Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TEC Inspirational Leadership with Simon Sinek a success

On April 14, 2011, TEC hosted its 7th annual Inspirational Leadership event at the Milwaukee Mariott West in Waukesha, WI. More than 300 TEC Chairs, members and business leaders gathered to celebrate leadership and learn how to inspire others.

Simon Sinek, renowned leadership expert and author of "Start With Why" presented on the Golden Circle, his model that relates to the way in which people interact with each other and with organizations. Sinek challenged the audience to discover WHY their organizations exist as a strategy to better connect with other people who hold the same beliefs in order to succeed.

Thank you to Simon, our sponsors, our TEC Chairs, members and guests for joining us! Enjoy our recap video of Inspirational Leadership 2011.

TEC Inspirational Leadership with Simon Sinek from TEC Midwest on Vimeo.

To see photos from the event, visit our Facebook album.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TEC presents Simon Sinek at Inspirational Leadership 2011

Join TEC and BizTimes Media at the Inspirational Leadership 2011 event on April 14, 2011. We are excited to announce Simon Sinek, trained ethnographer and author, as the featured speaker.

Table seating is sold out for this event, however, you can participate via our live video feed. Contact Michele Bernstein at 262-821-3340 or by email at for more information.

TEC membership experience constantly evolves

TEC emerged when its founder brought together a group of business leaders to discuss the future of his organization. He found himself at a roadblock and created a roundtable practice that is the basis of TEC today.

However, the type of roadblocks that our members face is constantly changing and we strive to support our members and change as well.

Engaging speakers: We invite speakers that are of extremely high caliber to TEC meetings and tailor the topic to meet the constantly-changing needs of each particular TEC group.

Special interest meetings: Several times a year, we offer meetings to TEC members and executives from their companies to discuss a specific business topics with local experts and business professionals.

Educational programs: We developed a TEC Associate program to meet the needs of professionals that work with TEC CEOs to spread TEC news into the business community. This two-way dialogue ensures that our members stay up-to-date on the latest in management thinking.

How do you stay current on business issues in your organization? Do you have any recommendations for TEC on ways to improve our membership experience?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Preventing mental stagnation

It is common when working on any project to lose track of your direction and find yourself with a mental block. During these roadblocks, it can seem very difficult to get back to where you were or where you need to be.

Everyone deals with mental stagnation differently. In your experience, what have you found to be the most successful tactic?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How humor is good for business

Although your business is serious, the benefits of incorporating and encouraging appropriate workplace humor can positively affect your bottom line. Here's how:

Relieves Stress. Laughter is a great remedy to reduce tension in stressful situations. When the ice is broken, people communicate better and resolve issues more effectively.

Enhances Creativity. Humor is associated with intelligence and creativity. Allowing the humor to come out at work will allow creativity to follow.

Creates Happier Employees. Humor resonates a positive emotion in people which directly correlates with workplace performance. It also bonds people together and strengthens team relationships. All of these elements lead to greater employee retention.

What are your thoughts on humor in the workplace? Do you encourage it? What could you do to increase humor in your office culture?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How do you incorporate humor into the workplace?

Laughter can create a productive and healthy work environment. Joking around in the office actually strengthens relationships between employees which has a positive effect on retention.

April Fools' Day was last Friday and we're curious as to how your office "celebrated." What type of office humor do you appreciate in the workplace?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Human Resources: Tips for successful internships

By Harry Dennis for BizTimes Milwaukee

Small companies can provide great opportunities
Summer is right around the corner, so it’s not too early to begin planning for interns. Over the years, we’ve had several interns at TEC. Because of our small size, we’ve assigned them to specific projects. In retrospect, we failed because we didn’t expose them to the big picture.

Internship programs should be aimed primarily at educating and developing the intern. If you’re using interns only to replace skilled employees who have been hired or laid off, or for “make work” temporary jobs, you probably won’t succeed.
The basic idea is to give students a chance to practice their business skills, explore career options and, perhaps, land a job after graduation with your own company.
My thanks this month to the resources within the Vistage Library at for leading me to the subject of creating an effective internship program for your business.
Here are 10 ways to make it a success:
  1. Write a job description. This will give prospective interns a chance to opt out if they don’t like what they see. It also lets them know what their responsibilities, objectives or job goals will be. It insures that their work will not duplicate the work of other employees. And it lets other employees know what you expect of your interns.
  2. Set a start and end date. This will help interns sort through their own schedules, especially if they’re taking classes while they’re working for you. You will also want to schedule a final evaluation. That’s when you issue a report card and rate the intern.
  3. Create an intern manual. You can pirate some of it from your employee handbook. But it will have far more meaning if it’s uniquely tailored to the intern. The basic idea is to bring interns up to date on those things that really count in your company. For example: dress codes, the prevailing culture, computer/social media policies, work hours, disciplinary policies and so on.
  4. Adopt a recruitment and interview protocol. Recruitment sources should include your own website, Internet job boards (Craigslist,, and Many high schools, most universities and vocational schools have internship-designated coordinators.
  5. Reserve office space. Make sure this isn’t an afterthought. Unless they’re in a factory non-supervisory position, they should have their own work station or cubicle, their own computer, password access, and any other security devices you require of your employees.
  6. Have an intern orientation. At minimum, this should take a day, more than likely two days. Interns should meet and have private discussions with each employee with whom they’ll be working. Schedule these discussions in advance. Your employees should talk to the intern about things like how they, as employees, contribute to company goals and what the company culture is from their perspective.
  7. Know how much to pay. Check with your attorney about pay issues. If the intern is receiving course credit for the internship, pay might be inappropriate. National surveys show that undergraduate interns are paid an average $15 to $17 an hour, and graduate students earn up to $24 an hour. The National Association of Colleges and Employers has more information at its website at
  8. Assign a supervisor. One employee should be assigned to supervise and mentor the intern during the entire internship. Who you select shouldn’t do this as a no-pay add-on responsibility. The supervisor shouldn’t be in the type of position that requires a lot of time away from the company. Choose someone with good mentoring and teaching skills.
  9. Involve the intern. Good interns don’t want jobless tasks or assignments. They want to be a part of an employee team that has a mission to support or develop a key company long-term goal. Putting them in charge of an area of your company that you feel is important will increase their self-esteem and perceived value to you. Involving them in pertinent department meetings is a case in point.
  10. Set expectations. You’ll have hits and misses with your interns. After all, they are junior employees. So don’t assign them to tasks critical to your company’s success. They will probably make mistakes. When they do, correct them firmly but gently.

One last important point: When the internship has concluded, offer a written recommendation that can be used during a job search. You may even want to encourage the intern to apply at your company after graduation.
By the way, don’t assume your company is too small to take advantage of an internship.  Smaller companies have a more intimate cultural environment and a much better opportunity to be hands on with the intern. 
I hope you will give a prospective intern out there a chance to grow with your company.