Welcome to Perfomance Development Strategies.

We partner with our clients to help them determine where they want to go and what results they want to achieve.  Then we help you develop the action plan to make it happen.  We help our clients develop and manage strategic, cultural, and structural changes within their organizations. By working together, we can provide personalized processes and support materials that help turn goals into reality. We help organizations align their plan, people, and systems in order to gain a competitive edge.
We facilitate and coordinate programs to develop your company's human capital, focusing on attitude development, human relations, skill development, and goal setting.


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Customer Service and Customer Loyalty

The mastery of customer service can mean the difference between success and failure. The corporate trend of raising customer service is a business necessity. Customers are more willing to forgive a product failure than a service failure by a ratio of 5 to 1. If customer retention is important, then improving customer service must be the tactic. Unfortunately in many companies, the customer has become a low priority. When people are not treated according to their expectation, they will take their business elsewhere. What’s more, they relay their bad experience to ten or more other people. The question then becomes not whether to improve your companies service standard, but how?

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What is
coaching? Is it right for you?

Have you ever felt like you are navigating through your professional life alone? If you are like most executives and small business owners the answer is yes. In a corporation, the higher up the ladder you go the harder it is to find someone to discuss dreams, goals, actions, and success strategy. This is also true of the small business owner. Having a coach is like having a needed connection that cannot be made with others. For example:

Your spouse may listen but the dynamics of marriage relationship may cloud perspective and objectivity.

Your friends want to be helpful but they don’t have the training to identify real issues and they don’t have the time commitment.

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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.

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Grant Schneider

Grant Schneider

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Posted by on in Attitudes and Behaviors
Some people find the task of selecting the right employee to be a very difficult task. But that does not have to be the case. A diligent hiring manager may spend time studying a candidate’s resume and asked questions about experience. But then, as one manager told me with a sign, you really have no idea until they are hired. Sadly, most organizations fail at hiring the right people. This occurs at organizations with a human resources department as often as it happens with the small business owner. The good news is that you can begin to hire the right people. Here is a simple fact. Managers 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 before extending an employment offer. Later...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
It is important that a leader exercise proper control. However, if you exercise too much control you could hurt your business. But it can be tough to let go. Here is how it can happen. A business is started by an owner with a vision to create a great product or service. The owner must spend much time working in the business to make sure that the product or service gets out, the money gets collected, and the bills get paid. That is very important for business survival. The owner works hard IN the business. He or she must attend to every detail and, if he forgets one thing, it could be a disaster. The business owner spends most of his or her time working IN the business and virtually no time working ON the business. Why is this problematic? When the owner starts the business he or she needs to...

Posted by on in Competencies and Strengths
You will be so much more productive if you are able to know your strengths. In most cases you like what you do well. So why are people beating themselves up trying to improve their weaknesses. 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...

Posted by on in Vision and Values
Many people start a business and develop a plan to market and sell their product and service.  But if that is all they have, in my opinion, there is a key ingredient missing.  Your need vision if your business is to survive and thrive.  And you also need values.  They should make it perfectly clear what type of company you are.  Surprisingly, many businesses cannot say why they are in business nor can they articulate their basic business foundation and founding principles.  Why you are running the business is more important than how you run it.  If you find that statement hard to believe then read on. Any successful business needs to have vision—that is what the business will look like when it is successful.  Your vision is your dream and as Walt Disney said, you must have a dream if you want to have a dream to come true.  Of...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
We have heard much about sexual harassment in the workplace lately. While this is a practice that is illegal is also destroys a well aligned diverse workplace. Diverse teams led by good leaders are highly productive teams. Creating a dynamic workforce involves valuing and respecting every individual. Diversity and Inclusion is really all about engaging employees and customers for more success. It involves valuing all cultures, all races, genders. And it also involves respecting all ideas—that is—diversity of thought. Why do you and your company want to embrace diversity? Most would answer that they would do it because it is right. But there is an ROI. You will get more business and more customers. Gaining loyal customers and engaged employees is built on trust. Here is how diversity helped one company. The company has restaurants in a metropolitan area located in suburbs as well as downtown cities. The company found that...

Posted by on in Communication
Do you feel that sometimes you have a failure to communicate? That line from Cool Hand Luke sums up one of the big problem—our communication does not work. I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The staff felt that there were a lot of changes, but the staff also felt that management was not keeping them informed. Productivity almost always suffers in times of great change because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. Often senior executives genuinely believe they are communicating with employees when it comes to matters that affect them. Unfortunately, they often underestimate the number of matters that includes. Can you say with certainty that you know what is important to employees and what to tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You are moving in a direction toward you goals and assume that your team is on the same path. You assume that they know what the objectives are.  In other words, are you taking a course of action, assuming the team is following but turn around and there is no one there. You know what happens when you assume! You ask your staff to follow then turn and find no one there.  The best way to insure organizational alignment is to be a focused leader who empowers and engages your team. When this happens, they will in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success. Focused Leader - You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are the leader. You appoint yourself CEO but your team will follow you only if you show you can lead.   As manager you can influence the process...
Tagged in: Team Leadership

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Many Westchester County business owners have told me that they feel like a hamster on a wheel. They are overworked and overwhelmed. Many blame the rapid pace of business or the economic fact that business must do more with less. Technology has made our lives easier, right? Yes, but it has also created more pressure. Instant communication on handheld devices gives us the sense of urgency and feeling that we must always be working. Everything seems to go faster, leaving everyone feeling overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed.   Some people may suggest that this is an issue of time management. The real issue is not time management but understanding your goals and your purpose. Here are some tips on surviving being overwhelmed. 1. Know Your Purpose. Do you have a roadmap and purpose? That would be your vision, your goals, and your plans. Each day identify the tasks you must accomplish and prioritize...
Tagged in: Goal Achievement

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Goal achievement is the most important key to achieving your dreams. The most successful people are the ones who have specific, written goals. Unfortunately, there are many people without written goals. If you were to ask them why they are likely to respond that they have them in their head. But ask the same people if they have plans for their next vacation and they will produce elaborate written plans.   There is so much more to goal setting than just writing it down. That is just a wish. Just wishing and hoping for something isn't going to make it happen. Setting a goal involves having target and an action plan to hit the target. 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....

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
You may have heard of The Peter Principle. Lawrence Peter’s book by this name argues 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. You get a promotion usually because you performed well in a previous job. Some very important reasons exist for doing this. Rewards encourage engagement and increased performance. However, companies make a flawed assumption that employees who do well in a previous job will continually do well in increasingly more difficult jobs. 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 see examples of The Peter Principle in...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
How can you tell if your business is growing? Very simple, you measure it. You may have heard the expression, “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it” In my consultation with my business owners in Westchester County we work on success through focusing on their vision, their values, and goals. Then they execute their goals and measure results. You need to have a strategic outlook on your business. Another way of saying this is that you look at the whole rather than the parts or you must work ON your business rather than IN your business. 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...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Are you laser focused or are you a multi-tasker? Being a multi-tasker in running your business may create problems. Instead, staying focused and staying sharp on the things necessary to grow and change will yield the best results. Sometimes owners get lazy and in a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. Maybe 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. Eventually, the business could reach a stage on leveling off or declining sales or profits. Maybe there are changes in the industry or in the economy. To remain successful, the business owner must refocus. Here are five essentials for refocusing. 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...

Posted by on in Attitudes and Behaviors
Do you think that attitudes are important to performance? If you don’t, consider the fact that most terminations occur because attitudes and behaviors rather than lack of skills. I love what Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” The fact is that people do not put enough emphasis on how attitude affects performance. Yes, attitudes DO affect performance. In fact, they affect everything that we do. There is a strong link between attitude and performance. Let’s start with defining what attitude means in this context. An attitude is a pattern of thought. It affects how we approach everything we do. If you change your attitude and change your outlook you will change your outcomes. Not that this is as easy as turning on a switch. It’s not easy. You can change your attitude, your outlook, and how you think but it will take real commitment, discipline and desire to change...

Posted by on in Competencies and Strengths
Today’s fast paced economy demands that we work at peak performance or fall behind. That also requires that all your employees are working at peak performance. It is no secret that more organizations are doing more with less. That is certainly a good thing if we learn to work smart. This means that we should engage smart development of our staff members. One of the problems I have noticed in many organizations is their lack of clear training and development objectives. Furthermore, many do not tie training and development initiatives to measurable outcomes. Here is an example. 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 thing at their premises. Naturally, I asked about their business objectives for the training. In other words, what business outcome did they want to...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Some studies have shown that a positive corporate culture is essential for having an engaged team. Even more important, culture combined with team engagement has proven to improve outcomes including financial performance. Culture influences every area of the organization. It affects the public and customer perception, but it also affects the way people do their jobs and their connection to the mission and values of the organization. In short, an organization’s culture is seen in actions and behaviors which model the values it lives by. Your hiring process must support your culture. One organization states is this way in one of their cultural pillars. “We very carefully guard who gets to be an associate in our organization.” This organization looks at values, attitudes, and behaviors in making staff selections in addition to those skills needed to perform the job. Unfortunately, we find that managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Having your organization aligned is just as important as having the wheels on your car aligned. In both cases mis alignment creates disastrous results. The reason for non-alignment in the business is a lack of clear vision and without a clear vision everyone is on a different page. While that is personally frustrating it can cost your company good employees and customers. If you want to change that then be ready to change three areas involving your business. Here they are: Let’s start with the focused leader. You may be the owner, the manager, or CEO but that does not mean you are the leader. You appoint yourself CEO, 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...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Do you have a problem retaining your high performing employees? Today’s workforce expects to do meaningful work and be associated with an organization that shares their values. This is the employee value proposition which means, “Why would a high potential employee want to work at your company?” Many companies do not understand why their turnover is so high. Some think that it is all about money and benefits. But unless you pay below standard it is not about money. Sure, an employee will tell you that he or she left for a better opportunity. You might, therefore, assume that it had to do with money but don’t be fooled. There is much more going on than just money. You cannot treat employees as commodities assuming they will come to work just because they are getting paid.   Some vendors of perks may even tell you that if you offer special perks then...
Tagged in: Employee Engagement

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Do you want to learn the truth? There are some organizations that never ask their staff how the company is doing. But fear of hearing bad news will not make the bad news go away. Ignorance is not bliss although it appears to that many companies are just not comfortable asking the ultimate question, “How are we doing?” 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. There is a take away and that is that we can’t make a universal supposition of what engages people. Instead, we need to...

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  • Gabe Sanders
    Gabe Sanders says
    Thanks Great tips for anyone who would like to improve their business.

Posted by on in Communication
Did you know that most people say that communication is their biggest challenge in their organization? As leader you must set the tone. Anyone with strong leadership skills must communicate clearly and with positive tone. By setting the example you can dramatically affect the communication process. There are three things that you must evaluate to improve your communications skills. They are: 1.        What you say 2.        How you say it both verbally and non-verbally 3.        Your position and who you are What you say accounts for less than 10% of the communication process. You should be aware that the words you use can mean different things to different people. For example, “As soon as possible” could mean right now, or as soon as you have time. The words will be interpreted based on the frame of reference of the person listening. How you say it. Your tone of voice matters. Were...
Tagged in: Communication

Posted by on in Fear of Change
Although things are always changing many of us say we hate change. We know we must change but we don’t like doing it. We are creatures of habit and we will explore that thought later. We also have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. We must face it … we live in a changing world. EVERYTHING changes and it’s time to acknowledge the cold, hard truth … much as we’d like to, we cannot control everything that happens to us in life. We can, however, change the way we react to what happens. One of the key reasons change might come hard has a lot to do with one of the tools your brain uses regularly. This tool helps you get through your days with the speed and accuracy you need without getting bogged down with minutia. This...


Grant has worked with us at MAS to provide expert strategic planning knowledge and direction, effective goal setting and team development. I highly recommend his services to anyone who is looking to grow, organize or even redefine their business growth goals. Marshall that he had the greatest sales increase in 2012 30%

December 6, 2012, ~ Lisa Schmid and Marshall Marinace



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