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.

COLLABORATE AND BE A CONSENSUS BUILDER

Highly-Effective-Leaders
A collaborative team is more than likely lead by a leader who is a consensus builder. Rather than win lose they empower others and work to seek consensus. Strong leaders have courage to challenge the status quo and point out failures in the organization. They develop and coach others and build positive collaborative relationships. Teams that are high performing are collaborative. To illustrate the importance of team collaboration let’s consider a flock of geese. A flock of geese has a common goal – fly south for the winter. They can get where they’re going much easier by using the strength of the group – they fly in a V formation to add 70% greater flying range. They stay in formation – if a goose falls out of formation, it immediately feels the drag and quickly returns to the formation. They take turns doing the hard work and sharing the leadership role...
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REMOVE THE OBSTACLES TO YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS

StrugglingManager
Are you having trouble restarting but can’t find the cause of your problem? If you are having this issue, you are not alone. I receive calls like this from business owners often and much more often now. It is 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 and 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...
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ACCOUNTABILITY, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Accountable-Team
Retention of employees is a major concern of Westchester employers. The changes in the last year have necessitated taking a new look at accountability. Accountability is a two-way street, and it is important for team members to understand WIIFM (What’s in it for me.) Today’s team members want opportunities to grow and develop and have real accountability for results. Creating accountability by developing an employee value proposition takes planning, effort, and management commitment. Here are a few things you can do to start. 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. To have employee “buy in” the employee needs to first know what he or she is buying. Make sure that your...
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RESTART WITH A JUMPSTART

Team-Working-on-A-Project
Business has changed dramatically since the pandemic and subsequent shutdown. Prior to the shutdown business was brisk. You have had some strong business growth, but reopening does not guarantee of future results will be the same. The best way to predict the future is to create it. Go for a strong restart with a jumpstart. Begin with the basics. Make sure your vision, values, and mission. Redefine your business objectives, goal categories, and your SMART goals. The execute and monitor. You may have heard the expression, “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” What you measure is just as important as having and 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. But that, again, is a measure of what happened in the past. It may not predict what will happen...
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WHAT TYPE OF LEADERSHIP DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE?

Successful-Business-Team
If there is great success the credit is given to the leader. Likewise, if there is a problem, or worse, a disaster the leader is blamed. Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here.” Leaders set the tone, and direction, and mode the behaviors. They lead by example. Positive results are the result of positive leaders. Show me an organization that functions very well, and I can show you a positive engaged leader. I recently asked a group of employees what was wrong with their company. They replied, “We need positive leadership. We need leadership with people skills.” It is important to have the management skills for a job but there are many smart managers who fail. In most cases it is the lack of interpersonal skills, empathy, emotional intelligence, and leadership worth following. Let’s start with you and your personal leadership. Ask yourself these...
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REACH YOUR VISION BY DISCIPLINED GOAL ACHIEVEMENT PROCESS

Mountaintop
You have defined your vision, values, and mission. You know what your business objectives are and you have defined your goal categories. Now it time for goal planning and goal achievement. So let’s get to it! 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 ever take. So why...
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ACCOUNTABLE EMPLOYEES ARE MORE LIKELY TO STAY

Assistant-Buyer
Employees who are accountable are already invested in their jobs and the organization. How does that happen. First of all, as Jim Collins says, you need to get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. It is very important in the first few months to establish rapport and engage them in an onboarding process and to establish standards and expectations. 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 have employee “buy in” the employee needs to first know what he or she is buying. Make sure that your expectations are clear and concise. If you don’t...
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WHAT ARE YOUR DRIVING FORCES?

Employee-Engagement
Another way of asking about your driving forces is asking you what motivates you. Motivation comes from within and that means that you cannot motivate another person, but it certainly would be good to know what motivates that person. Knowing that you can create a spark to ignite their inner fire. That inner fire will drive motivation. That inner fire or passion is your WHY and this comes from the driving forces that motivate you. If you do not have the WHY then the HOW will not matter. Knowing what motivates you is a key to achievement and knowing how to find motivation in others is a key to leadership. Dwight Eisenhower said that leadership is getting others to do what you want because THEY want to do it. Reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. What is your passion? Do you know. You could take...
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WHAT IS STOPPING YOU FROM REACHING YOUR GOAL

Transform-Fear-into-Action
There is plenty of fear out there right now but don’t let fear deter you from your goals. Playing it safe and taking the path of least resistance is a choice many people take. But taking the safe course of action may be more risky than stepping out there. You may lose an opportunity, your competitive edge or your business when you play it safe. 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...
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WHAT IS WORKPLACE STRESS DOING TO YOUR BUSINESS?

Stressed-Home-Worker
What do you think the stress level is at your workplace? Every workplace has stress. Management should be concerned about the level of stress in the workplace. Some people have personal stress the carries into the work life. This could be any number of things such as home problems, health, financial worries, and the like. It is wise for management to have outside help available rather then getting involved with employees’ private issues. A good EAP (Employee Assistance Program) can be obtained through an outside provider. However, this conversation is about workplace stress brought on in the workplace. Being challenged at work can escalate into having a highly demanding job. Often a result of poorly designed jobs, stress resulting from excessive demand happens when workloads become overwhelming, or skills or talents don't match the position. That being said, here are 7 workplace factors that might be causing stress with your team....
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GROW THE LEADERSHIP SKILLS AS YOU GROW THE LEVEL IN THE ORGANIZATION

Employee-Engagement
If you are promoting team members based on current experience and success you could be setting them up for failure. A first line supervisor who performs very well is not destined to be a great middle manager. Unfortunately, many times we think that there is one set of skills that pertain to leadership. The most common mistake is taking an individual performer and promoting that person to supervisor without any training at all. The newly promoted supervisor still sees the jobs of the people he or she is supervising through his or her own individual performer lens. What is needed is an understanding of motivation, leadership and interpersonal skills in addition to knowledge of the job. But it does not stop there. All leadership roles are not the same at all levels. Managing other managers is different from managing individual performers. According to Lawrence Peter, author of the Peter Principle, companies...
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HOW CAN I HOLD MY TEAM MEMBERS ACCOUNTABLE?

Accountable-Team
Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” It is difficult to have sustainable success by forcing people to be accountable. It is better to create the motivation and culture so that staff and team members want to be accountable. If properly done you can discuss results, build pride, and change behaviors. Noticing failures and offering help to someone struggling can build a sense of pride in the team member. However, by avoiding we only have continued failure. Doing nothing and avoiding accountability is not an option if we want to create growth through improved results. How does a manager hold members of the staff responsible for performance? What about an employee who needs help but fears asking for help? The results can be devastating when we fail to have accountability discussions. The book, “Crucial Confrontations”, by Kerry...
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HAVE CONFIDENCE TO DELEGATE. YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE SUSTAINABLE

Entrepreneur
If you want to have a truly sustainable business, you must learn to delegate with confidence. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. In other words, an effective leader knows how to delegate with confidence. Consider an example. Let’s say you want to open a restaurant because you are a great cook and really love to cook. If that is your primary reason, I would suggest that you get a job as a chef at a restaurant. If you want to open a restaurant you need to manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable. Let’s consider the example of one of my clients. This client has built a very successful home services business. He did the sales, and his wife did the bookkeeping. He hired service staff to...
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MAKE SURE YOUR MESSAGE CREATES THE INTENDED RESULT

Delivering-a-Message
It is not what you say. It is how you say it. You can use the same words in a sentence and make them mean something different by use of word emphasis with your voice. These are stressful times. Businesses are opening again but find that getting people to come back is not as easy as they thought. Recently I met executives dealing withcreat the many worries of brings employees back. Some can’t wait, some are concerned about returning in person, some like the virtual. Management is finding that it is not that easy to craft a policy and convey a message that will resonate with all. People have mixed emotions and people have fear of the unknown. Although management 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. As a manager do you know...
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THE SECRET TO HAVING A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Level-5-Leadership
According to studies a motivated engages team is a high performing team when it has high quality leadership. If the team is failing or dysfunctional, one needs to look first to the leadership. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” talks about great companies being great because they are led by what he defines as a “Level 5” leader. Such a leader has all the essential abilities including contributing team member, competent manager, effective leader, and great leader. However, he or she also possess the unique blend of humility and will which is required for true greatness.   Start by hiring the people that fit the mission and vision of your organization and possess shared values. You then must keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In today’s world, it is not enough to be good,...
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HELP YOUR TEAM HOLD THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

Aligned-Team
People by nature want to know that they are making a difference and will be accountable to the standards they believe in. Before you begin talking about standards you need to know and clearly communicate your organizational values and goals. It all starts there! I have made this statement many times… only work with people who share your values. Specific values may be called out in performance goals such as a restaurant server acting in a way that creates a great guest experience. Values are especially important and so are behaviors. Behaviors involve how an employee should act and react and values play a big part in this. Of equal importance are the required deliverables. These are the results. Now how do we communicate this? Let’s start with clear standards and goals and then do regular measurements. Many managers dread the words “Performance Appraisal.” Unfortunately, that attitude creates failed opportunities. A...
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SHOW SINCERITY AND CONVEY TRUST IN YOUR COMMUNICATION

Message-from-Leader
Have you ever felt that someone was upset by your message, but you don’t know why? 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 your employees and what you should 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...
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STOP WORKING ON YOUR WEAKNESSES

Assistant-Buyer
Why do you want to spend all your time improving your weaknesses? Even if you attempt to do it you will never be fully satisfied, and you will be in a constant state of stress. You will be so much more productive if you are able to know your strengths. In most cases you like what you do well. So why are people beating themselves up trying to improve their weaknesses. It does not have a lasting effect in most cases. So why do you do it? And why do organizations make cooks out of mechanics? Here is another example. When your child comes home from school with his or her report card and it shows, for example, an A in math, B in history, and a C in English, what is your response? I think most people will talk to their child about raising the grade in English. But what...
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YOUR BUSINESS WILL GROW IF YOU TRUST

Controlling-Manager
Recently I worked with a client who tends to be very controlling. The behavior comes from experience. She was burnt once before and now she is afraid to be burnt again. I explained that the candidate for operations manager would be an excellent performer. But she won’t accept the position if she feels ownership will not trust her and not micromanage. This problem 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...
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POSITIVE SHARED VALUES EQUALS POSITIVE CULTURE

Core-Values-Culture
How do you become an employer of choice? You need a great employer brand and a positive Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Your brand is made up of pillars which are your values. Culture influences every area of the organization. It affects the public and customer perception, but it also affects the way people do their jobs and their connection to the mission and values of the organization. In short, an organization’s culture is seen in actions and behaviors which model the values it lives by. Your hiring process must support your culture. One organization lays out on of their cultural pillars this way: “We very carefully guard who gets to be an associate in our organization.” This organization looks at values, attitudes, and behaviors in making staff selections in addition to those skills needed to perform the job. Unfortunately, we find that managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at...
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