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.

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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ORGANIZATIONS THAT DON’T ASK HOW THEY ARE DOING MIGHT BE AFRAID OF THE TRUTH

ORGANIZATIONS THAT DON’T ASK HOW THEY ARE DOING MIGHT BE AFRAID OF THE TRUTH
You want the truth? “You can’t handle the truth!” This well-known line was uttered by Jack Nicholson in the move, A Few Good Men. Do you think there might be some truth in that statement? That appears to be the case in many organizations. It is just not comfortable to ask too many questions. It is easier for companies with retention problems, for example, to focus on compensation issues. But, according to Gallup around 30% of employees are engaged at work. That means that 70% are not engaged in their jobs at your company. Recently Gallup released a new survey on employee engagement. When I read the commentary I could see that engagement is not static information but depends on company, employees, and time. We can’t use a cookie cutter approach. We can’t make universal supposition of what engages people. Instead, we need to understand the diversity of our workforce which...
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YOU CAN CREATE YOUR HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

YOU CAN CREATE YOUR HIGH PERFORMING TEAM
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.   An organization is only as good as its people and as leader your first duty is 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. This takes a coordinated effort of individuals that work together toward a common goal. You may have heard it said that there is no “I” in team. This is true and it means that individuals who are qualified and intelligent but do not...
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HOW DO YOU GET UNSTUCK?

HOW DO YOU GET UNSTUCK?
People can get frozen in place and can’t move forward. Sometimes they need the equivalent of a can of WD-40 to get unstuck. Has this happened to you? If you ever wondered why you feel this paralysis think back over what you did today. What did you do in the first few hours after you got up? Was it similar to what you did when you got up yesterday, and the day before and so forth? There is truth to the expression that “we are creatures of habit”.   Our habits have a lot to do with why we get stuck. Habits can be good but they can also be harmful. A bad habit can cause us to continue to do things that are non-productive. For example, you might have a habit of taking the easier option, doing something that doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone. That could be spending...
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EFFECTIVE LEADERS DELEGATE WITH CONFIDENCE

EFFECTIVE LEADERS DELEGATE WITH CONFIDENCE
An effective leader does not simply hand out jobs for others to do. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. In other words, an effective leader knows how to delegate with confidence. Consider an example. Let’s say you want to open a restaurant because you are a great cook and really love to cook. If that is your primary reason I would suggest that you get a job as a chef at a restaurant. If you want to open a restaurant you need to manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable. I have a client who had built a very successful home services business. He did the sales and his wife did the bookkeeping. He hired service staff to work with him. He has a successful business but...
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A SUSTAINABLE ORGANIZATION HAS ALIGNED LEADERSHIP

A SUSTAINABLE ORGANIZATION HAS ALIGNED LEADERSHIP
A sustainable organization is a healthy organization. A healthy organization is in alignment. Organizations that are in alignment are sustainable, innovative, customer responsive, and proactive. How healthy is your organization? Are your employees working in their own individual silos or is everyone in sync with the goals of the organization? Organizations working in silos are often faced with many challenges. And these silos often cause a rippling effect throughout the entire organization. That rippling effect has a negative impact on the entire business including loyal customer base and business results. Ask if these elements of your business are in alignment. Strategy – What’s your game plan for the next 18-24 months? How has your organization defined success: where do you want to go, what do you want to accomplish, and how are you going to make that happen? How will you measure it? A key to accomplishing your strategy is that...
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FEAR OF CHANGE IS MORE FRIGHTENING THAN CHANGE ITSELF

FEAR OF CHANGE IS MORE FRIGHTENING THAN CHANGE ITSELF
If you are not changing you will not stay the same, instead you will lose ground and move backward. As the earth moves everything changes. Cars change, technology changes, and business practices change. What you did to get to where you are today will not get you where you want to go tomorrow. If you want to continue hold onto your customers and market share you must adapt to changing times. And if you want to move forward you need to anticipate and get ahead of change. Why do people resist change? Why do people continue to do the same things although they are no longer getting the results they once achieved? Understanding the reasons people resist change can help overcome the obstacles to change and create real progress. So here are four reasons why people resist change and stay in the “Land of Status Quo.” The first is FEAR. Fear...
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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS A BUSINESS SUCCESS DRIVER

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS A BUSINESS SUCCESS DRIVER
Great 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 them. We can’t make a universal supposition of what engages people. Instead, we need to understand the diversity of our workforce which includes gender, culture and the different generations. Many companies with retention problems tend to focus on the compensation issues. Compensation is definitely important. However, it loses its importance as an employee moves up the career ladder. It certainly is important for a business to understand the competitive wage levels for the positions in its business. However, business is making a mistake by paying extra money to buy loyalty. Let’s consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In...
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BALANCED SCORECARD LEADS TO MORE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OUTCOMES

BALANCED SCORECARD LEADS TO MORE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OUTCOMES
You need a balanced approach to management in order to obtain great business results. Why? You need it because your organization will have multiple goal categories, goals and action steps. The flawless execution of these action steps will result in a loyal customer base. The end result will be more sales and profits. But how do you keep it all on track? The Balanced Scorecard, in my opinion, is the best way to stay focused on all of the organization’s goals and keep your staff on track too. Very simply a balanced scorecard is an ideal form of performance measurement. The business leaders identify a small number of financial and non-financial measures and attach goals to them. When the results are reviewed it is possible to determine whether current performance 'meets expectations. By alerting managers to areas where performance deviates from expectations, they can be encouraged to focus their attention on...
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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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HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE BY PREDICTING FUTURE PERFORMANCE

HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE BY PREDICTING FUTURE PERFORMANCE
When hiring, although it is important to know a person’s acquired skills, it is probably more important to predict the person’s future performance and behavior. If you are not looking at behavior when you are interviewing you should be. Jim Collins and his team laid out the principle in the book Good to Great. It is as simple as “Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” It may be simple but it’s not easy. You will need to change the way you hire people. Here is a simple fact. I have found that many employers in Westchester County NY tend to make hiring decisions by looking at background in the industry, jobs held before, and job history. Many companies even do background checks. They spend a significant amount of time looking at a candidate’s skills and knowledge...
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LEADERS MOTIVATE OTHERS TO GET RESULTS

LEADERS MOTIVATE OTHERS TO GET RESULTS
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 even a performer at all. That is hard to understand if you are a newly appointed manager who had mastered the individual roles of your department. Because of you great work you have been promoted to manager. But 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 key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” —Kenneth Blanchard You can learn the skills of a leader just like you learned...
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LEAD OTHERS BY FIRST LEADING YOURSELF

LEAD OTHERS BY FIRST LEADING YOURSELF
In order to lead others you must first be able to lead yourself. Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   If the answer to that question is no then you may not have the power to lead. You see there is a difference between power and authority. If you are a manager or you own your own business you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. You may have noticed in your workplace that people without titles have been sought out by others for advice and approval. They have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills not their job title. When working with leadership teams here in Westchester County NY I ask the question, "How much power do you have?" If...
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SIX POINTS FOR MANAGING YOUR VIRTUAL TEAM

SIX POINTS FOR MANAGING YOUR VIRTUAL TEAM
Technology has changed the way we work. Today there are more teams that work virtually than ever before. People work from home and a working team can be spread out geographically. A team could consist of employees with a manager leader or it could be a group of associates who are independent contractors. It could even be all volunteers in a volunteer organization. Regardless of the composition of the team, the things needed to create traditional high performing teams also apply to virtual teams. It needs to have a visionary and motivating leader combined with engaged and dedicated team members. These team members need to have a strong motivation for achievement of their goals. Moreover, the team’s goal AND the members’ individual goals must be aligned. Just because people don’t meet together in a physical location does not mean that there can’t be a culture of accountability. Every team and every...
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A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM CONSISTS OF INDIVIDUAL STRENGTHS

A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM CONSISTS OF INDIVIDUAL STRENGTHS
As leader of a team you need to put forth your clear vision and values. That is the first step—knowing where you are going. Next, you need to inspire those on the team to do their very best. You start, of course, by getting the right people in the right jobs. This includes not just testing skills and knowledge but also examining attitudes and behaviors. You have selected the right people. The next step is finding each individual’s strengths and leveraged them. Everyone has talents and non-talents. A person’s non talent is not a problem by itself. However, it can become a problem if he or she is placed in a job requiring the use of that non talent. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Unfortunately, many of us spend time trying to correct weaknesses.   Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our...
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BRIDGING THE GENERATION GAP

BRIDGING THE GENERATION GAP
Today everyone is talking about adapting to the Millennials. This ignores the fact the we have three different generations in the workplace. Understanding all three generations is the only way leverage the talents of your workforce. The understanding of the differences of the three generations will also help you understand your customer base and what motivates them. As I work with my Westchester County NY organizations I constantly hear voices of frustration. A frustrated manager says “The kids today don’t want to work. I can’t get any good help.” Or 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 a baby boomer who feels he or she can’t compete with the new workers and the new technology. And here is yet another quote. “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners,...
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BEHAVIORS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN SKILLS

BEHAVIORS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN SKILLS
Contrary to what you may think education and skills do not create success. There is a saying that knowledge is power. That is also wrong. It is the application of knowledge that is power. In school teachers would say, “Johnny could be a great student if he would only apply himself.” With that being said why are we fixated on grades, degrees, and experience on resume when hiring people? In Good to Great Jim Collins explains that building a great organization is as simple as “Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” It may be simple but it’s not easy. You will need to change the way you hire people. Unfortunately, all too often managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at background in the industry, jobs held before, and job history. Significant time is spent...
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DEVELOP LOYAL CUSTOMERS BY MANAGING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS

DEVELOP LOYAL CUSTOMERS BY MANAGING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
The easiest way to lose trust with your customer is by making promises you cannot keep. No one wants to intentionally lie but frankly many people in sales are not completely truthful with their clients. Why? The biggest excuse I hear is that they are afraid to be negative with their client. They think that if they don’t tell the client what they think the client wants to hear then that client or prospect will go somewhere else. That might be true in some cases but wouldn’t you rather be the salesperson who exceeds your customers’ expectations rather the one that disappoints the customer? A skilled salesperson knows how to manage the customer’s expectations and then over deliver on those expectations. No one likes to say no. You want to say yes to everything so that you customer will decide to go with you and your product or service. You really...
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ARE YOU FOCUSED? HERE IS A FIVE POINT CHECKUP

ARE YOU FOCUSED?  HERE IS A FIVE POINT CHECKUP
Most successful business owners cite laser focus on the right things as paramount to their success. Staying focused and staying sharp on the things necessary to grow and change is important. But sometimes business gets lazy and in a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. The business has had years of successful sales and profits. Since the business is still making money and continuing to operate the reasoning is, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. But recently the business has experienced a decline in sales and profits. In short, there have been changes in the economy and the market. In order to remain successful the business owner must refocus. How are you doing? Take this 5 area checkup: 1. Make sure you know what business you are in. If you make cell phones do you provide smart phones or do you create facilitated mobile communication? If you run...
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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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