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.

COLLABORATION STARTS WITH AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP

COLLABORATION STARTS WITH AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP
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 common goal – fly south for the winter. They can get where they’re going much easier by using the strength of the group – they fly in a V formation in order to add 70% greater flying range. They stay in formation – if a goose falls out of formation, it immediately feels the drag and quickly returns to the formation. They take...
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CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH?

CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH?
You want the truth? “You can’t handle the truth!” This well-known line was uttered by Jack Nicholson in the move, A Few Good Men. This line hits a little too close to home for some organizations. While some organizations ask themselves what they can do to help their organizations align there are others that this it is always the wrong people and that they (the organizational leadership) know what is right. Would you get defensive if an outside consultant asked you questions to get to the root cause of your problems? It is easier for companies with retention problems, for example, to focus on compensation issues. But, according to Gallup around 30% of employees are engaged at work. That means that 70% are not engaged in their jobs at your company. Recently Gallup released a new survey on employee engagement. When I read the commentary I could see that engagement is...
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CHANGE YOUR CULTURE TO ONE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

CHANGE YOUR CULTURE TO ONE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
The best way to create an accountability culture is to help people to accept accountability. 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.”   Understanding what motivates a person, whether it be rewards, recognition, promotion, or feeling that something is accomplished will result in developing that accountability attitude. 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...
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DOES YOUR LEADERSHIP NAVIGATE OR CREATE ROADBLOCKS?

DOES YOUR LEADERSHIP NAVIGATE OR CREATE ROADBLOCKS?
Does your leadership lack inspiration, innovation, and the ability to adapt to change? 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 of 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 and the “big picture” as well as the...
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ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION OF STAFF IS A VALUE PROPOSITION

ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION OF STAFF IS A VALUE PROPOSITION
Your company needs a value proposition to make itself relevant in the market place. How about your employees? Are you relevant to them? What is your Employee Value Proposition? 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 them. The Employee Value Proposition EVP matters. Although people work for money there are other factors and these other factors matter to the new workforce. A study done in 2013 by PwC and others reported...
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TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR LIFE

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR LIFE
Have you been feeling a little overwhelmed? You are not alone. Many Westchester County business owners have told me that they feel overworked and overwhelmed. Many blame the rapid pace of business or the economic fact that business has to 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.   I covered that topic in my last blog . Some of this overlaps but here are some tips on surviving and avoiding being overwhelmed. 1. Know Your Purpose. Know your vision, your goals,...
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TIME MANAGEMENT IS NOT A TIME MANAGEMENT ISSUE

TIME MANAGEMENT IS NOT A TIME MANAGEMENT ISSUE
Time management is more about priorities and knowing what is really important to you. For example, let’s say you just received a sizable inheritance. One or two might go a throw a big party. More than likely most would invest it or pay down debt. What about time. Do you invest your time or do you waste your time? If you don’t know what you want or where you want to go you will most likely waste time. So before we talk about time management decide where you want to go. Where do you want to go? What are your values? What do you believe and what are your priorities? Your answers will determine how you spend your day. 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....
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DO YOU HAVE THE POWER?

DO YOU HAVE THE POWER?
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 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 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...
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DELEGATE WITH CONFIDENCE

DELEGATE WITH CONFIDENCE
George S. Patton said, “Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” 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 new employee but continue to try to do everything without delegating,...
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IS YOUR MESSAGE BEING UNDERSTOOD?

IS YOUR MESSAGE BEING UNDERSTOOD?
Your words, no matter how eloquent, will probably not by themselves convey your message. 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 being understand. This also including watching...
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WHEN HIRING DON’T RELY ON EXPERIENCE

WHEN HIRING DON’T RELY ON EXPERIENCE
One of the biggest mistakes a business and hiring manager makes is hiring solely based on experience. I have seen the business owners in Westchester County New York beginning to understand this. In my last blog I spoke about leading indicators . Business owners should watch and base their decisions on these indicators. This brings me to the point of why you should not rely on experience. Experience is in the past. As mentioned in the last blog, “Past experience is no guarantee of future performance.   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...
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WHAT ARE LEADING BUSINESS SUCCESS INDICATORS?

WHAT ARE LEADING BUSINESS SUCCESS INDICATORS?
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. You have heard that statement at the end of most investment advertisements and with good reason. Just because you were successful in the past does not mean you will be successful in the future. 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. You may have heard the expression, “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” To begin, you need to have a strategic plan, 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,...
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WHY IS MORE POWERFUL THAN WHAT OR HOW

WHY IS MORE POWERFUL THAN WHAT OR HOW
Why do you really want to do this? That is one of the most powerful questions you can ask someone. Motivation to do something comes from within and it begins with a WHY. I was recently working with one of my Westchester County NY coaching clients on his business development. He was struggling with his growth and was having trouble getting his team on board. He was having a hard time accomplishing the objectives that we have worked on together in his plan. These were the goals that he had established in previous sessions. After failing to complete some of the tasks we had outlined from our previous meetings over several weeks, I asked him these questions, “Why did you set these goals and if was important why have you not begun to execute on what you set out to do?” He responded that that was a very good question. He...
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YOU CAN’T PERSUADE WITHOUT MAKING A CONNECTION

YOU CAN’T PERSUADE WITHOUT MAKING A CONNECTION
Without connection there is an absence of trust and without trust the message may not have its intended response. That response might be increased knowledge or an action taken.   You can watch two people give a presentation on the same material and have a totally different reaction. The difference is not the content; it is the connection. You build connection with empathy. You actively listen and you ask questions that show you are interested. I think it’s a fair statement to say that 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....
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HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION BEEN HITTING ROADBLOCKS?

HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION BEEN HITTING ROADBLOCKS?
Have you been hitting roadblocks in your business? As I listen to many owners of businesses from restaurants to manufacturing to non-profits they are looking to remove the roadblocks and move forward. If any of these comments sound familiar, then you might have roadblocks in your organization. Our sales are flat. We can’t get our employees motivated We have high staff turnover. We are getting more customer complaints. We have new competition. These are several very key problems and there could be many more. Yet for each of these problems there is a root cause. The problems can be solved by being proactive rather than being reactive. How many people recognize these problems as symptoms? Those who do make the mistake of attacking and treating the symptoms. However, it is a mistake to put all your effort into treating these symptoms. Many reactive business leaders take this approach. For example, the...
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THIS HABIT IS AN OBSTACLE TO YOUR SUCCESS

THIS HABIT IS AN OBSTACLE TO YOUR SUCCESS
A habit I see many times with my Westchester County New York business owners is that of putting off the most difficult projects as long as possible. Putting them off does not make them go away. In fact, it makes them seem more insurmountable. The real problem here is a behavior we call procrastination. Procrastination is something that we all have to 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 take action on the very things you know will bring you the rewards that you desire. You know you want the rewards and know you must take action...
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WHAT IS IT LIKE TO HAVE A COACH?

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO HAVE A COACH?
Have you ever wondered whether coaching is right for you? You may have an idea of what is by how it may be used in the workplace. But it is much more than that. Here is some information on what coaching is and what it is not. Is it right for you? Coaching relationships vary considerably. There are life coaches, sports coaches, health coaches, executive coaches, and so forth. Here is some information on the nature of coaching, its benefits, and how it varies from other type of consulting. Sometimes people confuse coaches with traditional consultants. They might ask a coach for advice. However, a coach’s role is not to provide answers or solutions. Instead a coach helps the client develop his or her own potential. If you have ever been motivated to act or energized by way of conversations, you have experienced the effects of coach. Here is an example....
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ALLOW YOUR TEAM TO CREATE THE BEST RESULTS

ALLOW YOUR TEAM TO CREATE THE BEST RESULTS
Creating a successful team requires right actions by the leadership. Most people say that their organization is only as good as their people. How many really practice what they preach? It starts with hiring qualified people with shared values. Now leaders have 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. 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...
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TEAM EMPOWERMENT MEANS LESS STRESS AND MORE RESULTS

TEAM EMPOWERMENT MEANS LESS STRESS AND MORE RESULTS
It happens all the time. Managers complain that they cannot find qualified employees to take ownership yet they hold control and try to do too much themselves.  There is a better way and management teams in Westchester County NY have been working on changing from micro managing control to better method of empowerment and accountability. Clearly empowerment of staff creates better outcomes. Unfortunately, managers and executives find it very hard to let go and allow their staff to drive results. In some cases the need to be right prevents the manager from trusting his or her employees. If this fear of not being right is stopping you from letting go then you might want to ask yourself these two questions. First of all, have you provided your staff with all of the tools they need to succeed?   And secondly, have you clearly communicated the objectives and desired results? Here are some...
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DOES YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE MATTER?

DOES YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE MATTER?
In previous blogs I have discussed by belief that leaders are made. But not all are made the same. When I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. The only trait that is agreed upon is having empathy. What do successful leaders have if they don’t have similar traits? All successful leaders have the ability 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 of your operations linked to the plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving that Plan (Vision)....
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