A Recipe for Success

Quality components and sufficient resources make for successful plans.

April 15, 2013

The recipe for “Make It Mine Chili” encourages the cook to select from various ingredients in soup creation to provide tasty results.

Meat: pick one—ground beef, pork shoulder, beef stew. I had hamburger in the freezer—selection made. Vegetables: pick one—carrots or celery, onions or sweet peppers. I like variety, so I picked them all. Beans: pick one—black, cannellini, pinto. Not interested; red beans will do. Liquid: pick one—beef broth, water, beer. Hmm. I did not choose broth or water.

No matter how my concoction would taste, I knew one thing for sure. I was hungry, and soup was for dinner. I had a culinary goal requiring essential components for successful completion.

No matter what I tossed in the soup, it was important that the ingredients be fresh and available. I needed a stove to cook it up, and would need a pot to cook it in.

Your projects, too, have basic requirements: financial means, time, technological capabilities, delivery methods, consumer connections, and an understanding of the end goal. Plans may have built-in variables, but quality components and sufficient resources make for successful results.

What’s cooking at your credit union?

Capable cooks

Happy, inspired employees make valuable contributions, and research findings this week suggest ways employers can help staff achieve.

Suppressed creativity is a malignant organizational tumor, claims a Harvard Business Review blog, “Seven Rules for Managing Creative People.”

Some keys to tap into and retain the resources of creative staffers include:

Do your employees know what recipe book you are reading from? Mutual understanding is crucial, according to “All Talk No Action: Why Company Strategy Often Falls on Deaf Ears.” 

Here, “Corporate consultants often say that a company’s success depends not only on having a clear vision, but the ability to articulate it to all levels of staff.” This article details a study in which a group of employees tried to identify their company’s strategies.

The results? “Only 29.3% of employees could correctly match their company to its publicly espoused strategy.”

The sentiment is, “if we are to avoid employee cynicism and truly motivate individuals to do well for both their companies and our society, then managers need to work harder not just in crafting these strategies but ensuring employees have the enthusiasm and instruction” for implementing and executing them.

Another painful realization of employer/employee disconnect is revealed in “How Employee Attrition Hurts the Bottom Line.” This interesting article examines how layoffs and voluntary departures damage the company brand and bottom line. Employee loss creates a perception of poor corporate performance by customers, which affects the brand.

These research findings validate this theory and conclude, “Continuity is vital in staffing, especially for service-oriented businesses that rely on building relationships with customers… Companies that are hit by waves of turnover see some of those bonds erode, and the damage to performance and profitability is tangible.”

One way to retain employees might be to focus on communication. See “Four Ways to Give Good Feedback” as outlined at Time.  Suggestions include providing information about the activities of the listener, not merely praise or criticism; presenting feedback in an accessible way; relating feedback to original goals; and designing feedback to “build metacognitive skills” for the listener who will learn to perform self-analysis.

Secret ingredients

Do you know what consumers need and how they behave? Some interesting food for thought on this is available for your digestion.

Find out “Among Hispanics, Who’s Leading Digital Adoption Trends?” 

For this cohort, “trends suggest growing disparity, rather than uniformity,” according to eMarketer. “The percentage of foreign-born and native-born Hispanics who use the web rose by 18 percentage points and 27 percentage points, respectively.” Further, “the pace of Internet uptake among Hispanics is the fastest of any other group.”

This thought-provoking analysis will help you tailor your marketing messages to this group of consumers.

Have you considered employment circumstances of veterans in your membership? See the “Employment Situation of Veterans 2012” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“In 2012, 21.2 million men and women in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 18 and over were veterans,” a faction worth noting. Their experiences:

What about spending habits? Realize “Consumers Will Keep Spending as U.S. Hurdles Fade,” according to Bloomberg. “Consumer finances are in better shape,” and spending increases are credited in part to lessening consumer debt and an increase in housing acquisition that will increase demand for appliances and the like. Further, there is “pent-up demand to replace outdated automobiles.”

More good news for spending: tax refunds are hitting American pocketbooks, and “the current level of gas prices won’t hamper demand for other goods and services as much as in the past because households are buying more efficient vehicles, driving fewer miles, and opting to carpool more often.”

To cook up success, know what’s going on in your kitchen. I experimented with interesting options in my meal preparations, and even incorporated a dash of innovation.

The intended goal of the recipe was met because I stayed true to objectives with the use of high-quality ingredients, access to necessary resources for job completion, and dedication to follow-through in execution.

Soup’s on!






Lora Bray is a research librarian at CUNA.