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.

ACCOUNTABLE EMPLOYEES ARE MORE LIKELY TO STAY

Assistant-Buyer
Employees who are accountable are already invested in their jobs and the organization. How does that happen. First of all, as Jim Collins says, you need to get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. It is very important in the first few months to establish rapport and engage them in an onboarding process and to establish standards and expectations. Establish expectations from the start. Help orient your new employee by helping him or her to understand the big picture for your organization. Share the organization’s vision, values, and mission along with the organizational goals. You will have more success if you are as transparent as possible. In order to have employee “buy in” the employee needs to first know what he or she is buying. Make sure that your expectations are clear and concise. If you don’t...
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WHAT ARE YOUR DRIVING FORCES?

Employee-Engagement
Another way of asking about your driving forces is asking you what motivates you. Motivation comes from within and that means that you cannot motivate another person, but it certainly would be good to know what motivates that person. Knowing that you can create a spark to ignite their inner fire. That inner fire will drive motivation. That inner fire or passion is your WHY and this comes from the driving forces that motivate you. If you do not have the WHY then the HOW will not matter. Knowing what motivates you is a key to achievement and knowing how to find motivation in others is a key to leadership. Dwight Eisenhower said that leadership is getting others to do what you want because THEY want to do it. Reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. What is your passion? Do you know. You could take...
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WHAT IS STOPPING YOU FROM REACHING YOUR GOAL

Transform-Fear-into-Action
There is plenty of fear out there right now but don’t let fear deter you from your goals. Playing it safe and taking the path of least resistance is a choice many people take. But taking the safe course of action may be more risky than stepping out there. You may lose an opportunity, your competitive edge or your business when you play it safe. Someone else may replace you while you are in your comfort zone. This is the takeaway. There is risk of acting but there is also risk of inaction. Being fearful of acting may be much riskier that taking that action. How many times have you said, I should have, I could have, I would have? I recently coached a Westchester County NY business executive. She wanted to advance in her career, but she was playing it safe and waiting for the right time. What could she...
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WHAT IS WORKPLACE STRESS DOING TO YOUR BUSINESS?

Stressed-Home-Worker
What do you think the stress level is at your workplace? Every workplace has stress. Management should be concerned about the level of stress in the workplace. Some people have personal stress the carries into the work life. This could be any number of things such as home problems, health, financial worries, and the like. It is wise for management to have outside help available rather then getting involved with employees’ private issues. A good EAP (Employee Assistance Program) can be obtained through an outside provider. However, this conversation is about workplace stress brought on in the workplace. Being challenged at work can escalate into having a highly demanding job. Often a result of poorly designed jobs, stress resulting from excessive demand happens when workloads become overwhelming, or skills or talents don't match the position. That being said, here are 7 workplace factors that might be causing stress with your team....
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GROW THE LEADERSHIP SKILLS AS YOU GROW THE LEVEL IN THE ORGANIZATION

Employee-Engagement
If you are promoting team members based on current experience and success you could be setting them up for failure. A first line supervisor who performs very well is not destined to be a great middle manager. Unfortunately, many times we think that there is one set of skills that pertain to leadership. The most common mistake is taking an individual performer and promoting that person to supervisor without any training at all. The newly promoted supervisor still sees the jobs of the people he or she is supervising through his or her own individual performer lens. What is needed is an understanding of motivation, leadership and interpersonal skills in addition to knowledge of the job. But it does not stop there. All leadership roles are not the same at all levels. Managing other managers is different from managing individual performers. According to Lawrence Peter, author of the Peter Principle, companies...
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HOW CAN I HOLD MY TEAM MEMBERS ACCOUNTABLE?

Accountable-Team
Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” It is difficult to have sustainable success by forcing people to be accountable. It is better to create the motivation and culture so that staff and team members want to be accountable. If properly done you can discuss results, build pride, and change behaviors. Noticing failures and offering help to someone struggling can build a sense of pride in the team member. However, by avoiding we only have continued failure. Doing nothing and avoiding accountability is not an option if we want to create growth through improved 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...
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HAVE CONFIDENCE TO DELEGATE. YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE SUSTAINABLE

Entrepreneur
If you want to have a truly sustainable business, you must learn to delegate with confidence. 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. Let’s consider the example of one of my clients. This client has built a very successful home services business. He did the sales, and his wife did the bookkeeping. He hired service staff to...
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MAKE SURE YOUR MESSAGE CREATES THE INTENDED RESULT

Delivering-a-Message
It is not what you say. It is how you say it. You can use the same words in a sentence and make them mean something different by use of word emphasis with your voice. These are stressful times. Businesses are opening again but find that getting people to come back is not as easy as they thought. Recently I met executives dealing withcreat the many worries of brings employees back. Some can’t wait, some are concerned about returning in person, some like the virtual. Management is finding that it is not that easy to craft a policy and convey a message that will resonate with all. People have mixed emotions and people have fear of the unknown. Although management 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. As a manager do you know...
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THE SECRET TO HAVING A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Level-5-Leadership
According to studies a motivated engages team is a high performing team when it has high quality leadership. If the team is failing or dysfunctional, one needs to look first to the leadership. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” talks about great companies being great because they are led by what he defines as a “Level 5” leader. Such a leader has all the essential abilities including contributing team member, competent manager, effective leader, and great leader. However, he or she also possess the unique blend of humility and will which is required for true greatness.   Start by hiring the people that fit the mission and vision of your organization and possess shared values. You then must keep them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In today’s world, it is not enough to be good,...
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HELP YOUR TEAM HOLD THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

Aligned-Team
People by nature want to know that they are making a difference and will be accountable to the standards they believe in. Before you begin talking about standards you need to know and clearly communicate your organizational values and goals. It all starts there! I have made this statement many times… only work with people who share your values. Specific values may be called out in performance goals such as a restaurant server acting in a way that creates a great guest experience. Values are especially important and so are behaviors. Behaviors involve how an employee should act and react and values play a big part in this. Of equal importance are the required deliverables. These are the results. Now how do we communicate this? Let’s start with clear standards and goals and then do regular measurements. Many managers dread the words “Performance Appraisal.” Unfortunately, that attitude creates failed opportunities. A...
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SHOW SINCERITY AND CONVEY TRUST IN YOUR COMMUNICATION

Message-from-Leader
Have you ever felt that someone was upset by your message, but you don’t know why? I recently met with the leaders of one of my Westchester County New York organizations to present results of an employee survey. The employees felt that there were had been many changes and they didn’t understand why. 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 your employees and what you should tell them? The only way to know is to put yourself in their shoes and see thing from their position and mindset. Think to yourself, “If I were hearing this...
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STOP WORKING ON YOUR WEAKNESSES

Assistant-Buyer
Why do you want to spend all your time improving your weaknesses? Even if you attempt to do it you will never be fully satisfied, and you will be in a constant state of stress. 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. It does not have a lasting effect in most cases. So why do you do it? And why do organizations make cooks out of mechanics? Here is another example. When your child comes home from school with his or her report card and it shows, for example, an A in math, B in history, and a C in English, what is your response? I think most people will talk to their child about raising the grade in English. But what...
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YOUR BUSINESS WILL GROW IF YOU TRUST

Controlling-Manager
Recently I worked with a client who tends to be very controlling. The behavior comes from experience. She was burnt once before and now she is afraid to be burnt again. I explained that the candidate for operations manager would be an excellent performer. But she won’t accept the position if she feels ownership will not trust her and not micromanage. This problem comes up all too often. A business owner or agency 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 you start your business, you need to do everything, or it does not get done. Sometimes you have time management issues, but you must work through them. Your business grows, and you simply can't get it all done. Time to hire someone. Now you are at the pinnacle of a growing business. At...
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POSITIVE SHARED VALUES EQUALS POSITIVE CULTURE

Core-Values-Culture
How do you become an employer of choice? You need a great employer brand and a positive Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Your brand is made up of pillars which are your values. 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 lays out on of their cultural pillars this way: “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 at...
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THE RIGHT PEOPLE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS

Job-Interview
How do you find the right person for your business? It depends. First, make certain you know the core competencies needed in the job. Depending on the role this could be anywhere from accountability for others to attention to detail or from conflict management to futuristic thinking. Many businesses find that selecting and hiring of the right employee is a daunting task. Some people just hire anyone who applies, or, at best, they may ask a few quick questions before making an offer. Hiring the wrong person can be costly but hiring high performing employees will result in helping your organization meet its goals and will promote your brand to your customers. Before accepting an application or advertising you should have a clear description of duties for the prospective new hire. Know exactly what you need. What are the duties required? What behaviors are required such as ability to work well...
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COMMUNICATE BETTER BY UNDERSTANDING YOUR LISTENER

Empower-People
What is the biggest issue in your organization? If you answered communication, you would be with most people who answered that question. What can be done about improving communication, and how to get those wasted dollars back and reinvested in our other areas of your business, your division, or department? Communication is where it all starts. The importance of open communication, simply, cannot be overstated as it is fundamental in building trust, managing conflict, gaining commitment, maintaining accountability, and identifying team results. Much has been said and written about clear and concise communication. Much has been said about listening carefully. What if you are doing all of that but you still are having problems with your communication? We know that our message is affected by several things such as our personalities, our experiences, and our current mood. Well, the same holds true for our listener—the receiver of the information. We can...
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TAKE YOUR ATTITUDE TO THE NEXT LEVEL BUSINESS WILL FOLLOW

Positive-Attitude
“Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.” Zig Ziglar 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. Now if you doubt that then look back at the involuntary terminations in your organization. You will probably find that most of the terminations occurred due to poor attitudes and behaviors rather than lack of skills. 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 is not that easy. You can change your attitude, your outlook, and how you think but it will take real...
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NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP

Leader-Inspires
Are you a strategic leader? A strategic leader has a vision and shares that vision. He or she inspires goals and timetables to achieve that vision. When I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. However, they all agree that a leader must have vision. That is to say that they are strategic. All successful strategic leaders must be able to set goals and achieve results. Here is a results-based model of leadership proven to produce success.   It begins with setting goals through your organization's strategic plan that are focused on your vision. In this process you define the desired results from your team members. It continues by aligning the people and the processes to ensure its realization. The goal is to have all your operations linked to the plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving...
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DO THEY HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME?

Take-Ownership-1200x800
Do you want your team to have skin in the game and take ownership? If you want that then make sure you are not being a control freak. Rather than giving them detailed instructions tell them what needs to be done and make them accountable for the results. If you are frustrated with the results of your team, here are two questions that you need to ask yourself. First, have you provided them with the tools to succeed? Second, have you clearly communicated the objectives and desired results?   You may have you given plenty of detailed directions without explaining reasons and objectives. That will destroy their incentive. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two different approaches to giving an employee an assignment. Let’s say that you have a project the needs to be completed. You could give your team member a complete set of instructions...
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POWER AND AUTHORITY ARE NOT THE SAME

Message-from-Leader
Do you think that your words and actions inspire others? If you are the manager or the owner is that enough to have people, follow you? As the owner or manager, you have the authority by virtue of your role. However, your power is granted by those on your team or those you supervise. For example, in organization I have worked with there are always certain people who are sought out or considered “go to” people. Although they may have no title people seem to value their opinions and respect them. These are individuals who have been granted power by others by virtue of their leadership skills. How much power do you do you have? Why not find out. Ask your colleagues or employees to give you some “360 feedback.” Ask them what they feel is your biggest leadership challenge and what you can do to improve it. That should develop...
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