November 29, 2014

Seven Ideas for Great Company Culture

As much as it’s funky to have exposed brick, a foosball table in the lunch room, and lattes at 3pm, those won’t ensure your company has engaged employees who will do passionate work. Culture is much deeper. It’s a feeling and an instinct that can’t be forced or faked. And it takes work to upkeep. Every day. From everyone.

Here are seven areas to consider to make your company a great place to work.

No matter the survey, compensation always makes it into one of the top reasons people stay or leave a company. But if money is the number one concern of employees, you have a serious issue. Pay people properly.

What makes people want to bring their best every day and feel appreciated? If you can’t explain it in a sentence or two, dig deeper.

What does your company stand for and what won’t it do? Two significant questions that seem easy enough to answer yet most struggle with them. We want to be a part of something that aligns with our values.

Not all decisions can be made by committee, in fact most people want leadership to guide the way, but keep communication open enough for people to feel you genuinely want their input and ideas.

Departments are created for a reason. Sales focuses on revenue while product design improves the offering. But don’t box people in so they can’t offer input to areas where they might not be subject matter experts. Some of the best ideas may come from the most unexpected places.

From small companies with a handful of employees to the Fortune 50, the relationship people have with their direct report and the people closest to them in their day-to-day work experience, will be the single biggest reason they stay or leave. Model the behavior you want from others.

Teamwork and collaboration are a core elements to great culture. We want to belong and contribute so afford everyone the chance to do both.

Like trust, respect is earned not mandated by an org chart. So if you want great company culture, create an atmosphere of respect and trust and watch what happens.

Or you could order the latte machine and hope for the best. 
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


November 27, 2014

How Do You Measure Success?

Many say leadership is about results and the ability to measure those results. If you run a company, you are compensated by the success of the bottom line. But are you sure you know of all the ways you can influence the profits of your work?

It may be somewhat simple to proclaim if we sell more stuff to more customers we will be more successful. But let’s look at the items we can’t necessarily measure which dramatically affect the way we view success.

More More More

Certainly in Western culture, it appears we can never get enough. We are chasing the dream, the goal, the customer, the money, and all the while not spending even a second realizing where we are and what we have right now.

This goes well beyond monetary measurement to include experiences, relationships, belonging, esteem, and fulfillment. We aren’t here long yet we spend our time chasing something we so rarely can even define.

A few years ago, facing an historic downturn in the hospitality industry, Chip Conley decided to discover how he could improve his company, his employee experience, and the relationship with customers.

Watch this.

Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

TED | Chip Conley

November 24, 2014

Listen to Your Gut

We admire fearless people who take chances. But without knowing their story, it’s difficult to make that claim. Much has been written and said about taking chances, failure, and ultimate success. If you were to ask any person who has attained any modicum of advancement, they would probably tell you about the many times it took to make it. The setbacks, roadblocks, and challenges were plentiful.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
Jonathan Swift

You know that feeling you have right now in the pit of your stomach? That’s the voice you may not be listening to but you should, I should, we all should. Then act on it. Our fear stops us from moving. Our worry that it won’t work out makes us freeze.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Steve Jobs

Now think of a time you listened to your intuition and you started to move. Suddenly the doubts dissipated and things began to work out. Once you made the decision, it was clear what you needed to do. There were hiccups and twists, but you kept going.

Vision with action can change the world.
Nelson Mandela

We need to remember that one step today toward our goals will take us one step away from our fears. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to move and the more our doubts will grow. Few among us are immune.

Your gut knows what to do. Get quiet enough not to ignore it.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


November 23, 2014

Coffee Wisdom

Years ago, I purchased a coffee mug. It was strong. The perfect weight. The perfect size. I have been using it almost every day since. I was on a call this morning and read the words on the side probably for the first time since the day I bought it. The author is Mary Ann Radmacher. I’ll be reading my coffee mug daily from now on.

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. 
Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. 
Choose with no regrets. Continue to learn.
Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. 
Live as if this is all there is.

Drink up.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

Mary Ann Radmacher | Kneale Mann

November 20, 2014

It’s Time to Sit Still

The mere concept of doing absolutely nothing is foreign to many (most) of us. Meditation has been around since we began walking the earth but despite ourselves, we continue to cram more into our lives than is possible and necessary.

A worse affliction than hurried lifestyles, busy work spaces, and smartphones glued to our hands, is our minds. To that end, this is definitely a book I’ll be picking up.

The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer reveals; “How stillness can act as a creative catalyst, and advocates for a way of living that counters the frenetic design of our modern lives.”

Perhaps it's time we got a lot less busy.

Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

Pico Iyer | TED

November 18, 2014

How Much is Enough?

The annual strategic meetings are on. The big boss says profit margins need to widen. The new product line has to help increase market share. The southwest division has to pick it up on sales results. The list goes on.

The desire for infinite monetary growth permeates the room. No one is allowed to say this year will probably be a flat year because of market shifts and customer demands. No one would suggest business comes with ebbs and flows. And so does life.

We Need More Stuff!

In the developing world, it appears the need for prosperity and material possessions is a core belief and desire. But as we emerged from the worse economic downturn in eight decades there could be a slight shift in some perspective.

Do we really need the four bedroom house on half an acre? Can we wait another year before we buy that new car? Are 34 dress shirts enough? Does anyone need that many pairs of shoes?

When will we have enough? When will it be enough?

We know buying stuff keeps the economy going and all of us employed. We need to ensure we can sustain our lives now and into retirement but the desire for something that we can’t even define is creating widespread unhappiness and uncertainty.

Perhaps the bigger decision is to figure out who we want to spend our time with and what experiences we want.  

Or we could keep hoping we find enough.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


November 14, 2014

Our Most Precious Resource

Technology is exploding at a rate our minds can’t fathom. Life is whizzing by us while we try and hang on to the tailpipe. There is no time to even take a breath, never mind figure out what we want to do with the rest of our lives. Or perhaps we don’t make time to breathe and think.

Five hundred years ago, there were no phones. People in the 1700’s didn't have cars. Several centuries ago, there was no way to schedule your next haircut through your personal computer. But we have made room for those and thousands of other gadgets, inventions, and advancements.

Tick Tock

We humans make room for new stuff and since we have a finite amount of time, we toss aside other stuff to make room for the new stuff. It's been said for generations that time is our most precious resource but there is something else we might be sacrificing.

Look around the room at your next meeting - after you check your phone for new messages, of course. Email is fast. Short texts are easy. Relationships take time and care. In our quest to do more with our time, let's not forget one critical element.

Each other.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


November 12, 2014


Someday I’ll act on that idea. Someday we'll have enough money. Someday I’ll stand up for myself. Someday we’ll figure this out. Someday the product will be ready.

Someday I’ll learn my lesson. Someday I’ll fix it. Someday it’ll get better. Someday we'll change. Someday we'll act. Someday may be too late. Someday we’ll turn it around. Someday it’s going to work out. Someday I'll go for it.

Someday we’ll take that trip. Someday I’ll clean out that closet. Someday you’ll check out that new gig. Someday we’ll try that restaurant. Someday I'll move. Someday will be a great day. Someday one day.

Someday is today.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


November 9, 2014

The Power of Imagination

If we ask our parents what we were like as kids, they may tell us about a person we may no longer even know. My mom tells me about the hours I’d spend as a kid reading by myself, or playing with my toys while creating worlds and scenarios. I've always had the ability to live in my own head, spend a lot of time on my own, and entertain myself with books or websites or music.

That's not always a good thing because those ideas can often get stuck in my head without action. Ideas are critical but without movement, they are theory.

Provide the Solution

We are encouraged to use our imagination to solve business problems, develop collaborative cultures, provide clear leadership, create new products and ideas, and navigate the complexities of life.

In its purest sense, what happens to our innate ability to widen the scope beyond reality to include all possibilities and be that kid again who can create ideas void of budgets or constraints, politics or ridicule?

If we could do that, we may literally change the world.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


November 6, 2014

34 and Counting...

We love lists. Here’s another one. Many of the items here I don’t practice enough. It’s not always easy. We let busy get in our way. We let doubt creep in. We get lost in work. We get lost in life. We give up too easily. Perhaps you can relate.

Let’s keep at it!

Trust yourself. Learn every day. Keep moving. Be bold. Learn from yesterday focus on today. Try something new. Ignore naysayers. Eat the cookie. Keep something just for you. Do not give up. Listen to your heart. Imagine then do.

Take control of your life. Say thank-you. Fill your life with music. Get back up. Be open. Turn your phone off. Have the pie. Walk away from hurtful people.

Take more chances. Spend an entire day with your favorite person, often. Love yourself. Enjoy life. Take one more step every day. Be kind to you. Lose the fear. Believe. Learn the lesson. Sleep in. Take the shot. Keep at it. Love unconditionally.

Enjoy the moment.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


November 3, 2014

The Human Supply Chain

It’s been said for generations – leadership is an action, not a title. It comes from inside us, not on a company organizational chart. But when the busy work of business crushes our day, when do we have time to recognize and nurture that in each other?

There are deadlines and customers, meetings and emails, far too many things on the to-do list to make time for the people stuff. But the very reason your business exists is because of people. The supply chain which drives your company and keeps it running is fueled by the people on your team, in your division, in your plant, in your building, in your customers' and suppliers' businesses. It's the six degrees of all of us.

Let's mean it this time

Every human we connect with has goals, dreams, and a life. The collaboration in our human supply chain is not a chart; it’s not a simple infographic to display on the wall, it’s the living breathing essence of our lives and business.

It's easy to say people are a top priority. It's equally cynical to remark that's just a tightly crafted message for marketing collateral. The day-to-day actions we take one-on-one with each other is what counts.

Make people your priority and your results will become clearer.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

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