Posts Tagged ‘Lisa Purichia’

Have You Recommended a Good Book Lately?

Lisa PurichiaBy Lisa Purichia
Partner, Director of Entrepreneurial Services

Anyone who has or desires a leadership position within a business should have a strong motivation for self-improvement, both for the good of the organization and their own sense of personal ambition.

If you look at the traits of successful people, you will find several common themes: curiosity about things going on in the world and their immediate community; an attention to developments within their chosen industry/profession; a desire to improve themselves and their relationships. They’re also the type of personality that seeks out ways to further these goals, including reading self-improvement books and articles.

Think about your own reading habits: have your read – or recommended to someone else – a good book lately?

The “self-help” genre of nonfiction writing started as a venue for people to work on their interpersonal relationships, especially romance. But writers and readers quickly grasped the potential to assist businesspersons in how to envision, map out and reach their professional aspirations.

No matter what issues a person is dealing with – retirement, succession planning, investments, new ventures or products, communication, general leadership style – there are plenty of great books out there that can speak to them.

With the press of time, it can be a challenge to sit down and read a book, so look for little gaps in your schedule where you can consume self-improvement advice on your own schedule. Going to be spending a few hours on a plane? Have some downtime before that out-of-town business meeting? Going on vacation? Keep a good book handy for whenever you have time to spare, even if it’s a few minutes.

If you read a book you found personally helpful, it’s an excellent gesture to pass along a copy to a friend or colleague you think they could benefit from the information. Make sure to frame it as “this might help you” rather than “you have a problem,” and you will find most people are receptive to the gift of a book.

Between customer and client, peer to peer or boss to employee, recommending a book can be a form of knowledge-sharing that helps cement the relationship. It shows that you care enough about them to seek ways for them to become stronger and more successful in their current role, or even assist them in moving on to the next big thing in their life.

People can come to feel isolated by the myriad challenges of daily living. Often, we believe we’re the only one we know dealing with a particular problem. Offering someone a book that addresses that topic not only gives them possible answers to their questions, it can help enhance their relationship to the giver. You are actively demonstrating that you CARE!!!

So whether hardcover, paperback or electronic, pick up a good business book – and pass one along.

In that spirit, here are a few books I’d like to recommend:

  • The New Retirementality” by Mitch Anthony – For those contemplating retirement.
  • Thanks for the Feedback” by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen – On how to accept criticism/advice and put it to good use.
  • “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell – Insights on leadership from a 40-year veteran.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Lisa Purichia at (317) 608-6693 or email lpurichia@sponselcpagroup.com.

 

Do I Need a Personal Coach?

Lisa PurichiaBy Lisa Purichia
Partner, Director of Entrepreneurial Services

If you’re the owner of a business, you probably have experienced times where it felt like the people who work for you expect you to know everything about every single aspect of the operation. But everyone has gaps in their knowledge and experience. The best managers not only recognize their shortcomings, they take steps to address them and fill in those holes.

It doesn’t matter how you came into ownership of your company – whether it’s a family-owned enterprise where you watched previous generations run it, you bought into the business or started it yourself and watched it grow. And no matter what fancy title you wear – President, CEO, etc. – everyone has areas of leadership they need to work on.

Once you’ve acknowledged the need to improve and have identified the areas where you need to be more proficient, the question becomes one of how to go about attaining those skills. Some people consume books on leadership development, or even biographies of noted business leaders.

One method growing in popularity is to invest in a personal coach. This is an expert you contract with, generally on your own time and your own dime, who gives you confidential advice and counsel on how to improve yourself as a professional. They point you to educational opportunities and help you keep on track with timelines, goals and milestones.

In short, a personal coach can help you formulate a path to individual excellence.

This is a route that more and more people are taking, from partners at the biggest law firms to middle managers in smaller enterprises. They’re seeking out an individual professional resource to make themselves better, and in turn make their businesses more successful.

A personal coach, also known as an executive coach, is someone outside of the business who can offer a fresh perspective and assess your personal needs and resources. This can extend beyond purely company-related concerns to tangential areas like your personal and social life.

Though the choice of scope is yours, oftentimes a deficiency you’re experiencing – such as trouble communicating your needs — can bleed through all aspects of your life. An outsider’s perspective can help you see where imbalances lie in your personal and professional endeavors.

As a leader, it can be easy to become distracted and unable to see if we’re doing well or not, because we’re in the middle of a swamp known as the day-to-day operations of an organization. It may well be that you’re doing a great job, but feel overwhelmed and lacking the feeling of success. It can also be there are areas where you’re falling down on the job, and are failing to acknowledge them.

Most assessments by a personal coach will show that the executive is doing pretty well overall, but identify specific areas that need to improve. I know of several business colleagues who have utilized a personal coach, and they say it really helped them be more effective at what they want to do.

A personal coach may not be for everyone. But if you find yourself struggling to meet goals that you have set for yourself, or feel overcome by the daily grind of leadership, consider the services of a personal/executive coach to help yourself improve on an overall basis. The disciplined approach to a personal improvement plan, facilitated by a personal coach, may let you realize the passion and fulfillment you thought had disappeared!

Your team members may think you know it all, but any good business owner/manager realizes it isn’t so. It takes a humble person to admit their faults, and it takes dedication to develop a plan to improve your skillset. If you’re one of those people who strives for ways to improve themselves, a personal coach can be a wise investment in pursuit of your personal happiness.

 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Lisa Purichia at (317) 608-6693 or email lpurichia@sponselcpagroup.com.

CEO, Where Is Your Time Best Spent? Part 2

Lisa PurichiaBy Lisa M. Purichia
Partner, Director of Entrepreneurial Services & Employee Benefit Plan Services

(Part 2 of 2)

In last month’s article, we talked about why it’s important for the leader of an organization to regularly set aside time to think about strategy, rather than getting caught in the weeds of the daily grind. Now let’s drill down a little deeper into how you can drive your business, rather than having your business drive you.

One of your primary goals as CEO (or whatever title you have) is to make sure the organization runs as smoothly as possible while laying down a firm foundation for success. Ideally you will have instituted processes and procedures to the point the company operates almost automatically, without the need for a lot of direct supervision and input from above.

The idea is that if a key position was suddenly vacant for any reason, a new person could walk in the door, pick up a binder or boot up a computer, and have things continue without serious turbulence.

This can be a challenge for small businesses, which often don’t have the time, resources, or personnel to document everything needed to run the show. But if you at least have adequate processes and procedures in place, the trains will run on time without a lot of workday oversight — time that can be better spent strategizing about how to grow or improve the business.

A leader must promote a culture of accountability in their organization that seeps down to the most junior level employee. This includes making sure commitments are met, that internal and external projects are completed on time, and that the outcome is what was anticipated when they were initiated. Individual Team members know they can depend on their colleagues to deliver as promised.

When this happens, employees know what the standards of operation are and hold their peers to account. Everyone should feel they have the initiative to say to anyone else in the organization, “This just isn’t good enough” or “That’s not how we do things around here.”

Another thing a CEO should spend time on is thinking specifically about a timeline for enhancement. Where do you want the company to be one, three, or five years hence? Is there a new product or service you want to debut? A key client you want to land? A form of accreditation you want to obtain for yourself or team members? Are you innovative enough?

Whatever your goals are, constantly ask yourself how well you are progressing along the path toward them. Make precise plans with benchmarks to achieve and a calendar for doing so. This will help you decide how to reallocate resources to best achieve those goals. Perhaps you need to invest more in research and development, or spend more time talking directly to your customers to determine what their anticipated needs might be and how you could meet them. Your customers must know you personally care about your company’s relationship with them.

Regularly assess your personnel to decide if people are placed in the right positions. Talk to them about their personal goals and aspirations, and try to maximize the value of each and every employee. Look for ways to upgrade their skillset and confidence, and you’ll find they are ready and willing to shoulder more responsibility.

No matter how well your business is doing right now, it can always be better. The best companies are constantly assessing their processes and procedures, and changing them to suit the constant evolution of the organization.

Try to avoid having your company become too bureaucratic, where the controls hinder your ability to be nimble, flexible and responsive to customers in an entrepreneurial manner. The emphasis should always be on having systems in place that allow you to deliver a product or service efficiently and effectively. Empower your staff with the autonomy to exceed your customer’s expectations.

If a CEO or other leader can regularly devote time to thinking in these terms, you will find yourself well on the way to becoming a better and more profitable company, where everyone enjoys great job satisfaction because they’re functioning as a cohesive team.

If you need advice on how to more effectively drive your business, please contact Lisa Purichia at (317) 608-6693 or email lpurichia@sponselcpagroup.com.

Employee Spotlight – Lisa Purichia

Lisa PurichiaLisa Purichia is an original founding member of Sponsel CPA Group, joining Tom Sponsel and (then) two other partners in launching a new kind of accounting firm focused on helping clients find and achieve their own definition of success. She has deep connections in the Central Indiana business community spanning a quarter-century and multiple industries.

As Partner and Director of Entrepreneurial Services, Lisa provides executive-level consulting and advice, especially for new businesses and consolidations. She assists individuals with succession planning and frequently acts as an outsourced CFO/Controller for small to medium businesses. She also oversees implementing and maintaining strategic human resources services, including recruiting and benefit plans.

Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana State University, and rose up the ranks at other area public accounting firms. She is an active member of her church, St. Christopher Catholic, and volunteers with a number of community and civic groups including the Speedway Area Chamber of Commerce, Speedway Kiwanis Club, the National Association of Women Business Owners, Athena Powerlink® and more.

Lisa and her husband, Mark, are avid Indy Car race fans and often travel to regional races throughout the year, in addition to attending every Indy 500 race, event and activity. They have two Labrador retrievers, Enzo and Timo. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with her nieces, nephews and other family, and getting some sun at the beach.

Employers Need to Adapt to New Overtime Rules

Lisa Purichiastephanie-cassman-smallBy Lisa Purichia, Partner and Director of Entrepreneurial Services, Sponsel CPA Group and Stephanie Cassman, Employment Attorney, Lewis Wagner LLP

By now most employers are aware of changes in the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule changes on overtime exemptions, which go into effect Dec. 1. If you don’t already have a plan of action for how your organization is going to adapt, it’s time to be proactive.

Many workers may still not be aware of the details of the change, which nearly doubles the threshold for exempt salaried employees to $47,476. Non-exempt workers must be paid overtime wages at time-and-a-half of their hourly rate for anything above 40 hours per week.

By substantially increasing the threshold, this means millions more employees will become eligible for overtime – and companies could be on the hook for a significant financial outlay. The impact could disproportionally affect small and medium businesses.

Employers have several ways they can respond to the change. They can find ways to offset paying the additional overtime. They could eliminate positions. They can convert hourly workers into salaried ones, or vice versa. They can reduce hours worked to avoid paying overtime. Or they can increase the salary of anyone under the new threshold up to that level.

The most important thing to do right away is conduct a thorough audit of every single employee in your organization. Look at their pay, number of hours worked and duties. If a salaried employee under the new threshold is already working lots of overtime, it may make more financial sense to give them a pay raise.

One smart move to make is to have all employee start tracking hours worked. There are plenty of software options to help do this. You may encounter questions or resistance from your team – especially those members who are currently salaried. They may enjoy the status of not having to “punch a clock” and preserving flexibility in their schedule.

Explain to them that the federal rules affecting overtime are changing, so your operation must change, too.

But it’s about more than just hours worked. There is another test for overtime exemption that is equally important but has garnered less notice.

The Fair Labor Standards Act addresses the “white collar” exemption from overtime rules, and describes what sort of duties the employee must perform to qualify. This includes administrative, professional, managerial, executive, computer and highly compensated workers.

It’s not enough to just give someone a title with the word “manager” in it. To be exempt, a manager must be shown to exercise discretion and a degree of autonomy, supervising other employees.

If employees do not meet the duties test, they are still eligible for overtime regardless of how high their salaries may be.

It may be possible to pay at least a portion of overtime as a quarterly or end-of-year bonus, as long as it is not considered discretionary. This mostly affects highly compensated employees, which previously had been defined as $100,000 per year, but will rise to $134,000 after December 1, 2016.

The stakes are very high. Since this change was made by presidential executive order with little public discussion, it’s unclear how tightly federal officials will enforce the new rules starting Dec. 1, i.e., if there will be a grace period. The smartest move is to assume there will not be, as the penalties incurred can be quite large.

If the DOL does receive a complaint from an employee, it’s likely they will investigate not just that person’s exemption status but examine the entire workforce. They will want to look at hourly data and job duties to justify exemptions. As the employer, the onus is upon you to be able to back up an exemption claim with facts.

Under the new rules, a violation of overtime rules means the company must pay double the wages owed, plus attorney’s fees. So even a failure to pay a few hours of overtime could translate into a very large bill.

After Dec. 1, there may be changes or reform of the new overtime rules. Until then, our advice is to follow the letter of the law.

Pay every bit of overtime owed, and ensure that exempt workers truly belong in that classification. You may need to adjust the compensation policy for many of your employees to find the most cost-effective solution.

If you have any questions or need assistance in formulating a plan to adapt to the new overtime rules, please do not hesitate to ask.

Lisa Purichia can be reached at lpurichia@sponselcpagroup.com. Stephanie Cassman can be reached at scassman@lewiswagner.com.

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