In this episode, we welcome Marcy Fortnow of Engaging Play. Engaging Play creates customized, interactive events to address your organization’s needs and bring your team together. Marcy also teaches communication, uses interactive and competitive games, and designs and leads original community builders. Engaging Play is an investment in your people to enhance your company’s culture, develop productive, loyal employees, and produce amazing results. Covid19 has been especially impactful on Marcy growing the business because efforts had to switch from face-to-face activities to virtual team building. Listen today on ways of rethinking how we connect with our staff and colleagues to improve moral.
In this episode we interview Neil Schwan – Owner of Schooley Mitchell Chicago. Schooley Mitchell is a large franchise network of independent and objective cost reduction experts, handling repetitive billings, traditional expenses relative to services like telecom, waste handling, small package shipping, etc. allowing you to focus on your core business knowing your systems are fully optimized and any wasted money is recovered. Neil and I are also co-founders of an Efficiency Mastermind Group.
This week we talk with Paul Van Metre, co-founder of ProShop ERP. The company didn’t originally start as an ERP systems company but rather was founded in 1997 as a CNC shop. As their CNC business grew, Paul realized early on that their spreadsheet record keeping was not going to scale laterally with the business. For this reason, they developed their own system and through 8 years of organic growth eventually became Proshop ERP. The history of Proshop ERP is truly a story of “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” Proshop was heavily involved in Aerospace in 2001 and the 9/11 attacks nearly bankrupted their company. They learned from this and adapted because during the 2008 financial crash, they didn’t furlough nor let go any of their workforce. Fast forward to the Covid19 Pandemic, they are thriving. Proshop ERP has doubled their workforce in 2020. Listen this week and learn how Proshop ERP overcame these obstacles.
This week we bring in Joe McDermott of Carma. Joe is the COO/CFO and the co-founder of Carma with his brother Frank. Carma was formed to provide professional services for telecom and data centers, creating a platform to inventory data collection systems to reduce ridiculous defect rates and improve the efficiencies. Joe has experience with startups and was also the co-founder of Arcanum Alloys, a steel venture. Joe has seen and experienced what it takes to be a good leader. He knows how to build a good company and instill a positive culture so the employees are excited and engaged in their work. Joe also spent time in the Air Force, went on to graduate from Princeton and later attend the prestigious Harvard Business School. Carma ‘s path is a bumpy one, but doing well now. Enjoy this week’s episode!
This week we talk with Bailey Kramer of Property Dogs (also a student at University of Central Florida). Bailey is a Managing Partner with Frank LaMark Jr. whom he met on an online networking platform facing a common problem of lead gen. After many zoom calls and emails, Bailey and Frank decided to start Property Dogs which debuted about a year ago and now currently has 4 employees working full time. Property Dogs focuses on Residential and Commercial real estate. They have isolated their approach to the market and instead of being a “Jack of all trades, master of none”, they have taken the opposite approach. They become a master in one area before moving onto the next. Listen this week to learn more about Property Dogs as well as about the power that networking and social media can bring to those that want to start a business but don’t know where to begin.
Today we are featuring Kaleen Marshall, CEO of Viaggio Group, an author, and creator of the nonprofit BellViaggio. Kaleen is a professional coach and consultant focusing on leading children and adults with special needs to live a beautiful journey through life. Additionally, she works with caregivers, guardians and advocates on this same journey. Kaleen is an author of the book “Who Will Love Me” which focuses on her experiences when she became the unexpected caregiver to her sister with Downs Syndrome, after the untimely death of her mom. Listen this week as we explore what makes a community and how we are all stronger when we work together and listen to each other.
Today we bring in Roy Kessel of The Sports Philanthropy Network. Roy’s mission is to produce positive social change in kids and young adults through the good of sports. 2020 was a pivotal year for Roy because he had to navigate around the difficulties of the covid19 pandemic due to strict lockdowns and lack of sport activity. Additionally, Sports Philanthropy World was an in-person conference started by Roy in 2019 and had to transition to a video format for 2020’s conference. Now scheduled for June 2021, the conference consists of over 120 organizations consisting of 80+ countries. Listen this week to learn more about Roy and his creation of The Sports Philanthropy Network.
In this episode, we welcome Louie Sharp of The Gifted Leader and Sharp Auto Body in Greater Chicago area. Louie has built successful businesses including an auto body shop and consulting practice, but more importantly, he has defined what it is and what it takes to be a great leader. Louie’s life experiences and military background helped mold his leadership skills. His businesses thrive today because he repeatedly goes the extra step to be a great person, not just a great leader and therefore, his team that he has built will go the extra mile for him. You will enjoy this week’s interview! Links are available at the end of the interview to contact Louie if you want to reach out to Louie or book him for an event.
If you prefer podcast (audio) over video, click here: https://anchor.fm/opsqc-inc/episodes/OPSQC-Podcast_006-Louie-Sharp—Founder-of-Sharp-Auto-Body-and-The-Gifted-Leader-etj6lg
Additional Links discussed:
Engaging Employees Series – Five Virtual Meeting Closing Tips
By: Marcy Fortnow – Founder of Engaging Play
Date: Originally Published – May 2020
We all know that meeting management is critical, but now that we are virtual, it is even more so. If you are a leader, a meeting facilitator, or someone who influences team communication, improving your meeting skills is of paramount importance in today’s virtually connecting world. Gathering in virtual meeting rooms or on conference calls are opportunities for your team to communicate, connect, engage, share information, collaborate, and be productive together.
I am convinced that poorly managed meetings are why meetings in general have such a bad reputation. Well conducted meetings can lead to enhanced communication and greater buy-in and consensus. Many meetings fail to achieve objectives because the person running the meeting doesn’t plan the end properly. The way you close a meeting is the missing link between meetings that go nowhere and meetings with impact. Without a well-planned ending, things can be left unsaid, unchallenged, lack clarity, and remain uncommitted.
I have discussed the importance of meeting openers, so now I must share 5 tips for closing your meeting well. Closing your meeting properly will help your communication be clear, your projects move forward, and your meeting time be worthwhile. A good closing in this critical time will help your people to feel connected, positive, and accomplished. Failure to close a meeting properly can leave things left unsaid, action items not taken, and result in low commitment, low accountability, and poor results.
The way you close a meeting is the missing link between meetings that go nowhere and meetings with impact. Try these 5 closing tips to bring better structure to your virtual meetings:
- Have your meeting end process and time listed on the agenda. If your meeting just ends at the last discussion item, there is no expectation and opportunity to wrap up the topic. Putting the end on the agenda allows any last comments to be made and voices to be heard.
- Review and note next steps and agreements. This review process can be done after each topic and should also be done at the completion of the whole meeting. Robert C. Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity, suggests meeting leaders ask participants three questions:
- What do we see as the next steps?
- Who should take responsibility for them?
- What should the time frame be?
- Implement a “closing round” which allows participants 30 seconds to say any insights or issues they have from the meeting. A closing round gives everyone the opportunity to have a last word so that nothing festers or is not acknowledged. A closing round allows everyone to get anything unsaid off their chest. This is the best way to eliminate the meeting after the meeting that creates dissension.
- Acknowledge participants and contributions. People who participate and contribute are more engaged, so let them know that their opinions and involvement are valued. Praise people who have contributed in the meeting, to the project, and to the organization. Be sure to include any celebrations and accomplishments.
- End on time! One of the worst practices in meetings is not respecting the announced ending time. Frequently, this is due to the meeting starting late, or the meeting chair letting some team members ramble on or go off topic. Ending on time shows respect for the agenda, the meeting members, and their time.
Any meeting can be considered incomplete unless it is wrapped up in a thoughtful, deliberate way. Try these 5 tips for ending your next meeting and let me know in the how it goes. If you have additional tips to contribute around ending virtual meetings, please share in the comments below.
If you would like to see me discuss this in a video, look here.
Engaging Employees Series – Five Actions to Build Community
By: Marcy Fortnow – Founder of Engaging Play
Date: Originally Published – April 2020
It is hard to believe, many of us are still working virtually! Some of us, certainly the people I am connecting with, my friends, colleagues, and clients, are feeling lost and disconnected. Some are struggling with low motivation and low energy. All of us are missing that sense of community that our work place world provided, and it can be lonely.
Creating community is so important now. It is not “too much” and your efforts will be appreciated. As Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”. Great Leaders create community for others.
To see this discussion in video, check here.
Here are five ideas that create community in your organization.
- Virtual lunch breaks or happy hour – Lots of organizations are implementing these and I am hearing participants are having fun! People need a replacement for gathering spots like the lunch room or the coffee station. Create this opportunity for your team to gather together remotely.
- Asynchronous socializing – There is still a need for friendly non-work related conversation and connection. Consider using messaging tools, Slack, or even text and email for personal connection. Encourage individuals, small groups, and departments to meet up in this way.
- Virtual Clubs – Foster community and build stronger relationships by creating clubs that speak to people’s interests. Form book clubs, movie discussion groups, or music channels for people to develop deeper connections.
- Stay Active together – Look for ways to keep your community active and supportive at the same time. Create a step challenge or find a low cost subscription for your team to a yoga or exercise studio for classes. Have participants register their progress on your company’s google drive so they can share their successes.
- Make time for Celebrations – Recognition and celebrations are more important than ever. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and work accomplishments as a team. Successes, milestones, and celebrations should be called out and applauded in your community!
Intentionally creating and maintaining a healthy community will help keep your employees connected, engaged, and more motivated. You can implement any or all of these ideas with your distributed team and build a more positive culture.
If you would like more support around building better connected engaged teams, scroll down and fill in the contact form below and I will be in touch! Looking forward to supporting you!