Change management tip - "Start, then strengthen"

You will massively improve your chances of successfully making changes in your workplace if you implement a simple and essential change first, then look to incorporate the more challenging elements later. In essence, "Start, then strengthen".

The temptation when assessing the scope of proposed changes is to correct all the known issues (major and minor) in the first iteration. Your thinking may be "I'm going to have spend a lot of time and energy convincing stakeholders to buy into these changes, it makes sense to try and fix everything as part of this project".

Before going down that path however, I advise you to consider the following:

1) Larger more complex projects/changes have more elements for detractors to criticise

2) "Minor" changes may cost more and extend the duration of your project more than you first expect

3) The business world changes very rapidly; the changes resulting from longer projects may no longer be relevant once they have actually been implemented, or worse, you could lose funding partway through your project and be unable to fully implement any of your desired changes.

My recommendation therefore is to implement changes in a series of phases/projects. Start with the most crucial items and manage the scope very carefully. Set up the project in such a way that you can build on it (future-proofing), but do not allow the scope to expand without first getting agreement from all stakeholders (i.e. scope creep). If possible, don't expand the scope at all...the goal is to keep things simple and fully implement the most crucial changes first.

My final piece of advice on this topic is to track the benefits of the implemented changes and to celebrate the results. You are then ready to reassess the situation and tackle the new essential changes (building on the project you've already implemented).

As always,  I welcome your questions, comments and feedback.

Exceed your boss' expectations, then ask for what you want

This may seem obvious, but the most important person to impress at work is your line manager (your boss). S/he is the one who has the biggest influence on what work you do, what (if any) bonus you're entitled to, whether you're deserving of a pay rise, what training the organisation will finance for you and so on. Your line manager is also the gate-keeper to more senior members of the organisation and likely a person with numerous contacts within the organisation and/or across the industry.

The only way to impress your boss is to clearly understand what s/he expects from you, then deliver work that exceeds those expectations. This applies to more than just the output itself ( e.g. exceeding your sales target), but also the way you deliver the output (e.g. the relationships you build with your coworkers, the processes you put in place etc.).

Continually exceeding expectations will result in three things:

1) you will build a fantastic reputation (personal brand),

2) you will be given the opportunity to work on those things that you want to work on and

3) you will be given chances for rapid promotion.

Please be aware, the only way that you will be given work that you want to work on, is if you ask for it. A great line manager may know what you want to do, but don't expect them to - they're likely to be very busy, with many demands on their time and thoughts. My recommendation is to exceed your boss' expectations, then ask (politely) for what you want.

A final word of caution...each time you exceed your line manager's expectations, those expectations will rise. How to handle this challenge may well be the topic of a future blog post...please let me know if that would interest you.

"" websites unveiled

No amount of pro-motion of Boyne City is too much… especially in the digital world where multiple links enhance web presence. MetroAlive, a company you may have met at the Chamber Business Expo in April, is dedicated to promoting Boyne City merchants through their “city websites.” They have built a  website to highlight the greater Boyne City area, emphasizing high quality photography and video. Following their photo sessions, they add new businesses to their “city site” at affordable prices, which also gives the participating business their own website. Participating businesses will also be handing out cards that, when completed by visiting other businesses, can be turned into the Chamber for a gift certificate drawing. They may contact you to discuss the “Welcome To Boyne City” program or you can contact Laurie (586-817-8001) or Scott (313-215-0089) to get more information.
BUSINESSES FEATURED on WelcometoBoyne include: Huff Pharmacy, BC Pizza, Upsy Daisy Floral, Boyne Coop and the Tackle Box, Water Street Cafe, Boyne Avenue Greenhouse and Florist, Sunset Grill, Country Now & Then/Up the Lazy River, Sommerset Pointe, No Boundaries, en vogue salon and Local Flavor Bookstore - plus more in progress that will be unveiled soon. Click here to check out all the new websites.

Thirsty Goat Restaurant opens to enthusiastic crowds in downtown Boyne City

The Thirsty Goat, Boyne City’s newest downtown restaurant at 220 S. Lake St., tried to have a soft opening Thursday, but a big crowd of locals turned out for dinner… wanting to be among the first to check it out. All were treated to great food, and a great beer and wine selection – come out and see for yourself this weekend. The owners commissioned local sommelier Ed Brehm of the Wine Emporium to select and write their new wine list. Ed commented: “Featuring vino from California, Washington and Oregon, their list is approachable and the wines are delicious. Lots of choices by the glass too. They've done an absolutely fantastic job of giving the building and the outdoor space a facelift. The menu features Northern Michigan fare in ‘New American Tavern’ style and the restaurant will be very family friendly (there's even a Wii for the kiddies).”  HOURS are Tuesday-Saturday from 11 to 10 and Sunday Brunch is 11 to 2. Their phone number is 231.268.4628.

Boyne Parasail opens with “sky high” experience

The new Boyne Parasail is scheduled to open June 1. “What a great addition to summer fun in Boyne City, said Chamber Executive Director Jim Baumann. “Best of luck to young entrepreneurs Joshua Grove and Michael Koteskey, Boyne City residents who have spent months training and planning for this exciting new endeavor.” They have some special offers for opening  week - check their Facebook page or their website, “Soaring at heights of up to 500 vertical feet above Lake Charlevoix, flyers will experience unique and rare views of what Pure Michigan has to offer,” Grove said. “Looking inland you will see superb views of Boyne City, Young State Park, Sommerset Pointe Yacht Club, Whiting Park, lakefront homes, and the calm waters in Horton Bay.” According to their website, “Boyne Parasail’s team of Coast Guard-licensed boat captains and crew are trained professionals with complete dedication to safety and putting a huge smile on your face. Before your ride, the captain and crew explain all safety procedures and will answer any questions you may have. You ascend and descend directly from the deck platform at the rear of the boat. As you gently lift off, you are cradled in brand new harnesses that hold you safely and securely. Your ride quickly becomes an exciting yet tranquil experience like no other.” INFO and RESERVATIONS: Call 231-881-6000. Open daily 9 a.m. to sunset at the One Water Marina, just west of Cafe Sante.