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.

DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?

DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?
Can you go on a vacation and unplug totally without worrying about what will happen in your business? If your business cannot properly function when you are not there, then you don’t have a business but rather, you have a hobby. This is not a bad thing because this may be your business goal. There is nothing wrong with being solo so don’t worry if that is what you want. However, if you want to take your business to the next level you need to have systems in place that are easily followed by others. Does your business survive due to external dynamics and timing but will become stagnant when you are not there? In this case you might feel like you are a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. As an example, in the restaurant industry there are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel...
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ALL SIZZLE AND NO STEAK

ALL SIZZLE AND NO STEAK
Is your leadership all sizzle and no steak? Are you talking the talk but not walking the walk? Your style and your methods, and intent may be great, but the real beef is in the final RESULTS. Therefore, why not start off by defining the desired outcome and the desired results and go from there. This common sense leadership style is called the Result-Based Model of Leadership. Here is how you can create the desired results with your team. Make the organizational vision clear and inspiring. Now set objectives (your mission) that supports your vision for your organization. Next, break those objectives down into “goal categories” such as “sales”, “marketing”, “operations”, “people development”, or “customer loyalty.” Now, align your people and your processes so that virtually everything that happens in your organization works purposefully toward achieving the results outlined in your vision. I have found, in working with my Westchester County...
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LEADERSHIP IS INSPIRING RATHER THAN CONTROLLING

LEADERSHIP IS INSPIRING RATHER THAN CONTROLLING
Do you ever wonder what make people want to follow a leader into danger? Consider some of the comments of two American military leaders. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." -- Gen. George S. Patton "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."                -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. To be sure the circumstances are much different in the Army than they are in an organization. However, good Leadership is knowing the difference of situations as how that motivates people. A great leader does understand what motivates people. If you wish to lead your own team you should understand that as well. A good leader knows...
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HOW ARE YOU MANAGING TO LEAD?

HOW ARE YOU MANAGING TO LEAD?
Management and Leadership are two important roles and it is best if they work together. As manager you are guiding and controlling and as leader you 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. As manager you are responsible for the performance of your team, your business, or your company. The buck stops with you. However, that does not mean that you do everything yourself. It also does not mean that you offload your responsibility to your employees. It means that you get results by working with your people. You do this by properly delegating with confidence. You must be confident because you can only delegate tasks and authority. You don’t delegate...
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LEADERSHIP BY RESULTS

LEADERSHIP BY RESULTS
People debate what makes a good leader. Some feel that there are traits that make good leaders. But when I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. The only trait that is agreed upon is having empathy. Well then, what do have successful leaders have if they don’t have similar traits? All successful leaders have the ability to set goals and achieve results. This really what is meant by “management by objectives.”     Start with a clear strategic vision—a strategic plan that inspires. Then create goals that support that vision. Next, what are the desired results from your team members? Define them. Align your people and your processes and make sure that everyone understands the goals and the plan. All of your operations should be linked to your plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving that...
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CAN YOU HANDLE THE WHOLE TRUTH?

CAN YOU HANDLE THE WHOLE TRUTH?
What is good about your business and what could be improved? Would you like to know? 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 really want to improve your organization you will want to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can’t handle the truth you won’t have an opportunity to make things better. 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. 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...
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LEADERSHIP AND CONTROL

LEADERSHIP AND CONTROL
It is important that a leader exercise proper control. However, if you exercise too much control you could hurt your business. But it can be tough to let go. Here is how it can happen. A business is started by an owner with a vision to create a great product or service. The owner must spend much 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. The owner works hard IN the business. He or she must attend to every detail and, if he forgets one thing, it could be a disaster. The business 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 the owner starts the business he or she needs to...
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MEASURE THINGS THAT MATTER

MEASURE THINGS THAT MATTER
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...
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THE QUALITY OF YOUR LEADERSHIP DIRECTLY AFFECTS YOUR RESULTS

THE QUALITY OF YOUR LEADERSHIP DIRECTLY AFFECTS YOUR RESULTS
All results, good or bad, are the result of the leaders. Think about organizations in the news, both good and bad, and the leader of the organization is heralded or blamed. Yes, the leader sets the tone, the direction, and also models behavior. 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 in Westchester County NY what was wrong with their company. They replied, “We need positive leadership. We need leadership with people skills.” What does your organization need? Does it need more sales or more profits? Does it need an updated marketing plan that gets results? Does your organizational structure need to change to get business to the next level? Regardless of how you answer these questions one fact is abundantly clear. It is your people who...
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ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR NEW MANAGEMENT JOB?

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR YOUR NEW MANAGEMENT JOB?
Are you doing the job you are paid to do? If you were promoted to management recently this is a fair question. There a large difference between being a great individual performer and a great manager and leader. In 1969, Lawrence Peter wrote a humorous book titled The Peter Principle in which he postulated 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. 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,...
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EMPOWERMENT AND ENGAGEMENT CREATES SUCCESS

EMPOWERMENT AND ENGAGEMENT CREATES SUCCESS
What is the best was to see your business grow and have a sustainable business? The answer is this. It has been proven time and time again that a manager who empowers his or her staff by giving them authority to make decisions and control outcomes is many times more successful than a manager who holds the control. Management teams in Westchester County NY that have been following this advice have been seeing their sales increase and their employee turnover decrease. Clearly empowerment of staff creates better outcomes. Unfortunately, managers and executives find it very hard to let go and allow their staff to drive results. In some cases, the need to be right prevents the manager from trusting his or her employees. If you have a trust or fear issue you might want to ask yourself these two questions. First of all, have you provided your staff with all of...
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MAKE LEADERSHIP YOUR HABIT

MAKE LEADERSHIP YOUR HABIT
What makes a great leader? Many people debate that there are certain leadership traits. Even if that is true these traits have most likely been developed. The development of your leadership depends on the environment such as type of organization, team demographic, and nature of mission. 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 a leader the traits needed can, most of the time, be developed. Traits like knowledge and skills, however, do not guarantee success. It is necessary for a leader to develop successful habits. 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...
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DOES YOUR TEAM LEADERSHIP MATTER

DOES YOUR TEAM LEADERSHIP MATTER
What causes the difference between a high performing team and one that is dysfunctional and full of performance issues? There could be a number of causes but one cause for sure would be poor leadership. An organization is only as good as its people. Your first role as leader is to select the right people. After you have hired the right people your challenge as a leader is to keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In our business climate it is not enough to be good, you must exceed customers’ expectations. This takes a coordinated effort of individuals that work together toward a common goal. You may have heard it said that there is no “I” in team. This is true and it means that individuals who are qualified and intelligent but do not work...
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THESE ARE SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERS

THESE ARE SEVEN HABITS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERS
Although there are different leadership qualities 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 founded Wendy’s.  ...
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YOU ARE THE BOSS BUT DO THEY CONSIDER YOU THEIR LEADER?

YOU ARE THE BOSS BUT DO THEY CONSIDER YOU THEIR LEADER?
Just because a person is a boss and people follow does not mean that person is seen as a leader. A boss has the authority by virtue of the position. However, the leader has the real power which is granted by those led. Perhaps you have noticed people in your company who exercise influence over others although they are not managers. People have given them the power through respect of their opinions and advice. A boss has the authority but a leader has the power. The goal is for a boss and leader to be the same person. The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. People are not born leaders. Leadership is developed and there is not one set of leadership traits. In fact there are examples of two very effective leaders with highly contradictory traits. The leadership in the US Armed...
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DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A MICRO MANAGER

DISADVANTAGES OF BEING A MICRO MANAGER
Some people feel that being a control freak or a micro manager is necessary when managing a project team where accuracy or compliance is required. I disagree. There is a much better way to get desired results and hold people accountable. Yes, you must have accuracy and compliance but you could stifle your company growth, have high turnover, and end up working way too many hours when you decide to micro manage. Let’s consider some actual examples. I have worked with a person owns a business that includes insurance and real estate. He has a dozen employees involved in the process of sales and contracts. Each person has a job title but not a job description. Things change quickly as does the mood of the owner. To make matters worse people are asked to do a task but then later the owner comes by and says, “stop doing that, I want...
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WHAT IS THE REAL MANAGEMENT DILEMMA?

WHAT IS THE REAL MANAGEMENT DILEMMA?
The biggest dilemma for business executives is finding a manager with the correct skills to manage a team. In most cases the skills these executives seek are not the ones that lead to success. They will choose people who have the same skills as the people they manage. Or they will promote a top performer. That will not necessarily work because a manager is paid to do different things than an individual performer. Lawrence Peter wrote The Peter Principle in which he stated that, “in a hierarchy people tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence.” In most companies employees are rewarded for great performance by being promoted. There are good reasons for promoting from within including, motivation and engagement of the staff. However, companies make a flawed assumption that because the employee did well in the previous job he or she will adapt and perform well in the...
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LEADING A HIGH PERFORMING WORK TEAM

LEADING A HIGH PERFORMING WORK TEAM
Building a high performing team is more about motivation and inspiration than it is about attaching blame. In order to have a high performing team you need to look in the mirror and ask, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   In other words what type of leader are you. If you are not sure why not ask the people around you to give you some guidance. And if you have employees make sure you ask them.   Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. Asking others for their opinions conveys respect, shows that you value their feedback and increases your credibility as a leader. Of course that’s assuming that you are open to the feedback and will actually commit to making changes. It’s easy for people to not feel comfortable giving you the total “honest” truth at first,...
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EMPOWER YOUR STAFF BY LETTING GO

EMPOWER YOUR STAFF BY LETTING GO
Exercising strong control rarely leads to better performance. In fact the opposite is true. Micro managing will actually create poor performance because it stifles development of the team. Without an empowered team you as the manager will end up doing everything yourself. Of course, as sole entrepreneur will need to control everything. But once you decide to add just one new employee your main job is not control but getting others to do what needs to be done. Now being in control will be seen as being a control freak in the eyes of your staff. This behavior also known as micro managing will actually demotivate your team and guarantee that you will do everything yourself because no one does it as well as you do. Or so it seems. Why is this problematic? Let me ask another question. Why did you hire another person to begin with? The answer is...
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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...
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