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.

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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YOUR VISION AND VALUES ARE THE GPS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Core-Values
There are many businesses with a good business plan and a sound marketing plan but if they don’t know why they are in business of what business they are in the are missing a key ingredient. 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. 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 the song goes, you have to have a dream if you want to have a dream to come true. Your values are even more important. These are your ideals you live by. These are your non negotiables. If you know why you are in business, if you have a vision, and you have values you...
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I DON’T NEED TO SET GOALS

Goal
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 who know that if they want something to happen, they must be the ones to make it happen. Those who are waiting for it 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 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 occasional trips right down to...
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ENGAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES

Employee-Value-Proposition---Copy
Now might be a good time to look at the strategic direction of your company. Here are two basic questions. What business are you in? Are your employees aligned and are they doing the right things for the right reasons? What business are you in? Don’t laugh. What product or service do you really provide and have times including the last two years caused you to rethink? You might be providing computer and IT support but now you may be a consultant to clients to protect and secure their information. You might need to do a scan of the landscape, gather information, talk to customers, and study industry trends. Failure to do this may cause your business to decline. Listen to your customers and ask for their opinion about your services. Learn this and create your customer value proposition. Are your employees aligned and are they engaged? You will not exceed...
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HAVE YOU LOST YOUR WHY?

Decisions
Have you lost your way in the last few years? You can find your way back by finding your why. Find your why and make sure the why of your team why is aligned with yours. Then the way (how) will present itself. Goal planning is not about writing down a list of tasks. Instead, it starts with a why which some people call a dream. Someone said, ”you gotta have a dream if you want a dream to come true. That’s the why. Frankly, if you do not have the WHY the HOW will not matter. Motivation and goal achievement are interrelated. You can’t motivate yourself or motivate others. You need instead to reach down and find that motivation and bring it to the surface. If you know a staff member’s why or hot button just give them the job that fits their passion. You will be amazed at how...
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IN PERSON, VIRTUAL, OR HYBRID?

Delivering-a-Message
A successful business must take advantage of the new technology. For most leaders this means that change will be necessary. Some leaders have embraced the changes and created their own new organization. This is the most desirable approach to change—embrace it and get in front of it. Others are still waiting, and they may become disappointed when they learn that things will never be as they were before. When crisis has happened in the past, we have come out of it stronger, but we did not go back to the way things were before. We won’t be going back to the way things were this time either. In adapting we have learned better ways to get work done. Virtual teams which have been around for a while will take a more prominent role. There will also be new hybrids of in person combined with virtual. Technology has shown us the way....
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IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES

Message-from-Leader
What is going on today? What is the Great Resignation all about? I know some managers that think they know all the answers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you really want to find out the answers to the start by asking your employees. Don’t stop there. Ask your customers what they want and need. What is your value proposition to customers? What is your employee value proposition (EVP)? Ask your employees and customers questions and listen closely for the answers. You are never going to learn the truth about your value proposition if you don’t ask. There are some organizations that never ask their customers or staff how the company is doing. Fear of hearing bad news will not make the bad news go away. However, it appears that many companies are just not comfortable asking the ultimate question, “How are we doing?” The reason that we know...
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LEAD YOUR TEAM BY POSITIVE EXAMPLE

Positive-Business-Communication
Successful organizations have successful leaders. A successful leader leads by positive example and provides motivation and inspiration. If you have problems with culture, you want to first examine the leadership of the team. If you are the leader, what examples are you setting? A recent example shows how an Applebee’s Restaurant executive set a terrible example. He might as well have said that his employee team members were only commodities. He allegedly told managers that employees and applicants are economically hurting, which he saw as an "advantage." He allegedly said that as inflation goes up and gas prices go up people will want to work more hours to maintain their standard of living. And he is alleged to have gone as far as suggesting lower pay scales. Imagine if you were an employee or manager in that organization. Can you describe the culture? If you were a guest in that restaurant...
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SKILLS CAN BE LEARNED BUT BEHAVIORS ARE MUCH HARDER

Competencies-and-Skills
Behavioral competencies are more important the functional job competencies. Organizations that leverage behavior competencies create cultures of performance and success.   And Peter Drucker is alleged to have said that culture eats strategy for lunch. This means the without the culture including vision, values, people who share those values and doing the right thing; then your strategy is not worth the paper it is printed on. In Good to Great, Jim Collins explains that building a great organization is as simple as “Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” It may be simple but it’s not easy. You will need to change the way you hire people. Unfortunately, all too often owners and hiring managers tend to make hiring decisions by looking at background in the industry, jobs held before, and job history. Significant time is spent looking...
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BALANCE BETWEEN CONTROL AND EMPOWERMENT

Aligned-Team
Managing a team is a skillful balancing act. How do you hold people accountable while empowering them to do their best work? On one hand, you have the work to be done—the business to be performed. On the other hand, you need engaged and self-motivated and even self-managing team members. Going only one direction can cause problems. I love to go back to management theories and one which I first studied when I was back in college is the Blake-Mouton Theory. You can Google it to learn more. This theory highlights some problematic management styles. If you are authoritarian or a control freak, you are concerned with doing it the way you know it needs to be done. My way or the highway. The other extreme is the leader who values relationships, wants harmony, and believes the work will get done. If you are this type of leader, you will not...
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TAKE THIS 5 POINT CHECKUP TO ASSESS YOUR BUSINESS FOCUS

Management-Success
In your business you should focus on doing the right things at the right time for the right reasons. Hold your focus and stay sharp on the things necessary to grow and adapt to changes. Don’t get bogged down in the daily operations and get lazy and develop a rut. The owner stops seeing the big picture. Sometimes day to day things are occupying all the time and money is being made. The business has had years of successful sales and profits. Since your business is still making money and continuing to operate the reasoning is, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. What are your ready for a sudden change in business environment? As a financial planner friend of mine says, People don’t plan to fail; they just fail to plan. To plan for success take this 5 area checkup: 1. Make sure you know what business you are in....
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NOW MIGHT BE A GREAT TIME TO VISIT YOUR STRENGTHS AND PUT THEM TO WORK

Coaching-in-Armonk
There are so many changes now with the churn in the job market because of the Great Resignation. This can be a time of opportunity to find out how you can leverage the strengths you have and how to use strengths of team members to have increased results and job satisfaction for all. 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...
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HOW TO PREDICT THE FUTURE

Vision-Values-Mission
There seems to have been plenty of anxiety about the future in the last two years. The best way to predict the future is to create it I work with business owners in Westchester County New York who define success through their vision, their values, and goals. In addition, they monitor and measure results. To get started, you need create your strategic plan, consisting of 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. But that, again, is a measure of what happened in the past. It may not predict what will happen in the future. Using measurements that predict whether you are on...
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THE MOST SUCESSFUL CONSULTANTS BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

Consultative-Sales
Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder that sales today is more about developing relationships rather than closing sales. Here are 7 ideas that will open up your current sales thinking and help you become more effective in your selling activities: 1. Don’t use a sales 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 discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit. Let go of trying to “close the sale” or “get the appointment.” If you simply focus your conversation on problems that you can help potential clients solve, and if you don’t jump the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you will...
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MANAGEMENT BY OBJECTIVES

Business-Meeting-Delegation
If you lead a team your primary objective is to get results. That being said, the leader needs to develop the interpersonal skills to engage the team in achievement of those results. When I speak with my Westchester County NY business leaders about traits that make a good leader no one can agree. The only trait that is agreed upon is having empathy. All successful leaders can set goals and achieve results. The most effective way to keep the team focused is “management by objectives.” Follow these steps. Start with a clear strategic vision—a strategic plan that inspires. Then create goals that support that vision. Next, work with your team to define the desired results. Align your people and your processes and make sure that everyone understands the goals and the plan. All your operations should be linked to your plan. Then virtually everything that happens should work toward achieving that...
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THEY ARE NOT FOLLOWING BECAUSE NO ONE IS LEADING

Create-A-Vision
The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. It has been said that if all of the students fail the exam the fault lies in the teacher. Like students you and your staff may not be on the same page. While that is personally frustrating how much money is that costing you? You can change that. Here’s how. Become a focused leader who empowers engaged employees who in turn create loyal customers leading to growth and success. Let’s start with the focused leader. You may have the title of manager but that does not mean you are seen as 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 are supposed to do and understand the vision,...
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BEFORE YOU ASSUME YOU KNOW THE PROBLEM FIND THE ROOT CAUSE

Body-Language-in-Message
It is certainly easy to say that you know today’s problem. There is no denying that the last two years have provided challenges. Don’t just make the mistake of thinking once the country returns to “normal” we will be fine. Smart employers are starting to ask questions and look for root causes. The problem of the great resignation and the search for talent is real. Is it just because of the pandemic or has the last two years cause some paradigm shifts? What you are seeing are symptoms and they are real problems. You want to remove the problem or, at least, move forward in spite of the problem. You can’t take a knee jerk reaction and treat the symptoms. It is important to look at the whole picture rather than make a reactive fix. It would be a mistake to treat the symptoms rather than cure the disease. Many reactive...
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WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR MESSAGE? IS IT CLEAR?

Delivering-a-Message
During these times we are hearing plenty of messaging. Although it is intended to inform much of it confuses. I have been finding recently that people are confused and to the point that they want to shoot the messenger. These are times of turmoil. Productivity almost always suffers in times like these because employee stress dramatically increases due to the universal fear of the unknown. We are seeing this all over. In our organizations leaders struggle with crafting the clear message. Many times, they 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 shoes and see thing from their position and mindset. Think to yourself, “If I...
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DELEGATE YOUR AUTHORITY BUT YOU REMAIN RESPONSIBLE

Manager-with-Dashboard
Some managers like to delegate and disappear. Other are the opposite and they are control freaks. Both managers are ineffective and doomed to failure. An effective leader does not simply hand out jobs for others to do. The effective leader first puts the structure and processes in place to assure the successful execution by others. Consider the person who starts a business because they love the product, food for example. The is so much more to running a restaurant than understanding food. You need to know how to run an operation, and, in fact, you don’t have time to get into the weeds on the food. You must lead and manage and understand all elements of that business, but primarily, be able to manage and hold your employees accountable. I worked with someone who had built a very successful home services business. He did the sales, and his wife did the...
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