This is a guest post by Staci Redmon of SAMS.
Note from Bill: When I saw Staci’s recent Redmon’s Rules post on LinkedIn, I asked if I could share her first seven rules here with you. Staci offers a wealth of knowledge and experience as the President and CEO of Strategy and Management Services, Inc (SAMS).
SAMS is a SBA 8(a) program participant, service-disabled veteran owned (SDVOSB), woman-owned (WOSB), small disadvantaged business (SDB) that provides a broad range of strategy, management and information technology services to the DOD, other Federal Government agencies, and commercial clients.
1st Rule: Communicating Your Vision
Actualizing a vision requires employers to communicate and set expectations for the outcome. Open lines of communication are key to employees understanding their purpose, performance expectations, and execution strategies.
To further accomplish this goal and achieve a supported vision, create an inclusive collaborative work environment conducive to employees having input.
How to reach the endpoint is tactical, but achieving the vision is strategic.
Note from Bill: What’s critical to getting employees to really buy in to your vision is to LISTEN when they have input!
2nd Rule: Leading a Multigenerational Workforce and Adjusting to the Arrival of Millennials
Changing the landscape of traditional corporate culture to adjust to the arrival of millennials starts by redirecting focus to attract and retain this workforce.
Recognizing longevity in a company isn’t the priority for millennials; they value transparency and meaningful interactions. This tech-savvy generation enters the workforce wanting to innovate and propel the company’s growth.
3rd Rule: Incorporating Community Involvement
An active presence in the community directly impacts the lives of community members and the reputation of your company. Social awareness plays an integral role in sustainability and corporate responsibility.
As we strive to affect change within our infrastructure, let’s not forget our community of strong advocates, championing our success because we directly affect them by giving back and providing resources to enhance their livelihood.
Note from Bill: Back to Rule 1 – Communicate to the employees about your involvement, and be authentic. At TAPE we continue to support many Wounded Warrior programs, including one started by a former employee of our subcontractor.
4th Rule: Building a Network
There’s a direct correlation between your network and net worth; as you broaden the former, the latter increases. A rich network is built by collaborating with individuals of diverse skill sets, cultures, and occupations; creating an ability to forge relationships and develop your network.
To spur growth, limit connecting with like-minded contacts. Participate in and leverage activities with individuals of uncommon interest at first glance. This spawns opportunities to meet new people and establish unforeseen connections.
How do you network?
Note from Bill: This is very important, and we’re seeing how all of these rules build on each other. For example, does your community work have a networking aspect? If so, that can really change the value and dynamic. Again, be authentic – your peers and subordinates are all watching.
5th Rule: Addressing and Communicating Your Weaknesses
A cohesive unit is developed during the discovery phase of analyzing strengths and weaknesses of your team. This phase births awareness and potential challenges; allowing an opportunity to eliminate single points of failure.
As a leader, communicating your weakness is a strength that reveals you are cognizant of your abilities, and focused on creating value by addressing incompetency and delivering solutions with the strengths of other personnel. Invest in resources about strength and leadership, such as the StrengthsFinder 2.0.
What other strengths and/or leadership books would you recommend?
6th Rule: Hiring Creative and Innovative Employees – Seeing Beyond the Resume
Contrary to popular belief, a resume doesn’t reveal everything needed to make a smart hiring decision.
To get a glimpse into the creativity and competency of a candidate you’re considering, test for ingenuity by allowing your prospect to solve a real problem. The results from the trial will allow you to look beyond the resume and accurately assess the prospect’s capabilities.
How do you look beyond the resume? Here are 10 tips from SmartCEO.
7th Rule: Differentiating Your USPs
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the gateway to acquiring market share and potential financial success. Identify competitors and their products, then leverage your key differentiators to boost your position to become the market leader in your respective industry.
Have you studied the psychology of product differentiation? What does your business do differently?
These seven rules are just the beginning! To read Staci’s latest insights and join the conversation, visit the SAMS LinkedIn group.
In a small business like TAPE, our VPs need to be very hands-on in the day-to-day operations of the company. They’re responsible for business development, maintaining current customer relationships, building our repository of teammates and partners, and strengthening and maintaining those relationships, each for their specific line of business.
This “leaner, meaner” approach enables us to respond more quickly to opportunities and optimize our resources.
One of our VPs, Daria Gray, transitioned into this role from another leadership position in marketing and communications. I asked her to share her reflections on the challenges and opportunities of this type of change.
She says the internal transition happened quite naturally, “Once I’ve made up my mind to do something and am committed, I want to put in the time and energy to succeed.” Yet for some of the people around her, it took time to let go of Daria being in that former role, and to allocate her previous functions to others within the organization.
She says this is an example of a lesson that holds true in everything in life, and that is that you cannot change others. “They are going to continue to do what they have naturally done, but you can change your response or your reaction to their behaviors.”
Daria said that by being firm in her own mindset about the path she was on, she could gently remind others that she was no longer performing those capabilities.” For others in this same situation, she suggests you “stay focused on your new role and kindly redirect people to others who can provide guidance on matters for which they are seeking assistance.”
For Daria, this has been a really positive move, and she’s enjoying the responsibilities of her new role – managing not just the work, but the people and all the new endeavors that have come with it.
As many small businesses transition to a more lean/low-cost/low-overhead environment in the Federal sector, these kinds of transitions will become much more common.
It is much better to take a current, committed employee, who has demonstrated leadership, and train them in a few functions gaps, rather than go through the hiring process and then guess as to whether you were right or wrong on your choices.
As your existing customers are your greatest source of increasing growth and revenue, so too, your existing staff may be the best to fill new leadership roles. Reach out and see if someone wants to grow in a (sometimes surprising) new direction.
This is a guest post by Matthew T. Clarke, Vice President, Modeling, Simulation & Training (MS&T), Strong Point Research | Division of TAPE
Dr. Leonard Hobbs is a quiet professional. He seldom appears agitated and never raises his voice, but he easily stands out as someone of presence and authority. Within five minutes of meeting Leonard you conclude that he is competent, he is capable, and he is a leader. You understand you could follow him with confidence and that if you do, you will achieve something greater than selecting an alternate path.
There are thousands of books that explore leadership and attempt to produce the specific characteristics and practices of exceptional leaders. You could read them all, but at the end of the day, there is no cookie cutter solution. Leadership is an art and people are unique. You must find your own formula for success. Most never do.
Individually, Leonard’s leadership traits are subtle. However, he uses them with poise and élan that bring about a very strong cumulative effect.
- He is a compelling speaker. He is energetic, enthusiastic, and always well-prepared.
- He knows how to use humor and audience involvement to gain and hold people’s attention.
- He is an exceptional listener.
- He is a strong supporter and champion of people’s innovative ideas and works to secure the resources needed to achieve outstanding results.
- He is passionate about follow through and meeting commitments to ensure customer satisfaction, and expects others to be the same.
- He sets achievable but challenging goals.
- He is self-aware, with a clear understanding of what is expected.
- He is dependable. You can count on him to meet deadlines.
- He projects an enthusiasm that motivates others.
In October 2014, Leonard was named as a 2014 Leaders Portfolio Award winner, recognized in the category of Rising Business Leader of the Year – National. He also recently had his first book published at Xulon Press – Inviting Jesus Into Our Families Will Bring Healing and Restoration in our African-American Families.
He says that many of the skills he uses at TAPE – his interpersonal skills, and his management of personnel, skills and processes – can be linked to that part of his life. “In the book,” he explains, “I identify a bible-based foundation that has worked for thousands of years. Once you set a foundation from the Word of God you can do almost anything.
A company like TAPE needs and has unity, vision and purpose. If there’s no vision you won’t have success. How can people walk together unless they agree?
If you have a vision, you have to be able to share and articulate it to others so they can buy into it. When another person can understand your vision, they can comprehend their purpose in their company and how they can help you turn your vision into a reality.
We all have our individual goals, but they still tie in with leadership and the objectives of the company. There can only be one leader. When TAPE bought Strong Point Research, I had to understand Bill and Louisa’s vision and where they were headed. Ultimately I came to see that they truly did have our interests at heart.”
Leonard is capable, compelling, passionate and trustworthy. But even more so, Leonard understands that leadership is not the same as the authoritative use of power. He has that unique ability to get people to follow him even when they have the freedom not to do so.