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.

HOW CAN I CHANGE MY ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE?

Business-Meeting-Delegation
Have you felt that you are on an uphill climb? The people in your organization are stuck in a rut. New energetic people do not stay. Your organization has a culture issue. It may have evolved over time, but you are not able to take the company where you want it to go. Changing culture takes a focused effort from leadership. Attitudes drive culture. I love what Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” But how do you change attitude? Some people, to your dismay, find their altitude suits them just fine. Positive attitude and positive vision are the starting points. Yes, you must be upbeat, positive about the future, and set the example. Model the right behaviors and attitudes and find other “heroes” to model it too. This starts the change in direction and attitudes, behaviors then become ingrained in the organization. The organization must have positive vision and...
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YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS FACTORS

Become-Successful
There are important factors to check and measure for your business success. Generally, they are financial, process, and people. I focus on all three when I am helping my clients create or update their strategic plan. All three must be aligned. The reason for non-alignment in the business is a lack of clear vision and without a clear vision everyone is on a different page. While that is personally frustrating it can cost your company good employees and customers. In this post I will focus on the people part. Here are three people processes that need your attention: Let’s start with the focused leader. You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are the leader. You appoint yourself CEO, but your team will follow you if you are the leader.   As managers we can influence the process through which people recognize our leadership by...
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RETAIN YOUR TEAM BY HAVING THEM PARTICIPATE

Accountable-Team
Gallup has two questions that are vital to retention. Every day I get to do what I do best.Someone has spoken to me about my progress this week. My Westchester employers are asking me how they can get their 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...
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WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF YOUR SMALL BUSINESS?

Family-Business-Succession
Many successful businesses are owned by Baby Boomers who would like to start stepping away and enjoying fruits of their years of labor. This requires special thought and planning and the time to begin is now. The planning will involve strategy, process, and people. There are number of steps that should be taken to prepare. These include legal, financial, and selection of the right person to shadow you and take over the business. In the first two areas you should work with an attorney and financial planner who understands tax laws. Remember too if this is a family business, and you have other children who will not follow the business how will their inheritance be handled. 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 need organizational vision, values, and...
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IDENTIFY EACH TEAM MEMBER’S STRENGTH

Body-Language-in-Message
Developing a high performing team starts with understanding each team member’s strength. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Unfortunately, many of us spend time trying to correct weaknesses. This is best illustrated with a story a parent can understand: A 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 the parent’s response? In most cases the parent talks to the child about raising the grade in English. But what if the child might have a real talent in math? He or she might become a great math genius. But it might never be realized because time was spent dwelling on weakness rather than leveraging strengths. We fall into the same trap in our own lives as well as with our staff...
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WHAT, ME CHANGE?

Change-Management
The best was to predict the future is to create it. Creating the future will require change. Change really is so difficult. You must change or you will not survive. Let me illustrate the importance of change with story of a once great US company. Anyone who has done photography for years knows that Kodak was the gold standard of film. And if your film was processed by Kodak, you had the best quality picture. You really could tell the difference. Yes, Kodak was branded as a superior image because of high quality film, chemicals, and processing quality control. In the 1980’s someone at Kodak invented a prototype of a digital camera but Kodak did not want to develop it because they had a good thing going. Today, almost every camera (professional to low end) is digital. Those cameras are made by Nikon and Canon, not Kodak. Kodak’s real business was...
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HIGHLY EFFECTIVE LEADERS

Business-Meeting-Delegation
There are some fundamental qualities of all effective leaders. Here are seven habits seen in effective leaders. Proper business leadership is crucial to the success of any business of any size. No company can be more successful than the effectiveness of its leaders. If the head of a company lacks positive leadership qualities, he or she will be unsuccessful motivating and leading the staff. This in turn will result in lost customers and business opportunities. Leadership is complex and what works well in one environment may not be a good fit for another. When a leader is focused on results he or she will adapt to the environment. However, just as there are habits of highly successful people there are also habits of highly successful leaders.   Here are seven habits of highly effective leaders. A Leader always does the right thing. That is one of the principles of Dave Thomas who...
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WHAT IS YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION?

Aligned-Team
How does your business create value? You should have a powerful customer value proposition. But don’t forget your staff, your team. Do you have a powerful employee value proposition? Successful companies with loyal customers have both. 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 or manager but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. As owner you can...
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ELIMINATE YOUR FEARS

Comfort-Zone
Do you like to play it safe? Taking the path of least resistance is a choice many people take. People feel that avoiding risk safe because you won’t lose anything. But doing so may cause you to lose a great opportunity, then you lose your competitive edge or your business. Personal or professional progress only happens outside your comfort zone. Risk! No Risk no Gain! Even worse, possible loss. 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...
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NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY

Employee-Engagement
“Salesperson wanted – No experience necessary” How many times do we see that? I contend not very often. Employers and hiring managers make a big mistake when they use experience as the primary criteria for hiring a candidate. Looking primarily for experience will produce disappointing results. I have worked with many industries ranging from real estate, construction, retail, service and hospitality, nonprofit, and manufacturing. I have seen on thread running through all these organizations. That is that 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 experience counts more than another other factor. In my experience, I have found that experience or industry background is NOT a predictor of success. In fact, I have seen...
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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND CUSTOMERS

Body-Language-in-Message
Every now and then I ask the question, “How many people work at your company?” It is only about one third replied one executive. While that was meant to be a wise crack, the Gallup organization learned that the statement is accurate. Here is why you should be concerned. The best way to illustrate the cost employee disengagement is with this story. I recently did a similar survey for an organization. This organization provides onsite catering and event services. Their requirements for success are a providing good service, great food, consistency, and a great guest experience. The ownership was struggling to get more business but having a hard time providing good service to existing customers. Here is why. For starters, owners disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one owner over the other. The managers complained about lack of leadership and...
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OVER DELIVER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

Consultative-Sales
People do not buy your company. They buy you. You need to know what you do that keeps them continually buying you? What is the best way to have a steady stream of these loyal customers?   Under promise and over deliver. Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer. Loyal customers are a leading indicator for the growth and success of your business followed by an engaged staff. Customers generally have a level of expectation when they engage your services. It is important to start by managing those expectations. Do that by being truthful about your procedures, deadlines, and outcomes. Failure to meet expectations of your customers will result in a lost customer. Doing exactly what you say will satisfy your customer but little more. They got what they expected but no more.   They are a satisfied customer. This is like getting a C “average” grade. Kick it...
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YOUR VISION AND VALUES ARE THE GPS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Core-Values
There are many businesses with a good business plan and a sound marketing plan but if they don’t know why they are in business of what business they are in the are missing a key ingredient. Surprisingly, many businesses cannot say why they are in business, nor can they articulate their basic business foundation and founding principles. Why you are running the business is more important than how you run it. Any successful business needs to have vision—that is what the business will look like when it is successful. Your vision is your dream and as the song goes, you have to have a dream if you want to have a dream to come true. Your values are even more important. These are your ideals you live by. These are your non negotiables. If you know why you are in business, if you have a vision, and you have values you...
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I DON’T NEED TO SET GOALS

Goal
Sometimes we look for things to improve and are disappointed when we see no change. It is almost as if we are waiting for something to happen. But there are some who know that if they want something to happen, they must be the ones to make it happen. Those who are waiting for it to happen have a much different approach to going on vacation. Many of us spend a considerable amount of time and effort planning a vacation. We will figure out exactly where we want to go and what type of things we want to do while we are there. We’ll make reservations, schedule appointments, and prepare a list of all the appropriate things we need to pack. This planning is usually very detailed, somewhat tedious, and time consuming. But because we want the trip to be hassle free we will plan these occasional trips right down to...
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ENGAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES

Employee-Value-Proposition---Copy
Now might be a good time to look at the strategic direction of your company. Here are two basic questions. What business are you in? Are your employees aligned and are they doing the right things for the right reasons? What business are you in? Don’t laugh. What product or service do you really provide and have times including the last two years caused you to rethink? You might be providing computer and IT support but now you may be a consultant to clients to protect and secure their information. You might need to do a scan of the landscape, gather information, talk to customers, and study industry trends. Failure to do this may cause your business to decline. Listen to your customers and ask for their opinion about your services. Learn this and create your customer value proposition. Are your employees aligned and are they engaged? You will not exceed...
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HAVE YOU LOST YOUR WHY?

Decisions
Have you lost your way in the last few years? You can find your way back by finding your why. Find your why and make sure the why of your team 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...
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IN PERSON, VIRTUAL, OR HYBRID?

Delivering-a-Message
A successful business must take advantage of the new technology. For most leaders this means that change will be necessary. Some leaders have embraced the changes and created their own new organization. This is the most desirable approach to change—embrace it and get in front of it. Others are still waiting, and they may become disappointed when they learn that things will never be as they were before. When crisis has happened in the past, we have come out of it stronger, but we did not go back to the way things were before. We won’t be going back to the way things were this time either. In adapting we have learned better ways to get work done. Virtual teams which have been around for a while will take a more prominent role. There will also be new hybrids of in person combined with virtual. Technology has shown us the way....
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IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES

Message-from-Leader
What is going on today? What is the Great Resignation all about? I know some managers that think they know all the answers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you really want to find out the answers to the start by asking your employees. Don’t stop there. Ask your customers what they want and need. What is your value proposition to customers? What is your employee value proposition (EVP)? Ask your employees and customers questions and listen closely for the answers. 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...
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LEAD YOUR TEAM BY POSITIVE EXAMPLE

Positive-Business-Communication
Successful organizations have successful leaders. A successful leader leads by positive example and provides motivation and inspiration. If you have problems with culture, you want to first examine the leadership of the team. If you are the leader, what examples are you setting? A recent example shows how an Applebee’s Restaurant executive set a terrible example. He might as well have said that his employee team members were only commodities. He allegedly told managers that employees and applicants are economically hurting, which he saw as an "advantage." He allegedly said that as inflation goes up and gas prices go up people will want to work more hours to maintain their standard of living. And he is alleged to have gone as far as suggesting lower pay scales. Imagine if you were an employee or manager in that organization. Can you describe the culture? If you were a guest in that restaurant...
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SKILLS CAN BE LEARNED BUT BEHAVIORS ARE MUCH HARDER

Competencies-and-Skills
Behavioral competencies are more important the functional job competencies. Organizations that leverage behavior competencies create cultures of performance and success.   And Peter Drucker is alleged to have said that culture eats strategy for lunch. This means the without the culture including vision, values, people who share those values and doing the right thing; then your strategy is not worth the paper it is printed on. In Good to Great, Jim Collins explains that building a great organization is as simple as “Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” It may be simple but it’s not easy. You will need to change the way you hire people. Unfortunately, all too often owners and hiring managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at background in the industry, jobs held before, and job history. Significant time is spent looking...
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