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Showing posts from November, 2010

Read "The Seven Arts Of Change"

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David Shaner's compelling, The Seven Arts of Change, shows business leaders that transforming a business only happens when each employee equates organizational change with the process of deep personal growth.

"The bottom line is that, despite how technological and automated organizations have become, at their core they remain a collection of human energies that are merely being applied in an organized environment," explains Shaner.  "Resurrecting and guiding that human core of your organization is the secret to leading and sustaining change," he adds.

Shaner pulls from his vast professional and personal experiences, including having been a member of the Olympic Valley USA Ski Team and a former Harvard University teacher, to lay out a seven-part "spiritual guide" for change:
The Art of Preparation (Assessment)The Art of Compassion (Participation)The Art of Responsibility (Accountability)The Art of Relaxation (Clarity, Focus, Visibility)The Art of Consc…

4 Quick Tips For How To Lead More Effectively

Roger Fulton’s book, Common Sense Management, offers these quick tips for how to be an effective leader:

•  Don’t Blame Others – When in a position of power, everything that occurs is your responsibility, even the errors. So, rather than spending effort in placing the blame on others, your job is to minimize the damage and to take the steps necessary so that the problem does not recur in the future.
•  Create Commitment – Supervisors supervise and managers control. Leaders, on the other hand, create commitment and are absolutely essential in times of chaos, crisis or change. In those times, leaders take charge.
•  Be Consistent – Don’t enforce the rules today and ignore them tomorrow. Being inconsistent with rules will leave your employees unsure of what is truly expected of them.
•  Make Decisions – Make sound and timely decisions. Gather all the facts you need to understand the situation. Analyze the facts and review them objectively. Formulate possible strategies and consider the c…

5 Reasons To Do An Employee Survey

Business leaders who wonder whether they should conduct an employee survey should think about these five good reasons for conducting surveys, as recommended by John Kador and Katherine J. Armstrong in their book, Perfect Phrases for Writing Employee Surveys:

1.  To discover what employees are thinking and doing – in a nonthreatening survey environment. You will learn what motivates employees and what is important to them.
2.  To prioritize the organization’s actions based on objective results – rather than relying on subjective information or your best guesses.
3.  To provide a benchmark – or a snapshot of your employees and their attitudes at a certain point of time that you can then compare to future surveys to spot trends.
4.  To communicate the importance of key topics to employees – by communicating with employees the survey results that shows your organization is listening to employees.
5.  To collect the combined brainpower and ideas of the workforce – that sometimes cannot be…

Give Positive Feedback. Don't Praise.

There is an important difference between giving your employees positive feedback and giving them praise.

Positive feedback focuses on the specifics of job performance. Praise, often one-or two-sentence statements, such as “Keep up the good work,” without positive feedback leaves employees with empty feelings.

Worse yet, without positive feedback, employees feel no sense that they are appreciated as individual talents with specific desires to learn and grow on the job and in their careers, reports Nicholas Nigro, author of, The Everything Coaching and Mentoring Book.

So, skip the praise and give positive feedback that is more uplifting to your employees because it goes to the heart of their job performance and what they actually do.

An example of positive feedback is:

“Bob, your communications skills have dramatically improved over the past couple of months. The report that you just prepared for me was thorough and concise. I appreciate all the work you’ve put into it, as do your team …

How To Write An Employee Satisfaction And Engagement Survey

According to Polaris, a company that specializes in employee research, “a company’s employees are often the face and frontline of an organization and their opinion of that organization affects their attitude, thus affecting customers’ attitudes, behavior and ultimately, the bottom line.”

That is why Polaris recommends that business leaders conduct employee research that allows leaders to better understand what motivates employees, drives loyalty, and makes and keeps employees happy.

“An added benefit of conducting employee satisfaction research is that, in doing so, a company lets their employees know they are important, their opinions and suggestions matter, and there is a sincere desire to make the company an enjoyable place to work,” reports Polaris.

Here are 10 questions Polaris recommends you ask employees as part of a wide-ranging employee satisfaction and engagement survey:

For each of the following statements, indicate if you:
• Strongly disagree
• Disagree
• Somewhat disagree

How To Improve Customer Service With The Telephone

Every business leader should periodically call his/her company to observe how their customers are being treated by their employees -- because, all too often a phone conversation becomes a customer turnoff rather than a relationship builder.

So, here's a checklist that is primarily from sales expert and author Paul R. Timm that you can use to evaluate your organization's customer service via the phone:
1. Was the phone answered after two rings or less?
2. Did the employee use an appropriate greeting?
3. Did the employee identify himself or herself by name?
4. Was the employee's tone of voice pleasant and businesslike?
5. Was the call handled efficiently without being abrupt?
6. Did the employee provide accurate information or refer the caller to an appropriate person?
7. Did the employee reflect the best image for the company?
8. Did the employee thank the caller?
9. Did the employee make prudent use of putting the caller on hold if it was necessary to do so?
10. Did the em…

5 Open-Ended Questions To Ask Your Customers

I really like author Paul R. Timm's advice to stop asking your customers the "typical" questions and instead ask them open-ended questions.

Here's what Timm recommends:

Don't Ask:
How was everything?Can I get you something else?Did you find everything you need?Will that be all?Was everything satisfactory?Instead Ask:
What else can I do for you?What else can I get for you?What else can I help you with?What else could we do to better serve you?How else can we be of help?These open-ended questions will let your customers really express their ideas, opinions and needs.  Timm is the author of, 50 Powerful Ideas You Can Use To Keep Your Customers.

How To Produce An Effective Company Blog

If you lead a business and aren’t part of the 34% of U.S. companies using a blog for marketing purposes, your business likely will within the next year.

According to Emarketer, the proportion of companies using dedicated blogs as a marketing channel—excluding blogs on social networks and microblogs such as Twitter—will rise to 39% in 2011 and to 43% by 2012.

Emarketer reports that businesses are launching their own blogs for communications, lead generation, customer service and branding primarily for these reasons:
• corporate control of the tool
• its integration with company web properties
• no limits on post lengths
• the ability to maintain a full, searchable repository of information

Successful blogs generally follow these tips and guidelines:
1. Make your blog as non-promotional as possible.
2. Keep it relevant to the reader.
3. Answer your customers’ questions or address their pain points.
4. Be sure it’s well-written.
5. Make it relevant to your company or products.
6. Offer p…

Leadership Tips From Good Boss, Bad Boss

Robert Sutton, author of Good Boss, Bad Boss, provides these leadership tips:
Create an environment that encourages people to challenge each other's ideas, but set a few ground rules. Don't allow personal attacks or criticism.  Really listen to the people under your supervision--don't just fake it.  Start your meetings on time, and don't cut into employee's personal time at lunch or after work.Invite your employees into your office to give you feedback on how the ship's running.

How To Write A Business Plan In About One Hour

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Kansas City’s Joe Calhoon, published earlier this month, The 1 Hour Plan for Growth, where he provides a system for creating a clear and compelling business plan for growth.

I believe business plans are critical to any business — new or old. So, if this book helps those who have been putting off the task because it seems too daunting, try Calhoon’s book.

The 194-page shows business leaders how to write a plan in about one hour so it fits on a single sheet of paper. The plan will include six essential elements:

1.Vision
2.Mission
3.Values
4.Objectives
5.Strategies
6.Priorities

And, Calhoon teaches how to write a plan that will engage employees and develop leadership capacity. Calhoon’s system has been used by Kansas City-based companies, such as:

•Cruise Holidays of KC
•Jack Stack Barbecue
•Redemption Plus
•United Heating & Cooling

“Joe Calhoon is an expert at making the growth planning process simple. This book is a must read for every team member where leadership is committed to…