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.

INNOVATION IN THE EYES OF YOUR CUSTOMER

INNOVATION IN THE EYES OF YOUR CUSTOMER
Having a unique value proposition will differentiate you from your competition. Most people are at a loss to really articulate their unique value proposition. Many companies say that their service is what sets them apart from their competition. They will say, “Our Service is what sets us apart. We give great customer service.” If that is your answer I would ask you to think about that. Doesn’t everyone claim to give great service? What is unique about yours? You really need to go a step above that by exceeding your customers’ expectations. One way to do that is create a product, a service or an experience that is innovative in your customers’ eyes. What would really wow your customers? Steve Jobs achieved that wow when he created the iPhone, an invention that was less of a phone than something holding most of our needs that we can carry anywhere. According to...
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ARE YOU AN ENTREPRENEUR?

ARE YOU AN ENTREPRENEUR?
According to a dictionary definition an entrepreneur is “one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” So you are a risk taker if you are an entrepreneur. It is true that many startups do not survive. That, you say, is the risk that is assumed. But there is bare risk and then there is managed risk. Using the investment community as an example you can be a great risk taker, do day trading including option buying and ride a roller coaster. Or you can make a managed long term diversified investment plan. Both choices involve risk but the second choice of diversifying manages that risk and results in a successful outcome. Michael Gerber, in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses what I would suggest are the unnecessary bare risks in entrepreneurship. The e-myth or the entrepreneurial myth as described by Gerber incorrectly assumes that the...
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HOW ARE YOUR MANAGEMENT SKILLS?

HOW ARE YOUR MANAGEMENT SKILLS?
How are you managing? What are you being paid to do as a manager? 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. As manager you are responsible for the performance of your team, your business, or your company. In essence, the buck stops with you. That does not mean that you do everything yourself. It also does not mean that you offload your responsibility to your employees. It means that you get results with your people. That means that you must delegate with confidence. You must be confident because you can only delegate tasks and even authority but you can never delegate your responsibility. An effective manager must successfully perform these five functions. Planning involves establishing and...
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IF SELLING SUCKS BECOME A SALES DOCTOR

IF SELLING SUCKS BECOME A SALES DOCTOR
How do you compare doctors with salespeople?  People have a perception of a salesperson as a pushy person trying to convince someone to buy something he or she does not need. If you have been a buyer you know the stress involved in going into a car showroom to buy your next car. With these images in mind it is no wonder that people are reluctant to become salespeople. Now what is your perception of your doctor when you have a problem or a pain? If you are going because of stress, anxiety, or pain you are looking for the doctor to relieve your pain and solve your problem. This is the exact opposite image that you might feel about sales? Is it the profession or is it something else? It is something else and here is why. If you visit your doctor because you have a pain in your back...
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COMMUNICATION IS A TWO WAY PROCESS

COMMUNICATION IS A TWO WAY PROCESS
The best communicators know that communication is a two way process. Remember the line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”   This line is from the movie Cool Hand Luke and it has become a catchphrase. That is because it highlights one of our greatest frustrations--miscommunication. On the other hand, great communication has almost always been a trait of some of our greatest leaders. They had great accomplishments but they were almost always great communicators. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate in order to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. Depending on our communications media, the words we use might not have as powerful an impact as other factors. For example, in face to face conversations we communicate more information non verbally through our body language and our tone...
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ENTREPENEURSHIP – OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED AND CHANCE TO FAIL

ENTREPENEURSHIP – OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED AND CHANCE TO FAIL
Many great entrepreneurs have something in common. At one point they failed in business but then they later became smashing successes. Some of these entrepreneurs include Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Mary Kay, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson. The difference between these entrepreneurs and other business failures is that these individuals learned from their failures and used those lessons to build successful enterprises. Education is a short cut to experience. Recently, three of my colleagues and I shared some lessons learned from the front. You can avoid some of the mistakes which will lead to failure by taking note of these lessons. Q. When you develop a business plan why do you put it aside and forget it. A. Many businesses put in the effort to develop a business plan but then fail to take action on the plan. The plan is a living document and it needs to result in the...
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PROCRASTINATION AND TIME MANGEMENT

PROCRASTINATION AND TIME MANGEMENT
Sometimes when we feel that we have trouble with time management our real problem is a behavior called procrastination. Time management is usually not a time management problem but a behavior problem. Procrastination is something that we all have to confront and deal with from time to time. It's only natural to procrastinate at times, but the way you deal with your procrastination patterns will determine what effects procrastination has on your life. Why is it that so many people start out with good intentions to achieve a goal but never achieve that goal? When you procrastinate you simply fail to take action on the very things you know will bring you the rewards that you desire. You know you want the rewards and know you must take action but you hold off, make excuses and, in short, procrastinate. Procrastination can be caused by a fear—a fear of failure or the...
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TOP LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE – BEING A CONTROL FREAK

TOP LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE – BEING A CONTROL FREAK
One of the biggest challenges for a person becoming a great leader is the tendency to be a control freak. Some of the symptoms of this challenge are a business that is stumbling, a frustrated owner, or employees who are not on the same page. This does not start out as a problem. In fact, it starts out as strength. Let’s consider this scenario. A person has talent in home repairs. He does great work and he has loyal customers. He begins to get busy to the point that he cannot do all the work himself so he hires others. Bear in mind that he has developed a quality brand based on his individual work. In this scenario it is only natural that he wants to protect his brand so he very closely supervises the work of his helpers and employees to the point that he could almost do the work...
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STOP SELLING AND START BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

STOP SELLING AND START BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
STOP SELLING AND START BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder that sales today is more about developing relationships rather than closing sales. Here are 7 ideas that will open up your current sales thinking and help you become more effective in your selling activities: 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 go of trying to “close the sale” or “get the appointment.” If you simply focus your conversation on problems that you can help potential clients solve, and if you don’t jump the gun by trying to move...
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IS EVERYONE IN YOUR BUSINESS ON THE SAME PAGE?

IS EVERYONE IN YOUR BUSINESS ON THE SAME PAGE?
Many times when people are asked about a business issue with which they are struggling they will point to lack of follow through by members of their staff. Simply put everyone is not on the same page. Most if not all business failures have this problem in common. If you are having growth problems in your organization it might be traceable to this cause. Here is a quick checkup. Ask everyone on your team, “What are the top three goals of our organization”? If you receive exactly the same 3 answers from ALL of your staff, Congratulations! However, if you receive more than 3 answers, this may indicate the following symptoms: Poor Communication Loss of Customers Staff Turnover or unengaged employees Increased costs in your business Turf wars between employees Lack of teamwork How do you fix this problem? May I suggest that you start by look at the way you...
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THE POWER OF SPACED REPETITION

THE POWER OF SPACED REPETITION
What do you think about when you hear, “I’m Loving It.” Or what do you think when you hear, “Just do it.” You probably said McDonalds and Nike. Why are you able to recall this so quickly? Over a period of time you have heard commercials on TV and radio that continually mention the taglines of McDonalds and Nike. You did not intend to learn this tagline but the advertiser’s use of spaced repetition planted it in your mind. How did you learn your multiplication tables when you were young? Or how did you memorize that poem when you were in grade school? That was also spaced repetition. Spaced repetition is the most effective and powerful way we learn. So how are you incorporating spaced repetition into your learning process, and what about your process with other staff or junior associates? Are you responsible for teaching some other staff how to...
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IS SOCIAL MEDIA A SHINY NEW OBJECT?

IS SOCIAL MEDIA A SHINY NEW OBJECT?
People approach social media as if it is something cool like a shiny new object. In fact when discussing social media the word “cool” is used repeatedly. Is social media a fun cool object or is it a business tool. I think that the answer to that question is both. People use social media for fun and entertainment but since this blog is about business performance I would like to talk about using social media to get business results. Today businesses and professionals use social media that same way they used to use the Yellow Pages, the newspaper, magazines, and flyers. How did business decide where to put their marketing dollars? To begin with, they analyzed their market. Here are three very simple questions. Who does your business help? How does your business help? Where does your business help? These are basic marketing questions. You may have heard a business coach...
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CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TEAM TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY

CREATE A SUCCESSFUL TEAM TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY
Creating a successful team requires skillful leadership. Let’s assume that we all agree that an organization is only as good as its people. It is important 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. That is not going to happen if you have a lot of highly qualified but individual performers. You need cohesive and effective teams to make it happen, not people in individual silos. Everyone has different talents and it is important to leverage those talents. The power of your team is only as effective as your weakest link. Creating a winning team begins with creating a culture that allows...
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GETTING TOP PERFORMANCE FROM YOUR TEAM

GETTING TOP PERFORMANCE FROM YOUR TEAM
Getting top performance from your team is more about motivation and inspiration than it is about attaching blame. In order to have a high performing team you need to look in the mirror and ask, “Am I a person who inspires and encourages others?”   In other words what type of leader are you. If you are not sure why not ask the people around you to give you some guidance. And if you have employees make sure you ask them.   Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. Asking others for their opinions conveys respect, shows that you value their feedback and increases your credibility as a leader. Of course that’s assuming that you are open to the feedback and will actually commit to making changes. It’s easy for people to not feel comfortable giving you the total “honest” truth at...
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HOW CAN I KEEP MY BEST EMPLOYEES FROM LEAVING?

HOW CAN I KEEP MY BEST EMPLOYEES FROM LEAVING?
A business owner recently said, “I think I have a great opportunity and I pay well but I still have people leaving my company. How can I stop them from leaving? The answer to this question is important. Get it wrong and you will continue to tread water always trying to catch up. Get it right and you have one very important component for taking your business to the next level. If you manage a team of people, or are charged with human resources in your organization you know how important it is to retain your best people. So why do so many employee leave, or worse, why do they stay and become a drag on the organization? Here is a sobering fact. Employees do not leave companies, they leave supervisors. Many supervisors believe that if only the pay and fringe benefits were better their best employees would stay. I would...
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WOULD YOU BENEFIT FROM HAVING A COACH?

WOULD YOU BENEFIT FROM HAVING A COACH?
Have you wondered whether you would benefit by having a coach? Here is some information on what coaching is and what it is not. Is it right for you? Coaching relationships vary considerably. There are life coaches, sports coaches, health coaches, business coaches, and so forth. Here is some information on the nature of coaching, its benefits, and how it varies from other type of consulting. Sometimes people confuse coaches with traditional consultants. They might ask a coach for advice. However, a coach’s role is not to provide answers or solutions. Instead a coach helps the client develop their own potential. If you have ever been motivated to act or energized by way of conversations you have experienced the effects of coach. Here is an example. If a child asks you how to spell a word you could provide the child with the correct spelling. That would be the consultant approach....
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HOW TO MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS

HOW TO MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Many business owners know that they should be using social media for their business. However, many are bewildered by all the choices. To make matters worse there are many different social media experts telling them what they should do and what they should say without understanding the business. In my opinion this approach is counterintuitive. Social media is simply a new form of advertising and communication that requires a plan and strategy to be effective. To help connect business reality with the new media I recently teamed up with a social media strategist. Here is some of what we discuss. It is important to have a clear message? How do you differentiate yourself from others? What is your unique value proposition? These questions will take some thoughtful analysis. Ask yourself the following questions: What is the best thing you do? Who is you target market? How to people learn about and...
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HOW DO I TAKE MY BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

HOW DO I TAKE MY BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Most businesses say yes but do not know what that means. First of all you need to know where your business is now. You have to have a starting point. 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 timing but they will become stagnant and the owner will feel like a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. 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 open a restaurant. They open the business and make sales. However, the owner is usually consumed with running the business and catering to...
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RESOLVE TO KEEP YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

RESOLVE TO KEEP YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
Have you made any News Year’s Resolutions yet? Many people will be making these resolutions 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?  Perhaps they really did not want to do what they had resolved to do. The first step toward making that resolution is to really know what you want to do in the first place. Do...
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ELIMINATE BAD HABITS THAT ARE OBSTACLES TO YOUR SUCCESS

ELIMINATE BAD HABITS THAT ARE OBSTACLES TO YOUR SUCCESS
Habits and Behaviors are the biggest obstacles to success in business. In my career in the corporate world as well as in my own business I have seen great time and effort on skills and knowledge training. Unfortunately most employee terminations and business failures occur because of habits and behaviors. I think it was Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If any of you have ever done an assessment with a coach or you have had a developmental assessment for your job you probably saw a section on the worksheet that is titled “I will stop doing…” If you are doing things that are harmful to your business why do you keep doing them? In most cases we are in a comfort zone and we don’t want to change because making any change will be uncomfortable. However, when we...
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