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.

GET WAY OUT IN FRONT OF CHANGE OR YOU WILL GET RUN OVER

GET WAY OUT IN FRONT OF CHANGE OR YOU WILL GET RUN OVER
Change really is so difficult. You must change or you will not survive. Let me illustrate the importance of change with story of a once great US company. Recently, I did a throwback blog with a photograph of a landmark. The picture here is of the World Trade Center Towers under construction in May 1970. It was taken with a good 35mm camera. However, the picture deteriorated over time because it was not Kodak film. Anyone who has done photography for years knows that Kodak was the gold standard of pictures. And if your Kodak film was also processed by Kodak you had the best quality picture. You really could tell the difference. Yes, Kodak was branded as a superior image because of high quality film, chemicals and processing quality control. In the 1980’s someone at Kodak invented a prototype of a digital camera but Kodak did not want to develop...
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WHY DO YOU HAVE AN EMPLOYEE RETENTION PROBLEM?

WHY DO YOU HAVE AN EMPLOYEE RETENTION PROBLEM?
Many companies do not understand why their turnover is so high. Some think that it is all about money and benefits. But unless you pay below standard it is not about money. Sure, an employee will tell you that he or she left for a better opportunity. You might, therefore, assume that it had to do with money but don’t be fooled. There is much more going on than just money. You cannot treat employees as commodities assuming that they will come to work just because they are getting paid. Some vendors of perks may even tell you that if you offer special perks then your retention will be better. You would need a very large amount of those perks to try to buy loyalty. And what would you gain in loyalty or performance? You might even entice poor performers to stay when you would be better off with retaining only...
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LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR RESTAURANT COMPANY REALLY MATTERS

LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR RESTAURANT COMPANY REALLY MATTERS
There is a very big difference between a well-run restaurant and one that is only average. An average restaurant can have great food and a great location, but if the employees and the leadership team are not doing a good job the restaurant will never become that very successful restaurant that wows its guests. A well run restaurant has a clear vision and values, a focused leadership team, and engaged and loyal employees. The ultimate result is more loyal guests, increased guest counts, and greater sales and profits. I would like to share an example of a good restaurant company that benefited from the following leadership processes and has propelled itself into becoming the premier restaurant group in its area. Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant is a multi-unit restaurant company headquartered in Des Allemands, Louisiana. It has 3 Louisiana locations— Thibodaux, Houma, and Des Allemands. Owners Donald Spahr and Brent Roger have a...
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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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IF THEY DON’T FOLLOW YOU ARE NOT LEADING

IF THEY DON’T FOLLOW YOU ARE NOT LEADING
The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. That’s right. If all of the students fail the exam might the fault be with the teaching? 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, the “big...
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EXPERIENCE OR POTENTIAL – WHICH WOULD YOU HIRE?

EXPERIENCE OR POTENTIAL – WHICH WOULD YOU HIRE?
It is a mistake to hire a candidate based solely on experience. This is not saying that knowledge of the job and the requisite skills and knowledge are not important. They certainly are. Of course, you want the right person for the right job. However, looking primarily for experience will produce disappointing results. I work largely with privately held and family held businesses. But in that arena I have worked with many industries ranging from real estate, construction, retail, service and hospitality, nonprofit, and manufacturing. I have made the same observation in all of these industries. Those running the business believe that their industry is different from others, so unique that the primary requirement is experience. Because of that mindset I have seen many bad candidates hired and many qualified candidates screened out. The hiring manager is using the assumption that as long as the candidate has previous experience in the...
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MOTIVATION IS NEEDED FOR GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

MOTIVATION IS NEEDED FOR GOAL ACHIEVEMENT
I believe that motivation is the primary force behind goal achievement. 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. What about you? Do you have something burning inside you? Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter. Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated. 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 start by doing a dream inventory. List every dream you have. How many did you...
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GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES NEED TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE WORKPLACE

GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES NEED TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE WORKPLACE
Can you really get employees from different generations work together? Yes you can bridge the workplace generation gap.  As I work with client organizations I constantly hear voices of frustratio n. It could involve a catering manager who says “The kids today don’t want to work. I can’t get any good help.” It might be a manager of a team of professionals complaining about the unwillingness of the younger members to work endless hours. Or it can be frustration from an employee who feels he or she can’t compete with the new workers and the new technology. Really, this is nothing new. In fact it goes back to ancient Greece when Aristotle said, “The young people would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning.” Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. They were associated with many of the...
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WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?

WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
The most common question a new manager is asked by direct reports is, “What is your leadership style?” And of course the answer is always, “I am participative.” Or, “I have an open door.” Rarely does anyone define what they mean by that. For that reason and others the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. Today I had the opportunity to be part of a group invited to listen to Ken Blanchard discussing building trust, creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, leadership and organizational change. Ken reinforces some of the values and beliefs that been proven to create positive corporate cultures. You have it wrong if you consider yourself a leader because you have been placed in charge. On the other hand a person with no direct reports can be a very effective leader. The reason that is so is that you need to learn how to...
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DO YOU HAVE A COLLABORATIVE TEAM?

DO YOU HAVE A COLLABORATIVE TEAM?
Creating high performing teams is a critical component to building a successful organization and maintaining a competitive edge in a rapidly changing market place. High performing teams begins with the leadership of the organization. Leadership’s role is to create the environment that allows teams to be successful by creating and providing a clear vision that empowers employees to succeed. When leaders of an organization provide a clear vision, their employees are more excited and passionate about accomplishing the organizational goals because they can see that they are an integral part of making the vision a reality. And, by encouraging employees to think outside of the box, to do things differently, to be creative and innovative, leaders empower their employees to accomplish the organization’s goals. To illustrate the importance of teams let’s consider a flock of geese. A flock of geese has a common goal – fly south for the winter. They...
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LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS THROUGH YOUR DECISIONS

LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS THROUGH YOUR DECISIONS
We make multiple decisions every day. Some are seemingly small decisions while others seem to be of huge importance. No matter the level of importance, all decisions lead to an outcome or a series of actions. We make the best decisions when rely on our strengths rather than try to shore up our weaknesses. Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents and others from the time we were growing up, we end up living lives that have been influenced by them. This results in working on our weaknesses while neglecting our strengths and our dreams. Have you ever given any thought to the fact that 88% of the decisions you make on a daily basis rely on your natural talents and tendencies and that these are part of your subconscious. Your...
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WHY IS CHANGE SO DIFFICULT?

WHY IS CHANGE SO DIFFICULT?
If you want to get to the next point in your life you can’t continue doing the things that got you to where you are today. If we believe that statement then why do we keep doing the same things and expecting a different result? According to Einstein that is the definition of insanity. We have to face it … we live in a changing world. EVERYTHING changes and it’s time to acknowledge the cold, hard truth … much as we’d like to, we cannot control everything that happens to us in life. We can, however, change the way we react to what happens. One of the key reasons change might come hard has a lot to do with one of the tools your brain uses regularly. This tool helps you get through your days with the speed and accuracy you need without getting bogged down with minutia. This tool is...
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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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HOW EMPLOYEE DISENGAGEMENT CAN BE HARMFUL TO BUSINESS RESULTS

HOW EMPLOYEE DISENGAGEMENT CAN BE HARMFUL TO BUSINESS RESULTS
How many people really work at your company? Is it only about one third? Did you know that is exactly what the Gallup organization learned? If that is true in your organization this is why you should be concerned. Employee engagement is directly responsible for your company’s sales and profits. Disengaged employees will result in lost customers. The best measure of success is a growing flow of loyal customers. I recently did a similar engagement survey called D.I.AL.O.G. for an organization. This organization provides onsite catering and event services. Their requirements for success are a providing good service, great food, consistency, and a great guest experience. The owners appear to be frustrated. They were struggling to get more business but having a hard time providing good service to existing customers. Here is why. For starters, the owners disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose...
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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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POSITIVE COMMUNICATION YIELDS POSITIVE RESULTS

POSITIVE COMMUNICATION YIELDS POSITIVE RESULTS
Organizations with a high level of staff engagement communicate well with their employees. Have you noticed that organization with internal problems can trace the cause to poor communication? Many of the terminations in an organization, both voluntary and involuntary have their root cause in the improper communication. Sometimes it is not what you say but how you say it. How can you change this? The first step is to create positive results by being positive in your communication. Here are six suggestions on positive effective communication. •           You can accept others 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 person is saying and use those questions as an opportunity for the other person to be heard. You can move...
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YOUR COMMUNICATION DETERMINES YOUR LEVEL OF COLLABORATION

YOUR COMMUNICATION DETERMINES YOUR LEVEL OF COLLABORATION
Today, the most successful inventions, products, or innovations are a collaborative effort. Gone are the days when one person or one company has all of the answers. We live in a competitive society and collaboration is critical to innovation and separating our organization from others. Since there are no individual performers in a collaborative effort the ability to communicate is one of the most important components of collaboration. You probably know someone in your organization that can create a negative impact simply by saying good morning. This is because our communication is not simply words. It is not what we say but how we say it. Our communication includes our writing, tone and volume of voice, eye contact, and body language. Confrontation will kill collaboration but many confrontations are the result of poor communication. Although we meant it one way it was taken another way. Here is an example to illustrate...
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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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LEADERSHIP IS TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO BUT NOT HOW TO DO IT

LEADERSHIP IS TELLING PEOPLE WHAT TO DO BUT NOT HOW TO DO IT
Leaders of high performing teams say what needs happen then rely on the team to get it done. "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 On this Independence Day it might be appropriate to recall leadership quotes from some of our past military leaders. It is not surprising that many great civilian leaders that we have known have received their leadership lessons in the US military. The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone has to have a management style like Patton. Those were his traits. People with totally...
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DON’T PLACE EMPHASIS ON EXPERIENCE IN YOUR HIRING DECISIONS

DON’T PLACE EMPHASIS ON EXPERIENCE IN YOUR HIRING DECISIONS
Experience is not the most important factor to consider when hiring for most positions . In fact experience is a trailing indicator when it comes to predicting future success much like profits are a trailing indicator for corporate success. If you stop placing so much emphasis on experience in your hiring decisions you will start seeing less staff turnover and a more profitable company. Consider the fact that most failures and job terminations occur because of attitudes and behaviors. Since that is the case wouldn’t it be more important to look at values, attitudes, and behaviors in assessing a job candidate? If you look only at experience you might have too narrow a focus. I have noticed that those running businesses believe that their industry is different from others, so unique that the primary requirement is experience. Because of that mindset I have seen many bad candidates hired and many qualified...
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