Michelle M. Smith

Michelle M. Smith is the Vice President of Business Development at Salt Lake City-based OC Tanner, an international appreciation company that helps more than 6,000 clients worldwide appreciate people who do great work through consulting, training, and creating customized award and recognition programs. Michelle is a renowned speaker, writer, consultant and trusted advisor to Fortune 500 companies and governments, and President Emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association.

Articles by Michelle M. Smith

HR Management

10 Tips for Successfully Influencing Change

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Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, was quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.

Most of us would agree, and we may even be tempted to add that the increased pace and velocity of change in modern business is rapidly becoming an exhausting and debilitating “constant” as well.

But what can be done? Are we destined to be helpless pawns in the relentless transformations occurring all around us? Or are there guideposts to help us navigate change? Read more…

Culture, Leadership

The 9 Keys to Highly Collaborative Workplace Cultures

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Work harder. Dress for success. Land the next big promotion. And whatever you do — make sure you win!

Widely regarded as a universal leadership and business asset, competitiveness is being re-evaluated in light of new research that may prove it does organizations and individuals more harm than good.

I recently attended the C-Suite Network Conference, and was completely intrigued by Margaret Heffernan’s presentation on the topic of competition, which was based on her book, A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better than the Competition. Read more…

Leadership

10 Classic and Enduring Rules of Great Leadership

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The special qualities of remarkable leaders are complex and rare.

Leadership requires the courage to fashion a code of conduct governed by principled conviction, so reviewing the writings of Classical philosophers is a good place to begin our journey towards becoming more effective leaders.

Michael Soupios and Panos Mourdoukoutas did just that for their book, The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership, and discovered the ancient philosophies remain relevant today. Read more…

Leadership

How Leadership Behavior is Squashing Innovation and Creativity

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For any organization to be successful, it has to continually innovate and evolve. This is one of the great business lessons that have withstood the test of time.

In his book, True Alignment: Linking Company Culture with Customer Needs for Extraordinary Results, author Edgar Papke notes that one of the keys to organizational success – especially in the area of innovation – is its employees’ ability to openly and confidently express their ideas.

The free flow of new ideas is essential for keeping an organization competitive, and is at the heart of building employee buy-in and getting them to take ownership of both their own work and the company’s objectives. Read more…

Leadership

5 Traits That Make Truly Authentic (and Enlightened) Leaders

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A leader’s success is largely incumbent on their capacity to influence other people.

And 21st century leadership is about creating relationships of integrity, authenticity and trust, as loyalty is now earned through relationships and collaboration, rather than through titular power.

Yet, forging deep, trusting business relationships is often awkward, unchartered territory for leaders. Many are wary of leading with emotion or operating with a genuine openness and honesty, believing that showing vulnerability will lead to dissenting opinions or criticism from colleagues and subordinates. Read more…

HR Insights

Five Strategies to Fast-Track Your Management Career

Career

If you aspire to climb the corporate ladder, the power to do so rests largely in your own hands.

Regardless of your industry or the amount of bureaucracy you believe exists in your organization, you have the ability to be a better master of your own career destiny.

While every organization is different, there are universal strategies and tactics that will serve you well anywhere and can help fast-track your management career. Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

How To Lose Your Best Employees in 10 Easy Steps

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What could be more essential to organizational success and the corporate bottom line than talent?

Yet many of the people in our employ continue to be marginalized and neglected, often taking a backseat to the various other matters that occupy our workdays as leaders.

And the problem seems to be pervasive. Read more…

Talent Management

Why It’s Important to Calculate the Lifetime Value of Employees

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Only recently have organizations begun to view employees as value creators rather than as expenses.

Savvy employers have come to understand that a company’s main competitive advantage comes from its people. It’s the employees’ energy, passion, talents and creativity that makes a company stand out and excel.

That’s why it’s extremely important to be able to measure the long-term financial contribution of employees, similarly to how we have benefited from the tremendous advantages of being able to measure the lifetime value of customers. Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

Ignoring Employees: It Wreaks Havoc on Your Team and Your Bottom Line

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Leaders are busy people who need to set and manage priorities, often dismissing or delegating tasks that don’t provide a strong return on their investment of time.

Nonetheless, there’s one area of responsibility that leaders should never ignore — their employees.

Gallup has repeatedly found that leaders who compliment their teams enjoy extremely low (1 percent) employee disengagement levels. As you’d expect, when leaders criticize employees, disengagement levels rise to 22 percent. However, disengagement almost doubles to a shocking 40 percent when leaders ignore their direct reports. Read more…

Talent Management

A Talent Management Truth: Your Employees ARE Your Brand!

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North Americans tend to be a results-oriented bunch. We applaud an endeavor’s result, but are sometimes myopic about how that result was achieved.

The same can be said about some business leaders. They revel in high net promoter scores and loyal brand consumers, but fail to appreciate the efforts of those who are nurturing customer relationships on a daily basis to attain those results.

The Hay Group publishes the World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC) list. A study of the organizations on the WMAC list analyzed the connection between employee engagement and a company’s business development and customer relationships. Read more…