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.

ENGAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES

Employee-Value-Proposition---Copy
Now might be a good time to look at the strategic direction of your company. Here are two basic questions. What business are you in? Are your employees aligned and are they doing the right things for the right reasons? What business are you in? Don’t laugh. What product or service do you really provide and have times including the last two years caused you to rethink? You might be providing computer and IT support but now you may be a consultant to clients to protect and secure their information. You might need to do a scan of the landscape, gather information, talk to customers, and study industry trends. Failure to do this may cause your business to decline. Listen to your customers and ask for their opinion about your services. Learn this and create your customer value proposition. Are your employees aligned and are they engaged? You will not exceed...
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IN PERSON, VIRTUAL, OR HYBRID?

Delivering-a-Message
A successful business must take advantage of the new technology. For most leaders this means that change will be necessary. Some leaders have embraced the changes and created their own new organization. This is the most desirable approach to change—embrace it and get in front of it. Others are still waiting, and they may become disappointed when they learn that things will never be as they were before. 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....
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IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES

Message-from-Leader
What is going on today? What is the Great Resignation all about? I know some managers that think they know all the answers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you really want to find out the answers to the start by asking your employees. Don’t stop there. Ask your customers what they want and need. What is your value proposition to customers? What is your employee value proposition (EVP)? Ask your employees and customers questions and listen closely for the answers. You are never going to learn the truth about your value proposition if you don’t ask. There are some organizations that never ask their customers or staff how the company is doing. Fear of hearing bad news will not make the bad news go away. However, it appears that many companies are just not comfortable asking the ultimate question, “How are we doing?” The reason that we know...
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LEAD YOUR TEAM BY POSITIVE EXAMPLE

Positive-Business-Communication
Successful organizations have successful leaders. A successful leader leads by positive example and provides motivation and inspiration. If you have problems with culture, you want to first examine the leadership of the team. If you are the leader, what examples are you setting? A recent example shows how an Applebee’s Restaurant executive set a terrible example. He might as well have said that his employee team members were only commodities. He allegedly told managers that employees and applicants are economically hurting, which he saw as an "advantage." He allegedly said that as inflation goes up and gas prices go up people will want to work more hours to maintain their standard of living. And he is alleged to have gone as far as suggesting lower pay scales. Imagine if you were an employee or manager in that organization. Can you describe the culture? If you were a guest in that restaurant...
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BALANCE BETWEEN CONTROL AND EMPOWERMENT

Aligned-Team
Managing a team is a skillful balancing act. How do you hold people accountable while empowering them to do their best work? On one hand, you have the work to be done—the business to be performed. On the other hand, you need engaged and self-motivated and even self-managing team members. Going only one direction can cause problems. I love to go back to management theories and one which I first studied when I was back in college is the Blake-Mouton Theory. You can Google it to learn more. This theory highlights some problematic management styles. If you are authoritarian or a control freak, you are concerned with doing it the way you know it needs to be done. My way or the highway. The other extreme is the leader who values relationships, wants harmony, and believes the work will get done. If you are this type of leader, you will not...
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TAKE THIS 5 POINT CHECKUP TO ASSESS YOUR BUSINESS FOCUS

Management-Success
In your business you should focus on doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. Hold your focus and stay sharp on the things necessary to grow and adapt to changes. Don’t get bogged down in the daily operations and get lazy and develop a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. Sometimes day to day things are occupying all the time and money is being made. The business has had years of successful sales and profits. Since your business is still making money and continuing to operate the reasoning is, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. What are your ready for a sudden change in business environment? As a financial planner friend of mine says, People don’t plan to fail; they just fail to plan. To plan for success take this 5 area checkup: 1. Make sure you know what business you are in....
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HOW TO PREDICT THE FUTURE

Vision-Values-Mission
There seems to have been plenty of anxiety about the future in the last two years. The best way to predict the future is to create it I work with business owners in Westchester County New York who define success through their vision, their values, and goals. In addition, they monitor and measure results. To get started, you need create your strategic plan, consisting of goals and objectives, and a way to measure your progress. Without these elements you are relying solely on luck. What you measure is just as important as having and plan and executing it. For example, many business owners are familiar with the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), or more simply said profit. But that, again, is a measure of what happened in the past. It may not predict what will happen in the future. Using measurements that predict whether you are on...
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DELEGATE YOUR AUTHORITY BUT YOU REMAIN RESPONSIBLE

Manager-with-Dashboard
Some managers like to delegate and disappear. Other are the opposite and they are control freaks. Both managers are ineffective and doomed to failure. An effective leader does not simply hand out jobs for others to do. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. Consider the person who starts a business because they love the product, food for example. The is so much more to running a restaurant than understanding food. You need to know how to run an operation, and, in fact, you don’t have time to get into the weeds on the food. You must lead and manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable. I worked with someone who had built a very successful home services business. He did the sales, and his wife did the...
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HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY NEXT YEAR?

Delegation
The pandemic has forced many changes in the last year and the future is not completely certain. Have you thought about incorporating these changes into your business? If you want to have success next year you should be giving this serious consideration. Creating an appropriate strategy will be most successful if you look at your business today, look into the future, then make a plan to create your future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my 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, Kodak should have realized that it was not in the film business but in the image and impression sharing business. In real estate are you selling houses or assisting buyers in improving...
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DO YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS OR DOES IT RUN YOU?

Manager-with-Dashboard
Ask a business owner how it is going. You might get the answer, “very busy.” Is that a good thing? It depends. If it means lots of customers and revenue that is a good thing. Many times, it means that they are so busy just keeping the business running. In this case the business is running them. Just having a product or service that people want will produce income and can pay bills, but will it truly produce success? But this has not spelled success for many businesses and the lack of the true understanding of what it takes has caused businesses to fail. Some businesses may survive due to external dynamics and timing, but they will become stagnant and the owner will feel like a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. For example, in the restaurant industry there are numerous great cooks and chefs that...
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VIRTUAL TEAMS ARE HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

Virtual-Team-Meeting
Virtual teams can be top performing teams. Not every organization needs a virtual team or prefers to have one, but these teams are a reality, and they can produce top results. The number of virtual teams or home office workers is steadily growing. Regardless of the composition of the team, the components needed to create traditional high performing teams also apply to virtual teams. There needs to be a visionary and motivating leader to lead highly engaged and dedicated team members. These team members need to have a strong motivation for achievement of their goals. Moreover, the team’s goal AND the members’ individual goals must be aligned. Just because people don’t meet in a physical location does not mean that there can’t be a culture of accountability. Every team and every leader needs to set the example and set the standard for the team to follow. The points are the same...
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DOES YOUR FAMILY BUSINESS HAVE A SUCCESSION PLAN?

Family-Business-Succession
We are a nation of small businesses. And many of our small businesses are privately held or family owned. Hopefully these business owners for the business to carry on after they have left the business. Sadly, many have not made any plans and by not doing so they are planning for their business to fail one day. Suppose you started your business years ago and you have built a profitable business for you and your family. Your children are now working in the business. What will happen when you exit? Many parents do not have a plan in place for when they exit the business. There are number of steps that should be taken to prepare. These include legal, financial, and preparing the next generation to take over if they want to work in the business. In the first two areas you should work with an attorney and financial planner who...
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WHEN CAN WE GO BACK TO NORMAL? MAYBE NEVER.

Comfort-Zone
It has been over a year and a half? Business have found new ways to engage employees and customers. However, among all of these changes we hear, “When can we get back to normal?” The answer is, “Maybe never.” Let’s face it … we have always lived in a changing world. EVERYTHING changes and we can adapt to the changes. Or we can get out in front and be the change. But first we have to realize that change is never easy. One of the key reasons change might come hard has a lot to do with one of the tools your brain uses regularly. This tool helps you get through your days with the speed and accuracy you need without getting bogged down with minutia. This tool is called habit. Think about this for a minute. How many daily activities do you do without thinking about them? Let’s take your...
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HOW CAN I BE SURE IT IS GETTING DONE?

Business-Meeting-Delegation
Has this happened to you as you are growing your business? You are so involved in every little detail that you have missed some emerging opportunities. Every entrepreneur certainly knows that details are important and staying on top of them is very important. The devil is in the details as they say. You would not have gotten your business this far if you had set specific goals and took every action step. There comes a time when you hit a growth wall. You can’t do everything yourself. Time to hire someone. Are you ready to delegate to the person you hired? I know, you are worried about all the details. Is this person going to do it as well as I can? I have to say that if the person can’t do it as well you then you will not grow, and you may lose business. It is your job to...
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WHO APPOINTED HIM TO TAKE CHARGE?

Managing-a-Restaurant
Have ever been in an organizational environment where you heard someone make an observation, “who appointed him to be in charge?” You may have also heard the statement, “Leadership is not given, it is assumed.” This statement illustrates important elements of leadership. You gain recognition as a leader by showing the way for others and by leading by example. Follow me, not do as I say. You may have the management role with the authority but there is a difference between power and authority. 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. Have you noticed there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people? They may have no title at all, and people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have...
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REMOVE THE OBSTACLES TO YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS

StrugglingManager
Are you having trouble restarting but can’t find the cause of your problem? If you are having this issue, you are not alone. I receive calls like this from business owners often and much more often now. It is my job as the business doctor to learn the symptoms and then diagnose the problem. During my consultation I ask questions, listen for answers, and then ask some more questions. As an example of symptoms, here are some statements that I hear from the owners. Our sales have begun to level off.We can’t get our employees motivated.We are getting more customer complaints.We have new competition. While these sound like normal business problems there is no simple answer for them. It is important to look and the whole picture rather than make a reactive fix. It is better to take a proactive look. It would be a mistake to treat the symptoms rather...
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WHAT TYPE OF LEADERSHIP DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE?

Successful-Business-Team
If there is great success the credit is given to the leader. Likewise, if there is a problem, or worse, a disaster the leader is blamed. Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here.” Leaders set the tone, and direction, and mode the behaviors. They lead by example. Positive results are the result of positive leaders. Show me an organization that functions very well, and I can show you a positive engaged leader. I recently asked a group of employees what was wrong with their company. They replied, “We need positive leadership. We need leadership with people skills.” It is important to have the management skills for a job but there are many smart managers who fail. In most cases it is the lack of interpersonal skills, empathy, emotional intelligence, and leadership worth following. Let’s start with you and your personal leadership. Ask yourself these...
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GROW THE LEADERSHIP SKILLS AS YOU GROW THE LEVEL IN THE ORGANIZATION

Employee-Engagement
If you are promoting team members based on current experience and success you could be setting them up for failure. A first line supervisor who performs very well is not destined to be a great middle manager. Unfortunately, many times we think that there is one set of skills that pertain to leadership. The most common mistake is taking an individual performer and promoting that person to supervisor without any training at all. The newly promoted supervisor still sees the jobs of the people he or she is supervising through his or her own individual performer lens. What is needed is an understanding of motivation, leadership and interpersonal skills in addition to knowledge of the job. But it does not stop there. All leadership roles are not the same at all levels. Managing other managers is different from managing individual performers. According to Lawrence Peter, author of the Peter Principle, companies...
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HAVE CONFIDENCE TO DELEGATE. YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE SUSTAINABLE

Entrepreneur
If you want to have a truly sustainable business, you must learn to delegate with confidence. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. In other words, an effective leader knows how to delegate with confidence. Consider an example. Let’s say you want to open a restaurant because you are a great cook and really love to cook. If that is your primary reason, I would suggest that you get a job as a chef at a restaurant. If you want to open a restaurant you need to manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable. Let’s consider the example of one of my clients. This client has built a very successful home services business. He did the sales, and his wife did the bookkeeping. He hired service staff to...
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THE SECRET TO HAVING A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Level-5-Leadership
According to studies a motivated engages team is a high performing team when it has high quality leadership. If the team is failing or dysfunctional, one needs to look first to the leadership. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” talks about great companies being great because they are led by what he defines as a “Level 5” leader. Such a leader has all the essential abilities including contributing team member, competent manager, effective leader, and great leader. However, he or she also possess the unique blend of humility and will which is required for true greatness.   Start by hiring the people that fit the mission and vision of your organization and possess shared values. You then must keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In today’s world, it is not enough to be good,...
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