• Productivity Improvement: It's Not What You Think

    It's a universal desire for leaders of busy middle market companies: If only we could be more productive. But according to executive coach Sue Bethanis of Mariposa Leadership, we may have our ideas about productivity improvement all wrong. It turns out the holy grail isn't "inbox zero" or ten straight hours at your desk. "Many people think getting interrupted by others cuts productivity," she says. "However, for many knowledge workers, this is their work."  Read More >
  • Why Work Life Balance Is More Attainable Than You Think

    For top business leaders, "work life balance" might seem like a pipe dream. That's especially true for the heads of middle market companies who are squeezed on both sides. Unlike many small-business owners, they can't simply shut down operations when they go on vacation, and unlike many Fortune 500 executives, they often have smaller staffs and less ability to delegate responsibilities.  Read More >
  • R&D and Manufacturing: Where do they belong in your organization?

    A 2011 survey of Middle Market executives by the National Center for the Middle Market singled out two major challenges: Large corporations achieve better performance when they separate R&D from manufacturing by, for example, using different employees and metrics in the two functions. In contrast, small entrepreneurial firms often have no choice but to house the two functions together, a model that research has indicated benefits them financially.  Read More >
  • Executive Compensation: Benchmarking Middle Market CEO Pay

    Much has been discussed about the compensation of Fortune 500 CEOs. However, far less is known about executive pay packages at Middle Market companies, many of which remain private and are not required to report that information. Lack of benchmarking data complicates decision-making for the boards of such firms, which compete with large corporations for top talent. As for Middle Market CEOs, many have spent large swaths of their careers - in some cases their entire professional lives - at one firm. Consequently, they have little idea how their compensation stacks up against counterparts in comparably sized and larger companies.  Read More >
  • Informal HR: Building a Smart Workforce on a Tiny Training Budget

    Talent development is critical for growth. Of the top-performing Middle Market companies, 29% emphasize employee training and education compared with 17% of slower-growth firms, according to the NCMM's "Market that Moves America" study. But while companies recognize the importance of developing their employees, close to three-quarters acknowledge difficulty doing so. One problem is cost. The NCMM's Q2 2013 Middle Market Indicator Report shows that only 6% of Middle Market companies would invest an extra dollar in formal training and development programs. In addition, such programs are often too static for firms in dynamic business environments.  Read More >
  • 5 Reasons Business Performance Matters for CEOs

    Once upon a time, CEOs were an insulated group of executives extremely difficult to unseat. As soon as they assumed the title of chief executive, they became a protected class of elite corporate citizenry, easily dodging any bullet fired in their direction. Those days have long passed. More than ever, business performance matters.

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  • What's Your Succession Plan?

    Fact: Only 30% of all family businesses survive beyond the founder's phase - and that drops to 12% after the third generation. One of the key reasons for both family and privately owned business failure is a lack of succession planning. The truth is that most entrepreneurs and owners are great at...  Read More >
  • Got a Board? If Not, You Should!

    We were inspired by this issue's focus on the 50 fastest growing companies in our region. So ROI on Talent asked the question "Why would a privately owned, fast growing company need a Board of Directors?" And, if so, should a Board contain independent business people with different experiences and diverse opinions than a Founder/CEO? Do they get in the way of progress? Or, can they add real value to an expanding enterprise?  Read More >
  • Informal HR: Building a Smart Workforce on a Tiny Training Budget

    Many Middle Market companies are better served by emphasizing informal learning, which happens automatically in the workplace. People learn when they collaborate with co-workers, ask supervisors or colleagues for help, or simply observe others doing their jobs. As a result, they become agile problem-solvers and decision-makers prepared to cope with non-routine tasks.  Read More >
  • Women in Business: Where's My Mentor?

    How do women rank today in leadership roles? The statistics, although an improvement on previous decades, certainly do not favor women. Of 197 heads of state, only twenty-two are women. They hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meager eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.  Read More >
  • Is a Skills Gap Impacting Your Business' Ability to Grow?

    A lack of trained professionals in an area, or a "skills gap," can have negative effects on a business, most notably its ability go grow. Over a third of middle market leaders report a skills gap in their regional economies. This blog unpacks the factors that contribute to a skills gap and poses some strategies and solutions to help your business thrive despite the skills gap in your area.  Read More >
  • Can middle market companies provide career opportunities Fortune 500 firms can't?

    Go big or go home...right? As a fellow graduate from a Big 10 business school, the pressure to work for a Fortune 500 firm can be great.  Top business schools are often inundated with large firms looking for the best and the brightest talent, leaving students feeling like it's the only option.  Students can be so focused on landing a job that will provide a big name for their resume that they lose sight of what is really important in the business community.  Read More >

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