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.

MAKE YOUR ORGANIZATION ACCOUNTABLE

Accountable-Team
If you want to change the accountability start with working on changing the culture. The best way to create an accountability culture is to help people to accept accountability. The best way to accomplish this is by motivating them to be accountable. Understanding what motivates a person, whether it be rewards, recognition, promotion, or feeling that something is accomplished will result in developing that accountability attitude. However, you will have continued failure if you do nothing and refuse to hold people accountable for 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. Having an accountability discussion begins with a discussion of shared values and shared goals. Why not use the complete goal planning process in helping your team understand how to achieve the...
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SKILLS PLUS PASSION EQUALS RESULTS

Competencies-and-Skills
I was just reading an article in INC where Marc Cuban saying finding you passion does not lead to success. If you do something you do well, you will become inspired and that will generate passion. Find those inner strengths in your team then help them use their strengths create new levels of performance as their excitement and passion builds. Do you have a child who came home with report card that had A’s , B’s, and C’s? I will bet you went to those C’s and started criticizing. What about your team? Do you spend more time on underperformance and celebrating successes? We fall into the same trap in our own lives as well as with our staff and team members. Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents and others...
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CONSULTANT WITH RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Employee-Valued
It is no accident that two core competencies of human resource professionals, for example, include consultation and relationship management. And this is no different for other professionals whether internal company consultants or external sales consultants. Trust is vitally important, and this is built on credibility and respect. With this new understanding, internal and external consultants can help in the decision-making process using information all parties have readily available, thanks to the Internet. They days where one side (usually the seller) had all the information is over. If you are not selling a product but selling your service, your trust, your reputation, and your relationship management skills. A client will be looking for your ability find a problem and develop a solution. The information is out there already, and the buyer can also easily obtain information on the seller. In today’s environment we need to understand that we are all in sales...
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WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS CHALLENGE? COMMUNICATION!

Delivering-a-Message
It happened to me again this week. I tried to convey a suggestion and it was taken as “an insult.” Like me none of us are immune to mis communicating. No matter how well we choose our words they will have no meaning until they are translated by our listener. Effective communication involves feelings, connections, and other nonverbal signals. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. “What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you are saying.” Therefore, it is important to understand the meaning others might put on your words. Your gestures, expressions, intonations, and beliefs will communicate much more meaning than the words alone. Communication is a two-way process to exchange ideas. We communicate to elicit some type of response. Some examples of a response could be more knowledge, a specific action, or some type of emotion. A good communicator, to be sure of the desired response, is...
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A TRUSTED ADVISOR IS MORE CREDIBLE THAN A SALESPERSON

Manager-with-Dashboard
Nothing is more important to a relationship than mutual trust. People do business with people they live and trust. The same is true with team member. They give the power to the leader they like and trust. A goal of a salesperson is to complete a transaction. But a goal for a person who wants to be a trusted advisor is to create a loyal customer relationship based on credibility, trust, and respect. Dan Pink, in his book, “To Sell is Human,” contends that everyone is in sales whether we have the title or not. He repackages it as “the art of moving people.” Everyone practices this art from salespeople to consultants and teachers. The old formula of sales no longer works. Those who remember sales from years ago remember ABC which means Always Be Closing. This tactic no longer works in today’s information rich environment. In the past, using gimmicks...
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THE BIG CHANGE FROM INDIVIDUAL PERFORMER TO SUPERVISOR

Coaching
Every day well deserving individual performers are promoted to supervisor. Are they prepared or have they been set up to fail? Many have remembered the book The Peter Principle which postulates that a person continues to get promoted until they get to their level of incompetence. I have had enough experience to know that it does happen. Companies make a flawed assumption that because the employee was a great individual performer in the previous job that he or she will adapt and become a leader of the team. 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. This is more common people given challenging assignments as they move up the corporate ladder....
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DEVELOP YOUR EMPLOYEES AND DUPLICATE YOUR SUCCESS

StrugglingManager
Unless you want to do everything yourself you can’t possibly survive and grow without a team. What are you doing to develop your team, connect them to their job and the goals of the company? In past times, managers gave detailed directions and expected them to be followed. Leadership today requires collaboration. Instead of saying what you want done you will say, “here is what we can accomplish together to achieve our goals.” The mindset of collaboration is what is needed today. Occasionally, however, I am sometimes contacted by business owners that can’t understand why there are so many poor employees and they want me to fix them. I have seen a small business were the leadership disagreed amongst themselves on the operation of the business. This situation created chaos. Team members chose the leader that they agreed with. One supervisor was very hard on her staff and had no tolerance...
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THE ART OF MOVING PEOPLE

Consultative-Sales
I am not going to talk about sales here but how to move or influence people. According to Dan Pink we are all in sales. I strongly recommend reading Dan Pink’s book, TO SELL IS HUMAN THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT MOVING OTHERS. I have the audio version in my car. Yes, we are all in sales no matter what our job title; be it teacher, manager, or parent because our communication needs to be a dialogue that influences others. Here are 7 ideas that will open your current sales thinking and help you become more effective in influencing: 1. Don’t use a “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...
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HOW CAN I CHANGE MY ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE?

Business-Meeting-Delegation
Have you felt that you are on an uphill climb? The people in your organization are stuck in a rut. New energetic people do not stay. Your organization has a culture issue. It may have evolved over time, but you are not able to take the company where you want it to go. Changing culture takes a focused effort from leadership. Attitudes drive culture. I love what Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” But how do you change attitude? Some people, to your dismay, find their altitude suits them just fine. Positive attitude and positive vision are the starting points. Yes, you must be upbeat, positive about the future, and set the example. Model the right behaviors and attitudes and find other “heroes” to model it too. This starts the change in direction and attitudes, behaviors then become ingrained in the organization. The organization must have positive vision and...
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YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS FACTORS

Become-Successful
There are important factors to check and measure for your business success. Generally, they are financial, process, and people. I focus on all three when I am helping my clients create or update their strategic plan. All three must be aligned. 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. In this post I will focus on the people part. Here are three people processes that need your attention: 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...
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RETAIN YOUR TEAM BY HAVING THEM PARTICIPATE

Accountable-Team
Gallup has two questions that are vital to retention. Every day I get to do what I do best.Someone has spoken to me about my progress this week. My Westchester employers are asking me how they can get their productive employees who will stay. 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. There is so much out there written about performance reviews. Many of these writings focus on procedure. Here is a more practical bottom line approach but one that uses solid human relations skills. Performance management includes performance development. It is not merely enough to tell an employee here is your job description and see me if you have any questions. Establish expectations from the start. Help orient your new employee by helping him or her to understand the big...
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WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF YOUR SMALL BUSINESS?

Family-Business-Succession
Many successful businesses are owned by Baby Boomers who would like to start stepping away and enjoying fruits of their years of labor. This requires special thought and planning and the time to begin is now. The planning will involve strategy, process, and people. There are number of steps that should be taken to prepare. These include legal, financial, and selection of the right person to shadow you and take over the business. In the first two areas you should work with an attorney and financial planner who understands tax laws. Remember too if this is a family business, and you have other children who will not follow the business how will their inheritance be handled. Now whether you seek succession of your business to your children or whether you seek to exit through sale you need to develop a strategic business plan. Your plan will need organizational vision, values, and...
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IDENTIFY EACH TEAM MEMBER’S STRENGTH

Body-Language-in-Message
Developing a high performing team starts with understanding each team member’s strength. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Unfortunately, many of us spend time trying to correct weaknesses. This is best illustrated with a story a parent can understand: A 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 the parent’s response? In most cases the parent talks to the child about raising the grade in English. But what if the 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. We fall into the same trap in our own lives as well as with our staff...
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WHAT, ME CHANGE?

Change-Management
The best was to predict the future is to create it. Creating the future will require change. Change really is so difficult. You must change or you will not survive. Let me illustrate the importance of change with story of a once great US company. Anyone who has done photography for years knows that Kodak was the gold standard of film. And if your film was processed by Kodak, you had the best quality picture. You really could tell the difference. Yes, Kodak was branded as a superior image because of high quality film, chemicals, and processing quality control. In the 1980’s someone at Kodak invented a prototype of a digital camera but Kodak did not want to develop it because they had a good thing going. Today, almost every camera (professional to low end) is digital. Those cameras are made by Nikon and Canon, not Kodak. Kodak’s real business was...
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HIGHLY EFFECTIVE LEADERS

Business-Meeting-Delegation
There are some fundamental qualities of all effective leaders. Here are seven habits seen in effective leaders. Proper business leadership is crucial to the success of any business of any size. No company can be more successful than the effectiveness of its leaders. If the head of a company lacks positive leadership qualities, he or she will be unsuccessful motivating and leading the staff. This in turn will result in lost customers and business opportunities. Leadership is complex and what works well in one environment may not be a good fit for another. When a leader is focused on results he or she will adapt to the environment. However, just as there are habits of highly successful people there are also habits of highly successful leaders.   Here are seven habits of highly effective leaders. A Leader always does the right thing. That is one of the principles of Dave Thomas who...
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WHAT IS YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION?

Aligned-Team
How does your business create value? You should have a powerful customer value proposition. But don’t forget your staff, your team. Do you have a powerful employee value proposition? Successful companies with loyal customers have both. When I consult with business owners in Westchester County New York often I hear comments about getting the staff to do the right things. Sometimes an owner is willing to place all the blame on the staff being lazy, unmotivated, or the like. Fortunately, most will ask how they can improve their ability to get the team behind them. You can change things by being laser focused on the goals and leading by example. Your laser focus empowers your employees who in turn create loyal customers by their actions. Being Laser Focused - You may be the owner or manager but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. As owner you can...
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ELIMINATE YOUR FEARS

Comfort-Zone
Do you like to play it safe? Taking the path of least resistance is a choice many people take. People feel that avoiding risk safe because you won’t lose anything. But doing so may cause you to lose a great opportunity, then you lose your competitive edge or your business. Personal or professional progress only happens outside your comfort zone. Risk! No Risk no Gain! Even worse, possible loss. 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 lose by playing it safe? She could lose a great opportunity. So...
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NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY

Employee-Engagement
“Salesperson wanted – No experience necessary” How many times do we see that? I contend not very often. Employers and hiring managers make a big mistake when they use experience as the primary criteria for hiring a candidate. Looking primarily for experience will produce disappointing results. I have worked with many industries ranging from real estate, construction, retail, service and hospitality, nonprofit, and manufacturing. I have seen on thread running through all these organizations. That is that those running the business believe that their industry is different from others, so unique that the primary requirement is experience. Because of that mindset I have seen many bad candidates hired and many qualified candidates screened out. The hiring manager is using the assumption that experience counts more than another other factor. In my experience, I have found that experience or industry background is NOT a predictor of success. In fact, I have seen...
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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND CUSTOMERS

Body-Language-in-Message
Every now and then I ask the question, “How many people work at your company?” It is only about one third replied one executive. While that was meant to be a wise crack, the Gallup organization learned that the statement is accurate. Here is why you should be concerned. The best way to illustrate the cost employee disengagement is with this story. I recently did a similar survey for an organization. This organization provides onsite catering and event services. Their requirements for success are a providing good service, great food, consistency, and a great guest experience. The ownership was struggling to get more business but having a hard time providing good service to existing customers. Here is why. For starters, owners disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one owner over the other. The managers complained about lack of leadership and...
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OVER DELIVER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

Consultative-Sales
People do not buy your company. They buy you. You need to know what you do that keeps them continually buying you? What is the best way to have a steady stream of these loyal customers?   Under promise and over deliver. Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer. Loyal customers are a leading indicator for the growth and success of your business followed by an engaged staff. Customers generally have a level of expectation when they engage your services. It is important to start by managing those expectations. Do that by being truthful about your procedures, deadlines, and outcomes. Failure to meet expectations of your customers will result in a lost customer. Doing exactly what you say will satisfy your customer but little more. They got what they expected but no more.   They are a satisfied customer. This is like getting a C “average” grade. Kick it...
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