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Posted by on in Communication
What we have here is a failure to communicate! That line from Cool Hand Luke highlights the consequences of miscommunication. Lack of real communication is one of the biggest causes of dysfunctional relationships in our business and personal lives. We communicate to get an expected response from someone else. But sometimes, in fact often, we do not get the response we expect.   One powerful reason for this failure is that we talk more than we listen. We are so concerned with making our own points and having someone understand us that we do not take the time to understand the other person. How often do we try to insert our own opinions to try to persuade others? Communication requires a sender of the message and a receiver—that is to say that communication is a two-way process. That means we must listen to hear and understand the other person. We need to...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Can you go on a vacation and unplug totally without worrying about what will happen in your business? If your business cannot properly function when you are not there, then you don’t have a business but rather, you have a hobby. This is not a bad thing because this may be your business goal. There is nothing wrong with being solo so don’t worry if that is what you want. However, if you want to take your business to the next level you need to have systems in place that are easily followed by others. Does your business survive due to external dynamics and timing but will become stagnant when you are not there? In this case you might feel like you are a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. As an example, in the restaurant industry there are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel...

Posted by on in Hiring and Selection
Don’t make a hiring decision based on a great resume. First of all, the resume is the applicant’s puff piece and secondly, it tells what was done in the past. You are hiring for the future. 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. Here is what I have observed. 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 long as the candidate has previous experience in the industry or job that the candidate will be a success in the...

Posted by on in Attitudes and Behaviors
What would you do if you just received a large monetary inheritance? Would make an extravagant expenditure, invest it, or pay down debt? When you get time do you approach it in the same manner? It is true that you will get more out of the time you have when you learn to get more out of your life. What do you want? What are your values? What do you believe and what are your priorities? The answer to these questions will determine how you spend your day. In order to get more out of you time, you need to know what you want to get out of it. There is a difference between spending time and investing time. According to Webster to spend is to use up, exhaust, or consume. In other words, if you spend you have no return. On the other hand, when you invest you do so...

Posted by on in Communication
I don’t know about you, but I have seen two different people convey the same message with drastically different results. Many times, it involves conveying a company policy or procedure that requires change. In other instances, it may involve coaching a person to change. There are two components which determine whether the communication is effective or whether it creates resentment. The first is the choice of words and the other is the attitude of the person communicating. It is very important that you have empathy for the other person. Help them to feel as if their opinions matter. Next time try some of these examples. •          You can accept other people’s ideas and respect them although you do not have to agree. Acknowledge amazing requests and outrageous statements with responses such as: "That's an interesting idea." "That's a novel request." "What an intriguing question." Then listen to what the other person...
Tagged in: Communication

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You may believe that you have a powerful customer value proposition but if your employees are not on board it will never be fulfilled. If they are not on board then, perhaps, you are not leading them. When I consult with business owners in Westchester County New York often I hear comments about getting the staff to do the right things. Sometimes an owner is willing to place all the blame on the staff being lazy, unmotivated, or the like. Fortunately, most will ask how they can improve their ability to get the team behind them. You can change things by being laser focused on the goals and leading by example. Your laser focus empowers your employees who in turn create loyal customers by their actions. Being Laser Focused - You may be the owner but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. As owner you can influence...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Having a unique value proposition will differentiate you from your competition. Most people are at a loss when it comes to articulating their unique value proposition. Many companies say that their service is what sets them apart from their competition. They will say, “Our Service is what sets us apart. We give great customer service.” If that is your answer, I would ask you to think about that. Doesn’t everyone claim to give great service? What is unique about yours? You really need to go a step above that by exceeding your customers’ expectations. One way to do that is create a product, a service or an experience that is innovative in your customers’ eyes. What would really wow your customers? Steve Jobs achieved that wow when he created the iPhone, an invention that was less of a phone than something holding most of our needs that we can carry anywhere....

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Is your leadership all sizzle and no steak? Are you talking the talk but not walking the walk? Your style and your methods, and intent may be great, but the real beef is in the final RESULTS. Therefore, why not start off by defining the desired outcome and the desired results and go from there. This common sense leadership style is called the Result-Based Model of Leadership. Here is how you can create the desired results with your team. Make the organizational vision clear and inspiring. Now set objectives (your mission) that supports your vision for your organization. Next, break those objectives down into “goal categories” such as “sales”, “marketing”, “operations”, “people development”, or “customer loyalty.” Now, align your people and your processes so that virtually everything that happens in your organization works purposefully toward achieving the results outlined in your vision. I have found, in working with my Westchester County...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Do you ever wonder what make people want to follow a leader into danger? Consider some of the comments of two American military leaders. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." -- Gen. George S. Patton "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."                -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. To be sure the circumstances are much different in the Army than they are in an organization. However, good Leadership is knowing the difference of situations as how that motivates people. A great leader does understand what motivates people. If you wish to lead your own team you should understand that as well. A good leader knows...

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

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