Category Archives: Uncategorized

Goal-orieneted Business Practices

Most businesses recognize the need for forming goals, but many struggle with setting them. Some businesses will set a goal, but never detail a method of accomplishment. Creating company goals is irrelevant unless you have clearly stated objectives. Additionally, without detailing possible barriers a business might find itself in a rut before it even has moved forward.

Here’s how to create successful business goals:

1. Compose goals. A goal is a general intention or direction. It normally has a long time frame, and is a purpose to which an endeavor is directed. Increasing awareness, advocacy or sales are all reputable business goals.

2. Establish objectives. Once goals are established a company must decide what efforts or actions will be put towards the attainment or accomplishment. Objectives should be narrow and precise methods with a short term time frame. In addition, successful objectives are reachable, measurable and relevant. For every business goal, include three to five objectives.

3. Identify barriers. Distinguish problems that will hinder your business from reaching its goals. Barriers can include money, time or competition.

4. Form tactics. A tactic is an action to execute your objectives and overcome barriers. A tactic should include an action, purpose, schedule, and a way to measure result.


Goal: Increase awareness of our business in the Bloomington community.

Objective: Be rated the number one business in the Bloomington area in XYZ magazine.

Barrier: Competition from similar stores.

Tactic: Put an ad about our business in the local newspaper to gain awareness by Nov. 10.


Adapted from “Going for the Goal” by David B. Rockland, PH.D.




Benefits of Community Involvement in the Workplace

The workplace can act as an ideal environment to promote volunteer work. Pride and satisfaction are both worthwhile reasons to get your business involved in community service. However, many additional benefits of volunteerism exist in the workplace.  There are numerous reasons to encourage community involvement in one’s place of work. Providing employees with an opportunity to practice and demonstrate leadership can be valuable in employees’ professional development. Additionally, volunteer work can boost employee morale

Employee volunteerism can provide secondary benefits outside the office such as positive media coverage. Community involvement demonstrates to the public and interested job applicants that your business cares about more than making a profit. Volunteering allows employees with a work-life balance and personal satisfaction. This gratification may help employees gain a clearer perspective on the relation between their personal values and place of work.  Community involvement needs to be an essential part of what you do to give back to your community.

Managing volunteer programs requires strong commitment from the employer and involves tracking volunteer hours and promoting events.  Social media, such as Twitter, is an example of a medium your business may decide to promote your recent volunteer activities to the public. The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network is also a valuable network for businesses to use.  They provide volunteer opportunities ranging from helping out at the Bloomington Animal Shelter to Red Cross.

For more information on volunteer oppurtunities, visit



Adapted from, “Community involvement benefits the workplace,” by Dr. Tanya Brown

Killer Meetings

Have you ever calculated how much money is being wasted by the dozenth pointless meeting this month? Or do you get the impression that the moment you turn on the projector the entire room tunes out?

Meetings dominate the business life in America today. The National Statistic Council states that 37 percent of employee time is spent in meetings. According to other data there are 11 million business meetings every day. Bad meetings are not just dreadful, but a waste of valuable time.

Making meetings better is not just solved by ordering lunch and coffee.  Productive meetings require a plan of action, employee engagement, and on target communication.

First off, if the transfer of info is one way then don’t meet.  Status reports and business updates can be sent over email easier than setting up a meeting for the entire staff. Before the meeting, send an email out with details of the meeting’s objectives and the agenda.  Additionally, paste the agenda on the email otherwise no one will open the attachment and they’ll all come unprepared. Sending out an email beforehand also allows the naysayers to make objectives in advance, so the meeting will take less time.  Distribute the agenda at the meeting, as well as email, so everyone can keep on target.

Increase the involvement of the meeting by assigning everyone a role or assignment. Roles such as timekeeper, note taker, and whiteboard handler will help engage coworkers that might otherwise be daydreaming or surfing the Internet. Also, assigning roles can take some pressure off of you and allow the meeting to run smoother.  Another method to involve coworkers is to assign groups to explore an issue in their area and prepare ideas and solutions for discussion. This will allow the group to engage by solving problems together.

Show your colleagues that you respect their time by always starting and ending on time. The agenda can assist with ending on time by keeping you on track. In addition, make all members of the meeting feel heard. This can be accomplished by making eye contact with everyone and keeping track of every idea.  Finally, end with a plan. Everyone should know what is expected of them and when. End the meeting by receiving input and asking members if they thought the meeting was beneficial, and what can be done better next time.

Adapted from, CBS Money Watch, How to Run an Effective Meeting,


Ethical Conduct in the Workplace

I begin my third year at Indiana University, I’ve become accustomed to my professors stating guidelines for ethical conduct in the syllabi they issue the first class. Such guidelines include class conduct, professionalism, and forms of plagiarism. Although most students already have some awareness of what common class conduct entails and to avoid all forms of plagiarism infraction, I for one welcome the refresher. This refresher on ethical conduct led me to question how ethical conduct is established in the workplace.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ethics as: a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values.

I highly doubt, every few months, a firm issues its staff a guideline pertaining to business ethics. So how does a business institute ethical conduct and continue to maintain and build from the guidelines? To figure out how to enact ethical practices in a business, I looked over a presentation Kirk O. Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, recently gave.

Hanson built his ethical business presentation on a model he devised in 1984 and has continually revised this model over the years. Although there are many elements to this model I’ve picked out a few key practices which I believe best address the important dimensions of managing ethics.

Those essentials include:

Value Statement – A firm’s value statement must be related to the firm’s decisions and actions. The statement cannot illuminate upon practices and values which the firm does not uphold, it must mirror current practices. The statement must not just be “fluff” but share the company’s aspirations with their public. Additionally, a value statement should not just be a declaration of a company’s goal to their audiences but also to the staff. The statement must connect with the staff and act as a “guiding principle.”

Code of Conduct- An ideal code of conduct applies to all employees and doesn’t capture last year’s incidents Hanson detailed.  All employees should be able to interpret the code and explicate any questions regarding certain elements. A code of conduct may go wrong if it details specific incidents which the business didn’t have authorization to handle, such as dealing with specific reimbursements and use of computers.

Training and Communication- Best ethical practice are continually reinforced not only to new hires, but also on a regular basis to all employees. Trainers and executives must not just lip service the values or training may come up short. Constant communication of values is a fragment of good ethical practices.

Renewal Process- Top companies such as Johnson & Johnson continually re-evaluate their value statements and codes of conduct on a regular basis. Revising values and conducts periodically maintains freshness of the message and employees engaged in the new message. Hansen explained every three years evaluating and producing new conducts and standards is ideal for a company. This renewal step is a basic component for the model because it allows a company to re-educate its employees consistently on guidelines and build upon their past practices.

For Hanson’s entire ethics model go to:

Adapted from “Toward an Ethical Culture: Characteristics of an Ethical Organization”, by Anne Federwisch

Avoiding High Turnover Begins with Making the Right Hire

As the economy has begun to improve during the last few months and signs of production and job growth become more consistent, your business may decide that hiring a new employee is the next step in growing your market share. But as research and most employers suggest, making the right hire is no easy task. The wrong hire can cause turnover and the harm it causes is something every hiring manager or business owner should be concerned with.

Costs associated with replacing an employee include recruiting, training, lost productivity, and new hire expenses, which can total up to 150% of the employee’s total annual salary according to author Bill Bliss. And while there are several incentives or programs a company can offer employees to encourage employee commitment, turnover can often be traced to the hiring process. In fact, research from the Harvard Business Review shows 80 percent of turnover happens because of a mistake made during this process. Here are a few ways you can feel confident you’ve done everything you can to make sure your next hire won’t be walking out the door in six months.

Relevant Experience
There may be several qualified candidates for any one job, but take into consideration the experience each person has that is specific to your business or industry. There may not be any candidates who have the specific industry knowledge you’re looking for, but don’t discount experience in the same daily tasks that the position requires. And if the top candidates for the job have several years of experience in your business’ industry, but lack an understanding of the specific job you’re hiring for, keep them in consideration. In an online survey on, a blog for today’s business leaders, 65 percent of respondents believe qualified experience was the most important part of the employee selection process.

Culture Fit
When bringing on a new employee, it’s important to make sure that person fits your company’s culture before they ever become full time. Recognize what your business’ culture is and then identify the top candidates that line up with that culture and vision. If your company holds a more professional business attitude, from meetings to dress style, address that in the hiring process through interview questions. When businesses are open and honest about the culture and attitude they expect of their employees, they are more likely to attract the right talent.

Train to Hire Better
Being properly trained and prepared to hire the top talent your company needs is an important part of hiring right. Researching candidates, recruiting skills, an understanding of the hiring climate and knowledge of the laws associated with interviewing are all essential skills to have for someone in a hiring position.

Reckless hiring is one of the top threats to a successful company in today’s business climate. Don’t let the high costs of turnover and the dangers that come with hiring the wrong employee affect your business.

For More Information:
Tim Tucker, franchisee
Express Employment Professionals
116 S. Madison St. Suite B
Bloomington, IN 47404

Lessons from Olympians

As the 2012 London Olympics recently ended, we looked towards the United States record number of medals and there is no doubt that this year’s US Olympic team was full of talent. From the 16 year old all-around gold medalist, Gabby Douglas, to Michael Phelps the most decorated Olympian of all time -there was no lack of dedication or vigor.

What is so exceptional about the few who achieve Olympic success, and what can individuals learn from these outstanding Olympic athletes?

Check out these business lessons to see what you can learn from Olympic athletes:

1. Keep mental health in check.

Olympic athletes must be the essence of sound mental and physical health if they want to handle the tough training which comes with winning an Olympic medal. If your mental health is not in check then when it comes to your career, you may not be able to effectively deal with hurdles in your workplace. While Olympians are dedicated to keeping in perfect, physical health they must also have the right state of mind when going for the gold.

2. Search for purpose and meaning.

Most Olympic athletes have been training since their childhood for their spot on the award podium. Although you may not have a singular set goal in mind for your career, you must identify what kind of work you truly enjoy. There is no reason to pursue a career in a field you aren’t passionate about, despite other external factors.  If you’re doing something you love, you are more than likely to excel.

3. There is always room for improvement.

US Olympic runner, Richards-Ross, put her unsatisfying bronze medal from the 2008 Olympic trials in the past as she ran for the 400-meter gold at the 2012 London Olympics.  Knowing the need for constant improvement Richards- Ross improved her strength so she would not relive the 2008 outcome.

Too many people fall in auto-pilot once they land a job. To combat such mentality, it’s pertinent to be an advocate for change and improvement. Do not just go through the motions- promote change and continue towards excellence in all endeavors.

Take these lessons as you continue to relive the 2012 Olympic Games and remember Olympic athletes are not the only ones who can achieve success.

Adapted from  “Career Lessons from Olympic Athletes”

A Reason to Celebrate: Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce Named 2012 Chamber of the Year

Early this month, seven Chamber staff and two of our Board of Directors let out the loudest cheer when we heard our name announced as “Chamber of the Year”! Days before, we lost our dear friend and colleague Morgan Hutton who had served as The Chamber’s Director of Public Policy & Advocacy. Needless to say, the award raised our spirits and our heavy hearts. We all felt Morgan’s presence with us that evening.

Again we thank our members, volunteers and board of directors for the support given as we build better business and better community. It is because of your support and commitment that we were able to bring home this national title…Thank you!

Below is the official press release announcing our Chamber of the Year award:

Bloomington, IN – August 6, 2012 – The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce was named 2012 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) at the organization’s annual conference held in Louisville, K.Y., last week. The ACCE may recognize up to four chambers of commerce a year, one in each of the four annual revenue categories, for work in leading businesses and communities. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce competed in the $501,000–$999,998 total revenue category and was named the top chamber of its size in the United States and Canada.

The Chamber of the Year award involves an intense, multi-stage process. Chambers must first qualify to compete by completing the ACCE’s annual Chamber Operations Survey which is judged by the ACCE based on seven criteria regarding net income, assets, and partner retention dollars and accounts. Only the top ranked chambers are then invited to complete the formal application that provides a comprehensive view of the chamber’s success based on financial and partnership performance, as well as their communication and community programs. The last step in the process was the in-person interview which took place at the start of the conference and ultimately determined the final awardees in each category.

“To be named Chamber of the Year validates the incredible work our board of directors, volunteers and staff accomplish on a daily basis and provides national recognition for the tremendous impact the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has on key community priorities such as education, transportation, healthcare and regional vitality,” said Christy Gillenwater, president & C.E.O. of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “We are grateful to our dedicated volunteers and members. We are extremely humbled to receive this honor as we recommit to continue to serve our stakeholders with excellence.”

Gillenwater accepted the award at the August 2 ACCE Awards event along with board chair, Jim Whitlatch of Bunger & Robertson Attorneys at Law. According to Whitlatch, it was “a proud moment for everyone associated with the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce” as the prestigious award highlighted some of the organization’s key programs and services.

He explains, “The Chamber serves as a catalyst for consensus, helping to build agreement so that critical projects that will benefit business and the community are realized. To know that our work on I-69 and the S.R. 45/46 Bypass – along with the positive impact The Chamber’s Franklin Initiative has had on area graduation rates, were recognized at this level is so rewarding.” Also highlighted in The Chamber’s ACCE Chamber of the Year application were several key membership marketing and communication pieces.
In 2011, the Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA) recognized the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce as the Indiana Chamber of the Year. Like the ACCE Chamber of the Year award, this also recognizes organizational excellence in chambers of commerce and provides a unique benchmarking opportunity to assess organizational strength.
For more information about The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce visit or call 812.336.6381.


In Memory of Morgan Hutton

Thank you all for the wonderful support you have given the Chamber team this week.

We have been on either end of the emotional spectrum…from the devastating sadness of losing our Chamber sister and friend, Morgan… to the exhilaration of winning national recognition as ACCE Chamber of the Year! We know Morgan was with us in Louisville, smiling and enjoying every minute of celebration! ♥

Morgan Hutton passed away Saturday evening as a result of a car accident. The Chamber staff is a family and we are heartbroken over the loss of one of our own. Her family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.

Morgan served as the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for The Chamber. She is credited with leading the strong public policy work for the organization. Morgan was an outstanding co-worker and friend and we were blessed to have worked with her for over four years. We are very saddened by her loss and our hearts go out to her family and friends. We will remember Morgan for her dedication and talent for shaping The Chamber’s public policy work during the past several years. Morgan always put a smile on the faces of volunteers and co-workers at the Chamber. Her quick wit, intellect and passion for her work were cherished by all who knew her.

24 Hour Workday

The work environment is quickly changing, driven by new technology and the need for constant communication and accessibility. As technology advances makes it simpler to check your email and talk to clients while out of the office, many people have found that a normal 9-5 workday no longer exists for them.  Also, with the convenience of technology advances, employers now have increased expectations of their employees’ availability.

So my question is when do you know to turn off? Is it acceptable to check your email and voicemails right when you roll out of bed or should you wait till you get to work to start your workday?  Many arguments concerning the benefits and costs have been presented on this idea.  I believe there are both pros and cons to this idea of being perpetually tethered to the office.  So to answer my question, I believe you must know when to turn off and to metaphorically ‘leave the office’ by looking at a 24 hour workday with an economic view.

When I say economic view, I mean by analyzing the marginal benefits and costs of checking your email one more time, taking a work call, or working on a project for another hour. In economics, marginal benefits and costs are taken in to context with how many units a firm should buy of a product by the benefit or cost of adding another unit.  However, I am using marginal benefits and costs in context of how much benefit you’ll receive from a never ending workday. If working on a project another hour will benefit you more by having more time to work on other projects tomorrow than watching an episode of Lost then an extra hour will benefit you. However, is the benefit of spending time dealing with a client for another hour at night more than the cost of losing time with your family? When deciding if working a bit longer or if checking your email at dinner is beneficial consider the costs you will face as well. If those costs outweigh the benefits then that work project will still be on your desk tomorrow and vice versa. If the benefit of dealing with a client is greater than the cost of missing one dinner with your family than the longer hours that day are worth it.

Business related matters shouldn’t overshadow more important personal ones. But, allowing yourself to be more accessible and flexible concerning working out of the office may just save you an important client and gain you more time on the weekend. By viewing a 24 hour workday by the marginal benefits and costs, you’ll be able to analyze whether each work responsibility is necessary to finish that day which can provide you more personal time as well as great work results.

Our Under 40’s: Our Community’s Next Leaders.

Almost two years ago, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce launched its young professional program hYPe: Helping Young Professionals Excel. From its inaugural 2011 event where 125+ young people under the age of 40 attended, to the group of hYPe members who volunteered at last month’s Taste of Bloomington, this has been and is an organization about involvement. Each month hYPe members attend personal or professional development events where they learn new skills and make new connections with peers. As important, the programming of hYPE helps to create a support structure that builds leaders. Always, these young professionals are involved in the learning process – becoming better employees, stronger leaders and forging stronger bonds within their community.

This was exactly the hope when hYPe was launched.

The Chamber‘s Board of Directors recognized the importance of engaging our next generation of leaders to help generate a greater pipeline for talent within our community. To underscore their commitment to hYPe and its mission, the Board’s nominating committee selected the hYPe Steering Committee Chair – Faye Jameson, to serve on the Chamber’s board of directors. For a young professional to play an active role on a board filled by some of the community’s strongest leaders is an incredible opportunity. But, the opportunity to have a “fresh voice” of a young leader on the Chamber Board is equally as important.

You get a very different voice at a table – whether it’s in the boardroom or as part of your leadership team – when there is someone under 40. So many believe that our under 40’s only bring an understanding of technology since most all have grown up in a world where apps, social networks and smart phones are the Millennial generation’s versions of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. But, this limited thinking is…well, limited. Our under 40’s bring so much more.

A young professional’s fresh perspective, insight as to what resonates with their age group, willingness to try new ideas and out-of the-box thinking can benefit any organization or any board. Our world is changing at a rapid rate and our young professionals are skilled at navigating a rapidly changing world. These are individuals you want to have at the proverbial “table”.

According to one study, less than 2% of nonprofit board members are under 30 years old. In contrast, 57% of nonprofit board members are 50 and over. All they need is a chance to utilize their skills…But first, they need to be asked. I encourage businesses and organizations in our community to look for ways to engage our young professionals in meaningful professional relationships through board service, volunteer task force or committees.

Not certain how to make it happen?

  • The first step is to identify and remove any barriers to engaging young leaders. Sometimes this means you have to “break the mold” of what you usually look for from a person when filling these positions.
  • If you know and can articulate the value they will bring to your organization, you’re half way there.
  • Provide your young professionals with proper expectations and allow them to feel comfortable within your organization.
  • Finally, make a commitment to always find room for a young professional to “be at your table.” They have been reared in a world of constant communication and collaboration, so be prepared for the energy and ideas that can be unleashed.

On July 26, The Chamber and our hYPe program will host the “10 Under 40” Awards at the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center. If you want to see, first-hand, the amazing young talent and leadership we have in our community, please join us. For more information about hYPe or the “10 Under 40” Awards, please visit or