Unlike mere supervisors whose power comes solely from a job title or company hierarchy, true leaders are those whom people want to follow. But how do you earn the kind of trust and admiration that draw people to you, regardless of your position in the pecking order?
Leading “side by side”
Fruitful leadership comes from leading “side by side,” writes Jeffrey McDermott, President/CEO of The Center for the Performing Arts, in a post for the Hamilton County Leadership Academy: “For [people] to buy into your vision and go the extra mile for the organization, you must build a relationship of mutual respect and trust.”
Behaviors that make that possible include celebrating collective and individual successes, dishing out praise frequently and publicly, criticizing constructively and privately, and modeling the behavior you want to see in others, McDermott explains. What’s more, “don’t micromanage” and “don’t cling to petty notions of rank that create barriers between people,” he cautions.
Dana Donahue, a fellow OneZone member and vice president of Lake City Bank, concurs: “When I was in my first leadership role directly out of college, I barely knew how to do my job, let alone manage my team,” she writes. Over time, Donahue learned that a willingness to help carry the load, empowering others with adequate training and tools, and learning how to communicate effectively made tremendous difference in inspiring employees to give their best and stick around for the long run.
Down with stale leadership
“As I became more experienced in my role as a leader, I learned every leader needs to be constantly evaluating more effective ways to lead,” Donahue added. It’s why we partner with the Hamilton County Leadership Academy — HCLA, for short. The program is designed to educate driven professionals like you on local issues so you can help solve problems in our community.
Like McDermott and Donahue, OneZone members have a long-standing tradition of cultivating knowledge, relationships, and community solutions via HCLA programs and events.
Are you a good fit for HCLA?
Wondering how the HCLA might benefit you, and vice versa? Participation in the HCLA 10-month program is highly competitive, note program officials: “Participants are chosen based on leadership potential, ability and interest in serving our community.”
Access application details here. It’s a bit early for the next selection round, so it’s a good idea to sign up for updates on future events and deadlines.
Engage peers & leaders
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or climbing the first steps in your chosen career field, it’s crucial to get face time with peers and potential mentors. (We’ve written about how to make those connections count here.)
May we suggest three growth actions in the next three minutes?
Need a hand, intro or nudge?
We’re happy to help. Complete a Business Connect request to share with fellow members, or contact our staff. We’ll be thrilled to connect you to the right people or resources.
Much has changed about how we make buying decisions from just a few years ago. Now that more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush, our craving for instant access, gratification and personalization continues to sway how buyers choose offerings like yours.
With that in mind, we dug into recent market studies to highlight trends you’ll want to keep in mind as you fine-tune your marketing and customer retention strategies.
Aside from the convenience factor, one-click checkouts remove shopper indecision and cart abandonment — “both major revenue losses for all retailers,” reports CMO by Adobe. One-click payments also save shoppers from having to enter personal data and pull out their credit cards on-the-go, like sitting in a doctor’s office or waiting for their meal at a restaurant.
With Amazon’s 1-Click patent expiring in 2017, we’ve seen more and more retailers offering one-click payments. Whether you’re selling tchotchkes or asking prospects to book a free consultation, it’s smart to remove as many steps, clicks or obstacles as possible that can delay that “yes.”
Enhanced (and data-driven) customer experiences
A couple of years ago, researchers predicted customer experiences would soon be the greatest competitive advantage driving sales — more so than price, product features or other attributes. (We wrote about that here.)
Brands are paying attention. Earlier this year, a Forrester Consulting study found “80% of business decision makers said improving their company’s customer experience was among their top priorities for the year ahead.” Expect a greater focus on using data to deliver personalization, immersive mobile experiences, and a single view of the customer across industries — all “in an ethical manner to earn trust,” reports CMO by Adobe.
Trendwatching, which analyzes global buying behaviors and advises brands from Google to Unilever and Disney, points us to wellbeing challenges that carry opportunities for businesses to impact the health and happiness of consumers.
The report, titled The Future of Wellbeing, cites two epidemics that influence buying behavior:
Consider ways your organization can counter both concerns: alleviate stressors or tripping points that can hurt the way users experience your product or service, and reduce your environmental footprint. (Trendwatching has specific examples and recommendations in this free version of their report.)
For tactics more specific to your business and audience, consider any patterns you’ve observed over the past year:
As you identify weak spots, look for ways to remove sources of confusion, delays or difficulties that could turn off customers. Even better: Ask customers directly — not just once, but habitually, and continue to refine their experience accordingly.
In business and life, most doors are opened through networking. You know you should get to know more people, but your plate’s already full and it’s hard to fit in another event. Often, we neglect networking until we can’t anymore, because meeting new clients, connecting with a dream mentor, scoring a job or promotion all hinge on relationships.
Below we’ll cover three simple habits to make your networking more meaningful and fruitful — both for you and the people you connect with. No new revelations here: just common-sense reminders you might be neglecting in the midst of busyness.
American business thrives on competition. Being named the best restaurant in town is meaningless if there’s only one restaurant in town. All businesses ask for is a level playing field, and a chance to compete fairly. When that happens, all businesses’ opportunities can rise.
That’s why we believe the City of Carmel is doing the right thing by demanding that the Lucas Oil estate either obtain the proper zoning to operate an event facility or stop doing so. The banquet/event space business is big, but it’s also tough, and our members who provide such services continually invest in their businesses to remain competitive. They get permits when they add to their facilities, and they make certain they are zoned properly for their business activities.
If the Lucas Oil property wants to join the competition – great. They’ll be welcome. But they need to abide by the same rules everybody else has to follow to do so, and zoning is one of them. It’s simply bad for business to allow an unlevel playing field to continue.
By: Mo Merhoff, President of OneZone
My packing up for the day would slow down when I realized someone was in the hall outside my classroom door. One afternoon it was an emotional sophomore arguably over-anxious over making some team. But another time it was a 17-year-old prolonging going home, because home was where an alcoholic, abusive parent waited. In my seven years in a high school classroom, there were many after-schools spent with a student, sometimes listening, sometimes encouraging, and sometimes intervening.
Every single teacher can relate to this. Anybody who’s ever spent a day in a classroom can. I’d argue it’s a major reason why teachers continue in a profession fraught with challenges. It’s a conscious choice to make a difference - one student at a time. We’re kidding ourselves if we presume that every student is the product of a healthy, successful nuclear family, and that teachers aren’t often the only adult in a student’s life to whom they can turn for help.
That’s why the legislature’s recent elimination of mental health program funding from House Bill 1004, this session’s omnibus school safety legislation, was so disappointing. Even more disappointing was the reason given by the vocal group responsible – that teachers are taking away parental rights by committing to helping students with mental health issues. Think about that premise for a minute . . .teachers, the very people completely committed to creating success for their students, should be precluded from making a difference in the mental health of those students.
Two years ago, the City of Fishers launched Stigma-Free Fishers – a campaign involving the entire community, with the goal of working together to reject stigmatizing labels and make a difference for those affected by mental illness. HSE created a slogan for their program - Labels are for Jars, not People. Slowly but surely, that community-wide commitment is making a difference, and the city is tracking their success and reporting the results (https://stigmafreefishers.com/about/reporting).
Fishers’ efforts deserve to be replicated all over Indiana, but that won’t happen if legislators decide to eliminate key players’ ability to be part of the solution. It’s important we send a strong message to our legislators that teachers always have and always will often be the difference makers in students’ lives. Somebody needs to be there for the person waiting outside the door.
President, OneZone Commerce
By Mo Merhoff
Growing up in Wisconsin meant taking part in a sacred, weekly ritual – seeking out the best Friday night fish fry. We’d head off to some tiny Central Wisconsin community, where we’d find a small Mom and Pop spot with oil-cloth tablecloths, a foosball machine, a television show debating the latest Packer news. . .and beer.
Make no mistake. These were places meant for families and filled with them. They were not deemed dangerous – far from it - and nobody presumed that my dining with my family where alcoholic beverages were being served would make me a future alcoholic. Bars were gathering places, meeting-with-friends places, having a beer with your fish fry places.
I’ve also yet to find any evidence whatsoever that high school young people in other states, who worked at grocery checkouts, began their lives of drunkenness and crime because they drug a bottle of wine across a barcode reader. But if you’re under 21, you can’t do that in Indiana. We presume there’s a cause and effect.
You can’t participate in a restaurant “happy hour” special either, although you can have a happy day, apparently. All-day drink specials are OK.
Listening to Sen. Alting’s lengthy public policy committee hearing on the substantial proposed amendment to HB 1518 taught me a lot more. Ever purchased liquor from a golf course drink cart? You broke Indiana law until 1518 passed on the last day of the session. Last summer’s study session covered a lot of ground, and laid the foundation for many of the changes proposed in the bill. With care, Sen. Alting and others in the legislature are working to update Indiana’s alcohol laws, and their work should be applauded.
Other parts of the 1518 mega amendment make sense too. Municipalities ought to be able to decide the number of liquor licenses needed to accommodate development projects without a referendum. That’s why there are local zoning and planning ordinances. Those decisions should belong to cities and towns, not the state. Sen. Alting’s comment was on point – “That would just add more government, not less.” Fortunately, that amendment stayed in the bill too.
Prohibition was not our country’s finest example of practical legislation. Perhaps if we could change the conversation about alcohol from how to prohibit use of it to how to be more responsible with it, we might land in more reasonable territory.
Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
Live Nation at its core sets out to provide artists and fans with the best concert experience possible. At the local and even departmental level, which is the VIP seats program, our mission is to help our guests, whether they are a business or personal buyer, to entertain and enjoy a live music experience the best they can.
What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from OneZone?
We are most looking forward to introducing local businesses and individuals to all entertainment options Live Nation can provide locally, especially our VIP options at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center and Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park. Many have seen VIP tickets or even enjoyed them for a show here or there, but many are not aware how to purchase them for a single show, for a partial season, or for a full season. The ability to introduce and help people and businesses get the most out of their concert experience is truly what we are looking forward to!
How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
Live Nation is one of the companies that set most trends in our particular industry, however, there is much to learn and implement from all sorts of organizations including sport properties. We strive to provide the best products, best services, and best value for our unique form of entertainment and engagement. Trends seen on a global level are passed down to national and local departments, in effort to always remain at the top of our field.
What is your company culture like?
Live Nation is continuously a Fortune "Best places to work" organization. Beyond just the benefits of working for Live Nation, the culture as a whole is focused on employee well-being through various programs and offerings. Tuition assistance programs, stock reimbursement, great health benefits, ticket perks, and many many more establish a program that really does take care of its own!
What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
A passion for music and the desire to provide a positive experience to everyone you work with in addition to the fans and business partners. We have many great employees locally, handing everything from marketing, booking shows, operating the venues, working with local companies and legislature, and producing the great shows we put on! Each role has its own characteristics but at the heart of it all, the passion for live music lives within each employee.
What makes Carmel and Fishers such great places to do business?
Our particular division of Live Nation that is involved with One Zone is our VIP seats program. We benefit the most from the Carmel and Fishers areas because most who live and work in these areas are familiar with Noblesville and the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. Ruoff Music Center was the number one outdoor venue in the world this past year, a lot of that is thanks to the wonderful people and businesses in the Carmel and Fishers areas. Many great companies and small business call Carmel/Fishers home and many of those use our VIP program to entertain and engage with their customers and clients and if they don't have a usage for their business, many still enjoy multiple shows as a personal music fan through our VIP program as well! We are very thankful to work with many from these areas and hope that only grows in the future.
Chief Operating Officer of OneZone
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.