Category Archives: Leadership Development

Practical Business Management Basics tutorial

What does it mean to up my game?
What does it mean to up my game?
Practical Business Management Basics in action.

What practical business management basics do you practice?

In reality, most managers don’t bother to practice these basics. They don’t have time to pay attention to these business management basics.

Read on for the first installment of a short tutorial on the most useful practical business management basics. Use it to jump start your plans.

Pay attention to communication

Since management is 90% working with people, communication forms the basic vehicle to get things done in your job and organization.

To perform, communicating well with each of these groups makes or breaks success:

  • Prospects to drive new business.
  • Customers to sustain a good business.
  • Staff to get things done.
  • Partners to get the organization well structured for accounting, taxes, marketing, IT and other.
  • Suppliers to offer the best products.

It turns out managers misuse communication continually.

  • Give mixed messages.
  • Unclear about what managers want.
  • State the wrong level of detail to people which confuses the message.
  • Communicate in only one style. Managers most likely have people of differing styles around them.
  • Under communicate what they want.

“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
~George Bernard Shaw

Establish Values

Why would managers care about establishing values?

Values and behaviors form a foundation of practical business management basics.

Here’s why …

According to Gallup, 33% of US employees are engaged at work.

That means that for each week of work companies get 13 hours 20 minutes of actual work done out of 40 hours.

Wasting time at work. Practical Business Management Basics helps fix this.
  • One big time waster. Time spent texting, surfing the web, talking with others about non-work topics, complaining about work, planning their evenings and a lot more.
  • Next, values drive the decision making through “the way we do things around here.” The values that matter drive behavior, decisions, actions, and reactions.
  • Then, well-formed values aligned with talents of people drive engagement up over 70% according to Gallup. Managers actually get things done!
  • And what we don’t want. Ill-formed, vague, unaligned values create dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors.

So, consider taking action to sharpen your skills in this very important topic.

To learn more …

The Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and myself collaborated to bring you a “Practical Business Management Basics” workshop. We’ve scheduled the workshop in January.

Learn more and sign up here >>

This workshop is perfect for business professionals, managers, and business owners who are ready to sharpen their skills.

Culture eats strategy for lunch

Oh, yes and culture eats strategy for lunch and then dinner. Then it eats business plans and execution for dessert.

Culture eats strategy for lunch. "It's the way we do things around here."

Culture eats strategy for lunch. “It’s the way we do things around here.”

It is imperative for every business owner and business manager to clearly understand what exactly the phrase means, “culture eats strategy for lunch.” And then, understand the huge effect culture has on ROI, growth, sales, marketing, customers, projects, and success.

Why does it seem like the brakes are on when you want to go forward?

First, fun facts from Gallup and NAICS

This information is from the 2018 Gallup “State of the workplace.”

  • 33% of workers, on average in US workplaces, are engaged at work.  Ouch!  And this is more than twice the engaged workers than European companies.
  • Companies with upwards of 70% worker engagement earn 21% more profits than those with low engagement.
  • Focusing on strengths brings out engagement.

And on top of that, did you know that a whopping 77% of US companies are under $500K in revenue and 82% of companies are under $1 million in revenue?  (Latest NAICS statistics).

And one more set of information from that defines business success factors.

Business success factors include the drive for impact in the market, commitment to stay the course, willingness to adjust as necessary, patience, persistence, willingness to listen, develop mentoring relationship, and strong leadership in both general and domain expertise.

A Big Question to Tackle

Do you plan to build an extraordinary business for customers, partners, employees, yourself?

If you want to build something extraordinary, increase employee engagement, increase profits, then all this information points to develop leadership skills in yourself and in employees. And it means to develop a strong culture.

So, instead of a situation where culture eats strategy for lunch, embed culture development into your strategy.

What Exactly is Culture?

In its simplest terms, culture is “The way we do things around here.”

Decision making under stress

“Doesn’t matter if it’s right, that’s now how we do it here!”

The behaviors, reactions, decision patterns, attitudes, beliefs form the factors that drive the way you run your business, project, team. These factors will overwhelm strategy and cause culture to eat strategy and spit it out.

“Cultures can be described in terms of the values they (organizations) endorse or promote.”  ( A Rose by Any Name? The Values Construct.  Meg J. Rohan)

And, “the beliefs and behaviors that determine how employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.” –Investopedia

What this means is that people endorse and promote certain behaviors. Some behaviors help produce improvement while other behaviors can override new strategy for the company in a heartbeat. These behaviors are deeply entrenched with “guardians” who watch to insure cultural codes are followed—the good and the bad behaviors.

These guarded and watched over bad behaviors (codes) will stall out the best strategy before you even spell “strategy.”  Everyone will nod in agreement then do what the culture behavior codes dictate. Often, people don’t realize it happens. Breaking cultural codes means severe punishment sometimes subtly enforced and sometimes not so subtle.

Warning Signs your Culture costs you Big

Consider these three warning signs that bad behaviors in your culture costs you.

3 fingersThe first and most impactful warning signs that most likely your culture eats strategy for lunch is the “Rule of Three.” If you suffer from the same mistakes three times or more then the repeated mistake indicates an upstream cultural issue.  Upstream cultural issues deeply embed themselves in the way ” we do things around here.”

The second warning sign is lack of decision making, prioritization and time management skills. All related back to decision making.

The third is grumbling in the background. This most likely comes from inconsistencies between what you want and the culturally enforced behaviors, which often comes from the same person.

These three warning signs result in lost engagement, lost productivity, less profits, more costs, more indecision, more wasted time on the job and host of other ills. It makes you feel like the brakes are on while trying to accelerate.

What to do about it

It really is simple in theory to stop the fact that culture eats strategy for lunch.

Know yourself well. Know your company culture well. Understand and accept your strengths, talents, weaknesses and blind spots of you and your company. Fill in the missing skills as fast as possible. Build a shared vision, establish consistent values, and establish great teamwork. This becomes the strategy.

However, it can be hard to put into practice. Cultural behaviors and personal behaviors become guarded and enforce the old behavior patterns. In this case, the group doesn’t produce the results you want and expect.

So … What now?

Decide to change, take the long view, start a program, get outside help, be patient.

I specialize in guiding people through the transitions of behavioral changes. I use structured training, assessments, accountability, and practice sessions oriented to where you are today. Then move you along in the journey at faster pace than you can do yourself.

Drop me a message if you want to explore this approach for you and your team. It is worth it.

Contact Phil Bride today or 503-753-9971.

Let’s do a professional assessment to get you clear on your strengths, talents, weaknesses and blind spots. The foundational step.

This is perfect for business owners, business managers, executives, those who want to improve their organization’s culture or their own personal approach,  and those who want to learn more .

You are invited to a Beaverton Chamber Event The culture of you – It’s all business

The Beaverton Chamber event The Culture of You is sponsored by Beaverton Chamber of Commerce as part of the CN 3.0 program.

Phil Bride, executive business coach and business consultant presents.

“The culture of you! – It’s all business”
Becoming one of the excellent Business Managers

This live Beaverton Chamber event “The Culture of You” seminar covers the importance of “the way we do things around here.”

And, making big decisions has a big impact on your business. Consider this. The thousands of small decisions, actions, behaviors, reactions, based on “the way we do things around here,” have an enormous impact on the success, revenue, and profits of a business.

So, culture makes or breaks businesses. It stalls progress, causes employee turnover, gets people stuck and host of other ills. It also propels businesses to success, improves execution of business plans, creates accountability, improves engagement, and ROI.

Join us …

…for the Beaverton Chamber Event The Culture of You:

  • Wednesday, February 7, 2018
  • 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • Beaverton Chamber offices (map)
  • Brown Bag Lunch!  Snacks will be provided.

Learn more  >>  (disabled–event passed)


Register Now >>

You will learn …

  1. What is culture, business culture.
  2. Why you and your behavior patterns matter.
  3. What makes up your culture.
  4. The effects culture has on day-in and day-out business: ROI, project success, sales growth, profitability, business development, operations, customer relations, attracting good employees.
  5. Phases of decision making and action — The “Perceive Decide Act” process.
  6. How to turn it into an advantage.
  7. A process to follow.
  8. Next steps.

Please join us to learn more about this most important topic for any business owner or business manager who wants improved results.

Then, contact any of us listed here for more information:

Phil Bride at 503-753-9971 or

Lorraine or Michelle at Beaverton Chamber of Commerce at  503-644-0123


How to measure business success

Business owners often ask how to measure business success.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for business are the stats of business.

First, let’s define KPIs

  • Key – Vital aspect to success
  • Performance – The manner in which your business behaves, operates
  • Indicators   – Draws attention to a condition

We use KPIs or stats in sports all the time.

  • Stats like FGM, FGA, FG%: field goals made, attempted and percentage in basketball. 
  • YDS – Passing yards, CMP – passing completions and dozens more.
  • Same thing in Baseball and every sport.

Business has stats too. ROI, DSO, AR, Expense Ratios, COGS, Sales, Profit, EBITDA, CLV (customer lifetime value), CAV (customer acquisition value) and lots more. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with these. Start learning the most important ones a step at a time.

Here’s a rundown on how to measure business success with a good set of 18 KPIs for businesses.

Top Five KPIs for every business

And here are five top financial KPIs every business needs to track from QuickBooks.

I always start with Sales.   Top line on a “Profit and Loss” or P&L statement.  QuickBooks skips this important business KPI of Sales. I’ve included it here.

  1. Sales   What are your sales this month, this year, compared to last month, last year, trends on trailing 12 months.
  2. Gross Profit Margin Your gross profit margin tells you whether you are pricing your goods or services appropriately. Here is the equation to calculate this: Gross profit margin = (revenue – cost of goods sold)/revenue
  3. Net Profit  This is where the rubber hits the road. Your net profit is your bottom line — the amount of cash left over after you’ve paid all the bills. You can figure out your net profit using simple subtraction: Net profit = total revenue – total expenses
  4. Net Profit Margin   Net profit margin tells you what percentage of your revenue was profit. The equation is simple:  Net profit margin = net profit/total revenue
  5. Aging Accounts Receivable  Also known as DSO or days sales outstanding. How long it takes customers to pay their invoices.
  6. Current Ratio   This accounting term describes the ability of a business to pay its bills. It can be calculated like this:  Current ratio = current assets/current liabilities.  The resulting number should ideally fall between 1.5 and 3. A current ratio of less than 1 means you don’t have enough cash coming in to pay your bills. Tracking this indicator may give you advance warning of cash flow problems, especially if your current ratio dips into the danger zone between 1.5 and 1.

Additional KPIs for most businesses.

  • Sales funnel:  Number of new prospects added to funnel per month. Time in Sales funnel. Average size of deal in funnel. Number of leads generated per month. % that convert into sales funnel. % that convert to customers.
  • NPS:  Net promoter score. Indicates the ratio of customers willing to recommend the company to others.
  • Customer lifetime value:  How much a customer on average spends with the company. How long an average customer stays with the company.
  • Customer care:  Issue count per month. Time to solve issue. Open issue rate.
  • Employee Engagement:   Ratio of management issues versus operations and customer issues. Indicates undercurrent of employee disengagement.

It is time to identify your KPIs

Take some time to work on your situation. Identify the KPIs for your business.

As an executive business coach I help clients identify their KPIs to achieve their goals.

Let’s see if I can help you too!

Contact me to set up a 30-minute complimentary time to discuss your situation.

Give me a call at 503-753-9971 or email me at

Motivating a team to get improved results

Motivating a team pays off.

What does motivating a team have to do with getting the job done?

Motivating a team pays off. And what does motivating a team have to do with business plans?

“We are professionals, at least we should be professionals. We have job to to so then, we do it. ”

Yep that is true, in theory.

However, motivating a team, through highly developed leadership skills, has a huge practical impact on execution: business, sales, profits, quality, workmanship, you name it.

Plus, the point of doing business plans is to execute effectively, in an engaged way, to give you the best chance of achieving goals.

Motivating a team equals excellent execution.

The practical side of motivating a team

In practice, we are all people first with our values, beliefs, biases, attitudes, positive and negative. These kick in whenever any decision, statements, or action happens around us. They especially kick in to a statement, directive, decision aimed at us.

We perceive, decide, and act in what we “know” will work best for us and create satisfaction for ourselves.

All of us go through a instantaneous process of reacting most of the time during each day. We perceive, decide then act in our preferred ways.Make a positive impact.

So, on the negative side if your team is not highly motivated to align with you, you will suffer from…

Less than full engagement from a team resulting in…

  • A slow down of work, often not consciously done.
  • Thoughts are on other things more satisfying not the job at hand, despite best efforts.
  • Discussions about “unfairness” or “management doesn’t listen” happen without management, you, knowing.
  • Distractions occur while the team silently or not so silently “rants” about what they view as poor decisions.

On the positive side a motivated team is also an engaged team resulting in an increase in …

  • Engagement in problem solving on the practical side, people side and in improving processes.
  • The team overcomes obstacles and frustrations quicker to get moving again.
  • Discussions become about how to improve rather the “problems around here.”

Increase your odds

Excellent or mediocre. I choose excellent.To increase your odds of getting improved results, executing the business plan, continuously improving the operation, pay attention to motivations.

Motivations are based on values and preferred ways of doing things. These are deeply entrenched in all of us, built into our daily actions as deep seated habits.

Motivations are hard to change and easy to honor or dishonor.

Here’s what you can do to build a motivating environment:

  • Share your vision and values for your company often.
  • Insure your actions match your words. This will kill all efforts if you miss on this one.
  • Understand your team’s values and motivators.
  • Honor those values even if different.

Put it into practice

Ask the team to likewise honor your values and vision.

Accept that some on the team cannot make commitment… Just be sure that person isn’t you! That would be embarrassing.

Focus on those willing to step up. Learn what motivates them, then honor their values and preferences.

This process is very easy to lay out, easy to “know” it. However, it is a skill and a tricky skill that take daily effort to master.

Those who master these skills become exceptional leaders. Those who don’t master the skills are complained about as managers and eventually leave their jobs out of frustration or are forced out.

Take some time to work on motivating a team

Take some time and talk with an executive business coach about your situation.

They are trained in dealing with this and they have developed depth of expertise.

As an executive business coach I help clients through these issues continually.

Let’s set up a 30 minute complimentary time to discuss your situation. Maybe I can help.

Give me a call at 503-753-9971 or email me at

< 2019 >
  • 02

    The 4-Week Manager Jumpstart

    12:00 pm-1:00 pm

    “The 4-week Manager Jumpstart” webinar course guides attendees through management and leadership basics.

    The basics include communication insights into different personality types, value-based decisions, accountability and a time-tested decision process.

    Attendees will learn to put these concepts into practice in their jobs immediately to better manage teams and become even more productive.

    Consider this a mini-MBA course. A course lathered with practical solutions for new and experienced managers.

    12 pm to 1 pm Each Tuesday June 11 – July 2.

    Course Details  >>

What Clients Say

“After working with Phil, from just one process we cleaned up, we reduced mistakes by 70% and are stacking up cost savings.” —Stan, Construction Business Owner.

“Going through the decision framework helped make a very big decision that was stressing me out. After the decision, I felt a huge sense of relief and our revenue jumped due to better focus.” —Jon, Software Construction Business Owner

“We’ve improved our sales per FTE by 30% once we clarified the gap through the SMART goals and I’m not yet done with Phil’s program!” —Tim, Business Owner

“I recommend that if you want to increase effectiveness, sit down with Phil.” —Michelle, small business owner

Coach Phil

Phil Bride

Professional Business Builder

Executive business coach

It's all about business, development, and execution

Phil Bride, MBA, AIC

Sharpen up

Clarity of direction, confidence in next steps

  • Get a plan you can execute
  • Prioritize like a pro
  • Get control over time

Push to the strategic

Up your game. Make things happen.

  • Set, execute a vision of accomplishment
  • Up your game on leadership
  • Get accountability in place

Align (new) managers

Team alignment—Up to speed quicker

  • Skills development
  • Collaboration
  • Project management


Coaching, training, development, facilitating

  • Professional Development
  • New manager training and development
  • Seasoned manager tune up
  • Strategy and execution
  • Business, Market, Sales planning and execution
Workshops, Classes, 1-on-1