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.

WHEN CAN WE GO BACK TO NORMAL? MAYBE NEVER.

Comfort-Zone
It has been over a year and a half? Business have found new ways to engage employees and customers. However, among all of these changes we hear, “When can we get back to normal?” The answer is, “Maybe never.” Let’s face it … we have always lived in a changing world. EVERYTHING changes and we can adapt to the changes. Or we can get out in front and be the change. But first we have to realize that change is never easy. 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 tool is called habit. Think about this for a minute. How many daily activities do you do without thinking about them? Let’s take your...
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HOW CAN I BE SURE IT IS GETTING DONE?

Business-Meeting-Delegation
Has this happened to you as you are growing your business? You are so involved in every little detail that you have missed some emerging opportunities. Every entrepreneur certainly knows that details are important and staying on top of them is very important. The devil is in the details as they say. You would not have gotten your business this far if you had set specific goals and took every action step. There comes a time when you hit a growth wall. You can’t do everything yourself. Time to hire someone. Are you ready to delegate to the person you hired? I know, you are worried about all the details. Is this person going to do it as well as I can? I have to say that if the person can’t do it as well you then you will not grow, and you may lose business. It is your job to...
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WHO APPOINTED HIM TO TAKE CHARGE?

Managing-a-Restaurant
Have ever been in an organizational environment where you heard someone make an observation, “who appointed him to be in charge?” You may have also heard the statement, “Leadership is not given, it is assumed.” This statement illustrates important elements of leadership. You gain recognition as a leader by showing the way for others and by leading by example. Follow me, not do as I say. You may have the management role with the authority but there is a difference between power and authority. As the owner or manager, you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. Have you noticed there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people? They may have no title at all, and people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have...
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REMOVE THE OBSTACLES TO YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS

StrugglingManager
Are you having trouble restarting but can’t find the cause of your problem? If you are having this issue, you are not alone. I receive calls like this from business owners often and much more often now. It is my job as the business doctor to learn the symptoms and then diagnose the problem. During my consultation I ask questions, listen for answers, and then ask some more questions. As an example of symptoms, here are some statements that I hear from the owners. Our sales have begun to level off.We can’t get our employees motivated.We are getting more customer complaints.We have new competition. While these sound like normal business problems there is no simple answer for them. It is important to look and the whole picture rather than make a reactive fix. It is better to take a proactive look. It would be a mistake to treat the symptoms rather...
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WHAT TYPE OF LEADERSHIP DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE?

Successful-Business-Team
If there is great success the credit is given to the leader. Likewise, if there is a problem, or worse, a disaster the leader is blamed. Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here.” Leaders set the tone, and direction, and mode the behaviors. They lead by example. Positive results are the result of positive leaders. Show me an organization that functions very well, and I can show you a positive engaged leader. I recently asked a group of employees what was wrong with their company. They replied, “We need positive leadership. We need leadership with people skills.” It is important to have the management skills for a job but there are many smart managers who fail. In most cases it is the lack of interpersonal skills, empathy, emotional intelligence, and leadership worth following. Let’s start with you and your personal leadership. Ask yourself these...
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GROW THE LEADERSHIP SKILLS AS YOU GROW THE LEVEL IN THE ORGANIZATION

Employee-Engagement
If you are promoting team members based on current experience and success you could be setting them up for failure. A first line supervisor who performs very well is not destined to be a great middle manager. Unfortunately, many times we think that there is one set of skills that pertain to leadership. The most common mistake is taking an individual performer and promoting that person to supervisor without any training at all. The newly promoted supervisor still sees the jobs of the people he or she is supervising through his or her own individual performer lens. What is needed is an understanding of motivation, leadership and interpersonal skills in addition to knowledge of the job. But it does not stop there. All leadership roles are not the same at all levels. Managing other managers is different from managing individual performers. According to Lawrence Peter, author of the Peter Principle, companies...
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HAVE CONFIDENCE TO DELEGATE. YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE SUSTAINABLE

Entrepreneur
If you want to have a truly sustainable business, you must learn to delegate with confidence. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. In other words, an effective leader knows how to delegate with confidence. Consider an example. Let’s say you want to open a restaurant because you are a great cook and really love to cook. If that is your primary reason, I would suggest that you get a job as a chef at a restaurant. If you want to open a restaurant you need to manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable. Let’s consider the example of one of my clients. This client has built a very successful home services business. He did the sales, and his wife did the bookkeeping. He hired service staff to...
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THE SECRET TO HAVING A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Level-5-Leadership
According to studies a motivated engages team is a high performing team when it has high quality leadership. If the team is failing or dysfunctional, one needs to look first to the leadership. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” talks about great companies being great because they are led by what he defines as a “Level 5” leader. Such a leader has all the essential abilities including contributing team member, competent manager, effective leader, and great leader. However, he or she also possess the unique blend of humility and will which is required for true greatness.   Start by hiring the people that fit the mission and vision of your organization and possess shared values. You then must keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In today’s world, it is not enough to be good,...
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HELP YOUR TEAM HOLD THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

Aligned-Team
People by nature want to know that they are making a difference and will be accountable to the standards they believe in. Before you begin talking about standards you need to know and clearly communicate your organizational values and goals. It all starts there! I have made this statement many times… only work with people who share your values. Specific values may be called out in performance goals such as a restaurant server acting in a way that creates a great guest experience. Values are especially important and so are behaviors. Behaviors involve how an employee should act and react and values play a big part in this. Of equal importance are the required deliverables. These are the results. Now how do we communicate this? Let’s start with clear standards and goals and then do regular measurements. Many managers dread the words “Performance Appraisal.” Unfortunately, that attitude creates failed opportunities. A...
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YOUR BUSINESS WILL GROW IF YOU TRUST

Controlling-Manager
Recently I worked with a client who tends to be very controlling. The behavior comes from experience. She was burnt once before and now she is afraid to be burnt again. I explained that the candidate for operations manager would be an excellent performer. But she won’t accept the position if she feels ownership will not trust her and not micromanage. This problem 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...
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DO YOU HAVE A COLLABORATIVE TEAM?

DO YOU HAVE A COLLABORATIVE TEAM?
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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WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?

WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
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...
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DEVELOPING GREAT LEADERSHIP HABITS

DEVELOPING GREAT LEADERSHIP HABITS
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...
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TAKE YOUR ATTITUDE TO THE NEXT LEVEL BUSINESS WILL FOLLOW

Positive-Attitude
“Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.” Zig Ziglar 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. Now if you doubt that then look back at the involuntary terminations in your organization. You will probably find that most of the terminations occurred due to poor attitudes and behaviors rather than lack of skills. 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 is not that easy. You can change your attitude, your outlook, and how you think but it will take real...
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NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP

Leader-Inspires
Are you a strategic leader? A strategic leader has a vision and shares that vision. He or she inspires goals and timetables to achieve that vision. When I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. However, they all agree that a leader must have vision. That is to say that they are strategic. All successful strategic leaders must be able to set goals and achieve results. Here is a results-based model of leadership proven to produce success.   It begins with setting goals through your organization's strategic plan that are focused on your vision. In this process you define the desired results from your team members. It continues by aligning the people and the processes to ensure its realization. The goal is to have all your operations linked to the plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving...
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DO THEY HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME?

Take-Ownership-1200x800
Do you want your team to have skin in the game and take ownership? If you want that then make sure you are not being a control freak. Rather than giving them detailed instructions tell them what needs to be done and make them accountable for the results. 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. That will destroy their incentive. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two different approaches to giving an employee an assignment. Let’s say that you have a project the needs to be completed. You could give your team member a complete set of instructions...
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POWER AND AUTHORITY ARE NOT THE SAME

Message-from-Leader
Do you think that your words and actions inspire others? If you are the manager or the owner is that enough to have people, follow you? As the owner or manager, you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. For example, in organization I have worked with there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. Although they may have no title people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills. How much power do you do you have? Why not find out. 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 should develop...
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A MANAGER WITH GREAT LEADERSHIP SKILLS

Empower-People
A great core competency of managers is having excellent leadership skills. Management and Leadership are both important roles and it is best if they work together. A manager guides and controls but he or she can never achieve excellence without leadership skills. The roles of leadership are visioning, modeling, and motivating. In the earlier times of business, the role of a manager was not that complex. The manager oversaw what employees did. People performed or were fired. This traditional boss is no longer effective and no longer welcome. Management today is more complex. A manager today is responsible for the performance of the team, the business, or the company. The buck stops there but this does not mean that everything happens there. Things can be offloaded and delegated with confidence it the manager knows how to lead. That means that a leader gets results by working with and inspiring the team....
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MANAGING A REMOTE WORK TEAM

Virtual-Team-Meeting
Many businesses have been working remotely now for almost a year. Some people have moved forward to take full advantage of the new technology. Others are adapting. Still others are fighting it. 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. Today we a seeing more efficient ways to work that takes less time and does not involve travel. Online training is now amazingly effective through webinars or interactive sessions. Although technology is the same human nature...
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MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS MORE THAN TACTICS

Create-A-Vision
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we must think strategically. If you look down at details without look at the horizon and considering options you may be blindsided. While no one could have anticipated 2020, there are “what if” scenarios that you can consider. Then you can develop strategies to deal with each. A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and have the way set out to create the future. To remain successful a business must have that plan to be successful now and in the future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my Westchester, NY, 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, as the pandemic hit...
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