customers intimately will serve small businesses in creating value for customers.  

Creating value does generate ideal customers.  In identifying ideal customers, businesses target group of marketings who are most attracted to their products and services.  Therefore, businsses tailor their marketing, advertising, and sales efforts for these type of customers. Value is defined as “the total benefit that the seller’s products and services provide to the buyer.” Stephen Castleberry and John Tanner, Jr., authors of Selling: Building Partnerships, argued the critical need for value creation: “Selling is about creating value… The manner in which a product is handled suggests value. Careful handling communicates value, whereas careless handling implies that the product has little value.” Sadly, some business owners do not comprehend how value creation works.

John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, also maintains that building value for customers is no accident: “You can choose to attract clients that value what you offer, view working with you as a partnership, and want you to succeed…” For example, Shawnee’s Chick-fil-A Owner Jeff Madison understands the merit of this concept. Retired U.S. Army Colonel with 26 years of leading U.S. and multinational soldiers and civilians from cavalry scout platoon to the Pentagon, Jeff recognizes the essential of deploying a combat-proven, critically reflective, innovative and decisive strategy in ever-changing conditions. Despite all the MBA type strategies, success starts with building value for customers. Jeff explains, “We create value for our guests by connecting with our guests beyond the transaction (taking their money at the cash registers). We offer genuine hospitality and Matthew 5:41 Second-Mile Service. We carry trays to the table for guests who need assistance.” Madison seeks to build an emotional connection with customers.

With the economic crisis, local businesses need to consider changing what has not worked. In today’s discussion, I demonstrated how businesses can benefit themselves by understanding how to create more value for their customers. Being strategically conscious of these business relationships is stress-free. This process takes everyone’s total involvement. When small businesses place value creation as a high priority, prospecting for winning customers is a lot easier and more beneficial in the long run.

Please share your comments on this topic.

 

© 2019 by D. D. Green

Growing Your Small Business With Fiverr.com: Tapping into the Gig Economy

Bringing in a New Year creates a sense of renewal and opportunities. Yet, many small businesses have a ‘wait and see’ attitude riddled by uncertainty and unpredictability of the future. Most organizations have limited resources and must be cautious about their business growth. If you own a small business, what could you do with an extra stack of cash in your pocket by reducing your expenses while improving the quality of your goods and services? Over the last few years, I have been researching the freelance market in order to assist small businesses with the resource deficiencies that most organizations face.

With uncertainty in the market and competition at a peak, most organizations should rethink their business strategies. December’s outlook was not entirely positive. The fourth-quarter marked the worst start for stocks in 10 years. Many experts are skeptical about the economy for several reasons including: failure of popular tech stocks and the fallout from the trade fight between the U.S. and China. There is a weakening global economy that is wreaking havoc to U.S. companies. According to the Commerce Department in December, U.S. factory outputs were showing signs of slowing down. All of these realities demonstrate that businesses are not safe by maintaining the status quo. Things are changing… like it or not. One of the glaring trends was a search globally for talent. While Fortune 500 Companies have the financial strength for this international initiative, most small businesses could not do this… until now.  In this discussion, we examine how today’s small businesses can leverage the power of the gig economy to secure great freelance talent to maximize their performance. Continue reading

Strategic Leaders for Disruptive Changes in 2019

Are you ready for changes in 2019?  If you are like most organizations, the answer is probably ‘no.’  Yet, today’s challenges require a different approach. In fact, businesses fight to survive in severe economic conditions. Shareholders replace CEOs like they change defective light bulbs. It is frequent and unpredictable.  In hopes of salvaging the latest struggling organization, executives usually implement quick solutions by cutting costs (which translates to mean people) and attempting to stop the hemorrhaging through technology. Yet, can today’s managers continue to do the same things and expect different results?  

Sadly, some managers foolishly rely solely on their experience to read market changes. Yet, the current market isn’t like the past! In many situations, managers are equipped to deal with the predictable.  Change that is either planned or incremental is addressed with a risk management approach. However, disruptive change is the hallmark of today’s markets. Disruptive change is sudden and unpredictable. Therefore, experience becomes a liability, not an asset. Organizations, using the old mode of operations, find themselves vulnerable. Established institutions fail. Unknown companies emerge to dominate new sectors. Clayton Christensen, author of Innovative Dilemma, attributes this phenomenon to disruptive innovation.  Therefore, survival depends on understanding the current markets and future trends.

 

Most organizations need strategic leaders to oversee disruptive changes. Strategic thinking represents a different solution for contemporary managers. Strategic thinking is more than careful planning of the organization’s work. Strategic thinking consists of two components, which are knowledge about the present and foresight about the future. Charles Handy, author of The Age of Unreason, argues “Discontinuous change requires discontinuous thinking. If the new way of doing things is going to be different from the old, not just an improvement on it, then we shall need to look at everything in a new way.”  Watt Wacker, Jim Taylor, and Howard Means, leadership gurus, suggest a visionary leader with the capacity of ‘living in the present’ while ‘living in the future.” Therefore, duality becomes a critical attribute of exemplary leaders in disruptive environments.

In summary, disruptive change is creating problems for most traditional organizations. Strategic leaders are needed.  Clearly, strategic thinking is different than routine planning of an organization. Unfortunately, some managers are unaware how this process can assist them in being competitive. Since contemporary organizations can no longer use outdated methods and cookie cutter solutions in this disruptive environment, managers must reexamine their operations. In fact, leaders must be flexible to sudden market changes. Therefore, effective organizations go beyond detailed planning to strategic thinking.

Please share your ideas on this topic.

 

Retooling Ethical Behavior With Agrarian Leadership

Summary: Examine the concept of agrarian leadership in today’s society. Dr. Green shares how to infuse ethical behavior in the workplace with a different type of leadership. 

We live in a digital economy. Technology and innovation continue to improve our wants and desires. Like the Great Roman Empire, the moral decay in our society will slowly eat us from the inside out. In order to improve leaders’ value systems, we need to regain the values of agrarian society. Leadership expert Vana Prewitt argues that the current leadership theories are based on modernist assumptions and are out of date with leading today’s postmodern organizations. Given this dilemma, I advocate for a different kind of 21st leadership.

Today’s leaders need a fresh and authentic outlook, which is morally sound. In fact, a leader’s vision must be deeply rooted. Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford, and David Buchanan, authors of Managing Organizational Change explain, “Visions are thus linked to strategy and competitive advantage, enhancing organizational performance and sustaining growth… A lack of vision, on the other hand, is associated with organizational decline and failure.” Let’s look at Agrarian leadership. Agrarian leadership is defined as a contextual influence that has an impact on subordinates’ attitudes and performance by leaders who are both value and results driven. Agrarian leaders view their followers as critical parts of the socio-technical system. Therefore, technology does not drive the value system of society.

Before the Industrial Revolution, life was centered on land and labor. Life was simple for the leader in the agrarian society. Rural living revolved around the land; owning it was equivalent to self-sufficiency and liberty. Although Americans lived in a tribal structure prior to the Agrarian Era (1650-1849), farming communities operated in a decentralized economy.

Agrarians exercised a strong spirituality and a deep respect for the environment. There was a genuine concern for neighbors and co-workers. Being a leader was a major responsibility. In fact, farmers were like heroes because of their hard work, contributions to society, independence, and moral standards. A man’s word meant something. With the transition from an agrarian to industrial society, untainted leadership was lost.

The Industry Revolution meant major changes to the American way of life. Before that period, over 90% of Americans lived rurally. Farmers influenced society. Between 1870 and 1900, rural areas doubled and the urban regions tripled. Farmers were cautious about these societal changes.

Industrial managers faced challenges, such as generating new efficiencies while expanding operations. Chaos theory was in effect because those managers couldn’t control these organizational changes (both inside and outside). Factory managers lacked a process to motivate the unskilled (former agrarian) workforce. This era created new advances and new problems.

The Industrial Revolution forever changed agrarian society, primarily due to market economy and technology. Farmers were less self-sufficient and became “economic market” slaves. This created a conflict because farmers and industrial society had different values. Farming became more productive, but fewer farmers were needed.

As a result of these advances, farmers lost their independence, family focus, and societal influence on moral conduct. For example, some managers found factory workers breaking equipment. Consequently, managers tried to institute positive and negative rewards; these managers used conventional wisdom: “the hungriest man makes the best worker.” Once again, humanity was moving away from his calling—the land.

Therefore, advances in technology do not always equate to a better society. Many techno advocates would argue that technology has provided superior virtues. I beg to differ. First, technology doesn’t automatically improve society. In over 50 years, America has gone from rural to city and from national to international markets. Richard Critchfield, author of Trees, Why Do You Wait: America’s Changing Rural Culture, argues that these advancements have weakened our core values, such as family tradition and work ethic.

Secondly, the disintegration of the agrarian code has destroyed our moral stability. Osha Davidson, the author of Broken Heartlands, suggests that technology and the economic prestige of the agricultural system brought a host of social ills, such as poverty, depopulation, and soil erosion.

In closing, we may consider agrarian lifestyle primitive. However, agrarian values shouldn’t be forgotten as good leadership attributes. We continue to advance technology rapidly while the values of society continue to disintegrate with each innovation. In society, many leaders exhibit unethical conduct, pursuing wealth. Throughout American history, we see the consequences. Let’s pray it’s not too late for agrarian leadership.

Please discuss agrarian leadership as it relates to a changing world.

10 Steps To Spot Unethical Leaders

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Have you seen the number of scandals in today’s organizations?  Government! Business! Non-profit organizations! Religious entities! No institution is exempted.  But—followers of these organizations deserve better!

Sadly, many employees chuckle at their bosses when they lecture them about ethical behavior in their organizations (typically because their management is not…ethical).  With the continual unethical behavior patterns of several leaders, today’s workers are more cynical about their leaders than ever.  In today’s discussion, we will evaluate how to spot unethical leaders in organizations. Continue reading