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.

BE CAREFUL HOW YOU COMMUNICATE

BE CAREFUL HOW YOU COMMUNICATE
In order to achieve results from others we must communicate what we want. However, how we communicate and what we say can have a profound effect on the reaction we receive. When organizations have problems with communication rarely is it because there is no communication. No, most of the time it poor communication is caused by the message or how the message is delivered. Successful communication starts with a clear message. An effective leader communicates clearly. However, an outstanding or great leader does more. The outstanding leader does that plus inspires others to want to do the things that are necessary to achieve great outcomes. That leader has a compelling vision and transfers that inspiration to others. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great,” highlights what he terms Level Five Leadership. He says that a great leader is able to get the right people on the bus. Is your vision...
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YOUR WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION MATTERS

YOUR WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION MATTERS
Most business leaders still say that the biggest problem in the workplace is communication.   But communication starts with the leader. If you wish to improve your leadership skills you will need to take responsibility for the communication within your organization. By setting the example you can dramatically affect the communication process. There are three things that you must evaluate in order to improve your communications skills. They are: 1. What you say 2. How you say it both verbally and non-verbally 3. Your position and who you are What you say accounts for less than 10% of the communication process. You should be aware that the words you use can mean different things to different people. For example, “As soon as possible” could mean right now, or as soon as you have time. The words will be interpreted based on the frame of reference of the person listening. How you say...
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DOING THINGS RIGHT VERSUS DOING THE RIGHT THINGS

DOING THINGS RIGHT VERSUS DOING THE RIGHT THINGS
In management which is more important—Doing things right or doing the right things? The answer may surprise you because it depends on the situation. Both of these behaviors are required to lead a team or manage a business. In Doing Things Right you establish detailed steps and timetables for achieving needed results, establish structure, monitor results, and execute specific plans. On the other hand, Doing the Right Things includes establishing direction, aligning people, and motivating and inspiring people. In short, management (Doing Things Right) is important but will not succeed without leadership (Doing the Right Things). In the case of an entrepreneurial leader this would be described as the difference between working IN your business and working ON your business. Let’s take an example. There are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel that because they understand how to create a great meal that, therefore, they would be a natural to...
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LEADERS NEED TO CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY

LEADERS NEED TO CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY
Good leaders need to hold the members of their team accountable for performance. The best way to accomplish this is by motivating them to be accountable. Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”    Many times we fear having a discussion about results and performance because we feel we will not change behavior and we might create alienation. However, you will have continued failure if you do nothing and refuse to hold people accountable for results. How does a manager hold members of the staff responsible for performance? What about an employee who needs help but fears asking for help? The results can be devastating when we fail to have accountability discussions. The book, “Crucial Confrontations”, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer really talks about this topic. How do we handle missed commitments, failed...
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IS EVERY EMPLOYEE ON YOUR TEAM ALIGNED?

IS EVERY EMPLOYEE ON YOUR TEAM ALIGNED?
If you and your team are not aligned the wheels are going to come off! Before you look at the employees on your team ask yourself this question: “Have I clearly communicated the objectives, the goals, or the destination?” On the other hand, a focused leader who empowers engaged employees who in turn create loyal customers will create alignment leading to growth and success. It starts with the focused leader. You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. You may be the manager 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 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, the “big picture” as well as...
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CREATE MORE SUCCESS BY EMPOWERING YOUR STAFF

CREATE MORE SUCCESS BY EMPOWERING YOUR STAFF
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 this fear of not being right is stopping you from letting go then you might want to ask yourself these two questions. First of all, have you provided your staff with all of the tools they need to succeed?   And secondly, have you clearly communicated the...
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POSITIVE RESULTS ARE THE RESULT OF POSITIVE LEADERSHIP

POSITIVE RESULTS ARE THE RESULT OF POSITIVE LEADERSHIP
Show me an organization that functions very well and I can show you a positive engaged leader. Last month I worked with a Westchester County NY organization that was having difficulty with its people. I asked some employees what they thought was the problem. 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 updated marketing that get 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 achieve the results. That is true for any size organization and it is also true if you are a sole practitioner.   Let’s start with you and your personal leadership. Ask yourself these questions: •          Am I the best I can be? •          Am...
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DO YOU THINK LEADERS ARE BORN OR MADE?

DO YOU THINK LEADERS ARE BORN OR MADE?
Have you ever heard someone describe a leader that they admire as a “born leader”?   But really, what is a born leader? Are leaders born?   If I were to ask you to tell me what qualities you think of when you think of a great leader each of you would probably answer with totally different qualities and attributes. I have just read some blogs remembering events on the anniversary of 9/11. Did born leaders appear at just the right time? Were Mayor Giuliani and President Bush leaders who appeared at just the right time? Or were they shaped and created by circumstances long before 9/11 and had the resolve do what needed to be done? Let’s take two military leaders from World War II. George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower were both considered to be great leaders. Their attributes and their personalities, however, were very different. Patton was in the face of...
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GETTING YOUR EMPLOYEES IN YOUR WESTCHESTER BUSINESS TO TAKE PERSONAL OWNERSHIP

GETTING YOUR EMPLOYEES IN YOUR WESTCHESTER BUSINESS TO TAKE PERSONAL OWNERSHIP
I have been working with a local business owner in White Plains, NY. He claims that his employees lack initiative. “Unless I tell them what to do nothing gets done. I can’t trust them to do it themselves.” I asked the owner to give me an example.   “Well,” he said, “I have given them detailed directions of exactly what I want done and they don’t do it the way I told them.” “Wait a minute,” I said, “Didn’t you just say that you wanted them to take ownership?” I think we have a conflict here because the owner wants one thing but tells his employees something else. If you want employees to take ownership you must empower them to make decisions as to the best way to get things done. If this is a source of frustration to you, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First of...
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HOW TO PREVENT THE PETER PRINCIPLE

HOW TO PREVENT THE PETER PRINCIPLE
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. In most companies employees are rewarded for great performance by being promoted. The very good reasons for promoting from within include, among others, 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 new job. 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. We can...
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TOP LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE – BEING A CONTROL FREAK

TOP LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE – BEING A CONTROL FREAK
One of the biggest challenges for a person becoming a great leader is the tendency to be a control freak. Some of the symptoms of this challenge are a business that is stumbling, a frustrated owner, or employees who are not on the same page. This does not start out as a problem. In fact, it starts out as strength. Let’s consider this scenario. A person has talent in home repairs. He does great work and he has loyal customers. He begins to get busy to the point that he cannot do all the work himself so he hires others. Bear in mind that he has developed a quality brand based on his individual work. In this scenario it is only natural that he wants to protect his brand so he very closely supervises the work of his helpers and employees to the point that he could almost do the work...
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CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TEAM TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY

CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TEAM TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY
Creating a successful team requires skillful leadership. Let’s assume that we all agree that an organization is only as good as its people. It is important to select the best people. After you have hired the best 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. That is not going to happen if you have a lot of highly qualified but individual performers. You need cohesive and effective teams to make it happen, not people in individual silos. Everyone has different talents and it is important to leverage those talents. The power of your team is only as effective as your weakest link. Creating a winning team begins with creating a culture that allows...
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WOULD YOU BENEFIT FROM HAVING A COACH?

WOULD YOU BENEFIT FROM HAVING A COACH?
Have you wondered whether you would benefit by having a coach? Here is some information on what coaching is and what it is not. Is it right for you? Coaching relationships vary considerably. There are life coaches, sports coaches, health coaches, business coaches, and so forth. Here is some information on the nature of coaching, its benefits, and how it varies from other type of consulting. Sometimes people confuse coaches with traditional consultants. They might ask a coach for advice. However, a coach’s role is not to provide answers or solutions. Instead a coach helps the client develop their own potential. If you have ever been motivated to act or energized by way of conversations you have experienced the effects of coach. Here is an example. If a child asks you how to spell a word you could provide the child with the correct spelling. That would be the consultant approach....
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WHAT IS THE KEY TO GREAT LEADERSHIP?

WHAT IS THE KEY TO GREAT LEADERSHIP?
Do you know the key to great leadership? When I do an introductory session on leadership I ask the group of participants to list the characteristics that they believe make a great leader. They are next asked to give some examples of great leaders and leaders that they admire.  You probably would not be surprised to learn that there is a considerable difference in the lists. Some are even opposites of each other. One person may say that a great leader is steady and predictable while another person may say that a leader is unpredictable and thinks outside of the box. One may say tough minded while another may say soft spoken. As a further example to this point I received a number of challenges from readers to my recent blog 7 WAYS TO IDENTIFY A BULLY FROM A LEADER. When people gave examples of great leaders and those they admire...
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7 WAYS TO IDENTIFY A BULLY FROM A LEADER

7 WAYS TO IDENTIFY A BULLY FROM A LEADER
A new book suggests that a very successful CEO, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, used bullying tactics. While that may be in dispute how many bosses take management by objectives to this level? If I had a room of people and I asked the question, "what constitutes an effective leader" I might get as many answers as people in the room. There are many traits that make a successful leader. I believe that effective leaders and managers do get results working with other people. But there is a difference between a boss and leader. Someone can appoint himself boss because he signs the paycheck or a manager is the boss because he was given that title from above. But just because someone is given a title does not guarantee that he can manage effectively. To be truly effective a manager or leader must make appropriate use of their granted authority and earned...
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SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE LEADERS

SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE LEADERS
What are the habits of an effective leader and why are they important?   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 at motivating and leading the staff. This will not allow the entire business to impress and lure new business to their company. That said what are those traits and habits of successful leaders. Well, that depends. Many of the traits that have been attributed to leaders are different. What works well with one leader may not work will with another. Many of the leadership traits can be developed. One successful trait is the ability to lead by focusing on results. We call that Fail Safe Leadership discussed in one my previous blogs. However, just as there...
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