April 2018 – Letters from Lisa

Engagement is needed from everyone for success – employees, customers, dealers, partners and the organization. The inset definition clearly shows that engagement can mean a lot of different things. And while April is Bob’s and my anniversary month, I do not consider myself any kind of expert on a formal agreement to get married. I am also routinely late, so understanding an arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time is not up my alley either. And my Mom always reminded me while growing up that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Therefore, just the mention of a fight or battle leads me to want to quit writing about that type of engagement. So, the only definition left is the action of engaging.  We all know I believe ACTION is the key to everything so engagement when it means action is right up my alley. To be engaged is to be fully absorbed and enthusiastic to the point one is easily and innately self-motivated to do the positive action needed for success.

A recent Gallup study indicated that when their clients actively pursued engagement, success soared to a ratio of 9:1 from 2:1, engaged to unengaged. Perhaps that’s why engagement’s use in the inset graph is moving up.

If engagement is so crucial to success, why do organizations pursue it so ineffectively? The answer is that becoming actively engaged is hard work—work that many cannot see affecting their bottom line on any kind of a time line. With this in mind, engagement as a successful business strategy takes a major commitment to ensure all (yes all) of the following exist:

  • Belief in the organizational vision and the success it will provide from every angle of the organization, but especially from the top,
  • Trust that is built by trusting others. This requires a basic belief in people, a belief that people are essentially trustworthy,
  • Accountable performance measures,
  • Communication that aligns actions with the overall business goals,
  • An effective recognition and reward system that involves verbal and/or written acknowledgment as well as a physical reward,
  • Frequent, clear and specific feedback that focuses on what is being done well and what needs improvement,
  • Leaders who are personally interested in and care about their team, and who elicit their input and opinions,
  • Integrity,
  • Team work,
  • An inclusive passion for WOWingness (internal & external).

Engagement is needed from everyone for success, but don’t diminish your role as the leader. Consultant Keith Ayers stresses that the role of great leaders is to get people excited about and committed to their organization’s vision. He explains: “Leaders are either increasing engagement, or they are decreasing it. There is no middle ground.” Don’t let yourself get stuck in the middle!

March 2018 – Letters from Lisa

Who makes a Company great?

According to Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” “Companies that make the change from good to great have no name for their transformation—and absolutely no program. They neither rant nor rave about a crisis—and they don’t manufacture one where none exists. They don’t “motivate” people—their people are self-motivated.” These facts became clear as Jim Collins and his research team completed a five-year project to determine what it takes to change a good company into a great one. They systematically scoured a list of 1,435 established companies to find every extraordinary case that made a leap from no-better-than-average results to great results. How great? After the leap, a company had to generate cumulative stock returns that exceeded the general stock market by at least three times over 15 years—and it had to be a leap independent of its industry. In fact, the 11 good-to-great companies that were found averaged returns 6.9 times greater than the market’s—more than twice the performance rate of General Electric under the legendary Jack Welch.

The surprising good-to-great list included such unheralded companies as Abbott Laboratories (3.98 times the market), Fannie Mae (7.56 times the market), Kimberly-Clark Corp. (3.42 times the market), Nucor Corp. (5.16 times the market), and Wells Fargo (3.99 times the market). One such surprise, the Kroger Co.—a grocery chain—bumped along as a totally average performer for 80 years and then somehow broke free of its mediocrity to beat the stock market by 4.16 times over the next 15 years. And it didn’t stop there. From 1973 to 1998, Kroger outperformed the market by 10 times.

What Collins found was that in each of these dramatic, remarkable, good-to-great transformations, the same things were found: There was no miracle moment. Instead, a down-to-earth, pragmatic, committed-to-excellence process—a framework—kept each company, its leaders and its people on track for the long haul.

Note, it takes a company, its leaders and its people to go from good to great…

A company – A great company works on what it is passionate about, what it can be the best at and what makes it money, not at just what makes it money.

Its leaders – leaders are just ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results, guided by determination to do whatever needs to be done to make the company great.

Its people – the “it” is the key. It is such a small word, just a couple of letters, but between the “i” and the “t” is a lot of choices and a world of opportunities. It says everything about the people in a Company.

What makes our company great?  YOU! There are many YOUs in our family. I use the diagram to the left often to share how all of YOU contribute to the success of what we do. Without each of YOU and the passion for your contribution, good to great is just a book. Thank you for all you do.  Because of you and what you do, I believe the best is yet to come!

February 2018 – Letters from Lisa

February is the month of romance, the basis of which is attraction. Of course, this stems from the fact that Valentine’s Day was on February 14. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in most countries and is often chosen as the perfect day to express love and commitment. Besides celebrating Valentine’s with our loved ones, I believe we should also celebrate it at work. Celebrating what one loves about work converts to a culture that is contagiously successful. So, if asked “What do you love about your job?” what would you say?

My top answer would be similar to the 40,000 employee respondents in a Tinypluse survey. I love the people I work beside. They are my family. While not surprising, this answer was given three times more often than the next most-cited reason (freedom, autonomy, flexibility). In my opinion, all of our family (employees, dealers and distributors) are a pleasure to work with and an amazing family. And yes, that means you. You are amazing! You are our family!

I love being a part of something that makes a difference. One of the most attractive parts of our company is our motto, “care that comes full circle.” We take care of the animals, and they take care of us. And I am not just referring to the food they provide. The rise of animal therapy is backed by increasingly serious science showing that social support–a proven antidote to anxiety and loneliness–can come on four legs, not just two. Animals of many types can help calm stress, fear and anxiety in young children, the elderly and everyone in between. Don’t laugh at me for sharing this amazing study from Time magazine:

A stressed-out group of adults were told to pet a rabbit, a turtle or their toy forms. The toys had no effect. But stroking a living creature, whether hard-shelled or furry, relieved anxiety. It worked for people regardless of whether they initially said they liked animals. By the way, rabbits love Vita Charge® Liquid Boost®.

I love that everyone on our team is so full of passion. This enthusiasm constantly motivates me to keep going even when I am getting tired. Our employees’ passion amazes me daily, but our customers’ passion motivates me, as I believe passion is the one thing our competition can’t copy. Watch out here we come!

I love the variety. Every day is different, and I get to interact with such varied groups of people assisting with opportunities, challenges and just trying to help out. This variety ensures that I am always learning, and I love to learn and to help others do the same.   

In the end this is love in my opinion – – –  You don’t feel alive once you get off work, you feel alive while you’re at your desk–or, maybe more precisely, in your flow. If you love your job, you hardly ever look at the clock and end the day surprised you have to go home now.

I would like to end by saying how much I love the future. The opportunity the future brings for all of us is mind boggling, but more importantly the opportunity it brings in the life of the animals we all love enough to stay up all night freezing to death or getting up early to haul them, braid them or blow them out (and yes I know what this is) is a gift from our Lord I can’t wait to watch unfold for our family.

January 2018 – Letters from Lisa

Ready or not, it’s a new year. I am not going to go into the whole New Year resolution thing, because I am no expert on that tricky little mind game. However, the other day when I was going through my usual late December routine reminding myself of my much-needed resolutions, I wondered why it is so hard to start “new” things.

Habits are powerful. We persist with many of them because we tend to give undue emphasis to the present. Trying something new can be painful: I might not like what I get and must forgo something I already enjoy. That cost is immediate, while any benefits — even if they are large — will be enjoyed in a future that feels abstract and distant.

In business, we often find ourselves in a similar catch 22 situation. We have no time to work on the business because we are too busy working in the business. And we can’t get away from the business because we haven’t developed the documented systems and processes needed to make such a concept a reality. So, we’re stuck in a business that has become a self-made trap. The only way out is to make time to create and document the business systems. And for most of us that means doing something new.

Business systems start with documented procedures and processes that allow your business to run without you. And yes, you read that correctly.

There are two major reasons why business systems are ignored by many small business owners:

Reason #1

Business systems are “back office” functions. Unlike the latest
marketing strategies, sales techniques or other highly visible aspects of business, good business systems are considered by some as boring. While building them may indeed be boring, the incredible power they give is anything but.

Reason #2

Business systems are neglected because of a perceived lack of urgency. When a business is small there are seemingly much more important things to do like sales, marketing and order fulfillment. With all of these important things vying for our increasingly scarce time, business systems seem like something that can be put off until later. However, just like any other accumulation of neglect over time, it rarely ends well.

There are numerous benefits to implementing new systems in business. Here are some of the most important:

It supports consistency

Consistency is one of the keys to delivering an excellent customer experience. You may not like the food at McDonalds, but one thing you can say about them is that wherever you go they deliver a very consistent experience.

It stimulates creativity

Ask any highly creative person how they continue to innovate and express themselves in new ways – they’ll tell you the key to their success is a commitment to trying new things. When you try new things, you put your brain into unique situations that force it to really think. This stimulates creativity, which eventually rubs off in other areas of your life. As a result, you begin to think about everything in a new light.

It makes money

When you and your staff don’t have to waste time and effort re-inventing the wheel each time, you improve efficiency and reduce costs.

It builds a valuable asset

It’s nice if your business gives you a great cash flow to fund your lifestyle. But wouldn’t it be fabulous if one day when you decided it was time, you could sell your business and have the biggest pay day of your life? You can only do this if you build the value of the business, and that can only happen if it is based on a system that can continue running without you.

Whether you realize it or not, you spend the majority of your day doing things you’ve already done hundreds or thousands of times before. Very rarely do you actually try new things. There are many benefits to doing new things – don’t cheat yourself out of them.

December 2017 – Letters from Lisa

Christmas is my favorite time of year. The birth of Christ and its meaning has been a monumental part of my life, and my birthday is December 24 – that is a story of courage in itself.

There is a much better story of courage that took place at the first Christmas. We often miss it because our focus is on a young mother and a baby. This character heard first hand that his bride-to-be was pregnant, and it was not his child. He experienced a personal message from God because of the extraordinary event. He stood by the manger where the baby was laid. He provided protection for the mother and child during the early years of the child’s life. The man’s name of course is Joseph. What the story of Joseph tells us is that:

1. God gives courage to ordinary people.

2. God gives us courage to overcome our doubts and fears.

3. God gives us courage to face the future.

God provides the same courage to business leaders, but we try to complicate it by making rash, unproductive or irrational decisions.

The word ‘courage’ derives from the Latin word cor, which means ‘the heart.’ Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by revealing all one’s heart,”in other words, to speak openly and to act honestly with integrity. It means to tell your story how it is – even at the risk of being rejected, ridiculed or misunderstood. Do you have this type of courage in your business?

The good news about courage in business is that it is not something you either have or don’t have. Courage can be learned, cultivated and practiced.

Six processes can help you start down this path: setting goals; determining the importance of achieving them; tipping the power balance in your favor to precipitate action; weighing costs against benefits and moving forward with that balance in mind; selecting the proper time line for action and developing backup plans.

Changing our lives, and eventually creating an entire culture of courage, starts with small acts which then produce micro-changes in each of these processes.

As we enter into the Christmas season, do you need the courage of Joseph to boost your business? Joseph took what he perceived at the time to be small steps, but those courageous steps made our world and our lives a better place.

October 2017 – Letters from Lisa

In early 2000 I was running a technology company that, by its nature, was constantly changing.  While that was not hard on me, I noticed that it was hard on many of the folks on my team. However, as the leader I had to figure out what to do since we had to constantly change to stay relevant. I read book after book on how to lead change. One of my favorites started with this sentence. People hate change. That’s pretty blunt, but I have found it to be quite true. Based on this reality, I find the below graphic quite fascinating. 


It’s full of change. Does it reflect smart change or stupid change? I am going to leave the millennial discussion for another month and ask you to describe your business three years ago in five words and then describe it in five words today. Do these words reflect smart change or stupid change? Do you need to change some things up?

Change isn’t always bad, and calculated change could be the answer to growth. But HOW? And WHEN? The decision to change course can happen at any time, for any reason — even if it’s just a gut feeling that it’s best for your company. But if you’re on the fence about it, these four red flags could indicate you’re better off making the switch.

Growth is slowing significantly. Every business goes through ups and downs in growth and profits. No matter what industry you’re in, you’re subject to the market cycle, and it’s normal to experience slower periods throughout the year. But if your charts are on a continual downward trend — especially compared to others in your industry — it might be time to re-evaluate what you’re doing.

The competitors you use to be able to ignore are starting to bother you. Old businesses that aren’t changing with the times and newer startups don’t normally seem like too much of a threat, as they may be too old school or small to compete with you. But that complacency can hurt you if you don’t take those companies seriously.

Your customers aren’t as happy as they once were. Keeping close tabs on your customers is a good way to gauge the health of your business. Primarily positive social media comments and customer feedback are indicators of happy customers. If these good vibes start to wane, you might need to make a change. Watch for signs that your product or service is becoming increasingly less significant to your customers, or that your customers no longer view your business as providing a high-value experience. Please note, you MUST know what your customers think about you. There are many tools to help with this and I am happy to help you pick one. Not knowing is just not an option; and don’t ever think you just know, you must ask using an independent means to know.

There are Internal cues from your staff that things aren’t great. These cues can tip you off to the need for a change as well. Are you having a hard time recruiting for the positions you believe you need to move your company forward? Is your sales team telling you that potential customers are no longer excited about what you do or sell? Are they talking about a new product or service that they wished you offered instead?”

Change takes time, and you’re not necessarily going to be able to quit your old ways cold turkey. However, you should make sure the appropriate attention is given to the change, ideally through the use of a task force of a dedicated group of employees who can bring many thoughts to the table and can define the best solution automatically creating buy-in.

September 2017 – Letters From Lisa

Location, location, location, or is it relationships, relationships, relationships? Definitely relationships. Find them, nurture them and watch sales soar.

At BioZyme®, that last sentence is key to how we view our responsibility to each of you. This is what really differentiates us from the many options you have in selecting a company’s mineral program to bring into your dealership.

At BioZyme, we believe our relationships will become your relationships and vice versa if we find, nurture and soar.

Find

To reach our full potential we all need to find meaningful connections with a very broad palette of folks who see things differently than we do, ask very different questions and imagine very different possibilities. BioZyme is committed to finding these meaningful connections so we can connect you. Our exclusive partnership with Superior is one of those connections. As the data continues to roll in and the exclusive value-added nutrition VitaFerm® Raised and Gain Smart® emblems equate to significantly more per pound (currently a 7 cent per pound advantage), the connection will help sales soar.

Nurture

Eighty-one to 90% of customers research your business before they make a purchase. Researching your business means that they go out of their way to learn about who you are and what you do, try to figure out if they can trust you enough to solve their pain points and watch your ‘moves’ to see if you truly deliver on the results you promise. In today’s business, it is important to establish and nurture a relationship from the very first contact through a carefully crafted process, up until the customer is ready to trust the products enough to make a purchase. BioZyme is committed to making sure at every one of these touch points information is easily and readily available, the products do exactly what we say they do and new products are added that assist with their pain points. We strive to help make business more sustainable – yours and theirs.

Do you have a nurturing process in your business that leads your customer up to a sale and other repeat businesses? If not, take the time, find a way.

Soar

An important ingredient in business is celebrating each and every triumph—and forgetting about each and every failure—both with the people around you and with yourself, too. BioZyme is committed to helping you remember just how amazing you are each and every day.

The defining attribute of a great business relationship is when each party has an emotional stake in the other’s success. That defines this team. So all we need to do is . . . .  Take the Time.  Find a Way.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”-Zig Ziglar

May 2017 – Letters from Lisa

At BioZyme® we have been committed to supporting young people involved in the livestock industry for many years. I cannot take credit for that amazing commitment. My husband, Bob, gets full credit for that very smart, passionate way of thinking about business. Since young people are this month’s focus, I thought it much more appropriate for him to write this month’s letter. We are very fortunate to have him as our guest writer this month.

I was recently asked by a colleague what my vision for BioZyme was when I first came here and what or how has it changed during my tenure.

My vision, then and now, was to continue building a “great” company. I say continue because the foundation was already here when I started. To be “great” you must have a talented, passionate and devoted (to customers) workforce. You must have products and services that exceed the customers’ expectations, and most importantly contribute to the customers’ sustainability. Product development, research, manufacturing, quality standards and controls, marketing, sales, logistics, customer service and administration must all be “world class” in performance and culture to achieve this vision.

Culture, the shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an organization (from the hardcopy Webster dictionary sitting on my credenza, yes I still use it!) must be at our core if we are to achieve culturally the vision of “greatness.”  But, where does “greatness” begin?

Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League, was recently recognized as the Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year. This award is presented annually honoring a player’s volunteer and charity work, as well as his excellence on the field. Larry, in his opening remarks, said “GREATNESS BEGINS WITH GIVING.” 

The video footage of Larry Fitzgerald reflected much of his volunteer and charity work with young people. I believe Mr. Fitzgerald would describe his giving as an investment as much as a gift in the traditional sense.

We would certainly describe our giving to be as much of an investment as a gift with the young people that we are privileged to be associated with through the breed association junior programs, shows, 4-H, tours and internship opportunities.

We have the opportunity to teach as well as learn from our young people. We have the opportunity to inspire and be inspired, the opportunity to share our history and experience and to listen to their thoughts, dreams and goals. The opportunity to give and to receive.

In a very few short years these young people will be customers of our products if we earn their trust in our products and brands. These young people will be the leaders of this great country and hopefully carry on the theme of making “America Great Again.” These young people will become the leaders of our company and hopefully will continue the vision of building a great company.

Where better to give, or to invest than in our children? Our young people will carry on the legacy of this country, this company and our agricultural community. Each of us, individually and collectively, has the opportunity to aspire to do great things, big or little, as long as we remember that “GREATNESS BEGINS WITH GIVING.”

Bob Norton

April 2017 – Letters From Lisa

When I think of a harness, I immediately start thinking about a horse. You all know that I love horses (if you didn’t, now you do), and I would say my love is really a passion. Today I feed and clean a stall of a retired champion show horse that is 27. I can’t ride him any more, he’s just a pet. But, I feed him dressed for work, so I regularly go to work with hay hanging from something. I clean the stall at the crack of dawn to get it done before other duties call, and during the week I pay someone to clean for me. If you are like my family, you are asking, “Why does she do this????”

Passion is what inspires you and what gives you the drive to move forward. It gives you a reason to get up, get going and climb into bed excited for it to be morning so you can do it all over again. It’s that adrenaline pump that wakes you up in the middle of the night with a vast idea — one that will be the next (insert something big here).

Based on this definition I would say Tubby is my passion. I carry that passion around with me every day. I only have one thing on my bucket list, and that is to show a horse again. Although I am starting to realize this might not happen, it drives me every day. I feel the same way about BioZyme® and the work I do for it.

“Passion is not something you go after as an end in itself. It’s rather a symptom of your engagement with anything into which you are fully immersed. It’s also not something you usually know you have. Others notice your full involvement with something and they call it ‘passion’. I just call it doing what I feel like doing.” – David Allen, the originator of the book Getting Things Done

So, should one try to harness passion? My family has routinely tried to convince me that I do. My answer is I don’t. Passion shows up in many shapes and forms and you just don’t get to be passionate about one thing or one aspect of life or work. So any kind of harnessing, in my opinion, would be dumb. However, balancing your passion with those around you, your pocketbook and your commitments is not dumb.

I am very passionate about the value of our additives in this new antibiotic-free world, and I believe we will be a leader in developing even more science and products to help animals thrive; however, I don’t only read, meet and think about that. While we are investing money into this exciting, potentially life-changing opportunity, we aren’t going out on a limb financially to do it. We are still working on our commitments to impact the lives of our family (yes you) positively through marketing, programs and support at the same time.

Remember, passion is like chocolate cake, it is amazing, but you can’t survive on it alone. You must know when to give passion a break and bring in reason. Passion slams the gas; reason steers us safely. Passion throws us out of an airplane; reason pulls the parachute cord.

 

March 2017 – Letters from Lisa

At BioZyme®, we track our market share in all the different markets where we are trying to grow. While the sales team would tell you that I use market share as a part of my slave driver approach to growth; it is actually not true. I use market share to motivate our entire team (you too) around the significant opportunity that still awaits us.

Our growth has been impressive and would not be possible without each of you. This growth makes it easy to ask how many more years is this really possible? The answer to that is objective and easy when you assess it from the market share perspective. At the end of 2016, our market share in the cow-calf sector was 1.5%. On a state-by-state basis it ranges from 10% in Indiana down to 0.2% in Texas. Just to give you some comparative perspective, McDonalds has 17% market share in the fast food industry, while the strongly misguided Chipotle has 2.2%.

Increasing market share is one of the most important objectives of business. The main advantage of using market share as a measure of business performance is that it is less dependent upon variables such as the state of the economy or changes in tax policy. Market share is said to be a key indicator of market competitiveness—that is, how well a firm is doing against its competitors. Similarly, within a firm’s product line, market share trends for individual products are considered early indicators of future opportunities.

I am sure by now, you are thinking let’s go grow market share. And because you are thinking that right now, I am hugging you. It is my job to keep the team focused on how to continue to grow that market share. It’s actually not that easy, but there are a few things one should constantly consider:

Stay relevant through innovation. One great way to gain market share is to spot new trends ahead of competitors. Listen carefully when you’re chatting with friends, watching the news or listening to kids talk about what they like. There may be a change in the wind your business can jump on.

Respond to customers – fast. Remember when leaving a voicemail recording that said, “I’ll get back to you within 24 hours” seemed responsive? Not anymore. In this age of real-time, shoppers are increasingly loyal to the company that can fix their problem right now. Check out how fast your competitors respond, and then be faster; customers will take notice.

Keep an open channel for customer ideas. One of those ideas might be your next hit product. So, let’s hear from all of you. What should we be considering as an add-on to our product line up??

Snap up competitors. Sometimes the easiest way to get more customers is to simply buy them. Watch for competitors that might be up for sale and purchase them or their customer lists.

Let’s go get that market share – our BioZyme goal is to get to 2.5% in the next 2 years. WE CAN DO THIS!!