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.

WHAT HAS YOUR COMMUNICATION FAILURE COST YOU?

WHAT HAS YOUR COMMUNICATION FAILURE COST YOU?
What we have here is a failure to communicate! That line from Cool Hand Luke highlights the consequences of miscommunication. Lack of real communication is one of the biggest causes of dysfunctional relationships in our business and personal lives. We communicate to get an expected response from someone else. But sometimes, in fact often, we do not get the response we expect.   One powerful reason for this failure is that we talk more than we listen. We are so concerned with making our own points and having someone understand us that we do not take the time to understand the other person. How often do we try to insert our own opinions to try to persuade others? Communication requires a sender of the message and a receiver—that is to say that communication is a two-way process. That means we must listen to hear and understand the other person. We need to...
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IT’S NOT THE MESSAGE - IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT

IT’S NOT THE MESSAGE - IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT
I don’t know about you, but I have seen two different people convey the same message with drastically different results. Many times, it involves conveying a company policy or procedure that requires change. In other instances, it may involve coaching a person to change. There are two components which determine whether the communication is effective or whether it creates resentment. The first is the choice of words and the other is the attitude of the person communicating. It is very important that you have empathy for the other person. Help them to feel as if their opinions matter. Next time try some of these examples. •           You can accept other people’s ideas and respect them although you do not have to agree. Acknowledge amazing requests and outrageous statements with responses such as: "That's an interesting idea." "That's a novel request." "What an intriguing question." Then listen to what the other...
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DOES YOUR MESSAGE INFORM OR CONFUSE?

DOES YOUR MESSAGE INFORM OR CONFUSE?
If no one understands the message the fault is with the messenger. I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The employees felt that there were had been many changes and they didn’t understand why. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. Can you say with certainty that you know what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see thing from their position and mindset. Think to yourself, “If I were hearing this information what would I be worried...
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WHAT CAN WE DO TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION?

WHAT CAN WE DO TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION?
A recent study discovered that 70% of small to mid-size businesses claim communication is their primary problem. A business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications. This translates in an annual cost of $528,443.00. Could this be your reality? What can be done about improving communication, and how to get those wasted dollars back and reinvested in our other areas of your business, your division, or department? Communication is where it all starts. The importance of open communication, simply, cannot be overstated as it is fundamental in building trust, managing conflict, gaining commitment, maintaining accountability, and identifying team results. Much has been said and written about clear and concise communication. Much has been said about listening carefully. What if you are doing all of that but you still are having problems with your communication? We know that our message is affected by several things...
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THE QUALITY OF YOUR COMMUNICATION MATTERS TO YOUR ORGANIZATION

THE QUALITY OF YOUR COMMUNICATION MATTERS TO YOUR ORGANIZATION
Did you know that most people say that communication is their biggest challenge in their organization? As leader you must set the tone. Anyone with strong leadership skills must communicate clearly and with positive tone. By setting the example you can dramatically affect the communication process. There are three things that you must evaluate 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 it. Your tone of...
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IN MESSAGING THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

IN MESSAGING THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
Did you know that you can say the same sentence several times and have it mean something different each time? If that is true shouldn't you be very careful when you deliver a message? Recently I met executives of a Westchester County New York company. The employees felt that there were a lot of changes but also believed that management was not keeping them informed. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. As a manager do you know with certainty what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their position...
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SUCCEED BY FOCUSING ON THE OTHER PERSON

SUCCEED BY FOCUSING ON THE OTHER PERSON
How do you feel when someone is telling you want they think you should do? You probably don’t see their point and resent being “told.” Many times, even if it is good advice, you resist following it. Unfortunately, too many people use the same technique in trying to persuade someone or to make a sale. Here is a recent encounter I had with a sales consultant. I was questioning the comparable features offered by two different iPhone telecommunications carriers. During the conversation, I pointed out that one carrier had an additional benefit. The additional benefit enabled the user to check an email or check on the Internet while using the phone. The consultant shot back, “you’re not going to surf the internet while you are driving.”   What? How did he make that leap? I had a legitimate reason for wanting this service. When I am at a remote office I can...
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LISTEN UP – COMMUNICATION SKILLS TO MAKE YOU A BETTER MANAGER

LISTEN UP – COMMUNICATION SKILLS TO MAKE YOU A BETTER MANAGER
rawpixel.com It’s human nature to want to know that when you’re telling someone something, they’re listening to you and taking your points on board. This is particularly true when it involves your job. As a manager, you have significant influence over whether your team members will enjoy their work and the environment in which they work in. Central to this is an ability to show that you are a good listener, picking up on strengths, interests and problems and responding to feedback. With research indicating that we remember 25-50% of what we hear , it seems fair to suggest that most of us could probably do more to improve. Managers are no exception! How can I become a better listener? The best way in which to improve your listening skills is to practice ‘active listening’. This means fully taking on board what another person is saying and trying to understand properly...
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CHANGE MUST BE VERY CAREFULLY COMMUNICATED

CHANGE MUST BE VERY CAREFULLY COMMUNICATED
No one likes change. But change is necessary and proper communication can mean the difference between a successful outcome and disastrous results. I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The employees felt that there were a lot of changes but the staff felt that management was not keeping them informed. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. Can you say with certainty that you know what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see thing from their position...
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POOR COMMUNICATION IS A DEAL KILLER

POOR COMMUNICATION IS A DEAL KILLER
Think about the last time you lost a deal. Chances are it had something to do with lack of communication. Lack of real communication is one of the biggest causes of dysfunctional relationships in our business and personal lives. We communicate to get an expected response from someone else. But sometimes, in fact often, we do not get the response we expect.   One powerful reason for this failure is that we talk more than we listen. We are so concerned with making our own points and having someone understand us that we do not take the time to understand the other person. How often do we try to insert our own opinions to try to persuade others? Communication requires a sender of the message and a receiver—that is to say that communication is a two-way process. That means we must listen to hear and understand the other person. We need to...
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IS YOUR MESSAGE BEING UNDERSTOOD?

IS YOUR MESSAGE BEING UNDERSTOOD?
Your words, no matter how eloquent, will probably not by themselves convey your message. Communication is a two-way process and it is more than just words. Effective communication involves feelings, connections, and other nonverbal signals. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. “What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you are saying.” Therefore, it is important to understand the meaning others might put on your words. Your gestures, expressions, intonations, and beliefs will communicate much more meaning than the words alone. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate in order to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. A good communicator, to be sure of the desired response, is also a good listener. He or she listens for feedback to see that the message is being understand. This also including watching...
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YOU CAN’T PERSUADE WITHOUT MAKING A CONNECTION

YOU CAN’T PERSUADE WITHOUT MAKING A CONNECTION
Without connection there is an absence of trust and without trust the message may not have its intended response. That response might be increased knowledge or an action taken.   You can watch two people give a presentation on the same material and have a totally different reaction. The difference is not the content; it is the connection. You build connection with empathy. You actively listen and you ask questions that show you are interested. I think it’s a fair statement to say that how well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others. For some reason people place a high priority on speaking and presentation skills but do not place the same emphasis on listening skills. Most people are thinking about what they will say next rather than seeking to understand by actively listening to what others are saying....
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HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION BEEN HITTING ROADBLOCKS?

HAS YOUR ORGANIZATION BEEN HITTING ROADBLOCKS?
Have you been hitting roadblocks in your business? As I listen to many owners of businesses from restaurants to manufacturing to non-profits they are looking to remove the roadblocks and move forward. If any of these comments sound familiar, then you might have roadblocks in your organization. Our sales are flat. We can’t get our employees motivated We have high staff turnover. We are getting more customer complaints. We have new competition. These are several very key problems and there could be many more. Yet for each of these problems there is a root cause. The problems can be solved by being proactive rather than being reactive. How many people recognize these problems as symptoms? Those who do make the mistake of attacking and treating the symptoms. However, it is a mistake to put all your effort into treating these symptoms. Many reactive business leaders take this approach. For example, the...
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HOW ARE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS?

HOW ARE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS?
How are you communicating? Are you getting the expected response? Your communication may seem clear to you but if you do not get the response you expect then your communication has failed. That is because the two way process of communication mandates that a message be clearly sent and that it is also received and understood. If your message did not result in increased knowledge or prompt a specific action then your message was not received. You will not be successful in your communications unless you listen and you ask questions. The point is that we need to listen twice as much as we talk. That is why we have two ears and one mouth. I think it’s a fair statement to say that how well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others. For some reason people place a...
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WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING THE MESSENGER?

WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING THE MESSENGER?
Sometimes people can become overly defensive when their message is misinterpreted. I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The employees felt that there were a lot of changes but the staff felt that management was not keeping them informed. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. Can you say with certainty that you know what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see thing from their position and mindset. Think to yourself, “If I were hearing this information...
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BUSINESS AND CAREER SUCCESS IS ALL ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY

BUSINESS AND CAREER SUCCESS IS ALL ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY
One of the most common requests I hear from business managers and particularly restaurant operators is the desire to learn how to properly hold people accountable for results. While you need to have the right people in place the real issue is proper management.   Many times there is a fear to have a discussion about bad behavior or disappointment so managers will hold off and say nothing or worse yet, make general announcements that are meant to address the behavior of one person. How does that help a manager who is responsible for team performance? What about an employee who needs to speak up but fears doing so? The results can be devastating when we fair 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 promises, and bad behavior with...
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WE HAVE A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE

WE HAVE A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE
The title line is from the movie Cool Hand Luke and it has become a catchphrase because it really speaks to a real dilemma. We communicate to get an expected response from someone else. But sometimes, in fact often, we do not get the response we expect.   One powerful reason for this failure is that we talk more than we listen. We are so concerned with making our own points and having someone understand us that we do not take the time to understand them. How often do we try to insert our own opinions to try to persuade others? Communication requires a sender of the message and a receiver—that is to say that communication is a two way process. That means we must listen to the other person. We need to listen twice as much as we talk. That is why we have two ears and one mouth. In order...
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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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WHO IS HOLDING YOU ACCOUNTABLE?

WHO IS HOLDING YOU ACCOUNTABLE?
Achievers are always accountable for results. Conversely, leadership fails when the leader does not hold all team members accountable. Creating a culture of accountability requires collaboration, communication of goals, and understanding the nature of motivation . Having conversations about accountability with your staff requires several things. You need to communicate the goals and the desired outcomes. You must practice open book management and be totally transparent regarding challenges and obstacles. Your team should not fear making mistakes but should learn from them. Honest and direct conversations need to occur if you expect the right outcome. When a team member is part of those conversations collaboration will occur. How does this help a manager who is responsible for team performance? Consider what happens if you have an employee who needs to speak up and offer opinions but fears doing so? The results can be devastating when we fail to have these accountability...
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