Mark Grimm


The Secrets to Embracing Change

A Labor Department study estimates about 65% of current children in grade school will work in a job that does not yet exist. Change is a constant and resisting it is futile and often damaging.

So how do we make change work for us and our company?

The right formula begins with thoughtful management that has a “change strategy.” Managers must include the following:

  • Authorship
    Allow employees to have authorship of the change, instead of imposing it on them. There’s a big difference between “this is what you have to do” versus “these are our goals, how can you make them happen?”
  • Clarity
    The need for the change must be made clear and there can’t be anything vague about the answer to this employee question? “How does this benefit me?” Provide an ongoing dialogue on how the change is working.
  • Benchmark Proof
    Share evidence along the way the change is working. Proof trumps promises every time.
  • Message & Compensation Match
    It is one thing to say this is important, it’s another to back it up with employee compensation. Nothing undercuts change more than a failure to put your money where your mouth is.

The Risk of No Change

For those who feel the status quo serves their interests, understand the risks in not changing. Just 61 companies in the Fortune 500 in 2014 were on the list in 1955, nearly 90% are no longer there. Kodak had about 62,000 employees in the Rochester area in 1982. It filed for bankruptcy in 2012 with just over 2,000 employees there. Though it invented digital photography back in 1976, it got shelved because Kodak film was the standard. As one writer put it, Kodak’s unraveling was “not because the company didn’t have the technology to compete in the new era, but because it lacked the vision to use it.”

You Have A Choice

There is no excuse for a poor attitude. You have a choice on how to respond to work conditions. You can close your mind or you can make the most of the cards you’re dealt, often turning anxiety into opportunity.

The founder of Minds at Work, Jason Clarke, says, “You can keep things the same or you can make a difference, but you cannot do both.” Though change may bring anxiety, never underestimate what you are capable of. After all, Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.

You’re more amazing than you think.

The writer conducts keynotes and seminars on more than 20 business organizational and communication topics. Don’t hesitate to contact him for help: 518.650.5096.


Assembly GOP Needs New Direction

In a banner election year for the GOP,  Assembly Republicans in New York won fewer than 30 percent of the chamber’s seats.

If that doesn’t prompt a change in direction, what will?

Assembly Numbers2


On the same day in New York, Republicans won back control of the State Senate and picked up three Congressional seats. Four Assembly Republicans have circulated a letter to other members calling for a delay in the vote for Minority Leader, a clear challenge to current Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

Mr. Kolb has chosen a largely non-confrontational approach with Speaker Shelly Silver. It is true Speaker Silver controls the Assembly Republican budget and has no reservations about using that power to silence criticism. This is a clear flaw in how the Legislature works. But, acquiescence has a cost, too. The failure to condemn the Speaker’s use of taxpayer funds as hush money to victims of sexual harassment was inexcusable and makes one wonder what purpose does the Republican Conference actually serve.

Governor candidate Rob Astorino stood for something and his victory outside the City of New York was a step in the right direction. Had the campaign money been anything close to equal, we would have seen a much tighter race.

Assembly Republican members must now answer this question: Do they really believe ideas matter and a strong stance on behalf of those ideas can truly make a difference?

Their relevance depends on the answer.

The writer is a former elected GOP official and one-time senior staff member of the Assembly Republican Conference.


Be the Speed Networking Standout!

Speed networking — when business people exchange quick introductions and then move on — has become a top way for business people to mingle and to get more customers or clients. It’s a predictable development for the 140-character “Twitter Age.”


Speed Networking

However, many have yet to learn how to be really good at it. It is no small challenge, being interesting is a skill. Improvement requires some planning and technique.

My advice to those running the events: allow each participant either 1 1/2 half or two minutes for their part and the same for the other participant. Enforce the time strictly, too often one participant hogs the time. Try to get a good variety of attendees, it gets old after meeting your third banker.

For participants, the standard sales pitch won’t get you far. People tune out. Try these suggestions:

1- Do Homework
If you know who’s coming in advance, do a little homework. Check LinkedIn profiles. Let them know you’ve studied the basics about them. Identify common interests you share (i.e., same college, love skiing, etc.)

2- Listen Carefully
People are there to tell their story. Let them do it. Pose questions that show you listened well. Try to locate the “pain” in their business endeavors and offer help relieving it.

3- Talk Benefits
Avoid your list of services. Talk about the benefits you provide and do it in plain English. 

4- Tell a Story
You are not there to pack in as many details as possible. Consider your presentation to be a story that paints a picture of what you do.

5- Be Helpful
You are an expert in something. Give that expertise away to people who could use it. Let them feel you are in their corner.

6- Be Enthusiastic
If you are not passionate about what you do, why would anyone else be?

7- Remember the Basics
Have a name tag you can read. A scribbled name is a waste. Bring business cards. It’s amazing how many people at networking events don’t have them. The excuse doesn’t matter. You come across as poorly prepared.

Most importantly, believe in yourself. There is something special about you. Share it.

The writer is a communication coach and consultant who attends well over 100 events a year.