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.

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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MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS STRATEGIC

MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS STRATEGIC
Doing a business plan is more than putting together a document. I needed to point that out recently when a Westchester County NY business owner asked me about the need for a business plan document so that the business could raise cash. But a smart business needs more than a document. It needs a strategic plan. A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and have the way set out to create the future. In order 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 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...
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IS YOUR BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO SUCCESS SELF LIMITING?

IS YOUR BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO SUCCESS SELF LIMITING?
The biggest obstacle to getting things done is a self-limiting factor called procrastination. We create that obstacle by our behavior. 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 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 zone. You will certainly have to...
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DO YOU HAVE A CLEAR MESSAGE TO YOUR TARGET MARKET?

DO YOU HAVE A CLEAR MESSAGE TO YOUR TARGET MARKET?
If you don’t have a clear message people will not understand you. When asking entrepreneurs about one of the biggest business challenges a large majority with answer Marketing. According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”. That is a complex statement. I would simply define as being top of mind when your prospect is ready to buy. Do you know your target market?   It is important to define the parameters of your ideal prospects because it will help you to focus on those areas and people with whom you have the highest probability of success! This may be counter intuitive but in defining your market less is more. The best way to do this is to identify your competitive advantage and determine who is most likely...
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HOW ARE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS?

HOW ARE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS?
How are you communicating? Are you getting the expected response? Your communication may seem clear to you but if you do not get the response you expect then your communication has failed. That is because the two way process of communication mandates that a message be clearly sent and that it is also received and understood. If your message did not result in increased knowledge or prompt a specific action then your message was not received. You will not be successful in your communications unless you listen and you ask questions. The point is that we need to listen twice as much as we talk. That is why we have two ears and one mouth. 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...
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DO YOU HAVE CORE VALUES?

DO YOU HAVE CORE VALUES?
Knowing your core values and standing behind them will lead to success in your business and personal life. Unfortunately, many people cannot articulate their vision or their core values. Your values will help you with your WHY. Moreover, your why is much more important than the how. How many businesses can say why they are in business or articulate their basic business foundation? You might be surprised at how few really can. If you find that statement hard to believe then read on. Any successful business needs to have vision—that is what the business will look like when it is successful. Your vision is your dream and as Walt Disney said, “you have to have a dream if you want to have a dream to come true.” Your core values are of greater importance than vision. These are you ideals you live by. These are your non negotiables. If you know...
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LEADERS ARE NOT BORN

LEADERS ARE NOT BORN
Leaders are not born, they are made! The good news is that you have the potential to become a great leader. There are events that appear to make the leader or, perhaps, the person assumes the role at the right time. Such a time was 9/11/2001. Were Mayor Giuliani and President Bush leaders who appeared at just the right time? Or were they shaped and created by circumstances long before 9/11 and had the resolve do what needed to be done? What about George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower? They were both considered to be great leaders because they got the results that were needed from the role they filled. Patton charged at lightning speed across the battle field. On the other hand Eisenhower was a great consensus builder who melded a very difficult military and political alliance of cantankerous personalities. At the moment of birth do we know whether...
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WORK FROM STRENGTH NOT WEAKNESS

WORK FROM STRENGTH NOT WEAKNESS
A successful business leader positions his or her staff to use the top talents of everyone. Jim Collins who wrote, “Good to Great” refers to this as getting the right people in the right seats. This includes not just testing skills and knowledge but also examining attitudes and behaviors. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Unfortunately, many of us spend time trying to correct weaknesses. These old habits are hard to break. It probably began when we were kids. When a child comes home from school with his or her report card and it shows, for example, an A in math, B’s in history and science, and a C in English, What is the first response? Most people will talk to their child about raising the grade in English. But what if the child has a real talent in math? He or she might...
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