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.

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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KEEPIN’ IT REAL: EMPLOYEE RETENTION AND ENGAGEMENT

KEEPIN’ IT REAL: EMPLOYEE RETENTION AND ENGAGEMENT
So you hired someone new. Now what? There is much more than just hiring the most talented person. You must now create an environment conducive to retaining your talent, engaging employees, and inspiring all those on your team. Why is employee engagement so important to success? If you have disengaged employees they are just waiting around to see what happens. On the other hand engaged workers have "bought into" what the organization is about and are trying to make a difference. This is why they're usually the most productive workers. 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. We can’t make a universal supposition...
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THESE ARE SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERS

THESE ARE SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERS
Although there are different leadership qualities here are seven habits seen in effective leaders. 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 motivating and leading the staff. This in turn will result in lost customers and business opportunities. Leadership is complex and what works well in one environment may not be a good fit for another. When a leader is focused on results he or she will adapt to the environment. However, just as there are habits of highly successful people there are also habits of highly successful leaders.   Here are seven habits of highly effective leaders. A Leader always does the right thing . That is one of the principles of Dave Thomas who founded Wendy’s.  ...
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YOU ARE THE BOSS BUT DO THEY CONSIDER YOU THEIR LEADER?

YOU ARE THE BOSS BUT DO THEY CONSIDER YOU THEIR LEADER?
Just because a person is a boss and people follow does not mean that person is seen as a leader. A boss has the authority by virtue of the position. However, the leader has the real power which is granted by those led. Perhaps you have noticed people in your company who exercise influence over others although they are not managers. People have given them the power through respect of their opinions and advice. A boss has the authority but a leader has the power. The goal is for a boss and leader to be the same person. 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...
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WHEN YOU OVER DELIVER YOU CREATE LOYAL CUSTOMERS

WHEN YOU OVER DELIVER YOU CREATE LOYAL CUSTOMERS
People remember when they have been wowed in their experience with your company. What is the difference between average and being wowed? To wow your customer you must exceed their expectations. When you wow your customer by exceeding expectations your customer creates an emotional bond with your company and your services. They become loyal customers. But there is more to this. Sometimes you will disappoint a customer. No one is perfect but how well you react to make it right can create an even bigger emotional bond. Here is the way one of my Westchester County Businesses handled critical customer situation. They are an HVAC provider. There had been a spike in temperatures in our area causing an unusually large number of air conditioning units to fail. The company received a large number of calls and the service team was working overtime. They were honest in telling clients that they could...
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HIRE SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY

HIRE SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY
Hiring quickly can be a costly mistake. Finding the right people takes time but the right people will result in much more success. If you have read Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great” you know about how companies become great companies. Collins surveyed companies and found that their greatness was not due to a special sauce or a great product but rather because of the people in the organization. It all starts with high quality, high performing employees. Collins refers to this as getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. Many companies find that selecting and hiring of the right employee is a daunting task. Some people just hire anyone who applies or, at best, may ask a few quick questions before making an offer. Before accepting an application or advertising you should have a clear description...
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WHAT IS A LEADING SUCCESS INDICATOR FOR MY COMPANY?

WHAT IS A LEADING SUCCESS INDICATOR FOR MY COMPANY?
A leading indicator for company success is not profit. That may sound counter intuitive. To quote investment company advertisements, “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” A leading indicator would show current business conditions which would lead to continued success. Two very important measurements are employee engagement and customer loyalty. While sales and profits are very important measurements they tell you what has happened. Employee engagement and customer loyalty tells you what will happen. When you have engaged employees they will do their best work which will result in loyal customers. You should measure your employees’ engagement at least once per year. The ultimate employee question is, “How likely are you to recommend our company as a place to work?” When you have highly engaged employees you have promoters of your workplace. When you exceed the customer's expectations and create an emotional bond with your customer they become your promoter....
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DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A MICRO MANAGER

DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A MICRO MANAGER
Some people feel that being a control freak or a micro manager is necessary when managing a project team where accuracy or compliance is required. I disagree. There is a much better way to get desired results and hold people accountable. Yes, you must have accuracy and compliance but you could stifle your company growth, have high turnover, and end up working way too many hours when you decide to micro manage. Let’s consider some actual examples. I have worked with a person owns a business that includes insurance and real estate. He has a dozen employees involved in the process of sales and contracts. Each person has a job title but not a job description. Things change quickly as does the mood of the owner. To make matters worse people are asked to do a task but then later the owner comes by and says, “stop doing that, I want...
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WHAT IS THE REAL MANAGEMENT DILEMMA?

WHAT IS THE REAL MANAGEMENT DILEMMA?
The biggest dilemma for business executives is finding a manager with the correct skills to manage a team. In most cases the skills these executives seek are not the ones that lead to success. They will choose people who have the same skills as the people they manage. Or they will promote a top performer. That will not necessarily work because a manager is paid to do different things than an individual performer. Lawrence Peter wrote The Peter Principle in which he stated that, “in a hierarchy people tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence.” In most companies employees are rewarded for great performance by being promoted. There are good reasons for promoting from within including, motivation and engagement of the staff. However, companies make a flawed assumption that because the employee did well in the previous job he or she will adapt and perform well in the...
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TIME MANAGEMENT IS ABOUT GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

TIME MANAGEMENT IS ABOUT GOAL ACHIEVEMENT
Time management is not a time management issue at all. What is your biggest challenge? When I ask my business owners in Westchester County New York most of them tell me that time management is one of the top challenges. If we all have 24 hours in a day and a calendar system to use why would this be a top challenge?  Time management is not simply achieved by having an organized system. There are many books that tell you how to organize your time. You can buy a day planner, or use programs such as Outlook, ACT, or another software program but still have no better control of your day. The root cause of the problem is not the lack of systems or processes. The root cause is our own attitudes about time along with our bad habits and our bad behaviors. It is a fact that you only have...
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ARE WE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE?

ARE WE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE?
Are you reading one page of a book but your staff is on a different page? Worse than that, are they even reading the same book? In other words, are you taking a course of action, asking your staff to follow then turning and finding no one there? The best way to see that this does not happen is to make sure that you are a focused leader , that you empower your engaged employees, that they will in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success. Focused Leader - You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. You appoint yourself CEO but your team will follow you if you are the leader.   As manager you can influence the process through which people recognize your leadership. You do this by creating an environment where people will join your...
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WHY CULTURE IN A COMPANY MATTERS

WHY CULTURE IN A COMPANY MATTERS
The culture of your company matters. In order to have a vibrant culture refers there needs to be shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs. This culture is routed in company vision, values, and goals. These are the company’s success drivers. They are most important when hiring a new employee. You make a big mistake when you select people based primarily on experience while ignoring the cultural fit. I work largely with privately held and family held businesses. But in that arena I have worked with many industries ranging from real estate, construction, retail, service and hospitality, nonprofit, and manufacturing. I have made the same observation in all of these industries. Those running the business believe that their industry is different from others, so unique that the primary requirement is experience. Because of that mindset I have seen many bad candidates hired and many qualified candidates screened out. The hiring manager is...
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HAVING A GPS FOR YOUR CAREER

HAVING A GPS FOR YOUR CAREER
Today we use GPS devices everywhere. We have them in our car and on our phone. We use them to order a car on Uber or we use them to find a restaurant nearby. We have become more productive and less stressed because we have used this very simple tool to help us navigate. What is so remarkable about this instrument? First of all, it lets you know where you are now. Then you can decide where you want to go. The GPS then gives you step by step directions. How similar is this to your personal GPS; the one for your career, your business, and your personal life? Are you using a GPS for these critical areas of your life? Here is the place where we talk about goals. You have heard this over and over, “You need to set goals and you need to write them down.” But what...
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WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING THE MESSENGER?

WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING THE MESSENGER?
Sometimes people can become overly defensive when their message is misinterpreted. I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The employees felt that there were a lot of changes but the staff felt that management was not keeping them informed. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. Can you say with certainty that you know what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see thing from their position and mindset. Think to yourself, “If I were hearing this information...
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