February 2019 eNewsletter

Building on its 30 Year History, Goering Center Embraces an Innovative Future

By Carol Butler, President, Goering Center

There is something about “30 years” that gives us pause. Maybe because it marks entry into that “30-somethings” phase where the direction of our lives starts to sharpen or bear down. Maybe it’s generational, often defined by a transition from child to parent or ― in the case of family or private business ― from one generation to the next.

However, right now “30” is taking on some enormous dimensions for reasons that might sneak up on all of us ― a shift that we cannot afford to miss.

If you ask a business that has been involved with the Goering Center for several years what our focus has been, they would likely cite our work in transition planning, leadership development, culture and structuring outside advisors. There is little doubt that our work in this area―already recognized as among the best in the nation―has offered our members a strong foundation for their future.

When we continually do research on the reasons for failure in business, family or private, the results are familiar: lack of planning, ineffective communication, absence of outside advice, and more. Addressing those issues honestly and intentionally has been the hallmark of so many of our members who have flourished through two generations or more.

But there’s something about turning 30.

The Goering Center turns 30 this year. As such, we are experiencing some of the same transitions, shifts and reflections that we urge our members to go through. A strategy re-set, bringing in new talent on staff,  assessing the value of our various programs, making sure we continue to refresh our bench of outside advisors. All the things we say should matter to our members need to matter to us, and do.

But is all that enough ― for us, and for our members?

I am increasingly convinced it is not and the reasons have nothing to do with any shortcoming in the past. Rather it has everything to do with a profound shift in the nature of business.

You need not cast a wide glance to see evidence of how business is being transformed through technology and innovation. Traditionally, innovation―whether it be product or process―has been seen as an extension of the business, a way to improve it, refresh it.

That’s no longer the case.

Consider just two or three years ago: Same-day delivery? Entire transactions ― including payment ― through third parties? App-based ordering and fulfillment?  Breakthrough products fully launched through crowdfunding and marketed through social media? 3D printing transforming not just product design but fabricating products in house rather than ship finished?  It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have ― manufacturing, retail, financial services, food services ― it is facing a new era of disruption, even upheaval because of technology, new market dynamics, transportation and communications.

We’ve had the Industrial Revolution, then the Technology Revolution, and we are clearly in a new era now where just about everything is in play.

Innovation is not just something new we do, but at the heart of everything we do.

In closely held businesses, things like succession planning and family/owner councils and leadership development matter a great deal, and many of those activities are uniquely suited to the dynamics of a family and private business. We intend to always be the trusted resource for those unique needs. However, business is still business, and making it to the next generation — even the next decade — increasingly is dependent as much on innovation and transformation as business and family continuity.

Our mission at Goering Center is to make family and private businesses sustainable for the long term. That means a focus on innovation.

The Goering Center is embracing this trend. Our intent is to look at our “products,” the programs and content we offer, as well as our process, how we deliver that value in new ways. It is not a new mission, but it is a determination to explore ways to transform ourselves for the future.

Our 10-year vision is that Greater Cincinnati is an economic benchmark region and the Goering Center community is recognized as a contributing factor. It is exciting to think about the innovation that will emerge and be embraced as we step into this journey.

Staffing Challenges? Stop Complaining and Act!

Rich Oakes, President, GigSmart

Within the last six months, I’ve attended a number of C-Level executive events where my team and I had the opportunity to discuss today’s labor market.  At one of the meetings based in the Midwest, the room was full of Ohio-based presidents and CEOs with a lot of complaints about staffing challenges.  With just a few questions, it didn’t take long to uncover that this group of approximately 30 executives didn’t really understand the Gig Economy, were oblivious to the increasing number of Americans who are electing for independent work over structured employment and had zero strategies in place to integrate this growing independent labor pool into their corporate staffing plan.

A couple weeks later, my team and I attended a similar event in Chicago.  A different set of presidents and CEOs in a different city had radically different responses when it came to recruiting.  I was astounded at how many in the Chicago group of approximately 40 executives were not only embracing an independent worker strategy, they were successfully utilizing the strategy to meet their labor needs across multiple departments within their organization.

Two groups of presidents/CEOs had two radically different experiences with staffing in today’s labor market.

I’m on Ohio guy at heart. I grew up in a rural area on a farm in Southwest Ohio.  Earned a college scholarship to run track and field at the University of Cincinnati where I earned my degree.  Being from Ohio, it wasn’t enjoyable for me to see Ohio business leaders so far behind other parts of the nation when it comes to embracing today’s labor market.

Let me share some inarguable stats recently released by Edelman Intelligence in the “Freelancing in America 2018” study:

  • 56.7 million Americans currently participate in independent work
  • 35 percent – one in three Americans freelanced at least one time over the last year.
  • Despite a record number of 9:00-5:00 job openings in our current labor market, Americans are increasingly choosing freelance positions over structured employment positions.
  • 51 percent of those freelancing say that no amount of money would get them to take a traditional job
  • Younger generations are freelancing more than any other generation in the workforce.
  • The second largest generation participating in independent labor is baby boomers.
  • These freelancers are heavily driven by lifestyle over earnings

Another study by Mavenlink titled "The White-Collar Gig Economy" outlined a couple key findings:

  • 94 percent of business leaders plan to continue using or expand their use of independent workers in the next year.
  • 47 percent of businesses state they are looking to hire contractors to fill management and senior executive roles  who have specialized skills for projects and initiatives.

Across industries and disciplines―retail stores, restaurants, construction, IT, marketing, customer support, packaging, warehousing, manufacturing, human resources, hospitality, accounting and finance, repair services like HVAC, plumbing and electrical―the brightest, forward thinking leaders in their industries are embracing independent workers as part of their labor strategy.

From my perspective, in order to grow the prosperity of your organization, your only path is to follow your peers and take advantage of this growing pool of independent workers as part of your staffing strategy.

Companies today have access to a pool of millions of workers who can be on-site or working remotely within the hour.  Imagine never stressing about last-minute callouts, internal skills gaps on company projects or the last-minute rush to find people to assist due to an increased business need. An independent worker strategy gives companies access to an entire skilled workforce without the worry of increasing permanent headcount.