Vanessa Merit Nornberg: In 2004, Vanessa opened Metal Mafia, a wholesale body and costume jewelry company that sells to more than 5,000 specialty shops and retail chains in 23 countries. Metal Mafia was an Inc. 500 company in 2009. @vanessanornberg
Ongoing education is a core part of every great business. The investment is small, but the return can be a game change.
Education is easy to make part of any business. That does not have to mean bringing in outside experts or sending employees away to expensive courses. Drawing on in-house resources can be just as rich. At Metal Mafia, we used to have sales seminars on a regular basis, at which different staffers would present on everything from the pros and cons of new products, to techniques for communicating better with customers. As we got busier, the seminars were scheduled less frequently, and finally, not scheduled at all.
Two weeks ago, I asked my staff to tell me why a customer would want to spend money on a specific new product we now offer. I thought the answers could have been better, so I decided we all needed a refresher course in how to explain the value of our products in a meaningful way to our customers. I held an in-house tutorial this week, and the investment paid off.
Here’s what I think you’ll find most useful.
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Mr.James Stilwell helps organizations in their leadership design and helps to implement ways to authentically engage their entire workforce. He has also taught at the University of Michigan’s Executive Education focusing on building collaborative organizational cultures
Mr. Stephen J. Gill– is a guest contributor. An Independent Consultant for Human Performance
Successful companies have high levels of employee engagement. Much has been written about why this is true and the factors that increase employee engagement. The vast majority of these writings and research findings focus on organizational and structural factors or put responsibility for becoming increasingly engaged in the lap of the employee. Some of these often cited factors include training and development, team building, recognition and rewards, information flow and access, performance reviews, and decision-making processes. Absent from this list is the powerful impact that leadership has on employee engagement. We imagine that as you read this you are saying to yourself, “Of course leadership is a key factor.” But we aren’t talking about giving lip-service to engagement, nor are we talking about having an engagement program, a director of engagement, or doing an annual engagement survey. We are talking about something much deeper that goes to the heart of leadership. This is self-awareness of ones values, beliefs, and attitudes regarding engagement and how the leader’s self is manifested in subtle but powerful behaviors that communicate volumes to an organization about the extent to which a leader truly supports increased engagement. Make no mistake about it, genuine employee engagement shifts power away from leaders and many leaders find this shift unsettling. Here are two examples.
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