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Grant Schneider

Grant Schneider

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Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Building a high performing team is more about motivation and inspiration than it is about attaching blame. In order to have a high performing team you need to look in the mirror and ask, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   In other words what type of leader are you. If you are not sure why not ask the people around you to give you some guidance. And if you have employees make sure you ask them.   Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. Asking others for their opinions conveys respect, shows that you value their feedback and increases your credibility as a leader. Of course that’s assuming that you are open to the feedback and will actually commit to making changes. It’s easy for people to not feel comfortable giving you the total “honest” truth at first,...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Exercising strong control rarely leads to better performance. In fact the opposite is true. Micro managing will actually create poor performance because it stifles development of the team. Without an empowered team you as the manager will end up doing everything yourself. Of course, as sole entrepreneur will need to control everything. But once you decide to add just one new employee your main job is not control but getting others to do what needs to be done. Now being in control will be seen as being a control freak in the eyes of your staff. This behavior also known as micro managing will actually demotivate your team and guarantee that you will do everything yourself because no one does it as well as you do. Or so it seems. Why is this problematic? Let me ask another question. Why did you hire another person to begin with? The answer is...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
One of the most common requests I hear from business managers and particularly restaurant operators is the desire to learn how to properly hold people accountable for results. While you need to have the right people in place the real issue is proper management.   Many times there is a fear to have a discussion about bad behavior or disappointment so managers will hold off and say nothing or worse yet, make general announcements that are meant to address the behavior of one person. How does that help a manager who is responsible for team performance? What about an employee who needs to speak up but fears doing so? The results can be devastating when we fair to have accountability discussions. The book, “Crucial Confrontations”, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer really talks about this topic. How do we handle missed commitments, failed promises, and bad behavior with...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Many businesses are started each year. Many don’t last. Michael Gerber, in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses the reasons. The e-myth or the entrepreneurial myth as described by Gerber incorrectly assumes that the desire of the new business owner or entrepreneur, plus capital, plus a profit goal will result in success. But this has not spelled success for business and the lack of the true understanding of what it takes has caused businesses to fail. Some businesses may survive due to external dynamics and timing but they will become stagnant and the owner will feel like a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. For example, in the restaurant industry there are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel that because they know how to create a great meal that that they should open a restaurant. The restaurant might open and have sales but the...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
A goal is a dream with a timetable. Although some people have dreams many never get past the dream stage. Let’s start the process imagining your dreams. Do an inventory of your dreams and write them down. Can you visualize them and verbalize them? This is the first step in goal achievement. In order to create the motivation to achieve your goal you must have a burning desire to reach it and that would come from a big dream. 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, 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...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
I am not one to suggest that there are certain leadership traits that are required to be a great leader. That being said, I also don’t believe that people have been born with something that makes them a good leader. One trait of a successful leader could be a liability in someone else’s leadership. A great leader is effective and effectiveness means understanding the situation, the team, and the desired results. Rather than being born with certain traits leadership can be developed. 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 founded Wendy’s.   The leader has a high code of ethics. A Leader has a vision. Clearly stated, the leader must have a clear cut idea of...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
This is an important time of year for you to take stock both personally and professionally to determine whether or not your life is on track. When was the last time you thought about your life goals? Are you on track to achieving those goals? Who should be working on goals and plan for 2016? The answer is everyone; entrepreneurs and business owners, managers and executives, students and other individuals. Right now I am working with businesses and executives in Westchester County New York on their annual goals review. Setting a goal is not like a New Year's resolution. That is just a wish. Just wishing and hoping for something isn't going to make it happen. Setting a goal is having a target to shoot for and a plan to get there. When planning your goals, choose which categories you would like for your goals. Establish the time frame. They could...

Posted by on in Communication
The title line is from the movie Cool Hand Luke and it has become a catchphrase because it really speaks to a real dilemma. 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 them. 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 the other person. We need to listen twice as much as we talk. That is why we have two ears and one mouth. In order...
Tagged in: Communication

Posted by on in Vision and Values
Do you manage your time or does time manage you? I speak to many executives in Westchester County who tell me that their biggest challenge is managing their time. In fact some report feeling overwhelmed. When that happens things seem to spin out of control, leaving everyone feeling overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed.   Having a system in place will not alone solve the problem because time management is really not a time management issue. No you first need to know your purpose. So here are some tips on surviving being overwhelmed. 1. Know Your Purpose. Know your vision, your goals, and your plans because these help you set priorities. Each day, identify the tasks you must accomplish and prioritize them. Also, set aside time to invest in your future. If you have yet to write out your life priorities, then take time to do this. It could be the most important hour...

Posted by on in Coaching
You are free to make the choices you want. You can choose a safe and easy path which will yield average success and that may be fine. Or you can choose a less traveled path. It is filled with uncertainty but the rewards will be greater. Along this less traveled path you will grow and become stronger. What will it take for you to choose the less traveled path? I was recently coaching a Westchester County NY business executive. She wants to advance in her career. She has been working hard but playing it safe and wondering when she is going to get her “turn.” She said she was waiting for the right time. What is the right time? Another way to describe the right time 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...

Posted by on in Fear of 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. Recently, I did a throwback blog with a photograph of a landmark. The picture here is of the World Trade Center Towers under construction in May 1970. It was taken with a good 35mm camera. However, the picture deteriorated over time because it was not Kodak film. Anyone who has done photography for years knows that Kodak was the gold standard of pictures. And if your Kodak film was also 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...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Many companies do not understand why their turnover is so high. Some think that it is all about money and benefits. But unless you pay below standard it is not about money. Sure, an employee will tell you that he or she left for a better opportunity. You might, therefore, assume that it had to do with money but don’t be fooled. There is much more going on than just money. You cannot treat employees as commodities assuming that they will come to work just because they are getting paid. Some vendors of perks may even tell you that if you offer special perks then your retention will be better. You would need a very large amount of those perks to try to buy loyalty. And what would you gain in loyalty or performance? You might even entice poor performers to stay when you would be better off with retaining only...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
There is a very big difference between a well-run restaurant and one that is only average. An average restaurant can have great food and a great location, but if the employees and the leadership team are not doing a good job the restaurant will never become that very successful restaurant that wows its guests. A well run restaurant has a clear vision and values, a focused leadership team, and engaged and loyal employees. The ultimate result is more loyal guests, increased guest counts, and greater sales and profits. I would like to share an example of a good restaurant company that benefited from the following leadership processes and has propelled itself into becoming the premier restaurant group in its area. Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant is a multi-unit restaurant company headquartered in Des Allemands, Louisiana. It has 3 Louisiana locations— Thibodaux, Houma, and Des Allemands. Owners Donald Spahr and Brent Roger have a...

Posted by on in Communication
In order to achieve results from others we must communicate what we want. However, how we communicate and what we say can have a profound effect on the reaction we receive. When organizations have problems with communication rarely is it because there is no communication. No, most of the time it poor communication is caused by the message or how the message is delivered. Successful communication starts with a clear message. An effective leader communicates clearly. However, an outstanding or great leader does more. The outstanding leader does that plus inspires others to want to do the things that are necessary to achieve great outcomes. That leader has a compelling vision and transfers that inspiration to others. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great,” highlights what he terms Level Five Leadership. He says that a great leader is able to get the right people on the bus. Is your vision...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. That’s right. If all of the students fail the exam might the fault be with the teaching? Like students you and your staff may not be on the same page. While that is personally frustrating how much money is that costing you? You can change that. Here’s how. Become a focused leader who empowers engaged employees who in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success. Let’s start with the focused leader. You may have the title of manager but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. As managers 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 of what they are supposed to do and understand the vision, the “big...

Posted by on in Hiring and Selection
It is a mistake to hire a candidate based solely on experience. This is not 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. I work largely with privately held and family held businesses. But in that arena I have worked with many industries ranging from real estate, construction, retail, service and hospitality, nonprofit, and manufacturing. I have made the same observation in all of these industries. 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...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
I believe that motivation is the primary force behind goal achievement. Motivation comes from within and that means that you cannot motivate another person. You can, however, help create a spark to ignite their inner fire. That inner fire will drive motivation. What about you? Do you have something burning inside you? Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter. Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated. 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? If you are not sure why not start by doing a dream inventory. List every dream you have. How many did you list?...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Can you really get employees from different generations work together? Yes you can bridge the workplace generation gap.  As I work with client organizations I constantly hear voices of frustration. It could involve a catering manager who says “The kids today don’t want to work. I can’t get any good help.” It might be a manager of a team of professionals complaining about the unwillingness of the younger members to work endless hours. Or it can be frustration from an employee who feels he or she can’t compete with the new workers and the new technology. Really, this is nothing new. In fact it goes back to ancient Greece when Aristotle said, “The young people would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning.” Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. They were associated with many of the social...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
The most common question a new manager is asked by direct reports is, “What is your leadership style?” And of course the answer is always, “I am participative.” Or, “I have an open door.” Rarely does anyone define what they mean by that. For that reason and others the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. Today I had the opportunity 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 that is so is that you need to learn how to...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Creating high performing teams is a critical component to building a successful organization and maintaining a competitive edge in a rapidly changing market place. High performing teams begins with the leadership of the organization. Leadership’s role is to create the environment that allows teams to be successful by creating and providing a clear vision that empowers employees to succeed. When leaders of an organization provide a clear vision, their employees are more excited and passionate about accomplishing the organizational goals because they can see that they are an integral part of making the vision a reality. And, by encouraging employees to think outside of the box, to do things differently, to be creative and innovative, leaders empower their employees to accomplish the organization’s goals. To illustrate the importance of teams let’s consider a flock of geese. A flock of geese has a common goal – fly south for the winter. They...

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