Category Archives: Business

Accountancy Services For Your Business

When thinking about improving your business, whether big or small, you must start right from your finance department. When the financial department is accurate in terms of performance, then it becomes very easy for the business to thrive. Some companies have accounting departments while others find it more beneficial to outsource accountancy services for various reasons. The services offered by accountancy firms and professionals like accountant sun city az can be just as good as having your in-house accountant and they accommodate everything from payroll to tax and other accounts related tasks.

Advantages of hiring the services

In many cases, the accounting services are hired by medium and small sized enterprises and they do come with a number of advantages.

Cost effectiveness is one of the advantages that businesses enjoy when they hire the services. It can be expensive to hire a full time bookkeeper or accountant compared to hiring services that you need.

Small businesses enjoy the extra time and resources that can help improve productivity when they hire the accounting services. There are fewer things to worry about and reduced expenses for that matter, hence there is room for growth.

Other advantages of hiring the services include reduced expenses on office supplies and equipment. Apart from getting timely, reliable and accurate financial services, hiring the accountancy experts frees up valuable time and costs for the businesses.

How to hire

The truth is that there are many accountancy firms offering the much needed services by different kinds of businesses. It means you need to be careful when hiring the accountants so that you are able to get the best for your business needs.

Certification and industry experience. This is one of the things you should remember to check when hiring accounting services. Some functions can be unique to a business sector and only an experienced accountant can perform as expected. Ensure that you get a firm that has certified trained and experienced accountants and bookkeepers.

Quality assurance metrics. You hire because there are core functions you lack but need hence you should get nothing but the best. A good firm should be up to date with recent tax laws and any regulatory changes so that your needs are met sufficiently. Find out how the firm ensures that you get quality services in relation to the exact accounting services you are looking for.

Flexibility. Will the firm provide you with easy and fast access to financial data you might need at any time? Can it match your specific requirements? The secret should be to hire a firm or an accountant your business can count on when the need arises. For instance, a firm that can offer web or cloud based services even though it could be local can be best for such times when you need to urgently access your financial data.

To get the best accountancy services, you might need to research and compare firms before settling for the one you find most suitable for your business. You can also consider the service rates just to make sure that hiring is definitely the better path to take.

Benefits Of Using Printing Services

Printing services like printing services Phoenix offered by numerous providers vary in different ways. There is indeed a range of printing services that use the most advanced technology. The individual need of each company differs, that is why it is necessary that you know the particular needs of your business. Doing such will not give you a hard time in determining the perfect printing company for your business.

The following are a variety of printing services that you can choose:

1. Leaflets – are considered as one of the most effective marketing tool for many businesses due to the capacity of information that you can have on them. Prints such as leaflets are known to be cost-effective primarily because you can save more compared to other mediums of advertising while attaining the same boost on cash register.

2. Business cards – provide professional approach to business whenever you encounter someone who is interested in conducting business with you. This printing service will let you share your business image, attitude and contact information in a more exciting way. You can make use of interesting graphics for your logo and the advanced technology to create impressive and long-lasting visual effects for your business cards.

3. Brochures– are flexible and versatile in terms of distributing them to your target audiences. You can distribute this particular printing service in various ways such as through mail, placing them at your front desk or at office waiting areas, during trade shows and workshops, etc.

4. Flyers– are unique and distinct in terms of its content because it talks about a particular product or service instead of having the business name on headline. Flyers tackle about how specific products and services you offer can solve the present problems of many individuals. The commitment and goals of your company can be reflected in these types of printing services.

5. Compliment slips – can be your perfect companion whenever you want to cultivate and enrich your relationships with your clients. People will feel special and important when you send them printing materials such like compliment slips.

These are just some of the numerous printing services that you can avail of, but all are considered as indispensable tools in achieving success for your business. The challenge for you is to find the right provider that can satisfy you with your printing needs.

Finding The Best Printing Services
It is not a tough task to locate the best company that can cater all of your printing needs. This is because of the mounting number of providers that can be found all over the internet. But because not all printing providers offer the same quality, you have to be cautious on making the final decision. Here are some of the points which can help and guide you in finding the perfect printing service.

1. Do some research.
Before you make the final decision of which printing service you will have you have to equip yourself with the necessary information which can bring you closer to the perfect provider. There are several guides and reliable information that can be found on the internet for you to know what makes a printing company the best. The wide range of forums, blogs and reviews can help you most in acquiring the necessary information. The information provided to you is based on actual experiences of previous clients from various printing service providers.

2. Compare and contrast the capacities of printing services according to your requirements.
For sure you have your own requirements when it comes to printing services. Different companies have different offers, that is why you have to make sure that your choice will meet your needs. Your needs may change along the way, so it is necessary to choose a flexible provider, capable of meeting all of your printing requirements.

3. Ask a friend or family for their recommendation.
The most reliable source of a printing company’s quality would be someone who has actually used their services. You can ask a family or a friend which printing company they can recommend you. This can help you to minimise your possible choices and pick the one for you.

The final decision is still yours but you have to make sure that the printing company will meet your needs and requirements, thus providing you exactly what you wanted.

Printpac.net was founded on 1984. The company has an excellent reputation for producing high quality printing services at a competitive price, on time as promised.

We offer a personal and confidential service. Our staff are always willing to help and advise with practical suggestions and technical solutions. Whatever your requirements we can help with friendly professional advice.

We have consistently invested in new technology and recently installed a Presstek 52 di press (waterless and chemistry free environmentally friendly printing). We are committed to improving our impact on the environment and helping our clients along the way.

The Need For an Estate Planning

Are you about to consider estate planning? What is estate planning by the way? Estate planning is the process of organizing the distribution of one’s assets to their heirs or beneficiaries. This is especially considered when an individual wishes to provide legal rights of his or her property in the event that he or she dies. Family members, friends, business partners or even an anonymous third party person can be entitled to become an heir or a beneficiary.

There are things that are important for the success of estate planning. One thing involve in this undertaking is the search for the best estate planning lawyer. Consulting an estate-planning lawyer like estate planning peoria az entails not only with manufacturing a will but also ensuring that the client’s requests regarding his or her property distribution would be granted upon death.

Furthermore, an estate-planning lawyer will do more than just establishing a client’s legal will because in the process of doing so, he or she must also be adept at minimizing taxes and fees associated with personal or real property. A contingency plan should also be set up in case unwanted events like family or legal disputes arise. Other aspects that an estate-planning lawyer will deal with involve trusts, uniform probate code, gift tax, dynasty trust as well as joint tenancy.

Besides just giving assistance to an individual’s will, an estate-planning lawyer can also help you with organizing any personal or business records like brokerage accounts, retirement plans, savings accounts, checking accounts, insurance, business interests, and even debt personal property. Any miscellaneous legal planning involved in the process of planning an estate is a concern and part of the duty of an employed estate-planning lawyer.

Now, when you look for an estate-planning lawyer you must consider first of all his or her educational background and work experience. The best estate-planning lawyer must be very educated and experienced particularly in the field of estate planning and strategies. It is imperative that your estate-planning lawyer is familiar with state laws since each state has varying laws when it comes to wealth distribution. Moreover, he or she must have excellent knowledge on how to get rid of excessive probate or estate tax while keeping himself or herself up to date with the ever-changing tax and estate laws.

Of course, when choosing a qualified estate-planning lawyer, consider one that possesses a strong record. Determine by asking how long they have been specializing in estate planning. Search for one that has license to practice law in your state of residence. Actually, you can search for one by asking referrals from your close family and friends.

Disadvantages of Stockbroking and How You Can Get around It

Big stockbroking firms like CMC Markets might enjoy significant popularity among traders, but they manage to do so after handling a series of difficulties. Each stock broker representing these firms remains under immense pressure all through the day. In this article, we’ll be discussing about the disadvantages of being a stockbroker and common procedures adopted by these professionals for getting around them.

  1. The process of getting started is often extremely tough- If you want to see yourself reach great heights as a stockbroker, you’ll have to be ready to have some tough times, particularly when starting out. The best thing about this is once you establish yourself in this field you will see every bit of your effort paying off.

These days, brokers need to follow much stricter rules than the brokers of yesteryears. Restrictions have been imposed on almost every step of the broking process. For instance, the country’s law requires the brokers to call potential clients during a particular time of the day. Such restrictions have automatically increased the pressure on the beginners.

The best way to deal with the situation is trying to be slow and steady. If you don’t try to achieve too much within too little time, the pressure on you would be much less and you’ll be giving yourself enough time to learn about the business of stockbroking.

  1. This job would often need you to spend long hours working, that too under extreme stress- This is probably the biggest disadvantage of stockbroking. You might be the most experienced broker in town, but even your experience will not be able to eliminate the stress factor from your job. The situation turns even worse as the stress factor comes coupled with the need of working for extended period of time. It has been found that the majority of these people work for at least 14 hours per day (the number is usually more for more successful stock brokers).

It’s difficult to avoid the long hours; but, you can surely do something to ensure that the long working hours don’t affect your health; examples include going for a stroll after every 30 to 40 minutes, taking your meals on time, sleeping for at least 6 to 7 hours etc.

  1. The market would be affecting your finances- If you are a stock broker, you should be ready to see the market having a strong impact on your finances. If there’s a recession or the economy suddenly taken a downturn, you will see the number of customers coming to you decreasing rapidly; the number of profitable trades will also reduce and you’ll start incurring losses more frequently. All these changes will automatically have a noticeable impact on your personal financial well being.

You cannot stop the market affecting your finances; what you can do is be ready to handle such situations gracefully. Always have backup plans ready that can keep you financially sound in difficult times.

  1. You will have to try out cold-calling to become a successful stock broker- Stock brokers are expected to bring in new business constantly. For that, they need to use the worst marketing strategy ever i.e. cold-calling. You must be wondering why such a widely used method is called “worst”. The strategy is worst from the broker’s point of view; that’s because cold-calling often ends up making people upset and callers become victims of severe verbal abuse.

As a stock broker, the best way of beating this problem is by getting yourself accustomed to the situation. Tell yourself there’s no harm in making a few people angry and getting abused a few times if the process allows you to get a few profitable leads.

  1. Stock brokers often have problematic personal life- A stock broker needs to perform constantly to be called a successful professional. In other words, a stockbroker can’t afford to allow his or her performance metrics drop below the competition. As a result, often people associated with this field fail to have a regular personal life. It has been found that the frequency of divorces is significantly high among these professionals.

The only way to get rid of this problem is realising that a few losses and failures actually don’t count. A stock broker shouldn’t allow his or her profession to become an addiction.

A Disappearing Art: Surfacing and Testing Assumptions

download (31)ASSUMPTIONS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes an assumption as: The act of taking for granted, or supposing a thing without proof; supposition

Assumptions are sometimes a little difficult to understand, but they’re a daily part of every person’s life.

WHERE DO WE MAKE ASSUMPTIONS?

Every decision made by a human being is bedded in assumptions, it has to be. Here are some common, everyday decision areas with their assumptions:

Machinery: We assume that the coffee maker will work, the car will start, the airplane will actually leave the ground – you get the idea.

Travel: To most of us travel is a part of any normal day. We assume that a certain route will be the shortest, that traffic will be at certain levels, that travel times can be predicted. Our decision on our route is based on assumptions from these areas.

Situations: Things get sticky here. We make assumptions about how situations will unfold or continue to unfold based on the decision facing us. Business and organizational strategies are heavily grounded in assumptions made here.

Relationships: Assumptions made within relationships will have drastic results on the ongoing health of that relationship, whether business or personal. Assumptions here relate to the future of income, training and education, attitudes, conflict, and the expected actions of the other following the decision.

People Groups: Both serious benefits and serious problems arise when we make assumptions about people groups, and these assumptions are made all the time.

Political: Political assumptions tend to be particularly deadly, because they affect lives, living, and money in large groups of people. In this area, major facts arising from research can be either missed – or even ignored – because they conflict with other assumptions that are more acceptable to those doing the research. The founding fathers of the United States had this in mind when they touted moral character as being the single most important thing to seek out in a prospective leader. Why? Because such character was an accurate predictor of the assumptions under which that leader would live and operate.

In this article, we’ll look at assumptions regarding people.

HOW ASSUMPTIONS AFFECT OUR ACTIONS

Assumptions are important, because they allow life to move forward quickly and hopefully in a productive way.

When we assume certain characteristics of people, we tend to look for actions on their parts that will bear out our assumptions. If we stop there and don’t go further, we can make grave mistakes that will affect our reactions to both individuals and groups who are in our “assumption focus”.

So how should a great leader routinely go about making good assumptions?

SURFACING ASSUMPTIONS

The first thing leaders should do is to surface their own assumptions. This is nothing more than selecting an area, either with people or within a situation, and then taking the time to figure out what assumptions are being made there. Where to start?

Where are the biggest area of conflict in the decision I’m considering? What actions are likely to result from my decision?

What good might come out of my decision? What bad?!

Will my decision add extra work to the daily life of those affected by my decision? How much and how often?

Will my decision add costs to the business? Are those costs offset by other benefits? Will it cost my employees?

Are my assumptions based on selfishness on my part, or am I honestly looking for the good of the people involved? Am I looking for the long term good of the organization?

Are my assumptions arising from fears I have? Are those fears accurate, and arising from responsible consideration on my part, or are they purely selfish fears?

TESTING ASSUMPTIONS

Once assumptions have been surfaced, testing assumptions involves digging down and finding out if our assumptions are correct. This process takes work, and most people don’t really care to do it. But a leader HAS to do it, because his or her decision will affect the future of the organization and the people within it.

The questions I use to surface assumptions will lead directly to the research I must do to test my assumptions. If my questions are good ones, research will be fairly straightforward and effective. BUT, it’s a wise leader who makes written notes on research done, as such notes will prove invaluable later when second thoughts occur OR when others want to know how I came to that decision!

SUMMARY

Whether related to my own plans, plans regarding my marriage and family, or plans relative to the business I lead, surfacing and testing assumptions is one of the most powerful tools a great leader uses to make solid, long-lasting-for-good decisions!

Why Are Organisations So Bad At This?

download (32)One of the key points which comes out from a lot of research about learning (and from my own experience) is that people’s attitude towards what they are meant to learn makes a huge difference to how well they learn it.

If people are in a positive state of mind, if they are:

  • curious
  • interested
  • excited
  • energised

and if they can see the personal benefits of learning, then they will learn far more easily. For a start, they will pay more attention, which is a crucial first step towards learning and remembering anything.

On the other hand, if they turn up for a training course feeling:

  • tired
  • indifferent
  • resistant
  • unclear
  • sceptical
  • anxious

and doubtful about the purpose of being there, they will be less likely to listen, learn and remember.

And yet, that’s exactly how many people feel when they come to a training session.

Because their organisations have put virtually no effort into getting them into a positive state. Organisations often spend huge amounts of money providing training for people but put virtually no time or effort into getting them into a state where they can make the most of that training.

It doesn’t take a lot to get people in a more receptive state of mind about training. You just have to make it clear what the training is going to cover and how the learner (not the organisation) will benefit from it.

You have to answer any questions they might have about it, including some of the basic logistics (what time will it finish, will there be lunch provided, etc.).

You can also build up positive expectations by sending out colourful and attractive materials, information about the trainers (including photos), some pictures (or videos) of people from previous courses engaged in activities, perhaps some testimonials about how good the training was.

And you can start to build a connection with the learners by sending them short questionnaires to find out what they want to learn and then responding to these.

Instead of this, most organisations still just send out basic Joining Instructions and sometimes a list of the topics and objectives.

Do the steps I’ve suggested involve more work for the people organising and delivering the training? Yes, a little. But how much work goes into designing and organising training events in the first place?

Secrets of Adaptable Leaders

download (30)Why do some companies consistently outperform their peers? When companies that face identical circumstances are compared, one variable stands out among the winners- leadership quality. The best leaders are able to effectively influence three determinants of organizational performance-adaptation, efficiency, and human resources.

Adaptation involves changes made to cope with external threats and to exploit opportunities created by new technology, changing markets, and the shifting needs and expectations of customers. The ability to adapt becomes even more important when the external environment is turbulent and uncertain, yet it’s often more difficult the larger the size of an organization.

Here are seven things leaders can do to better manage change and ensure their companies are able to adapt amid uncertainty.

Start With a Culture That Rewards Change

The many difficulties involved in fostering adaptation in large organizations make it essential to have a culture with firmly embedded values and beliefs that support innovation and change. Relevant values include flexibility, continuous improvement, initiative, and a quest for excellence.

Instead of viewing adaptation as an infrequent reaction to dramatic, one- time events, it is better to view it as a continuous process that involves a combination of many and frequent incremental improvements and occasional major changes. In organizations with this type of culture, new ideas are nurtured and promoted, information is widely and freely shared, and people and systems are flexible and ready to respond to changes when they occur..

Monitor the Environment

Monitoring the environment involves collecting and analyzing information about opportunities and threats in the external environment and identifying trends and opportunities to enhance business performance.

External monitoring is often assumed to be the province of senior leaders, but it is the people in direct contact with customers, such as sales and service representatives, who often first get wind of changes in customer needs or competitor actions. Thus environmental scanning and interpretation of events should not be left entirely to the CEO and other top executives.

External monitoring in organizations is more effective when people at all levels are involved and relevant information is recognized and used to improve strategic decisions.

Use Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the process of determining where you are, where you want to be in the future, and how you will get from here to there. The process includes setting strategic objectives, identifying tactics and actions for attaining them, and deter- mining the resources and actions needed to implement the strategies.

Although senior management has the ultimate responsibility for strategic decisions, the most successful leaders find ways to involve people through- out the organization in the strategic planning process.

Help Employees Envision Change

Painting a vivid, appealing picture of what your organization wants to accomplish or become helps to communicate the desired outcomes of a change initiative in a way that is understandable, meaningful, and inspiring. Envisioning change is about putting opportunities and threats in context and clarifying how the organization needs to respond. A variety of elements may be included in the vision, such as strategic objectives, key values for the company, general approaches for attaining the vision, slogans and symbols, and a description of what the vision will mean to people when it is attained.

Build Support for Change

Although most people would agree that change is essential if an organization is to adapt, grow, and remain competitive, change often produces anxiety and resistance. For people to support change, they must see it as necessary and feasible. Leaders can build such support by explaining the urgent need for change, building a broad coalition of supporters, identifying likely opponents and reasons for their resistance, and taking action to deal with resistance.

They must also be prepared to answer five critical question employees are bound to ask: Why is this change necessary? How will we manage the transition, Where are we in the process, What will I be expected to do, and Will I be able to do it?

Implement Change

It is impossible to anticipate all the potential problems created by a major change or to prepare detailed plans for carrying out every aspect of the change. A change program is less likely to be successful if a top- level leader tries to dictate in detail how it will be implemented in each part of the organization. Authority to make decisions and deal with problems should be delegated to the leaders who are responsible for implementing change in their sub- units.

Facilitate Collective Learning

It is important for leaders to create an appreciation for flexibility and learning among people at all levels of the organization. Major change will be more acceptable and less disruptive once people develop pride and confidence in their capacity to adapt and learn. To encourage an appreciation for learning, all practices should be considered temporary and examined regularly to see if they can be improved or eliminated.

Leaders also need to encourage an active sharing of ideas and new knowledge in the organization. Secrecy is the enemy of learning. Leaders should encourage employees who are facing difficult problems to reach out to other people in the organization to find out how they might have handled similar challenges in the past.

When innovations are developed in one part of the organization, leaders can facilitate diffusion of this knowledge to other parts of the organization in several ways. When it is not feasible for people to attend formal training, a team of experts can be dispatched to different sites to demonstrate how to use new procedures. Webinars and self-guided e-learning can also be used to promote broad idea sharing in a cost- and time-efficient manner.

Putting It Together

The most effective leaders recognize when major change is needed and know how to develop support from the people who can make change happen.

Because many innovations in large organizations result from a bottom-up process, effective leaders understand how important it is to inspire and empower all members of the organization to learn from experience, develop creative ideas, and share new knowledge across subunit boundaries.

They understand that implementing major change is a slow and difficult process that requires their consistent attention to succeed. And they use programs, systems, and structural arrangements that are designed to encourage and facilitate innovation and collective learning.

 

5 Ways to Boost Accountability In Your Organization

images (9)“By making your employees more accountable, you make your organization more productive.”

Those words from famed General Electric CEO Jack Welch still ring true today.

Holding people accountable for results is the foundation of an organization’s performance; it’s management 101. Yet it appears there is a gap between knowing and doing.

Why do some organizations succeed at instilling accountability as a core element of their culture and others fall short? What can leaders do to create a culture of accountability? Our research on top performing companies identified five actions that have the greatest impact on an organization’s ability to build a culture of accountability and achieve results.

1. Translate Strategy into Specific Objectives.

Beyond developing a shared picture of the company’s strategic direction it is necessary to clarify priorities and translate these into specific department goals. This increases the likelihood that implementation plans will be targeted toward high impact outcomes. In addition, clear department goals facilitate goal-setting at the individual level, which enhances accountability.

2. Coordinate Actions Across Levels and Work Units and Follow Up on Progress.

Coordinating and monitoring activity is a critical aspect of execution and is an essential ingredient for building a culture of accountability. It’s how companies keep people focused on high-priority goals and actions. The most effective leaders are ruthless in monitoring goals and reinforcing appropriate actions and behaviors.

3. Provide Accurate and Timely Information to Employees.

This involves clear communication about strategic priorities, as well as ongoing dialogue between managers and their direct reports. Goal setting and coaching are key elements of most organizations’ performance management systems, yet too often, this is viewed as an administrative, HR-driven activity, rather than a tool to help achieve results. When managers view performance management as a tool to drive business results they are more successful in creating a culture of accountability.

4. Ensure Your Actions are Consistent with Company Objectives, Values, and Priorities.

Leaders can’t expect people to trust or follow them if they are not willing to live by the same values and support the same priorities that they require of others. If leaders expect people to be accountable, they must model this behavior and take swift action when people fail to deliver results.

5. Clarify Expectations and Head off Potential Problems.

Effective managers use three simple techniques to drive accountability:

– Clarify exactly what needs to be done
– Establish a specific date for when the task needs to be completed
– Agree on checkpoints to review progress

These actions are based on three fundamental premises:

– Never assume people know what’s expected of them. Even experienced employees may not know what to focus on unless these expectations are clearly articulated.
– Don’t just talk about ideas. Avoid the pitfall of talking about an idea, but not agreeing to actions and accountability.
– Don’t ignore when someone has dropped the ball. It is critical to provide timely feedback and help people understand what caused them to miss a commitment and, even more importantly, identify what they will do differently next time.

While it is not easy to create a culture of accountability, it is critical for business success.

Like any other essential leadership skill, managing accountability is a competency leaders can learn and improve upon. OnPoint offers training programs to help leaders develop this skill and many others.

 

A Good Quality Management System Can Help an Organisation Immensely

download (26)One of the primary things that help an organisation to become better and more effective is having a good quality management system in place. It is a process that helps to review and keep in check all the operations that are being carried out in the organisation. These include the likes of keeping a tab on the products and services of the business, reviewing the various ongoing activities, etc.

Therefore, it can be understood that a quality management system is quite important for any business – especially if it is a medium sized enterprise, as it paves the way for growth and development of the organisation.

Ways in which it can help

Here are some of the ways in which QMS can prove to be quite helpful for your organisation.

• Increase in the level of efficiency – QMS aims to increase the efficiency of a business enterprise by reducing meaningless or redundant activities. Thus, it helps a great deal in laying down guidelines for all employees to follow, helping the employees to keep their activities in check, providing proper actions when dealing with training and development problems, etc. We can say that such a system helps in making the organisation even more productive and efficient in its processes.

• Boosting employee morale – Human resources is probably the most important asset of a company. So, it is highly important that the employees of a company stay motivated, in order to perform their work better. Proper management systems can help in keeping employees motivated, in the sense that it shows them how their work brings about the organisation’s success. Thus, employees are motivated to perform even better.

• Helps to get recognition internationally – Companies that use a proper management system get ISO accreditation. Getting an ISO accreditation for a business enterprise is extremely important, as it helps build trust with clients and also in garnering better trade relations. So, this will not only help in reviewing business activities better but will also aid in fostering better trade relations.

• Improving the process of the organisation – With the help of a proper quality management system, you can find out the loopholes that are there in your organisation, and through proper planning and analysis, you can plug those loopholes as well. This will help you in increasing the efficiency of the various processes in your organisation.

Thus, now that you have read the advantages of adopting a quality management system do use this in your company and see your business grow and develop better.

What’s Got Your Goat?

download (29)Some time back my son and I participated in a service project to help a young family clean out a back yard. At one time the yard was a wonderful oasis with a swimming pool, lush garden, and beautiful walkways. The once beautiful oasis was neglected over time and became an overgrown jungle of northwest foliage with its prime resident being thorny blackberry bushes. The blackberry bushes were six feet tall and covered most of the yard. What a prickly mess!

Fortunate for my son and I the homeowner had already cleared out the blackberry bushes prior to us participating in the service project. I asked the homeowner if he hired some goats to do the job. For those of you who may not know, goats are voracious herbivores and can clear out even the toughest blackberry bushes. The homeowner replied that he didn’t use goats but rather used pesticides and lots of manual labor to clear the yard of the blackberry bushes. The job got done, but it took the homeowner a lot of time and energy to clear the yard. This situation got me to thinking about the lesson that goats can teach us about leadership.

In my 30-plus years, I unfortunately can recall plenty of times where my leadership style was not about empowerment, but about micro-management and errand running. When you treat your team as errand runners, they not only will feel less empowered to do their jobs but will also likely not take the opportunity to learn how to do things the next time. This is not only bad for the team member but also makes life harder for you.

When goats clear blackberry bushes their mission is crystal clear to them. They eat until the job is done. They don’t take direction on how to do a job nor do they ask permission to do what needs to be done. They’re brought to the problem, given boundaries to work within, and then they solve the problem. The goats are empowered to do what they do best.

As leaders we can learn something from goats. When there is a problem, be crystal clear with the team as to what the problem is, ensure they know the parameters of what “done” looks like, then get the heck out of the way and let them solve the problem. Don’t micro-manage, insist something is done your way, or frustrate the team with random about-faces. Let them clear the fields and bask in the glow of knowing they did a great job solving a thorny issue.