Leadership Development Center OCS instructors help train MSST Boston personnel.

Your thought: “Oh no, that will never work! And I’m not the only one who knows that. And my boss expects us to put this into action now. I bet I get the blame if it fails.”

Some top managers ask for your input and have good judgment, making these situations rare. Some are visionaries who don’t know what will work in practice. Some are dictators who see your disagreement as disloyalty. When you anticipate lots of problems implementing what the boss wants, no wonder you’re nervous.

It’s an awkward feeling when you have to tell others to do something that you believe is unwise. Step One is overcoming your initial fight-flight stress reaction and Step Two is thinking what matters to whom. Assuming your goals are to 1) be sincere, 2) be positive and 3) get everyone to do their best, the following ABC’s can help:

Anticipate: Think about what could go wrong and what could go right and the odds of each. Determine ways to overcome obstacles, get buy-in and make the change successful. Consider how employees or other stakeholders might resist and what they need to respond positively over time.

Before: If you see a high risk of problems, ask for your boss’s or other expert help to see the best path forward. If you usually are supportive and committed, sharing your concerns and alternative ways to make progress will be seen as trying to help. Be sure not to make the discussion competitive (a contest of wills) or to embarrass your boss publicly or privately. Private grumbles are often seen as more negative than you intend.

Communicate constructively: If you want support from employees, don’t ask for blind conformity. Explain why you are concerned and discuss issues. Resistance is normal, especially for those who lack vision and confidence, but if heard sympathetically, is commonly temporary. Stifling dissent rarely works while rational, supportive problem solving does. People need a chance to get accustomed to uncomfortable ideas and to figure out how to make them work.

The worst mistake insecure leads and managers make is to blame others. “The boss is clueless.” “Employees aren’t open to change.” “Our suppliers can’t be trusted.”

Blame, like pessimism, undermines collaboration. Realistic optimism may see failure as a possibility but only as a pothole in the road. Keeping good relationships up and down the hierarchy, between departments and with others whose support is valuable, is critical to long-term success.

Part of anyone’s job is making both their boss look good and their organization succeed. Even when there are major barriers to face, your best efforts to build unity will be remembered.

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Heart for you

As February is the month of love, let’s talk a bit about doing what you love and loving what you do!

Considering that most of us spend more than 2000 hours per year at our jobs, it would be great if we loved what we did. “Doing what you love” is typically at the heart of those who choose to work for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit employees have chosen a rewarding path, putting all their efforts into helping others, supporting a mission, and above all making a difference. Because nonprofits oftentimes are constrained by limited financial resources, employee salaries are typically lower than average compared to what you might find in the general industry. That being said, nonprofits are still a business and need to attract and retain top talent.

During a time when recruitment and retention has never been more important, ensuring that pay and benefit levels are appropriate is crucial! Because we at Cascade understand how important nonprofit work is, we want to help make a difference.

Due to the demand for quality, reliable pay and benefit data in the world of nonprofits, it is our pleasure to introduce the very first annual Non-Profit Pay & Benefits Survey. Our survey includes over 250 jobs and over 100 benefit/practice related questions.

Don’t miss out on this important opportunity and participate now! To learn more, click here. If you have additional questions, or would like to participate, contact Courtney LeCompte at clecompte@cascadeemployers.com or at 503.585.4320.

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Willamette Valley Pie Company

This Cascade member’s story starts with about 30 local farm families, who grow the fruit for their all-natural handmade pies, cobblers and frozen fruit packs. Did you know…

  1. In 1999, after growing berries locally for three generations, Gerald Roth and his family started a small frozen fruit processing operation in a backyard warehouse just outside of Salem, Oregon, soon becoming a Northwest leader in frozen berry processing. In 2001, with the goal of vertically integrating their business, the Roths jumped at the chance to acquire LaSuisse Pie Company from a neighbor down the road, also adding traditional cake batter cobblers and frozen fruit polybags to their retail product offering.
  2. The company buys 3 million pounds of fruit from local farm families every year, and that number is growing. The fruit includes strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and the local favorite, Marionberries.
  3. Each day, about 70 bakery employees make thousands of pies, cobblers, pastries, and other treats by hand in their new 47,000-square-foot production facility located in Silverton, Oregon. Leading up to Thanksgiving this last fall, employees made 2200 pies in one eight-hour shift.
  4. The company primarily distributes to grocery stores on the West Coast, including Roth’s, Whole Foods, New Seasons, Market of Choice, Zupan’s and many others. They also operate a popular retail farm store located 5 miles northeast of Salem, where customers can purchase frozen fruits, or enjoy a fresh-baked slice of pie all year long.
  5. In the last 12 months, Willamette Valley Pie Company has begun moving into the Midwest and East Coast markets, increasing sales, efficiency, and the amount of fruit purchased from their growers.

Cascade is proud to feature Willamette Valley Pie Company, a member who is passionate about supporting local farm families and delivering the best, all-natural fruit products to their customers.

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State of the Economy

Executives in Oregon and Southwest Washington recently provided their business projections for the New Year in the National Business Trends Survey. The 2017 National Business Trends Survey is conducted by Cascade Employers Association on behalf of employer associations throughout the nation. Published in December of 2016, the survey provides executive level insight into current and projected national, regional, and local business trends. The results show a mixture of confidence and anticipated business challenges, with the majority of executives optimistic for 2017.

Based on the survey results, here are five prominent trends to watch for in the next 12 months:

  1. Increased Sales
    73% of Oregon executives are projecting their 2017 sales to surpass sales results of 2016.
  2. Stability and Confidence In The U.S. Economy
    Nearly 80% of Oregon executives are anticipating the U.S. economy to remain fixed or to improve over the next twelve months.
  3. Sustaining and Increasing Staffing Levels
    Hiring plans in 2017 show a mixture of consistency and growth, with half of executives planning to maintain their staffing levels and 41% planning to hire more staff in the next twelve months. This includes recalling layoffs, hiring temps or contract workers, and/or hiring new employees.
  4. Anticipated Challenges
    When executives were asked to list their top business challenges in 2017, over half of executives listed government regulations and a skilled labor shortage as impediments to achieving business growth.
  5. Priorities That Span Generations
    When asked what new hires are looking for based on their various generation groups, certain priorities prevailed throughout generations. All generation groups were listed as prioritizing good pay, good work/life balance, and recognition and reward for good performance when seeking a new job. Other priorities were prevalent among multiple generations, but not all. Leading priorities for Traditionalists, Boomers, and Gen X groups included good benefits and being a part of a good team. Flexibility in work hours was a leading priority for Millennials and Digitals. While some priorities span generations, such as good pay and work/life balance, other priorities seem to be generation specific.

To learn more about the 2017 National Business Trends Survey, or to purchase the full report, click here.

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