The Oakland County area has an abundance of opportunities for existing businesses and new ventures.
When the going gets rough, the entrepreneurial spirit gets creative and resourceful.
The Oakland Press has gathered upcoming events, news and links to help business owners and professionals succeed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Starting a business? Here's help

June 1: SCORE helps answer entrepreneur questions
Detroit SCORE Chapter 18, with Southfield Public Library, helps potential entrepreneurs answer the question; “Could I, Should I Start My Own Business?” 8:45 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, June 1 at Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road, Southfield. The cost is $10. Call 313-226-7947 to register. Visit www.scoredetroit.org

June 2: Pre-Business Research workshop
Pre-Business Research Workshop/FastTrac is 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2 at Oakland County Business Center MI-SBTDC, Executive Office Building, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. Are you thinking of starting your own business and want to research your business idea? Are you a new business owner who wants to understand which research sources to use for your business plan or loan proposal, and where to find the information you need? Then plan to attend this business pre-planning workshop. Attendees will also receive an orientation to the FastTrac NewVenture program. This makes them eligible to receive a scholarship to the next 10 week program. The scholarship reduces the cost of FastTrac NewVenture from $700 to just $140. Pre-Registration is advised. Seating is limited. Call 248-858-0783. For other workshops offered by Oakland County Business Center, visit oakgov.com/peds/calendar.

Action Speaks! conference slated in Farmington Hills

 Leadership Oakland’s Class of XXI and Oakland Community College will host “Action Speaks!” Community Outreach Conference, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday June 8 at Smith Theater located at Oakland Community College Farmington Hills Campus in Farmington Hills. The event will bring together community leaders and change activists to inspire, motivate, and engage individuals to make a difference in their communities. The conference will include presentations and discussions on local government issues, media influence, business and entrepreneurship, public education, and heath care services. L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive will be one of the many speakers. Tickets are $28 per person and include lunch. Visit www.ActionSpeaksConference.com to purchase tickets or call 248-952-6880.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Business start-up workshop

Pre-Business Research Workshop/FastTrac is 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2 at Oakland County Business Center MI-SBTDC, Executive Office Building, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. For those thinking of starting their own business who want to research their business idea? For new business owners who wants to understand which research sources to use for a business plan or loan proposal, and where to find the information needed. Attendees will also receive an orientation to the FastTrac NewVenture program. This makes them eligible to receive a scholarship to the next 10 week program. The scholarship reduces the cost of FastTrac NewVenture from $700 to just $140. Pre-Registration is advised. Seating is limited. Call 248-858-0783. For other workshops offered by Oakland County Business Center, visit oakgov.com/peds/calendar.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wayne State networks at new Emagine theatre

The Wayne State University School of Business Administration Alumni Association will host its annual alumni appreciation is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today, May 25, at the new Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak.
The event will celebrate the achievements of Wayne State alumnus and Emagine owner Paul Glantz and will provide an opportunity for members of the metropolitan Detroit business community to tour the new facility and make new connections with other professionals, including many Wayne State business alumni. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Seven Leadership Mistakes

Is Your Team Failing Elegantly?
Seven Leadership Mistakes That Wear Away at Your Company’s Will to Win

By Dottie DeHart, DeHart & Company Public Relations

For any team, the only acceptable result should be winning. But all too often, things don’t go as planned—and when first this project and then that project veer off course, teams start showing signs of a disease that can kill execution. John Hamm describes how the disease of “failing elegantly” can infect your organization and how to cure it.

San Francisco, CA (May 2011)—No one wants to lose. That’s true whether you’re talking about the Super Bowl, a friendly basketball game with the neighbors, or a footrace between eight-year-olds. Yes, the desire to win is embedded in the human psyche. So why is it that in the business world the “win or (almost) die trying” principle seems to falter? Why do so many talented, well-led teams, enterprises, and organizations—many of them with clear, reasonable goals—fail to win victories that should have been easily within their grasps?
Leadership expert John Hamm says it’s because they’ve been infected with a disease he calls “failing elegantly.”
“Failing elegantly is a very sophisticated and veiled set of coping behaviors by individuals, the purpose of which is to avoid the oncoming train of embarrassment when the cover comes off the lousy results that we’d prefer no one ever see,” explains Hamm, author of Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, February 2011, ISBN: 978-0-47092843-1, $24.95, www.unusuallyexcellent.com). “In other words, it’s a fancy way to lose.”
Essentially, says Hamm, this debilitating syndrome sets in when people stop believing they can be successful and start devoting their energy to how best to lose.
“There is no obvious moment when the danger of failure comes riding in on a pale horse,” he notes. “But there is that moment, and everyone can feel it, when a project or the commitment to the promised results enters the risk zone—when challenges arise and there are no clear answers or remedies. It is precisely at this fork in the road—when egos and reputations get shaky—that leaders must recognize the signs of an impending crisis of confidence and intervene with specific messages and actions aimed at getting everyone back into the winner’s mindset.”
According to Hamm, the driving elements of failing elegantly are 1) having a sophisticated explanation for the loss, and 2) making sure we appear to have tried everything in our power to avoid this unwanted outcome. But, he notes, what this mentality forgets is the following harsh reality: There are no style points for second place.
Hamm has spent his career studying the practitioners of unusually excellent leadership via his work as a CEO, venture capitalist, board member, high-level consultant, and professor of leadership at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. In his powerful back-to-basics reference book, he offers both seasoned and aspiring leaders a framework for understanding and a guide for applying the battle-tested fundamentals of leadership at every stage of their careers.
 Read on for a few leadership mistakes that put your team in danger of failing elegantly—along with some remedies to get them back into the winner’s mindset.
Setting impossible goals. Leading the goal-setting process to arrive at objectives that are perfectly sized is very tricky work, but this effort has never been more important to success than it is in today’s geographically dispersed, virtual organizations. Taskmasters and pacesetting leaders need to learn the fine line between an invigorating challenge and a wholly deflating expectation. They also need to realize that everyone on the team may not share their level of maniacal commitment.
“While top performers are inspired by ‘stretch’ goals that seem slightly out of their reach, smart team members will not waste their time training for a ‘three-minute mile,’” says Hamm. “Goals that are clearly beyond any reasonable confidence of achievement are worse than easy goals—they actually disengage your team’s energy. The predictable and natural response is ‘Why bother?’”
Letting people get pseudo-wins by “majoring in the minors.” Very talented people can and do lose focus on the critical path problems that must be solved to transform an idea into reality. Those are often the knottiest problems, and sometimes we resist them for a period of time, preferring to create some satisfying momentum on simpler tasks, or ones that are simply more fun.
“Leaders must develop an eye and ear for this weakness—and must try to listen for it in every conversation and look for it in every ops review,” notes Hamm. “They must relentlessly redirect energy to the hard problems, realizing that it is human nature to drift from the tough stuff in favor of more emotionally fulfilling and easier project modules.”
Tolerating “The dog ate my homework” and other common excuses. In an organization, too much tolerance can be a dangerous notion, mainly because without a clear line in the sand defining acceptable and unacceptable, a blurred line between success and failure follows. When you’re failing elegantly, for example, you tolerate “The dog ate my homework” and other classic excuses. No results plus a good excuse is presented in lieu of results—and tolerated. Massive amounts of energy are poured into sophisticated justifications and rationalizations for certain courses of action, and there is veiled blame for everything outside the team’s control.
“What you want, and what the winner’s mindset demands, are insightful explanations for the gap between expected and actual performance,” says Hamm. “These are informed guesses—as informed and objective as they can be, untainted by the effort expended in dodging responsibility. There is tolerance of the simple fact that we don’t have control over every variable in the game, so at times—through either forces outside our influence or simply not having run our best play—the results are not as we wish.”
Allowing sloppiness and imprecision. The nice guy in you wants to avoid the perception of being a hardcore hard-ass and will politely look the other way, or catalog it away with some good-natured humor, allowing a corner to be cut, a report to be incomplete, or some shoddy work to pass as acceptable. Shoddy work and sloppiness almost always stem from being lazy or uncommitted or not having enough pride in the finished work.
“Leaders want to be good people, and they want to show others that they have the wisdom to accept human frailty,” notes Hamm. “So they allow themselves to tolerate a little sloppiness here and a little imprecision there in their subordinates’ work. But high reliability organizations never allow sloppiness, because they know it equals death. Unusually excellent leaders have a zero tolerance policy for sloppiness.”
Encouraging “editorialized” data. One of the most pernicious points where failure can take hold is in the feedback process. Leaders, being eternal optimists and enthusiasts, also have a dangerous tendency to signal, often unconsciously, their dislike of bad news, their inner revulsion toward failure. When that happens—especially when that leader hasn’t regularly established an absolute demand for accurate, objective data—subordinates will begin to shape and color the data to meet the leader’s hopeful expectations and emotional needs, rather than the leader’s intellectual needs. The feedback data starts becoming corrupted, and that in turn begins to undermine the overall strategy—until the likelihood of success itself begins to plummet.
“Unusually excellent leaders demand that performance feedback data be delivered promptly and be uncolored, objective, plentiful, and robust,” says Hamm. “This data is used to figure out what is working and what isn’t, so that corrections to course and speed can be made.”
Failing to measure what matters. The right metrics will serve you in enormously useful ways. As the Crosby Quality Institute reminds us: You will get what you inspect, not what you expect.
Hamm writes about one CEO who was constantly entertaining requests from his sales force for changes to the company’s product line—change orders—in response to “customer requests.” In this case very few of these requested changes, which came at great expense in engineering time and cost, resulted in orders from the people who had passionately argued the case. Instead of getting upset about it, the CEO simply asked that the team begin to track the percentage of change orders resulting in sales orders, and—what do you know?—this costly practice came to a screeching halt as soon as the sales force knew their bosses were looking at this data, by salesperson, every month.
“Measuring what matters is perhaps the very highest use of leadership authority in leading the domain of execution,” explains Hamm. “Once the plan is set, the resources and funding are committed, and the action starts, there is mostly just feedback and response to the unknowns of the battle to be managed. The one thing you must have, to make the real-time course corrections that will inevitably be required, is good data. Invest in the design and the machinery required to gather, analyze, and present the data you need—quickly, accurately, and easily. This, more than anything else, will serve your leadership needs in the arena of live ammo—where the score is kept, the winners get to keep playing, and the losers go home.”
Allowing an absolute commitment to winning to slip. A tolerance for excuses, corrupt data that compromises strategy, and a distorted view of what is really happening “out there” is akin to boiling a frog one degree at a time. The frog can’t tell how hot the water has gotten until it is dead. But if you put all these factors together and add the heightened sense of urgency that always characterizes the execution phase, you’ll have plenty of the necessary ingredients in place for systematic failure. The key factor is the resignation and rationalization that occurs when we conclude that winning seems out of reach.
“These are dark moments for any team,” says Hamm. “And yet, we all know that we should leave it all on the field and, as the saying goes, ‘win or die trying.’ But when you’ve already begun to distance yourself from your absolute commitment to winning, you start blaming everything and everyone—your teammates, the strategy, bad luck, crooked competitors, insufficient support, and, most of all, the man or woman in charge. The fact that many people—the honest and secure ones first—see what’s happening and hold the behavior in contempt often proves to be an effective vaccine against the contagion spreading.”
 “Passive acceptance of failure, and the rationalization that always goes with it, is a cancer that can begin anywhere in the organization, then metastasize to every office, including your own,” says Hamm. “You can prevent it by setting clear and precise standards of behavior for everyone on the team, as well as clear consequences for the violation of those standards. And you can control it through continuous and open communication with every member of your team.”
# # #


About the Author:
John Hamm is one of the top leadership experts in Silicon Valley. He was named one of the country’s Top 100 venture capitalists in 2009 by AlwaysOn and has led investments in many successful high-growth companies as a partner at several Bay Area VC firms. Hamm has also been a CEO, a board member at over thirty companies, and a CEO adviser and executive coach to senior leaders at companies such as Documentum, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, TaylorMade-adidas Golf and McAfee. John teaches leadership at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.
About the Book:
Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, February 2011, ISBN: 978-0-47092843-1, $24.95, www.unusuallyexcellent.com) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

“Connect, engage and discover” around Green Economy

The Michigan International Professional Association hosts “connect, engage and discover” around The Green Economy, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 2, upstairs at the Franklin Grill, 32760 Franklin Road, Franklin. Speakers include Mark Cryderman, faculty at Cleary University and Scott Meloeny, co-founder of Distributed Power LLC. Tim Marsh, will present his exhibit on "eco-expressionism." A full dinner, including wine, will be served. Register at www.MIPADetroit.org. $35 per person.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

J.S. Clark Agency to explain Health Care Reform

The J.S. Clark Agency of Southfield is hosting a free educational seminar for businesses about health care reform developments.
The seminar, led by J.S. Clark President, Joel Clark is open to local businesses and will be held noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at at the San Marino Club, 1685 E. Big Beaver Road in Troy. Call 248-996-1845 or email russ@jsclarkagency.com for reservations.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mobile Space using PhoneGap

Refresh Detroit meeting discusses an introduction to Phonegap, and how it can be used to build cross-platform native mobile apps using web tech. The meeting is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at Quicken Loans (Compuware Building), One Campus Martius, Detroit. It is free and open to the public. Register at guestlistapp.com/events/56001 or visit www.refreshdetroit.org.

Trade Opportunities in South Korea

The U.S. Commercial Service and the East Michigan District Export Council present a program on doing business in South Korea and the benefits of the pending US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at the Management Education Center, MSU, 811 West Square Lake Road, Troy. Visit www.eastmichigandec.org.

Keystrata IT Social networking event Wednesday

Keystrata, a specialized provider of Enterprise Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence consulting services, is hosting a networking event, IT Social 5:01, 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at Mirchi Indian Cuisine Bar & Grille, 43317 Grand River Ave., Novi. The event is a premiere networking group comprised of IT, Data Warehousing, and Business Intelligence professionals from the high tech corridors of Ann Arbor, Automation Alley, Tech Town and Metropolitan Detroit. There is a 20 percent discount off meals, compliments of Mirchi management. Visit www.keystrata.com.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

MSED Automotive Roundtable “The Supplier Revolution”

A roundtable panel discussion, themed “The Supplier Revolution,” will be hosted by the Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit (MSED) at its monthly dinner meeting on is 5 to 8 p.m. May 24, at the Marriott Hotel, 200 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. The panel will discuss how implementing good relationship practices between OEMs and suppliers are proving to be valuable in the new age of automobile manufacturing. Automotive News Editor Jason Stein will moderate the panel, which includes: Dan Knott, senior vice president of purchasing and supplier quality, Chrysler Group LLC; Michael Martini, president of OE division, Bridgestone Americas; Jay Phillion, chief purchasing and quality officer, TI Automotive; and Dan Vivian, director of engineering design, Hyundai Motor Group. The cost for the dinner event is $45 for members, $60 for non-members. Sponsorships are available. To register visit MSED www.msedetroit.org or call 248-643-6590.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel celebrates new office with career fair

Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel announced that it will be holding a career fair open to the public at its new location in Birmingham during its office opening celebration. The event begins with outside entertainment and light fare at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, at 294 East Brown Street, Birmingham, the site of the newly built office which was designed by noted Birmingham architect Victor Saroki.
At 4 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially open the building and the public will be invited to tour the facility.
At 5 p.m., a career fair begins with Michigan companies offering opportunities in the fields of mortgage, home warranty, home inspection, real estate education, moving and storage, marketing and real estate sales.
Career fair attendees will also experience a “Taste of Michigan” from Michigan-based companies offering specialty food and beverages. The event, in conjunction with AMP 98.7FM, is sponsored by 2-10 Home Warranty.
“The event is the first of its kind in our area,” said James Cristbrook, Coldwell Banker’s director of education and special events. “There has been a lot of buzz about it, and we’re looking forward to big crowds — and a lot of fun.”
For information, visit www.cbweirmanuel.com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sales management workshop

Gerald W. Bricker, managing principal and founder of business consultancy Aadvise Consulting, LLC of Northville will continue his series of management seminars with: “Sales Management Workshop. Difficult Times. Better Results.” Bricker will collaborate with another sales professional, Andrew Blain of Selling Solutions. The seminar will be offered 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 23, at the Crowne Plaza, 1500 N. Opdyke Road in Auburn Hills and Tuesday, May 24 at the Hampton Inn, 20600 Haggerty Road in Northville Township. The cost is $149 if paid before May 16 and $199 thereafter. To register, visit www.aadviseconsultingllc.com/seminars.html or www.bus-sys.com or call 248-974-1537.

Monday, May 16, 2011

You Got the Job – How Do You Negotiate Salary?

Expert Recruiter Reveals Insider’s Secrets To Getting Paid What You Want
Submitted by Ginny Grimsley, National Print Campaign Manager, www.newsandexperts.com.
As the job market recovers, a unique phenomenon is beginning to happen, and one expert warns it could cost you money.

“As people who have been looking for work a long time start to get back into the workforce, many of them are so happy just to get a job that they sometimes accept a lower salary than they have to,” said Bill Humbert, author of RecruiterGuy’s Guide to Finding a Job. www.recruiterguy.com. “Some employers feel that they can probably get away with a lowball offer, and many job hunters will grab it just so they can have a job. The truth is there are ways to get the job and still get what you want.”

Humbert isn’t a career coach, but rather his expertise comes from working the opposite side of the job stream as a recruiting consultant for corporations. He knows how companies calculate salary, and how to judge their thresholds. His advice for job hunters includes:
 
Don’t Offer Salary Requirements – When you are asked to include salary requirements with your resume, that is typically a company’s first screen, and it can be used against you. I’ve seen people agonize over what to reveal, because they are afraid of pricing themselves out of a good job. My advice is to simply put “Open” in that spot. If your qualifications are on target, they’ll call you. If in the interview you’re asked what you made at your last job, reply by asking about the range for the one you are applying. You’d be surprised how managers or human resource representatives will tell you.
 
Don’t Give Away Too Much – In many job applications, an employer will ask for your salary history. It is perfectly acceptable to write “Willing to discuss at appropriate time during interview process” and leave those numbers blank. Writing down those numbers pigeonholes you, and reduces your negotiation power.

Don’t Negotiate Salary – That’s right. Don’t negotiate salary in the interviews. Instead, negotiate when you’ll give them your salary requirements. When they ask you for that figure, tell them you don’t know what you’d require until you have a clear picture of the job requirements and potential for advancement over the next five years. After you have that information, and you’re asked again for that number, respond by asking to go through what I call your “impacts” – areas of your job that directly impact the company’s bottom line. This discussion will allow you to demonstrate what you bring to the table. At the end of that discussion, simply tell them that you are very interested in the position, and that you’d seriously consider any offer they’d like to make.

Keep Networking – Once you have a job offer, it’s not a done deal until you accept it. Until that happens, keep networking and looking for jobs. It may give you valuable market-worth data about the position you’ve been offered. It may also be a safety net in case something goes awry between the time you receive an offer and the time you accept it.

Accepting the Offer – Once an offer is given, you have the right to ask for a clarification on it. Asking “Is there any flexibility in this offer?” may help to open a discussion of increasing the offer. If it does, don’t expect a large boost in base pay, but rather, an extra week of paid vacation, a signing bonus or other such perks.

“Keep in mind that salary negotiation is more art than science, so these tips may not always apply,” Humbert added. “Many hourly workers don’t have as much flexibility on pay, and some companies have policies that would require you to adjust the script a little to fit those situations. The key thing to remember is that you don’t have to give them a salary range that would jeopardize your earning potential, and that you don’t have to accept their first offer most of the time.
Remember that they are interviewing you because they need to fill that position. It’s important to the company to have someone in that job, and while they are considering you, they aren’t doing you a favor. They need what you have to offer, so you should get the best offer out of them that is possible.”

About Bill Humbert
Bill Humbert, also known as RecruiterGuy, is a Washington, DC native and a graduate of Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He has been a professional recruiter since 1981, having worked with clients such as MCI Telecommunications, The Washington Post, Comsat Labs, USF&G Insurance, Geico Insurance, CSX Technology, Telegroup, LeFebure, Intermec Technologies, Digital Broadband Communications, Trex Company, Acciona Energy and others. He is also an AIRS trained contract recruiter consultant. He has read more than 400,000 resumes, interviewed more than 13,000 candidates over the phone or in person, and has worked with more than 3,000 hiring managers. In the past 15 years, he has helped companies hire more than 1,300 new employees nationwide from the C – Level (CEO/CFO/CIO) to college recruit.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Social Media Marketing class

Oakland County Business Center is offering Social Media Marketing: Establish your Footprint and Get Your Customers Talking, 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 17 at Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Building 41 West, Waterford Township. For pre-registration, visit oakgov.com/peds/calendar, or call 248-858-0783.The fee is $40.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New York Times President speaks in Birmingham

The Detroit Economic Club Presents: Janet L. Robinson, President & CEO, The New York Times Company, “When Traditional Companies Meet the Realities of the Digital Era” 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 at The Townsend Hotel, 100 Townsend St., Birmingham.
The challenges facing media companies and the journalism profession go beyond web sites offering aggregated news content for free. Robinson discusses the hard choices and new strategies required to manage a trusted brand and legacy in a world that is transforming dramatically and rapidly.
The cost is $45 for members, $55 for guests and $75 for non-members. Register at www.econclub.org.

Seminar on problem employees

Nemeth Burwell’s Raising the Bar Series Presents: Strategies for Dealing with the Problem Employee is 8:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 11 at the Troy Marriott, 200 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. Continental breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. The cost is $60 per person. Registration is required, email Amanda Galletti at agalletti@nemethburwell.com or call 313-567-5921.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Workshops help businesses get started

SCORE helps ask, Should I start a business?
Detroit SCORE Chapter 18, with Southfield Public Library, helps potential entrepreneurs answer the question; “Could I, Should I Start My Own Business?” 8:45 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 4 at Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road, Southfield. The cost is $10. Call 313-226-7947 to register. Visit www.scoredetroit.org.

Oakland County offers pre-business research workshop
Oakland County Business Center is offering its monthly workshops, including Pre-Business Research workshop, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thursday, May 5, at Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, Building 41 West, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford Township. The cost is $30 per person Pre-registration is required. Call 248-858-0783 or visit oakgov.com/peds/calendar.