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.

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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HELP YOUR TEAM HOLD THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

Aligned-Team
People by nature want to know that they are making a difference and will be accountable to the standards they believe in. Before you begin talking about standards you need to know and clearly communicate your organizational values and goals. It all starts there! I have made this statement many times… only work with people who share your values. Specific values may be called out in performance goals such as a restaurant server acting in a way that creates a great guest experience. Values are especially important and so are behaviors. Behaviors involve how an employee should act and react and values play a big part in this. Of equal importance are the required deliverables. These are the results. Now how do we communicate this? Let’s start with clear standards and goals and then do regular measurements. Many managers dread the words “Performance Appraisal.” Unfortunately, that attitude creates failed opportunities. A...
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SHOW SINCERITY AND CONVEY TRUST IN YOUR COMMUNICATION

Message-from-Leader
Have you ever felt that someone was upset by your message, but you don’t know why? 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 your employees and what you should 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...
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STOP WORKING ON YOUR WEAKNESSES

Assistant-Buyer
Why do you want to spend all your time improving your weaknesses? Even if you attempt to do it you will never be fully satisfied, and you will be in a constant state of stress. You will be so much more productive if you are able to know your strengths. In most cases you like what you do well. So why are people beating themselves up trying to improve their weaknesses. It does not have a lasting effect in most cases. So why do you do it? And why do organizations make cooks out of mechanics? Here is another example. When your child comes home from school with his or her report card and it shows, for example, an A in math, B in history, and a C in English, what is your response? I think most people will talk to their child about raising the grade in English. But what...
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YOUR BUSINESS WILL GROW IF YOU TRUST

Controlling-Manager
Recently I worked with a client who tends to be very controlling. The behavior comes from experience. She was burnt once before and now she is afraid to be burnt again. I explained that the candidate for operations manager would be an excellent performer. But she won’t accept the position if she feels ownership will not trust her and not micromanage. This problem comes up all too often. A business owner or agency 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 you start your business, you need to do everything, or it does not get done. Sometimes you have time management issues, but you must work through them. 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...
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POSITIVE SHARED VALUES EQUALS POSITIVE CULTURE

Core-Values-Culture
How do you become an employer of choice? You need a great employer brand and a positive Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Your brand is made up of pillars which are your values. Culture influences every area of the organization. It affects the public and customer perception, but it also affects the way people do their jobs and their connection to the mission and values of the organization. In short, an organization’s culture is seen in actions and behaviors which model the values it lives by. Your hiring process must support your culture. One organization lays out on of their cultural pillars this way: “We very carefully guard who gets to be an associate in our organization.” This organization looks at values, attitudes, and behaviors in making staff selections in addition to those skills needed to perform the job. Unfortunately, we find that managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at...
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THE RIGHT PEOPLE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS

Job-Interview
How do you find the right person for your business? It depends. First, make certain you know the core competencies needed in the job. Depending on the role this could be anywhere from accountability for others to attention to detail or from conflict management to futuristic thinking. Many businesses find that selecting and hiring of the right employee is a daunting task. Some people just hire anyone who applies, or, at best, they may ask a few quick questions before making an offer. Hiring the wrong person can be costly but hiring high performing employees will result in helping your organization meet its goals and will promote your brand to your customers. Before accepting an application or advertising you should have a clear description of duties for the prospective new hire. Know exactly what you need. What are the duties required? What behaviors are required such as ability to work well...
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COMMUNICATE BETTER BY UNDERSTANDING YOUR LISTENER

Empower-People
What is the biggest issue in your organization? If you answered communication, you would be with most people who answered that question. 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 such as our personalities, our experiences, and our current mood. Well, the same holds true for our listener—the receiver of the information. We can...
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TAKE YOUR ATTITUDE TO THE NEXT LEVEL BUSINESS WILL FOLLOW

Positive-Attitude
“Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.” Zig Ziglar The fact is that people do not put enough emphasis on how attitude affects performance. Yes, attitudes DO affect performance. In fact, they affect everything that we do. Now if you doubt that then look back at the involuntary terminations in your organization. You will probably find that most of the terminations occurred due to poor attitudes and behaviors rather than lack of skills. There is a strong link between attitude and performance. Let’s start with defining what attitude means in this context. An attitude is a pattern of thought. It affects how we approach everything we do. If you change your attitude and change your outlook you will change your outcomes. Not that this is as easy as turning on a switch. It is not that easy. You can change your attitude, your outlook, and how you think but it will take real...
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NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP

Leader-Inspires
Are you a strategic leader? A strategic leader has a vision and shares that vision. He or she inspires goals and timetables to achieve that vision. When I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. However, they all agree that a leader must have vision. That is to say that they are strategic. All successful strategic leaders must be able to set goals and achieve results. Here is a results-based model of leadership proven to produce success.   It begins with setting goals through your organization's strategic plan that are focused on your vision. In this process you define the desired results from your team members. It continues by aligning the people and the processes to ensure its realization. The goal is to have all your operations linked to the plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving...
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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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POWER AND AUTHORITY ARE NOT THE SAME

Message-from-Leader
Do you think that your words and actions inspire others? If you are the manager or the owner is that enough to have people, follow you? As the owner or manager, you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. For example, in organization I have worked with there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. Although they may have no title people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills. How much power do you do you have? Why not find out. Ask your colleagues or employees to give you some “360 feedback.” Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. That should develop...
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A MANAGER WITH GREAT LEADERSHIP SKILLS

Empower-People
A great core competency of managers is having excellent leadership skills. Management and Leadership are both important roles and it is best if they work together. A manager guides and controls but he or she can never achieve excellence without leadership skills. The roles of leadership 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. A manager today is responsible for the performance of the team, the business, or the company. The buck stops there but this does not mean that everything happens there. Things can be offloaded and delegated with confidence it the manager knows how to lead. That means that a leader gets results by working with and inspiring the team....
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DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE LETTING GO?

Family-Business-Succession
If you want to grow and have a sustainable business, you will need to let go. Just like teaching a child to ride a bike you must do the same in your business and take the training wheels off. Here is a problem that comes up all too often. A business owner or agency 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 you start your business, you need to do everything, or it does not get done. Sometimes you have time management issues, but you must work through them. 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 now not only the owner but also a manager and the leader. When you hire...
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ACTIVE LISTENING WILL PROMOTE TRUST

Nonverbal-Communication
Why can two different people communicate the same message but have different results? The key is making a connection. Covey’s fifth of his seven habits of highly effective people is, First seek to understand then to be understood. Without connection there is an absence of trust and without trust the message may not have its intended response. Build your connection with empathy. Actively listen and ask questions and show genuine interest. 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. If we believe that empathy is an important trait, then we should realize...
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MANAGING A REMOTE WORK TEAM

Virtual-Team-Meeting
Many businesses have been working remotely now for almost a year. Some people have moved forward to take full advantage of the new technology. Others are adapting. Still others are fighting it. 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. Today we a seeing more efficient ways to work that takes less time and does not involve travel. Online training is now amazingly effective through webinars or interactive sessions. Although technology is the same human nature...
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YOUR EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION IS A LEADING INDICATOR

Aligned-Team
Retention of key employees is important to your company. What was your retention rate last year? Whatever it was, if you want it to improve this year you will need to have a strong Employee Value Proposition. An Employee Value Proposition explains why a highly qualified employee would want to work for your company and why that highly qualified person would want to stay. This Employee Value Proposition would be tied to your strategic plan and include your vision, your values, and, your mission. The values should include such things as social responsibility, ethical conduct, and reputation. Strong employee engagement produces successful business outcomes including a loyal customer base. And this leads to increasing sales and profits. The reverse is also true. Employees who are not engaged have no passion for their work, are frequently absent, make mistakes, and cost the organization its customers. Understanding what engages employees involves connecting with...
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ARE YOU AN ASSISTANT BUYER?

Consultative-Sales
People don’t like to be sold but they sure like to buy. The school of sales that says, “Always be closing,” is closed! This is not today’s sales. And here is another fact. We are all in sales no matter what our job because we seek, at some time or another, to influence others. We need to build relationships first. If you want to be a trusted assistant buyer, you need to be a problem solver. Here are some ways to become that problem solver. 1. Don’t use a sales pitch but instead start a conversation. When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves 2. Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit. Let...
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HAVE YOU BEEN FORCED TO LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE?

Comfort-Zone
Generally, people find it hard to leave their comfort zone. Occasionally, you get forced out of your comfort zone and this is what happened in 2020. However, being forced out does not guarantee success. You could be stuck not knowing what to do next. I found this quite common during March of last year. We often hear people say that want to research this. Some people research so much that they have paralysis of analysis. Another way to describe this thought process is what I would call “Getting ready to go to work”. For example, “I still don’t have my resume, my presentation, or my 2 sharpened number 2 pencils”—you get the idea! Often people want to do great things, but they never follow through. Why? One possible answer is that the rewards aren’t enough to motivate them into action. Another probable answer is procrastination has derailed or stalled them. The...
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MAKE SURE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS MORE THAN TACTICS

Create-A-Vision
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we must think strategically. If you look down at details without look at the horizon and considering options you may be blindsided. While no one could have anticipated 2020, there are “what if” scenarios that you can consider. Then you can develop strategies to deal with each. A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and have the way set out to create the future. To remain successful a business must have that plan to be successful now and in the future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my Westchester, NY, clients with a strategic plan: 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, as the pandemic hit...
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