We Need Tools to Build

I've had more conversations about stress management in the last couple of weeks than ever. Is it perhaps the turmoil in the world? Turmoil in our government? Fears about a coming recession? Whatever the reason, what I do know is.... We acknowledge that we need tools to build a house or a car or any physical object. Do we have that same conviction about tools to build our psychic well being? Every person I know who achieves consistent success, consistently uses a tool to manage stress and achieve well being. In the beginning, it was all about positive "thinking".  Norman Vincent Peale achieved a legacy with his book, The Power of Positive Thinking. While positive thinking certainly works for some, and perhaps is enough for some, it doesn't work for everyone. What we have come to realize today, is we are all wired differently. Therefore, the tools we need vary based upon our personalities, our backgrounds and our life experiences. Recently two speakers have addressed this topic during my Vistage...
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Q3 2018 Confidence Index: Optimism Dips

The Q3 Vistage CEO Confidence Index - Economic confidence among CEOs continues its slow decline, according to the Q3 2018 Vistage CEO Confidence Index. The survey of 1,484 leaders of small and midsize businesses shows confidence decreasing from the 14-year peak set in late 2017, following the passage of the tax cut legislation. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 103 in the Q3 2018, reversing the entire gain recorded in the past three quarters. Most of the recent decline was due to an anticipated slowdown in economic growth, as well as a slight decline in revenue and profit expectations. Important to note, however, that CEOs’ expectations for revenues and profits were still quite robust. Q3 2018 Vistage CEO Confidence Index highlights for the Chicago Area: 15% of CEOs expect the economy to improve in the year ahead (vs. 25% nationally) 47% of CEOs expect to increase investments in the year ahead (vs. 50% nationally) 68% of CEOs expect to increase revenue in the...
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Leadership Quote: Today is only one day…

This month's leadership quote: "Today, is only one day, in all the days that will ever be. But, what will happen in all the other days that ever come, can depend on what you do today." --Ernest Hemingway   Are You a CEO or President of a Privately Held Business? If you are also a lifetime learner, and want to learn more about Vistage, click here.   You can read more of my blogs and leadership quotes here....
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Taxes, trade and tariffs translate to trouble

One of the top five concerns noted in Vistage's recent report Decision Factors H2 2018, is taxes, trade and tariffs. The new tax law has created as much uncertainty as opportunity for SMBs. Certain changes — such as the revised Section 179 deduction and 20% pass-through income deduction — are expected to benefit many companies. However, other revisions to the tax law — such as limitations to net business loss deductions — may create new costs. At the same time, new trade policies and tariffs (e.g., steel and aluminum tariffs) are driving up material costs and heightening financial risks for businesses. Joe Gavin, Vistage chief research officer, offers these suggestions: • Hire a CPA you can trust - Your accountant should be willing to sit down with you and explain how they’re planning to calculate your income as a result of the tax law. For example, a great CPA will show you what your taxable income looks like under the old rules compared to the new...
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Cyberattacks are the Silent Killers of SMBs

One of the top five concerns noted in Vistage's recent report Decision Factors H2 2018, is cybersecurity. If you have employees, customers or financial data, you are a target for a cyberattack. Cyber criminals are aggressively targeting small and midsize businesses (SMBs), and cyberattacks are increasing in complexity, frequency and severity. For many SMBs, those attacks are leading to loss of data, cash, customer records, employee information, leadership credibility, and employee and customer trust. Yet many SMBs still haven’t taken the proper precautions to protect themselves. Cybersecurity is a silent killer, it can shut you down like nothing else, says Joe Gavin, Vistage chief research officer. Here are his suggested actions to protect your business: Assess the strength of your cybersecurity - To gauge the strength of your cybersecurity, use a reputable tool — such as the Cybersecurity Framework offered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Create a layered defense - A comprehensive cybersecurity plan has three core components: people, process and technology. Call on a...
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Talent shortage goes critical

One of the top 5 concerns noted in Vistage's recent report Decision Factors H2 2018, is talent shortages. The unemployment rate at 3.9% is near an 18 year low. Last week, the DOL announced the number of Americans applying for unemployment fell to a near 49 year low. By measure of most economists, we are at full employment; some say we are past that. Additionally, there is a growing mismatch between skills desired and skills available. In short, demand exceeds supply on several levels. Joe Gavin, Vistage chief research officer, offers these suggestions gleaned from experts he interviewed: Change how you retain talent - Quoting Fabiola Brumley, Southeast regional executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, "To hold on to your best people, try supplementing employee benefits with non-traditional benefits, such as financial counseling or a reward system that recognizes high performers. Additionally, Joseph Quinlan stresses that companies should be “much more flexible — not just for millennials, but for the aging cohort as well. There are a...
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Cost pressures broadening and growing stronger

The #1 concern noted in Vistage's recent report Decision Factors H2 2018, is rising costs. As we near the end of the current economic cycle, for the first time, in a long time, in addition to a typical cyclical tightening, we are also experiencing inflation. Wages are rising, the Fed is raising short term rates, and commodity prices are rising. Add to that the tariffs and businesses are under cost pressure that has not been with us for a long time. The resulting profit declines are a double-edged sword as the impact is on both you and your customers. What to do? Joe Gavin, Vistage chief research officer, offers these suggestions: Raise your prices - 56% of Vistage members are already saying they have, or plan to raise prices. Now is the time to get ahead of the expected continued pressure on price. Talk with customers about their long-term plans - A transparent conversation can lead to a strategic discussion of how you...
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Leadership Quote: I make more mistakes…

This month's leadership quote: "I make more mistakes than anyone else I know, and sooner or later, I patent  most of them." --Thomas A. Edison #leadership #Vistage You can read more of my blogs and leadership quotes here Are You a CEO or President of a Privately Held Business? If you are also a lifetime learner, and want to learn more about Vistage, click here.    ...
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What Are CEO’s Most Concerned About Today?

Entering the second half of 2018, Vistage Research compiled a report summarizing the key concerns CEO's face today. This report draws on data from the Vistage Q2 CEO Confidence Index report and a team of expert economists. Here are the five key areas of concern: Cost pressures broadening and growing stronger Talent shortage goes critical Taxes, trade and tariffs translate to trouble Cyberattacks are the silent killer of SMBs A recession is inevitable Beginning in September, this blog will address each of these concerns in turn. Meanwhile here is the complete report for your consideration  Decision factors: H2 2018 - Economic considerations for SMB executives, Are You a CEO or President of a Privately Held Business? If you are also a lifetime learner, click here to learn more. Elisa K Spain #Strategy #Vistage Confidence Index...
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