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Creating YOUR Advantage 
Houston Chronicle 
 Laura's Book Received a Finalist Award!
Do you have what it takes to adapt quickly?
Leadership Workshop
July, 2008
Are you adapting fast enough?
Get the most out of your changing workforce. 

      A couple of weeks ago I spent the Fourth of July holiday with my family on the Eastern end of Long Island, New York. As I looked around at people's faces at the local parade, I realized that this was no longer the same place in which I grew up. No matter where you live or where you're from, our melting pot of a society is forever adding to the landscape by blending and mixing a variety of people with different racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
     These differences are also apparent in your workplace. Having your workforce effectively reflect your marketplace will also be beneficial to your business. Today, white Americans are the minority in several states such as California, Texas and New York, so beware if your workforce and leadership is lacking diversity.      
     In addition to the growth evident in the Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities, there are many factors changing the composition of your workforce.
     For example, take a look at the globalization of our economy. Gone are the days where American businesses are contained to our borders. Today many companies are outsourcing whole departments like finance, accounting and customer service to places such as India and China. As a leader in such workplaces, you must be culturally sensitive to the global differences both in and outside of our borders. 
      Another contributing factor impacting your workforce today is the fact that there are now four generations in the workplace. Boomers are not overly enthused about slowing down or retiring, so they are mixed in with the nose-to-the-grind-stone traditionalists, working side-by-side with the Xers and Millennials, which makes for a very interesting crowd. What this means for you is that you need to become more like a family counselor and adept at making multi-generational teams become functional. The natural order is to fall into dysfunction, resembling dynamics found in multi-generational families. 
      Speaking of which, the family dynamic has largely changed over the past 20 years. Now leaders must focus on the differing and growing needs of working moms who may be either married, single by choice, divorced, or in same sex partnerships. Women are making 70 to 80 percent of all purchase decisions for most products and services and, what this means for you is that you can no longer get trapped into only understanding your lifestyle. Chances are, your lifestyle is different than your consumers, as well as those who are working for or around you. Stepping outside comfort zones to connect and understand other people's lifestyles will be critical for your long-term success as a leader.
     Technology is also fueling the growth in successful entrepreneurs.  Never before have so many people been able to earn an excellent  living with internet and home-based businesses without the commute to an office.  Entrepreneurialism has always been at the foundation of this country's economy, but so has the large corporation.  
     As a result of this diverse population and changing American lifestyles, large multinational companies are losing talent and resources to the threat of people going into business for themselves. In fact, Generations X andY are fueling this. The reality is that telecommuting, flexible work hours and leading virtual teams are no longer just "nice-to-haves" in big companies, but they are essential for retaining talent and minimizing turnover. 
     As a leader, the pressure is enormous.  Not only do you need to produce results, you need to have the right processes in place to allow these new working arrangements to grow your business, not hinder it. Having a "lump it or leave it" mentality will hurt you in the long run if you aren't adjusting in order to keep top talent. If you aren't providing the work environments people are looking for, they will find it elsewhere.
      Despite these recessionary times, we are in a "buyers market" for business today. Employees are the buyers and employers are the sellers. This is a foreign concept for the older generations since most traditionalists and boomers grew up in economies where the opposite was true. As leaders responsible for inspiring and motivating people to achieve results, you have to start treating employees like buyers if you want to retain top talent and minimize turnover. This doesn't mean that you need to heed to every whim, but you do need to get the big things right. There is more pressure to adapt quickly to these dramatic changes. Are you changing fast enough to keep pace with these ever-increasing workforce changes? 
     The ability to extract the most out of a diversified and global workforce is  the number one differentiator in business today. With more down-sizing, restructuring and recession-driven downturns, people alone won't be the differentiator, but the ability to leverage people will be. The ability to keep top talent, minimize turnover and have an engaged workforce will be what sets companies apart. 
Read Laura's tips in the Houston Chronicle:
     Laura Lopez is a performance strategist, leadership specialist and branding expert with more than 20 years of corporate leadership experience. Most recently, Laura Lopez was a vice president with The Coca-Cola Company. Laura's book, The Connected and Committed Leader, is available via her Web site at, at your local bookstore or on As the owner of her own business, Laura helps companies and business associations achieve more sustainable business results through the power of leveraging diverse talent with effective leadership and branding. She is available for speeches, workshops and customized programs. Laura can be contacted via her Web site at: 
Join Laura for a Houston workshop on August 18,2008!
Click here for more details and to register:   


All the best,
Laura Lopez
Laura Lopez & Company
(713) 864-4633
toll free outside of Texas 1-800-861-4633