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Essential Skills Modern Executives and Top Managers Can’t Do Without

In the past, the gung-ho manager that looked after the company’s bottom line would have been considered effective. But the modern workplace is a significantly different environment. Companies aim for survival in the long-term, so a crass leadership style that focuses solely on immediate gains is no longer in vogue. Here are several essential leadership skills small business owners, executives, and top managers need to cultivate for long-term survival of the brand, according to CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants:

Emotional Intelligence – Forget the “Mad Men” style manager. The modern manager is highly emotionally intelligent. This typically means that the manager is capable of empathizing with the employees he or she is overseeing. Consider this scenario for example; an employee requests a day to work from home because their child has been taken seriously ill. A manager in the past would have flat out refused to grant permission. The skilled modern manager would empathize and accommodate the request.

While some minor inconveniences may occur because an employee decides to work from home, the long-term benefits are numerous. The continued success of any business depends on how invested each employee is in the brand. And if employees are happy, they are more engaged and productive in the workplace.

No More “Gut Feeling” Decisions – In the past, executives didn’t hesitate to boast that they made decisions based on their “gut feelings.” This type of reasoning doesn’t fly anymore. Top-level managers are expected to make their business decisions based on hard data. Even small businesses are encouraged to collect data to gather better insights regarding factors like the target demographic. Managers and executives should refer to this data when making decisions. Ultimately, the top-level players will have to explain business decisions using data-backed evidence.

Collaboration – The biggest businesses today are the result of enormous amounts of teamwork. Business success is no longer celebrated as the sole effort of a highly-placed visionary. Companies do credit their workers, particularly teams, for getting work done. Therefore, modern managers are highly collaborative and actually value teamwork. It simply would not be possible to oversee important projects otherwise.

Do the decision-makers in your small business embody the above qualities? Go to CBS-CBS.com to find out how your small business could improve its leadership.

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Google’s Approach to Establishing a Strong Team

 

Surprise, surprise. Google loves data.

Isn’t this something we knew? Maybe, maybe not.

What you likely didn’t know, however, is that Google often puts a great deal of effort into helping YOUR business operate at an optimal level. In doing so, Google has assembled some pertinent information on behalf of what is essentially their HR team. They sought to address the question of what makes a Google team successful.

Let’s dive a little bit deeper into this.

The Research

In seeking to understand why certain teams excelled and others did not Google examined more than 180 teams. They also conducted interviews and compared a myriad of characteristics/attributes between the high-rising teams and the ones that were falling short.

Conclusively, Google determined that the individual make-up of each team mattered much less than the person-to-person interaction and the composition of their work.

Ultimately, they determined that there are four critical components that separate the good teams from the great ones:

  • Psychological Safety
  • Dependability
  • Structure and Clarity
  • Meaning

While all of the elements are important, Google found that psychological safety played the largest role.

Psychological Safety

Essentially, this comes to down to one critical question: as a team, can you take risks that won’t lead to insecurity or embarrassment?

While risk-taking may seem routine on the surface, it actually carries with it a tremendous amount of emotional weight. When employees don’t feel secure about asking a question or contributing to an idea, they are less likely to partake in creativity and innovation. This is due to the simple, albeit IMPORTANT, fact that they do not want to be perceived in a negative light.

Employees that feel safe are much more likely to embody a sense of empowerment and subsequently will take risks and innovate. This leads to better collaboration and greater effectiveness. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

Dependability

As we know, nobody likes to work with an unreliable employee. This can lead to a myriad of issues. Thus, it’s critical that all members of the team submit their work on time and up to standard. Take the time to address the importance of dependability with your team.

Structure and Clarity

It’s essential for employees to understand exactly what their role is within the team at-large. If this is missing, people have a hard time pinpointing responsibility within the tasks. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to learn more.

Meaning of Work

As a team, you want to do your best to foster a sense of personal connection to the business and/or work that is being done. When this is the case, employees are more likely to deliver high-quality work.

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Small Businesses will be Affected by Facebook’s Newsfeed Change. Here’s What to Do About It.

Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook would be making some significant changes to how content is viewed on the platform’s Newsfeed. In a Facebook post on January 11, Zuckerberg specifically pointed to “public content,” which are posts from brands, businesses, and media, as “crowding out” personal posts. Facebook is making a major shift to mainly show posts from friends on the Newsfeed, as opposed to promotional material.

Small businesses can expect this change to hit them the hardest. Smaller brands are the most likely to promote Facebook posts. This year, this strategy will require drastic changes. Here are several tips suggested by CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants on how small businesses can get around the Newsfeed change:

Produce High-Quality Content—Facebook users are mostly annoyed by spam posts that are blatantly pitch products. To keep your posts on Facebook, start producing better quality content. Meaning content that is highly relevant, timely, and interesting to the target audience. Avoid clickbait and misleading headlines. Invest in articles or video that the target audience would genuinely be interested in.

Consider Paying for Facebook Ads—If Facebook is essential for marketing to your company’s target audience, then seriously consider paying for Facebook ads. The ads will be strategically displayed alongside the Newsfeed so the new change doesn’t affect ads.

Create Content based on Engagement Metrics—The content that is most likely to be successful on Facebook is the type of content with the highest engagement rating. If the videos your company is posting on Facebook is generating high engagement numbers, then it’s safe to continue producing the same type of content. Facebook issues an “engagement rate” for each post your business profile submits. Use this rate to measure which content is becoming popular on the platform, and the continue to make more of it.

Ask Users to Allow Posts—Facebook has a feature called “see it first” that allows users to prioritize content seen on Newsfeeds. Users can click on the “see it first” button for your brand’s profile so that the content you produce won’t be filtered out with the rest of the public content. So conduct a campaign to get Facebook followers to make this change.

There are also alternatives to Facebook marketing your small business can try. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to find out more.

 

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Everything Small Businesses Know about Hard Work is Wrong

Working hard is an idea that’s drilled into us from a young age. As the belief goes, if one works hard, they will be rewarded for their effort. The latest business research and insight is seriously challenging this notion of working hard. That is to say, does a business need hard-working employees? According to some companies, no.

Perhaps the most well-known company to challenge the notion of hard work was Netflix. Yes, the popular online streaming service made some serious changes to its internal culture after years of stumbling sales. Some of the reforms the company introduced include unlimited vacation times and flexible working hours. Netflix also let go of a good majority of its workforce. The intriguing part is exactly who was let go.

During the layoff period, Netflix didn’t keep its hardest working employees around while laying off the rest. Instead, the company separated employees into two groups: who was crucial to the business and who was not. It didn’t matter if the employees showed up to work on time and worked 10-hour days. If the employee was not considered essential to the business, they were let go.

Such an approach does not seem fair, or particularly smart. However, Netflix managed to turn its dismal finances around to become the premiere streaming service in the world. Why did the Netflix approach work? Read below for explanations from Corporate Business Solutions consultants:

It’s a Results-Based Approach – The Netflix method works because it’s a solely results-based method for running a business. Instead of evaluating employees by how long they spend at the office, the approach isolates employees who bring in results and have the most potential to contribute to the company. It works because those remaining can deliver when it comes to the company’s goals.

Reduce Stress for Necessary Employees – Removing employees who are not needed does reduce stress for employees who contribute to the core business. They don’t have to work with people who are unnecessary to the team.

Focus on Innovation – Ultimately, staffing the workforce is essential to employees who deliver results, allowing companies to innovate. Netflix succeeded because the brand returned as an innovative leader within the industry, not because it had the most hard-working employees.

It all comes down not to working hard, but to working smart. Small businesses that want to succeed must focus on increasing efficiency and productivity at the workplace. Invest in employees who drive innovation in a manner that makes the business more competitive. Avoiding the traditional corporate work environment and driving efficiency and innovation is the way to succeed in 2018. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Tips for Motivating Your Employees This New Year

Do you think your small business’s managers are motivating their employees? According to a recent survey by the human capital management company Ultimate Software, a shocking 56 percent of employees didn’t think so. The survey analyzed more than 2,000 employees in North America. While the overwhelming majority, 71 percent, of managers said they knew how to motivate their subordinates, the majority of employees disagreed.

Motivated employees are crucial to the success of a small business. Employees are also most satisfied when their relationship with the immediate manager is highly positive. Motivation is most important at the beginning of a new year when everyone is looking for a fresh start at work and in their personal lives. Here are several tips for managers and executives to keep employees motivated this new year from CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants:

Hire Friendly Managers – The personality and social interactions of the manager will highly affect how employees perceive him or her. No one likes to work with bad-tempered and irascible managers. To create a successful relationship between managers and employees, hire people who are approachable and friendly. Employees should be able to communicate their workplace issues to the manager in order to solve problems. If that doesn’t happen, the productivity levels of the small business would be fundamentally flawed.

Do Ask Employees to Contribute – Managers who tell employees what to do all the time are just bad managers. They should direct teams, not dictate to them. When managers are authoritative, it leads back to the fundamental communication issue mentioned above. Dictatorial managers may never know the reality of the situation for the team. Without that knowledge, it’s impossible to make teams more productive or efficient. This type of manager also stifles innovation. Therefore, managers should be able to ask employees to contribute to projects and meetings. Employees are best for conveying what’s wrong from the working side. This information is crucial for seeing projects to completion.

Get Employee Feedback – The Company should also conduct surveys and open avenues for employees to offer feedback on their working conditions, including management styles. Ask your employees what’s wrong directly to fix the issue.

It’s the start of the New Year, so it’s wise for your small business to learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid repeating them. You can request one of our acclaimed Corporate Business Solutions Reviews to analyze your company’s management style and get feedback from the experts.

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Small Business Financial Responsibility Tips for 2018

It’s still the start of a brand new year, so now is the perfect time to start thinking about small business finances for the rest of the year. Most business owners do worry about how the market will fare as new year dawns. If the market suddenly took a turn for the worst, could your small business survive? There’s also a new federal tax plan that will surely affect small businesses when quarterly taxes are due. As new challenges await small businesses in 2018, CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants highly recommend adopting new ways to remain financially responsible. Here are some tips owners can easily follow:

Stop Relying on Banks for Funding – Is your business heavily funded through bank loans or other types of debt? Debt issues can be the main source of cash flow problems for small businesses. It’s common to see small business owners struggle to repay loans even when the business is actually doing fine otherwise. Business loans are hefty and often carry high interest rates, so regular cash flow may not suffice to repay loans and make payroll. Therefore, be cautious when borrowing. It’s recommended for small businesses to have a savings repository to use when the creditors come knocking.  But more importantly, business owners need to develop a positive cash management system that will allow them to pay their obligations without the need for borrowing.

Formulate a Sound Tax Strategy – The tax law has changed. Do you know how it may affect your business? Small businesses should seek out professional tax advice on how the new tax law will affect them.  At the same time, CBS-CBS.com consultants can perform an in-depth review of your small business to ensure that you are well positioned to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you in 2018, including the changes in the tax law.

Analyze the Revenue – A good amount of targeted marketing and promotions that your small business undertakes in 2018 will require data for justification. This data comes from analyzing your company’s overall cash flow and revenue. Design a highly effective marketing plan and engage in cost-effective projects by doing a proper analysis of the company’s revenue streams.

Start the New Year with a (responsible) bang by putting the above pieces of advice to practice.

What Small Businesses Need to Know about Facebook’s “ Engagement Bait” Crackdown

Facebook very recently announced that it’s cracking down on posts that are “fishing” for shares and likes. The social network calls this behavior “engagement baiting.” The announcement comes as the year ends so businesses can expect the crackdown to be in full swing by early next year. What exactly is engagement baiting and how will the Facebook ban affect small business social media campaigns on the platform? Read below for answers from Corporate Business Solutions based on information currently available:

What is Engagement Baiting?

It’s simply the term Facebook is using for certain spam-like tactics that some people use to game the social network’s algorithm. Facebook not so long ago began a crackdown on clickbait. Engagement baiting is a form of clickbait. It refers to those posts that desperately try to get people to like, share, comment, or tag their friends. For example, posts that urge users to “like if you are a cat person, share if you are a dog person,” or “tag a friend to get a chance to win a Mercedes” are considered engagement baiting. Some marketers use such tactics to drive engagement because of Facebook rewards posts with the most reach.

Facebook has updated its algorithm to demote Pages or users who try engagement baiting tactics. Facebook will punish violators by reducing the total reach on all posts, not just the offending post.

Good Engagement Baiting and Bad Engagement Baiting

Facebook does understand that sometimes users and Pages ask for likes and shares for legitimate reasons. The company is offering exemptions for posts that raise money for legitimate causes, reporting a missing child or are requesting travel tips.

The company is also offering a way for first-time engagement baiters to reform their ways. If offenders “behave good,” as in replace clickbait with high-quality content, then they will get the original reach back.

How Small Businesses Should Respond

The aim of the engagement bait crackdown is to reduce the amount of spam on Facebook, such as posts linking back to websites full of ads. It’s also aiming to stifle the spread of misinformation on the social network. Small businesses should keep these facts in mind when trying to drive engagement on Facebook from now on.

Brands and companies should produce high-quality content for Facebook that genuinely makes the target audience interested in liking or sharing. Do not beg for likes or shares as shown in the examples above. Instead, use catchy headlines or interesting commentary to drive engagement. Using influencers to share or like posts is a good way to drive engagement without risking engagement baiting. However, these are generic recommendations. Request one of our Corporate Business Solutions Reviews to learn more about how to specifically improve your company’s social media reach.

How to Build Trust in Business Relationships

Solid business relationships are entirely built on trust. But occasionally, some of these relationships can get frayed. How do you repair a business relationship that’s losing its trustworthy nature? Here are several solutions from our Corporate Business Solutions consultants:

Keep Communication Lines Open – Trust can erode when the communicating stops. Therefore, keep in touch with the client or the business partner to make sure the relationship is retaining the trust it is based on. For example, keep partners informed of critical developments happening at the company that may be relevant to them as well. Answer questions honestly. Communication is the key to building trust, as well as preserving it.

Aim for Cooperative Contracts – Instead of signing for-profit contracts, aim to sign long-term cooperative contracts that offer benefits to both sides equally. If a small business wants to retain important partners, expect that these partners will seek more than financial gain from contracts. Most businesses do not enter into lucrative long-term contracts with entities they don’t trust. Therefore, cooperation is the key to stable business relationships that reap major profits over time.

Own up to Mistakes – One of the biggest reasons small businesses lose the trust of partners and clients is the blame game. It’s normal for mistakes to be made during everyday business transactions. However, how these mistakes are handled is what matters for long-term trust. If a mistake is made, and it’s the fault of your company, then do own up to the mistake. Do not deflect blame or try to pin it on something else. That shows irresponsibility. Businesses don’t like irresponsible partners that cannot be trusted. Therefore, be an empathetic and responsible partner.

Directly Address Sources of Conflict – If another business or a client is losing trust in your company due to a particular issue, do talk about it. If there are causes of tension in the business relationship, take time and initiative to address these problems head-on. Don’t let small issues snowball into big ones that result in broken partnerships.

Overall, be proactive when it comes to building trust in business relationships. To know more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

What to Do When Customers Bash Your Brand or Product on Social Media

Social media is essential for engaging with customers. Sometimes though, small businesses may wish customers were not so engaged on social media. If clients are taking to social media, not to praise your products, but to bitterly criticize, then your company will have a full-blown crisis on hand. Understandably, not all customers who engage with a brand post positive or neutral comments. The goal of a marketing strategy is to maximize positive engagement and minimize negative engagement down to near zero.

But what happens when the negatives end up overtaking the positives? How can a small business respond without spending too much or making the crisis worse?

Don’t Confront the Negative Posters – Being confrontational on a public platform like social media will never end well for a brand. Unless being confrontational is actually one of the traits the brand is trying to promote. Most brands, however, do not want this. If your team tries to confront the accusers, regardless of the merits of the claims, you risk a small argument from snowballing into a veritable social media spectacle. It takes years to build the reputation of a brand, and only minutes to destroy it beyond repair.

Take the High Road and Put the Matter to Rest Quickly – For example, learn about what happened to Iggy Azalea, a promising musician who damaged her brand permanently by relentlessly arguing with critics on Twitter. Keep in mind that the negative reviewers are not losing massive profits by arguing with a business. Therefore, the company should take the high road. Without sounding condescending or deceptive, put the matter to rest with a genial post. Keep it short and apologize if you have to. Don’t drag on an argument any longer than it needs to and let the news cycle move on.

Ask a Consultant What to Do – Marketing experts like the Corporate Business Solutions consultants can help your small business respond to a major PR crisis in a timely and sensitive manner. If your marketing team is inexperienced in responding to negative feedback that is making its way to media, hire the experts to manage the problem.

The main thing during a PR crisis is to avoid the problem from getting worse. Refer to CBS-CBS.com on how your small business can prepare for negative publicity in advance.

How Famous Businesses Create Great Company Cultures

If a small business wants to retain its top talent, increase employee morale, commitment and productivity, then the business must have a great culture. Company culture is a term that pops up a lot in business-related news articles. It refers to the internal environment of a business and the rules and procedures that drive employee, manager, and customer relations. A good company culture is essential for long-term business survival.

So, exactly how can a small business create a good company culture? Let’s look at some examples of famous brands that have managed to create truly excellent company cultures (selected by Corporate Business Solutions consultants):

Twitter – Twitter has managed to avoid some of the major pitfalls tech companies faced by developing a good company culture. The workplace is highly team-oriented with an emphasis on motivation and inspiration. Twitter also offers other benefits like free lunches, yoga classes, and even unlimited vacations for select employees. Those are only some of the reasons why Twitter employees cannot stop boasting about the company.

Warby Parker – Warby Parker is a major prescription eyeglasses brand. The company ensures that the internal culture is positive by arranging numerous events that drive positive interactions between employees. For example, working at Warby Parker means attending fun events, going out to interesting lunches, and overall socializing with co-workers a lot.

Zappos – The online shoe brand does not tread slowly when it comes to company culture. Zappos is heavily invested in providing great customer service. But the customer is not the only focus here. Zappos has 10 core values that all employees must learn. Zappos believes that happy employees lead to happy, and loyal, customers.

Squarespace – Squarespace is a highly successful startup that was once ranked as the best place to work in NYC. Why? Well, the reasons are many. The company has a “flat” hierarchy where the management level between the employees and the executives are few. Squarespace is actually applying a common startup tactic to a much larger company. Also, the company offers amazing benefits to employees like full health insurance coverage, pleasant workplaces, in-office stocked kitchens, and flexible vacation periods.

There are many things small businesses can learn from the above examples of creating a great company culture. CBS Corporate Business Solutions also want to include the importance of taking steps to reducing the incidents of verbal abuse and sexual harassment at the workplace if a company wants to create a truly great culture.