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A Time For Reflection

It’s December! How did your business do this year?

We’re looking at three small businesses in this issue, businesses that started small and are expanding.

Sonoma Wool Company went from solely web-based sales to opening its first retail brick and mortar store this year in Brewster. We were impressed with their mission of sustainability and how a passion for land conservation was the driving force behind Amy Chesnut’s business. Passion goes a long way, but sometimes the business model needs some tweaking.

Plymouth Rock Kitchens grew out of a van, where Edan Dayan toted around samples and used his technical skills to create virtual renditions of his designs before that became the norm. Today, Edan and wife Kathleen operate a showroom in Plymouth.

Donna Devine spent most of her career as a legal secretary, but in 2018 she started Magic Mirror Martha’s Vineyard, a unique photo booth concept that was new to Cape Cod. She plans on expanding the business in 2023. Read about her in Anything But Ordinary.

We hope you find our Mentoring, Toolboxes and Leadership articles helpful in moving forward and fine-tuning your business to fulfill its potential.

Happy New Year and thanks for all your support!

Dale Shadbegian CEO
Carol K. Dumas EDITOR

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The Blue Economy

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the vision of a “blue economy” and how it can benefit Cape Cod and the surrounding coastal areas. But what exactly is a blue economy?

According to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, “the Blue Economy is an initiative that seeks to balance and grow the region’s economy by focusing on its water and coastal resources. It’s rooted in acknowledgment that the environment is our economy and that the two are inextricably linked.”

While the years of the pandemic have affected the statistics, the numbers are increasing across the board on visitors, fisheries, and research and education, while some of the numbers continue to drop.

Here are some of the numbers from 2020:

$361 billion – America’s marine economy contributed about $361 billion of the nation’s gross domestic product in 2020.

20% – Coastal tourism and recreation ($191 billion in 2020, with a 20 percent decline from 2019) dropped for obvious reasons during the height of the pandemic.

4.1% – Living resources, such as fisheries and other biological products ($27 billion in 2020, with a 4.1 percent growth from 2019) saw an increase.

$16 billion – Ship and Boat Building saw $16 billion in sales in 2020, with a 0.9 percent decline from 2019.

$187 billion – National defense and public administration saw $187 billion in 2020, with a 5.5 percent growth from 2019.


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Around the Region

Town of Orleans


Form of Government: Open Town Meeting
Incorporated: 1797
Total population: 6,411
Female: 54.3%
Male: 45.7%
White: 95.3%
Black: 2%
American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%
Asian: 1.4%
Hispanic or Latino: 1.9%
Two or more races: 0.6%

Family households: 2,788
Average household size: 2.06
Median household income: $77,273
Per capita income: $56,907
Mean travel time to work: 26.5 minutes
Educational Attainment (age 25+)
High school graduate: 736
Some college, no degree: 1,063
Bachelor’s degree: 1,719
Graduate or professional degree: 1,379



Fishermen’s Alliance Raises Awareness At Film Night

The documentary film, “Tide to Table,” shown at the Chatham Orpheum Theater in November was an ode to oysters and the farmers who grow them.

More than a 100 people attended this latest version of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance’s Meet the Fleet, which offered oysters from Chatham Shellfish Company (devoured in minutes) and scallop and lobster pizza from the Pizza Shark.

“Seafood goes on anything,” said Jennifer Bryant, director of development for Fishermen’s Alliance, as she welcomed attendees.

Steven Wright and Farran Jalbert of Chatham Shellfish, and Paul Wittenstein of ARC hatchery, were guest speakers at the event. Wittenstein was also in the movie, a 38-minute romp through oyster history with stops in New York (to talk about the Billion Oyster Project) and Connecticut, which is making moves to become the Napa Valley of oyster production.

Those who had settled in the comfortable chairs at the Orpheum to watch the film from PACE University appreciated the history; oysters used to be sold from street carts, like hot dogs, and were common at bars and dance halls.

Local excitement came in the section of the film dedicated to oyster farmers on the Cape. There were lots of familiar growers, shellfish constables and those in the scientific and support community.

SOURCE: capecodfishermen.org

South Shore Habitat for HumanitySouth Shore Habitat Launches Critical Home Repair Program

South Shore Habitat for Humanity is launching a new

Critical Home Repair Program. The program offers assistance to qualified seniors, veterans and families who are struggling to maintain their home. The program focuses on repairs that address health, safety and code issues.

Critical home repairs may include weatherization, siding, roof or deck repair as well as safety features including the installation of a ramp, handrail, grab bars and other necessities to make a home safe. Repairs must fall below the program’s limit of $10,000.

“The Critical Home Repair Program is an opportunity to help more families in our service area,” said SSHH Executive Director Beth Lyons. “Since its launch, we’ve done interior and exterior repairs that have made all the difference in the world to homeowners in need.”

To be eligible for the program, an individual or family’s property must be in South Shore Habitat’s service area, owned and occupied by the homeowner, be a single-family residence, be current for mortgage payments and property insurance, require repair for health and safety purposes, and have a household income less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income.

The CHRP is funded through donations and grants, and projects are accepted based on current funding. It is not an emergency repair program.

Applications are available at sshabitat.org/critical-home-repair and must be submitted for consideration.

SOURCE: sshabitat.org

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Donna Devine

Donna Devine, Owner, Magic Mirror Martha’s Vineyard

Magic Mirror Martha’s Vineyard

What is your business, educational background?

I spent most of my career as a legal secretary. I also have experience as an event bartender and server, model, actress and talent for branding events.

How did you start this business?

In 2018, I was living in the Midwest and couldn’t figure out how to afford to move back home to the Cape with the housing crisis and rising rent. I was looking for a unique idea that had not made it back home yet. I had a lump sum of money to invest in an idea when the Magic Mirror photobooth made its way to my Facebook newsfeed. After doing some research, I quickly realized that there were only about two companies offering this type of photobooth on the Cape and none on the Vineyard.

What is unique about Magic Mirror MV?

What’s unique about Magic Mirror MV is the Magic Mirror Photo Booth. It is not your average photo booth. It is a massive, 5-foot mirror that also acts as a touch screen. Vibrant, animated videos compliment guests before and after their photos are taken, and literally leave them amazed.

What do you like most about your job?

What I love most about my job is offering amazing products to my corporate clients. Seeing the joy on their faces and knowing that we’ve created something memorable really makes me genuinely happy.

Any future plans for the business?

Yes! We will be rebranding to Magic Mirror Cape Cod, now that we’ve secured housing on the Cape.

Magic Mirror MV

Beech Promoted To Controller At A.D. Makepeace

Christine Beech MakepeaceChristine Beech

The A.D. Makepeace Company has promoted Christine Beech to the position of Controller. Beech previously served as finance manager for the company, where her responsibilities included being the lead team member for financials relating to the company’s award-winning Redbrook community, the new 1,200-unit mixed-use village in South Plymouth. She also drove the transformation in the company’s financial reporting, forecasting and budgeting processes.

“Christine is enormously talented and we are fortunate to have her,” said Lori Flannery, ADM’s Chief Financial Officer.

In her new role, she is responsible for all accounting and tax, including production of financial statements, managing audits, and other accounting requirements while still leading the Redbrook accounting and finance efforts.

Beech, who has been with the A.D. Makepeace Company for a total of five years, holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in education from Endicott College. She taught secondary mathematics at the Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in South Easton for five years. She is a resident of Lakeville.

Savarese Named Community Banker Of The Year

Dorothy SavareseDorothy Savarese

Dorothy Savarese, Executive Chair of Cape Cod 5, has been recognized nationally as Community Banker of the Year by American Banker.

Among Savarese’s professional achievements, American Banker highlighted her role leading Cape Cod 5’s growth in size and scope to more effectively serve customers and serve as an active corporate citizen for the betterment of its communities. The magazine also recognized her role as a long-standing community banking advocate and the influence her leadership has had on the financial services industry.

Savarese, who has been Cape Cod 5 Chair and CEO for the past 17 years, plans to retire from the bank in May 2023.

“Throughout her career, Dorothy has demonstrated a personal dedication to empowering her fellow leaders across the community banking industry,” said Matt Burke, CEO of Cape Cod 5. “Under her leadership, Cape Cod 5 has continued to evolve as a purpose-driven community bank, dedicated to the unique needs of each area we serve across the region. On behalf of everyone at Cape Cod 5, we are so proud of all Dorothy has done for the bank and our region.”

Cape Cod 5’s financial strength and commitment to its mutuality and the financial empowerment of its customers, communities and employees was also recognized. The bank’s focus on maintaining its hyperlocal understanding of community and customer needs, even as it continues to grow, was also featured, as well as Savarese’s service on the regional and state level as a passionate environmental steward, including her role as the Board President of the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative and as an active member of the Alliance for Business Leadership, which advises Massachusetts legislature on climate issues.

Golf Tourney Raises $2,400 For Yarmouth Food Pantry

Nearly 100 golfers helped raise $2,400 in cash for the Yarmouth Food Pantry on Saturday, Nov. 19, during the 17th Annual Turkey Shoot-Out and Food Pantry Drive at Blue Rock Golf Course in South Yarmouth.

Hundreds of non-perishable food items were also donated during the day by golfers and others who stopped by to help the cause.

Proceeds from the annual fundraiser go to the Yarmouth Food Pantry’s ongoing efforts to provide food for people in the Yarmouth area. The cash donation, in combination with the donated food, brought the total value to $3,000, all of which will be used to help those in need this holiday season.

All members of the first-place team donated the four turkeys they won back to the Yarmouth Food Pantry as did the winners in all other categories. The winning team was made up of John Bakis, Jack Brooks, Pat Moore, and Colin Roth.

2022 March Cape Plymouth SEO Services
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Beech Promoted To Controller At A.D. Makepeace

Tony Joe KevinTony, Joe & Kevin

The Massachusetts Retail Lumber Dealers Association (MRLDA) recently gathered for its 123rd annual meeting where Tony Shepley of Shepley Wood Products was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award honors an individual for their cumulative contributions to the lumber industry. It is a special recognition to a person who has truly “made a difference” in the business and has made a significant and measurable impact to the lumber industry and to the communities they serve. It is not awarded every year, but rather, only when a person is nominated who fits the criteria.

Tony Shepley and a partner started Shepley Wood Products in 1978. Today, Shepley is the only lumberyard remaining in the Hyannis area, with additional locations in Wellfleet and Nantucket, with over 160 employees.

Shepley has been a leader in both the industry and his community. He served on the MRLDA board of directors from 1992 to 2001, including one term as president, and the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association board from 2007-2013, including one term as chairman. He has also served on the boards of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Cape & Islands United Way, and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Cape Cod and Islands (now Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital).

McPhees Honored

Bob McPhee, founder of McPhee Associates of Cape Cod, and Rob McPhee, president, received the 2022 Legends of the Industry Award from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts (HBRAMA) on Nov. 2. The award was presented at the organization’s 62nd Annual Installation and Awards Ceremony in Groton.

The prestigious Legends of the Industry Award was created in 2006 to recognize members across the state who drive change and innovation in the home building industry and have made significant contributions to their communities. This is the first time in the history of the award that a father-and-son duo was recognized.

A minimum of 25 years in business is required for award consideration. McPhee Associates is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022 as a family-owned-and-operated, custom home building company serving the Cape Cod region.

The McPhees, nominated by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC), were honored along with four other members representing their affiliate associations.

“It was a compliment and a pleasant surprise to receive this award,” Bob McPhee said in his acceptance speech. “I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize all of our employees, our subcontractors and vendors, present and past, who have worked with us through the years.”

The Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts is a non-profit trade association consisting of over 2,000 single- and multi-family builders, developers, remodelers, suppliers and other allied professionals to the residential construction industry. It is made up of five affiliate local associations throughout Massachusetts.

Fish-Crane Named Secretary Of NAHMA

Melissa Fish CraneMelissa Fish-Crane

The Peabody Companies CEO Melissa Fish-Crane has been elected as secretary of the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) for a two-year term.

In her capacity as secretary, Fish-Crane will serve as NAHMA’s chief information officer.

The association’s Executive Council, consisting of its executive, associate, and affiliate members, voted for the new officers and board members at the NAHMA fall meeting, held recently in Washington, D.C.

Mass Maritime Chosen To Host IAMU General Assembly

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA; www.maritime.edu), a top-ranked public university with undergraduate degree programs focusing on science, engineering, technology, math, and business that blend academics and experiential learning, is honored to announce it has been selected by the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) to host its 2024 Annual General Assembly.

The International Association of Maritime Universities is a global network of leading maritime universities providing Maritime Education and Training (MET) for seafarers in the global shipping industry.

The Peabody Companies Honors Two

The Peabody Companies recently presented Derek Frazier, Director of Information Technology, and Whitney Pulsifer, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, with the Edward A. Fish Achievement Award during its 2022 annual business meeting at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

Frazier and Pulsifer were lauded for working as a cohesive team and spending countless hours safeguarding important information from corruption, compromise, or loss. This consistent effort included educating the Peabody team about phishing or encryption, training members of staff on multi-factor authentication, and working with third parties to carry out regular security audits.

“This dynamic duo has spent limitless hours protecting the organization from internal and external threats. They are Peabody’s main line of defense in all things technical and their contributions are invaluable,” noted CEO Melissa Fish-Crane.

DJSA Architecture PC has named Shawn Carvalho as Assistant Project Manager.

In this role, his responsibilities include schematic programming, design development, and production of permit/construction bid documents. In addition, he coordinates architectural and engineer/consultant work including all production, project budgeting/expectations, and construction administration. He also acts as a mentor to junior staff members.

Carvalho brings nearly 10 years of architectural design and project management experience to his post with DJSA Architecture PC, most recently as Job Captain with Anderson Porter Design.

Showcase Cinema De Lux Opens At Hanover Crossing

Showcase Cinema de Lux opened Nov. 16 at Hanover Crossing, a mixed-use redevelopment located 20 miles southeast of Boston in Hanover.

The cinema will offer eight auditoriums, including an XPlus Laser Premium Large Format auditorium with laser projection, Dolby Atmos™ immersive sound, power recliners and a huge screen. Showcase XPlus is a proprietary large-format auditorium featuring Dolby Atmos™ sound and the most advanced digital projection and screen technology. XPlus Laser offers a premium cinema experience with immersive sound, crystal clear projection and reserved seating. It will also offer a lobby bar and lounge offering signature cocktails, draft beer and wine.

The cinema will feature a state-of-the-art concessions stand and box office. The theaters are available for private rentals for parties and corporate events. Special concession menus are available for private screenings.

For more information, visit www.showcasecinemas.com.

Seamen’s Bank Named Among Best Banks

For the third consecutive year, American Banker has named Seamen’s Bank one of the 2022 Best Banks to Work For.

“Seamen’s Bank is honored to be recognized as one of the Best Banks to Work For by American Banker,” said Lori Meads, President and CEO of Seamen’s Bank. “We continually strive to maintain a culture that encourages a healthy work/life balance for our employees. The employees’ independent participation in the survey provided the narrative to which this honor and recognition were awarded. Our leadership team is committed to providing employee benefits that reflect our understanding and appreciation of what is needed to help them thrive not only as an employee, but a person in the community.”

Headquartered in Provincetown, with five branches on the Outer Cape, Seamen’s Bank provides 65 percent of childcare tuition for employees, which has been recognized as a leader in the industry. Flexible work hours, competitive compensation, and family inclusive events are just a few of the many benefits they provide.

This year 90 banks earned a spot in the ranking of Best Banks to Work For, based on an anonymous employee survey and a thorough review of the benefits and perks offered. The full 2022 list is featured at https://www.americanbanker.com/list/best-banks-to-work-for and in the November issue of American Banker magazine.

The Coop Named Among Best Banks

The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod has been named one of the “Best Banks to Work For” by American Banker magazine for the third consecutive year. American Banker recognized 90 banks across the U.S. that have less than $3 billion in assets.

“To be recognized again for workplace excellence by American Banker is a profound and humbling honor,” said Lisa Oliver, Chair, President and CEO of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. “It is particularly gratifying that this outstanding designation was significantly based upon an independent survey of all The Coop’s employees. In 2023, we look forward to evolving The Coop into an even better place to work.”

Empowering employees to strike an appropriate work-life balance is of utmost importance to bank leadership and played a significant role in The Coop’s award designation.

The Coop offers a “work where it works” program that provides hybrid work arrangements for many bank roles, to allow for flexibility and work/life balance. Family members are often invited to corporate events and the bank helps to pay for childcare, offers flexible time off so employees can attend important family events, and provides an extensive wellness program that supports an employee’s overall well-being.

Additionally, The Coop has multiple recognition programs that acknowledge exceptional customer service and collaboration, is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, and encourages volunteerism in the communities it serves.

Headquartered in Hyannis, The Coop operates nine full-service branch locations throughout Cape Cod and a mortgage office in Provincetown.

New Dental Office Opens at Rosebrook

Local officials, the A.D. Makepeace Company, and the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of a new full-service dental practice at Rosebrook Place recently. Southcoast Dental, office of Dr. James Kiehl, brings state-of-the-art dental care to Wareham.

Southcoast Dental has several specialized pieces of equipment that improve efficiency and comfort. A CEREC dental milling machine makes one-visit crowns possible, and you can even watch Netflix while your crown is being made. 3D X-ray equipment provides higher quality imaging that can better diagnose conditions and support preventative efforts.

The mixed-use property includes a 67,000-square-foot office building housing Southcoast Health and Fresenius Medical, a 58-unit All American Assisted Living facility, 88-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott and Rosebrook Event Center, the first off-Cape branch of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, the 65 luxury apartments at 35 Rosebrook, three restaurants, and other offices.

Thirwood Place Announces Service Awards

Thirwood Place in South Yarmouth, a senior living community in South Yarmouth, recognized 10 team members for their dedication and longevity of service at a ceremony on Nov. 15. This year, Thirwood Place honored those who have been employed with the Thirwood family for three, five, 15, 20 and 25 years, respectively.

“Our ability to provide a high-quality, comfortable living environment that includes an unmatched lifestyle for active adults is made possible through the tireless dedication of our team members,” said DeWitt Davenport, CEO of The Davenport Companies of South Yarmouth, which owns Thirwood Place. “They are the heart and soul of our operation, and we thank them enthusiastically for their service.

” The 2022 Service Award recipients are:

3 years: Maria Barroso, Heidi Stewart, Edward Graff and Amy Vandersall; 5 years: Katelyn Mahannah; 15 years: Erin Murphy; 20 years: Priscilla Arroyo, Jennifer Garbitt and Morgan Slowek; and 25 years: Sheryl O’Connor.

Dirubbo Honored By Scouts

Dave Dirubbo 2018 e1669214773333David Dirubbo

Acella Construction Corporation President David Dirubbo has been named this year’s Twenty-First Century Leadership Award recipient from the Mayflower Council, Boy Scouts of America.

The awards dinner, held at Lombardo’s in Randolph, recognized Dirubbo and Acella for representing the ideas of the Scout Oath and Law and for good corporate citizenship and philanthropic support to the community.


Latham Board Names Pouliot President And CEO

Gerry Pouliot 2022Gerald Pouliot III

Gerald Pouliot III was chosen by the Latham Centers Board of Directors’ Executive Transition Committee as the next president and CEO of the nonprofit organization, one of the largest human services agencies in the region and the only residential program in the U.S. serving both children and adults with Prader-Willi syndrome. Latham Centers’ visionary leader, Anne McManus, will retire in June after more than two decades at the helm.

Pouliot has risen through the ranks at the renowned special education school and therapeutic treatment program for individuals with complex special needs. Board Chair Dr. Christine Thomas said the search committee selected Latham’s current Children’s Program Director because of his extensive knowledge of the organization and its culture, his leadership, and his vision.

“Gerry is very impressive – and a great fit for this role,” she added.

Pouliot grew up in Yarmouth, graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School and Fitchburg State University and began his Latham career in 2010 as a Special Education Teacher. He earned several promotions, completed a master’s degree in education at Bridgewater State University and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors at the Massachusetts Association of Approved Special Education Schools (MAAPS) – Latham School’s trade association.

2022 Distinguished Service To Philanthropy Awards Announced

Philanthropy Partners of the Cape & Islands (PPCI) recognized five outstanding individuals and organizations with Distinguished Service to Philanthropy Awards at the 25th annual Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod on Nov. 9 at the Resort & Conference Center in Hyannis.

The winners are:

Outstanding Business/Organization Award – The Cape Cod Foundation; Outstanding Philanthropist (Posthumous) – Richard Costello, co-owner of the Chatham Squire; Outstanding Volunteer – Sheila House, counselor for the Town of Harwich and founder of Harwich Youth Services; Outstanding Volunteer (Posthumous) – Peter Muis, president and CEO of First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union; and Outstanding Youth/Youth Organization – Kennedy-Donovan Center.

More than 350 people registered to attend the first in-person Philanthropy Day event since the pandemic shutdowns. This year’s theme celebrated that reconnection of the community with a theme of “Reunite to Ignite: Bringing the Cape Back Together to Share our Spark!” Two keynote speakers, Kristy Senatori, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission, and Kristin O’Malley, President and CEO of The Cape Cod Foundation, shared their insights regarding the unique challenges and opportunities for area nonprofits.

Greater Plymouth Habitat Raises Nearly $90K

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth 2022 fundraising gala, held Oct. 26 at the Hotel 1620 in downtown Plymouth, raised $88,500 for the organization. The proceeds from the benefit will support the affiliate’s mission to provide affordable housing for low and moderate income families in the region.

The event, which also marked the 25th anniversary of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth, was sponsored by the affiliate’s Capstone Partner, The Pinehills Affordable Housing Charitable Trust, Inc.; Foundation Builder, North Easton Savings Bank; and Team Partner, Dennison Lubricants, Inc., as well as several local small businesses.

To date, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Plymouth has built 13 homes and completed major rehab projects on another six.

To learn more about this affiliate and how to get involved, visit hfhplymouth.org.

Driscoll Joins Road to Responsibility Board of Directors

Kelly DriscollKelly Quinn Driscoll

Road to Responsibility, a nonprofit organization supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, announced that Kelly Quinn Driscoll of Scituate has been named to the organization’s board of directors.

Currently, Driscoll is a principal of Fiduciary Resolutions, Inc., which helps clients address fiduciary and investment issues. Throughout her extensive career, Driscoll has held numerous leadership roles, including at State Street Global Advisors in Boston and Hong Kong, where she was the head of Asia (excluding Japan). She also built and led State Street’s independent fiduciary business, overseeing retirement plan investments in 401(k) plans and employee stock ownership plans.

Driscoll currently sits on the board of directors at Fusion Acquisition Corp. II, a NYSE-listed company, and on the advisory board of BetaSmartz, a fintech company located in Asia.

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Creating An Engaged Workforce In The Digital World

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By Marc L. Goldberg

The new digital world has helped small business owners focus on hiring, managing, retaining and developing their workforce.

Jim Collins, in “Good to Great,” advises that it is not just about getting the right people on the bus, it is getting them in the right seat. A new wave of digital tools have put the controls in the hands of owners and managers to nurture and grow the next generation of workers and leaders. Tools such as LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Monster.com enable businesses and employees to connect. Tools such as Freelancer.com, Toptal and Upwork have made the connection with independent contractors a click away. McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates that a business can reduce its employee-related costs by 7 percent by applying the use of technology in the recruiting, hiring, onboarding and managing of its workforce.
Today’s employee knows far better his or her value than prior generations of workers since the digital world has made human resources transparent. The digital platforms provide ease of movement from one job to another since new opportunities are open for all to view and act upon. Digital tools can also assist in locating prospects who are not in the market because they are online with sites that capture their attention.
Effective onboarding starts a new employee’s journey on the right foot. New digital platforms provide rapid onboarding experiences that engage the new workers easier, faster and allows them to feel more valued. Appical and LearnUp are companies that offer onboarding systems to integrate the newbie into the ranks of the organization.
According to MGI, retailers with multiple stores suffer really high turnover – as high as 75 per cent per year. The core requirement for a new retail recruit is having outstanding people skills. Since the process of recruiting, hiring and training is rapid, digital technology has assisted in this process.
Most small businesses do not have these systems in place. Michael Gerber, in his book “eMyth Revisited,” talks about businesses moving from the “technician” stage where the small business owner is really good at what he does, e.i., painting, auto repair or appliance service, to the “systems” stage. Adopting digital technology beyond accounting, like QuickBooks, point of sale, like Square, and inventory control is part of the “systems” phase that precedes the “entrepreneurial” level of the life cycle of the enterprise. Adopting digital platforms that focus on the human capital of a business can actually reduce the cost of having a workforce by undertaking some of the day-to-day interactions.
Customer service can even be boosted by reducing attrition and retaining valuable employees, an issue that many small businesses experience.
When you are putting so much of yourself into your small business, it can be easy to think of human resources as a line item or fixed cost with few variables. But as your small business grows, focusing on your human capital can have an enormous positive impact on your bottom line, as long as you can keep up with the exponentially-increasing amount of time, thought, and effort it takes to respond to employees’ needs.
When done right, HR leads to a host of long-term benefits, including faster communication between employees, improved employee engagement, and more successful recruiting as your business gains a reputation for professionalism and competence. There comes a point in the growth of every small business when it’s time to stop bootstrapping and invest in the right HR software. Several examples of digital packages that are designed for small businesses are Paycor and Monday.com.
Paycor focuses on recruiting, managing, payroll and people development. It automates tasks like payroll, recruiting, onboarding, scheduling and reporting. It provides payroll processes for local, state and federal, and transparency in all employee data without switching platforms. Paycor has learning and personalized training for onboarding and personal development.
Monday.com is a digital platform that manages hiring and onboarding to performance tracking and service. It has capability for recruitment, onboarding, employee wellness, engagement and performance management, off-boarding, and quality-of-hire management, human resources and time management.
Hiring the right staff and having them in the right job, then retaining them so you don’t have to continue to cycle can be done through the use of digital technology, which allows for onboarding to begin upon acceptance, not on the first day of work, training that can be undertaken at the convenience of the team member, and communications vertically, horizontally was well as between organization workers.

Contributed by Marc Goldberg, a Certified Mentor for SCORE for the Cape & Islands. Contact SCORE for free and confidential mentoring to increase your sales at capecodscore@scorevolunteer.org, or 508/775-4884. Ask us about Friday, weekend and evening appointments. We go where you are! Visit www.capecod.score.org for more information.

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big brothers ej logos

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands
684 Main Street, Suite #3
Hyannis, MA 02601

Total number of employees: 8
Annual revenues: $760,142
Year established: 1974

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands is to partner with under-resourced families to provide their children with transformational, one-to-one profession-ally-supported relationships with caring adult mentors, so that their children will thrive.

Geographic Area
Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Wareham & Plymouth

big brothers funding

Volunteer Opportunities

Become a Big! With a waitlist that sometimes reaches over 100 children, the need for volunteer mentors, especially male mentors, is always needed.
Join a Committee! Our fundraising committees are looking for individuals who are passionate about raising funds to further our mission.
Join our Leadership! On both the Cape & MV we are seeking leaders to join our boards to help further our mission.

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Cape Cod Museum Trail


The Cape Cod Museum Trail sponsored by First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union is both a physical journey, and digital initiative that provides history-related prism into Cape Cod Life and Culture. The mission of the Cape Cod Museum Trail is to support and promote the image, wellbeing and financial health of Cape Cod Museums, Cultural Centers and Art Exhibitions by creating opportunities for networking, collaboration and educational programs in Barnstable, Plymouth, Bristol, Nantucket, Norfolk and Dukes County in the State of Massachusetts.


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Top Considerations for 2022 Year-End Tax Planning

By Michael Fullam

With the 2021 tax filing season ending and the 2022 year-end approaching, it is time to take stock of new and existing tax law that will impact your 2022 tax returns. In a typical year, the goal is usually to defer income or accelerate deductions to minimize current taxes. However, this year may be a little different for some and planning beyond 2022 is critical.

The following are a couple of new items that should be considered for the 2022 tax year.

Massachusetts “Millionaires Tax”

With the passage of Question 1 on the November 2022 ballot, commonly known as the Fair Share Amendment, starting in 2023 there will be an additional tax of 4 percent on Massachusetts personal taxable income in excess of $1 million. Until now, Massachusetts historically had a flat 5 percent tax rate, aside from the short-term capital gains rate of 12 percent.

This creates a situation where the general goal of deferring tax is not as advantageous if a permanent tax savings of 4 percent could be achieved by accelerating taxable income into 2022. Managing the timing of taxable income is not always in your control but there is some flexibility when it comes to flow-through business income which is reported and taxed personally to individual owners. Some examples include closing on the sale of a business prior to year-end instead of early 2023, delaying depreciation expenses or employee bonuses or, if filing on cash method of accounting, delaying payments on invoices and certain liabilities until the new year and/or collecting accounts receivable faster.

In terms of depreciation, Section 179 is often the preferred method of depreciating eligible fixed asset additions. This allows items to be fully expensed up to $1,080,000 for both federal and Massachusetts tax purposes, compared to bonus depreciation which allows for 100 percent (80 percent starting in 2023) expensed for federal tax purposes only. If your concern for 2023 is limited to the “Millionaires Tax,” bonus depreciation could be more beneficial by allowing you to maximize the federal benefit in 2022 while deferring depreciation deductions for Massachusetts purposes to 2023 and beyond when the deduction is worth more due to the higher marginal Massachusetts tax rate.


Capitalized Research and Development (R&D) Expenses

Historically, having R&D costs has been beneficial since they can generate a tax credit, while the costs incurred to generate the credit are fully deductible if the reduced credit is claimed. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts passed in December 2017, a delayed provision was included affecting tax years starting in 2022 which requires R&D expenses to be capitalized and amortized over 5 years (15 years if the activities are performed outside of the United States). The capitalization rules translate to a half year of amortization for 2022.

For example, a business that has $100,000 of R&D expenses in 2022, which would historically have been deducted in full, will only be eligible to deduct $10,000. The law change would increase taxable income by $90,000 for tax year 2022. The R&D expenses would eventually be deducted in full by year six. However, there would be additional taxable income each year due to the timing of the deductions.

There has been bipartisan support in Washington for the elimination or deferral of this change to R&D expenses as part of several acts, including the Build Back Better Act. However, no act or change has occurred to date. Although the potential remains for Washington to reverse this provision retroactively for the 2022 tax year, it would be prudent to plan for the compliance under the existing law and for the additional taxable income.


When it comes to tax planning, flexibility is needed to make sure current tax law is considered in order to minimize surprise tax bills in March and April when tax return (or extension) payments are due. This is the best time to reach out to your tax advisor and determine the best course of action that works for you based on your personal situation.

Michael Fullam is a Director at Citrin Cooperman, one of the nation’s largest professional services firms, helping companies and high net worth individuals find smart solutions. If you have questions on your tax filing, contact him at mfullam@citrincooperman.com.

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A Husband And Wife Team Grow A Kitchen Design Business

Edan and Kathy DayanBy Bill O’Neill

She was going out with a friend for a night of dancing but, when the band canceled, they decided to check out a nearby bar. It was a bit of a dive, but there was something about the bass player. They talked. They clicked.

Many years later, Edan and Kathleen Dayan have two grown daughters and a steadily growing business, Plymouth Rock Kitchens, which focuses on design services and custom cabinetry.

Just as it was with how they met, Edan said there was an element of chance to his entry into the design field. To supplement his income as a musician, he looked for a day job about 20 years ago and found one working in the warehouse and doing retail sales for Award Flooring in Buzzards Bay.

At the start, he knew nothing about design. “I was a creative guy in other ways,” he said. “I’d work with customers to understand the flow of the house.” Combining that with the knowledge of the different resiliency of flooring types, he’d figure out what worked and what didn’t work.

“That was my door into this thing called design,” he said.

Through his work at the flooring company, he met the owner of Cape and Island Kitchens in Sagamore Beach and, eventually, he took a job in their warehouse.

On his own, Edan continued to read design books but, in the meantime, the warehouse work supplied its own kind of education.

“You get to learn how to handle cabinets, how they get shipped, how to bring things into the house, how to measure to make sure things will fit in the house, what to do when they don’t fit. All of those things are important to me now,” he said.

When there was a chance to move over to the design side, he continued his training by taking courses to get certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

“It takes years to do all the coursework, but the fact that it takes time is good because every day there’s a new problem you didn’t know about and you become better. You can apply these things a little bit at a time, and it was a good way to be well-rounded and really apply what I was learning.”

After that, he took night classes, one class at a time for 10 years, to get a degree in interior design from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

“You learn about materials, you learn about drawing, commercial design, residential design, hospitality, kitchens. It’s a very broad classic education,” he said. “That’s what started to open my mind. I started to become aware of high-end design.”

In 2014, he decided it was time to launch his own business. Kathy, a writer (her novel “Before We Were Born” will be published in January) and former lawyer, pitched in as business manager.

“It was going to be called Dayan Designs,” she said, “but what we really do, beyond the designing of the kitchen, is providing cabinetry. So, we had to have that in the name. We’ve lived in Plymouth for a long time now, and we love Plymouth, so we decided that Plymouth Rock Kitchens would work.”

At first, Edan worked out of a van, toting around samples and using his technical skills to create virtual renditions of his designs before that became the norm. He’d go shopping with his clients at cabinet showrooms.

“That’s the traditional way interior designers and decorators work because they don’t necessarily have a showroom,” he said. “It’s not a new business model, but it’s not a common one for cabinets.”

He shifted out of the van when he found a small showroom within view of Plymouth Harbor. The business has grown, slowly but steadily, year by year.

When they started the business, most of their clients used pre-built cabinets, but now most of his clients are homeowners with higher-end construction or renovations that incorporate custom-built cabinets from the Dayans’ network of craftsmen.

“It’s very different from what we thought it was going to be,” said Kathy.

“As the company started to breathe on its own and stretch a little bit, we’d see what works and what doesn’t work, what’s interesting and what’s fun, and if you do that 10 times, you suddenly realize you are a different business than when you started,” said Edan.

His RISD training causes him to ponder how everything in a house is connected.

“It’s the idea of what needs to happen, what’s the balance, what’s the quality level, what are we looking for this whole place to look like, to feel like? And then you bring in the things that will do that. It’s not about selling a cabinet.”

Plymouth Rock Kitchens is located at 34 South Park Ave., Plymouth. For more information, call 508-927-1074, email info@plymouthrockkitchens.com or visit www.plymouthrockkitchens.com

PR First March

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Sonoma Wool Company Evolves Its Business Model

By Carol K. Dumas

For many small businesses, a web presence is a vital component to a brick-and-mortar location. Sometimes, the web store is the business, from startups to giants in the industry, such as Amazon.

Sonoma Wool Company began business in 2013 selling products online made from sheep’s wool, based on a mission of sustainability and using American-sourced materials and makers. Its success since opening, and the founder’s subsequent move from California to Cape Cod, was a reason behind opening the company’s first retail store at 84 Underpass Road in Brewster.

The business was initially a side hack for founder Amy Chesnut, who’d had a successful career in land conservation in California where she had fostered her passion for supporting working lands and agriculture. She got to know sheep rancher Joe Pozzi who had developed a set of standards that defined how the animals are cared for, how the natural resources on the land are cared for and how the wool is harvested from the sheep. Pozzi worked with other ranchers to process wool and sell it to natural bedding companies.

“Joe’s work was making the wool into something viable,” said Chesnut, who was inspired by Pozzi’s efforts.

Amy and Sawyer

Chesnut wanted to figure out a way to share what she grew to love about wool – its natural qualities and its practical uses. So, she bought a felting loom, began experimenting with Pozzi Wool and developed the products. In September of 2013, she bought a booth spot at Sonoma County’s Heirloom Festival – and the company was up and running

Why wool?

Integral to Chesnut’s business is her mission to educate people to “Rediscover The Wonders of Wool.”

For millennia, wool was valued all over the world for its moisture-wicking and heat-retentive properties, which made it suitable to be woven into blankets, clothing, carpets and curtains, and even for use as insulation. It was labor-intensive, requiring many hands to get from animal to product, but it was a process that was non-polluting and sustainable.

During the 20th century, synthetic fibers allowed fabric to be quickly and cheaply mass produced in a factory, requiring less labor. But factory emissions contribute to air pollution, and synthetic microfibers pollute our waters, and are regularly ingested by animals and humans. Unfortunately, the manufacturing of synthetic fabrics resulted in shrinking the United States wool industry, as did the development of open lands once used for grazing animals.

With people today, worldwide, becoming more aware of the importance of reducing our carbon footprint on the world and using sustainable and recyclable materials, Sonoma Wool Company found a growing market of like-minded consumers.

“Consumers make choices every day, and when they opt to purchase our products, they are supporting family ranches so they can continue to tend their flocks on wide open spaces in a way that takes care of the land,” said Chesnut. “It’s a full circle, we’re part of the circular economy.”

The Sonoma Wool Company website is full of information about the “wonders of wool” that would convert the most diehard synthetic fabric fan: it’s 100-percent natural; a renewable resource (once sheared, sheep regrow their wool);, it absorbs moisture, yet repels liquids; releases moisture evenly; regulates temperatures (both heat and cold), keeping you comfortable no matter the season; resists dirt, stains, mold and mildew; and is completely biodegradable. What’s not to love?

Eastward, Ho!

While her new web-based business was doing well, Chesnut had future plans. She and her family had spent many memorable summers on Cape Cod and she always planned to move there as her parents did after they retired. In 2016, with an aging mother on the Cape, Chesnut felt the time was right to relocate and change her career.

She moved to Brewster and bought the iconic Brewster By the Sea Inn bed and breakfast on historic Old King’s Highway (Route 6A), while continuing to operate Sonoma Wool Company with her business partner, Joe Pozzi. In 2019, Amy’s son, Sawyer, and his wife moved to Brewster, and Sawyer took over as the Director of Operations, running the day-to-day activities of the company and steering its steady growth.

“It’s been a great fit; I find it incredibly satisfying to offer sustainable options that won’t harm the environment now or ever, and I love interacting with so many wonderful people,” chimes in Sawyer.

Amy’s bed and breakfast visitors raved about the pillows, comforters and mattress toppers filled with wool batting and, after learning that in Colonial times, a wool fulling mill was located near the current Brewster Grist Mill, her idea for selling her products in a retail shop began to grow.

The one-room shop with a rustic flair opened Dec. 3 and, in addition to viewing products such as comforters in sizes from twin to California king, dish-drying mats, bed toppers, pillows in three degrees of firmness, quilt batts, woven blankets, pet toys, ironing board pads and dryer balls, there’s a nod to wool’s past history with a spinning wheel and a display of raw wool that is not acid-washed like most wool and thus maintains a low carbon footprint in its processing.

Chesnut sources all the wool from American ranchers and it is washed, carded, felted and sewn in American mills and sewing rooms.

Is opening a retail store a bit of a risk in these days of e-commerce? Perhaps. But actually viewing merchandise and educating consumers in person about buying sustainable wool products hopefully will expand Sonoma Wool Company’s sales and outreach.

“I love talking with folks about wool and having that lightbulb moment when it clicks that wool is healthier for people and the planet. It’s a simple and elegant solution!” Chesnut notes.

The shop will be open through December daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, go to sonomawoolcompany.com. The business has a Facebook and Instagram presence as well.


Law At Work

Important Changes To Paid Family Medical Leave

By Kathleen R. O’Toole and Brendan P. Kelley

Several important updates to the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave law (“PFML”) go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.


Beginning in 2021, the PFML began providing paid family and medical leave benefits to current and, if applicable, former employees of Massachusetts employers. The PFML applies to all Massachusetts employers, regardless of size, and provides employees with leave to address their own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious condition, to bond with a new child, to manage needs related to a military deployment, or to care for a family member with a serious health condition who is a member of the Armed Forces. Employers are responsible for sending payroll contributions to the Department of Family and Medical Leave (“Department”), and when an employee qualifies for leave, benefits are paid to the employee by the state. Benefits are determined based on a percentage of an employee’s wages, up to a cap set by the Department. Generally, PFML follows the same eligibility criteria as the unemployment insurance program in Massachusetts.

Of note, though similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) which was passed in 1993, the PFML is much more expansive. Prior to the passage of the PFML, many smaller Massachusetts employers did not have to consider statutory family and medical leave because the FMLA only applies to employers with more than 50 employees. Moreover, employees only become eligible for FMLA once they have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months, and for at least 1,250 hours. With the passage of PFML, employers of all sizes must be aware of their obligations under the law.

Revised PFML Contribution Rates

The PFML contribution rates are set annually. Beginning in 2023, maximum weekly benefits increase from $1,084.31 to $1,129.82 per week, while contribution rates will actually decrease. For employers with 25 or more covered individuals, the employer contribution rate will be lowered from 0.68 percent to 0.63 percent of eligible employee wages (composed of 0.52 percent for medical leave and 0.11 percent for family leave). Meanwhile, the contribution rate for employers with fewer than 25 covered individuals will decrease from 0.344 percent to 0.318 percent (composed of 0.208 percent for medical leave and 0.11 percent for family leave). Importantly, for these smaller employers, contributions can be made entirely by the employee.

It is crucial that employers ensure that their payroll systems reflect the revised contribution rates. Employers are also required by law to notify all current employees of the changes in the contribution rates by Dec. 2, 2022 (30 days before Jan. 1, 2023), and all new employees within 30 days of their hire. All notices may be provided in hard copy or electronic form. Model notices and posters can be found at www.mass.gov.

catania hospitality group october 22 ad

Proposed Changes to the PFML

Governor Baker recently vetoed proposed changes to the PFML that would have allowed employees to “top off” their PFML benefits with accrued paid leave (such as vacation, sick, or other types of leave). The House of Representatives voted to override the veto, but the Senate did not. As a result, the changes have not gone into effect. However, employers should be mindful that the legislature may take this up again once the new session starts in January 2023.

Further, the Department scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 7, 2022 to discuss proposed amendments to the PFML regulations that would clarify and detail employers’ statutory obligations to maintain health insurance benefits for employees during a PFML leave period.

The current regulation requires that employers “shall continue to provide for and contribute to the employee’s employment-related health insurance benefits, if any, at the level and under the conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued working continuously for the duration of such leave.” The proposed amendment adds a requirement that an employer “continue to provide for, contribute to, or otherwise maintain” the benefits, and goes on to provide examples of ways in which employers could “otherwise maintain” an employee’s health benefits.

Importantly, the proposed amendment clarifies that employers will not be required to provide for, contribute to, or otherwise maintain health insurance benefits for employees who [1] do not receive or are not eligible for such benefits at the time their family or medical leave begins, [2] resign during leave, or [3] are former employees when their leave begins. For example, if an employee resigns before or during the leave period, an employer is not required to maintain health benefits.

As always, employers are advised to work with their employment counsel to ensure that they are up-to-date on the new and proposed changes to the PFML.

Kathleen R. O’Toole and Brendan P. Kelley are attorneys at the Boston law firm of Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford LLP. Feel free to send questions to kotoole@connkavanaugh.com or bkelley@connkavanaugh.com.

This column, which may be considered advertising under the ethical rules of certain jurisdictions, is intended as a general discussion of the topics covered, and does not constitute the rendering of legal advice or other professional advice by Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford LLP or its attorneys.

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Cape Plymouth Business December Cookies with Santa


The Cooperative Bank Supports Local Nonprofits

Coop Logo

The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod is supporting several local nonprofits during the holiday season, benefiting community members in need throughout the Cape Cod and South Shore region.

The Homeless Prevention Council is the beneficiary of The Coop’s annual Stuff-a-Stocking clothes drive. Donations of new hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, warm socks and books for children, as well as gift cards for teens and grocery gift cards for families, were dropped off at the giant stockings located at The Coop’s nine branches through Dec. 16.

The Coop’s additional holiday giving programs include:

  • Underwriting the $2,400 cost of shopping for five families participating in the Adopt-a-Family program at the Homeless Prevention Council. Five Coop employees volunteered to shop for 12 children, including purchasing additional items such as grocery gift cards at their own expense.
  • Supporting the Salvation Army’s Dress-a-Live-Doll program through The Coop’s employee-led ‘Paying It Forward” program. This year, 26 employees were split into five teams to shop for five children, or “dolls.” The employees raised a total of $1,125 for the program, which included a $500 match from the bank.
  • Contributing $2,000 to the Plymouth Area Coalition for the Homeless and its Adopt-a-Family program. The Coop’s donation will cover the cost of providing toys, gifts, winter clothing and holiday meal baskets for up to four families in South Shore communities.

“The region’s severe housing crisis, compounded by inflationary pressures and continuing effects of the pandemic, have many of our neighbors struggling financially and emotionally this holiday season,” said Lisa Oliver, Chair, President and CEO of The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. “The Coop is committed to supporting the many nonprofit organizations that are improving quality of life and providing hope for so many people on the Cape and South Shore. I ask that everyone take time this holiday season to generously contribute, whether financially or through volunteerism, to nonprofits caring for our friends and neighbors in need.”

Why I Give Kathy DeMeyer CPB

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Leaders Are Defined By Communication Skills

By Bob Cody

There’s an old adage that leaders are born, not made. Whether born or made, great leaders are characterized by a continuous assessment of their skills and a commitment to improving those skills. Regardless of what list of skills defining exceptional leaders you look at, communication is at the top of the list.

Leaders are defined by their communication skills. Poor communication can stop an otherwise skilled individual from maximizing their potential and that of those around them. Being an excellent leader and communicator doesn’t mean being the loudest person in the room or making inappropriate comments about or to those who disagree with you. It is defined by consistent, open, honest, deliberate and transparent communication, even under difficult circumstances.

Leadership communication can be defined as the purposeful transfer of information or news and the sharing of ideas, thoughts and feelings for the specific purpose of influencing a person, group, organization or community. It is more of an art than a science and encompasses verbal, nonverbal, and digital modes.

From a process perspective, communication is simple. The speaker sends a message, the receiver hears and responds, the speaker clarifies and the receiver confirms.

Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. As a leader, your communication flows from the leader’s perspective. It becomes grounded in the character and values of the organization and should be consistent, regular and deliberate. When addressing the organization it should be significant and reflect the present and future of the organization with the focus on people, products, service, and performance. A leader should strive to link their message with the company’s mission, vision and values.

Eighty percent of workplace problems can be traced to a lack of open and honest communication. In many cases it’s not what’s said, but what’s not said. Problems cannot be solved that aren’t known or talked about.

One thing to keep in mind as a leader is that those around you not only listen to your words, but also watch your actions and behavior – meaning your nonverbal communication is as important as your verbal communication. While they listen to your words, they also watch the direction your feet move. You need to be deliberate and consistent in all your actions.

The large volume of digital communication today can also prove troublesome. Keep in mind that all social media platforms need to provide the same message and in direct, easily understood language. The message needs to be short and precise. Additionally, we need to keep in mind that emotions can’t be heard in digital media or email so the need for precise communication is particularly important.

Whether leading in a small organization or a large one, communication at the individual level is extremely important and brings in perhaps the most important aspect of being an excellent leader – specifically, listening. Listening facilitates two-way communication and team building. Team members are more likely to focus on the mission and be productive if they feel their feelings, ideas and thoughts are being heard and incorporated into the organization. For a leader to truly be successful, they must understand what their organization is thinking. This can represent a new challenge as the message may need to be further refined to be heard as it should be. Improving your listening skills is one way to build trust throughout your organization.

Listening is clearly the most difficult aspect of communicating. While we speak at a rate of approximately 150 words per minute, we have the capacity to hear at a rate of approximately 1,000 words per minute. To improve your listening skills, there are several things that you can try including concentrating on what the speaker is saying, their voice inflections and body language. Also, try not to think about how you are going to respond but, instead, focus solely on the message being presented to you. To show that you are listening and understanding, try small affirming gestures and avoid interrupting the speaker or trying to finish their sentences.

When the speaker is finished, confirm what you just heard by repeating the key points. Clarify anything that you might not have understood. Ask questions as you need to, and remember the important points by verbalizing them. Good leaders seek out conversations and questions knowing they do not have all the answers.

Good leadership communication can be learned. Focus on clarity, brevity, being precise, building your relationships, being open-minded and listening. Remember, the message sent is not always the one received. Your job is to make sure it is.

Bob Cody is Executive Director of Leadership Cape Cod, a nonprofit organization which offers programs to help train and empower leaders to take responsibility for important community roles. For information on the next Community Leadership Institute program, visit https://leadershipcapecod.org/leadership

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