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.

IF YOU WANT MORE REFERRALS LEARN HOW TO BE A CENTER OF INFLUENCE

IF YOU WANT MORE REFERRALS LEARN HOW TO BE A CENTER OF INFLUENCE
Here in Westchester NY there are many opportunities to make connections at the many networking events. Networking is a great way to build your business. But just like your other business processes, you need to have a networking process. You should have goals and measured outcomes. And here are a few examples of goal categories:    •     Identify suspects (those who might become prospects with further qualification)    •     Develop strategic alliances (sell things that compliment your product or service)    •     Develop referral sources    •     Develop and maintain relationships    •     Interactively prospect    •     Impact sales results You can achieve greater results in your Westchester networking activity if you work on becoming a “center of influence”. Here are three characteristics common to successful centers of influence. The first is trust. Someone must trust you and must feel comfortable with you. So begin with building a relationship. Learn as...
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HOW DO OTHERS VIEW YOUR WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS

HOW DO OTHERS VIEW YOUR WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS
Do you see your Westchester County NY business the way those outside your business do? Many times, when you see something every day you stop noticing. Does that make sense? For example, when you started your business you were focused on how you were going to get customers and what resources you would need to deliver the products and services to those customers. That might have been 2 years ago, 5 years ago or even 10 or more years ago. But you say, “I’m ok now because I have my routine set and it works without me thinking about it.” Here are two questions to ask yourself. Has a new team member joined and pointed out things you didn’t see? Have you had any suggestions or complaints by customers? Sometimes a person with a fresh set of eyes is needed to point out something that will help your business. A fresh...
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TIME MANAGEMENT IS NOT A TIME MANAGEMENT ISSUE

TIME MANAGEMENT IS NOT A TIME MANAGEMENT ISSUE
When I am working with businesses in Westchester County New York most of them tell me that one of their top challenges is time management. If that were the case they would be able to solve their problems very quickly. But time management is not a time management issue at all. Time management is not simply achieved by having an organized system. There are many books that tell you how to organize your time. You can buy a day planner, or use programs such as Outlook, ACT, or another software program but still have no better control of your day. The root cause of the problem is not the lack of systems or processes. It is our own attitudes about time, our bad habits and our bad behaviors. It is a fact that you only have a finite amount of time. That is not true with most other things. It is...
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IF YOU ARE A MANAGER ARE YOU ALSO A LEADER?

IF YOU ARE A MANAGER ARE YOU ALSO A LEADER?
There is a distinction between management and leadership. Management is a matter of job title that is given by your organization or by yourself if you are the owner of the company. On the other hand leadership is recognition by those whom you lead. Expressed in different terms a manager has the authority and a leader has the power. The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. People are not born leaders. Leadership is developed and there is not one set of leadership traits. In fact there are examples of two very effective leaders with highly contradictory traits. The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. A military leader does not have to possess the traits and style of George S. Patton to be an effective commander. People with totally different traits...
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CAN MY WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS RUN WHEN I AM NOT THERE?

CAN MY WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY BUSINESS RUN WHEN I AM NOT THERE?
“I recently had to take some time off and during my absence the company did not have enough sales to even cover our overhead.” A Westchester County NY business owner relayed this situation to me. She was frustrated. “My business needs to operate when I am not there,” she said, “but at this time I am afraid to take a day off.” If you are a Westchester County NY business owner and this sounds familiar you should know that it is a common problem. As business owner you want sales growth and business stability but don't feel your employees can get it done. Your solution will lie in becoming a leader who trains, develops, empowers, and delegates with confidence. It is important to have the right people doing the right jobs. So start by having job descriptions for everyone. Make sure that every staff member is qualified for the job. Find...
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BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NEW YORK

BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NEW YORK
If you are a small business owner in Westchester County New York you are surely looking for ways to increase your revenues and increase your bottom profits. As a business and leadership coach I work with small business owners and entrepreneurs in Westchester County New York. Recently I facilitated an owner’s forum at the offices of The Business Council of Westchester. It takes commitment to become an entrepreneur. There are rewards in, growing, and succeeding in a business. Two reasons often cited are creative independence and financial independence. Although those goals carry many rewards getting to that point of financial independence is not easy. If you want to create a sustainable business you need to have leadership skills to empower others so that the business will run day to day when you are not there. If the business cannot run day to day you would be considered a freelancer rather than...
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DON’T WASTE TIME TRYING TO IMPROVE YOUR WEAKNESSES

DON’T WASTE TIME TRYING TO IMPROVE YOUR WEAKNESSES
I am advocating something that may sound counterproductive. I think it is foolish to try to improve your weaknesses or limitations. Even if you attempt to do it you will never be fully satisfied and you will be in a constant state of stress. But isn’t that what many of us try to do?   When your child comes home from school with his or her report card and it shows, for example, an A in math, B’s in history and science, and a C in English, what is your response? That’s right. Most people will talk to their child about raising the grade in English. But what if your child might have a real talent in math? He or she might become a great math genius. But it might never be realized because time was spent dwelling on weakness rather than leveraging strengths. To put it another way, we have talents...
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WHY DO I NEED TO SET GOALS ANYWAY

WHY DO I NEED TO SET GOALS ANYWAY
Sometimes we look for things to improve and are disappointed when we see no change. It is almost as if we are waiting for something to happen. But there are some of us who know that if we want something to happen we must be the ones to make it happen. Those of us who are waiting for things to happen have a much different approach to going on vacation. Many of us spend a considerable amount of time and effort planning a vacation. We will figure out exactly where we want to go and what type of things we want to do while we are there. We’ll make reservations, schedule appointments, and prepare a list of all of the appropriate things we need to pack. This planning is usually very detailed, somewhat tedious, and time consuming. But, because we want the trip to be hassle free we will plan these...
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IS THIS BUSINESS SUSTAINABLE?

IS THIS BUSINESS SUSTAINABLE?
If someone were to ask you if you have a sustainable business would you know how to answer? There is no clear answer to this question. Sustainability means different things to different companies as well as industries. Sustainability really started with the whole concept of being green, becoming more environmentally friendly, and paying more attention to conserving our planet’s resources. However, sustainability has become much more than that. Sustainability has become a viable business strategy which takes into account the economic considerations for business sustainability, governmental issues, and opinions from customers and stakeholders. Where did the term sustainability come from? The term sustainability actually emerged in the 1987 report by United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development. The report simply defined sustainability as follows: to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. No matter how a business defines sustainability...
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HOW TO PREVENT THE PETER PRINCIPLE

HOW TO PREVENT THE PETER PRINCIPLE
In 1969, Lawrence Peter wrote a humorous book titled The Peter Principle in which he postulated that, in a hierarchy people tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence. He noted that although this is not planned it is the unintended consequence. In most companies employees are rewarded for great performance by being promoted. The very good reasons for promoting from within include, among others, motivation and engagement of the staff. However, companies make a flawed assumption that because the employee did well in the previous job he or she will adapt and perform well in the new job. Inevitably, according to the Peter Principle, the person ends up being promoted to a job where they are no longer competent. This is referred to as their "level of incompetence". The employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching his or her career's ceiling in an organization. We can...
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MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE LEARNING WHAT YOU ARE TEACHING

MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE LEARNING WHAT YOU ARE TEACHING
Optimizing performance is a buzz word that is heard in almost any organization. As a leader you need to work at peak performance and get peak performance from members of your team. It is no secret that more organizations are doing more with less. In some cases companies have cut the training and development budgets. Those that have done so have not seen the relationship between the training and development and results. But is it the training or is it the way it is being delivered. I contend that it is the way it is being delivered. One of the problems I have noticed in many organizations is their lack of clear objective for outcomes from the training they are providing. I recently had a credit union call me. They had found me online and saw that I was doing leadership development sessions. They asked if I could do the same...
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WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEM?

WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF YOUR PROBLEM?
Do you have a problem with your business? Is something stuck? If the answer to either of these questions is yes you are not alone. Your comments may be similar to some of these comments below. Our sales are flat. We can’t get our employees motivated. We are getting more customer complaints. We have new competition. These are normal problems but there is certainly no pat answer for each. Be Proactive not Reactive The examples above are symptoms. They represent problems you would like solved. However, it is a mistake to put all your effort into treating these symptoms. Many reactive business leaders take this approach. For example, the business owner sees that sales are flat and decides to fix by hiring a salesperson, paying to set up social media, or hiring a marketing specialist. That may cost the business owner needless expense since it may not fix the problem. Instead,...
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ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS THROUGH EFFECTIVE GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS THROUGH EFFECTIVE GOAL ACHIEVEMENT
Setting goals is one of the most important keys to achieving success. Studies have shown that the most successful people are the ones who have specific, written goals.  When you set goals that is only the first step toward the actual achievement of your goals. Setting a goal is not like a New Year's resolution, in others words, it is not just a wish. Just wishing and hoping for something isn't going to make it happen. Setting a goal is having a target to shoot for and a plan to get there. When planning your goals, choose which categories you would like for your goals. Establish the time frame. They could be lifetime goals, 10 year, 5 year, 1 year, 6 month, 3 month, 1 month, or weekly goals. Also you can have ongoing goals, such as exercising 3 to 5 times a week. Be specific when you write your goals....
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MEASUREMENTS THAT PREDICT BUSINESS SUCCESS

MEASUREMENTS THAT PREDICT BUSINESS SUCCESS
If you want to grow your business you will need to measure the things that matter. As a business leader you need to see the big picture. That includes tracking the pulse of your business. Watching a dashboard of controls tells you if your car is operating properly. Having a dashboard for your business will tell you if your business is on track to reaching your goals. As a leader who is working ON your business you will need to track important trends which can quickly warn of problem areas that need attention. You should not waste time getting bogged down in the small details of working IN the business or you will miss the forest for the trees. You should measure business success by measuring trends and directions not numbers. Looking at the numbers alone will not tell the entire story. You should be measuring the trends and the movement...
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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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