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.

COMMUNICATE BETTER BY UNDERSTANDING YOUR LISTENER

Empower-People
What is the biggest issue in your organization? If you answered communication, you would be with most people who answered that question. What can be done about improving communication, and how to get those wasted dollars back and reinvested in our other areas of your business, your division, or department? Communication is where it all starts. The importance of open communication, simply, cannot be overstated as it is fundamental in building trust, managing conflict, gaining commitment, maintaining accountability, and identifying team results. Much has been said and written about clear and concise communication. Much has been said about listening carefully. What if you are doing all of that but you still are having problems with your communication? We know that our message is affected by several things such as our personalities, our experiences, and our current mood. Well, the same holds true for our listener—the receiver of the information. We can...
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TAKE YOUR ATTITUDE TO THE NEXT LEVEL BUSINESS WILL FOLLOW

Positive-Attitude
“Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.” Zig Ziglar The fact is that people do not put enough emphasis on how attitude affects performance. Yes, attitudes DO affect performance. In fact, they affect everything that we do. Now if you doubt that then look back at the involuntary terminations in your organization. You will probably find that most of the terminations occurred due to poor attitudes and behaviors rather than lack of skills. There is a strong link between attitude and performance. Let’s start with defining what attitude means in this context. An attitude is a pattern of thought. It affects how we approach everything we do. If you change your attitude and change your outlook you will change your outcomes. Not that this is as easy as turning on a switch. It is not that easy. You can change your attitude, your outlook, and how you think but it will take real...
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NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP

Leader-Inspires
Are you a strategic leader? A strategic leader has a vision and shares that vision. He or she inspires goals and timetables to achieve that vision. When I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. However, they all agree that a leader must have vision. That is to say that they are strategic. All successful strategic leaders must be able to set goals and achieve results. Here is a results-based model of leadership proven to produce success.   It begins with setting goals through your organization's strategic plan that are focused on your vision. In this process you define the desired results from your team members. It continues by aligning the people and the processes to ensure its realization. The goal is to have all your operations linked to the plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving...
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DO THEY HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME?

Take-Ownership-1200x800
Do you want your team to have skin in the game and take ownership? If you want that then make sure you are not being a control freak. Rather than giving them detailed instructions tell them what needs to be done and make them accountable for the results. If you are frustrated with the results of your team, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First, have you provided them with the tools to succeed? Second, have you clearly communicated the objectives and desired results?   You may have you given plenty of detailed directions without explaining reasons and objectives. That will destroy their incentive. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two different approaches to giving an employee an assignment. Let’s say that you have a project the needs to be completed. You could give your team member a complete set of instructions...
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POWER AND AUTHORITY ARE NOT THE SAME

Message-from-Leader
Do you think that your words and actions inspire others? If you are the manager or the owner is that enough to have people, follow you? As the owner or manager, you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. For example, in organization I have worked with there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. Although they may have no title people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills. How much power do you do you have? Why not find out. Ask your colleagues or employees to give you some “360 feedback.” Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. That should develop...
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A MANAGER WITH GREAT LEADERSHIP SKILLS

Empower-People
A great core competency of managers is having excellent leadership skills. Management and Leadership are both important roles and it is best if they work together. A manager guides and controls but he or she can never achieve excellence without leadership skills. The roles of leadership are visioning, modeling, and motivating. In the earlier times of business, the role of a manager was not that complex. The manager oversaw what employees did. People performed or were fired. This traditional boss is no longer effective and no longer welcome. Management today is more complex. A manager today is responsible for the performance of the team, the business, or the company. The buck stops there but this does not mean that everything happens there. Things can be offloaded and delegated with confidence it the manager knows how to lead. That means that a leader gets results by working with and inspiring the team....
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DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE LETTING GO?

Family-Business-Succession
If you want to grow and have a sustainable business, you will need to let go. Just like teaching a child to ride a bike you must do the same in your business and take the training wheels off. Here is a problem that comes up all too often. A business owner or agency owner spends most of his or her time working IN the business and virtually no time working ON the business. Why is this problematic? When you start your business, you need to do everything, or it does not get done. Sometimes you have time management issues, but you must work through them. Your business grows, and you simply can't get it all done. Time to hire someone. Now you are at the pinnacle of a growing business. At this point you are now not only the owner but also a manager and the leader. When you hire...
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ACTIVE LISTENING WILL PROMOTE TRUST

Nonverbal-Communication
Why can two different people communicate the same message but have different results? The key is making a connection. Covey’s fifth of his seven habits of highly effective people is, First seek to understand then to be understood. Without connection there is an absence of trust and without trust the message may not have its intended response. Build your connection with empathy. Actively listen and ask questions and show genuine interest. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others. For some reason people place a high priority on speaking and presentation skills but do not place the same emphasis on listening skills. Most people are thinking about what they will say next rather than seeking to understand by actively listening to what others are saying. If we believe that empathy is an important trait, then we should realize...
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MANAGING A REMOTE WORK TEAM

Virtual-Team-Meeting
Many businesses have been working remotely now for almost a year. Some people have moved forward to take full advantage of the new technology. Others are adapting. Still others are fighting it. When crisis has happened in the past, we have come out of it stronger, but we did not go back to the way things were before. We won’t be going back to the way things were this time either. In adapting we have learned better ways to get work done. Virtual teams which have been around for a while will take a more prominent role. There will also be new hybrids of in person combined with virtual. Technology has shown us the way. Today we a seeing more efficient ways to work that takes less time and does not involve travel. Online training is now amazingly effective through webinars or interactive sessions. Although technology is the same human nature...
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YOUR EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION IS A LEADING INDICATOR

Aligned-Team
Retention of key employees is important to your company. What was your retention rate last year? Whatever it was, if you want it to improve this year you will need to have a strong Employee Value Proposition. An Employee Value Proposition explains why a highly qualified employee would want to work for your company and why that highly qualified person would want to stay. This Employee Value Proposition would be tied to your strategic plan and include your vision, your values, and, your mission. The values should include such things as social responsibility, ethical conduct, and reputation. Strong employee engagement produces successful business outcomes including a loyal customer base. And this leads to increasing sales and profits. The reverse is also true. Employees who are not engaged have no passion for their work, are frequently absent, make mistakes, and cost the organization its customers. Understanding what engages employees involves connecting with...
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ARE YOU AN ASSISTANT BUYER?

Consultative-Sales
People don’t like to be sold but they sure like to buy. The school of sales that says, “Always be closing,” is closed! This is not today’s sales. And here is another fact. We are all in sales no matter what our job because we seek, at some time or another, to influence others. We need to build relationships first. If you want to be a trusted assistant buyer, you need to be a problem solver. Here are some ways to become that problem solver. 1. Don’t use a sales pitch but instead start a conversation. When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves 2. Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit. Let...
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HAVE YOU BEEN FORCED TO LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE?

Comfort-Zone
Generally, people find it hard to leave their comfort zone. Occasionally, you get forced out of your comfort zone and this is what happened in 2020. However, being forced out does not guarantee success. You could be stuck not knowing what to do next. I found this quite common during March of last year. We often hear people say that want to research this. Some people research so much that they have paralysis of analysis. Another way to describe this thought process is what I would call “Getting ready to go to work”. For example, “I still don’t have my resume, my presentation, or my 2 sharpened number 2 pencils”—you get the idea! Often people want to do great things, but they never follow through. Why? One possible answer is that the rewards aren’t enough to motivate them into action. Another probable answer is procrastination has derailed or stalled them. The...
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MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS MORE THAN TACTICS

Create-A-Vision
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we must think strategically. If you look down at details without look at the horizon and considering options you may be blindsided. While no one could have anticipated 2020, there are “what if” scenarios that you can consider. Then you can develop strategies to deal with each. A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and have the way set out to create the future. To remain successful a business must have that plan to be successful now and in the future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my Westchester, NY, clients with a strategic plan: 1.        Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether you are in real estate, construction and contracting, graphic design, or consulting you must define what you provide to the customer. For example, as the pandemic hit...
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HIRE AND RETAIN THE BEST

Job-Interview
Do you want to understand the success factors so that you can hire and retain the best employees? Many companies spend time and effort on identifying the correct skill sets when hiring. Then, after a candidate is finally hired the company will invest in training the new employee in the skills, processes, and procedures for doing the job. In addition, the new employee will look to increase his or her skills and understanding of the business. The employee attends training on the latest systems or learns the latest sales techniques. The employee gets training on the features and benefits of the products and services. Most of the time is spent on learning the nuts and bolts. Many businesses make the mistake of spending selection and training solely on skills and knowledge. Then what happens if the employee is fired or leaves the company? The hiring manager searches for candidates that have...
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EVERY ORGANIZATION HAS CULTURE – IS YOURS THE ONE YOU WANT

Company-Culture
Did you ever think that you as the leader create the culture of your company? Are you happy with the culture you have created? A culture has much to do with your organizational values. Are those value, however, just on paper or are they living values? Leadership and management are behaviors that are 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. Management consultant and author Ken Blanchard believes that leadership is responsible for creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, and organizational change. Ken reinforces the values and beliefs that have 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 that...
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DON’T MAKE YOUR GOAL AN EMPTY RESOLUTION

Create-Your-Dream
How many people are making New Year’s Resolutions? How many have an intention of achieving the Resolution? There are several important points to making a resolution you intend to keep. You need a vison or dream, you need an action plan, and, above all, you need a deadline! Let’s start the process of defining your vision. Do an inventory of your dreams and write them down. Can you visualize them and verbalize them? This is the first step in goal achievement. To create the motivation to achieve your goal you must have a burning desire to reach it and that would come from a big dream. If you have made goals in the past and have not achieved them one reason may be that you did not have a burning desire and, therefore, not driven to achieve them. New Year’s resolutions fall into this category many times. When you think about...
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HOW DOES YOUR COMMUNICATION FLOW?

Assistant-Buyer
Communication is always a two-way process. We should remember that we talk WITH people not TO people. Do you remember the line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate?”   This line is from the movie Cool Hand Luke and it has become a catchphrase. That is because it highlights one of our greatest frustrations--miscommunication. On the other hand, great communication has almost always been a trait of some of our greatest leaders. They had great accomplishments, but they were almost always great communicators. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. Depending on our communications media, the words we use might not have as powerful an impact as other factors. For example, in face-to-face conversations we communicate more information nonverbally through our body language...
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LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS

Entrepreneur
We make the best decisions when rely on our strengths rather than try to shore up our weaknesses. Unfortunately, many of us do not know our strengths and how to use them. According to some psychologists 88% of the decisions we make rely on our natural talents and tendencies and that these are part of our subconscious. Our subconscious is an important, powerful, and much needed tool. The unconscious handles all basic physical functions like breathing, heart rate, immune system, etc. The subconscious mind holds the blueprint of our body as it is now and the blueprint of your perfect health. Because our subconscious mind’s main objective is focused on survival, it can cause us to make decisions based on limited knowledge or beliefs or sometimes even false knowledge. Understanding how we subconsciously use our talents to make decisions can dramatically improve our performance. In the early 1950’s Dr. Robert S....
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DELEGATION WITH CONFIDENCE IN ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountable-Team
You cannot complain that you must do everything yourself if you never delegate. You don’t delegate because you don’t feel confident about letting someone else do it. This is a catch 22! Or is it? As a business leader you need to be in control of your business BUT you don’t need to be a control freak. Taking that route leads to being overwhelmed. As a sole entrepreneur you, of course, need to control everything but once you decide to grow being a control freak will hold you back. Once you hire employees your job becomes managing results of others rather than doing everything yourself. If you don’t do that effectively you will spend all of your time driving the fire truck and putting out fires. You’ll worry about how to do every detail but you will lose sight of the big picture. Why is this problematic? If you hire a...
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TAKE CONTROL OVER WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BUSINESS AND LIFE

Stress-working-late
Have all the changes this year made you feel less in control? Some things are out of our control, but you must not lose control of what matters in your business and your life. Many Westchester County business owners have told me that they feel overwhelmed. The current pandemic is key but many also blame the rapid pace of business or the economic fact that business must do more with less. Technology, while automating things that used to take much more time has also created new pressure. Instant communication on handheld devices gives us the sense of urgency and feeling that we must always be working. Everything seems to go faster, leaving everyone feeling overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed.   Some people may suggest that this is an issue of time management. The real issue is not time management but understanding your goals and your purpose. Here are some tips on surviving being...
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