Stop The Vanilla Blog

Changing the Business Landscape

Business Landscape

The worldwide recession that began in 2007 ended forever the days when businesses could prosper despite offering little than middle-of-the-pack products and services.  While nobody likes a recession, it’s also true that economic hard times create opportunities for companies that are dedicated to rising above the crowd.  Organizations that differentiate themselves from their competition thrive regardless of the economy, while those who remain content with the status quo struggle to survive.  The fact is that your customer’s buying criteria have evolved to the point where average just isn’t good enough anymore and never will be again.  Indeed, you’ve probably noticed that shift in your own purchasing decisions.  During the latest business downturn, the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders understood they needed a new approach.  They survived the recession by realizing there had to be a better way–a more effective way– to outplan and outperform the competition.  That’s what I will share with you.

By this point, you may have concluded that your business is in the same position that most companies find themselves in: You’re stuck in the flat, leveling, or even declining sales pattern.  It’s also possible that, like many of the companies I work with, you find yourself working harder, even expanding your client or customer base, and still not making any money.  You lack balance in your life because you are putting in so many hours — but for what?  Or it may be that you’ve realized there are roadblocks to progress within your company– sacred cows– that are limiting your ability to grow and prosper.

Fewer than 10% of all business develop and execute departmental (tactical) plans.  This is even harder to understand once you realize that these plans are where strategy blossoms into action. Does your experience follow these trends?  Let me ask you a few questions:

  • Do you develop and execute an annual business plan?
  • Can you clearly define how your organization differentiates itself from its competition? Is it a real differentiation?
  • Do you develop departmental plans to work on the business, such as operations, sales, marketing, human resources, or manufacturing plans?

Now, by using the common-sense principles and guidance of the Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream book, you can help your organization move to the head of the class: you can be among those few visionary leaders who not only know where they want to go but have a solid, workable plan for getting there and putting the team in place to make it happen.

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Behavioral Science Grows Your Bottom Line

Mark Kaiser, President of Lindquist Machine Corporation, has become a firm believer in behavioral science. Mark is one of the most progressive users of behavioral tools with whom I have worked since SM Advisors developed its talent management process over six years ago. He is a good example of how more managers are realizing how to fully implement behavioral science across their organizations to increase ROI and see an impact on the bottom line.

Mark is like other clients of SM Advisors who have seen firsthand the benefits of guiding people to work effectively as a team. Behavioral assessment tools help us do that by measuring what are called a person’s “soft skills,” or the personal and cognitive abilities required to do the job. These aspects of a person’s behavior are separate from hard skills such as experience, education and knowledge. Our experience has been that when teams don’t meet their objectives, it typically has very little to do with their hard or technical skills. It is usually because they are having interpersonal issues within their team.

How do you get the team to resolve those interpersonal conflicts? The assessment tools allow us to see how each team member is wired, what motivates their decisions, and how they think. The assessments tell you the dos and don’ts of how to effectively communicate with each member of your team.

I want to stress that I am not talking about personality here. It isn’t possible to measure an individual’s total personality. We are all too complex to measure that, but we can measure actual behaviors and values, to help us better understand each other.

Mark says he has seen a dramatic increase in the performance of his team and the organization through fully implementing behavioral science throughout the company.

Lindquist Machine now uses the behavioral tools for job benchmarking, selection, hiring, conflict resolution, communication plans, team development and individual development.

If you are interested in learning more, SM Advisors will provide you with a complimentary behavioral assessment to help you accomplish your objectives. Please contact for a limited supply of complimentary assessments.  Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!


Develop a Vision to Overcome Adversity

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Aligning Mission with Competence


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Assessing your Competition


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Being thoughtful In Creating Your Own Culture


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Are Leaders Born or Made?

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Annual Goals

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Learn More About Your Market

Since you can’t make strategic decisions in a vacuum, collecting market research and evaluating how it impacts your organization must be one of the early steps you take in identifying potential competence options. Market research helps you identify … [Continue reading]

Your First Plan is Your Most Important Plan!


I call it the light bulb. It’s when the room gets a little brighter because an individual or team just experienced a breakthrough. It’s my favorite part of the planning process: that “aha” moment when the light bulb goes on. I recently experienced … [Continue reading]

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