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April 2009
Some Business Insights from Those at the Top…
By Jeff Raynor

Being positive is critical in these uncertain times.

     At our Monday morning meetings we share “what went right last week.” This gives the entire team an opportunity to celebrate successes (e.g., 2 new clients) and discuss what they mean for the upcoming week.

—Jay C., Richmond, Va.


Use “Laser-Focused” marketing.

     Concentrate on short term targets with a high probability of success. Focus your company communications on:

     •Emphasizing your core business. Revisit/re-validate your value-proposition to make sure it is applicable to today’s changed marketplace.

     •Keeping your current clients happy. Increase your personal contact [NOT e-mails, faxes, voice mails] using these trying times as a conversation focal point. Recognize they are getting a lot of attention from your competition.

     •Developing a reduced set of success metrics that every employee understands and that can be updated frequently [as much as daily].

—TAB Board 312, Charlotte, N.C.


Cut hours rather than people.

     Instead of cutting headcount, look to cut back hours for multiple people. Tell them it isn’t long-term, that there is a minimum time frame on it, with a set review date. For example, we had several CSR & Admin people cut a day each week—half take off Monday and other half take off Friday. The business still has full coverage, but has cut payroll expenses 20 percent. Employees understand what is happening; they know that things are slower and would rather keep their job with fewer hours than have no job at all. Subsequently, we also arranged the days so they get a four-day weekend every other weekend.—Bill G., Charlotte, N.C.


Stabilize an anxious team.

     You have a tremendous opportunity to impact attitudes during these uncertain times. Some pointers to help:

     •Talk to employees in group and individual meetings about updated plans, reassuring them that there are insightful leaders at the helm.

     •Create more opportunities for teamwork; lay ground rules for supportive team interaction.

     •Be the “rock,” providing steady, confident, support with excellent communications; stay even in temperament.

     •Resolve problems quickly; be fair and consistent following policies and labor laws.

—Penny S., Mill Valley, Calif.

     Jeff Raynor, M.B.A., Certified TAB® Facilitator, heads The Alternative Board® - TAB Carolinas™, a global CEO peer group & executive coaching firm. Contact him at 704-554-6200 or visit

Jeff Raynor, M.B.A., Certified TAB® Facilitator, heads The Alternative Board® - TAB Carolinas™, a global CEO peer group & executive coaching firm
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