Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Follow Up Articles

A while back an article was posted on TheBramptonNews.com site entitled "The Buyer". In the article I posed some questions about why someone might not choose a specific product or service. The reason suggested was merely - perception.

A good friend and business associated noted the article raised questions but like many did not provide answers. So, a follow up has been posted entitled "Selling Yourself" and is available at http://www.thebramptonnews.com/articles/4887/1/Selling-Yourself/Page1.html

Take a look and give your comments. That's what growth is all about.

Monday, March 8, 2010

W 5

When you think of W5 perhaps it is the hard hitting Canadian television program that comes to mind. There are investigative reporters telling stories of hardship, of errors in the justice system, of scams, and on and on. But what if W5 was a key to making your business successful?

Consider for a moment that every time you interact with one or more people you have an opportunity to promote your business, your product, your services. You have the opportunity to make an impression. Now, that seems like something worth thinking about.

Consider the five W's that could make or break that interaction.

W ho are these people? It is important to know who you are talking to or will be talking to. Are they in the same business as you? Do they presently use any of your services?

W hy are they here? If you are to connect with these people it is important to know why they are here in the first place. Are they here to make business connections themselves? Are they perhaps invited guests of someone you have done business with? Are they merely here because you offered them a free meal? Don't laugh that happens more than you might think.

W hat do they do? Are they in the same business as you are? Are they in a business that has a natural link to what your business offers? For example, a recruiting firm may link naturally to a firm that prepares resumes or trains new employees? An advertising firm may link will with one that produces short videos.

W hat is my main message? Now that you know about the other people, what do you know about your purpose in being there? All too often we have so many products and services that we try to sell them all every time out of the gate. It is always best to consider what you want to promote during this interaction and do that. As has often been said, it is better to do one thing well than a dozen poorly. Think of how the latter would reflect on you and your business!

W hat do I want them to do? This is the critical part of the five W's. If you can not clearly identify what action that you want these people to take, are you wasting your time and their time as well? Do you want them to agree to meet with you? Do you want them to give you a few names and contact information of people they would recommend your organization to? Do you want them to merely add your business card to their ever expanding pile of unread cards? The choice is yours, but you clearly must make a choice.

Perhaps now W5 will have a whole new meaning to you. Consider it as a way to organize for success each and every interaction with others.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Using the PT

OK, the first thing you are probably asking yourself is what is the "PT". Well, it relates to a concept that was again presented to me in an on-line seminar this afternoon. The speaker spoke about the fact that when times get rough, many of us get on the Bitter Bus.

My thought is that concept is close but perhaps does not quite identify what is truly happening. We may not become bitter but we do tend to go into a self pity mode. Thus the term "Pity Transit" or PT.

Just like the TTC in Toronto, PT does serve a purpose for many folks. It allows them to get rid of the frustrations of the situation they are facing. It allows them to move from frustration, to acceptance. This is a good journey and no doubt has saved a few heart attacks over the years.

The problem comes when the rider does not know when to get off the bus. Or perhaps when they are reaching out at each stop around the office (read work station or cubicle) to pull another rider on board. In no time at all the bus / street car / train / subway (take your pick) is full. Now everyone is heading for the same destination: Pity City.

Some folks will stop and have a coffee there and then get back on the bus and head home safely. Others will take a short term lease on an apartment and stay there for a week, month or so. Others will opt to buy property and settle there permanently. The biggest challenge among this last group is the individual who wants to be Mayor of Pity City and wants to see it grow and flourish.

If you know one of these folks, run for your life. They can talk you into joining their little group to become a large group.

For validation of this concept you need only to look at the stock market. First thing in the morning you hear what the market did overnight in Japan. If things were bad, the market here in Toronto automatically takes a dive. Why, because the Pity Transit riders believe that things must be bad and start selling like mad. This drives the stock values down and allows panic to set in, promoting even more selling. Talk about a self fulfilling prophecy.

The answer, be a leader, step out of the pack and don't rush off the edge of the cliff with everyone else. Instead, think of what this experience can teach you, learn from that lesson and move forward.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 4th. Day

For the majority of employees and management, the first full day back to work in 2010 was January 4th. For many this was a mini cultural shock. Over the past couple of weeks working days have been a little different for almost everyone.

For some, in say the retail sector, the days have been both long and hectic. Many hours were spent restocking shelves and/or cleaning them up from the total disruption caused by the previous day’s shoppers. For many of these folks there were few “holiday” days. Even those few days were not in succession but spaced out.

For others in say the manufacturing sector, the last couple of weeks have been a combination of regular activities along with activities to coordinate shut down for one; two or more successive days. Some may have had to work as part of a skeleton staff maintaining equipment functions; furnaces; etc.

Still others in the corporate and administrative sectors have had a different experience over the past few weeks. Perhaps it was days of leaving a bit early, say noon on the 24th. or perhaps noon to about three p.m. on the 31st. It may have been a case where significant projects were put on hold for a variety of reasons.

Academics had yet another set of experiences over the past few weeks. Students were not attending regular classes. Some academics were totally free from responsibilities during this period. Others were kept busy with getting everything ready for the next semester or completing of reports on successes during the last semester.

Regardless of the sector you belong to, the fourth day of January for the majority of us marked the first full day back to the activity we left behind just a short time ago. If history is any indicator, the majority, if not 100% of the tasks performed will be done exactly as they were before this short hiatus.

However, perhaps we need to look no further than the common phrase exchanged just the past 4 – 5 days: HAPPY NEW YEAR. This should tell us something. It is a “NEW YEAR”. This is an excellent time to try out something new. To look at our circumstances in a new way. To look at our jobs and our daily activities in a new way.

Many made new years resolutions to lose weight; be more active; be more involved with our family; etc. However, did you make a new years resolution to be more productive, more efficient, and more effective in what you do for a living? If not, why not?

Think of this as your opportunity to start both a new year and a new century with a new perspective. With a new plan for success. With a new level of enthusiasm. The time to do something about it is now, while the year is still new.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Right Development

Key to keeping the right people in your organization engaged is to ensure they are given the proper training and development to perform their function. Unfortunately, in many organizations, training and development are seen as cost items. In truth, training and development should be considered an investment. The return on investment realized for effective development of personnel can often outstrip that of any other single investment an organization can make.

Like any other investment, because it involves use of assets of the organization, investment in development of staff needs to be carefully planned, evaluated and made at the appropriate time. To do otherwise is to set in place a self fulfilling prophecy that training is money that does not generate a financial return. The development of staff should be viewed as a process. Like any process it should be structured in such a way as to create an environment and culture for success.

While it may seem appropriate to address perceived needs, this very fact is more often than not the cause statements such as: “training is just a waste of time and money”. Why, because scarce resources were used to train before truly identifying the root cause of the problem.

Professional training and facilitation consultants can be invaluable in understanding the difference between perceived and actual needs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Right Performance Management

All too often the performance management system is viewed by management as a tool to catch employees doing something wrong. On the other hand, a system of catching people doing things right has proven to be the best model for a successful performance management system.

Target tracking links objectives, activities and resources required with due dates to manage employee efforts toward accomplishment of short term, mid term and long term objectives. It is recommended that the maximum number of objectives per employee be no more than five.

Of course the rewards and recognition program of any organization must be represent the rewards wanted and desired by employees. As a general rule employees will owrk harder towards what they are rewarded for and then only if the reward come soon after the activity and is consistent with what the employees observe others receiving for similar efforts.

I get into this entire concept of making sure you have the right performance management system in place in much greater detail in Chapter 6 of my recent book There Has To Be A Better Way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Right People Processes

In the life of any given organization, regardless of its size or level of business success, there is a natural ebb and flow of personnel. This process requires firms to acquire new people. Just a few of the needs are to:
• support business growth or expansion;
• replace employees who have left for a variety of reasons both of their
choice and at the request of the organization itself;
• acquire new skills to support a restructuring or reorganization.

Identifying the right people for the organization is significant start to a positive relationship for both parties. However, having the right people processes in place for after the hiring process is critical to both the retaining and leading of any team. Employee relationships like any other aspects of a successful organization follow a process. Consider it a three phase process.
• Phase one is the documentation of a new employee.
• Phase two is a program to orient him/her to the job / organization.
• Phase three deals with ensuring he/she is properly managed and coached
during employment.

One way to develop a consistent and defendable documentation process is to use a template.

In life there is no option of making a second first impression. Likewise, making sure that the new employee is properly oriented should not be left to chance. Every organization should have in place a structured consistent orientation process.

Ensuring that employees are properly managed and coached is the third component in the people management process.

I get into this concept ever further in Chapter 5 of There Has To Be A Better Way. Request your copy as a comment or send me an email to betterway@newmanlearning.com.