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.

HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS IN YOUR WESTCHESTER NY BUSINESS?

HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS IN YOUR WESTCHESTER NY BUSINESS?
I work with numerous business owners in Westchester County who are working on making their businesses more successful. These businesses define success through their vision, their values, and goals. Then to stay on top of their business they monitor and measure results. You may have heard the expression, “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” Well, if you want to have a sustainable business you need to have a strategic plan, goals and objectives, and a way to measure your progress. Without these elements you are relying solely on luck. What you measure is just as important as having and plan and executing it. For example, many business owners are familiar with the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), or more simply said profit. That, however, is a measure of what has happened in the past. It may not predict what will happen in the future....
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HOW DO I HIRE AN EMPLOYEE FOR MY WESTCHESTER BUSINESS?

HOW DO I HIRE AN EMPLOYEE FOR MY WESTCHESTER BUSINESS?
Your Westchester County NY business has grown and you realize you must hire your first employee. You are rightly concerned about bringing in a stranger and trusting that stranger to the business you have nurtured. You set out to hire the most qualified person but you feel more comfortable hiring a friend. Hiring someone because of friendship ignores the purpose for hiring someone in the first place—the fact that you need someone with specific qualifications to do a job. Jim Collin’s in his book “Good to Great” explains his research on how good companies become great companies. Collins surveyed companies and found that their greatness was not due to a special sauce or a great product but rather because of the people in the organization. It all starts with high quality, high performing employees. Collins refers to this as getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the...
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DO YOU THINK LEADERS ARE BORN OR MADE?

DO YOU THINK LEADERS ARE BORN OR MADE?
Have you ever heard someone describe a leader that they admire as a “born leader”?   But really, what is a born leader? Are leaders born?   If I were to ask you to tell me what qualities you think of when you think of a great leader each of you would probably answer with totally different qualities and attributes. I have just read some blogs remembering events on the anniversary of 9/11. Did born leaders appear at just the right time? Were Mayor Giuliani and President Bush leaders who appeared at just the right time? Or were they shaped and created by circumstances long before 9/11 and had the resolve do what needed to be done? Let’s take two military leaders from World War II. George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower were both considered to be great leaders. Their attributes and their personalities, however, were very different. Patton was in the face of...
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HOW A COMPANY CREATES AND MAINTAINS LOYAL CUSTOMERS IN BRIARCLIFF MANOR NY

HOW A COMPANY CREATES AND MAINTAINS LOYAL CUSTOMERS IN BRIARCLIFF MANOR NY
As a business owner wouldn’t you agree that the main purpose of a business is to attract and maintain customers? If that is true then managing and measuring the voice of your customer becomes one of your most important functions. A customer service focused business will make certain that its customers get what they want and come back for more. That is critically important to the long-term success your Westchester County business. All factors that impact negatively on the customer, (unfriendly policies, inappropriate response time, untrained employees, etc.) must be identified and corrected if you wish to compete effectively and profitably now and in the future. The success of your business depends upon building and anticipating the future. Your current sales and profit are NOT indicators for the future. They tell what is happening now. The true indicator of future success is measured through your customers’ emotional attachment to your brand....
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HOW CAN I IMPROVE EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY?

HOW CAN I IMPROVE EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY?
Westchester employers need to get and maintain peak performance from their employees.  In order to compete employers need the best and most productive employees. But there is a catch. You can’t just hire them. You then need to develop your employees so that they can produce better results. Your employees really want opportunities to grow and develop. If you have looked you know that there is so much out there written about performance reviews. Many of these writings focus on procedure. I am presenting here a much more practical bottom line approach but one that uses solid human relations skills. Most organizations do annual performance appraisals and most human resource professionals are charged with developing a performance appraisal system. This process alone is one of the most universally disliked systems. The reason is that most appraisal systems do not focus enough on two very important areas—Employee Development and Results. We should...
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TWO WAY COMMUNICATION BEGINS WITH ACTIVE LISTENING

TWO WAY COMMUNICATION BEGINS WITH ACTIVE LISTENING
How do you feel when you when you ask a question and you receive an answer unrelated to your question? You know it. The other person was not listening to you and was only interested in making his own points. I recently had the opportunity to talk with a telecommunications expert. I was questioning the comparable features offered by two different iPhone telecommunications carriers. During the conversation I pointed out that one carrier had an additional benefit. “With that carrier”, I said, “you are able to use the Internet while on the phone.” The expert quickly shot back something to the effect, “you’re not going to surf the internet while you are driving.” I don’t use the phone while driving and I did not even ask about driving. I had another reason for favoring the carrier with this service. When I am at a remote office I can email something to...
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GETTING YOUR EMPLOYEES IN YOUR WESTCHESTER BUSINESS TO TAKE PERSONAL OWNERSHIP

GETTING YOUR EMPLOYEES IN YOUR WESTCHESTER BUSINESS TO TAKE PERSONAL OWNERSHIP
I have been working with a local business owner in White Plains, NY. He claims that his employees lack initiative. “Unless I tell them what to do nothing gets done. I can’t trust them to do it themselves.” I asked the owner to give me an example.   “Well,” he said, “I have given them detailed directions of exactly what I want done and they don’t do it the way I told them.” “Wait a minute,” I said, “Didn’t you just say that you wanted them to take ownership?” I think we have a conflict here because the owner wants one thing but tells his employees something else. If you want employees to take ownership you must empower them to make decisions as to the best way to get things done. If this is a source of frustration to you, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First of...
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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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