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.

YOU NEED TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE

Accountability
Achievers are always accountable for results. And leadership fails when the leader does not hold all team members accountable. I am sure you have heard that many times before. You might have even heard it from a boss you had imploring you to “hold them accountable.” Some people see this as a problem. They fear that holding people accountable will hurt relationships. In reality, it requires more skilled relation building over mutually agreed to goals. Creating a culture of accountability requires collaboration, communication of goals, and understanding the nature of motivation. Having conversations about accountability should be combined with empowering your team to take ownership of their work. You need to communicate the goals and the desired outcomes, but they need to be a part of it. Be totally transparent regarding challenges and obstacles. Your team should not fear making mistakes but should learn from them. Honest and direct conversations need...
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HOW TO CREATE A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Aligned-Team
An organization is only as good as its people. Great people and great teams do not happen by accident. Creating a successful team requires right actions by the leadership.   There are two very important actions that must be taken by team leaders. First, you must start with the right people and these people must share your values. But then leadership has the challenge of retaining those high performers by keeping them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In our business climate it is not enough to be good, we must exceed our customers’ expectations. That is not going to happen if you have a lot of highly qualified but individual performers who don’t share vision, values, and goals. You need cohesive and effective teams to make it happen, not people in individual silos. Everyone has different talents...
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LISTEN TWICE AS MUCH

Coaching
It is true that we have two ears and one mouth. We should listen at least twice as much than we talk. Unfortunately, many times during a conversation we concentration on our talking points rather than being guided by what we are hearing. This is not the best way be persuasive and certainly not a good way to communicate. I was on the receiving end of a conversation. It went like this… I was questioning a salesperson about comparable features offered by two different iPhone telecommunications carriers. During the conversation I pointed out that one carrier had an additional benefit. The benefit was the ability to use the Internet while on a call. The salesperson quickly shot back something to the effect, “you’re not going to surf the internet while you are driving.” Did he hear that from me? No. I had a legitimate reason for wanting this service. When I...
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THE ROLE OF A LEADER

Message-from-Leader
You need management and leadership. While management organizes and controls, leadership charts the way, innovates, and inspires the organization to new heights. As a leader your role is to navigate your organization or your team through the uncertainties. Sometimes the good and necessary management skills such as planning, directing and controlling create roadblocks because they are missing the inspirational leadership. The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. That’s right. If all the students fail the exam, then the fault lies with the teaching. Like students you and your staff may not be on the same page. You may be a great manager, but you may fail as a leader. 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. They understand the vision...
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WHY FIGURES OUT HOW

Create-Your-Dream
Stop worrying about how to do something and stop telling your staff how to do something. Instead, find your why and make sure their why is aligned with yours. Then the way (how) will present itself. Goal planning is not about writing down a list of tasks. Instead, it starts with a why which some people call a dream. Someone said, ”you gotta have a dream if you want a dream to come true. That’s the why. Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter. Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated. You can’t motivate yourself or motivate others. You need instead to reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. If you know a staff member’s why or hot button just give them the job that fits their passion. You will be amazed at how they will surprise you with results. Make...
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ARE YOU AFRAID TO LET GO?

StressedOwner
Are you afraid to let go and is this hurting your business growth? Why do you want to be a control freak when there is a much easier and more productive way? This problem could have had its roots in the founding of the business when owners and principals must be very involved in the product or service. The owner must spend most of the 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. There comes a time when the business grows, and one person can’t get it all done. Now you, the owner, hire someone. You are at the pinnacle of a growing business. At this point you are now not only the owner but also a manager. But beware! You hire an employee but continue to stay...
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USE THIS LEADING MEASUREMENT TO IMPROVE YOUR SALES AND PROFITS

Center-of-Influence
If you have had profits in the past there is no guarantee you will have them in the future. To quote investment company advertisements, “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” You need to have a leading indicator. A leading indicator would show current business conditions which would lead to continued success. Two very important measurements are employee engagement and customer loyalty . While sales and profits are very important measurements, they tell you what has happened. Employee engagement and customer loyalty tells you what will happen. When you have engaged employees they will do their best work which will result in loyal customers. You should measure employee engagement at least once per year. The ultimate employee question is, “How likely are you to recommend our company as a great place to work?” When you have highly engaged employees you have promoters of your workplace. A measurement called The Net...
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IT IS NOT THAT EASY TO ELIMINATE THOSE BAD HABITS

Erase-Bad-Habits
If bad habits were easy to change, we would have so much more success. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, bad habits and bad behaviors are the biggest obstacles to success in business. We need to be spending more time on attitudes and behaviors and at least as much time as we spend on developing skills and knowledge. That is because most employee terminations and business failures occur because of habits and behaviors. If any of you have ever done an assessment with a coach or you have had a developmental assessment for your job you probably saw a section on the worksheet that is titled “I will stop doing…” If you are doing things that are harmful to your business, why do you keep doing them? In most cases we are in a comfort zone and we don’t want to change because making any change will be uncomfortable....
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THE DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS OF LEADERSHIP

Level-5-Leadership
Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a good leader? If you asked that question to a room full of people you would probably get different answers. That is because leadership is complex and situational. Leadership and management is 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. I had the opportunity a while ago to be part of a group invited to listen to Ken Blanchard discussing building trust, creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, leadership and organizational change. Ken reinforces some of the values and beliefs that 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...
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COACHING THAT TRANSFORMS

Coaching
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” That line from the movie Cool Hand Luke highlights a fundamental problem. There are many times in our business and personal lives where we don’t achieve a desired result from directing, explaining, or urging action. I would like to concentrate here on the “urging action.” Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what YOU want them to do because THEY want to do it.” Let’s now use that quote and relate it to coaching. Coaching is not telling people what they need to do. On the contrary. It is helping them find the direction within themselves to solve a problem. Coaching is a process between a coach and a person being coached that helps the person being coached produce big results in their lives, careers, or business by deepening learning and improve performance and quality of life. The transformational part...
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WHAT IT TAKES TO RETAIN AND ENGAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES

Aligned-Team
What does it take to hire good employees? How do I get these people to stay? I hear these questions many times. There is an answer. It is not necessarily simple, and it depends on many factors. There are no stereotypes regarding employees or candidates for a job. But it is important to understand motivations and engagement drivers of people. Why is employee engagement so important to success? If you have disengaged employees, they are just waiting around to see what happens. On the other hand, engaged workers have bought into what the organization is about and are trying to make a difference. Therefore, they're usually the most productive workers. 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,...
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WHO REALLY LIKES TO CHANGE?

Change-Management
Although leaders will agree that change is necessary, they may need to become more aware of how they themselves need to change. If they want people to take ownership and initiative, then they must relinquish some degree of control. What we did to get to where we are today will not get us where you want to go tomorrow.   Who are our customers and what business are we in? If we want to continue hold onto our customers and market share, we must adapt to changing times. And if we want to move forward, we 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? Understanding the reasons people resist change can help overcome the obstacles to change and create real progress. So here are four reasons why...
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COMMUNICATING STANDARDS AND DEVELOPING ACCOUNTABILITY

Job-Interview
The best way to create top performance in your staff is knowing what great performance for your organization looks like. 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 very 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 performance appraisal...
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BEWARE OF THE MANY NUANCES OF COMMUNICATION

Message-from-Leader
Think during your time in your corporate careers. Did you ever come to a time as you moved up the corporate ladder when the words you used or comments you had made before now have a totally different (sometimes devastating) effect on a receiver of your message? This is just one example of something that I am sure you already know. Communication is more than words and the great majority of the message is nonverbal! If you wish to improve your leadership skills, you will need to take responsibility for the communication within your organization. Start by considering what affect your words have as leader. By setting the example you can dramatically affect the communication process. There are three things that you must evaluate in order to improve your communications skills. They are: 1. What you say 2. How you say it both verbally and non-verbally 3. Your position and who...
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TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO GOALS

Create-Your-Dream
Do you have some dreams that you would like to become realities? Are you willing to create a plan to get there? Your plan will consist of several goals. Although some people have dreams many never get past the dream stage because they have no goals. A goal is really a dream with a timetable. First, let’s build the dream and then create the goals to get there. Do an inventory of your dreams and write them down. Can you visualize them and verbalize them? Visualizing and verbalizing your dream will create the motivation to achieve. In fact, a burning desire to make your dream a reality will create the urgency to make your dreams come true. If you have made goals in the past and have not achieved them, you probably did not have the burning desire to achieve them. New Year’s resolutions fall into this category many times. When...
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ARE YOU DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Entrepreneur
Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you like the freedom of being your own boss? Do you know that being your own boss requires risks? Risk is good and you should understand “No Risk, No Gain.” Yes, you are a risk taker if you are an entrepreneur. It is true that many startups do not survive. That, you say, is the risk that is assumed. But there is bare risk and then there is managed risk. Using the investment community as an example you can be a great risk taker, do day trading including option buying and ride a roller coaster. Or you can make a managed long-term diversified investment plan. Both choices involve risk, but the second choice of diversifying manages that risk and results in a successful outcome. A successful entrepreneur manages risk. Michael Gerber, in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses what I would...
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ROLL OUT CHANGE VERY CAREFULLY

Nonverbal-Communication
Although no one likes to change it is often necessary. That doesn’t make it any easier to accept. But it is important to communicate change and the reasons behind it very carefully. Without proper attention to the communication details the outcomes can be disastrous. 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 had been very many changes, but they also felt that management was not keeping them informed. 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...
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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOYALTY AND SATISFACTION?

On-Top
Every student knows that satisfactory is not really that good a grade. Satisfactory is just enough to get by. It certainly won’t have people raving. That is true for customers and employees. Peter Ducker said that the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. It is really that simple. Creating a customer is done through a clear message and marketing but keeping a customer is based on performance. Every business must focus on what works to retain a customer or retain an employee. A company that says it separates itself from others by service usually does not even know what that means. For example, it seems that the majority of 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 in the method of measuring the voice of their customer....
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TAKE DELEGATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL

StrugglingManager
If you feel that nothing important should be delegated, you will never be able to take your organization to the next level. Being a control freak or a micro manager is not necessary even in projects where accuracy or compliance is required. There is a much better way to get desired results and hold people accountable. You can maintain accuracy and compliance without stifling your team. If you do micromanage you could stifle your company growth, have high turnover, and end up working way too many hours. Let’s consider an actual example. I have worked with a person owns a business that includes insurance and real estate. He has a dozen employees involved in the process of sales and contracts. Each person has a job title but not a job description. Things change quickly as does the mood of the owner. To make matters worse people are asked to do something...
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A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM HAS DIVERSE STRENGTHS

A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM HAS DIVERSE STRENGTHS
It has been said that a team with diverse talents will be a high performing team. That is true most of the time as long as the team has a good leader. It is important for leaders to choose diverse talented teams. Moreover, it is important encourage and leverage individual member’s unique strengths. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Avoid that tendency with which we have been engrained. That is wasting time and effort correcting weaknesses. You know how this happens. 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?...
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