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  • 30 Apr 2018 10:35 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    As I sat in church yesterday and I listened to the message about changes taking place inside of churches and congregations that have created a different atmosphere, and I was struck by the similarities we all feel regarding change. Change is hard because we have to come out of our comfort zone and go into the unfamiliar. Even when the message and the change are positive and uplifting it is human nature to want what we want. Most of the time, that is to be comfortable and in charge of that comfort.

    How we react to change is impacted by how it is presented, whether it is in our personal lives, community, school, or business. Of course, nothing says change like business. A strong business leader can change the whole tone of the community with an uplifting message.  It becomes contagious bringing feelings of success and positivity to those around them. That can be frightening to people who have built their platform off of negativity. In a perfect world, people would take pride in the efforts and successes of other businesses and leaders in the community and want to build on that rather than scrutinize and deliberately undermine those efforts. Maybe it has to do with feeling of a loss of power. Like a little kid, it doesn't matter whether it positive or negative, it is power, at least until it's not.

    That is the cool part “until it’s not!” This particular church has developed a whole new idea of what church means, changing some of the standards in the order of the service. As a result, it has grown and grown becoming so strong with so many positive people that the negativity has been completely drained by all the positive energy.

    I have seen something similar in Pulaski County, so I encourage you to join the growing movement of businesses and organizations that are making a difference. It starts with each and every one of us. Isn't that right? Just ask Blue Ridge Fudge Lady, Cavalier Supply, Claytor Lake State Park, DCR, Draper Mercantile, Fine Arts Center for the NRV, Mountain 2 Island, POM, Town of Pulaski, Pulaski County, Friends of Peak Creek (FOPC), Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL), Thornspring Golf Club, Pete Dye River Course, YMCA, Stand Out Fashions, Food City, Pulaski Theatre, MK's Gourmet Pizzeria and Shoppe, Draper Golf Club, Pulaski Grow, True Value Hardware, Pulaski Rotary, Pulaski Proud, United Way, Beans & Rice, Sal's Jr Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, Lowe's, Wal-Mart Dublin and Fairlawn, Sleep Inn,  Lewis Gale Pulaski Hospital, just to name a few because there are so many more........Pulaski County is ... All Together Great!

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

     Peggy White, Executive Director

    540-674-1991

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 23 Apr 2018 10:56 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    Who gets my vote? I'm not going to lie; I hate political elections of any kind. Whether they are local, state, or national elections, they all  have one thing in common they are all vying  for our vote and we have the pressure of trying to decipher it all. I find one of  the hardest challenges is to determine the "real" agenda.  Local elections offer that personal interaction with the candidate, which may be a double edged sword because with that comes personal relationships developed over years. But do we except anything from that relationship? Does that mean since I've known you and grown up with you I should get special exceptions?  Sure, we all say we  want the same things in a candidate: honesty, integrity, compassion, and knowledge to name a few. That is, until it comes to impacting us personally. Do we still support that person when they can't do anything for us or won't? Local elections  are unique because in a local election one vote can make a difference.  I remember one time missing the polls and my candidate lost by one vote.  If only....

    We need to be involved in our local elections supporting our candidates and expecting nothing for that support other than to hold them to the promise  of looking at the greatest good and not promoting personal agendas. It all starts at home.

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    Executive Director

    540-674-1991


  • 16 Apr 2018 10:57 AM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Dear Members:

    From time to time, we are faced with confronting a situation.  For many, confrontation can be difficult, whether it is due to fear of the outcome or fear of hurting someone’s feelings.  Let’s face it, it is much easier to let things ride and stay with the status quo than it is to bring-up a possibly unpleasant issue that needs attention. Recently a good friend was faced with a personal situation that warranted a confrontational conversation, and those feelings of dread loomed. Rarely, if ever, have you ever heard me say or employ business practices in personal matters,  but in this case I think the same philosophy and principles applied. In a difficult work situation where an issue needs to be addressed, approach the conversation from the same stance of mutual respect as you would in a personal situation. Second, put yourself in the other person’s shoes before approaching the conversation and see things from their perspective,  just as you would in a personal relationship.  And third, no matter whether it is a business or personal confrontation, it is better to never use the word YOU. In  both cases YOU statements cause others to become defensive, and elicit negative feelings.

    When having a difficult conversation, being prepared with what you want to say and how you want to say it helps you facilitate the exchange, and the sooner you have the conversation the better. It is never an easy thing to do, and  most of us would like nothing better than to avoid those confrontations altogether.  However, avoiding is rarely the answer, and in business a direct correlation between conflict and productivity has been cited. The  CPP Inc., publishers of the Myers-Briggs Assessment and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, commissioned a study on workplace conflict. They found that in 2008, U.S. employees spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict. This amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours (based on average hourly earnings of $17.95), or the equivalent of 385 million working days. I don’t know that we need to  quantify that on a personal level, although we do have these situations in our personal lives as well as at work. In business, though, it does seems profitable to learn productive techniques and skills for effective ways to confront a situation clearly and directly. Yet, both in our personal and business lives, if we can take only one thing away from thoughts about having a confrontational conversation, let it be to respect each other in the pursuit of a solution, and leave our pride and egos aside.

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White

    Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    Executive Director


  • 02 Apr 2018 4:31 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Big business verse small business mentality. Is this really an issue? In short the answer is yes. Your perspective is everything and when you come from a big business mentality, the characteristics that make you big business differ significantly from the characteristics of the  perspective of small business. Think about some of the major differences: in big businesses you have entire, separate, departments to deal with accounting, production and other entities. In small business you have a small team dealing with all aspects of the business. In big business, someone develops a new innovation for one aspect of the company, while in small business that one innovation becomes the company.  Rules and regulations are huge in corporate America, hence we have a corporate culture; whereas, in small business the rules can be written and redefined at a moments notice.

     There have been arguments made that business is business, whether big or small, and at the end of the day business is simply about making money. No argument there;however, Michael Gerber in his article "What's the Difference between a Big Business and a Small Business," was quick to point out small businesses overlook the need to develop and define systems of support. That brings us back to the perspectives and the mentalities that surround big verse small business.

     Dianne Glassnor, Business Owner vs Employee Mentality, has cited below some of the distinguishing traits in comparing the corporateemployee vs. the small business mentality. 

    Here are some traits of people with an employee mentality:                                  

    • I work for a paycheck - period.
    • There's no need to give more than I have to, because the company will take advantage of me. 
    • The business is lucky to have me.
    • Somebody is mandated to take care of me.
    • I am entitled simply because I work here.
    • I only do what I am told to do

     Here are some traits of the business owner mentality:

    •  I have a big picture view of the greater good I do with my work and realize that wages is the outcome of the             good I do. Simply put, my work brings me great personal satisfaction.
    •  When I go the extra mile, I am doing it because it helps the business and the people we serve.
    •  I am blessed to be a part of this company.
    •  It is my responsibility to see that my job is done to my greatest capability with every patient every day. 
    •  Nobody can do this for me.
    •  Entitlement is not a word in my vocabulary. I understand that I receive wages for my efforts, and while fringe     benefits are nice, they can disappear if the business is not profitable.
    •  I understand that there are times when my own personal agenda may be interrupted for the good of the people     we serve.

     When you consider these traits,  it becomes obvious why it is difficult to integrate these two perspectives, and why they may collide. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, it seems the characteristic of individual entitlement often becomes the pervasive characteristic that causes disruption when trying to integrate these two different beasts. In small business there is little room for entitlement when trying to establish systems of support. 

     Just some food for thought when trying to mesh the corporate world with small business world.

    Work hard,  be productive,  and above all else stay positive. 

    Peggy White, Executive Director, Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce 


  • 26 Mar 2018 4:29 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Remember the saying, "March came in like a lion and goes out like a lamb"? Well forget the lamb part this year, we are going to end March just like a lion. Fierce and fearless. Maybe it is a sign of whats to come, subtly letting us know we need to have a lion's heart.

    If you are wondering what it means to have a lion's heart, the urban dictionary defines 'a lion's heart' as, "When someone has the swagger of a titan and the inner strength of the fiercest species of the animal kingdom- a lion."  That should become our motto as we face the business climate and the changing global economy ahead. Have a lion's heart. You can bring the swagger with you or not, but as we face our goals for 2018 let's face them with the integrity, grit and perseverance, fearless of the changing economies that lay ahead. Let's all develop that mentality that says no matter what, I will continue to do business with integrity, and a vision that includes what's best for the whole herd, not just the one.

    Work hard,  be productive,  and above all else stay positive. 

     Peggy White, Executive Director, Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 12 Mar 2018 4:27 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    It's March Madness and we have a lot to celebrate in men's basketball  as two of our Virginia teams get ready to go to the dance! Congratulations to RU, tied for second in the Big South, and UVA, finishing first in the ACC. I believe Michael Jordan once said, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." At the end of the day, whether it is on the basketball court, the soccer, football, baseball field, or a business arena it all comes down to teamwork. Teamwork is the most crucial element, and like Jordan said, "...it is the difference between winning a game and winning a championship." 

    The critical delegation of duties to the right individual is imperative to deliver the highest possible return on performance.Nowhere is this more important than in small business where you have to count on fewer individuals to deliver multiple tasks at multiple levels. Understanding the individual players, their weaknesses and strengths,  and adapting the team to play to those strengths becomes crucial to the success of the team. Moreover, understanding the concept of "team" and not "individual" performances is what is going to take you to the championships should be the mindset of all small businesses.

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

     

    Peggy White, Executive Director, Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

    peggywhite@pulaskichamber.info


  • 05 Mar 2018 4:25 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    When I was a young child I used to watch my father play chess, and the game fascinated me so much that I begged him to teach me how to play. Now, when I look back on that experience I realize how much I learned from the game. The fact is, every piece on the board has its limitations in movement, with each piece posing its own strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, every play creates its own series of conceived reactions developed from a strategy while anticipating and understanding the opponent's opportunities.  The winners of chess games are typically the players who can think several plays ahead in reaction to the anticipated moves of the opponent.  It's like doing business! Right?

    Consider the correlation.  Your opponent is your competition; every move you make with a specific piece is in relationship to current market trends, economic fluctuations, or changes in demographics. You, as the entrepreneur or business manager, have to be able to look at the whole board and see all the pieces to make wise decisions.  You must determine which piece is best to move in reaction to the situations that are presenting themselves. In business these actions/reactions are all while anticipating future market trends, changing economic situations, and staying apprised of your competition's moves.   One wrong move or one wrong decision can affect the outcome, although you may not see the immediate impact.

     What an invaluable lesson, even if I never won a game! I found out how important it was to always be learning, keeping up with trends, analyzing, and reevaluating current situations. After all, there is always a new play to learn and a new strategy that can be incorporated.

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White, Executive Director, Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce


  • 26 Feb 2018 4:22 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    Recently, one of my daughters visited her grandfather, and she confided in him that she was having some difficulty with her manager.  He shared some words of wisdom with her, based on his own management experience. He told her to remember that she didn't work for the manager but for the "company". He went on to share with her that as a manager, he made sure his employees knew that they didn't work for him, that they worked for the company. It was a different perspective than she had anticipated.

    Management can be tricky, and finding ways to engage employees in a positive manner is the key component in optimal productivity. Vic Lipman reported in Forbes on a study about employee engagement (People Leave Mangers, Not Companies, August 2015). The study provided some pretty astounding stats.  For example:

    "There are subtle differences in how different studies define "employee engagement," but the commonalities among the various studies are far more important than the differences. No matter how you slice the data, in the big picture somewhere around 60% or 70% of employees are simply not working- say it straight- as hard as they could be. Let's take some examples. Gallup data shows 30% of employees "engaged." Towers Watson data shows 35% "highly engaged." Dale Carnegie data shows 29% "fully engaged." And these aren't small studies; the Gallup survey includes more than 350,000 respondents and the Towers Watson survey includes more than 32,000. Gallup goes on to estimate an annual cost in lost U.S. productivity of more than $450 billion. This is a staggering figure. Even if it's imprecise, it gives a sense of the magnitude of the problem."

    That is some powerful information and it goes a long way in showing how lacking people can be with management skills.  Lipman went on to say that Gallup CEO Jim Clifton, in the  summary accompanying his organization's 2013 "State of the American Workplace" employee engagement study showed that the biggest decision employers make is who to hire as managers. When the wrong person becomes manager, there is nothing that will repair the damage of the bad decisions made by that manager...nothing.  He says that benefits, compensation, nor other measures can truly fix the problems.

    Good managers know how to inspire and motivate their employees. Like Pop, my dad, has said, part of becoming a good manager is just treating people the way that you would want someone to treat you.

     Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

    Peggy White, Executive Director of Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

  • 19 Feb 2018 4:21 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    While analyzing the characteristics of the upcoming generation, known as Generation Z, I recalled a memory about my best friend in high school whom had moved to the US from South Korea when he was 16. His experience in school was quite different from what I had been accustomed. As a matter of fact, it was hard for me to grasp what he told me. While I was in school My day was filled with academic content and socializing with friends; his education experience included learning military defense tactics, like how to properly fire a weapon and how to defend himself.  This concept of schooling was far removed from my world. Unfortunately, Generation Z may share a similar relationship to that friend's situation in the fact that this group has never had the luxury of being threat free.  Think about that for a minute. I would imagine that when we think of Generation Z, we are more drawn to the fact that they are also the first generation to grow up in a digital world where most Americans rely on smartphones and social media. But, they have also always lived with a constant reality of violence that is all too often by young people and aimed at other young people. 

    Let's take a closer look at Generation Z. They were born somewhere between 1996/1998 and 2010, and will outsize the 60 million millennial clan by one million. According to Ryan Scott, in the article "Get Ready For the Generation Z, they are "...a cautious group that steers away from risky behaviors and more toward sensible careers that are forged less by passion and more by practical realities..."   Additionally, Business Insider editor Libby Kane shared that this generation embraces diversity more than any other generation: 81% Gen Z, 69% Millennials, 67% Gen X and 71% Baby Boomers, as cited in, "Meet Generation Z: The millennials on steroids who could lead the charge for change in the US."

    This cautious generation has never not known technology, a generation that is gaining the reputation of taking multitasking to unprecedented levels. At one time we were in awe of the millennials who could work off of two screens at a time. Lookout! Gen Z is working off of five, according to Tim Elmore, "Six Defining Characteristics of Generation Z".  

     Gen Z is bringing a new dynamic to the world and we need to embrace this next generation and prepare for the changes. In other words, we need to keep up or stand aside. Change is on the way!

    Work hard, be productive and above all else stay positive. 

    Peggy White


  • 05 Feb 2018 3:18 PM | Shannon Ainsley (Administrator)

    This at first , may appear to be an unusual topic for a business leader. However, after I share my views,  you may see forgiveness as one of the strongest and most over-looked qualities of a leader.

    The topic in church last week was on forgiveness. As the sermon progressed, it became apparent the lesson was about learning to let things go. Suddenly, I felt my daughter's elbow,  and then that look of, "Oh, Mom!" This teaching struck us both as another important one. Never, until that point, had I really thought about how much negative energy goes into holding resentment, bitterness, and feelings of retaliation.That's a lot of wasted energy!

    Energy that, if harnessed, could be turned into positive energy and used for good . No one ever said it was easy. It takes strong leaders to understand the greater good and to see the importance of forgiving. 

    Look back over time at some of these great individuals: Abraham Lincoln once said, " The man who can't make a mistake can't make anything." His philosophy of the value of forgiveness spurred an entire nation, and he made it a priority to create a compassionate nation.  One illustration of how he embraced forgiveness is seen in the story of Lincoln's first encounter with Edward Stanton. In a public setting among their peers, Attorney Lincoln was publicly insulted and humiliated by Attorney Stanton. Although Lincoln surely felt the shaming, he chose to not retaliate, but instead to study Stanton's court performance.  As a result, he was  inspired to develop the art of effective and persuasive writing.  Years later, President Lincoln appointed Stanton as his Secretary of War, which most certainly was an instrumental choice. It was through actions such as these that Lincoln's practice of quietly forgiving and embracing differences helped heal a nation which he  led in moving past its mistakes and egregious wrongs. 

    One of the most profound examples in history of the power of forgiveness,  when contrasted against bitterness and revenge, is the differences in the outcomes is Nelson Mandela in South Africa in comparison to those of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Mandela, after being unjustly imprisoned for 27 years, was able to put aside his feelings and embrace a greater good,  thus becoming the President of South Africa. In contrast, in Zimbabwe, Mugabe perpetuated feelings of resentment and  bitterness, and there, revenge became the focus. South Africa grew and positively changed whereas, in early 2000s the people of Zimbabwe experienced famine,  economic disaster, and disapproval from the West, because of President Mugabe's violence toward land-owners.  His lack of a forgiving nature created upheaval in Zimbabwe and eventually led to the demise of his leadership, when his resignation was called for in 2017. 

    Transformational leaders understand that holding grudges is a form of arrested development, holding them back. Great leaders understand the power of forgiveness and work to create environments where people are not afraid to think beyond their four walls and can challenge themselves to exceed  without the fear of making mistakes. 

    Think about times when you, as a leader, have benefited from the forgiveness of others, or from your forgiveness of others.  Although we don't forgive for our own gain, it usually turns out to be an unexpected benefit to us when we practice having a loving and forgiving nature. 

    Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive. 

    Peggy White,  Executive Director


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Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

4440 Cleburne Blvd., Dublin, VA 24084

540-674-1991

info@pulaskichamber.info 

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