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.

THE BIG CHANGE FROM INDIVIDUAL PERFORMER TO SUPERVISOR

Coaching
Every day well deserving individual performers are promoted to supervisor. Are they prepared or have they been set up to fail? Many have remembered the book The Peter Principle which postulates that a person continues to get promoted until they get to their level of incompetence. I have had enough experience to know that it does happen. 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 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. This is more common people given challenging assignments as they move up the corporate ladder....
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DEVELOP YOUR EMPLOYEES AND DUPLICATE YOUR SUCCESS

StrugglingManager
Unless you want to do everything yourself you can’t possibly survive and grow without a team. What are you doing to develop your team, connect them to their job and the goals of the company? In past times, managers gave detailed directions and expected them to be followed. Leadership today requires collaboration. Instead of saying what you want done you will say, “here is what we can accomplish together to achieve our goals.” The mindset of collaboration is what is needed today. Occasionally, however, I am sometimes contacted by business owners that can’t understand why there are so many poor employees and they want me to fix them. I have seen a small business were the leadership disagreed amongst themselves on the operation of the business. This situation created chaos. Team members chose the leader that they agreed with. One supervisor was very hard on her staff and had no tolerance...
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THE ART OF MOVING PEOPLE

Consultative-Sales
I am not going to talk about sales here but how to move or influence people. According to Dan Pink we are all in sales. I strongly recommend reading Dan Pink’s book, TO SELL IS HUMAN THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT MOVING OTHERS. I have the audio version in my car. Yes, we are all in sales no matter what our job title; be it teacher, manager, or parent because our communication needs to be a dialogue that influences others. Here are 7 ideas that will open your current sales thinking and help you become more effective in influencing: 1. Don’t use a “pitch” but instead start a conversation. When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves 2. Your central goal is always to...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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BALANCE BETWEEN CONTROL AND EMPOWERMENT

Aligned-Team
Managing a team is a skillful balancing act. How do you hold people accountable while empowering them to do their best work? On one hand, you have the work to be done—the business to be performed. On the other hand, you need engaged and self-motivated and even self-managing team members. Going only one direction can cause problems. I love to go back to management theories and one which I first studied when I was back in college is the Blake-Mouton Theory. You can Google it to learn more. This theory highlights some problematic management styles. If you are authoritarian or a control freak, you are concerned with doing it the way you know it needs to be done. My way or the highway. The other extreme is the leader who values relationships, wants harmony, and believes the work will get done. If you are this type of leader, you will not...
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TAKE THIS 5 POINT CHECKUP TO ASSESS YOUR BUSINESS FOCUS

Management-Success
In your business you should focus on doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. Hold your focus and stay sharp on the things necessary to grow and adapt to changes. Don’t get bogged down in the daily operations and get lazy and develop a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. Sometimes day to day things are occupying all the time and money is being made. The business has had years of successful sales and profits. Since your business is still making money and continuing to operate the reasoning is, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. What are your ready for a sudden change in business environment? As a financial planner friend of mine says, People don’t plan to fail; they just fail to plan. To plan for success take this 5 area checkup: 1. Make sure you know what business you are in....
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HOW TO PREDICT THE FUTURE

Vision-Values-Mission
There seems to have been plenty of anxiety about the future in the last two years. The best way to predict the future is to create it I work with business owners in Westchester County New York who define success through their vision, their values, and goals. In addition, they monitor and measure results. To get started, you need create your strategic plan, consisting of 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. But that, again, is a measure of what happened in the past. It may not predict what will happen in the future. Using measurements that predict whether you are on...
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DELEGATE YOUR AUTHORITY BUT YOU REMAIN RESPONSIBLE

Manager-with-Dashboard
Some managers like to delegate and disappear. Other are the opposite and they are control freaks. Both managers are ineffective and doomed to failure. An effective leader does not simply hand out jobs for others to do. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. Consider the person who starts a business because they love the product, food for example. The is so much more to running a restaurant than understanding food. You need to know how to run an operation, and, in fact, you don’t have time to get into the weeds on the food. You must lead and manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable. I worked with someone who had built a very successful home services business. He did the sales, and his wife did the...
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HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY NEXT YEAR?

Delegation
The pandemic has forced many changes in the last year and the future is not completely certain. Have you thought about incorporating these changes into your business? If you want to have success next year 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...
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DO YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS OR DOES IT RUN YOU?

Manager-with-Dashboard
Ask a business owner how it is going. You might get the answer, “very busy.” Is that a good thing? It depends. If it means lots of customers and revenue that is a good thing. Many times, it means that they are so busy just keeping the business running. In this case the business is running them. Just having a product or service that people want will produce income and can pay bills, but will it truly produce success? But this has not spelled success for many businesses 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...
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