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.

HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION BEEN HITTING ROADBLOCKS?

HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION BEEN HITTING ROADBLOCKS?
Have you been hitting roadblocks in your business? As I listen to many owners of businesses from restaurants to manufacturing to non-profits they are looking to remove the roadblocks and move forward. If any of these comments sound familiar, then you might have roadblocks in your organization. Our sales are flat. We can’t get our employees motivated We have high staff turnover. We are getting more customer complaints. We have new competition. These are several very key problems and there could be many more. Yet for each of these problems there is a root cause. The problems can be solved by being proactive rather than being reactive. How many people recognize these problems as symptoms? Those who do make the mistake of attacking and treating the symptoms. However, it is a mistake to put all your effort into treating these symptoms. Many reactive business leaders take this approach. For example, the...
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DO YOU HAVE A GOAL TO HAVE A BUSINESS THAT DOES NOT RUN YOU?

DO YOU HAVE A GOAL TO HAVE A BUSINESS THAT DOES NOT RUN YOU?
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...
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BALANCED SCORECARD LEADS TO MORE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OUTCOMES

BALANCED SCORECARD LEADS TO MORE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OUTCOMES
You need a balanced approach to management in order to obtain great business results. Why? You need it because your organization will have multiple goal categories, goals and action steps. The flawless execution of these action steps will result in a loyal customer base. The end result will be more sales and profits. But how do you keep it all on track? The Balanced Scorecard, in my opinion, is the best way to stay focused on all of the organization’s goals and keep your staff on track too. Very simply a balanced scorecard is an ideal form of performance measurement. The business leaders identify a small number of financial and non-financial measures and attach goals to them. When the results are reviewed it is possible to determine whether current performance 'meets expectations. By alerting managers to areas where performance deviates from expectations, they can be encouraged to focus their attention on...
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ARE YOU FOCUSED? HERE IS A FIVE POINT CHECKUP

ARE YOU FOCUSED?  HERE IS A FIVE POINT CHECKUP
Most successful business owners cite laser focus on the right things as paramount to their success. Staying focused and staying sharp on the things necessary to grow and change is important. But sometimes business gets lazy and in a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. 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. But recently the business has experienced a decline in sales and profits. In short, there have been changes in the economy and the market. In order to remain successful the business owner must refocus. How are you doing? Take this 5 area checkup: 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 communication? If you run...
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THREE STEPS NEEDED FOR YOUR WESTCHESTER SMALL BUSINESS TO EXCEL

THREE STEPS NEEDED FOR YOUR WESTCHESTER SMALL BUSINESS TO EXCEL
It is a fact that small business generates most of the jobs in this country. We need local small business to grow our economy. I had the opportunity today to address a group of small businesses in Westchester County New York. I’m certain you’ll agree that at best, today’s business environment can seem somewhat volatile. Many pressures have been added to small business by competition from larger national organizations such as big box stores.   While I don’t want to oversimplify I believe that small business must pay full attention to the three steps below if they wish to remain sustainable. Step 1 – Strategic thinking – Planning and Deciding Strategic thinking means working ON your business rather than IN your business. It includes planning and deciding where you want to take your business now and in the future whether it is in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years or more....
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ARE YOU AND YOUR TEAM ON THE SAME PAGE?

ARE YOU AND YOUR TEAM ON THE SAME PAGE?
If you and your team are not on the same page it could be costing business and could threaten the future of your company. I can find symptoms of this by listening to some of these comments from Westchester County business owners . “I was on vacation last week and nothing got done.” “I need to approve the sales proposals before they go out.” “I can’t trust other with my best clients.” If you have experienced this feeling you are probably running your organization as if you were driving your car with your emergency brake on. You move forward but not with the speed that you want. And after a while you have worn down your brakes. How similar is that to running your organization with a drag on your performance? If you and your team are not on the same page you will not achieve the highest results in your...
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HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS IN YOUR WESTCHESTER NY BUSINESS?

HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS IN YOUR WESTCHESTER NY BUSINESS?
I work with numerous 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. 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, 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, is a measure of what has happened in the past. It may not predict what will happen in the future....
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HOW DO OTHERS VIEW YOUR WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS

HOW DO OTHERS VIEW YOUR WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS
Do you see your Westchester County NY business the way those outside your business do? 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 out something that will help your business. A fresh...
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CAN MY WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS RUN WHEN I AM NOT THERE?

CAN MY WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS RUN WHEN I AM NOT THERE?
“I recently had to take some time off and during my absence the company did not have enough sales to even cover our overhead.” A Westchester County NY business owner relayed this situation to me. She was frustrated. “My business needs to operate when I am not there,” she said, “but at this time I am afraid to take a day off.” If you are a Westchester County NY business owner and this sounds familiar you should know that it is a common problem. As business owner you want sales growth and business stability but don't feel your employees can get it done. Your solution will lie in becoming a leader who trains, develops, empowers, and delegates with confidence. It is important to have the right people doing the right jobs. So start by having job descriptions for everyone. Make sure that every staff member is qualified for the job. Find...
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BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NEW YORK

BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NEW YORK
If you are a small business owner in Westchester County New York you are surely looking for ways to increase your revenues and increase your bottom profits. As a business and leadership coach I work with small business owners and entrepreneurs in Westchester County New York . Recently I facilitated an owner’s forum at the offices of The Business Council of Westchester. It takes commitment to become an entrepreneur. There are rewards in, growing, and succeeding in a business. Two reasons often cited are creative independence and financial independence. Although those goals carry many rewards getting to that point of financial independence is not easy. If you want to create a sustainable business you need to have leadership skills to empower others so that the business will run day to day when you are not there. If the business cannot run day to day you would be considered a freelancer rather...
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IS THIS BUSINESS SUSTAINABLE?

IS THIS BUSINESS SUSTAINABLE?
If someone were to ask you if you have a sustainable business would you know how to answer? There is no clear answer to this question. Sustainability means different things to different companies as well as industries. Sustainability really started with the whole concept of being green, becoming more environmentally friendly, and paying more attention to conserving our planet’s resources. However, sustainability has become much more than that. Sustainability has become a viable business strategy which takes into account the economic considerations for business sustainability, governmental issues, and opinions from customers and stakeholders. Where did the term sustainability come from? The term sustainability actually emerged in the 1987 report by United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development. The report simply defined sustainability as follows: to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. No matter how a business defines sustainability...
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WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEM?

WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEM?
Do you have a problem with your business? Is something stuck? If the answer to either of these questions is yes you are not alone. Your comments may be similar to some of these comments below. Our sales are flat. We can’t get our employees motivated. We are getting more customer complaints. We have new competition. These are normal problems but there is certainly no pat answer for each. Be Proactive not Reactive The examples above are symptoms. They represent problems you would like solved. However, it is a mistake to put all your effort into treating these symptoms. Many reactive business leaders take this approach. For example, the business owner sees that sales are flat and decides to fix by hiring a salesperson, paying to set up social media, or hiring a marketing specialist. That may cost the business owner needless expense since it may not fix the problem. Instead,...
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MEASUREMENTS THAT PREDICT BUSINESS SUCCESS

MEASUREMENTS THAT PREDICT BUSINESS SUCCESS
If you want to grow your business you will need to measure the things that matter. As a business leader you need to see the big picture. That includes tracking the pulse of your business. Watching a dashboard of controls tells you if your car is operating properly. Having a dashboard for your business will tell you if your business is on track to reaching your goals. As a leader who is working ON your business you will need to track important trends which can quickly warn of problem areas that need attention. You should not waste time getting bogged down in the small details of working IN the business or you will miss the forest for the trees. You should measure business success by measuring trends and directions not numbers. Looking at the numbers alone will not tell the entire story. You should be measuring the trends and the movement...
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ARE YOU AN ENTREPRENEUR?

ARE YOU AN ENTREPRENEUR?
According to a dictionary definition an entrepreneur is “one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” So you are a risk taker if you are an entrepreneur. It is true that many startups do not survive. That, you say, is the risk that is assumed. But there is bare risk and then there is managed risk. Using the investment community as an example you can be a great risk taker, do day trading including option buying and ride a roller coaster. Or you can make a managed long term diversified investment plan. Both choices involve risk but the second choice of diversifying manages that risk and results in a successful outcome. Michael Gerber, in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses what I would suggest are the unnecessary bare risks in entrepreneurship. The e-myth or the entrepreneurial myth as described by Gerber incorrectly assumes that the...
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ENTREPENEURSHIP – OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED AND CHANCE TO FAIL

ENTREPENEURSHIP – OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED AND CHANCE TO FAIL
Many great entrepreneurs have something in common. At one point they failed in business but then they later became smashing successes. Some of these entrepreneurs include Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Mary Kay, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson. The difference between these entrepreneurs and other business failures is that these individuals learned from their failures and used those lessons to build successful enterprises. Education is a short cut to experience. Recently, three of my colleagues and I shared some lessons learned from the front. You can avoid some of the mistakes which will lead to failure by taking note of these lessons. Q. When you develop a business plan why do you put it aside and forget it. A. Many businesses put in the effort to develop a business plan but then fail to take action on the plan. The plan is a living document and it needs to result in the...
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IS EVERYONE IN YOUR BUSINESS ON THE SAME PAGE?

IS EVERYONE IN YOUR BUSINESS ON THE SAME PAGE?
Many times when people are asked about a business issue with which they are struggling they will point to lack of follow through by members of their staff. Simply put everyone is not on the same page. Most if not all business failures have this problem in common. If you are having growth problems in your organization it might be traceable to this cause. Here is a quick checkup. Ask everyone on your team, “What are the top three goals of our organization”? If you receive exactly the same 3 answers from ALL of your staff, Congratulations! However, if you receive more than 3 answers, this may indicate the following symptoms: Poor Communication Loss of Customers Staff Turnover or unengaged employees Increased costs in your business Turf wars between employees Lack of teamwork How do you fix this problem? May I suggest that you start by look at the way you...
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WHAT'S KEEPING YOU FROM SUCCEEDING?

WHAT'S KEEPING YOU FROM SUCCEEDING?
Sometimes getting started is the hardest thing. You need to take that first step before you can run. A recent conversation that I have had with a person starting a business revealed how true that is. This new business owner joined the local chamber of commerce. About a month later I asked how it was going. She said that she was still not ready to come to events because she was confused about explaining the complexities of her business. Was she unsure or was something else holding her back? It turns out that she is holding back until she gets it perfect. One of my coaches has coined this habit as “Getting ready to go to work”. For example, “I still don’t have my brochures, business cards, website, or my 2 sharpened number 2 pencils”—you get the idea! They say that 80% of people who want to start a business of...
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UNCOVER TRUTHS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IF YOU CAN HANDLE IT

UNCOVER TRUTHS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS IF YOU CAN HANDLE IT
Would you like to learn the truth about your business? Before you answer that question I have another. Can you handle the truth? Sometimes when an organization asks for help and receives feedback it could be surprised to learn some inconvenient truths. If you want to learn how to improve your organization you will want to have an organizational assessment of your business. There are very effective assessment instruments available to generate a fact based picture of organizational performance – I utilize the D.I.AL.O.G. assessment instrument for my clients. However, it is important to have a mutual understanding of the process first. So before I begin the process I want to make sure that it will have a meaningful impact. I will ask the following questions: Will you be open to sharing the results with your organization? And if so, as part of the process I will offer to facilitate the...
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FIVE STEPS TO MAKE CHANGES FOR BETTER RESULTS IN YOUR BUSINESS

FIVE STEPS TO MAKE CHANGES FOR BETTER RESULTS IN YOUR BUSINESS
Fear of change is an emotion that can become paralyzing.   Recently, a CEO told me about some things happening in his long operating business.  The business has had years of successful sales and profits.  Since the business was making money the business continue to operate, sell, and market the same way.  The reasoning was, if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  Although the long standing business model had produced great sales and profits, recently the business has experienced a decline in sales and profits.  In short, there have been changes in the economy and the market.  In order to remain successful the business owner knows that he will need to change.  But not just any change will do.  Changing the right things and taking the right action is crucial.  Here are 5 beginning steps to take in the process of change for better results: 1.      Make sure you know what...
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IS BEING IN CONTROL PREVENTING YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH?

IS BEING IN CONTROL PREVENTING YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH?
Any smart business owner knows that a business must have adequate controls.  But is being in control preventing your business growth?  Being controlling can prevent your business from growing.  Why are owners so controlling?  The reason is that most businesses are started by people who are very involved in the product or service.  That is natural.  The owner has to spend a lot of time working in the business to make sure that the product or service gets out, the money gets collected, and the bills get paid.  That is very important for business survival.  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...
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