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Grant Schneider

Grant Schneider

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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...

Posted by on in Fear of Change
Do you like to play it safe? Taking the path of least resistance is a choice many people take. Taking the safe course of action is risky. That’s right! For example, you may lose an opportunity, your competitive edge or your business. Someone else may replace you while you are in your comfort zone. This is the takeaway. There is risk of acting but there is also risk of inaction. Being fearful of acting may be much riskier that taking that action. How many times have you said, I should have, I could have, I would have? I recently coached a Westchester County NY business executive. She wanted to advance in her career, but she was playing it safe and waiting for the right time. What could she lose by playing it safe? She could lose a great opportunity. So why wait? Fear! Another reason for waiting might be that the...

Posted by on in Competencies and Strengths
Most small to mid-size businesses are too busy growing to spend time growing their people. This can be a serious mistake. If you simply let people learn on the fly and promote them when needed, then you are setting them up to fail. This is so prevalent that a book called the Peter Principle was written about this phenomenon. In 1969, Lawrence Peter wrote a humorous book titled The Peter Principle in which he postulated that, in a hierarchy people tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence. He noted that although this is not planned it is the unintended consequence. Companies make a flawed assumption that because the employee was a great individual performer in the previous job that he or she will adapt and become a leader of the team. Inevitably, according to the Peter Principle, the person ends up being promoted to a job where they...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
There is no time like now to start achieving your goals. It is as simple as ready, set, go. Yes, it is that simple although it is not easy. Let’s take it from the beginning and create our action plan. A goal must be worthwhile to you and must motivate you. What are your biggest dreams? Do an inventory of your dreams and put them on paper. Visualize them and verbalize them. This will build the motivation to achieve your goal. 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, you were not driven to achieve them. New Year’s resolutions fall into this category many times. When you think about your life, your daily journey, how well do you plan and organize it? Your life’s journey is the MOST important trip you will...

Posted by on in Attitudes and Behaviors
Many people think that they need a time management system. They don’t need that at all. When my clients in Westchester County New York tell me that they have problems with time management I ask them why. They talk about issues they are having, and I ask them why they are having those issues. Have you ever found a time when you go so much done with time left over? Has the opposite been true and you think I am never going to finish this? In either case you will find it had more to do with your attitude than systems and procedures. Systems and procedures cannot create more time. There are many books that tell you how to organize your time. You can buy a day planner, or use Apps or other organizing and calendar programs but still have no better control of your day. The root cause of the...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Any smart business owner knows that a business must have adequate controls. Sometimes, however, being in control is preventing your business from growing. There is a delicate balance between control and empowerment. 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 a new employee is it very important...
Tagged in: Employee Engagement

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Are you having trouble with getting rid of some of those bad habits? You have tried but you have not succeeded.  You would like to create some positive habits.    A person who has positive work habits, for example, will be much more likely to succeed than a person with negative work habits. In fact, habits have everything to do with our success or failure. That bad habit can cause us to continue to do things that are non-productive or destructive.  For example, you might have a habit of laying back and taking it easy.  This could place you in panic mode when you are up against a deadline.  This could cause you to fail to meet the deadline or fail to achieve good results.  All of this is the result of living in a comfort zone.  That comfort zone exists for us because we are deriving satisfaction for our current habits. ...

Posted by on in Communication
If no one understands the message the fault is with the messenger. 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 had been many changes and they didn’t understand why. 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 what would I be worried...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
People debate what makes a good leader. Some feel that there are traits that make good leaders. But 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. Well then, what do have successful leaders have if they don’t have similar traits? All successful leaders have the ability to set goals and achieve results. This really what is meant by “management by objectives.”     Start with a clear strategic vision—a strategic plan that inspires. Then create goals that support that vision. Next, what are the desired results from your team members? Define them. Align your people and your processes and make sure that everyone understands the goals and the plan. All of your operations should be linked to your plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving that...

Posted by on in Hiring and Selection
Have you found that is hard to avoid making a hiring mistake because the right person can’t be found? If you do, then there are some things you need to know. People who make hiring mistakes don’t necessarily look in the wrong places. They look for the wrong things and ask the wrong questions. Before beginning a search for a staff member, it is important to know the overall culture and critical success factors. Some think they know but only look at superficial misleading things. Finding the right employee begins with a process to define what deliverables or actions lead to success. How do you do that? You need to start at the beginning. What is your vision, values, and mission? You must only select people with these shared values. This is where many organizations fail. They look for specific things that they believe are important, but they fail to see...

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