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.

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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IDENTIFY EACH TEAM MEMBER’S STRENGTH

Body-Language-in-Message
Developing a high performing team starts with understanding each team member’s strength. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Unfortunately, many of us spend time trying to correct weaknesses. This is best illustrated with a story a parent can understand: A child comes home from school with his or her report card and it shows, for example, an A in math, B’s in history and science, and a C in English. What is the parent’s response? In most cases the parent talks to the child about raising the grade in English. But what if the child might have a real talent in math? He or she might become a great math genius. But it might never be realized because time was spent dwelling on weakness rather than leveraging strengths. We fall into the same trap in our own lives as well as with our staff...
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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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OVER DELIVER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

Consultative-Sales
People do not buy your company. They buy you. You need to know what you do that keeps them continually buying you? What is the best way to have a steady stream of these loyal customers?   Under promise and over deliver. Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer. Loyal customers are a leading indicator for the growth and success of your business followed by an engaged staff. Customers generally have a level of expectation when they engage your services. It is important to start by managing those expectations. Do that by being truthful about your procedures, deadlines, and outcomes. Failure to meet expectations of your customers will result in a lost customer. Doing exactly what you say will satisfy your customer but little more. They got what they expected but no more.   They are a satisfied customer. This is like getting a C “average” grade. Kick it...
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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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THEY ARE NOT FOLLOWING BECAUSE NO ONE IS LEADING

Create-A-Vision
The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. It has been said that if all of the students fail the exam the fault lies in the teacher. 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,...
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YOU DON’T NEED EMPLOYEES! YOU NEED THE RIGHT EMPLOYEES

Assistant-Buyer
In this current environment it is an employee’s market. Help wanted signs are everywhere. There are shortages of supplies and services because employers can’t get help. Or can they? The important objective is finding the right people for the right jobs. Finding the right employee begins with a process to define what deliverables or actions lead to success. How do you do that? You need to start at the beginning. What is your vision, values, and mission? You much only select people with these shared values. This is where many organizations fail. They look for specific things that they believe are important, but they fail to see the big picture. For example, an employee leaves and the knee jerk reaction is to fill the open spot. The hiring manager searches for candidates that have the same skill sets as the person who left or was fired. The manager limits the search...
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ACCOUNTABILITY, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Accountable-Team
Retention of employees is a major concern of Westchester employers. The changes in the last year have necessitated taking a new look at accountability. Accountability is a two-way street, and it is important for team members to understand WIIFM (What’s in it for me.) Today’s team members want opportunities to grow and develop and have real accountability for results. Creating accountability by developing an employee value proposition takes planning, effort, and management commitment. Here are a few things you can do to start. Establish expectations from the start. Help orient your new employee by helping him or her to understand the big picture for your organization. Share the organization’s vision, values, and mission along with the organizational goals. You will have more success if you are as transparent as possible. To have employee “buy in” the employee needs to first know what he or she is buying. Make sure that your...
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WHAT IS WORKPLACE STRESS DOING TO YOUR BUSINESS?

Stressed-Home-Worker
What do you think the stress level is at your workplace? Every workplace has stress. Management should be concerned about the level of stress in the workplace. Some people have personal stress the carries into the work life. This could be any number of things such as home problems, health, financial worries, and the like. It is wise for management to have outside help available rather then getting involved with employees’ private issues. A good EAP (Employee Assistance Program) can be obtained through an outside provider. However, this conversation is about workplace stress brought on in the workplace. Being challenged at work can escalate into having a highly demanding job. Often a result of poorly designed jobs, stress resulting from excessive demand happens when workloads become overwhelming, or skills or talents don't match the position. That being said, here are 7 workplace factors that might be causing stress with your team....
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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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YOUR EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION IS A LEADING INDICATOR

Aligned-Team
Retention of key employees is important to your company. What was your retention rate last year? Whatever it was, if you want it to improve this year you will need to have a strong Employee Value Proposition. An Employee Value Proposition explains why a highly qualified employee would want to work for your company and why that highly qualified person would want to stay. This Employee Value Proposition would be tied to your strategic plan and include your vision, your values, and, your mission. The values should include such things as social responsibility, ethical conduct, and reputation. Strong employee engagement produces successful business outcomes including a loyal customer base. And this leads to increasing sales and profits. The reverse is also true. Employees who are not engaged have no passion for their work, are frequently absent, make mistakes, and cost the organization its customers. Understanding what engages employees involves connecting with...
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HIRE AND RETAIN THE BEST

Job-Interview
Do you want to understand the success factors so that you can hire and retain the best employees? 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 make the mistake of spending selection and training solely on skills and knowledge. Then what happens if the employee is fired or leaves the company? The hiring manager searches for candidates that have...
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HOW CAN I STEP UP THE PERFORMANCE OF MY WESTCHESTER NY TEAM?

Accountable-Team
Westchester employers are working on plans for rebuilding business after the pandemic. This will require the best and most productive employees on their team. You then need to develop your employees so that they can produce better results. Your employees really want opportunities to grow and develop. There is so much out there written about performance reviews Most organizations do annual performance appraisals and most human resource professionals are charged with developing a performance appraisal system. This process alone is one of the most universally disliked systems. The reason is that most appraisal systems do not focus enough on two particularly important areas—Employee Development and Results. We should be focusing more on performance development rather than performance management. We start with expectations but before we measure expectations, we need to set expectations. It is not merely enough to tell an employee here is your job description and see me if you...
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BALANCING EMPOWERMENT WITH CONTROL

Accountable-Team
I was just engaged by a CEO to coach two people: a manager and one of her employees. She (the manager) has problem with the employee’s accountability. He (the employee) does not like being micromanaged. Both people have valid points. There is a delicate balance between control and empowerment Here is a problem that comes up all too often. Control and accountability need to be supported but we also need to empower our teams. If you do it right, you will have both. But it is tough to let go. After all, when you started your business, you needed to do everything, or it would not get done. Sometimes you had time management issues, but you must work through them. Now 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 this point you are...
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BUILD AN ENGAGED WORKFORCE BY BEING INCLUSIVE

Aligned-Team
Why do people leave jobs? There are certainly any number of reasons. We certainly will not deny a very attractive opportunity. The money and the opportunity certainly must be worth staying. We know that it is important to our business success to have an engaged team dedicated to working together for a group result. So why do so many employees leave, or worse, why do they stay and become a drag on the organization? Here is a sobering fact. Employees do not leave companies, they leave supervisors. Many supervisors believe that if only the pay and fringe benefits were better their best employees would stay. I would not deny the compensation is important. However, people who are truly engaged with their company and their team have a sense of belonging. They will not leave for a slightly better offer. We have a diverse workforce in 2020. It is not enough to...
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HOW ARE YOU VIEWED BY STAFF AND CUSTOMERS? CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH?

Message-from-Leader
How are your employees viewing your Westchester County NY business? Do you know or is it wishful thinking? And what about your customers? Maybe you have no complaints and you figure no news is good news.  Many times, when you see something every day you stop noticing. 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. Earlier this year you might have said, “I’m ok now because I have my routine set and it works without me thinking about it.” Now in this turmoil you may not be so sure. Are you ready to learn more weather it is good or bad? Can you handle the truth? Here are two...
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WHY WOULD A QUALIFIED EMPLOYEE WANT A JOB AT YOUR COMPANY

WHY WOULD A QUALIFIED EMPLOYEE WANT A JOB AT YOUR COMPANY
Today’s workforce is looking for much more than just a paycheck. They want to know that they are making valuable contributions. They also care very much about the values that an organization lives as opposed to what the organization says. Living the values starts at the top but it is modeled by all members of the leadership team including the first line supervisors. After you have hired the best people your challenge as a leader is to keep them engaged and producing results. And keep in mind that people want to feel that their work is producing meaningful results. Employees who are engaged will help create loyal customers who will rave about them and your company. That will happen because your engaged employees have exceeded customer expectations. But remember too that you will need cohesive and effective teams, not people in individual silos. While it is true that everyone has different...
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WHAT IT TAKES TO RETAIN AND ENGAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES

Aligned-Team
What does it take to hire good employees? How do I get these people to stay? I hear these questions many times. There is an answer. It is not necessarily simple, and it depends on many factors. There are no stereotypes regarding employees or candidates for a job. But it is important to understand motivations and engagement drivers of people. Why is employee engagement so important to success? If you have disengaged employees, they are just waiting around to see what happens. On the other hand, engaged workers have bought into what the organization is about and are trying to make a difference. Therefore, they're usually the most productive workers. Strong employee engagement produces successful business outcomes including a loyal customer base. And this leads to increasing sales and profits. The reverse is also true. Employees who are not engaged have no passion for their work, are frequently absent, make mistakes,...
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