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Grant Schneider

Grant Schneider

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Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You may have heard of The Peter Principle. Lawrence Peter’s book by this name argues 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. You get a promotion usually because you performed well in a previous job. Some very important reasons exist for doing this. Rewards encourage engagement and increased performance. However, companies make a flawed assumption that employees who do well in a previous job will continually do well in increasingly more difficult jobs. Inevitably, according to the Peter Principle, the person ends up being promoted to a job where they are no longer competent. This is referred to as their "level of incompetence". The employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching his or her career's ceiling in an organization. We can see examples of The Peter Principle in...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
How can you tell if your business is growing? Very simple, you measure it. You may have heard the expression, “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” In my consultation with my business owners in Westchester County we work on success through focusing on their vision, their values, and goals. Then they execute their goals and measure results. You need to have a strategic outlook on your business. Another way of saying this is that you look at the whole rather than the parts or you must work ON your business rather than IN your business. What you measure is just as important as having and 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...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Are you laser focused or are you a multi-tasker? Being a multi-tasker in running your business may create problems. Instead, staying focused and staying sharp on the things necessary to grow and change will yield the best results. Sometimes owners get lazy and in a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. Maybe the business has had years of successful sales and profits. Since the business is still making money and continuing to operate the reasoning is, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Eventually, the business could reach a stage on leveling off or declining sales or profits. Maybe there are changes in the industry or in the economy. To remain successful, the business owner must refocus. Here are five essentials for refocusing. 1. Make sure you know what business you are in. If you make cell phones do you provide smart phones, or do you create facilitated mobile...

Posted by on in Attitudes and Behaviors
Do you think that attitudes are important to performance? If you don’t, consider the fact that most terminations occur because attitudes and behaviors rather than lack of skills. 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. Yes, attitudes DO affect performance. In fact, they affect everything that we do. 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. It affects how we approach everything we do. If you change your attitude and change your outlook you will change your outcomes. Not that this is as easy as turning on a switch. It’s not easy. You can change your attitude, your outlook, and how you think but it will take real commitment, discipline and desire to change...

Posted by on in Competencies and Strengths
Today’s fast paced economy demands that we work at peak performance or fall behind. That also requires that all your employees are working at peak performance. It is no secret that more organizations are doing more with less. That is certainly a good thing if we learn to work smart. This means that we should engage smart development of our staff members. One of the problems I have noticed in many organizations is their lack of clear training and development objectives. Furthermore, many do not tie training and development initiatives to measurable outcomes. Here is an example. I recently had a credit union call me. They had found me online and saw that I was doing leadership development sessions. They asked if I could do the same thing at their premises. Naturally, I asked about their business objectives for the training. In other words, what business outcome did they want to...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Some studies have shown that a positive corporate culture is essential for having an engaged team. Even more important, culture combined with team engagement has proven to improve outcomes including financial performance. Culture influences every area of the organization. It affects the public and customer perception, but it also affects the way people do their jobs and their connection to the mission and values of the organization. In short, an organization’s culture is seen in actions and behaviors which model the values it lives by. Your hiring process must support your culture. One organization states is this way in one of their cultural pillars. “We very carefully guard who gets to be an associate in our organization.” This organization looks at values, attitudes, and behaviors in making staff selections in addition to those skills needed to perform the job. Unfortunately, we find that managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Having your organization aligned is just as important as having the wheels on your car aligned. In both cases mis alignment creates disastrous results. 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. If you want to change that then be ready to change three areas involving your business. Here they are: 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 creating an environment where people will join “the team” because they see the purpose of what they...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Do you have a problem retaining your high performing employees? Today’s workforce expects to do meaningful work and be associated with an organization that shares their values. This is the employee value proposition which means, “Why would a high potential employee want to work at your company?” 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 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...
Tagged in: Employee Engagement

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Do you want to learn the truth? There are some organizations that never ask their staff how the company is doing. But fear of hearing bad news will not make the bad news go away. Ignorance is not bliss although it appears to that many companies are just not comfortable asking the ultimate question, “How are we doing?” It is easier for companies with retention problems, for example, to focus on compensation issues. But, according to Gallup around 30% of employees are engaged at work. That means that 70% are not engaged in their jobs at your company. Recently Gallup released a new survey on employee engagement. When I read the commentary, I could see that engagement is not static information but depends on company, employees, and time. There is a take away and that is that we can’t make a universal supposition of what engages people. Instead, we need to...

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  • Gabe Sanders
    Gabe Sanders says
    Thanks Great tips for anyone who would like to improve their business.

Posted by on in Communication
Did you know that most people say that communication is their biggest challenge in their organization? As leader you must set the tone. Anyone with strong leadership skills must communicate clearly and with positive tone. By setting the example you can dramatically affect the communication process. There are three things that you must evaluate 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 you are What you say accounts for less than 10% of the communication process. You should be aware that the words you use can mean different things to different people. For example, “As soon as possible” could mean right now, or as soon as you have time. The words will be interpreted based on the frame of reference of the person listening. How you say it. Your tone of voice matters. Were...
Tagged in: Communication

Posted by on in Fear of Change
Although things are always changing many of us say we hate change. We know we must change but we don’t like doing it. We are creatures of habit and we will explore that thought later. We also have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. We must face it … we live in a changing world. EVERYTHING changes and it’s time to acknowledge the cold, hard truth … 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 the speed and accuracy you need without getting bogged down with minutia. This...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
If your business will not survive when you are not around, then you do not have a business. You have a hobby. I recently had a client company mention to me that the owner had taken some time off and during that time sales dropped off substantially. A business is certainly not sustainable if it collapses as soon as the owner leaves. Such a business will never be able to get passed on or sold. Does this sound familiar? If it does here is the cause of the problem. The business owner wants to have growth and stability but does not trust his or her employees. The solution will lie in the owner becoming a leader who trains, develops, empowers, and delegates with confidence. It is important to have the right people doing the right jobs. Start by having job descriptions for everyone. Make sure that every staff member is qualified...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
A leader needs to navigate the team in the same way a captain navigates a ship. As a leader your role is to navigate your organization or your team through the uncertainties. The good and necessary management skills such as planning, directing and controlling are important but you will fail if you do not display 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 of the students fail the exam, then the fault lies with the teaching. Like students and teacher, you and your staff may not be on the same page. Management and Leadership are both important but there is a difference between the two. A good manager has proper control of systems and procedures and a good leader will inspire action and model behavior. We can help people follow our leadership by creating...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
We are working with business owners in Westchester County who are working on making their businesses more successful. These businesses define success through their vision, their values, and goals. Then to stay on top of their business they monitor and measure results. Once you set your goals you need to make sure you are on track. You would not take a cross country car trip without using your GPS to make sure you are on track. So similarly, if you want to have a sustainable business you need to have a strategic plan, 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 and 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,...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
When you don’t really understand critical factors that create employee performance you can make many costly mistakes in hiring and training. The question is really one of skill or will. Many companies spend time and effort on identifying the correct skill sets when hiring. Then, after a candidate is finally hired the company will invest in training the new employee in the skills, processes, and procedures for doing the job. In addition, the new employee will look to increase his or her skills and understanding of the business. The employee attends training on the latest systems or learns the latest sales techniques. The employee gets training on the features and benefits of the products and services. Most of the time is spent on learning the nuts and bolts. Many businesses see this as the most important path to success. But then the employee leaves the company. The hiring manager searches for...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Is this the year that you are going to take that first step in starting a business or taking one to the next level?  Many great business ideas never happen because of a lack of commitment to get started.  It is a law of physics.  It takes more energy to start a car or turn on a light than to continue operating them.  This is also true with starting a project or starting a business.  It takes more effort to get started. For that reason, people tend to have the paralysis of analysis.  I won’t start until it is perfect even though it never is.  “I cannot start until I get my brochures, business cards, website set.”  Roughly 80% of people who say they want to run a business of their own don’t follow through. One reason may be that the rewards aren’t enough to motivate them into action. Another probable...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
I always make fun of the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  But this year I am going with the flow and giving you a challenge.  Many people do the usual thing without any thought as they toast the New Year on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, many of these resolutions fade very quickly because the will or resolve in the resolution is not there.  After the fizz from the New Year’s Eve will the commitment remain?  In many cases, the answer is no. My favorite example is at my Gym.  Next week I will need to get there early to account for the increased number of people who have just signed up.  But like every year, by the end of February there will be plenty of room. Why do people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions?    In most cases it was something to do.  Maybe they were even forced into it.  And...
Tagged in: Goal Achievement

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
I always make fun of the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  But this year I am going with the flow and giving you a challenge.  Many people do the usual thing without any thought as they toast the New Year on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, many of these resolutions fade very quickly because the will or resolve in the resolution is not there.  After the fizz from the New Year’s Eve will the commitment remain?  In many cases, the answer is no. My favorite example is at my Gym.  Next week I will need to get there early to account for the increased number of people who have just signed up.  But like every year, by the end of February there will be plenty of room. Why do people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions?    In most cases it was something to do.  Maybe they were even forced into it.  And...
Tagged in: Goal Achievement

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Achievers are always accountable for results.  And leadership fails when the leader does not hold all team members accountable.  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 to occur if you expect the right outcome.  When a team member is part of those conversations collaboration will occur. How does this help a manager who is responsible for team performance?  Consider what happens if you have an employee who needs to speak up and offer opinions but fears doing so?  You cannot have accountability,...
Tagged in: Accountability

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Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
People achieve their goals because they want to achieve them.  The greater the reward the higher probability that the goal will be achieved.   We call this desire or passion motivation and it comes from within.  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. That inner fire or passion is your WHY.  If you do not have the WHY then the HOW will not matter.  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...

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