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Grant Schneider

Grant Schneider

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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...

Posted by on in Sales and Marketing
It is no accident that two core competencies of human resource professionals, for example, include consultation and relationship management. And this is no different for other professionals whether internal company consultants or external sales consultants. Trust is vitally important, and this is built on credibility and respect. With this new understanding, internal and external consultants can help in the decision-making process using information all parties have readily available, thanks to the Internet. They days where one side (usually the seller) had all the information is over. Dan Pink, in his book, “To Sell is Human,” talks about how we are all in sales so to speak. He calls this the art of moving people and it applies to everyone from consultants to teachers. The old formula of sales no longer works. Those who remember sales from years ago remember ABC which means Always Be Closing. This is a tactic no longer...
Tagged in: Sales

Posted by on in Fear of Change
Do you feel that you are hamster spinning on a wheel not knowing how to get off? The explanation might lie in the fact that we are by nature creatures of habit. These habits create a rut and that rut becomes the path of least resistance. Organizations and businesses are no different than people. A business gets stuck too. But by continuing to go with the flow we will decline. Let’s face it … we live in a changing world. EVERYTHING changes and it’s time to acknowledge the cold, hard truth. That is, much as we’d like to, we cannot control everything that happens to us in life. We can, however, change the way we react to what happens. One of the key reasons change might come hard has a lot to do with one of the tools your brain uses regularly. This tool helps you get through your days with...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Have you noticed that it is getting harder find good people and that when you do they do not stay long? What value do they find in working for you? That is known as your Employee Value Proposition. An Employee Value Proposition explains why a highly qualified employee would want to work for your company and why that highly qualified person would want to stay. This Employee Value Proposition would be tied to your strategic plan and include your vision, your values, and, your mission. The values should include such things as social responsibility, ethical conduct, and reputation. 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, and cost the organization its customers. Understanding what engages employees involves connecting...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
How many times have you heard the statement, “That is the way we have always done it.” We tend to look at the past when we create the future. If you don’t believe that then think about how you create your annual budget. Do you use the same items and just mess around with the numbers? What happens if this is disrupted. Yes, there are disrupters out there in every industry—people and companies doing something revolutionary to create a need. You may not see it coming. Have you ever thought, “if I disrupt my industry what would it look like?” You can’t wait for someone else to disrupt—you should be the disrupter. That takes more than predicting the future—that takes MAKING the future! These are some of the things you should you should be doing proactively: 1.        Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether you are in real...

Posted by on in Customer Service
The best measure of business success is the loyalty of our clients. People do not buy what you sell. They buy you. If they truly buy us they are a loyal customer. Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer. You can be making a lot of sales and have a good income, but you will not have that for long if you don’t have loyal customers. Peter Drucker said the main reason for a business is to attract and retain customers. What is the best way to have a steady stream of loyal customers?   Under promise and over deliver. Customers generally have a level of expectation when they engage our services. It is important that we manage those expectations by being truthful about our procedures, deadlines, and outcomes. Failure to meet expectations of our customers will result in a lost customer. Doing exactly what we say will...

Posted by on in Fear of Change
Why would anyone want to leave a comfortable place? One reason would be that someone wants more. The question is what we are willing to spend to have more. The amount we are willing to spend is the risk we are willing to take.   When you take that risk and step out of your comfort zone you begin to see real progress. Recently, a Westchester County NY business executive told me that he wants to advance in his career. He has been working hard but playing it safe and wondering when he is going to get his “turn.” Why does he feel he has to get a turn? Why doesn’t he just seize it? Another way to describe this thought process is what I would call “Getting ready to go to work”. For example, “I still don’t have my resume, my presentation, or my 2 sharpened number 2 pencils”—you get the...

Posted by on in Communication
A recent study discovered that 70% of small to mid-size businesses claim communication is their primary problem. A business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications. This translates in an annual cost of $528,443.00. Could this be your reality? What can be done about improving communication, and how to get those wasted dollars back and reinvested in our other areas of your business, your division, or department? Communication is where it all starts. The importance of open communication, simply, cannot be overstated as it is fundamental in building trust, managing conflict, gaining commitment, maintaining accountability, and identifying team results. Much has been said and written about clear and concise communication. Much has been said about listening carefully. What if you are doing all of that but you still are having problems with your communication? We know that our message is affected by several things...

Posted by on in Attitudes and Behaviors
Most people looking at obstacles standing in their way fail to see the obstacles they create for themselves. The biggest obstacle is one’s under valuation of their own potential. This leads to second guessing and ultimately procrastination. Procrastination is something that we all must confront and deal with from time to time. It's only natural to procrastinate at times, but the way you deal with your procrastination patterns will determine what effects procrastination has on your life. Why is it that so many people start out with good intentions to achieve a goal but never achieve that goal? When you procrastinate you simply fail to act on the very things you know will bring you the rewards that you desire. You know you want the rewards and know you must act but you hold off, make excuses and, in short, procrastinate. Procrastination can be caused by a fear—a fear of failure...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
If you want your employees to take initiative they must have skin in the game. You can do that by letting them take ownership and pride in their work and their decisions. Rather than giving them very detailed instruction tell them what needs to be done and make them accountable for the results. This is the best way to get things done. If you are frustrated with the results of your team, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First, have you provided them with the tools to succeed? Second, have you clearly communicated the objectives and desired results?   You may have you given plenty of detailed directions without explaining reasons and objectives. The first thing you need to do is let go and empower your team. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two different approaches to giving an employee an assignment....

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