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.

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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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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MANAGEMENT BY OBJECTIVES

Business-Meeting-Delegation
If you lead a team your primary objective is to get results. That being said, the leader needs to develop the interpersonal skills to engage the team in achievement of those results. 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. All successful leaders can set goals and achieve results. The most effective way to keep the team focused is “management by objectives.” Follow these steps. Start with a clear strategic vision—a strategic plan that inspires. Then create goals that support that vision. Next, work with your team to define the desired results. Align your people and your processes and make sure that everyone understands the goals and the plan. All your operations should be linked to your plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving that...
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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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BEFORE YOU ASSUME YOU KNOW THE PROBLEM FIND THE ROOT CAUSE

Body-Language-in-Message
It is certainly easy to say that you know today’s problem. There is no denying that the last two years have provided challenges. Don’t just make the mistake of thinking once the country returns to “normal” we will be fine. Smart employers are starting to ask questions and look for root causes. The problem of the great resignation and the search for talent is real. Is it just because of the pandemic or has the last two years cause some paradigm shifts? What you are seeing are symptoms and they are real problems. You want to remove the problem or, at least, move forward in spite of the problem. You can’t take a knee jerk reaction and treat the symptoms. It is important to look at the whole picture rather than make a reactive fix. It would be a mistake to treat the symptoms rather than cure the disease. Many reactive...
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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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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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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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DELEGATION WITH CONFIDENCE IN ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountable-Team
You cannot complain that you must do everything yourself if you never delegate. You don’t delegate because you don’t feel confident about letting someone else do it. This is a catch 22! Or is it? As a business leader you need to be in control of your business BUT you don’t need to be a control freak. Taking that route leads to being overwhelmed. As a sole entrepreneur you, of course, need to control everything but once you decide to grow being a control freak will hold you back. Once you hire employees your job becomes managing results of others rather than doing everything yourself. If you don’t do that effectively you will spend all of your time driving the fire truck and putting out fires. You’ll worry about how to do every detail but you will lose sight of the big picture. Why is this problematic? If you hire a...
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CREATE A GOOD BALANCE BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP

Successful-Business-Team
Both management and leadership are necessary. Management is a matter of job title that is given by your organization or by yourself if you are the owner of the company. On the other hand, leadership is recognition by those whom you lead. Expressed in different terms a manager has the authority and a leader has the power. The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. Some leaders are born but most of us believe that they are made. Leadership is developed and, furthermore, there is not just one set of leadership traits. In fact, there are examples of two highly effective leaders with highly contradictory traits. The leadership in the US Armed forces, for example, inspires and demands that each person does his or her best. A military leader does not have to possess the traits and style of George S. Patten to...
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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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SUGGESTIONS ON BUILDING GREAT WORK TEAMS

Employee-Value-Proposition
As business has changed the hierarchical organization chart has given way to flat organizations with cross functional teams. The recent need to work virtually has only accelerated this trend. It is not enough to be a great individual performer if that performer can’t work with anyone or collaborate. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Think about this quote as it relates to the business world. All organizations have a great number of individual stars or top performers – employees who are skilled and knowledgeable and have the necessary attitudes and behaviors to accomplish anything they desire, yet the organization is coming up short on their results. According to Suzanne Willis Zoglio, Ph.D. author of 7 Keys to Building Great Work teams,...
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VITUAL TEAMS ARE BECOMING A REALITY

Virtual-Team-Leader
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. If that is true, then the Corona Virus may have accelerated the creation of virtual teams. Virtual teams have been growing for a while now. In fact, a 2017 survey by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that 60% of companies embraced virtual work. In 2019, the number had jumped to 69%. Now that so many are being forced to work virtually what will the 2020 SHRM survey show? Employees have shown that they prefer telecommuting but is it productive? It can be but only if the virtual team is well led. I believe that a well led virtual team will be more productive will be less susceptible to interruptions such as illness breaks in childcare service. Moreover, it is seen as a best practice for great workplaces. Also, we are growing as a gig economy using virtual work....
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TAKE YOUR LEADERS’ SKILLS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Leadership-Plan
I hope that you are not setting up your leaders for failure. You could be doing that if you are basing future leadership roles on their current experience. Unfortunately, this seems to happen most often by default. 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 need 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 make a flawed assumption that because a person is good at one job, he will continue...
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PEOPLE WITH A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP GET IT DONE

Create-A-Vision
The best way to get people to do want you want done is helping them see what is in it for them. One way to do this is to give people the pride of ownership in their work. When that happens, they own and take pride in results and they feel accountability for getting it right and they take responsibility when it is not right. 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 given plenty of detailed directions without explaining reasons and objectives but that does not ensure success. The first thing you need to do is let go and empower your team. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two...
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LEVERAGE YOUR OWN LEADERSHIP STRENGTHS

Level-5-Leadership
There is a distinction between management and leadership. Management is a matter of job title that is given by your organization or by yourself if you are the owner of the company. On the other hand, leadership is recognition by those whom you lead. Expressed in different terms a manager has the authority and a leader has the power. Of course, you can be both and have both. The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. Most people believe that no one is a born leader. There is a belief by most that leadership is developed and there is no 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 forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. A military leader does not...
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IS IT YOUR GROUNDHOG DAY?

Ground-Hog-Day
When I think of Groundhog Day, I can’t help but think about the movie with Bill Murray. You might remember the movie. Bill Murray played a weatherman who continually woke up to Ground Hog day every morning. It was so funny it was ridiculous. Or was it? How many business owners play the same Groundhog Day even though the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Or maybe the owner makes minor changes and hopes that it will be enough. Like Murray they are not seeing the need to change. If business owners do not see the need for change, they won’t do it. They don’t see the need because they are not looking. Here are four reasons why people resist change.  The first reason is FEAR. Fear is internal-- it’s in our head. It could be fear of failure or fear of a disruption...
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ARE YOU AFRAID TO LET GO?

StressedOwner
Are you afraid to let go and is this hurting your business growth? Why do you want to be a control freak when there is a much easier and more productive way? This problem could have had its roots in the founding of the business when owners and principals must be very involved in the product or service. The owner must spend most of the 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. There comes a time when the business grows, and one person can’t get it all done. Now you, the owner, hire someone. You are at the pinnacle of a growing business. At this point you are now not only the owner but also a manager. But beware! You hire an employee but continue to stay...
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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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