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.

MAKE 2018 THE BEST YEAR IN YOUR WESTCHESTER NEW YORK BUSINESS

MAKE 2018 THE BEST YEAR IN YOUR WESTCHESTER NEW YORK BUSINESS
We are working with business owners in Westchester County who are working on making their businesses more successful. These businesses define success through their vision, their values, and goals. Then to stay on top of their business they monitor and measure results. Once you set your goals you need to make sure you are on track. You would not take a cross country car trip without using your GPS to make sure you are on track. So similarly, if you want to have a sustainable business you need to have a strategic plan, goals and objectives, and a way to measure your progress. Without these elements you are relying solely on luck. 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,...
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IF YOU HAVE STAFF DON’T MAKE THIS MISTAKE

IF YOU HAVE STAFF DON’T MAKE THIS MISTAKE
When you don’t really understand critical factors that create employee performance you can make many costly mistakes in hiring and training. The question is really one of skill or will. 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 see this as the most important path to success. But then the employee leaves the company. The hiring manager searches for...
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TAKE THE FIRST STEP NOW

TAKE THE FIRST STEP NOW
Is this the year that you are going to take that first step in starting a business or taking one to the next level?  Many great business ideas never happen because of a lack of commitment to get started.  It is a law of physics.  It takes more energy to start a car or turn on a light than to continue operating them.  This is also true with starting a project or starting a business.  It takes more effort to get started. For that reason, people tend to have the paralysis of analysis.  I won’t start until it is perfect even though it never is.  “I cannot start until I get my brochures, business cards, website set.”  Roughly 80% of people who say they want to run a business of their own don’t follow through. One reason may be that the rewards aren’t enough to motivate them into action. Another probable...
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DON’T MAKE A RESOLUTION UNLESS YOU MEAN IT

DON’T MAKE A RESOLUTION UNLESS YOU MEAN IT
I always make fun of the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  But this year I am going with the flow and giving you a challenge.  Many people do the usual thing without any thought as they toast the New Year on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, many of these resolutions fade very quickly because the will or resolve in the resolution is not there.  After the fizz from the New Year’s Eve will the commitment remain?  In many cases, the answer is no. My favorite example is at my Gym.  Next week I will need to get there early to account for the increased number of people who have just signed up.  But like every year, by the end of February there will be plenty of room. Why do people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions?    In most cases it was something to do.  Maybe they were even forced into it.  And...
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DON’T MAKE A RESOLUTION UNLESS YOU MEAN IT

DON’T MAKE A RESOLUTION UNLESS YOU MEAN IT
I always make fun of the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  But this year I am going with the flow and giving you a challenge.  Many people do the usual thing without any thought as they toast the New Year on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, many of these resolutions fade very quickly because the will or resolve in the resolution is not there.  After the fizz from the New Year’s Eve will the commitment remain?  In many cases, the answer is no. My favorite example is at my Gym.  Next week I will need to get there early to account for the increased number of people who have just signed up.  But like every year, by the end of February there will be plenty of room. Why do people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions?    In most cases it was something to do.  Maybe they were even forced into it.  And...
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ACCOUNTABILITY AND OWNERSHIP GO HAND IN HAND

ACCOUNTABILITY AND OWNERSHIP GO HAND IN HAND
Achievers are always accountable for results.  And 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 should be combined with empowering your team to take ownership of their work.  You need to communicate the goals and the desired outcomes, but they need to be a part of it.  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?  You cannot have accountability,...
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MOTIVATION IS THE WHY BEHIND THE HOW

MOTIVATION IS THE WHY BEHIND THE HOW
People achieve their goals because they want to achieve them.  The greater the reward the higher probability that the goal will be achieved.   We call this desire or passion motivation and it comes from within.  Motivation comes from within and that means that you cannot motivate another person.  You can, however, help create a spark to ignite their inner fire.  That inner fire will drive motivation. That inner fire or passion is your WHY.  If you do not have the WHY then the HOW will not matter.  Knowing what motivates you is a key to achievement and knowing how to find motivation in others is a key to leadership.  Dwight Eisenhower said that leadership is getting others to do what you want because THEY want to do it.  Reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. What is your passion?  If you are not sure why not...
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ENGAGE EACH MEMBER’S NATURAL STRENGTHS AND WATCH PERFORMANCE SOAR

ENGAGE EACH MEMBER’S NATURAL STRENGTHS AND WATCH PERFORMANCE SOAR
Developing a high performing team starts with communicating clear vision and values and seeing that each member shares the values and is one the same page.    Once aligned a leader inspires those on the team to be the very best they can be.  You start, of course, by getting the right people in the right jobs.  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...
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IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT

IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT
Another thought this time of year when we are working on our business plans for the next year.  We need to have clear objectives and goals.  You may have heard the expression, “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” Well, if you want to have a sustainable business you need to have a strategic plan, which includes those goals and objectives, and a way to measure your progress.  Without these elements you are relying solely on luck. 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 what will happen in the future. Using measurements that predict whether you are on the right track and will...
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THREE STEPS TO TURN YOUR BUSINESS INTO A LARGE SUCCESS IN 2018

THREE STEPS TO TURN YOUR BUSINESS INTO A LARGE SUCCESS IN 2018
Small business is poised to generate many new jobs in 2018.  We need small business to grow our economy and will need local small business.  I have had the pleasure over seeing many small businesses grow in the last years and expect more in Westchester County New York in 2018. While it is true that today’s business environment can seem somewhat volatile there have also been many more opportunities with the growth in the economy.   While I don’t want to oversimplify I believe that small business owners can leverage success by following the suggestions in the three following steps. Step 1 – Think Strategically then follow through. When you think strategically you work ON your business rather than IN your business.  You are future focused.  You decide where you want to take your business now and in the future whether it is in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years or...
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TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN 2018

TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN 2018
Are you ready to take your Westchester County NY business to the next level? Most businesses say yes but do not know what that means.  First, you need to know where your business is now. Then you can see where you want to go.  Businesses like people go through growth stages and many drop off along the way.    Some businesses may survive due to external dynamics and then become stagnant.  The root cause could be a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. For 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 open a restaurant.  They open the business and make sales. However, the owner is usually consumed with running the business and catering to every little detail.  There is very little time to step away from the day to day operation.  In most...
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FIVE WAYS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BUSINESS AND LIFE

FIVE WAYS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BUSINESS AND LIFE
If you are a business owner, you so busy doing little things that you may feel like a hamster on a wheel. You may be spending too much time working in the day to day minutiae you are missing the big picture. Many blame the rapid pace of technology for this dilemma. Technology, while automating things that used to take much more time has also created new pressure. Instant communication on handheld devices gives us the sense of urgency and feeling that we must always be working. Everything seems to go faster, leaving everyone feeling overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed.   If you are feeling this way it may be time to step back and look at your vision, your goals, and your overall purpose. Here are some tips to help you do that. 1. Know Your Purpose. Know your vision, your goals, and your plans because these help you set priorities. Each...
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DON’T SET UP YOUR NEW MANAGER TO FAIL

DON’T SET UP YOUR NEW MANAGER TO FAIL
Many great individual performers are rightfully promoted to manager. But you need to understand that there is a difference between being a great performer and leading a team of great performers. In fact, a great leader does not have to be the best performer or know the individual jobs at all. That might be hard for a newly promoted manager to understand. After all if you are a newly appointed manager who had mastered the individual roles of your department you feel that knowledge makes you a better manager. Not so. The qualities that made you a star performer are not the same qualities that will make you an effective leader. Here are leadership philosophies from two well-known management consultants. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker “The...
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DO YOUR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES SEE YOUR COMPANY LIKE YOU DO?

DO YOUR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES SEE YOUR COMPANY LIKE YOU DO?
Successful business leaders see their companies through the eyes of their employees and their customers. To successfully see as others do you must be able to listen and understand. More important than that you need to continually listen and measure and measure your results. This is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Many times, when you see something every day you stop noticing. This might give a false sense of security. Everything is working and if it’s not broken don’t fix it. But things might have changed in the last five years or even two years. Has the customer value proposition or the employee value proposition with your company changed? How would you know? Here are two questions you should be asking yourself. Has a new team member joined and pointed out things you didn’t see? Have you had any suggestions or complaints by customers? Sometimes a person with a...
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UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER EQUALS RAVING FANS

UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER EQUALS RAVING FANS
Regardless of what we sell we are all really in a service business. People do not buy what we sell. They buy us. If they truly buy us they are a loyal customer. Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer. You can be making a lot of sales and have a good income but you will not have that for long if you don’t have loyal customers. What is the best way to have a steady stream of loyal customers?   Under promise and over deliver. Customers generally have a level of expectation when they engage our services. It is important that we manage those expectations by being truthful about our procedures, deadlines, and outcomes. Failure to meet expectations of our customers will result in a lost customer. Doing exactly what we say will satisfy our customer but little more. They got what they expected but no more....
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FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Fear of change is an emotion that can become paralyzing.   But change is inevitable and all businesses must expect it. You have probably heard it said that what you did to get you to where you are now will not get you to where you want to go next. Changing the right things and taking the right action is crucial. Here are 5 beginning steps to take in the process of change for better results: 1.        Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether you are in real estate, construction and contracting, graphic design, or consulting you must define what you provide to the customer. For example, Kodak should have realized that it was not in the film business but in the image and impression sharing business. In real estate are you selling houses or assisting buyers in improving their lives? 2.        Get in front of change.   The best...
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HOW TO FIND YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE

HOW TO FIND YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE
How do you live a stress-free life and have balance? Two things stand out for me. Be guided by your values and have a purpose then stay on course. You can stay on course with your personal GPS. The comparison to using a GPS is an easy one. We have them in our car and on our phone. We use them to order a car on Uber or we use them to find a restaurant nearby. We have become more productive and less stressed because we have used this very simple tool to help us navigate. What is so remarkable about this instrument? First, it lets you know where you are now. Then you can decide where you want to go. The GPS then gives you step by step directions How similar is this to you and your personal GPS; for your career, your business, and your personal life? Are you...
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WHAT SALES PEOPLE AND OTHERS CAN LEARN FROM DOCTORS

WHAT SALES PEOPLE AND OTHERS CAN LEARN FROM DOCTORS
We visit our doctor solve a problem. That problem has something to do with our health. Let’s say we have a pain in our knee. Our doctor does a thorough examination. She asks us questions such as, where does it hurt? How long has it hurt? She may then suggest some of the causes of such pain such as a torn tendon. Then she asks if you have experienced unusual activity that might be related to our knee pain. She is helping us discover the root cause of our pain so that we will understand the need for surgery, if necessary.   If we are in sales, if we manage a team, or if we teach wouldn’t the doctor’s approach create the best results? According to Dan Pink in his book “To Sell is Human” we have gone from a world of Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) to one of Caveat Venditor...
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CREATE YOUR HIGH PERFORMING TEAM WITH LEVEL 5 LEADERSHIP

CREATE YOUR HIGH PERFORMING TEAM WITH LEVEL 5 LEADERSHIP
A high performing team is always created by an effective leader. Conversely, if an organization is full of performance issues you need only to look at leadership to diagnose the cause of the problem. 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...
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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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