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.

THAT IS NOT WHAT I SAID

Message-from-Leader
One sentence with the same words can have many different meanings. Zig Ziglar showed how the sentence “I did not say he beat his wife” could have eight different meanings. Each time you change the voice inflection on a word you change the meaning. Clearing sending a message is not simple. You must consider the words and the way the words are delivered. Recently I met executives of a Westchester County New York company . The employees felt that there were a lot of changes but also believed 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. As a manager do you know...
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GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Transform-Fear-into-Action
Lack of courage is one of the root causes of many time management issues. In fact, time management is usually not a time management problem but a behavior problem. Procrastination is something that we all must confront and deal with from time to time. It's only natural to procrastinate at times, but the way you deal with your procrastination patterns will determine what effects procrastination has on your life. Why is it that so many people start out with good intentions to achieve a goal but never achieve that goal? When you procrastinate you simply fail to act on the very things you know will bring you the rewards that you desire. You know you want the rewards and know you must act, but you hold off, make excuses and, in short, procrastinate. Procrastination can be caused by a fear—a fear of failure or the fear of stepping outside your comfort...
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LEVERAGE YOUR OWN LEADERSHIP STRENGTHS

Level-5-Leadership
There is a distinction between management and leadership. Management is a matter of job title that is given by your organization or by yourself if you are the owner of the company. On the other hand, leadership is recognition by those whom you lead. Expressed in different terms a manager has the authority and a leader has the power. Of course, you can be both and have both. The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. Most people believe that no one is a born leader. There is a belief by most that leadership is developed and there is no one set of leadership traits. In fact, there are examples of two very effective leaders with highly contradictory traits. The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. A military leader does not...
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IS IT YOUR GROUNDHOG DAY?

Ground-Hog-Day
When I think of Groundhog Day, I can’t help but think about the movie with Bill Murray. You might remember the movie. Bill Murray played a weatherman who continually woke up to Ground Hog day every morning. It was so funny it was ridiculous. Or was it? How many business owners play the same Groundhog Day even though the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Or maybe the owner makes minor changes and hopes that it will be enough. Like Murray they are not seeing the need to change. If business owners do not see the need for change, they won’t do it. They don’t see the need because they are not looking. Here are four reasons why people resist change.   The first reason is FEAR. Fear is internal-- it’s in our head. It could be fear of failure or fear of a...
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ARE YOUR TWEAKING OR TRANSFORMING YOUR BUSINESS?

Decisions
Why would you continue doing the same thing year after year? Over time things change, don’t they? I am sure that you have heard it said that what got you to where you are with not get you to where you want to go next. I am working with my Westchester County NY business owners on developing their future business plans. I urge every business owner to have a Strategic Business Plan. A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and then plan to create the business’ future. To remain successful a business must have that plan now and in the future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my clients with a strategic plan: Make sure you know what business you are in. This is not about what products or services that you provide. How is the customer served? What need is being...
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HELP YOUR CLIENT BUY

Assistant-Buyer
No one likes to be sold. The recipient or the buyer who has been sold has the feeling that someone just did something to him or her. Many times, people who feel as if they have been sold have buyer’s remorse. On the other hand, people sure do love to buy. Moreover, surveys have should that people’s perception of salespeople range from necessary to swarmy. Just about all of us are in sales in some form and we certainly don’t want to be seen that way. So, let’s move from the sales side and help our client buy. In effect, be the assistant buyer. What is your perception of your doctor when you have a problem or a pain? If you are going because of stress, anxiety, or pain you are looking for the doctor to diagnose and solve your pain. What is different here? If you visit your doctor because...
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WHY WOULD A QUALIFIED EMPLOYEE WANT A JOB AT YOUR COMPANY

WHY WOULD A QUALIFIED EMPLOYEE WANT A JOB AT YOUR COMPANY
Today’s workforce is looking for much more than just a paycheck. They want to know that they are making valuable contributions. They also care very much about the values that an organization lives as opposed to what the organization says. Living the values starts at the top but it is modeled by all members of the leadership team including the first line supervisors. After you have hired the best people your challenge as a leader is to keep them engaged and producing results. And keep in mind that people want to feel that their work is producing meaningful results. Employees who are engaged will help create loyal customers who will rave about them and your company. That will happen because your engaged employees have exceeded customer expectations. But remember too that you will need cohesive and effective teams, not people in individual silos. While it is true that everyone has different...
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BEHAVIORAL SKILLS BEFORE FUNCTIONAL SKILLS

Assistant-Buyer
Many businesses have created their business plans and are now in the process of hiring of staff. Some will be making the mistake of simply reading a resume and conducting an interview, having a gut feeling and then hiring. Not so fast! Contrary to what you may think education and skills do not create success. The proper application of the education and skills is what counts. In Good to Great Jim Collins explains that building a great organization is as simple as “Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” It may be simple but it’s not easy. You will need to change the way you hire people. Unfortunately, all too often managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at background in the industry, jobs held before, and job history. Significant time is spent looking at a...
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DO YOU MAKE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS?

New-Years-Resolution
Frankly, I am not one for New Year’s Resolutions. Why? Because these are usually halfhearted resolutions at the spur of the evening, and they have no thought behind them. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions fade very quickly because the will or resolve in the resolution is not there. After the fizz from the New Year’s Eve will the commitment remain? In most cases, the answer is no. My favorite example is at my Gym. Next week I will need to get there early to account for the increased number of people who have just signed up. But like every year, by the end of February there will be plenty of room. Why do people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions?   Perhaps they really did not want to do what they had resolved to do. The first step toward making that resolution is to really know what you want to do in...
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WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU SEE FOR NEXT YEAR?

Mountaintop
A new year and a new decade is just around the corner. How is 2019? Are you finishing strong? Are there things that should change next year? Who should be working on their goals and plan for 2020? Maybe you have everything working perfectly and will continue doing what you are doing. If you see some opportunities why not review what is working and what isn’t working. I am currently working with businesses and executives in Westchester County New York on their annual goals review . Setting a goal is not like a New Year's resolution. That is just a wish. Just wishing and hoping for something isn't going to make it happen. Setting a goal is having a target to shoot for and a plan to get there. When planning your goals, choose which categories you would like for your goals. Establish the time frame. They could be lifetime goals,...
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IS YOUR MESSAGE LOST IN THE TRANSLATION?

Body-Language-in-Message
No matter how well we choose our words they will have no meaning until they are translated by our listener. Communication is a two-way process and it is more than just words. Effective communication involves feelings, connections, and other nonverbal signals. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. “What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you are saying.” Therefore, it is important to understand the meaning others might put on your words. Your gestures, expressions, intonations, and beliefs will communicate much more meaning than the words alone. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate in order to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. A good communicator, to be sure of the desired response, is also a good listener. He or she listens for feedback to see that the message is...
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YOU NEED TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE

Accountability
Achievers are always accountable for results. And leadership fails when the leader does not hold all team members accountable. I am sure you have heard that many times before. You might have even heard it from a boss you had imploring you to “hold them accountable.” Some people see this as a problem. They fear that holding people accountable will hurt relationships. In reality, it requires more skilled relation building over mutually agreed to goals. Creating a culture of accountability requires collaboration, communication of goals, and understanding the nature of motivation. Having conversations about accountability should be combined with empowering your team to take ownership of their work. You need to communicate the goals and the desired outcomes, but they need to be a part of it. Be totally transparent regarding challenges and obstacles. Your team should not fear making mistakes but should learn from them. Honest and direct conversations need...
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HOW TO CREATE A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Aligned-Team
An organization is only as good as its people. Great people and great teams do not happen by accident. Creating a successful team requires right actions by the leadership.   There are two very important actions that must be taken by team leaders. First, you must start with the right people and these people must share your values. But then leadership has the challenge of retaining those high performers by keeping them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In our business climate it is not enough to be good, we must exceed our customers’ expectations. That is not going to happen if you have a lot of highly qualified but individual performers who don’t share vision, values, and goals. You need cohesive and effective teams to make it happen, not people in individual silos. Everyone has different talents...
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LISTEN TWICE AS MUCH

Coaching
It is true that we have two ears and one mouth. We should listen at least twice as much than we talk. Unfortunately, many times during a conversation we concentration on our talking points rather than being guided by what we are hearing. This is not the best way be persuasive and certainly not a good way to communicate. I was on the receiving end of a conversation. It went like this… I was questioning a salesperson about comparable features offered by two different iPhone telecommunications carriers. During the conversation I pointed out that one carrier had an additional benefit. The benefit was the ability to use the Internet while on a call. The salesperson quickly shot back something to the effect, “you’re not going to surf the internet while you are driving.” Did he hear that from me? No. I had a legitimate reason for wanting this service. When I...
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THE ROLE OF A LEADER

Message-from-Leader
You need management and leadership. While management organizes and controls, leadership charts the way, innovates, and inspires the organization to new heights. As a leader your role is to navigate your organization or your team through the uncertainties. Sometimes the good and necessary management skills such as planning, directing and controlling create roadblocks because they are missing the inspirational leadership. The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. That’s right. If all the students fail the exam, then the fault lies with the teaching. Like students you and your staff may not be on the same page. You may be a great manager, but you may fail as a leader. We can influence the process through which people recognize our leadership by creating an environment where people will join “the team” because they see the purpose. They understand the vision...
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WHY FIGURES OUT HOW

Create-Your-Dream
Stop worrying about how to do something and stop telling your staff how to do something. Instead, find your why and make sure their why is aligned with yours. Then the way (how) will present itself. Goal planning is not about writing down a list of tasks. Instead, it starts with a why which some people call a dream. Someone said, ”you gotta have a dream if you want a dream to come true. That’s the why. Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter. Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated. You can’t motivate yourself or motivate others. You need instead to reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. If you know a staff member’s why or hot button just give them the job that fits their passion. You will be amazed at how they will surprise you with results. Make...
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ARE YOU AFRAID TO LET GO?

StressedOwner
Are you afraid to let go and is this hurting your business growth? Why do you want to be a control freak when there is a much easier and more productive way? This problem could have had its roots in the founding of the business when owners and principals must be very involved in the product or service. The owner must spend most of the time working in the business to make sure that the product or service gets out, the money gets collected, and the bills get paid. That is very important for business survival. There comes a time when the business grows, and one person can’t get it all done. Now you, the owner, hire someone. You are at the pinnacle of a growing business. At this point you are now not only the owner but also a manager. But beware! You hire an employee but continue to stay...
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USE THIS LEADING MEASUREMENT TO IMPROVE YOUR SALES AND PROFITS

Center-of-Influence
If you have had profits in the past there is no guarantee you will have them in the future. To quote investment company advertisements, “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” You need to have a leading indicator. A leading indicator would show current business conditions which would lead to continued success. Two very important measurements are employee engagement and customer loyalty . While sales and profits are very important measurements, they tell you what has happened. Employee engagement and customer loyalty tells you what will happen. When you have engaged employees they will do their best work which will result in loyal customers. You should measure employee engagement at least once per year. The ultimate employee question is, “How likely are you to recommend our company as a great place to work?” When you have highly engaged employees you have promoters of your workplace. A measurement called The Net...
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IT IS NOT THAT EASY TO ELIMINATE THOSE BAD HABITS

Erase-Bad-Habits
If bad habits were easy to change, we would have so much more success. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, bad habits and bad behaviors are the biggest obstacles to success in business. We need to be spending more time on attitudes and behaviors and at least as much time as we spend on developing skills and knowledge. That is because most employee terminations and business failures occur because of habits and behaviors. If any of you have ever done an assessment with a coach or you have had a developmental assessment for your job you probably saw a section on the worksheet that is titled “I will stop doing…” If you are doing things that are harmful to your business, why do you keep doing them? In most cases we are in a comfort zone and we don’t want to change because making any change will be uncomfortable....
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THE DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS OF LEADERSHIP

Level-5-Leadership
Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a good leader? If you asked that question to a room full of people you would probably get different answers. That is because leadership is complex and situational. Leadership and management is much more complex than mastering an individual job. For that reason and others as well the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. I had the opportunity a while ago to be part of a group invited to listen to Ken Blanchard discussing building trust, creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, leadership and organizational change. Ken reinforces some of the values and beliefs that been proven to create positive corporate cultures. You have it wrong if you consider yourself a leader because you have been placed in charge. On the other hand, a person with no direct reports can be a very effective leader. The reason...
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