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VOL. 127 | NO. 182 | Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Business Growth Requires People Focus

By Andy Meek

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Steve Jobs was famously meticulous about building out a certain kind of leadership team at Apple, with a view toward ensuring the company would be able to thrive long after its visionary co-founder was gone.

The “people decision” is just as important to organizations much smaller than Jobs’ tech titan. And at a daylong workshop next month, sponsored in part by The Daily News, author, business coach and strategy expert Michael Synk will help underscore for business leaders just how important people are to a business’ growth prospects.

People comprise one of four decision points Synk will lay out for attendees of The In-Synk Plan Forward Workshop, to be held Oct. 18 at the University of Memphis. It’s part of the Four Decisions model, a strategic planning model popularized by the book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and offered through Gazelles International.

The model refers to the key decisions that leadership teams have to get right in order to grow, and those four decisions are around people, strategy, execution and cash. Next month’s workshop is organized around those four decisions and teaches the participants how to address them better and then coordinate them into a one-page strategic plan.

“The people portion of the workshop ties your people and your processes for hiring and growing people to strategy,” Synk said. “If you have better people, strategy is easier. Execution is easier. Everything is easier.”

Put simply, this instruction will focus on not only how to get the right people, but how to get the right people doing the right thing within a company.

“We answer this question pretty frequently,” said Charles Rodriguez, consulting and program development director for Adams Keegan Inc., the sponsor for the workshop’s people decision segment. “We work with small- and medium-sized businesses every day and help owners and managers figure out their strategies for hiring people. Once you get out of that Fortune 500, upper-level enterprise strategy and into companies where the principles are directly involved with staff, we look at breaking things down to how defined is the culture. It’s about how identifiable is the culture on the individual level.

“When it comes to hiring and developing ‘A players,’ people look at ‘A players’ based on where they’re coming from and too often forget about what that means for where they’re going to be.”

Synk said the people decisions all relate back to a basic question that must get addressed by companies that want sustainable growth. Would the leaders of those companies enthusiastically rehire all of their people? If not, what percentage would they rehire?

If the number is less than 80 percent, your people might be the factor holding your company back, Synk said.

“The workshop introduces participants to ‘TopGrading,’ a method for hiring ‘A Players’ from outside the company, and creating ‘A Players’ from within the company,” Synk said. “The workshop also addresses alignment of your people – getting the right ‘A Players’ in the right seats doing the right things.”

The workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Fogelman Executive Center at the University of Memphis and finish by 5 p.m. At the end of the day, attendees will leave in part with a baseline strategic plan and a checklist for execution.

In addition to The Daily News and Adams Keegan, other sponsors of the event and the decision points those sponsors are tied to include Century Wealth Management (Strategy Sponsor), Decosimo Certified Public Accountants (Execution Sponsor) and Triumph Bank (Cash Sponsor).

The workshop is $500 per person, $400 per person for teams of four or more, and $400 for Young Presidents Organization, Entrepreneurs Organization, Vistage, Clarity Council, and Society of Entrepreneurs Insight Group Members. To learn more, visit www.in-synk.com or www.planforwardworkshop.com, call 488-8172 or email msynk@in-synk.com.

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