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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...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
If your business will not survive when you are not around, then you do not have a business. You have a hobby. I recently had a client company mention to me that the owner had taken some time off and during that time sales dropped off substantially. A business is certainly not sustainable if it collapses as soon as the owner leaves. Such a business will never be able to get passed on or sold. Does this sound familiar? If it does here is the cause of the problem. The business owner wants to have growth and stability but does not trust his or her employees. The solution will lie in the owner becoming a leader who trains, develops, empowers, and delegates with confidence. It is important to have the right people doing the right jobs. Start by having job descriptions for everyone. Make sure that every staff member is qualified...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
A leader needs to navigate the team in the same way a captain navigates a ship. As a leader your role is to navigate your organization or your team through the uncertainties. The good and necessary management skills such as planning, directing and controlling are important you will fail if you do not display inspirational leadership. The reason that a group of employees is not achieving desired outcomes is usually traced back to the leadership. That’s right. If all of the students fail the exam, then the fault lies with the teaching. Like students and teacher, you and your staff may not be on the same page. Management and Leadership are both important but there is a difference between the two. A good manager has proper control of systems and procedures and a good leader will inspire action and model behavior. We can help people follow our leadership by creating an...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
We are working with 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. Once you set your goals you need to make sure you are on track. You would not take a cross country car trip without using your GPS to make sure you are on track. So similarly, 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,...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
When you don’t really understand critical factors that create employee performance you can make many costly mistakes in hiring and training. The question is really one of skill or will. Many companies spend time and effort on identifying the correct skill sets when hiring. Then, after a candidate is finally hired the company will invest in training the new employee in the skills, processes, and procedures for doing the job. In addition, the new employee will look to increase his or her skills and understanding of the business. The employee attends training on the latest systems or learns the latest sales techniques. The employee gets training on the features and benefits of the products and services. Most of the time is spent on learning the nuts and bolts. Many businesses see this as the most important path to success. But then the employee leaves the company. The hiring manager searches for...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
Is this the year that you are going to take that first step in starting a business or taking one to the next level?  Many great business ideas never happen because of a lack of commitment to get started.  It is a law of physics.  It takes more energy to start a car or turn on a light than to continue operating them.  This is also true with starting a project or starting a business.  It takes more effort to get started. For that reason, people tend to have the paralysis of analysis.  I won’t start until it is perfect even though it never is.  “I cannot start until I get my brochures, business cards, website set.”  Roughly 80% of people who say they want to run a business of their own don’t follow through. One reason may be that the rewards aren’t enough to motivate them into action. Another probable...

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
I always make fun of the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  But this year I am going with the flow and giving you a challenge.  Many people do the usual thing without any thought as they toast the New Year on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, many of these resolutions fade very quickly because the will or resolve in the resolution is not there.  After the fizz from the New Year’s Eve will the commitment remain?  In many cases, the answer is no. My favorite example is at my Gym.  Next week I will need to get there early to account for the increased number of people who have just signed up.  But like every year, by the end of February there will be plenty of room. Why do people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions?    In most cases it was something to do.  Maybe they were even forced into it.  And...
Tagged in: Goal Achievement

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
I always make fun of the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  But this year I am going with the flow and giving you a challenge.  Many people do the usual thing without any thought as they toast the New Year on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, many of these resolutions fade very quickly because the will or resolve in the resolution is not there.  After the fizz from the New Year’s Eve will the commitment remain?  In many cases, the answer is no. My favorite example is at my Gym.  Next week I will need to get there early to account for the increased number of people who have just signed up.  But like every year, by the end of February there will be plenty of room. Why do people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions?    In most cases it was something to do.  Maybe they were even forced into it.  And...
Tagged in: Goal Achievement

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Achievers are always accountable for results.  And leadership fails when the leader does not hold all team members accountable.  Creating a culture of accountability requires collaboration, communication of goals, and understanding the nature of motivation.  Having conversations about accountability should be combined with empowering your team to take ownership of their work.  You need to communicate the goals and the desired outcomes, but they need to be a part of it.  Be totally transparent regarding challenges and obstacles.  Your team should not fear making mistakes but should learn from them.  Honest and direct conversations need to occur if you expect the right outcome.  When a team member is part of those conversations collaboration will occur. How does this help a manager who is responsible for team performance?  Consider what happens if you have an employee who needs to speak up and offer opinions but fears doing so?  You cannot have accountability,...
Tagged in: Accountability

Posted by on in Motivation and Goal Achievement
People achieve their goals because they want to achieve them.  The greater the reward the higher probability that the goal will be achieved.   We call this desire or passion motivation and it comes from within.  Motivation comes from within and that means that you cannot motivate another person.  You can, however, help create a spark to ignite their inner fire.  That inner fire will drive motivation. That inner fire or passion is your WHY.  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?  If you are not sure why not...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Developing a high performing team starts with communicating clear vision and values and seeing that each member shares the values and is one the same page.    Once aligned a leader inspires those on the team to be the very best they can be.  You start, of course, by getting the right people in the right jobs.  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...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Another thought this time of year when we are working on our business plans for the next year.  We need to have clear objectives and goals.  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, which includes those 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. Using measurements that predict whether you are on the right track and will...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Small business is poised to generate many new jobs in 2018.  We need small business to grow our economy and will need local small business.  I have had the pleasure over seeing many small businesses grow in the last years and expect more in Westchester County New York in 2018. While it is true that today’s business environment can seem somewhat volatile there have also been many more opportunities with the growth in the economy.   While I don’t want to oversimplify I believe that small business owners can leverage success by following the suggestions in the three following steps. Step 1 – Think Strategically then follow through. When you think strategically you work ON your business rather than IN your business.  You are future focused.  You decide where you want to take your business now and in the future whether it is in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years or...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
Are you ready to take your Westchester County NY business to the next level? Most businesses say yes but do not know what that means.  First, you need to know where your business is now. Then you can see where you want to go.  Businesses like people go through growth stages and many drop off along the way.    Some businesses may survive due to external dynamics and then become stagnant.  The root cause could be a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. For example:  There are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel that because they understand how to create a great meal that, therefore, they would be a natural to open a restaurant.  They open the business and make sales. However, the owner is usually consumed with running the business and catering to every little detail.  There is very little time to step away from the day to day operation.  In most...

Posted by on in Improved Business Results
If you are a business owner, you so busy doing little things that you may feel like a hamster on a wheel. You may be spending too much time working in the day to day minutiae you are missing the big picture. Many blame the rapid pace of technology for this dilemma. Technology, while automating things that used to take much more time has also created new 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.   If you are feeling this way it may be time to step back and look at your vision, your goals, and your overall purpose. Here are some tips to help you do that. 1. Know Your Purpose. Know your vision, your goals, and your plans because these help you set priorities. Each...

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Many great individual performers are rightfully promoted to manager. But you need to understand that there is a difference between being a great performer and leading a team of great performers. In fact, a great leader does not have to be the best performer or know the individual jobs at all. That might be hard for a newly promoted manager to understand. After all if you are a newly appointed manager who had mastered the individual roles of your department you feel that knowledge makes you a better manager. Not so. The qualities that made you a star performer are not the same qualities that will make you an effective leader. Here are leadership philosophies from two well-known management consultants. “Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” —Peter Drucker “The...

Posted by on in Employee Engagement
Successful business leaders see their companies through the eyes of their employees and their customers. To successfully see as others do you must be able to listen and understand. More important than that you need to continually listen and measure and measure your results. This is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. Many times, when you see something every day you stop noticing. This might give a false sense of security. Everything is working and if it’s not broken don’t fix it. But things might have changed in the last five years or even two years. Has the customer value proposition or the employee value proposition with your company changed? How would you know? Here are two questions you should be asking 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...

Posted by on in Customer Service
Regardless of what we sell we are all really in a service business. People do not buy what we sell. They buy us. If they truly buy us they are a loyal customer. Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer. You can be making a lot of sales and have a good income but you will not have that for long if you don’t have loyal customers. What is the best way to have a steady stream of loyal customers?   Under promise and over deliver. Customers generally have a level of expectation when they engage our services. It is important that we manage those expectations by being truthful about our procedures, deadlines, and outcomes. Failure to meet expectations of our customers will result in a lost customer. Doing exactly what we say will satisfy our customer but little more. They got what they expected but no more....

Posted by on in Strategic Leadership
Fear of change is an emotion that can become paralyzing.   But change is inevitable and all businesses must expect it. You have probably heard it said that what you did to get you to where you are now will not get you to where you want to go next. Changing the right things and taking the right action is crucial. Here are 5 beginning steps to take in the process of change for better results: 1.        Make sure you know what business you are in. Whether you are in real estate, construction and contracting, graphic design, or consulting you must define what you provide to the customer. For example, Kodak should have realized that it was not in the film business but in the image and impression sharing business. In real estate are you selling houses or assisting buyers in improving their lives? 2.        Get in front of change.   The best...

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