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.

WHY DO YOU HAVE AN EMPLOYEE RETENTION PROBLEM?

WHY DO YOU HAVE AN EMPLOYEE RETENTION PROBLEM?
Many companies do not understand why their turnover is so high. Some think that it is all about money and benefits. But unless you pay below standard it is not about money. Sure, an employee will tell you that he or she left for a better opportunity. You might, therefore, assume that it had to do with money but don’t be fooled. There is much more going on than just money. You cannot treat employees as commodities assuming that they will come to work just because they are getting paid. Some vendors of perks may even tell you that if you offer special perks then your retention will be better. You would need a very large amount of those perks to try to buy loyalty. And what would you gain in loyalty or performance? You might even entice poor performers to stay when you would be better off with retaining only...
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LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR RESTAURANT COMPANY REALLY MATTERS

LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR RESTAURANT COMPANY REALLY MATTERS
There is a very big difference between a well-run restaurant and one that is only average. An average restaurant can have great food and a great location, but if the employees and the leadership team are not doing a good job the restaurant will never become that very successful restaurant that wows its guests. A well run restaurant has a clear vision and values, a focused leadership team, and engaged and loyal employees. The ultimate result is more loyal guests, increased guest counts, and greater sales and profits. I would like to share an example of a good restaurant company that benefited from the following leadership processes and has propelled itself into becoming the premier restaurant group in its area. Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant is a multi-unit restaurant company headquartered in Des Allemands, Louisiana. It has 3 Louisiana locations— Thibodaux, Houma, and Des Allemands. Owners Donald Spahr and Brent Roger have a...
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WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?

WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
The most common question a new manager is asked by direct reports is, “What is your leadership style?” And of course the answer is always, “I am participative.” Or, “I have an open door.” Rarely does anyone define what they mean by that. For that reason and others the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. Today I had the opportunity 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 that is so is that you need to learn how to...
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DO YOU HAVE A COLLABORATIVE TEAM?

DO YOU HAVE A COLLABORATIVE TEAM?
Creating high performing teams is a critical component to building a successful organization and maintaining a competitive edge in a rapidly changing market place. High performing teams begins with the leadership of the organization. Leadership’s role is to create the environment that allows teams to be successful by creating and providing a clear vision that empowers employees to succeed. When leaders of an organization provide a clear vision, their employees are more excited and passionate about accomplishing the organizational goals because they can see that they are an integral part of making the vision a reality. And, by encouraging employees to think outside of the box, to do things differently, to be creative and innovative, leaders empower their employees to accomplish the organization’s goals. To illustrate the importance of teams let’s consider a flock of geese. A flock of geese has a common goal – fly south for the winter. They...
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HOW EMPLOYEE DISENGAGEMENT CAN BE HARMFUL TO BUSINESS RESULTS

HOW EMPLOYEE DISENGAGEMENT CAN BE HARMFUL TO BUSINESS RESULTS
How many people really work at your company? Is it only about one third? Did you know that is exactly what the Gallup organization learned? If that is true in your organization this is why you should be concerned. Employee engagement is directly responsible for your company’s sales and profits. Disengaged employees will result in lost customers. The best measure of success is a growing flow of loyal customers. I recently did a similar engagement survey called D.I.AL.O.G. for an organization. This organization provides onsite catering and event services. Their requirements for success are a providing good service, great food, consistency, and a great guest experience. The owners appear to be frustrated. They were struggling to get more business but having a hard time providing good service to existing customers. Here is why. For starters, the owners disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose...
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LEADERSHIP IS TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO BUT NOT HOW TO DO IT

LEADERSHIP IS TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO BUT NOT HOW TO DO IT
Leaders of high performing teams say what needs happen then rely on the team to get it done. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." -- Gen. George S. Patton   "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."                -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower On this Independence Day it might be appropriate to recall leadership quotes from some of our past military leaders. It is not surprising that many great civilian leaders that we have known have received their leadership lessons in the US military. The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone has to have a management style like Patton. Those were his traits. People with totally...
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LEADERS NEED TO CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY

LEADERS NEED TO CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY
Good leaders need to hold the members of their team accountable for performance. The best way to accomplish this is by motivating them to be accountable. 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, you will have continued failure if you 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. The book, “Crucial Confrontations”, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer really talks about this topic. How do we handle missed commitments, failed...
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IS EVERY EMPLOYEE ON YOUR TEAM ALIGNED?

IS EVERY EMPLOYEE ON YOUR TEAM ALIGNED?
If you and your team are not aligned the wheels are going to come off! Before you look at the employees on your team ask yourself this question: “Have I clearly communicated the objectives, the goals, or the destination?” On the other hand, a focused leader who empowers engaged employees who in turn create loyal customers will create alignment leading to growth and success. It starts with the focused leader. You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. You may be the manager but your team will follow you if you are the leader.   As managers 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 of what they are supposed to do and understand the vision, the “big picture” as well as...
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LEADERS MOTIVATE OTHERS TO GET RESULTS

LEADERS MOTIVATE OTHERS TO GET RESULTS
There is a difference between being a great performer and leading a team of great performers. In fact, a great leader does not have to be the best performer or even a performer at all. That is hard to understand if you are a newly appointed manager who had mastered the individual roles of your department. Because of you great work you have been promoted to manager. But the qualities that made you a star performer are not the same qualities that will make you an effective leader. Here are leadership philosophies from two well-known management consultants. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” —Kenneth Blanchard You can learn the skills of a leader just like you learned...
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LEAD OTHERS BY FIRST LEADING YOURSELF

LEAD OTHERS BY FIRST LEADING YOURSELF
In order to lead others you must first be able to lead yourself. Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   If the answer to that question is no then you may not have the power to lead. You see there is a difference between power and authority. If you are a manager or you own your own business you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. You may have noticed in your workplace that people without titles have been sought out by others for advice and approval. They have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills not their job title. When working with leadership teams here in Westchester County NY I ask the question, "How much power do you have?" If...
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SIX POINTS FOR MANAGING YOUR VIRTUAL TEAM

SIX POINTS FOR MANAGING YOUR VIRTUAL TEAM
Technology has changed the way we work. Today there are more teams that work virtually than ever before. People work from home and a working team can be spread out geographically. A team could consist of employees with a manager leader or it could be a group of associates who are independent contractors. It could even be all volunteers in a volunteer organization. Regardless of the composition of the team, the things needed to create traditional high performing teams also apply to virtual teams. It needs to have a visionary and motivating leader combined with 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 together in a physical location does not mean that there can’t be a culture of accountability. Every team and every...
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A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM CONSISTS OF INDIVIDUAL STRENGTHS

A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM CONSISTS OF INDIVIDUAL STRENGTHS
As leader of a team you need to put forth your clear vision and values. That is the first step—knowing where you are going. Next, you need to inspire those on the team to do their very best. You start, of course, by getting the right people in the right jobs. This includes not just testing skills and knowledge but also examining attitudes and behaviors. You have selected the right people. The next step is finding each individual’s strengths and leveraged them. Everyone has talents and non-talents. A person’s non talent is not a problem by itself. However, it can become a problem if he or she is placed in a job requiring the use of that non talent. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Unfortunately, many of us spend time trying to correct weaknesses.   Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our...
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ARE YOU A CONTROL FREAK?

ARE YOU A CONTROL FREAK?
If you exercise too much control you could hurt your business. If you are a sole entrepreneur you need to control everything. Once you decide to grow being a control freak will hold you back. A business is started by an owner with a vision to create a great product or service. The owner has to spend a lot of 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. The owner works hard IN the business. He has to attend to every detail and if he forgets one thing it could be a disaster. The business 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 the owner starts the business he or she...
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THE HARDEST PART IS GETTING STARTED

THE HARDEST PART IS GETTING STARTED
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 analyize 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 who say they want to run a business of their own don’t follow through. Why? One possible answer is the rewards aren’t sufficient enough to motivate them into action. Another probable answer is procrastination...
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ARE YOU AND YOUR TEAM ON THE SAME PAGE?

ARE YOU AND YOUR TEAM ON THE SAME PAGE?
If you and your team are not on the same page it could be costing business and could threaten the future of your company. I can find symptoms of this by listening to some of these comments from Westchester County business owners . “I was on vacation last week and nothing got done.” “I need to approve the sales proposals before they go out.” “I can’t trust other with my best clients.” If you have experienced this feeling you are probably running your organization as if you were driving your car with your emergency brake on. You move forward but not with the speed that you want. And after a while you have worn down your brakes. How similar is that to running your organization with a drag on your performance? If you and your team are not on the same page you will not achieve the highest results in your...
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IF YOU ARE A MANAGER ARE YOU ALSO A LEADER?

IF YOU ARE A MANAGER ARE YOU ALSO A LEADER?
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. The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. People are not born leaders. Leadership is developed and there is not 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 have to possess the traits and style of George S. Patton to be an effective commander. People with totally different traits...
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CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TEAM TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY

CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TEAM TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY
Creating a successful team requires skillful leadership. Let’s assume that we all agree that an organization is only as good as its people. It is important to select the best people. After you have hired the best people your challenge as a leader is to keep 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, you must exceed customers’ expectations. That is not going to happen if you have a lot of highly qualified but individual performers. You need cohesive and effective teams to make it happen, not people in individual silos. Everyone has different talents and it is important to leverage those talents. The power of your team is only as effective as your weakest link. Creating a winning team begins with creating a culture that allows...
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WHAT IS THE KEY TO GREAT LEADERSHIP?

WHAT IS THE KEY TO GREAT LEADERSHIP?
Do you know the key to great leadership? When I do an introductory session on leadership I ask the group of participants to list the characteristics that they believe make a great leader. They are next asked to give some examples of great leaders and leaders that they admire.  You probably would not be surprised to learn that there is a considerable difference in the lists. Some are even opposites of each other. One person may say that a great leader is steady and predictable while another person may say that a leader is unpredictable and thinks outside of the box. One may say tough minded while another may say soft spoken. As a further example to this point I received a number of challenges from readers to my recent blog 7 WAYS TO IDENTIFY A BULLY FROM A LEADER. When people gave examples of great leaders and those they admire...
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7 WAYS TO IDENTIFY A BULLY FROM A LEADER

7 WAYS TO IDENTIFY A BULLY FROM A LEADER
A new book suggests that a very successful CEO, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, used bullying tactics. While that may be in dispute how many bosses take management by objectives to this level? If I had a room of people and I asked the question, "what constitutes an effective leader" I might get as many answers as people in the room. There are many traits that make a successful leader. I believe that effective leaders and managers do get results working with other people. But there is a difference between a boss and leader. Someone can appoint himself boss because he signs the paycheck or a manager is the boss because he was given that title from above. But just because someone is given a title does not guarantee that he can manage effectively. To be truly effective a manager or leader must make appropriate use of their granted authority and earned...
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SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE LEADERS

SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE LEADERS
What are the habits of an effective leader and why are they important?   Proper business leadership is crucial to the success of any business of any size. No company can be more successful than the effectiveness of its leaders. If the head of a company lacks positive leadership qualities, he or she will be unsuccessful at motivating and leading the staff. This will not allow the entire business to impress and lure new business to their company. That said what are those traits and habits of successful leaders. Well, that depends. Many of the traits that have been attributed to leaders are different. What works well with one leader may not work will with another. Many of the leadership traits can be developed. One successful trait is the ability to lead by focusing on results. We call that Fail Safe Leadership discussed in one my previous blogs. However, just as there...
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