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 TROUBLE LETTING GO?

Family-Business-Succession
If you want to grow and have a sustainable business, you will need to let go. Just like teaching a child to ride a bike you must do the same in your business and take the training wheels off. Here is a problem that comes up all too often. A business owner or agency 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 you start your business, you need to do everything, or it does not get done. Sometimes you have time management issues, but you must work through them. Your business grows, and you simply can't get it all done. Time to hire someone. Now you are at the pinnacle of a growing business. At this point you are now not only the owner but also a manager and the leader. When you hire...
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ACTIVE LISTENING WILL PROMOTE TRUST

Nonverbal-Communication
Why can two different people communicate the same message but have different results? The key is making a connection. Covey’s fifth of his seven habits of highly effective people is, First seek to understand then to be understood. Without connection there is an absence of trust and without trust the message may not have its intended response. Build your connection with empathy. Actively listen and ask questions and show genuine interest. 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. If we believe that empathy is an important trait, then we should realize...
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MANAGING A REMOTE WORK TEAM

Virtual-Team-Meeting
Many businesses have been working remotely now for almost a year. Some people have moved forward to take full advantage of the new technology. Others are adapting. Still others are fighting it. 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. Today we a seeing more efficient ways to work that takes less time and does not involve travel. Online training is now amazingly effective through webinars or interactive sessions. Although technology is the same human nature...
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YOUR EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION IS A LEADING INDICATOR

Aligned-Team
Retention of key employees is important to your company. What was your retention rate last year? Whatever it was, if you want it to improve this year you will need to have a strong Employee Value Proposition. An Employee Value Proposition explains why a highly qualified employee would want to work for your company and why that highly qualified person would want to stay. 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...
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ARE YOU AN ASSISTANT BUYER?

Consultative-Sales
People don’t like to be sold but they sure like to buy. The school of sales that says, “Always be closing,” is closed! This is not today’s sales. And here is another fact. We are all in sales no matter what our job because we seek, at some time or another, to influence others. We need to build relationships first. If you want to be a trusted assistant buyer, you need to be a problem solver. Here are some ways to become that problem solver. 1. Don’t use a sales pitch but instead start a conversation. When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves 2. Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit. Let...
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HAVE YOU BEEN FORCED TO LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE?

Comfort-Zone
Generally, people find it hard to leave their comfort zone. Occasionally, you get forced out of your comfort zone and this is what happened in 2020. However, being forced out does not guarantee success. You could be stuck not knowing what to do next. I found this quite common during March of last year. We often hear people say that want to research this. Some people research so much that they have paralysis of analysis. Another way to describe this thought process is what I would call “Getting ready to go to work”. For example, “I still don’t have my resume, my presentation, or my 2 sharpened number 2 pencils”—you get the idea! Often people want to do great things, but they never follow through. Why? One possible answer is that the rewards aren’t enough to motivate them into action. Another probable answer is procrastination has derailed or stalled them. The...
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MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS MORE THAN TACTICS

Create-A-Vision
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we must think strategically. If you look down at details without look at the horizon and considering options you may be blindsided. While no one could have anticipated 2020, there are “what if” scenarios that you can consider. Then you can develop strategies to deal with each. A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and have the way set out to create the future. 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 Westchester, NY, 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, as the pandemic hit...
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HIRE AND RETAIN THE BEST

Job-Interview
Do you want to understand the success factors so that you can hire and retain the best employees? Many companies spend time and effort on identifying the correct skill sets when hiring. Then, after a candidate is finally hired the company will invest in training the new employee in the skills, processes, and procedures for doing the job. In addition, the new employee will look to increase his or her skills and understanding of the business. The employee attends training on the latest systems or learns the latest sales techniques. The employee gets training on the features and benefits of the products and services. Most of the time is spent on learning the nuts and bolts. Many businesses make the mistake of spending selection and training solely on skills and knowledge. Then what happens if the employee is fired or leaves the company? The hiring manager searches for candidates that have...
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EVERY ORGANIZATION HAS CULTURE – IS YOURS THE ONE YOU WANT

Company-Culture
Did you ever think that you as the leader create the culture of your company? Are you happy with the culture you have created? A culture has much to do with your organizational values. Are those value, however, just on paper or are they living values? Leadership and management are behaviors that are much more complex than mastering an individual job. For that reason and others as well the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. Management consultant and author Ken Blanchard believes that leadership is responsible for creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, and organizational change. Ken reinforces the values and beliefs that have 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...
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DON’T MAKE YOUR GOAL AN EMPTY RESOLUTION

Create-Your-Dream
How many people are making New Year’s Resolutions? How many have an intention of achieving the Resolution? There are several important points to making a resolution you intend to keep. You need a vison or dream, you need an action plan, and, above all, you need a deadline! Let’s start the process of defining your vision. Do an inventory of your dreams and write them down. Can you visualize them and verbalize them? This is the first step in goal achievement. To create the motivation to achieve your goal you must have a burning desire to reach it and that would come from a big dream. If you have made goals in the past and have not achieved them one reason may be that you did not have a burning desire and, therefore, not driven to achieve them. New Year’s resolutions fall into this category many times. When you think about...
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HOW DOES YOUR COMMUNICATION FLOW?

Assistant-Buyer
Communication is always a two-way process. We should remember that we talk WITH people not TO people. Do you remember the line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate?”   This line is from the movie Cool Hand Luke and it has become a catchphrase. That is because it highlights one of our greatest frustrations--miscommunication. On the other hand, great communication has almost always been a trait of some of our greatest leaders. They had great accomplishments, but they were almost always great communicators. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. Depending on our communications media, the words we use might not have as powerful an impact as other factors. For example, in face-to-face conversations we communicate more information nonverbally through our body language...
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LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS

Entrepreneur
We make the best decisions when rely on our strengths rather than try to shore up our weaknesses. Unfortunately, many of us do not know our strengths and how to use them. According to some psychologists 88% of the decisions we make rely on our natural talents and tendencies and that these are part of our subconscious. Our subconscious is an important, powerful, and much needed tool. The unconscious handles all basic physical functions like breathing, heart rate, immune system, etc. The subconscious mind holds the blueprint of our body as it is now and the blueprint of your perfect health. Because our subconscious mind’s main objective is focused on survival, it can cause us to make decisions based on limited knowledge or beliefs or sometimes even false knowledge. Understanding how we subconsciously use our talents to make decisions can dramatically improve our performance. In the early 1950’s Dr. Robert S....
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DELEGATION WITH CONFIDENCE IN ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountable-Team
You cannot complain that you must do everything yourself if you never delegate. You don’t delegate because you don’t feel confident about letting someone else do it. This is a catch 22! Or is it? 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...
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TAKE CONTROL OVER WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BUSINESS AND LIFE

Stress-working-late
Have all the changes this year made you feel less in control? Some things are out of our control, but you must not lose control of what matters in your business and your life. Many Westchester County business owners have told me that they feel overwhelmed. The current pandemic is key but many also blame the rapid pace of business or the economic fact that business must 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. Here are some tips on surviving being...
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ARE YOU BUSY DOING THE RIGHT THINGS RIGHT?

Aligned-Team
Have you greeted certain people by asking them how they are doing? Then they respond, “very busy.” I had a recruiter who worked for me in HR and he was always running around but he was not recruiting! As a leader of yourself or others you must do the right things and you must do things right. Both behaviors are required to lead a team or manage a business. In Doing Things Right you establish detailed steps and timetables for achieving needed results, establish structure, monitor results, and execute specific plans. On the other hand, Doing the Right Things includes establishing direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring people. In short, management (Doing Things Right) is important but will not succeed without leadership (Doing the Right Things). In the case of an entrepreneurial leader this would be described as the difference between working IN your business and working ON your business....
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HOW ARE YOU GETTING BUY IN FOR CHANGE?

Change-Management
This year has forced some changes. Change can be good if you get in front of change and lead the change. There are basically three ways to react to change, be excited and look for the opportunity, just accept it and go with it, or resist. I would encourage you as business leader to look for the opportunity. Now the question remains, “How do I communicate the changes to my staff and how do I get their buy in?” Very quickly I would tell you to use the group that is excited about change to be your promoters and your trainers. For the neutral members you will need sell the benefits. Now for the resisters you will need to make them feel more comfortable to the extent that you can. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often...
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SUSTAINABLE MEANS THE BUSINESS WILL SURVIVE

Decisions
Staying in business is a big topic right now. We can call this sustainability. Sustainability means different things to different companies as well as industries. Sustainability really started with the whole concept of being green, becoming more environmentally friendly, and paying more attention to conserving our planet’s resources. However, sustainability has become much more than that. Sustainability has become a viable business strategy which considers the economic considerations for business sustainability, governmental issues, and opinions from customers and stakeholders. Where did the term sustainability come from? The term sustainability emerged in the 1987 report by United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development. The report simply defined sustainability as follows: to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. No matter how a business defines sustainability or how they choose to implement the concepts, there is a commonality to sustainability that...
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USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO HIRE AND RETAIN THE BEST EMPLOYEES

Coaching
Your Westchester County NY business had to cut staff earlier this year and now find that you need to add employees. Now it is to hire again. How will you find the most qualified? Would it be referral or advertise the opening. While a referral is normally a good source, that alone should not be the deciding factor. You will want a person who meets the qualifications, and you will want to know whether that person can achieve results. Jim Collin’s in his book “Good to Great” explains his research on how good 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...
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HOW CAN I STEP UP THE PERFORMANCE OF MY WESTCHESTER NY TEAM?

Accountable-Team
Westchester employers are working on plans for rebuilding business after the pandemic. This will require the best and most productive employees on their team. You then need to develop your employees so that they can produce better results. Your employees really want opportunities to grow and develop. There is so much out there written about performance reviews Most organizations do annual performance appraisals and most human resource professionals are charged with developing a performance appraisal system. This process alone is one of the most universally disliked systems. The reason is that most appraisal systems do not focus enough on two particularly important areas—Employee Development and Results. We should be focusing more on performance development rather than performance management. We start with expectations but before we measure expectations, we need to set expectations. It is not merely enough to tell an employee here is your job description and see me if you...
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BUILD THE RETAINED KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR TEAM

Team-Working-on-A-Project
Would you agree that the retention of knowledge is essential to your organization’s growth and success? Working a at peak performance levels is dependent on the application of knowledge which requires people to retain ever more information. At the same time financial constraints makes it very important that learning and development be done effectively. The delivery of learning and development programs must create measurable results One of the problems I have noticed in many organizations is the issue that they lack a clear objective for the outcomes from the training they are providing. I recently had a credit union call me. They had found me online and saw that I was doing leadership development sessions. They asked if I could do the same thing at their premises. I asked about their business objectives for the training. In other words, what business outcome did they want to reach? They did not have...
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