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.

VITUAL TEAMS ARE BECOMING A REALITY

Virtual-Team-Leader
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. If that is true, then the Corona Virus may have accelerated the creation of virtual teams. Virtual teams have been growing for a while now. In fact, a 2017 survey by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that 60% of companies embraced virtual work. In 2019, the number had jumped to 69%. Now that so many are being forced to work virtually what will the 2020 SHRM survey show? Employees have shown that they prefer telecommuting but is it productive? It can be but only if the virtual team is well led. I believe that a well led virtual team will be more productive will be less susceptible to interruptions such as illness breaks in childcare service. Moreover, it is seen as a best practice for great workplaces. Also, we are growing as a gig economy using virtual work....
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TAKE YOUR LEADERS’ SKILLS TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Leadership-Plan
I hope that you are not setting up your leaders for failure. You could be doing that if you are basing future leadership roles on their current experience. Unfortunately, this seems to happen most often by default. 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 need 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 make a flawed assumption that because a person is good at one job, he will continue...
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PEOPLE WITH A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP GET IT DONE

Create-A-Vision
The best way to get people to do want you want done is helping them see what is in it for them. One way to do this is to give people the pride of ownership in their work. When that happens, they own and take pride in results and they feel accountability for getting it right and they take responsibility when it is not right. 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 given plenty of detailed directions without explaining reasons and objectives but that does not ensure success. The first thing you need to do is let go and empower your team. Instead of giving assignments with specific instructions try something different. Here are two...
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LEVERAGE YOUR OWN LEADERSHIP STRENGTHS

Level-5-Leadership
There is a distinction between management and leadership. Management is a matter of job title that is given by your organization or by yourself if you are the owner of the company. On the other hand, leadership is recognition by those whom you lead. Expressed in different terms a manager has the authority and a leader has the power. Of course, you can be both and have both. The leader’s power is earned through empathy for the team, clear direction, trust, and other factors. Most people believe that no one is a born leader. There is a belief by most that leadership is developed and there is no one set of leadership traits. In fact, there are examples of two very effective leaders with highly contradictory traits. The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. A military leader does not...
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ARE YOUR TWEAKING OR TRANSFORMING YOUR BUSINESS?

Decisions
Why would you continue doing the same thing year after year? Over time things change, don’t they? I am sure that you have heard it said that what got you to where you are with not get you to where you want to go next. I am working with my Westchester County NY business owners on developing their future business plans. I urge every business owner to have a Strategic Business Plan. A strategic plan will consider the business today, look into the future, and then plan to create the business’ future. To remain successful a business must have that plan now and in the future. Here are some of the things I discuss when helping my clients with a strategic plan: Make sure you know what business you are in. This is not about what products or services that you provide. How is the customer served? What need is being...
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YOU NEED TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE

Accountability
Achievers are always accountable for results. And leadership fails when the leader does not hold all team members accountable. I am sure you have heard that many times before. You might have even heard it from a boss you had imploring you to “hold them accountable.” Some people see this as a problem. They fear that holding people accountable will hurt relationships. In reality, it requires more skilled relation building over mutually agreed to goals. 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...
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HOW TO CREATE A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Aligned-Team
An organization is only as good as its people. Great people and great teams do not happen by accident. Creating a successful team requires right actions by the leadership.   There are two very important actions that must be taken by team leaders. First, you must start with the right people and these people must share your values. But then leadership has the challenge of retaining those high performers by keeping them engaged and producing results. Engaged employees will lead to loyal customers and loyal customers will lead to a sustainable business. In our business climate it is not enough to be good, we must exceed our customers’ expectations. That is not going to happen if you have a lot of highly qualified but individual performers who don’t share vision, values, and goals. You need cohesive and effective teams to make it happen, not people in individual silos. Everyone has different talents...
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THE ROLE OF A LEADER

Message-from-Leader
You need management and leadership. While management organizes and controls, leadership charts the way, innovates, and inspires the organization to new heights. As a leader your role is to navigate your organization or your team through the uncertainties. Sometimes the good and necessary management skills such as planning, directing and controlling create roadblocks because they are missing the 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 the students fail the exam, then the fault lies with the teaching. Like students you and your staff may not be on the same page. You may be a great manager, but you may fail as a leader. 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. They understand the vision...
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ARE YOU AFRAID TO LET GO?

StressedOwner
Are you afraid to let go and is this hurting your business growth? Why do you want to be a control freak when there is a much easier and more productive way? This problem could have had its roots in the founding of the business when owners and principals must be very involved in the product or service. The owner must spend most of the 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. There comes a time when the business grows, and one person can’t get it all done. Now you, the owner, hire someone. You are at the pinnacle of a growing business. At this point you are now not only the owner but also a manager. But beware! You hire an employee but continue to stay...
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THE DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS OF LEADERSHIP

Level-5-Leadership
Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a good leader? If you asked that question to a room full of people you would probably get different answers. That is because leadership is complex and situational. Leadership and management is much more complex than mastering an individual job. For that reason and others as well the failure rate of managers is higher than for individual performers. I had the opportunity a while ago to be part of a group invited to listen to Ken Blanchard discussing building trust, creating positive work cultures, customer loyalty, leadership and organizational change. Ken reinforces some of the values and beliefs that been proven to create positive corporate cultures. You have it wrong if you consider yourself a leader because you have been placed in charge. On the other hand, a person with no direct reports can be a very effective leader. The reason...
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ARE YOU DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Entrepreneur
Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you like the freedom of being your own boss? Do you know that being your own boss requires risks? Risk is good and you should understand “No Risk, No Gain.” Yes, you are a risk taker if you are an entrepreneur. It is true that many startups do not survive. That, you say, is the risk that is assumed. But there is bare risk and then there is managed risk. Using the investment community as an example you can be a great risk taker, do day trading including option buying and ride a roller coaster. Or you can make a managed long-term diversified investment plan. Both choices involve risk, but the second choice of diversifying manages that risk and results in a successful outcome. A successful entrepreneur manages risk. Michael Gerber, in his book “The E Myth Revisited”, discusses what I would...
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TAKE DELEGATION TO THE NEXT LEVEL

StrugglingManager
If you feel that nothing important should be delegated, you will never be able to take your organization to the next level. Being a control freak or a micro manager is not necessary even in projects where accuracy or compliance is required. There is a much better way to get desired results and hold people accountable. You can maintain accuracy and compliance without stifling your team. If you do micromanage you could stifle your company growth, have high turnover, and end up working way too many hours. Let’s consider an actual example. I have worked with a person owns a business that includes insurance and real estate. He has a dozen employees involved in the process of sales and contracts. Each person has a job title but not a job description. Things change quickly as does the mood of the owner. To make matters worse people are asked to do something...
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A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM HAS DIVERSE STRENGTHS

A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM HAS DIVERSE STRENGTHS
It has been said that a team with diverse talents will be a high performing team. That is true most of the time as long as the team has a good leader. It is important for leaders to choose diverse talented teams. Moreover, it is important encourage and leverage individual member’s unique strengths. Help your team use their strengths to push their performance to new levels. Avoid that tendency with which we have been engrained. That is wasting time and effort correcting weaknesses. You know how this happens. 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?...
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CREATE A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

CREATE A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Good leaders are able to have fully accountable teams by creating a culture of accountability. The best way to accomplish is to create the culture where teams feel motivated to achieve goals. Dwight Eisenhower said, “Leadership is getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”   Many times, we fear having a discussion about results and performance because we feel we will not change behavior and we might create alienation. However, we will have continued failure if we 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. We need to talk things out about goals and measured results. This would involve: Agreeing on a task or a...
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MAKE A TEAM OF DIFFERING ABILITIES A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

MAKE A TEAM OF DIFFERING ABILITIES A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM
Most of us understand that diversity of backgrounds and thought processes will most likely result in better results. With that understanding we might think that it follows that a diverse team is a high performing team. But this is not always the case. A high performing diverse team is led by a good leader. Without a good leader a diverse team could be dysfunctional. According to a Harvard professor, William George effective leaders are authentic leaders. Authentic leaders are self-aware, practice their values and principles, seek criticism and “stay grounded.” Above all, they empower others to become leaders themselves. Strong leaders have courage to challenge the status quo and point out failures in the organization. They develop and coach others and build positive collaborative relationships. Teams that are high performing are collaborative. To illustrate the importance of team collaboration let’s consider a flock of geese. A flock of geese has a...
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DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?

DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?
Can you go on a vacation and unplug totally without worrying about what will happen in your business? If your business cannot properly function when you are not there, then you don’t have a business but rather, you have a hobby. This is not a bad thing because this may be your business goal. There is nothing wrong with being solo so don’t worry if that is what you want. However, if you want to take your business to the next level you need to have systems in place that are easily followed by others. Does your business survive due to external dynamics and timing but will become stagnant when you are not there? In this case you might feel like you are a hamster on a wheel. There is a lack of entrepreneurial leadership. As an example, in the restaurant industry there are numerous great cooks and chefs that feel...
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EMPLOYEES ARE THE KEY TO CUSTOMER LOYALTY

EMPLOYEES ARE THE KEY TO CUSTOMER LOYALTY
You may believe that you have a powerful customer value proposition but if your employees are not on board it will never be fulfilled. If they are not on board then, perhaps, you are not leading them. 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 but that does not mean you are seen as the leader. As owner you can influence...
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ALL SIZZLE AND NO STEAK

ALL SIZZLE AND NO STEAK
Is your leadership all sizzle and no steak? Are you talking the talk but not walking the walk? Your style and your methods, and intent may be great, but the real beef is in the final RESULTS. Therefore, why not start off by defining the desired outcome and the desired results and go from there. This common sense leadership style is called the Result-Based Model of Leadership. Here is how you can create the desired results with your team. Make the organizational vision clear and inspiring. Now set objectives (your mission) that supports your vision for your organization. Next, break those objectives down into “goal categories” such as “sales”, “marketing”, “operations”, “people development”, or “customer loyalty.” Now, align your people and your processes so that virtually everything that happens in your organization works purposefully toward achieving the results outlined in your vision. I have found, in working with my Westchester County...
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LEADERSHIP IS INSPIRING RATHER THAN CONTROLLING

LEADERSHIP IS INSPIRING RATHER THAN CONTROLLING
Do you ever wonder what make people want to follow a leader into danger? Consider some of the comments of two American military leaders. "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." -- Gen. George S. Patton "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."                -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower The leadership in the US Armed forces inspires and demands that each person does his or her very best. To be sure the circumstances are much different in the Army than they are in an organization. However, good Leadership is knowing the difference of situations as how that motivates people. A great leader does understand what motivates people. If you wish to lead your own team you should understand that as well. A good leader knows...
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YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR EMPLOYEES

YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR EMPLOYEES
The employees of your business are important to your success. And today more than ever their connection with their job and your business is directly related to your success. In past times, leaders would give directions and expect 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.” Unfortunately, I am sometimes contacted by business owners that can’t understand why there are so many bad employees and they want me to fix them. I was asked by a family business what I felt needed to be done to “make their people work.” They did not ask me what they could do differently. For starters, family members disagreed on the operation of the business. Because of this, some key employees chose to align with one family member over the other. The managers in...
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