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.

BRIDGING THE GENERATION GAP BY MANAGING THE DIFFERENCES

BRIDGING THE GENERATION GAP BY MANAGING THE DIFFERENCES
Have you heard a comment like this from Baby Boomers? “Can we get back to work now? These kids will either get with the program or they will leave. They always do” What about a comment like this from one of your newer employees? “I don’t get it! My managers are barely technologically literate yet they’re never open to suggestions on how to improve a process with technology. What’s up with this attitude?” If you are managing your department or your company you have been confronted with these problems. The first point you need to know is that you are not likely to change the attitude or the “work ethic” of the other generation. In the workplace as in any context attitudes and work ethic are relative. They depend upon what shaped those things when that generation was growing up. We are all products of our past shaped by current events...
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WHY YOU MUST COMMUNICATE YOUR VISION TO YOUR TEAM

WHY YOU MUST COMMUNICATE YOUR VISION TO YOUR TEAM
“What we have here is a failure to communicate!” That line from Cool Hand Luke sums up a common problem. In order to have progress of any kind we must communicate. Since we do not live in a vacuum we cannot run our business or our lives that way. Often, in our experience, when we find an organization that is struggling we almost always discover that poor or non-existent communication is one of the major causes. An effective leader communicates clearly. However, an outstanding or great leader does more. The outstanding leader does that plus inspires others to want to do the things that are necessary to achieve great outcomes. That leader has a compelling vision and transfers that inspiration to others. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great”, highlights what he terms Level Five Leadership. He says that a great leader is able to get the right people on...
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WHY YOU SHOULD NOT HIRE BASED ON EXPERIENCE

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT HIRE BASED ON EXPERIENCE
Employers and hiring managers make a big mistake when they use experience as the primary criteria for hiring a candidate.  This is different than saying that knowledge of the job and the requisite skills and knowledge are not important. They certainly are. Of course, you want the right person for the right job. However, looking primarily for experience will produce disappointing results. 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 using the assumption that as...
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ACHIEVE POSITVE RESULTS BY BEING POSITIVE IN YOUR COMMUNICATION

ACHIEVE POSITVE RESULTS BY BEING POSITIVE IN YOUR COMMUNICATION
We have been working with two leaders of an organization.  They have related several problems but they all had one source.  We can’t get the right people to work for us.   We spent some time interviewing them as well as a sample of people in their organization.   Wow, what a disconnect.  They are desperately looking for success.  The employees also want the organization to be successful.  That is where the similarity stopped.  The two partners could not convey the goals of the organization and they were not even communicating completely the upcoming projects.  The staff was frustrated.  One partner is totally exhausted because he feels he must do everything himself and he is afraid to hold people accountable.  The other partner has no tolerance for things and thinks lots of people should just leave.  The good news is that they can fix this if they change.  The first step...
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IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION BY CONNECTING TO OTHERS

IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION BY CONNECTING TO OTHERS
Great communication is a two way process. That means that a message is sent and received. Your words, no matter how well chosen, may fail to get your message out. 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 high priority on speaking and presentation skills but do not place the same emphasis on listening skills. Without downgrading the importance of good speech, it would...
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HOW TO BECOME A TRUSTED ADVISOR TO YOUR CUSTOMER

HOW TO BECOME A TRUSTED ADVISOR TO YOUR CUSTOMER
Becoming a trusted advisor is a process that is built on credibility, trust and respect. Many business advisors and sales consultants talk about how they want to be a trusted advisor to their client. For some, achievement of that objective for some will require a paradigm shift in conduct of the buying selling process. I have recently read Dan Pink’s book, “To Sell is Human”. In my opinion this goes to the heart of being a trusted advisor. Those who remember sales from years ago remember ABC which means Always Be Closing . This is a tactic no longer works in today’s information rich environment. Using gimmicks to get sales in the past was based on the fact that the seller had a deal or that the buyer did not know what the seller knew. Today we buy things from the Internet. In fact anything a buyer wants to know is...
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IS EMPLOYEE DISENGAGEMENT HURTING YOUR BUSINESS?

IS EMPLOYEE DISENGAGEMENT HURTING YOUR BUSINESS?
I remember working with a CEO, who when asked the question how many people work here would reply, “Oh about half.” Although that may be a funny wise crack comment, on a serious note the Gallup organization reports that it is only one third. Should you be concerned? The best way to illustrate the cost employee disengagement is with this story. I recently did a similar survey 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 owner and his son were physically worn out. They were struggling to get more business but having a hard time providing good service to existing customers. Here is why. For starters, father and son disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one family member over...
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USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO PUT YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE OUT THERE

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO PUT YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE OUT THERE
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. Marketing is simply defined as being top of mind when your prospect is ready to buy. 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. When defining your market less is more. Start by identifying your competitive advantage and determining who is most likely going to benefit from doing business with you. The tighter you focus that market on your competitive advantages, the more likely you’ll convert those market members to prospects. For example, a financial planner I know differentiates himself by providing specialized services for...
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FIVE STEPS TO MAKE CHANGES FOR BETTER RESULTS IN YOUR BUSINESS

FIVE STEPS TO MAKE CHANGES FOR BETTER RESULTS IN YOUR BUSINESS
Fear of change is an emotion that can become paralyzing.   Recently, a CEO told me about some things happening in his long operating business.  The business has had years of successful sales and profits.  Since the business was making money the business continue to operate, sell, and market the same way.  The reasoning was, if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  Although the long standing business model had produced great sales and profits, recently the business has experienced a decline in sales and profits.  In short, there have been changes in the economy and the market.  In order to remain successful the business owner knows that he will need to change.  But not just any change will do.  Changing the right things and taking the right action is crucial.  Here are 5 beginning steps to take in the process of change for better results: 1.      Make sure you know what...
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HIRE SMART BY BALANCING SKILLS AND BEHAVIORS

HIRE SMART BY BALANCING SKILLS AND BEHAVIORS
Selecting employees is one of the most important functions of a manager.   Sadly most organizations fail at hiring the right people.  This occurs at organizations with a human resources department as often as it happens with the small business owner.  The good news is that you can begin to hire the right people.  Jim Collins and his team laid out the principle in the book Good to Great.   It 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. Here is a simple fact.  Managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at background in the industry, jobs held before, and job history.  Many companies even do background checks.  They spend a significant amount of time looking...
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ARE YOU AND YOUR STAFF ON THE SAME PAGE?

ARE YOU AND YOUR STAFF ON THE SAME PAGE?
Do you ever wonder why you are taking a course of action, asking your staff to follow then turning and finding no one there?  The reason for this could be that you and your staff are not on the same page?  While that is personally frustrating how much money is that costing you? You can change that.  Here’s how.  Become a focused leader who empowers engaged employees who in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success .  Let’s start 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 appoint yourself CEO 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...
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LEVERAGE THE STRENGHS OF YOUR TEAM AND WATCH PERFORMANCE SOAR

LEVERAGE THE STRENGHS OF YOUR TEAM AND WATCH PERFORMANCE SOAR
Developing a high performing team certainly does require clear cut vision and values.  In fact, I discussed this very thing in last week’s blog.  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 now have the right people.  Now what? Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels.   Unfortunately, many of us spend time trying to correct weaknesses.  I have told this story before but it is a great illustration of what happens: How many of you are parents?  When your 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...
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YOUR VISION AND YOUR VALUES ARE THE COMPASS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

YOUR VISION AND YOUR VALUES ARE THE COMPASS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
  Many people start a business and develop a plan to market and sell their product and service.  But if that is all they have, in my opinion, two key ingredients are missing--vision and values.   Surprisingly, many businesses can not say why they are in business nor can they articulate their basic business foundation and founding principles.  Why you are running the business is more important than how you run it.  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.  Of perhaps greater importance are your values.  These are you ideals you live by.  These are your non negotiables.  If you know why you...
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UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER - KEYS TO GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE

UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER - KEYS TO GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
Regardless of what we sell we are all really in a service business.  People do not buy what we sell.  They buy us.  If they truly buy you then they are a loyal customer.  Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer.  You can be making a lot of sales and have a good income but you will not have that for long if you don’t have loyal customers. What is the best way to have a steady stream of loyal customers?   Under promise and over deliver.  Exceed your customers' expectations.   Here is an experience that I just had. Due to a spike in temperature in the Northeast this week my central AC was working overtime.  I realized on Thursday evening that the system was not cooling.  I called the after-hours number at my HVAC provider.  The person at the other end told me that the service...
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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
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."  -- Gen. George S. Patton "Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way."                 -- Gen. George S. Patton On this Memorial Day weekend we pay tribute to our fallen brave men and women in the armed forces.  It is also fitting to honor the great leadership lessons of our past military leaders.   It is not surprising to me that many great civilian leaders that I 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 Patten.  Those were his traits.  People with totally different traits such as Colon Powell or Norman Schwarzkopf were equally effective...
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IS BEING IN CONTROL PREVENTING YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH?

IS BEING IN CONTROL PREVENTING YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH?
Any smart business owner knows that a business must have adequate controls.  But is being in control preventing your business growth?  Being controlling can prevent your business from growing.  Why are owners so controlling?  The reason is that most businesses are started by people who are very involved in the product or service.  That is natural.  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.  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...
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MOTIVATION AND GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

MOTIVATION AND GOAL ACHIEVEMENT
Everyone is always talking about setting a goal and writing it down.  We hear that all the time.  So why isn’t everyone that espouses this doing great?  In fact, why do very few New Year’s resolutions go unfulfilled?  “WHY” is indeed the operating question. I ask people I coach this question all the time, “Why do want to do this?”  Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter.  Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated.  Notice that I did not say goal setting but rather achievement.  You can’t motivate yourself or motivate others.  You need instead to reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. What is your passion?  If you are not sure why not start by doing a dream inventory.  List every dream you have.  How many did you list?  Keep going until you have 50.  Which ones are most important? ...
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