Sunday, September 18, 2011

To Move On or Not To Move On...That Is The Question

Okay, so I took a couple liberties on a famous quote. On the other hand, today this is the question - when is it time to move on in your career?

As is the case with most, we often struggle with balancing when we take a risk and move on to another position and/or company. Sometimes the decision is easy. For example, you're not happy in your current job, are not being rewarded appropriately, poor pay, bad atmosphere, weak job-fit match. Typically, these reasons make a job change a little easier to determine and take the risk. There could be several other contributing factors, but these are some high profile reasons that people change positions from a negative perspective.

On another, more positive note, the decision may not always be as easy. Sometimes we enjoy what we're doing, who we're working with/for, how we're being recognized, opportunities that come up, the team we lead, etc. When this is the case, loyalty to your current position and team can play a large part in your decision-making. When things are good, they're good.

As a good, loyal employee, you don't want to be seen as the "ladder climber" throwing all else aside, you don't want to be seen as a job hopper to future bosses/companies, and of course you don't want your team to feel abandoned.

I don't have any concrete answers on this question, but here are some things to take into consideration:
1. Communication. If your boss and other trusted people around you know your genuine goals, you can mitigate negative perceptions if you do decide to move on to another position.
2. Next Best Thing. Don't make a job change just to get the next best thing. Be conscious and deliberate about the decisions you're making.
3. Pros and Cons. Whether you like or dislike your current position, it is always helpful to put together a list of pros and cons for any changes under consideration. This will allow you to look more objectively at the possible changes to make a more informed decision.
4. Be selfish. At some point in your career, you will have to be selfish. Of course balancing out the opportunities in front of you with your current position is important. Sometimes, though, you will have to simply throw all else to the side and be selfish making the best decision for you, your career, and your future. You can't regret looking out for your own development.

This is the evolution of careers. It's the good, the bad and the ugly that must all be known to be successful on your career journey.

What do you think? Anything else that we should be considering when facing these decisions?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Cry of the Young Professional: I Want a Better Work-Life Balance

I’m not even sure what work-life balance is, but I’m pretty sure mine needs to be balanced. I know I work and I know that I have a life, but recently it just seems that I’m “working for the weekend”. And when I get there, it’s never long enough. During the week, I get up, go to work, come home, eat, go to sleep and then do it all over again. So boring, so routine. Makes me wonder how I’m ever supposed to change this routine – especially if I need to work so I can have money for the weekend!

Recently I heard about a concept called the Cycle of Sacrifice and Renewal1 that really stuck with me. When we go through a busy time at work (putting out fires all day, early mornings, late nights, dealing with sick kids, etc), we are in a period of “Sacrifice”. That is, we are sacrificing our emotions and “giving them up” and focusing all energy on the task at hand until it’s done. When we are done, we are exhausted, drained, and full of negative energy. Then the weekend comes along, and maybe we go out to dinner with friends, play with the kids, read a book for an hour (fat chance if you have kids!) or visit a relative. These are periods of “Renewal”. They are times when we are relaxed, having fun, laughing, and getting lots of positive energy. However, 2 Renewal days vs. 5 days of hardcore Sacrifice really don’t balance each other out, do they? This is why we walk around “stressed” and “exhausted” all the time. Makes sense, huh.

The theory is we need at least 3 periods of “Renewal” to counter-balance just 1 period of “Sacrifice”. I’m pretty sure the theory does NOT recommend that you work 1 day and then take 3 days off or anything like that (although that would be nice). Renewal periods are defined as events we participate in that last more than 15 minutes and contain positive energy- like happiness, hope, laughing, and feeling joy. These Renewal periods can actually come in bursts and you can even have them the same day that you have a Sacrifice period. A Renewal could be going to lunch with an old friend, having a brief but uplifting phone call with a relative, sharing a funny or positive story with a coworker, or sitting down to breakfast with your kids before work. What is important is that we are AWARE of when we are in a Sacrifice period and AWARE of when we are having a Renewal period so that we can help keep ourselves in balance.

Learning that these types of feelings that I have (working and feeling drained and then having fun on the weekends only to return to working and feeling drained), are actually defined and that there are professionals who spent all day long thinking about it really helped me understand that there is a bit of science to all of this. And that there is hope- there is a way to get out of the vicious daily stress cycle. The first step is realizing what you personally need to balance it all out, and then the second step is acting on it. So I wrote down the times I felt Sacrifice in one week and the times I felt Renewed. Then I counted them up…and it seems my work-life balance is indeed a little out of whack. I am currently working on this and acting on it….trying to get busy laughing, playing and “renewing”. This is just week one. Stay tuned for results!

1 Richard E. Boyatsis and Annie McKee, 2009, Resonant Leadership

Post created by Alexis Rizopulos

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Networking is a Necessity

Networking...AHHHH! Such an often fearful topic among young professionals. We like hanging out with our friends, shooting the breeze, very informal. In my opinion, networking is a very deliberate act. You have to seek out what events to go to and who you should be talking to. In our current busy lives trying to balance career, family and social lives seems to be enough, then we have to add this element of networking to help enhance our career. I think this gets pushed to the back burner more often than not because it takes work and is not that comfortable of a situation.

As a young professional, as a human, we consistently look at a situation and apply the WIIFM concept - What's In It For Me? Networking has huge benefits. Here are a few:
1. Make connections - This helps establish you in our industry or obtain new customers by getting leads.
2. Build knowledge and skills - You can learn from others in your field or parallel fields in order to boost your own knowledge and skill level.
3. Sounding board - By meeting new people, you have additional minds that you may leverage as a sounding board in your own career or situations with which you may be dealing.

These are just a few benefits with so many more to be named. Additionally, life is unexpected. You may have a planned or unplanned change in your career. By networking, you have a web of people to reach out to about new career opportunities.

A shameless plug - my cousin is a Career Coach and Counselor (I have attached her LinkedIn address). She is the one that inspired this blog as she recently posted an article about networking without wearing out your welcome. I have attached the article's link below as well. This includes great tips about how to leverage your network.

What networks are you a part of? How do you choose? What benefits have you gotten from these? Please comment! We can all use each other's insight on this topic.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Communication, Negotiation, Conflict....Oh My!

Tonight I got to spend a nice evening at a Torchbearers event. (Shameless plug: If you are unfamiliar with this organization, definitely check it out For each new class we have specific leadership classes/seminars to attend and they are always very insightful.

Tonight's session focused on Communication, Negotiation and Conflict Management. I think these are three areas that most of us can agree are not at the top of everyone's "love to deal with this" list! Good communication, successful negotiations and effective conflict management are all hard topics to tackle as young professionals and up and coming leaders. Heck, they're hard for seasoned leaders to navigate.

We had three great panelists: Mary Jones, Dan Flowers, and Mike Moore from FedEx Custom Critical. The session went really well and all three speakers had wonderful information, tactics and experiences to share with us. I wanted to share some of the highlights with you too.

Mary Jones, VP of Administration and Legal Counsel at Oriana House Inc, spoke about building trust relationships. Just a few of her tips for us included: be accessible, listen openly, own up to mistakes, speak the truth, be a coach, and speak in a straight forward manner. Each of these pieces is key to our success. If you are open, honest, loyal and engage your team members, you will surely be successful in building your trust relationships and thus your success in your career and life will come.

Dan Flowers, President & CEO of the Akron Canton Regional Foodbank spoke about his top ten list for managing communication, conflict and negotiation. A couple take aways from Dan's list were these: be nice, use your boss, remain in the awkward moments, and run toward your fear. I really liked these. Part of Dan's message was to just let go a little bit, focus on what your mission is, treat your people with respect and don't let fear or insecurity stop you...get help when you need it!

Mike Moore, Managing Director of Finance and Controller at FedEx Custom Critical spoke on some of his life/career experiences that got him to the place where he is today. Mike shared some of his key points such as being sure to build a strong foundation of faith, hope, love, loyalty, honesty and integrity. Further your education, additional learning and continually add to your toolbox and do it early on before "things happen." And one piece that struck a chord with me was to enjoy the journey. We get very wrapped up, and I'm guilty too, of where's the next step, avenue, project, job, etc, that we don't take a minute to celebrate the now and how far we've already come. Don't miss that celebration.

We always hear that executives are "real people" and that we shouldn't be worried to approach them and ask questions. These panelists were just that...approachable, accessible, honest, straight forward and engaging. Thank you to Mary, Dan and Mike for spending your time with Torchbearers.

To everyone else - Sorry for a long one today! I hope you took something from tonight's session as I did. Are there other tactics that you have heard of or employ in these three big areas that would help others add to their toolbox? Please share! Your info can benefit us.

Parting quote shared by Mike Moore for leadership, and it comes from Zig Ziglar. "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Good stuff!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How Do I Get Into Leadership?

I have always been intrigued by leadership and being in a position where I can influence action in a company and in people. Leadership is not for everyone, but I always kind of knew it's where I wanted to be. As a young professional, we face challenges in trying to get to leadership sometimes. Some people think we're too young to take on these responsibilities, some don't think we have the "experience" necessary, and some places just don't take the time to help young professionals develop for leadership. So I always had to ask myself and those around me, "How do I get into leadership?"

Some people get into leadership because they're technically good at what they do while others are simply good leaders. In reading articles about leadership and young professionals, I came across some tips on It is an article called Six Steps to Leadership for Young Professionals by Jason Kent. Below are the steps mentioned in the article and my interpretation.

1. Do Good Work. Seems kind of obvious, but some may miss this step. Be the best at what you do!
2. Get a Mentor. I like the idea of a Career Board of Directors. I have "Megan's Board of Directors" that include people in my company as well as outside in order to gain various perspectives.
3. Take on an Initiative or Side Project. This can help develop skills that you may not be as strong in as well as help with your own exposure to other leaders.
4. Speak or Write About Your Work. Communication is key. Whether this is inside your company at team meetings or externally at other organizations. Again, another way to get your name at the top of people's minds and gain credibility.
5. Stay Above the Fray. Who wants their name associated with the water cooler gossip? Stay out of it and help to minimize it.
6. Ask for Advancement. If leaders don't know your goals, why would they consider you for the next leadership position? Ask for the opportunities! The worst they can say is "not this time," then you go back to number 1 here and repeat.

Diligence is key! Make sure people know who you are, what you represent and where you want to go.

What are you doing to get into leadership or keep yourself top of mind for the leaders in your company and community?

NOTE: For the full article, copy and paste the link below in your browser.

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's A Marathon....Not A Sprint!

We are young professionals. Young is the operative word there and I will use it for as long as possible! Being coined as a young professional is exciting to me. I feel, as a young professional, that I am in a "new" stage in my career where I am continuously learning and gaining valuable work and life experiences.

Here's the thing, though, I want the money, achievements, status and lifestyle of the CEO's that I look up to in our community...and I want that now! There is one piece that I feel young professionals so often forget. That piece is that it took these successful, well-educated leaders a long time to get where they are today with the knowledge and respect they deserve. In a society of immediate gratification, we all want it now. I have been to college job fairs as a prospective employer looking for talent. True story: I asked a student what type of position they were looking for at the job fair. They told me they were looking for "management." Their experience entailed being a shift manager at the local video store. When asked the salary they were looking for, the student replied, "I am looking for around $73,000 - $75,000 in the first year." Bravo! Bravo to that student that had the guts to confidently share those expectations. Unfortunately, I think they are a little misguided in their post college expectation for the majority of positions available to someone with their experience.

I have recently gotten into the running world and completed a couple of races. Let's just say I have not come anywhere near the front of the race. That is not to say that I don't want to, because I do. I want to get a medal. Realistically, it's not going to happen this year, maybe not even next year. That is why I am comfortable saying "It's a marathon, not a sprint." As in leadership, it is going to take me longer to win that race. I have a lot to learn. I also have a lot to share with other young professionals and even insight to share with experienced leaders. You do too.

A professor once told me to be the best at whatever it is I decide to do. I could be a maintenance person or an astronaut, but my goal was to be the best. In case you weren't sure, I will win! I will get that running and in leadership. I'm okay with it taking a little longer, because when I get there, I will be the best at what I'm doing.

I'm curious, while starting your leadership experience, are there things that you thought to be true and turned out a little different than expected? I would love to hear your story.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Customer service - make it part of the package!

I have seen more and more articles recently about those who pay extra just to receive good service. Technicians with cable companies wear booties in the homes of customers who pay for premium service. Airlines allow pre-boarding for customers who pay an additional fee. Even car dealerships provide mats and car washes to their “best” customers.

Society has gotten to the point where we consider customer service an “add on.” You receive the product you pay for, but you’ll have to pay extra if you want good service! Whether out of frustration or just plain apathy, customers appear accept this trend, but why?

Many of us were raised according to the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated. There is no reason why this adage shouldn’t apply in today’s world … and not at an extra cost! Good customer service should not be an “over and above” – it should part of your daily routine in serving and interacting with your clients. You should not give special treatment to a preferred set of customers – instead, they should ALL be treated as premium clients!

The easy part is that you don’t really have to do anything in a big way – it’s all of the little things. The hard part can be integrating this into your everyday approach so that it becomes routine.

Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for making all of your clients feel like they are on your “A” list:

·         Really listen to your clients. Good listening and communication skills are key to building a strong business relationship. You can’t provide the right services if you don’t really understand the issues and specific needs. Engage in active conversations with your clients, and show passion for what you do. 

·    Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you will do it. A last-minute request might be inconvenient or require overtime, but coming through for a customer is invaluable.

·      Respond to e-mail and phone calls in a timely manner. If you need to follow up or research an issue further, keep your client in the loop. And make sure they know when you are out of the office or on vacation.

·         Be proactive with your clients and stay in touch – OFTEN! Don’t wait until there’s a crisis or a problem that needs to be resolved. Contact your customers on an ongoing basis. You can e-mail articles of interest and keep them apprised of industry trends or changes. Even just a periodic note is a great way to see how business is going, to check if their needs have changed, orto inform them of new services from which they may benefit.

·     Make your clients feel important. Just because you think you are providing good client service doesn’t mean you are. It is your client’s perception that counts, not yours. Put yourself in the client’s shoes to get a better perspective.

I’ve been a practicing accountant for more than 30 years. In that time, I’ve found that delivering exceptional client service is essential for growing professionally and developing strong business relationships. It also allows you to differentiate yourself and really stand out from your competitors.

At SS&G, we’ve made it an important part of our culture to frequently examine our client service . We implemented the Sales and Service Group, a series of monthly meetings where our staff discusses how we can best provide exceptional service. Our commitment has earned us a World Class Customer Service award for the last five years in a row.

To develop and nurture loyal, satisfied customers, outstanding client service must be an integral part of your daily routine – it should be a “given” rather than an “exception.”


Mark Goldfarb, CPA
Managing Director

Mark A. Goldfarb, CPA

  • Serves both business and individual clients, advising and assisting them with their financial and operational endeavors.
  • Serves on SS&G’s finance commitee and executive committee, which leads the firm’s strategy and growth
  • Provides traditional compliance services to hundreds of businesses, including: tax planning, tax research, participation in IRS audits, preparation and review of federal, state, and local income taxes, audits, reviews and compilations, and monthly financial statement preparation
  • Experience in tax, estate, and succession planning, particularly in the field of family-owned businesses
  • Bachelor of Science in accounting from The University of Akron
  • Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA), member
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), member
  • Cascade Capital Corporation, executive committee member and past president
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Foundation, chairman
  • Summa Foundation, board member
  • Advancement Council for The University of Akron, member
  • Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, board member
  • Greater Akron Chamber, board member
  • Named, along with business partner Gary Shamis, the 2008 E&Y's Entrepreneur of the Year for Northeast Ohio in the financial services category
  • Recipient of the Dr. Frank L. Simonetti Distinguished Business Award from his alma mater, The University of Akron
  • Honored as the 2008 Outstanding Alumnus from The University of Akron's School of Accountancy

Friday, April 29, 2011

Leadership Presence

My attitude is ugly and my patience is wearing thin as I am sitting on my third cancelled flight of the day. I have a better chance of winning the lottery than I do catching the last connecting flight this evening back to Cleveland. It’s been a long few days on the road and I am not displaying very good leadership qualities at this particular moment. While I am not happy about sharing this part of my ugliness, I do think it is a clear demonstration of poor leadership presence.

Leadership presence is all about who we are “being.” That is such a unique word – being. Even when I say it out loud it sounds weird. “Being.” I am being negative. I am being tired. I am being grumpy. And that is just over my personal inconvenience of travel. 

Let’s take the discussion a bit deeper. What about the what happens in the boardroom? Have you ever been in a discussion where you were “being” something other than a leader? Maybe the idea wasn’t yours and you were being defensive. Maybe someone took credit for your work and you were being passive-aggressive. Maybe you were not excited about the conversation or additional workload and were simply being closed to the idea. Regardless of the specific situation, and I know you are thinking of one right now, “being” a leader is a choice we make. We (YOU) have total control over our leadership presence and how we are viewed by others. 

I bring up this painful reality simply because leadership presence is a competency I have focused considerable time on during my nearly two decades of leading teams. I have observed how leaders or aspiring leadership candidates can be their own worst enemies when it comes to career progression and/or development. Bosses and employees are looking to see how leaders respond in a crisis. They watch us when we are required to deliver bad news. They observe how we work in times of ambiguity. They monitor the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unfortunately, many of those data points and inputs script a career progression, not actual results or metric achievements. 

So the next time you are “being” something other than a leader, stop it! Acknowledge what or who you are being. Write it down and note what made you respond in that manner. Document what triggered your leadership presence. With that awareness you will be more apt to fix your perspective the next time a similar situation occurs. And don’t forget to do just that – FIX IT! Progression of competencies like leadership presence only occurs when we allow ourselves to fail and get better. Good luck!

As for me, I am off to see if I can display good leadership presence in order to get on a re-scheduled flight for tomorrow morning.  With any luck and a break in Mother Nature, I’ll be back at the office soon enough to go through another day of practicing leadership competencies. 


Scott Garchar
Division Service Manager
FedEx Custom Critical

Friday, April 8, 2011

Conflicted…about conflict.

So I made a very conscious effort this week to see how conflict is allowed, promoted or suppressed in our lives. I jotted down a few thoughts for you to ponder:

·         My week started with a message Sunday morning regarding “spurring one another on.” Talk about in my face. Hello conflict, how are you? The simple act of spurring brings up thoughts related to action, pain, direction, movement, speed, change, etc. Enough said…I got it. 

·         On Monday I spent several hours with a great mentor of mine. In a discussion focused on relationships, we spent time going through discomfort in order to grow. The chat progressed on to include a deep dive in speaking the truth. My friend challenged me to observe times of pain (in relationships) and ask myself whether I was speaking the truth. He gave some good words: “Live with honesty and truth in every moment.” This is hard to do – why should it be is the real question. Do we just give up as a society instead of allowing or even promoting discomfort?

·         Just yesterday I witnessed a really cool breakdown in a leadership staff meeting. I watched two very talented leaders challenge each other publicly…but stopped the discussion prior to speaking the truth. Why? Because it got sticky. We just don’t spend enough time practicing how to be truthful or honest in a respectful manner. Emotions take over and the discussion becomes personal. In this scenario, the meeting temperature dramatically changed and neither left satisfied or “closed.”

As the week comes to an end I am conflicted not only about conflict, but how we as a society have a fantastic opportunity to change our environment. In the last example, I followed up personally with both leaders to ask why they “stopped” the discussion. Guess what, both were frustrated and tired of the battle. Maybe one of the keys to conflict is prepping ourselves to handle it better (words to use, tone, body language), but also having the energy to conflict properly. 

I hope you all can find the energy, words and conviction to engage in healthy conflict. Please do so in order to spur one another along – and in a truthful, heartfelt manner. 

Good luck!
Regards, Scott

Scott Garchar
Division Service Manager
FedEx Custom Critical

Friday, April 1, 2011

Healthy Conflict

Is there such a thing? I’m not talking about conflict on the way to work, speeding down Route 8 to the office and giving other slower vehicles your version of sign language. No, I’m talking about real, healthy conflict at work.

Yes – healthy conflict. There is such a thing!

In Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the concept of “healthy conflict” is discussed. Conflict that pushes others to get on board with a new direction. Conflict that engages team members and helps communicate a key message. Conflict to grow beyond what you feel is possible. Conflict that brings in an audacious revenue goal or surpasses performance metrics and expectations. Even conflict that brings people together to mend a broken relationship. Good, healthy conflict separate from anger and disgruntlement.

I am fortunate to be a leader for FedEx Custom Critical, a transportation company located in nearby Uniontown, Ohio. At FedEx Custom Critical, many leaders intentionally set the atmosphere to engage in healthy conflict. We will often push our team members and direct reports to think on their own and make decisions through empowered processes. Whenever you empower others to make those decisions, there is the potential for varying viewpoints, which could create conflict. Cool, right? Well, not when being right is sometimes wrong or if your emotions come out sideways.

One key component to promoting healthy conflict is making sure the conflict is not personal. If you are debating a topic at the office, and specifically disagreeing because you feel you are right and they are wrong, abort the mission! A personal debate for the purpose of being right can become disastrous.

Several years ago I recall arguing with a peer in my director’s office where I felt (and convinced myself) that I was right and he was wrong. My director was in the room somewhat monitoring the dialogue and observed the tension developing by the sentence. The outcome? As I started seeing red (come on, you have all been there), my dialogue and conversation got a bit out of hand. I was speaking fast, arguing my points and taking shots where I could get them in. My director became so frustrated with my behavior that he actually left his office stating, “You are on your own on this one.”

I since have learned that while I may have been right, I damaged not only trust with my director, but also with the person I was engaging in conflict. I am sure you aren’t surprised. This is what happens when we are learning how to engage in healthy conflict. Sometimes, it just comes out sideways. And for what reason, just so I could feel better about being right and proving someone else wrong?

There are a few lessons learned here. First, I should have been better prepared mentally to engage in the conflict. I was tense going into the discussion and basically was picking a fight to prove I was correct. I should have planned my discussion and slept on it overnight – maybe even mind-mapped my conversation to make sure my discussion went smoothly. I also could have worked out or done some physical exercise to lower my energy and come into the meeting more focused. Instead, I was impatient and came in with my dukes up, wanting to get my point across at that moment.

The second lesson learned is that while I was engaging in conflict to better the mission of the business, it did not justify how I was behaving. In conflict, you can be honest, straight forward and deliver a tough message. I simply wasn’t mature enough at that moment to do that in a manner that wasn’t aggressive or hurtful. I should have been the leader in the situation (although I had the lowest ranking title in the room) and started the conversation, “Can I give you a different point of view?” Or I could have asked, “Is this a good time to give you an alternative solution?” Even when escalating up, there are appropriate ways to coach, direct or guide a conversation.

So when have you been in conflict at work? Again, not the sign language version on the road, but real good healthy conflict at the office? Was the conflict successful in producing the desired results? Is your company an organization that promotes conflict in order to drive positive change? How about you personally as either a peer or a leader? Do you set the tone and encourage the activity? Can you engage in conflict – even leading a conflicting discussion and not have any negative recourse? Have you ever sat back and analyzed how it went after you were done? Did you behave poorly, or did you lead the situation and negotiate the landmines?

Let me hear from a few of you and we can then take the discussion to another level.



Scott Garchar is the Operations Manager for the Air Expedite and Temperature Control Services department at FedEx® Custom Critical. Focusing on premium air transportation solutions, Scott’s team provides domestic and global shipping options for high value products to a variety of customers located throughout the world.

Scott has held numerous leadership positions during his 17 years of employment in the transportation industry. He has lead dynamic teams in the Surface Expedite, Marketing and Communications areas. Additionally, Scott was named business development manager for the company in 2002 and was instrumental in expanding FedEx Custom Critical service capabilities into and out of Mexico and other countries.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Managing Multiple Audiences

The Greater Akron Chamber has a mission to drive economic development for the benefit of all citizens in the Greater Akron metro market. The Chamber focuses on job creation, advocacy and business services. As a nonprofit, funded by business, we have two primary roles the community. At the core, we offer direct economic development services, represent business as the voice on policy issues impacting the business climate and direct programs to enhance a company’s bottom line.

A secondary role is as a convener or collaborator on major issues, initiatives or programs that help to build a community that is globally competitive for business and talent attraction, retention, expansion and creation. In the role as a collaborator, we bring together the stakeholders, government, business, education and political leaders to stabilize the right solutions to impact job creation and capital investment.

There are several challenges when bringing different constituents together around what seems like a common theme. I want to start with using an example of Talent Development. If 4,700 additional students earn a four-year degree, it would mean a $500 million economic impact annually to our metro area. All the stakeholders would agree that an increase in education attainment is the key to economic development services. Each group involved can be challenged by limited staff capacity, local and state funding and too many organizations trying to play a leadership role.  Many organizations will say they have the solution and the programs to accomplish a goal of increasing education attainment.

The key to any successful collaboration is for a consistent effort to listen, ask several questions, learn by asking more questions and to communicate what you heard to be sure and capture the motivation for engagement. In any effort to partner, all participants have a need and desire to play a role in the ultimate goal. Everyone needs to give up something, while everyone gains value for their constituency, therefore more gets done collectively and in turn a win-win is accomplished. A key to this effort is trust and being open and honest is important. You can be honest but not totally open.

The emerging leaders will have the greatest success by practicing the basics of communication, building multiple relationships and by giving time and energy to initiatives without expecting an immediate personal or professional benefit. By working with multiple groups of people you learn about different leadership styles, improve your communication skills and connect with different audiences that will help you down the road as you gain additional responsibilities and leadership opportunities.

While this is a broad subject, it is important to hone the skills described above and learn from the example of others who manage multiple groups well. Please feel free to ask questions and provide feedback in the comments section below. Thanks for your interest. 

Dan Colantone
President & CEO
Greater Akron Chamber

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mentorship Blog Officially Kicks-Off March 1st!

Help spread the word on the newly created YPN Mentorship Blog! 
The YPN has a created another opportunity for YP's to CONNECT to our community's established leadership. The YPN Mentorship Blog, scheduled to launch March 1st, will feature a new author and a new topic each month. Followers of the Blog will be able to ask questions and receive answers directly from the author. Signing up is easy. Just click 'follow' in the upper right hand corner of the page. All you need is a Gmail, Yahoo, or Twitter account to sign in. You will receive a notification as soon as the Blog is posted.  

March Featured Author: Dan Colantone, President & CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber
As the Chamber President, Dan Colantone works with and leads different groups of people on a daily basis. He will be sharing his experiences by blogging about "Managing Multiple Audiences." As young professionals we, too, often work with very diverse groups of people from volunteers to customers to company leadership and more. Managing all those various expectations can be complicated. Dan will be offering some insight and tips on creating a positive balance when managing the expectations of multiple stakeholders.  

For more information on the Blog or to become a YPN member today, contact Angela Presutti at (330) 237-1263 or