Tag Archives: Boone Management Group

Leadership and Transparency in Today’s Organizations


Today’s technology has lead organizations and its leadership to be posted on YouTube, blogs, and or on newsstands for the good and bad reasons. This technology is nothing new but organizations should leverage technology to their advantage by making their organization more transparent. Transparency is defined by creating an organizational culture that is open with communication that makes decisions based on analytically evidence. Additionally, this culture rewards employees for sharing their insight along with encouraging candor by welcoming news or information even when it’s unfortunate.

It is better for leaders to embrace today’s digital era by being more transparent rather than giving the responsibility to a third party. Lately, leaders are getting themselves into trouble whether they or a disgruntled employee leaks personal information and or recordings appear on the web of a CEO or employee negatively speaking about the company and its customers. In these instances leaders need to be more aware and cautious due to the technology that has made privacy more difficult. On November 5th founder of Lululemon Athletica, Chip Wilson, made negative comments that basically targeted overweight female customers. His comment was in response to a question about Lululemon’s see-through yoga pants; he alluded that some women’s’ bodies just don’t actually work for Lululemon’s apparel because their bodies are not the right size for the company’s pants. The statement made by Wilson, quickly had the entire social media world going crazy and soon after, Chip Wilson made a public apology. This is an example of a CEO that impulsively spoke about his views and due to the digital age we live in; his comment went viral, ultimately discriminating many of its customers. Organizational Transparency is no longer optional in this digital age; organizations need to create a transparent culture to minimize consumer and employee distrust.

Additionally, Leaders of organizations need to receive information from various perspectives to make crucial decisions. Sometimes the flow of information gets edited or is one-sided as it travels through different communication channels. Having transparency will help alleviate altered information.  Back in the 1980’s, CEO Robert Galvin of Motorola stated that he did not think he was the smartest person at Motorola. He put his ego aside and continued to mention that the success of the company was no thanks to him but the fact that he surrounded himself with talented managers and employees. He was a prime example of a leader that created a culture that was open and respected employees’ insight other than his own.

Organizations need to find a proper balance of transparency by not being too closed or open. Creating an organizationally transparent culture leads to a work environment that is based on candor and trust and therefore creates loyalty from the stakeholders, employees, customers, and the public eye. Technology has given organizations the ability to be more transparent however; this can also be used to harm an organization. Organizations and its leaders must be cautious of discussing important matters in public vs. private locations.

Melonie Boone, MBA, MJ, PHR, Founder of Boone Management Group Inc., is a business strategist and executive leader with comprehensive experience in business optimization and human resources strategy. She works as a member of senior management to optimize strategic planning in support of organizational growth, bringing proven results in business strategy advising and directing human resources operations in diverse organizations across multiple states. Contact Melonie directly: mboone@boonemanagementgroup.com.

Is Broadbanding a Part of Your Compensation Strategy?


Today’s organizations face the threat of external uncertainty on a daily basis. In the current turbulent business environment, an organizational strategy that can flexibly adapt to external threats is a key to success.

Given the unpredictable nature of external factors, how can an organization create a future-oriented, strategic compensation plan in order to attract and retain its talent?

The answer can be found in a compensation strategy called “Broadbanding.”

Many of the more “traditional” compensation strategies determine base pay (hourly, salary, etc.) for employees based on what other organizations in their industry are paying (a technique called market comparison). The market comparison technique may not be the best option for companies that are in industries that are constantly changing, and broadbanding may be a good alternative.

It’s not about competition: Broadbanding does not use market comparison, and instead groups multiple job functions and positions into a few wide “bands,” each representing a range of employee salaries. Rather than each department or individual making a different amount of money based on their rank in the company, broadbanding considers employee Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) when placing them into a pay band.

It’s about improvement and development: Research has found that placing employees into pay bands encourages the development of new skills and abilities. Broadbanding uses KSAs for promotion and movement within pay bands, which may inspire employees to develop their skills and professional knowledge, which may benefit the organization as a whole by increasing the quality of its human capital.

Positive attitudes towards salary structure: Many organizations that use traditional compensation strategies create a culture where employees are concerned with their rank in the company, and how to move up the company ladder. Broadbanding takes this focus, and moves it to a more individual level that focuses on personal development. Broadbanding may place employees and their superiors in the same band, which may improve employee performance and attitudes about salary structure.

Although there are many benefits to implementing this approach in an organization, the compensation strategy does have a few challenges and pitfalls.

Lack of a reality check: Adopting a broadbanding approach eliminates market comparison and reflection, which can be a useful tool that many professionals use to determine where their organization stands in comparison to its competitors. This may lead to a decreased awareness of external market conditions, and requires that managers and HR professionals understand, remain current, and are able to interpret key market pay data.

A fear of increased costs: Broadbanding does not have an established set of rules or restrictions that prevent employees from reaching the top of their pay range. This lack of restriction causes many professionals to worry about an increase in costs associated with salary and compensation.

Reduced opportunities for promotions: Decreasing the number of salary bands may lead to fewer opportunities for employees to advance to the next pay range, and this lack of upward mobility may be discouraging to some employees.

Over the past decade, executive and legislative branch members have posed concerns about adopting a broadbanding approach within the federal government and related agencies. Their concerns and reluctance are fueled by a fear of increased costs, and a lack of trust from labor organizations that oppose giving managers complete control over pay decisions and administration.

Although there are a number of advantages to implementing a broadband system, the disadvantages should be weighed before choosing whether a broadbanding approach is right for your organization. The biggest concern related to broadbanding is the lack of market comparison. Without pay range midpoints, it may be difficult for organizations to accurately compare their salary margins to their competitors in the market.

Implementing a broadbanding compensation strategy is a large-scale project for any organization and the process duration is not specific to this compensation strategy alone. Another example of a beneficial compensation strategy we have talked about in our blog is Total Rewards, which shares similar concepts with the Broadbanding approach. The pros and cons of implementing any kind of compensation strategy should be carefully evaluated before deciding which one is right for your organization.

Melonie Boone, MBA, MJ, PHR, Founder of Boone Management Group Inc., is a business strategist and executive leader with comprehensive experience in business optimization and human resources strategy. She works as a member of senior management to optimize strategic planning in support of organizational growth, bringing proven results in business strategy advising and directing human resources operations in diverse organizations across multiple states. Contact Melonie directly: mboone@boonemanagementgroup.com.

Leadership and Management: 6 Ways to Put the ‘Good’ in Goodbye


On Wednesday night, I was at my local Apple store with my son Brinden when everything stopped. Employees from every department excused themselves from various conversations with customers and formed a human corridor down the middle of the store. Then they started cheering.

It wasn’t to launch a new product. No, it was to say goodbye to an employee who was leaving for another job — outside the company.

Anthony walked the gauntlet of cheers and backslaps with a wide grin. Wow, I thought, that’s how you say goodbye. He was honored in a public way, and unabashedly in front of customers. This Apple store did it right.

So often, goodbyes are done badly.

Friends on Wall Street have told me horror stories of their calls to Human Resources. After being “made available to the market” (a real comment from one HR person) they were then escorted out of the building by a guard with a Glock on his belt. Nice.

In offering advice to managers, I want to focus today on the quitting employee—someone who is moving on to a new opportunity. Often these people are treated indifferently or even callously. Perhaps they get a few minutes in a conference room with their team and then are shuttled off to HR to figure out their COBRA health plan. Or maybe they are asked to clean out their desks after-hours, alone, so as to not disturb the workflow. They end up leaving in the dark with a few cardboard boxes of personal items.

A sad and lonely way to end your time with a company that proclaims, “People are our most important asset.” Yeah, right. You think those employees are ever coming back? You think they are recommending your company to their friends?

The way you say goodbye says a lot about you, your values, and your culture. A dignified separation allows both parties to leave with good feelings. It’s advertising you can’t buy. The norm is a missed opportunity, worse is a damaged relationship—not only to those who leave, but to those who stay behind who see how you treat those who want a new challenge.

It doesn’t take too much to make a potentially bad situation into something positive. Here are some simple tips for the bosses of departing employees:

  • This isn’t about you. Actually, sometimes it is about you. Maybe the departing employee hates you. Get over it, because even then you can’t make this about you. It’s about the person who’s leaving and, even more importantly, those who stay behind. How you say goodbye says a lot to his friends and co-workers. So stiff upper lip, smile, and take the high road.
  • Let them go graciously. If a valuable employee wants to quit it’s certainly worthwhile to put up a fight. Start with, “Is there something I can do to change your mind?” No counter offer at all sends a message about their value to you and the organization. But recognize that, in most cases, by the time most employees come to see you they have one foot out the door and offering more money probably won’t help. You can usually tell their true intent in that first conversation—is it to get a little more compensation or really leave.
  • Time things right. Two weeks is all the transition time you are going to get, or should expect to get. Unless the employee is your CEO, any more is overkill. Seriously, make them stay a month and they won’t do much of anything the last few weeks anyway.
  • Say thanks. Let them know their service has been valued.
  • Have a party. Yes, you have to actually stop work at some point to acknowledge their departure. Take them and the team to lunch—and pick up the tab—or have a get together near the end of their last day.
  • Ask for advice. With a pad of paper in front of you, ask what you can do better as a leader, how the team could run better. They may not be completely honest with you at first, but if you stay open and receptive and start taking notes, chances are they’ll start sharing some valuable tidbits.

Melonie Boone, MBA, MJ, PHR, Founder of Boone Management Group Inc., is a business strategist and executive leader with comprehensive experience in business optimization and human resources strategy. She works as a member of senior management to optimize strategic planning in support of organizational growth, bringing proven results in business strategy advising and directing human resources operations in diverse organizations across multiple states. Contact Melonie directly: mboone@boonemanagementgroup.com.

Why Employee Engagement Data is an Important Tool


Employee engagement data is an important tool to an organization especially while going through change.

Change is inevitable in today’s business world and organizations need to make important decisions. Do they focus on finding a way to meet the demands of a diverse and global workforce, focus on all employees or just the high performers, focus on succession planning to replace retiring employees, focus on how to motivate younger employees that continue to enter the workforce, focus on increasing their social media presence, and or focus on incorporating new technologies? All these questions and more can be answered by identifying employee engagement drivers. A short and sweet way to describe employee engagement is the emotional state and behavioral reaction of an employee in a work environment.

In June 2013, Aon Hewitt published a report on Managing Employee Engagement During Times of Change. The report identifies five different engagement drivers during times of change (merger and acquisition (M&A), restructuring, and or strategy transformation) V.S. time of no change. Below are the five Employee Engagement drivers that are associated when an organization is going through some type of change.

1. Involved in decision-making

2. Understands career path

3. Co-workers make personal sacrifices to help the organization

4. Company provides encouragement for development

5. Company provides a two-way dialogue

These drivers all point to employee engagement when going through change when employees have clear expectations, open communication along with having an impact on organizational decisions.

During a time of change it is necessary for organizations to look at employee engagement data and use the top drivers of engagement to help motivate employees. Employee engagement data can lead to smarter informative decisions by an organization by gaining insight into some very important answers for the current and future state of the organization. Depending on the organization or situation, the approach for driving engagement will look different. However, the most important thing is to continually gather engagement data especially during the time of change. This will ultimately give you the answers to what drives your organization.

Melonie Boone, MBA, MJ, PHR, Founder of Boone Management Group Inc., is a business strategist and executive leader with comprehensive experience in business optimization and human resources strategy. She works as a member of senior management to optimize strategic planning in support of organizational growth, bringing proven results in business strategy advising and directing human resources operations in diverse organizations across multiple states. Contact Melonie directly: mboone@boonemanagementgroup.com.

Is it time to shake up your business strategy?


The business environment around us is constantly changing. Organizations have to either adapt or fade away.
Let’s take a look at Burger King for example. Once ranked number two on the list of top fast foodc hains now finds itself number 5 on the list of top 15 according to Business Insider (Source).
In 2012, the top 15 fast food chains ranked in the nation had a combined $115 bullion in sales. It may sound like this is a good thing for Burger King with sales of $8.4 billion and 7,231 locations right? The fact that they are loosing market share to Wendy’s, Starbucks and Subway is reason for concern. Additionally they have Taco Bell in the number 6 spot nipping at their heels. So what has Burger King done? This month they find themselves one of the first  to market with Turkey & Veggie burgers tapping into the health conscious and vegetarian consumer market.
Like Burger King, every business large or small needs to be able to recognize when it’s time to shake things up. Businesses can’t survive off of doing things the way they have always done it. The market and the consumer demands more.
You have to look beyond the surface issues of your organization and drill down to your true pain. What challenges ate at the core of your business? Recently I met with three prospects and all of them felt that Marketing was the biggest challenge. If they only had more money to put into marketing the company could really take off. As I began asking questions that got to the core of their processes, procedures, messaging, quality of service and people we unearthed challenges that were at core of their organizational needs. Padding marketing while not addressing the real pain would only fail to meet their goals. Yes, marketing was one challenge but not the heart of their issues.
So what can you do? Like Burger King we can all implement and execute a business strategy that address your core challenges. Here are some tips on how to do it:
Diagnose: Gather the team and have an open dialogue about business challenges throughout the organization. You may need to enlist all levels of employees not just the leadership team. If you are a smaller organization or working solo you will need to go in eyes wide open. Be prepared to put the best and the worst about the organization on paper so you can get past your surface issues to find root causes of your organizations pain.
Plan: Now that you know your core issues it is time to create your plan of action. Who do you need to tackle the plan? Do you have the internal resources? Will you need to get external experts? Your plan is only as good as the people who will implement and execute so make sure you have identified the competences necessary to make your plan a success and assemble your power team.
Execute: Good plans go no further than the piece of paper you put them on of you don’t execute. Identify who is responsible for specific areas of the plans, check in with the team often, measure to ensure you are reaching the desired results, be nimble enough to identify when the plan needs to be tweaked to meet the changing demands of the market and the customer.
While it is too early to say if Burger Kings new strategy will propel them forward on the list of top fast good chains I do believe that there plan will shake up the fast food industry and other chains will follow.
Don’t be afraid to shake up your business model and do things differently. When your decisions are backed by market analysis and expert advising you will be able to reach your goals. There is no one size fits all solution no matter what industry you are in. Remember to execute your plans and be nimble enough to adapt. Your business strategy can lead to reaching your goals and growing your business.
Melonie Boone, MBA, MJ, PHR, Founder of Boone Management Group Inc., is a business strategist and executive leader with comprehensive experience in business optimization and human resources strategy. She works as a member of senior management to optimize strategic planning in support of organizational growth, bringing proven results in business strategy advising and directing human resources operations in diverse organizations across multiple states. Contact Melonie directly: mboone@boonemanagementgroup.com.

Let’s get productive: 5 Tips for Entrepreneurs




If you have ever been an entrepreneur or worked in an entrepreneurial company you know that productivity is the driver of growth and success. You wear many hats and multitask your way to meeting your goals. This however can be very challenging when you are balancing the demands of your job, customers, family, social life, networking, and so on.

I myself balance client workload, building an enterprise, two children both highly functioning on the autism spectrum, volunteering at my children’s school and the daily responsibilities of our home life (to name a few). Many people ask me how I do it all. My husband even refers to me as “superwoman” and says there is nothing I can’t do. The reality is I have to plan, organize and manage all aspects of my life to meet the demands of work and home.

So how can we all be more productive while balancing work and life? Here are five tips to being productive and meeting your goals.

1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule: Time management is such a critical part of staying productive. I schedule both professional and private events. I recommend you keep all meetings, appointments and to do’s scheduled on your calendar. As an entrepreneur you know your time has a monetary value to it. Every minute of non-productive time is like tossing money away. Don’t forget to schedule personal time. Yes, I do put my kid’s events like football practice and dance lessons, family outings and special lunches with my husband on my calendar. This way I don’t double book or miss out on the personal things that are important to me.

2. Have a targeted approach to networking: Networking is an integral part of business development. It can also occupy a lot of your time. When networking recognize that not every group is the right group for you and not every connection needs to be a face to face follow up. You can schedule phone calls instead to vet out the connection and use a face to face as a second step if you find it to be a mutually beneficial opportunity. This strategy is great for building a lasting relationship; just don’t forget to follow up periodically. If each minute of your time has a dollar value, determine the best way to spend your time that adds the most value.

3. Have IN office hours: This is the time that you devote to working on your organization. Have meetings with your team, work on your strategy and execute your plans for growth. You can also check email; have calls that are related to the company. This time however should be used to focus on the business. Periodically checking in on email and clients is a necessity, but try to devote this time to working on your own plan.

4. Delegate: You can delegate to your team or work with in-sourced partners like consultants, accountants and other advisers who can free you up to focus on your core business and meeting your goals. This can be a challenge. There is so much value to finding people who can share in your vision, support your mission and work to move your business forward. Every organization reaches the precipice of growth. The decisions you make will mean the difference between success and failure. Don’t be afraid to get help.

5. When inspiration hits, capitalize: Innovation can strike at any time. Some of my greatest ideas come to me between two and four in the morning. No matter when you get inspired write it down, plan it out and execute. Don’t let too much time pass or you could miss out on the next best move for your company. Making note of ideas, inspirations and opportunities will help to keep these things top of mind even with everything else going on around you.

As entrepreneurs we have to work diligently to be successful. Whether you are a startup or established, the challenges of being productive will always be present. The key is to have strategies in place that meet those challenges and help you to be a success. This list encompasses a few tools that I use to keep it all together. Figure out what will work best for you, make your plan and then work it. You will find yourself working smarter not harder and being more effective.

Melonie Boone, MBA, MJ, PHR, Founder of Boone Management Group Inc., is a business strategist and executive leader with comprehensive experience in business optimization and human resources strategy. She works as a member of senior management to optimize strategic planning in support of organizational growth, bringing proven results in business strategy advising and directing human resources operations in diverse organizations across multiple states. Contact Melonie directly: mboone@boonemanagementgroup.com.

Do You Have a Strategy to Overcome Business Challenges?


For those of you who know me well you know that this has been a year of highs and lows for me as a business owner. I want to share my story and the strategy I used to overcome one of the biggest business challenge I have faced.

My year started out with lots of optimism and excitement. In January Boone Management Group Inc. was Complete Concepts Consulting. We had done all the planning necessary to launch a sales campaign that increased revenue month over month from January to April.

That all changed however with one phone call on a Saturday morning. It was my business partner. She told me that she had decided to take a full-time job which started on Monday, so she would no longer be a partner in the business. It felt like the floor had dropped from underneath me. Over the next few months client turnover hit us hard. Un-budgeted legal fees for the partnership separation, refunds to clients for service failures and a pipeline that had dried up took a toll on the business and me. Our revenue dropped to nearly nothing and Complete Concepts Consulting no longer existed. In the blink of an eye (so it felt), I was back to square one.

So many questions began to swirl in my head. Do I abandon my dreams and go back into the corporate world? Do I forge ahead alone and try to make Complete Concepts Consulting work? Can I do this alone? Complete Concepts Consulting is “dead to me” so what do I do next? At times I was not sure if I could continue, but the story couldn’t end here!

With this strategy, like me, you will be able to overcome challenges and succeed.

Give yourself time to deal with you: So this I think is an important first step. You have to acknowledge the problem and how you feel about it. While a little on the touchy feely side, a tough business challenge does affect you personally and you have to deal with those emotions before you can move on. I had to deal with a myriad of feelings beginning with anger. Emotions are not easy to get past but you have to acknowledge that you have these feelings and deal with them before you can move forward.

Reach out for advice: It is hard to tell people that something has not worked, especially if you feel like you have failed. It is easy to keep it to yourself and try to fix things on your own. Humility is not easy but when faced with a challenge you need an objective viewpoint that you cannot provide yourself because you are in too deep. Identify the people who can take a look at your situation and help you map out your strategy to overcome the challenge. I was fortunate to have an amazing group of trusted advisers who helped me face this head on.

Plan, Plan, Plan: The best way to deal with a challenge is to create your plan of attack. Now that you have gotten feedback from your trusted advisers it is time to make decisions on how you will deal with the situation. Will you accept defeat or will you fight. Whether the challenge is big or small, you have to have a strategy that addresses how to solve the issue and that strategy must be realistic and executable.

Execute to Succeed: It should come as no surprise that execution of your strategy is the key component to overcoming a business challenge. No matter how big or small, the solution to your challenge has to be implemented. Don’t forget to consider what financial resources are needed. Do you have internal capabilities or do you need to bring in an outside expert? Plan execution is the hardest part of this whole process so stay focused and hold everyone accountable including yourself.

Bottom line is you have to do whatever it takes. You have to stay motivated, driven and determined to succeed no matter how discouraging it can get. For me, Boone Management Group was born in August 2012 (2 years after Complete Concepts Consulting’s inception). Now working with clients in five states; we are making a difference in each client that we work with by providing them with strategic direction that helps no matter what stage of business they are in. From launch to mature; we help our clients reach their goals and succeed.

Melonie Boone, MBA, MJ, PHR, Founder of Boone Management Group Inc., is a business strategist and executive leader with comprehensive experience in business optimization and human resources strategy. She works as a member of senior management to optimize strategic planning in support of organizational growth, bringing proven results in business strategy advising and directing human resources operations in diverse organizations across multiple states. Contact Melonie directly: mboone@boonemanagementgroup.com.