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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.

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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Put 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 line. But positivity coaches have come a long way since author Norman Vincent Peale preached his positive philosophy of faith and miracles. Today’s positive-psychology movement is founded on empirical evidence. Social scientists have documented the benefits of optimism, emotional intelligence and happiness in multiple work settings. Positive leadership is no longer seen as a feel-good ideal with little bearing on business results. Mounting evidence reveals that leaders who focus on their people’s positive contributions, while concomitantly achieving tough goals through measurable tasks, enjoy higher performance outcomes. While positive leadership is gaining traction among CEOs and executive teams, it’s often poorly understood and implemented. University of Michigan management professor Kim S. Cameron, PhD, offers a cogent definition of the term in his new book,   Pra c ti c i...
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It's as easy as 1-2-3

Close your eyes for a second; let’s take a little journey through time. Imagine sitting in your third grade classroom. What do you see blackboards or whiteboards (depending upon your age)? Can you hear the gentle scratching of pencils on paper or the quiet click of keyboards? Do you smell the day’s beefaroni wafting up from the lunchroom? Now picture your teacher’s face as he or she says, “OK, children, it’s time for you to write an essay. I’d like 100 words to answer this question: What do you want to be when you grow up?” What did you write about? Being a firefighter and hanging onto the back of the bright red fire truck as you careened your way through traffic ready to save lives? Rocketing out into space as an astronaut, ready to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations? Leading a life...
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Do YOU Know Where You’re Going?

“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.” — Jack Canfield, New York Times Bestselling Co-Author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series Most of you spend significant time planning a business trip or family vacation. You think through the itinerary, make reservations, schedule appointments, pack the correct wardrobe and make all arrangements for the vital things that must be handled while you are away. It’s tedious and time consuming, isn’t it? But, you plan the occasional trip with attention, detail and effort. In fact, you often do these tasks better and with more attention than you organize your...
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Growing Loyal, Satisfied Customers

“We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.” — Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos What would my organization look like if it were growing loyal, satisfied customers? That is a reasonable question I hope all small business owners, entrepreneurs and CEO’s could answer in the following way: “It would be growing revenue, increasing our products per household and adding to our employee incentive plan”. So why haven’t you achieved this goal? One answer is that others — i.e., a myopic auditor or a micro-managing Board of Directors, both of whom are detached from reality — have determined the goals...
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Set Aside 20 Minutes Each Day to Do This

“When you invest your time, you make a goal and a decision of something that you want to accomplish. Whether it’s make good grades in school, be a good athlete, be a good person, go down and do some community service and help somebody who’s in need, whatever it is you choose to do, you’re investing your time in that.” — Nick Saban, American football coach Many of my executive coaching clients have shared that effective time management is an issue for them…they have too many meetings, too many interruptions and are always under a demand to get more done more quickly without enough hours in the day. Sound familiar? We all have the same amount of time each day. That’s it! It’s a false assumption that in order to succeed, you must get more things done more quickly. The correct statement is: You’ll get more things done more quickly...
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Five Explanations Why Your Career Is Not Advancing

“Ultimately, it’s on the company leaders to set the tone. Not only the CEO, but the leaders across the company. If you select them so carefully that they then hire the right people, it’s a nice self-fulfilling prophecy.” --- Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Gaining professional recognition and its rewards can be tricky. To realize our dreams, we must do things that are not always apparent or our first choice. Even when you’re doing all the seemingly right things, your career can stall and perhaps come to a screeching halt. This happens for a number of reasons although, more often than not, it comes down to something that requires a major lifestyle change to fix. I spent 29 years as an organization CEO, with another 10 years in consumer finance management. I was lucky and blessed to have had my career. But things happen — think the 2008 Banking Collapse, and...
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The Recidivism Rating for Unscrupulous People

Typically, when we think of a negative repetition measurement, it’s viewed through the lens of substance abuse, criminal activities, domestic abuse, etc. Upsetting acts of cowardice or dependency so ingrained that breaking the cycle of repeating the same actions is almost impossible. That is why we accept the definition of insanity as continuing to do or behave in the same manner repeatedly expecting a different result. You may criticize or condemn others for their behaviors. Question why they do the things they do. And you are amazed how they are able to do what they do (or not do) minus any kind of accountability, right? The fundamental question we need to ask then is where is the accountability? Often, we know the answer, but it is beyond our control and influence to cause a change in the poor behaviors of others. They have gotten away with unethical, unhealthy and socially...
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You do not need to be Right All the Time

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.” – Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks Do you care about being right…or…do you just not want to be wrong? Leaders in all endeavors should pause and consider these two parts of the same question. In other words, are the consequences of you being wrong what you fear the most and are thus motivating you more than any reward of being right could? Therefore, you are not compelled to act or attempt any improvement in yourself and your organization, at all. We have heard the expressions “should have, could have, would have,” “if only” and “next time”. All of them point to wanting...
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Delegate or Daycare?

“The way I think about culture is that modern humans have radically changed the way that they work and the way that they live. Companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans actually work and live.” – Brian Halligan, CEO, Hubspot   Holding people accountable for their behavior is the mark of a great leader. The leader is accountable for the entire team’s performance. They don’t make excuses for themselves or their people. What they do is give their team members the support they need to find solutions and fix their mistakes. Truth is few bosses are good at it. The key word is “boss”. Many CEOs think of themselves as the boss instead of the leader. Both can achieve success, but a boss is unlikely to have a sustainable career. Bosses are generally unapproachable and closed off to discussing issues...
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Sailing vs. Rowing  

    “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Seth Godin Reverend Joan Gray wrote a wonderful book entitled Sailboat Church , which speaks to helping your Church rethink its mission and practice. There are abundant applications we can use in managing our businesses. After years of experience, I can say with the wisdom of 20/20 hindsight that, I made many mistakes. I learned from them and did not commit the same ones more than once. It is that distance of time that provides the perspective and capacity to reflect and grow. As a CEO, you may (or you will) experience what we know as “burn-out”. You are tired of doing, doing and doing but nothing is getting accomplished. You are frustrated. It is that nothing happening which bothers us the most. But what if we are...
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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