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.

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 discussions....
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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 to...
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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 candidates...
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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 work...
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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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