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The Leadership Lansing Blog is the open communication forum of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In the Leadership Lansing Blog, we will highlight all things related to the Greater Lansing business community. We will feature posts from our staff, our membership and the legislative leaders of this region. If you have any questions or would like to be a contributor to the Leadership Lansing Blog, please contact Eric Dimoff, Marketing and Communications Director, at 517-853-6460 or We appreciate the continued support!


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Fidelity: The Third Principle of Great Leadership

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, July 20, 2015

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

                                                Helen Keller, Advocate for the blind and deaf

Les was a master of defining what is, and what is not, a worthy purpose. When he called the first-ever professional sales training program for representatives accountable to no one, the whining was deafening. On the first day of mandatory attendance one could feel the tension in the room as the new vice president of sales stood before his class. “Welcome,” Les began. “I know that many in this room would rather be working back home. I understand that.” And then he made this promise. “By this time tomorrow I’m confident that all of us will be on the same page.”

The next day a strange metamorphosis took place as every person in the room was engaged in the day’s discussions. It was later that I learned that Les had sent flowers to the wives of every representative attending the program. With each bouquet he attached the following note: “I want to personally thank you for allowing me the privilege to both train and inspire your husband. Your sacrifice will be rewarded in the near future. Best wishes, Les.”

It wasn’t long before my mentor earned the confidence of everyone on the sales team as we all signed on for a worthy purpose.

Helen was another leader that had a gift for motivating her team. As the new vice president for nursing, she was responsible for over 700 clinical professionals. However, her initial challenge was to address a serious morale problem among the nursing ranks.

The first day she started Helen asked her executive assistant to schedule one-on-one 30 minute sessions with every nursing supervisor, manager, and director in the organization. Around-the-clock meetings were held with over eighty staff.  No conversation was off limits as some nurses shared their anger, others cried, and almost everyone opened up with what he or she felt was both right and wrong with the organization.

Within two weeks this remarkable woman had won the respect of the entire nursing force. There were three reasons why Helen won their support. Helen listened. Helen was professional. And Helen had a great sense of humor. All three of these traits help to build a foundation of trust. And “trust” is fidelity’s cornerstone.

David Eich 
Marketing & Public Relations Officer
Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan

Tags:  Challenge  Confidence  Engagement  Fidelity  Listening  Morale  Motivating  Professional  Purpose  Sense of Humor  Team  Trust 

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Big or Small, Strategic Planning is for All!

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Big or Small, Strategic Planning is for All!

Why?  Lao Tzu stated, If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."  Strategic planning is akin to the map and navigation software we use when we are heading out on a trip: we know where we want to go and we are looking for the best route to get there.  Imagine getting into your vehicle and when Siri asks, “What is your destination?”  You respond with, “Anywhere is fine, just as long as I’m moving.”  That is a common unintentional approach that many small and medium sized businesses take to planning. 

Who?  For small/medium sized companies the planning should start with the owners picking the destination and then involving the operational leaders to fill out the near term activities needed to support the goals.  Those goals should be shared with the entire company for top to bottom and bottom up clarity.

When?  Annually is the most common and the smaller the company, the less time the process should take.  The meetings should be held away from the phones of the business during a dedicated time that doesn’t allow for interruptions.  The future is very important to all businesses and if it can’t function without the owner’s input to “put out customer fires” then the business may have other challenges to address.

How to make it work?

Share the goals and Key Performance Indicators: your staff believes in you and the company; share your vision of the coming year with them.

Keep Score in a highly visible manner: share actual results compared to your planned goals.  Review them with your team on a regular basis.  Ask them for their opinions on how operations are performing and how to improve.    Depending on the size of the company, the results should be posted in the time frame that makes the most sense: daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly are common in successful firms.

Review as a team:  employees want to hear the owner’s or key manager’s interpretation of the results and the next steps.  Do this routinely and your staff will feel much more attuned to the company’s future.

Strategic planning and sharing company operating information are difficult for many small and medium sized business owners to implement.  However, committing to the process will greatly increase the company’s ability to meet its goals and will gain more commitment to the future by its employees.


Jeff Chaffin

Principal, The Executive Influence

Phone: 517.853.2570, ext. 570

Find us on the web:


Tags:  Business  Goals  Key Performance Indicators  Small Business  Strategic Planning  Team 

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