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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.

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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Is Truth Dead?

In a world where leaders spin reality and use alternative facts to make things seem better than they are, is dishonesty becoming the new norm? A Time Magazine cover asks, “ Is Truth Dead? ”              "Morality, like art, means drawing a line somewhere." ~ Oscar Wilde After more than forty-years as a leader, including twenty-five as a credit union CEO, I believe me to be an informed observer of leaders who can and do lie. And, they do so often, with no consequences or accountability. So much so, that I wrote a book, “Shouldering the Cost: One Credit Union CEO’s Perspective on the Great Banking Recession of 2008”, to be published as a Kindle e-book. When leaders play loose with truth, they make it more comfortable for everyone to do the same thing. When we see successful people getting away with untruths, we start telling our own lies....
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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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Leadership Resilience: The Art of Bouncing Back

How we respond to failures and bounce back from our mistakes can make or break our careers. After 20 years as the CEO of credit union, the recession and collapse of the housing markets created an economic perfect storm that resulted in a merger and I was unemployed at at age 59.  I started my own business and realized a goal of relocating to a small, unhurried town surrounded by mountains. Consider the example of two MBA graduates who were laid off from their positions during the recession. Both were distraught. Being fired provoked feelings of sadness, indecisiveness and anxiety about the future. For one, the mood was transient. Within two weeks he was telling himself, “It’s not my fault; it’s the economy. I’m good at what I do, and there’s a market for my skills.” He updated his resume and, after several failed attempts, finally landed a position. The...
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Increasing Loyal Customers in Your Organization is a Key Success Factor

When I ask that question almost all leaders answer in the affirmative.  If that objective is so important to the success of their organization, then why haven’t they taken action to achieve the goal? One answer is that the goals of the organization have been determined by others and the leadership team doesn’t “own” those goals. It is common for organizations to rely on the balance sheet as a means of measuring current and future success. Only considering balance sheet items may lead you to assume that loyal customer relationships are not relevant. In some organizations, e.g.: credit union’s, it is often the opinion of federal and state regulators that customers should only be dealt with based on what is profitable rather than what is right for the customer. Having a conversation about a process for the organization that changes the focus from customer satisfaction to customer loyalty hasn’t happened in...
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What is your greatest fear?

Fear of failure will lead many people into inertia - the inability to make decision or take action in case they receive rejection or negative outcomes. This mental state is fairly easy to identify and there are many tools in the personal development industry to help combat this plague and reprogram the mind for success. Perhaps you have this tendency in your life. Here are some indications of a fear of success mentality. Studying and trying to implement self-improvement techniques and/or personal development tools but your life does not improve or may even get worse. You settle for less than you feel you deserve or are capable of achieving. You start new projects full of enthusiasm and optimism but wanes in your efforts or stop short before you have completed them. You expect things to go wrong no matter how well the situation appears to be at the moment. Can...
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Decisions and Motivations

Everyone makes decisions differently and is motivated or driven by different things.Being aware of and understanding these differences are important when managing employees or creating relationships. Over fifty years of scientific research has revealed that there are three distinct styles of decision-making. Each of us can make decisions in all three ways, but we tend to develop a preference for one more than the other two. This preference becomes a subconscious force, affecting the decisions we make on a daily basis and shaping how we perceive the world around us and ourselves. The three decisional styles are personal, practical, and analytical. To some extent, everyone is capable of making all three kinds of decisions, but we ultimately have a preference. Here is a simple example of the three in contrast with each other. A person with each style is sitting around a table working on a project together. While the...
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Motivate without Over-Managing

Many business leaders have lost sight of what motivates people at work. In fact, some companies haven’t updated their incentive practices in years, which means they’re probably struggling to create and sustain high-performing teams. Companies continue to ignore the obvious: Offering incentives and rewards is less effective than tapping into truly meaningful intrinsic motivation. Leaders operate on old assumptions about motivation despite a wealth of well-documented scientific evidence. The old “carrot-and-stick” mentality actually inhibits employees from seeking creative solutions, partly because they focus on attaining rewards instead of solving problems. Review the most notorious business failures, and you’ll find that company leaders focused on rewarding short-term results at the expense of sustaining success. This approach is far from new. Social scientists have grasped what motivates people for more than 60 years. But managers continue to use the carrot/stick model with incentive programs. Regardless of gender, race, culture or generation, the...
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Some Tips for “Testing” Your Strategic Plan

Vision Do you have an emotional attachment to your vision? Or is it primarily a collection of nice words for others to read? Does it inspire and energize you to get up every day and work at your business? A vision is your dream. Write one that you’ll never share. It must be personal, detailed and private. You can pull out part to share on your website; however, do not change your vision. Vision statements almost never do anything for your business or life. Most Vision Statements are just marketing campaigns. If you read it aloud, is it what you would share? Values Do your core values clearly define the expected behaviors within and external to your company? Is it your habit, or not? How many times each day do you violate your core values? Who holds you accountable? How do you handle a violation? Have you given others permission...
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Are You a Leader That Is Responsible For Coaching Subordinates?

I am not sure anyone aspires to be a bad leader, but in the past 40 years that I have been helping leaders to make positive behavioral changes in themselves, and how they coach their employees, I have seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly. That is apparent when a leader asks me to talk to his/her staff, or it is observed in the behaviors/actions of the staff. Poorly coached employees are the front-line of your organization and what the customers see. Best way to destroy loyal customer growth is to have poorly coached employees. Here are some of the problems that “leave-something-to-be-desired” to be avoided:   1. The leader does not have a message that clearly communicates value or results. In short, they try to be everything to everybody. This type of mindset makes it difficult for employees to understand the business they are in, the work...
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When preparing future leaders to take on greater responsibility, organizations are looking for integrity and excellent communication skills.

In a recent study conducted by Robert Half Management Resources, it was concluded that beyond technical and functional expertise, the following traits were high on an organization’s list of leadership requirements. The survey included 1,400 CFO’s from a random sample of US companies with 20 or more employees. (T&D December 2010) Integrity – 33% Interpersonal/Communication Skills – 28% Initiative – 15% Ability to Motivate Others – 12% Business Savvy – 10% Pay attention to any form of business news and it will quickly confirm that integrity in business is becoming a lost art. Companies want quick fixes, fast money, and magic bullets. Companies are not spending the necessary time to create and maintain cultures of integrity, values, and processes, or making the right decisions for the right reasons. Lack of corporate integrity has been the documented cause of organizational demise, severe embarrassment, and financial loss many times within the last...
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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