PD Strategies Blog

PD Strategies Blog

Performance and Development Strategies Blog is the informational place to get timely and purposeful articles on the issues that concern you most.

WHO REALLY LIKES TO CHANGE?

Change-Management
Although leaders will agree that change is necessary, they may need to become more aware of how they themselves need to change. If they want people to take ownership and initiative, then they must relinquish some degree of control. What we did to get to where we are today will not get us where you want to go tomorrow.   Who are our customers and what business are we in? If we want to continue hold onto our customers and market share, we must adapt to changing times. And if we want to move forward, we need to anticipate and get ahead of change. Why do people resist change? Why do people continue to do the same things although they are no longer getting the results they once achieved? Understanding the reasons people resist change can help overcome the obstacles to change and create real progress. So here are four reasons why...
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COMMUNICATING STANDARDS AND DEVELOPING ACCOUNTABILITY

Job-Interview
The best way to create top performance in your staff is knowing what great performance for your organization looks like. Before you begin talking about standards you need to know and clearly communicate your organizational values and goals. It all starts there! I have made this statement many times… only work with people who share your values. Specific values may be called out in performance goals such as a restaurant server acting in a way that creates a great guest experience. Values are very important and so are behaviors. Behaviors involve how an employee should act and react and values play a big part in this. Of equal importance are the required deliverables. These are the results. Now how do we communicate this? Let’s start with clear standards and goals and then do regular measurements. Many managers dread the words “Performance Appraisal.” Unfortunately, that attitude creates failed opportunities. A performance appraisal...
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BEWARE OF THE MANY NUANCES OF COMMUNICATION

Message-from-Leader
Think during your time in your corporate careers. Did you ever come to a time as you moved up the corporate ladder when the words you used or comments you had made before now have a totally different (sometimes devastating) effect on a receiver of your message? This is just one example of something that I am sure you already know. Communication is more than words and the great majority of the message is nonverbal! If you wish to improve your leadership skills, you will need to take responsibility for the communication within your organization. Start by considering what affect your words have as leader. By setting the example you can dramatically affect the communication process. There are three things that you must evaluate in order to improve your communications skills. They are: 1. What you say 2. How you say it both verbally and non-verbally 3. Your position and who...
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TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO GOALS

Create-Your-Dream
Do you have some dreams that you would like to become realities? Are you willing to create a plan to get there? Your plan will consist of several goals. Although some people have dreams many never get past the dream stage because they have no goals. A goal is really a dream with a timetable. First, let’s build the dream and then create the goals to get there. Do an inventory of your dreams and write them down. Can you visualize them and verbalize them? Visualizing and verbalizing your dream will create the motivation to achieve. In fact, a burning desire to make your dream a reality will create the urgency to make your dreams come true. If you have made goals in the past and have not achieved them, you probably did not have the burning desire to achieve them. New Year’s resolutions fall into this category many times. When...
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ARE YOU DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Entrepreneur
Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you like the freedom of being your own boss? Do you know that being your own boss requires risks? Risk is good and you should understand “No Risk, No Gain.” Yes, you are a risk taker if you are an entrepreneur. It is true that many startups do not survive. That, you say, is the risk that is assumed. But there is bare risk and then there is managed risk. Using the investment community as an example you can be a great risk taker, do day trading including option buying and ride a roller coaster. Or you can make a managed long-term diversified investment plan. Both choices involve risk, but the second choice of diversifying manages that risk and results in a successful outcome. A successful entrepreneur manages risk. Michael Gerber, in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses what I would...
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ROLL OUT CHANGE VERY CAREFULLY

Nonverbal-Communication
Although no one likes to change it is often necessary. That doesn’t make it any easier to accept. But it is important to communicate change and the reasons behind it very carefully. Without proper attention to the communication details the outcomes can be disastrous. I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The employees felt that there had been very many changes, but they also felt that management was not keeping them informed. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. Can you say with certainty that you know what is important to employees and...
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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOYALTY AND SATISFACTION?

On-Top
Every student knows that satisfactory is not really that good a grade. Satisfactory is just enough to get by. It certainly won’t have people raving. That is true for customers and employees. Peter Ducker said that the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. It is really that simple. Creating a customer is done through a clear message and marketing but keeping a customer is based on performance. Every business must focus on what works to retain a customer or retain an employee. A company that says it separates itself from others by service usually does not even know what that means. For example, it seems that the majority of businesses are focusing on customer satisfaction to determine their customer service measurements. This measurement is flawed and often falls short of actionable expectations. Companies also make a mistake in the method of measuring the voice of their customer....
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TAKE DELEGATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL

StrugglingManager
If you feel that nothing important should be delegated, you will never be able to take your organization to the next level. Being a control freak or a micro manager is not necessary even in projects where accuracy or compliance is required. There is a much better way to get desired results and hold people accountable. You can maintain accuracy and compliance without stifling your team. If you do micromanage you could stifle your company growth, have high turnover, and end up working way too many hours. Let’s consider an actual example. I have worked with a person owns a business that includes insurance and real estate. He has a dozen employees involved in the process of sales and contracts. Each person has a job title but not a job description. Things change quickly as does the mood of the owner. To make matters worse people are asked to do something...
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A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM HAS DIVERSE STRENGTHS

A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM HAS DIVERSE STRENGTHS
It has been said that a team with diverse talents will be a high performing team. That is true most of the time as long as the team has a good leader. It is important for leaders to choose diverse talented teams. Moreover, it is important encourage and leverage individual member’s unique strengths. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Avoid that tendency with which we have been engrained. That is wasting time and effort correcting weaknesses. You know how this happens. When your child comes home from school with his or her report card and it shows, for example, an A in math, B’s in history and science, and a C in English, what is your response? That’s right. Most people will talk to their child about raising the grade in English. But what if your child might have a real talent in math?...
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CREATE A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

CREATE A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Good leaders are able to have fully accountable teams by creating a culture of accountability. The best way to accomplish is to create the culture where teams feel motivated to achieve goals. Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”   Many times, we fear having a discussion about results and performance because we feel we will not change behavior and we might create alienation. However, we will have continued failure if we do nothing and refuse to hold people accountable for results. How does a manager hold members of the staff responsible for performance? What about an employee who needs help but fears asking for help? The results can be devastating when we fail to have accountability discussions. We need to talk things out about goals and measured results. This would involve: Agreeing on a task or a...
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THE NATURE OF CHANGE

THE NATURE OF CHANGE
Have you thought about how fast change is happening? Change is constant and a person who can manage or get in front of change will survive and thrive. The nature of change was brought home to me as I was reading account of how current business owners had spent the last 10 years. There were drastic differences within just the last 10 years. If these business owners did not make the changes, they made they might be out of business. The expression “If it’s not broke don’t fix it” could more appropriately be stated “If it is not broken yet it soon will be.” You can wait for change to force you to do something and then react. But that is not the best option. The best option is to predict and get in front of change. These are some of the things you should you should be doing proactively: 1....
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TURN YOUR DECISIONS INTO ACTIONS

TURN YOUR DECISIONS INTO ACTIONS
There is a condition out there called the paralysis of analysis. This condition destroys what could be many successful outcomes. What is worse is deciding but then failing to take action –failing to start. The reason that many great ideas never become reality is lack of commitment to get started. It is a law of physics. It takes more energy to start a car or turn on a light than to continue operating them. This is also true with starting a project or starting a business. It takes more effort to get started. For that reason, people over analyze and tell themselves the don’t want do it until it is perfect. A coach colleague of mine has coined this habit “Getting ready to go to work”. I cannot start until I get my brochures, business cards, website, 2 number 2 pencils—you get the idea! I have heard that 80% of people...
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MAKE A TEAM OF DIFFERING ABILITIES A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

MAKE A TEAM OF DIFFERING ABILITIES A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM
Most of us understand that diversity of backgrounds and thought processes will most likely result in better results. With that understanding we might think that it follows that a diverse team is a high performing team. But this is not always the case. A high performing diverse team is led by a good leader. Without a good leader a diverse team could be dysfunctional. According to a Harvard professor, William George effective leaders are authentic leaders. Authentic leaders are self-aware, practice their values and principles, seek criticism and “stay grounded.” Above all, they empower others to become leaders themselves. Strong leaders have courage to challenge the status quo and point out failures in the organization. They develop and coach others and build positive collaborative relationships. Teams that are high performing are collaborative. To illustrate the importance of team collaboration let’s consider a flock of geese. A flock of geese has a...
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WHAT HAS YOUR COMMUNICATION FAILURE COST YOU?

WHAT HAS YOUR COMMUNICATION FAILURE COST YOU?
What we have here is a failure to communicate! That line from Cool Hand Luke highlights the consequences of miscommunication. Lack of real communication is one of the biggest causes of dysfunctional relationships in our business and personal lives. We communicate to get an expected response from someone else. But sometimes, in fact often, we do not get the response we expect.   One powerful reason for this failure is that we talk more than we listen. We are so concerned with making our own points and having someone understand us that we do not take the time to understand the other person. How often do we try to insert our own opinions to try to persuade others? Communication requires a sender of the message and a receiver—that is to say that communication is a two-way process. That means we must listen to hear and understand the other person. We need to...
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DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?

DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?
Can you go on a vacation and unplug totally without worrying about what will happen in your business? If your business cannot properly function when you are not there, then you don’t have a business but rather, you have a hobby. This is not a bad thing because this may be your business goal. There is nothing wrong with being solo so don’t worry if that is what you want. However, if you want to take your business to the next level you need to have systems in place that are easily followed by others. Does your business survive due to external dynamics and timing but will become stagnant when you are not there? In this case you might feel like you are a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. As an example, in the restaurant industry there are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel...
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DON’T PLACE TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON EXPERIENCE

DON’T PLACE TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON EXPERIENCE
Don’t make a hiring decision based on a great resume. First of all, the resume is the applicant’s puff piece and secondly, it tells what was done in the past. You are hiring for the future. This is different than saying that knowledge of the job and the requisite skills and knowledge are not important. They certainly are. Of course, you want the right person for the right job. However, looking primarily for experience will produce disappointing results. Here is what I have observed. Those running the business believe that their industry is different from others, so unique that the primary requirement is experience. Because of that mindset I have seen many bad candidates hired and many qualified candidates screened out. The hiring manager is using the assumption that as long as the candidate has previous experience in the industry or job that the candidate will be a success in the...
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IS YOUR TIME AN EXPENSE OR AN INVESTMENT?

IS YOUR TIME AN EXPENSE OR AN INVESTMENT?
What would you do if you just received a large monetary inheritance? Would make an extravagant expenditure, invest it, or pay down debt? When you get time do you approach it in the same manner? It is true that you will get more out of the time you have when you learn to get more out of your life. What do you want? What are your values? What do you believe and what are your priorities? The answer to these questions will determine how you spend your day. In order to get more out of you time, you need to know what you want to get out of it. There is a difference between spending time and investing time. According to Webster to spend is to use up, exhaust, or consume. In other words, if you spend you have no return. On the other hand, when you invest you do so...
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IT’S NOT THE MESSAGE - IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT

IT’S NOT THE MESSAGE - IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT
I don’t know about you, but I have seen two different people convey the same message with drastically different results. Many times, it involves conveying a company policy or procedure that requires change. In other instances, it may involve coaching a person to change. There are two components which determine whether the communication is effective or whether it creates resentment. The first is the choice of words and the other is the attitude of the person communicating. It is very important that you have empathy for the other person. Help them to feel as if their opinions matter. Next time try some of these examples. •           You can accept other people’s ideas and respect them although you do not have to agree. Acknowledge amazing requests and outrageous statements with responses such as: "That's an interesting idea." "That's a novel request." "What an intriguing question." Then listen to what the other...
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EMPLOYEES ARE THE KEY TO CUSTOMER LOYALTY

EMPLOYEES ARE THE KEY TO CUSTOMER LOYALTY
You may believe that you have a powerful customer value proposition but if your employees are not on board it will never be fulfilled. If they are not on board then, perhaps, you are not leading them. When I consult with business owners in Westchester County New York often I hear comments about getting the staff to do the right things. Sometimes an owner is willing to place all the blame on the staff being lazy, unmotivated, or the like. Fortunately, most will ask how they can improve their ability to get the team behind them. You can change things by being laser focused on the goals and leading by example. Your laser focus empowers your employees who in turn create loyal customers by their actions. Being Laser Focused - You may be the owner but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. As owner you can influence...
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INNOVATE TO CREATE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION

INNOVATE TO CREATE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION
Having a unique value proposition will differentiate you from your competition. Most people are at a loss when it comes to articulating their unique value proposition. Many companies say that their service is what sets them apart from their competition. They will say, “Our Service is what sets us apart. We give great customer service.” If that is your answer, I would ask you to think about that. Doesn’t everyone claim to give great service? What is unique about yours? You really need to go a step above that by exceeding your customers’ expectations. One way to do that is create a product, a service or an experience that is innovative in your customers’ eyes. What would really wow your customers? Steve Jobs achieved that wow when he created the iPhone, an invention that was less of a phone than something holding most of our needs that we can carry anywhere....
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