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What Do You Need To Change To Be More Successful?

WHAT I DO: I help credit union executives, small business owners and entrepreneurs achieve professional growth, career advancement, increased earnings and work-life balancer by providing a customized developmental process based upon their unique needs.

WHO I WORK WITH: I partner with executives, business owners and senior-level managers including:

• Credit Unions
• CPA firms
• Auto Repair
• Publishing
• Hospital CEO’s.
• Chambers of Commerce
• Non-profits

WHY IT WORKS: When you partner with me, you get the most efficient, effective and affordable executive coaching and strategic planning processes that leaders like you are looking for right now.

WHAT MAKES ME DIFFERENT? I have run a business and faced many of the challenges you now face. I was for 29 years a credit union CEO, and prior to that in in consumer finance. I am a Vietnam Vet. My knowledge has been acquired over a long haul. I do not offer cookie-cutter solutions. In fact, I do not even suggest a solution until I understand you, your organization and your needs. No prescriptions without a diagnosis.

HOW IT WORKS: We begin by talking by telephone about your organization, your vision, and what does success look like. I start with a blank page and simply listen. I request 30-minutes initially, and then schedule a follow-up call to share what I feel is the best solution for you.

READY TO TALK? Reach out to me here on LinkedIn, e-mail me at tom@kesgroupllc.com, visit online at www.kesgroupllc.com or call me direct at 941-650-9027.

Become More of Who You Are

Thomas Merton's idea that the best we can do is to be the best version of ourselves—in all our imperfect glory.  Here is one of my favorite quotes by him: "Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself." What I like about growing older is that I increasingly do not care what other people think, and I have less need to prove whom I am. I often think about some of the early, limiting influences that shaped my path, when I allowed them to. And what I mean by this is consider the frequently heard sayings in your family. They were well meaning when preached to you, however, the...
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Courage Isn’t Inherited, It’s Developed

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”  ―  J.K. Rowling ,  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone John Wayne was an actor and an American icon. Many will agree that he was a man’s man and symbolized the courage, integrity and charisma that are hallmarks of what we want to see in our leaders…and in ourselves. When we think of today’s leaders, however, courage isn’t often the term that is top of mind. We accept that persons of leadership have power and authority, but often, unfortunately, these attributes are used for harm more than good. As honor is a part of integrity, so then is courage a part of character. A person with great character, who performs an act of courage, doesn’t take that action with a conscious thought that his or her deeds...
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Become More of Who You Are

Thomas Merton's idea that the best we can do is to be the best version of ourselves—in all our imperfect glory.  Here is one of my favorite quotes by him: "Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself." What I like about growing older is that I increasingly do not care what other people think, and I have less need to prove whom I am. I often think about some of the early, limiting influences that shaped my path, when I allowed them to. And what I mean by this is consider the frequently heard sayings in your family. They were well meaning when preached to you, however, the...
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Are You Living With Integrity and Ethics?

“Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 50 percent of your time in leading yourself--your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 20 percent leading those with authority over you and 15 percent leading your peers.” — Dee Hock , Founder and CEO Emeritus of VISA Over the course of my career of more than 40 years, 29 of those in the credit union industry, I cannot recall any speaker or any of my peers debating the differences between integrity and ethics. It may have been that we were all afraid of opening Pandora’s Box or perhaps, it hit too close to home. I was no angel. With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, neither were many of my peers, especially in the regulatory agencies. Integrity is defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness...
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United or Untied? How Would You Describe Your Organization?

General George S. Patton said, “Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves". Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals”. During one of the worst periods in the history of our world, with chaos and carnage on virtually every continent, do you believe for an instant that Gen. Patton ever though he would not be successful? Absolutely not. Leaders know that being united in battle, or the boardroom, is essential to managing a battalion or an organization. The men and women in our armed forces share a common mission and are united in a shared set of values. They fight to protect the people beside them. If unity is not paramount, they cannot accomplish their mission. Whether it’s “leave no man behind”, “This We'll Defend” or "Called to Duty, Boots on the Ground", members of our military are united by closely held beliefs....
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Shared Vision

The Donald stood and delivered a blistering rebuke of the past and outlined his vision for our country. Like him or not, he laid it out for public acceptance or rejection. My guess is, not many of us as a new CEO, on the first day in the position, has the courage to articulate our vision for the organization. Worse yet, many CEO’s never do! To tell all your employees and other stakeholders where you see the business in 5 to 15 years is tedious and requires a lot of repetition. Your employees are no different from your customers, and they both need to hear your vision 7 or more times before it sinks in. Strong self-direction and role-awareness are part of being a leader. In addition, you cannot lead a business if you do not have a long-term strategic plan and vision for yourself and your company. I see...
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Why Failure Can be Good

How do you view failure? Do you see it as something negative that you do not want to be associated with or do you see it as something positive? Most people in the world do not like a failure. Fear of failure is the main reason why more than 80% of people in the world are not prepared to change their circumstances. Why do people fear failure so much? The reason for this is that people do not understand the dynamics involved in success and failure. Everything we do in life has a right way of doing it and a wrong way of doing it. When we do it the right way we meet with success. Needless to say, that when we do it the wrong way we are unsuccessful. Understanding this is important because it puts failure in its proper perspective and removes the fear around it. When someone...
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What Are YOU Doing To Grow, Professionally and Personally?

Stop and ask yourself: Do you feel successful, but not quite fully satisfied? Are you determining your goals and what’s important to you? Have you ever struggled with work and life balance? Do you wish there was someone to talk to? If you answered yes, now is the time to take control of your destiny. Some people don’t know what they want but they know it’s more than what they have. I help them dream and create the life they want. Others have dreams, but can’t seem to get past certain roadblocks that are keeping them from realizing them. I help them push through those obstacles and achieve reachable and measurable goals in their life. You’re familiar with what a coach does for a professional athlete, right? Then, you know it is the athlete who has the ability to make the goal or win the medal, but without the coach...
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What Credit Union CEOs Need to Know about Strategic Planning 

Small credit unions mistakenly believe that the size of their credit union negates the need for strategic planning but the opposite is actually true. Its inherent size is actually what makes strategic planning more important because it can mean for a small credit union to gradually evolve into a huge and thriving multinational corporatio n.   Fall is coming soon, and many credit unions will be conducting their fall ritual of meeting with their Board’s to look ahead. That annual ”weekend in the woods” type retreat has been conducted almost as long as there have been credit unions. And while larger credit unions often conduct a planning session twice per year, the exercise has not changed. Maybe its time to look at strategic planning differently. Planning is one of the five important functions of management, but it is arguably the most important of all because it is the first function...
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Do You Know Your Leadership Blind Spots?

No matter how hard we try to be self-aware, everyone—including the best leaders—has unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but glaring to everyone else. A blind spot is a performance-hindering mindset or behavior of which you’re unaware or have chosen to overlook. A recent Business Week article cites some important research: A Hay Group study shows that an organization’s senior leaders are more likely to overrate themselves and develop blind spots that can hinder their effectiveness. A study by Development Dimensions International, Inc., found that 89 percent of front-line leaders have at least one skills-related blind spot. The Hay research suggests that, as executives rise within an organization, the less likely they are to see themselves as others perceive them. They often lose touch with those they lead—not surprising, given their increased isolation and the executive suite’s “rarified” atmosphere. As they reach the pinnacle of their profession, they have...
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Are You Experiencing Challenges in Developing a Leadership Team in Your Organization?

In all of mankind’s struggles, there are just three: Man Against Nature; Man Against Man; and Man Against His/Her Self. That gives you cause to contemplate, which is holding you back from developing a leadership team, and organization that can succeed in today’s business environment. Is it you, perhaps? If so, you are not alone. Imperfect leaders can change. Personal and professional development is an ongoing commitment. If you are a CEO, small business owner, or a department head in corporate America, you intuitively know that to be so. Yesterday’s skill set may not translate to what is needed today and in the near future. Key success factors are a moving target, in yourself, your team, your organization and its strategic plans. P u t Positive Leadership into Action Executive coaches and leadership consultants who encourage positive thinking often encounter cynical, hard-driving executives with a close eye on the bottom...
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What do you really want to change in YOUR life right now?

Achieving work-life balance is probably the top issue for my coaching clients . That appears to be a universal desire regardless of job title, or company. Entrepreneurs and CEO’s perhaps even more so. It seems there is some correlation to the level of responsibility and the desire to obtain a balance between their professional and personal lives so they may enjoy the fruits of their labors. Today, I shared that with someone who then shared their own experience. This young man in his late-20’s, works 60-70 hours each week as a pharmaceutical salesperson. Great pay and a new car every other year. The consequences of his rewards are that he broke off a 2-year relationship because she didn’t understand the nuances of his job. In the 29 years I had the privilege of being a credit union CEO, that was a common theme with a few of my direct reports...
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Combat Stress – Seven Practical Methods

A stress-free lifestyle could very well do wonders in eliminating depression. Here are seven practical methods to combat stress: Express Amusement and Be Happy. Laugh hard and loud. If you do not have a sense of humor, find someone else who does. Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system. Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule.  You will be much more able to deal with stress if you have a good handle on your job, relationships, and other activities. When you are in control, you are more inclined to stay focused and calm. Plan your time wisely. Remember to leave room for unexpected events, both negative and positive. Be adaptable in rearranging your agenda. Get up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments. Avoid procrastinating on important or urgent tasks. Whatever needs doing,...
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What do you do to build consensus and relationships?

We gain knowledge and skills as our careers and levels of authority increase. Some hold a position for years as a follower and are elevated to a position of leadership for which they may not be sufficiently prepared. I see that often when a CFO becomes a CEO or a long term employee is promoted based on seniority versus merit. The skills and knowledge that made them a great follower may not be the same set of core competencies they need as a leader. Leaders are not born…leadership is a learned skill. Technical skills are only 10% of what a leader needs, while people issues make up 90%. It is simple…you cannot do the job alone and people want and need to be included in the process. In order to increase your understanding of effective communications, it is useful to know what your natural and adaptive behavioral styles are. The...
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Looking for the Secret to Success and Happiness?

The struggle to achieve a balance in our personal and professional lives is real and experienced by all my coaching clients. Their eternal question is, 'How Can I Be Happy and Successful'?   It is our nature to seek greater goals. You will be our most successful, and most fulfilled, at those times you are working toward the achievement of your own goals. You will feel your most passionate, enthusiastic and inspired when your goals cause you to stretch that which you know to be certain that you can achieve. Success is defined by Resource Associates Corp., as the continual achievement of your OWN predetermined goals stabilized by balance and purified by belief. There is nothing in that definition about money, power, authority or fame. If you are successful and achieve fame; however, you sold your soul to the devil and compromised your integrity to achieve that, will you be...
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Strategic Planning For Optimum Business Management

Strategic Planning is an organizational tool that is used by groups and corporations globally to refine their goals and maximize their resources. Drawing from the concepts of strategic military planning, the strategic planning process is one way in which businesses strive to attain a competitive edge. Strategic planning involves defining goals, creating an adaptable business plan and measuring core competencies of staff to increase productivity and results. The understanding and implementation of strategic planning can significantly affect a company's ability to maximize revenue and growth. The process has been used effectively in many fields of business, education, and government to formulate productive business systems and resource management solutions.   While there are several different approaches to implementing a strategic planning process, most models use the following definitions: Mission definition: The mission definition stage of strategic planning encourages an organization to develop a brief description of purpose to inform potential stockholders,...
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The Power of Humble Leadership

Today’s leaders face innumerable challenges that previous generations never confronted: employee disengagement, cloud-based speed of commerce, political correctness, cultural diversity, social sensitivities and a hyper-focus on efficiency, among others. Pressure to succeed is higher than ever. Leaders know they must have an A-game, and they continually encounter methods that experts claim will improve proficiencies. Humility, however, is an often-overlooked character trait that flies in the face of culturally accepted leadership norms. It may, in fact, be the most powerful attribute a leader can have to engage and inspire people. Leaders dream of motivated teams, yet many try to develop them in all the wrong ways. Fundamental Paradigms For generations, workplace humility was seen as a detriment, not an advantage. Leaders believed organizations were best run with power, intimidation, authority and ego. Decisiveness, toughness and assertiveness were deemed leadership strengths. Facts and figures ruled the day, and leaders seldom prioritized employee...
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When did you last share your vision for the organization?

Every CEO I have ever met says they want to create raving fans, apostles, word of mouth advertising, etc. Yet, almost all of those same CEO’s sat in their offices and rarely interact with staff or customers. Really? Google “management by wandering around” and you’ll get 503,000 hits.  There is overwhelming evidence that if you want to push your vision down to your employees and customers, you have to get off your butt. It is tedious and requires repetition to tell all your employees and other stakeholders where you see the business in 5 to 15 years. Your employees are no different from your customers, they need to hear your vision seven or more times before it sinks in. A strong self direction and role awareness are part of being a leader. You cannot lead a business if you do not have a long term strategic plan for yourself and...
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What Are You Doing in Your Organization to Breakthrough?

I spent 39 years in consumer finance and twenty-five of that as a CEO. That and $0.85 buys you a cup of senior coffee at McDonald’s. I have been an informed observer of credit unions and banks since Richard Nixon was our president so if nothing else, I have been doing so long enough to have an opinion and have seen more than a few trends and business gurus giving advice. Take mine with a grain of salt, too. Quick...what comes to mind when you hear: Airbnb; Square; Tesla; Uber; Waze and Spotify? Did innovation, ingrained brand, break through companies come to mind. How about the Apples of tomorrow? Now think of your organization and what is your gut saying? Yeah, I get it. Limited resources, uneducated board of directors, overbearing regulatory system, and unlucky geographic location, etc. As I said, I get it. I have actually walked more than...
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The #1 Dilemma Facing Almost All Organizations is “What’s Your Culture?”

The inability of today’s leaders to understand what constitutes their organizational culture, its impact on change and their role in creating it can cost a company its reputation, increase turnover, prevent it from adding loyal customers, and the hit to the bottom line can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Finding good employees (and retaining them) is challenging and time consuming; however, once you find the right fit and nurture the employee relationship, it can be quite costly to see that relationship go by the wayside. Depending on the research you read, the cost to replace an hourly employee is 35% to 50% of their salary, and for a professional staff person, the replacement cost is as high as 125% of their salary. A key factor that many organizations miss is that they cannot attract and retain loyal customers if they do not have loyal employees. Employee loyalty...
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Testimonial

“As a Senior Executive in the Credit Union industry - I have personally experienced along with my staff - what Tom brings to the table as a Coach. Tom is uniquely qualified from his experiences as CEO and President of a Credit Union and brings not only that experience but has a special way of identifying unique qualities that we all have but sometimes have not fully realized and utilized in the work place and in our personal lives. Tom delivers in such a way that exhibits high integrity and a genuine concern for his clients -- I strongly recommend Tom for your organization if you are looking for ways to inspire and motivate your staff to reach to the next level.”…Tim Smith

Contact Details

941.650.9027

KES Group LLC
P.O. Box 2025
Clayton, GA 30525

tom@kesgroupllc.com