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Grant Schneider

Grant Schneider

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Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Your most important task in your business is to attract and retain customers. Second most important task is to attract and retain great employees. You need a great product or service and a great value proposition to have loyal customers. The same is true for your employees. You must have a great employee value proposition. You are never going to learn the truth about your value proposition if you don’t ask. There are some organizations that never ask their customers or staff how the company is doing. Fear of hearing bad news will not make the bad news go away. However, it appears that many companies are just not comfortable asking the ultimate question, “How are we doing?” The reason that we know that companies are not interested in knowing how they are doing can be found in a Gallup survey. According to Gallup around 30% of employees are engaged at...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Measurements make a difference in the operation of your business. You may have heard the expression, “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” Well, if you want to have a sustainable business you need to have a strategic plan, which includes those 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 a 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. That, however, is a measure of what has happened in the past. It may not predict what will happen in the future. Predictive analytics is the best way to step in and create your business future. It is far better to rely on predictive measurements to make decisions than to rely...

Posted by on in Vision and Values
Every organization has a culture. Your organization has a culture too. Question is whether your culture is creating the outcomes you want. If it is not, then it is time to change the culture. Attitudes drive culture. I love what Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” The fact is that people do not put enough emphasis on how attitude affects performance. If you are the leader of the organization your attitude affects the culture of your organization and, ultimately, its performance. An organization that has a positive vision and values, and that has leadership that lives and promotes those values is creating a positive culture. But if there is a negative attitude at the top the culture of the organization is doomed. There is a strong link between attitude and performance. Let’s start with defining what attitude means in this context. An attitude is a pattern of thought. These...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
The employees of your business are important to your success. And today more than ever their connection with their job and your business is directly related to your success. In past times, leaders would give directions and expect them to be followed. Leadership today requires collaboration. Instead of saying what you want done you will say, “here is what we can accomplish together to achieve our goals.” Unfortunately, I am sometimes contacted by business owners that can’t understand why there are so many bad employees and they want me to fix them. I was asked by a family business what I felt needed to be done to “make their people work.” They did not ask me what they could do differently. For starters, family members disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one family member over the other. The managers in...

Posted by on in Sales and Marketing
The goal of a salesperson is to complete a transaction. The goal of a trusted advisor is to create a loyal customer relationship based on credibility, trust and respect. In reality both of these individuals is a salesperson but they approach the buying and selling process in remarkably different ways. Dan Pink, in his book, “To Sell is Human,” contends that everyone is in sales whether we have the title or not. He repackages it as “the art of moving people.” Everyone practices this art from salespeople to consultants and teachers. The old formula of sales no longer works. Those who remember sales from years ago remember ABC which means Always Be Closing. This tactic no longer works in today’s information rich environment. In the past, using gimmicks to close was successful because the seller had more information than the buyer which gave the seller the upper hand. Today we buy...
Tagged in: Sales Trusted Advisor

Posted by on in Vision and Values
Values are more important than anything else when selecting team members. While having different skills and ideas brings strength to a team, it is imperative that the team shares the same values. Are you clear about what you value? If you know your core values and stand behind them, you can set goals with confidence. Your values will help you with your WHY. Moreover, your why is much more important than your 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. Any successful business needs to have vision—that is what the business will look like when it is successful. Your vision is your dream. You must have a dream if you want to have a dream to come true. Your core values are of greater importance than vision. These are the ideals that you...

Posted by on in Fear of Change
Change is inevitable. You can’t decide not to participate. It is happening won’t remain the same. Instead you will lose ground and move backward. As the earth moves everything changes. Cars change, technology changes, and business practices change. What you did to get to where you are today will not get you to where you want to go tomorrow.   If you want to continue hold onto your customers and market share you must adapt to changing times. And if you want to move forward you need to anticipate and get ahead of change. Why do people resist change? Why do people continue to do the same things although they are no longer getting the results they once achieved? If we understand why we resist change, we can overcome the obstacles that are holding us back. If we overcome obstacles to change, we can make progress even to the point of getting...

Posted by on in Competencies and Strengths
Would you like to reach your true potential? Then do something that may sound counterproductive. Stop worrying about your weaknesses. Although it is foolish to try to improve your weakness you have been told the opposite since you were in grade school. Even if you attempt correct your weaknesses you will never be fully satisfied, and you will be in a constant state of stress. But isn’t that what many of us try to do?   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 is your response? That’s right. Most people will talk to their child about raising the grade in English. But what if your child might have a real talent in math? He or she might become a great math genius. But it might never...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Do you see your Westchester County NY business the way that others do? You have been working in your business for a long time. Many times, when you see something every day you stop noticing. Does that make sense? For example, when you started your business you were focused on how you were going to get customers and what resources you would need to deliver the products and services to those customers. That might have been 2 years ago, 5 years ago or even 10 or more years ago. But you say, “I’m ok now because I have my routine set and it works without me thinking about it.” Here are two questions to ask yourself. Has a new team member joined and pointed out things you didn’t see? Have you had any suggestions or complaints by customers? Sometimes a person with a fresh set of eyes is needed to point...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Westchester employers are asking how they can get productive employees who will stay. You can’t just hire them. 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. Many of these writings focus on procedure. Here is a more practical bottom line approach but one that uses solid human relations skills. Performance management includes performance development. It is not merely enough to tell an employee here is your job description and see me if you have any questions. Establish expectations from the start. Help orient your new employee by helping him or her to understand the big picture for your organization. Share the organization’s vision, values, and mission along with the organizational goals. You will have more success if you are as transparent as possible. In order to...

Posted by on in Sales and Marketing
How do you see sales? Sometimes we think of the skillful of hard driving individual who “closes” a client. 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 firsts. Here are 7 ideas that will open your current sales thinking and help you become more effective in your selling activities: 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 go of trying to “close the sale” or...
Tagged in: Sales

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
I remember seeing the movie Ground Hog Day and thinking how hilarious it was to wake up every day and repeat the previous day over. We would not want that life but how many of us have Ground Hog Day at our business? How many of us get up in the morning when the alarm rings, go to the office, go through emails, catch up on uncompleted work, start the day’s work, take phone calls, try to meet the day’s deadlines, go home, tell everyone what a busy day we had, go to bed, get up in the morning when the alarm rings……   Like Bill Murray in the movie, have you come to the realization that you are doomed to do the same thing every day? Break the cycle! As I have mentioned before, when this lack of purpose happens, you are working IN your business rather than ON your business....

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
You are noticing that something is not right, but you can’t figure out what it is. I receive calls like this from business owner and it’s my job as the business doctor to learn the symptoms and then diagnose the problem. During my consultation I ask questions, listen for answers, and then ask some more questions. As an example of symptoms, here are some statements that I hear from the owners. Our sales have begun to level off. We can’t get our employees motivated. We are getting more customer complaints. We have new competition. While these sound like normal business problems there is no simple answer for them. It is important to look at the whole picture rather than make a reactive fix. It is better to take a proactive look. It would be a mistake to treat the symptoms rather than cure the disease. Many reactive business leaders treat the...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Management and Leadership are two important roles and it is best if they work together. As manager you are guiding and controlling and as leader you are visioning, modeling, and motivating. In the earlier times of business, the role of a manager was not that complex. The manager oversaw what employees did. People performed or were fired. This traditional boss is no longer effective and no longer welcome. Management today is more complex. As manager you are responsible for the performance of your team, your business, or your company. The buck stops with you. However, that does not mean that you do everything yourself. It also does not mean that you offload your responsibility to your employees. It means that you get results by working with your people. You do this by properly delegating with confidence. You must be confident because you can only delegate tasks and authority. You don’t delegate...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Many small businesses are family owned businesses. Suppose you started your business years ago and you have built a profitable business for you and your family. Your children are now working in the business. What will happen when you exit? Many parents do not have a plan in place for when they exit the business. There are number of steps that should be taken to prepare. These include legal, financial, and preparing the next generation to take over if they want to work in the business. In the first two areas you should work with an attorney and financial planner who understands tax laws. This is particularly important if you have other children who will not be working in the business. Now whether you seek succession of your business to your children or whether you seek to exit through sale you need to develop a strategic business plan. Your plan will...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
What would you like to happen in your business in 2019? You would like to be a success story but the possibility exists that you may be a statistic. One of the biggest challenges is not starting as a solo entrepreneur but growing the business and adding people. Michael Gerber, in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses the reasons. The e-myth or the entrepreneurial myth as described by Gerber incorrectly assumes that the desire of the new business owner or entrepreneur, plus capital, plus a profit goal will result in success. But this has not spelled success for business and the lack of true understanding of what it takes has caused businesses to fail. Some businesses may survive due to external dynamics and timing, but they will become stagnant and the owner will feel like a hamster on a wheel. This is because there is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership....

Posted by on in Customer Service
A very important leading indicator is your loyal customer base. If it is growing the you can expect your sales to grow too. Peter Ducker said that the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. Have you included goals for customer loyalty scores in your strategic plan?  Creating a customer is done through a clear message and marketing but keeping a customer is based on performance. Don’t spend all your time on marketing for new customers while neglecting your current customers. A loyal current customer is the cheapest and most effective form of marketing. A company that says it separates itself from others by service usually does not know what that really means. As an example, it seems that most businesses are focusing on customer satisfaction to determine their customer service measurements. This measurement is flawed and often falls short of actionable expectations. Companies also make a mistake...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
You have finished your strategic plan for next year and created your goals. Now you must implement but how do you know it you are on track for future success? You have had some strong business growth, but that performance is no guarantee of future results. 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...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You may have the management role with the authority but there is a difference between power and authority. By virtue of your position you have the authority. But really, if people don’t respect you or your opinion you really have no power to influence or inspire them. Have you noticed certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. They may have no title but people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their ability to inspire and gain respect. Would you like to know how you rank in this area? Ask your colleagues or employees to give you some “360 feedback.” Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. That alone should increase their level of respect because you are showing you value their...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Where do you see your business going in the next year? If you are a business owner in Westchester County NY you should be giving this serious consideration. Creating an appropriate strategy will be most successful if you look at your business today, look into the future, then make a plan to create your 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 realized that it was not in the film business but in the image and impression sharing business. In real estate are you selling houses or assisting buyers in improving their lives? 2.        Get in front of change.   The best way to this it...

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