Blogs

Emotional Intelligence on an Aircraft Carrier

I attended two industry conferences last week and was struck by the similarities of the underlying theme of two of the keynote address speakers.

The first speaker was Brent Darnell, a noted author and trainer on developing Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. The second speaker was John Bourneman, F/A-18 Fighter pilot, Top Gun graduate, and CEO of the Corps Group, a consulting firm made up largely of former military officers with a focus on building high performance teams.

Creating Expectations: Building a Foundation for Success

I recently participated in what was potentially a very challenging meeting with an excellent prospect. The design of the plant we had been schematically developing was presumably well over their budget.

Yet, the team working on this accomplished a number of important tasks in the development of this opportunity. Within these tasks lies a process that is the foundation for greater success in sales and, yes, in relationships in general.

Scrutinizing Incentives: Perception vs. Reality

By Brandon Talbert, Senior Consultant with Austin Consulting

Over the past few years, there has been an increased level of scrutiny placed on incentive packages offered by many state and local governments to entice companies to create new jobs and invest capital in their area. A lackluster national economy, increases in government spending, the passage of a major healthcare reform bill, and growing deficits have likely contributed to taxpayer concerns and much of the negative press around some incentive deals. Many companies have been blasted in certain media outlets for negotiating or accepting incentive offers. Needless to say, this can become a public relations nightmare for the incentive recipient, as well as municipal governments and politicians. 

Channeling our Inner Ernie Banks: The Power of Positivity

Permit me some self-indulgence on this one. I have joked for years that being a life-long Cubs fan provided great training for a career in sales – it has taught me how to deal with disappointment and adversity, how to maintain optimism and good will, and that attitude is the biggest factor in one’s happiness and success. No one represented those qualities more than Ernie Banks. “Mr. Cub” passed away recently at the age of 83. 

Benefits of Conducting an Early Favorable Area Study

By Jonathan Gemmen, Senior Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

For several decades, corporations have compressed the timeline on which they execute the site selection and construction process. We’ve seen that most firms want to minimize the window between the date when their competitors know of their future expansion and the date when production starts. Every day that the market knows of the proposed expansion, is another day they can prepare for and adjust to the upcoming increase in production capacity.

Perspectives on Leadership

I have been reading a wide range of articles and books lately on the roles and responsibilities of leaders and how that affects results, and it has me thinking.

Dan Ebener has a book called Blessings for Leaders where he takes the Beatitudes and applies them to characteristics and practices for being effective leaders. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will inherit the earth,” etc…

He equates “Poor in Spirit” with humility. Those leaders who are servant leaders will succeed. He suggests a leadership style to be adopted that has a goal to create followers. At the Marines boot camp, the last ones to eat in the mess hall are the Officers. Servant Leaders are focused on nurturing their followers so that they are able to become leaders.

Balancing New Year’s Resolutions with Continuous Improvement

Happy New Year to all my blog readers. Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Broken any yet?

Certainly an interesting tradition that goes back to ancient Babylonia, New Year’s Resolutions are essentially about Continuous Improvement metrics. We set goals to improve and in general, we set a timetable to achieve those improvements (one year?). Livescience tells us that 4000 years ago, the Babylonians used the New Year to swear allegiance to an old King, or a new one if a change had taken place.

Water Reliability and Potential Impacts

Brandon Talbert, Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

On January 9, 2014, crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM), a chemical agent used in washing coal, reportedly leaked from a storage tank at a chemical storage facility located along the Elk River in Charleston, WV. The spill leaked into the ground before traveling to the adjacent river. The incident occurred about one mile upstream from American Water’s treatment facility along the Elk River, which flows into the Kanawha River in downtown Charleston. When it was determined that the spill had contaminated local drinking water, a “do-not-use” advisory was issued to parts of nine counties, affecting up to 300,000 customers. The ban lasted five days before gradually being lifted.

Perceptions and Positivity: Balancing the Good with the Bad

One of the last chapters of Scaling Up Excellence is titled “Bad is Stronger than Good”. The focus of this chapter deals with people’s perceptions and how their experiences shape them. Bad events have a stronger, more lasting effect. Bad events are also more contagious. Psychologists studying this phenomenon have defined what they refer to as a “five-to-one” rule:

The Annual Marathon That We Run

In the U.S. at least, the calendar year is an interesting marathon race. It can be a long journey with many sights and people along the way. The competitors we encounter are generally empathetic with the other runners, because in the end we are running the race ourselves. We challenge each other to improve along the way.

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