|•Resolving Interpersonal Conflict: How|
Jane and Mary don't "get on". You sit down with them. You "talk it through". They both agree that their interpersonal conflict is damaging their relationship and your business. They agree to change their ways. Two weeks later they're at each others throats again. The "problem" between them is worse than ever. Sound familiar?
"Jack and Harry just don't get on". "Mary can't work with Ellen". "Joe's really difficult to work with" These statements and dozens like them are heard frequently in...
•Small - Medium Business: How To Keep Employees Well Informed And Improve Business Results
Business results are easier to achieve with well informed staff. Some managers are reluctant to share information with staff. You don't have to "give the farm away". You do have to give staff all the information they need to understand how important what they do is to business success.
Many small - medium business managers are reluctant to share corporate information with employees. You may be concerned that the employees won't value the information or even accidentally pass it on to...
•Improve Delegation And Get More Time To Manage Using Four Little Words
Some managers have problems with time management most of the time. And it's some sort of a problem for most managers at least occasionally. Let's face it, all of us face extreme time pressures every so often. Four little words won't be of much help then. But they can make a great difference on a day to day basis.
The Four Little Words
The four little words are "Leave it with me". These four monosyllables can make life awkward for some of us and downright impossible for a few of...
•A Checklist For Successful Staff Selection In 21st Century Small-Medium Business
Staff selection is expensive. It's sometimes difficult to find the "right" people. When you fail it costs even more and puts more pressure on other staff. This checklist will help you take a professional approach to increase your chance of success.
Selecting staff is a complicated business. Most managers don't get enough practice to be skilled in it. And staff selection is expensive. The cost of “mistakes” is huge and haunting. Poor staff selection erodes profitability and increases pressure...
•How To Design Successful On Job Training: A 7 Step System
This article is about preparing on job workplace training: training leading to on job competence. It's not concerned with classrooms or presentation skills. You might be the best classroom presenter in the world. If your training design is inadequate, your training or instruction is unlikely to lead to on job competence.
1. Assume Your Trainee Is Ignorant And Unskilled
Don't fret. I'm referring to trainees who don't know and can't do what your instruction's about. If you don't...
•How To Stop Modern Media Reducing Effective Face To Face Communication At Work
Are you being overwhelmed by emails, text messages, twitters and a mass of "modern" communication techniques? It's not surprising. The fact is, face to face communication is still the best way to get things done at work. But the modern techniques diminish, not enhance, effective communication. These ideas will reduce this danger.
So called "modern" communication techniques often devalue the spoken word. Yet the spoken word – face to face communication – is still the quickest and most...
•7 Words That Will Develop Your Staff, Improve Delegation and Enhance Your Time Management
Managers are sometimes inclined to go looking for complex solutions that are "under their noses". Here's a simple solution that's so effective you'll hardly believe it.
It's easy to overlook simple, elegant, effective management solutions that are right under our noses. We have, to use an old saying, "our foot on the penny". But there are many rewards when we lift our foot and look.
Over the last 40-50 years the gurus have tried to convince us that management, especially...
•Small-Medium Business: 10 Specific Tips For Building Better Teams
Effective teamwork is important in all business. But it's essential in small-medium business. Large business can absorb the shocks of poor teamwork. Small-medium business is particularly vulnerable to the effects of poor teamwork. Try these techniques.
Let me start by "nailing my colours to the mast". I believe that effective teamwork is important in all business. In small-medium business it's essential by any standard. The fewer the number of people you have working for you, the more...
•Small-Medium Business Meetings: 7 Ways To Make Them Effective, Purposeful and Brief
Meetings are an inevitable part of business. We need them whether formal or informal. But so often the meetings control us. This shouldn't be the case. It's easier than you think to regain control.
All businesses have meetings. They're just a form of face to face communication. They may be formal, semi-formal or informal. But if two or more people get together to “discuss” or “talk about” something, it’s a meeting. That includes videoconferencing and teleconferencing. But meetings aren't...
•Small Business: Why Staff Selection Interviews Should Be The Last Part Of The Selection Process
Conventional staff selection practice places lots of emphasis on the face to face interview. I believe that emphasis is misplaced. The face to face interview is still a major feature. But it's a privilege not a right. To increase the success of your selection process, save the face to face interview until last.
The staff selection interview is a privilege not a right. It's a major feature of the selection process. To gain full benefit you must do it at the right time: as the final act in...
•Employee Induction: Perfect Start Or The Start Of Imperfect Performance? It's Up To You
Employee Induction: Perfect Start Or The Start Of Imperfect Performance? It's Up To You Your selection process can be thorough and professional. You can create a very positive attitude in the mind of the new employee. But it's all wasted if their induction is slipshod and inadequate. Induction sets the tone for the relationship between the new employee, the manager and the company.
When someone joins your company you have an opportunity to set a successful union in place. When induction is...
•Managing Employee Performance: Does Your Perception Stop You Getting Better Job Results?
? What you see isn't what you get. What you believe you see largely determines what you get. We usually call this "perception". And it can have a devastating effect on managerial judgement.
"What you see is what you get", goes the old saying. It's wrong. What you get is your interpretation of what you see. There's a big difference. It's usually called perception. It's defined as how you perceive people, things, situations and circumstances. It pervades business life.
How We "See" Things
•7 Things You Really Must Do To Make On Job Training Successful in Small-Medium Business
Introduction Whether training a new or current employee the old adage still applies. "If the student hasn't learnt, the teacher hasn't taught". In the workplace you also suffer a major penalty. It costs you heaps when employees can't do their jobs properly because of poor training.
1. Specify What They'll Be Able To Do At The End. The purpose of training is to get a job done well. The first thing to do is to state what the trainees will be able to do at the end of the training that they...
•Small-Medium Business: How Procedures Hurt Productivity Because They Lack Sound Performance Standard
Introduction. "We need a procedure for this". How many times have you heard that statement or something like it. Maybe you said it yourself. Fact is, that all the procedures in the world are next to useless without clear performance standards.
Why Performance Standards Are So Important. A Performance Standard answers this question "How will I know that this job is being done perfectly?Remember: this job not this person. Performance Standards are about getting the job done; performance....
•Peaks, Troughs and Pressure Typify Management Today, But You Can Handle Them Well If You're Ready.
Introduction. When we first become managers we don't learn the truth. The truth is that management is a series of peaks and troughs: not a more or less straight line with occasional bumps in it. Unless some sympathetic mentor tells us the truth, those peaks and troughs can be very tough going.
The Social Skill. Management is a social skill. It is exercised only with people. And you can learn management only on the job. You can undertake as much study as you like. But nothing can replace the...
•7 Essentials That Courses And Books Don't Cover About Managing Staff In Small-Medium Business
The small-medium business manager has lots of "balls to juggle". The job is far more demanding and difficult than managing a section in a large business. And, on top of everything, there's people management. Employee management practice in small-medium business requires special skills. You won't find them covered in books and courses.
1. Exposure. As a small business manager, you're far more exposed than your big business counterpart. Your behaviour is readily observable. If you fail to "walk...
•Forget Pop Psychology: Good Systems Are The Key To Improved Employee Performance.
It happens so easily. There's a performance problem in your business. Somebody's failed somehow. You decide to have a talk with him to make sure it doesn't happen again. Stop! Examine your systems before you examine your people.
If the Systems Are Poor The People Will Fail. I've learned that conclusively after 40 years in people management. It's expressed in other ways too. "Poor systems, poorer people". "Fix the systems before the people" "There are few poor people but lots of poor systems"....
•Why Small-Medium Business Managers Must Commit To Effective Team Development.
Creating successful and effective teams is seen as highly desirable. In sport the team is king. And we've studied successful sports teams for decades to discover their "secrets". Many different theories have emerged. But two characteristics are common to all successful teams.
The First Is Goal Dependence. Goal dependence means that each team member depends on the other team members achieving their goals so that he or she can achieve his or hers. It also means that the most important goal to...
•7 Tips That Will Gain You More Time To Run Your Small Business.
You're a manager of a small-medium business. You work long hours. You rarely "get on top of things". Unexpected problems pop up all the time. Your staff seem to lack initiative. Sound familiar? Put these ideas into practice.
1. Have Clear Priorities. Know precisely what you’re trying to achieve in your business. Decide your business focus and your customer focus. Make a list of the most important objectives to be achieved and prioritise them. Deal with the most important first.
2. Stop Doing...
•How To Build A Champion Team In Your Small-Medium Business.
Summary. “A champion team will always beat a team of champions.” That statement’s often heard about sports teams. But it applies in the workplace too. Manager sometimes concern themselves with building a team of champions. They should concentrate on building a champion team. These ideas may help.
The Team As the Basic Workplace Unit. Organizations are comprised of individuals. We spend lots of time and money trying to get those individuals to perform well. That’s desirable. But there’s...
•The Essence of Face To Face Communication Is Meaning Not Words.
Summary. You’ve probably read, watched, heard and learned intuitively all sorts of good stuff about face to face communication. I don’t want to challenge that. But I do want to remind you about one essential element. It’s often lost in all the talk about what to say and how to say it.
The Secret. Successful face to face communication is all about meaning. That’s it. And that’s especially so at work. That’s the purpose of the words, pictures, body language and the other communication elements....
•Why Staff Are Your Most Important Customers In Small-Medium Business. If You Disagree, Do The Math
Introduction. What's a customer? Someone who buys something from you? Someone you provide a service to? Someone to whom you provide goods and services in return for payment? However you define "customer" they are vital to any business. In small-medium business how you treat customers could be the difference between success and failure.
Those "Other" Customers. We all try desperately to retain good customers. We talk about "lifetime value" and their worth to us. If necessary, we try to "serve...
•7 Tips For Gaining Greater Staff Commitment in Small-Medium Business
Introduction. If there's one wish, one hope, one desire I hear more than any other from small medium business managers it's this. Why can't my staff be more committed, more dedicated, even just more interested in my business? Don't they realize that they have a major vested interest in its success? It isn't as difficult as it seems. But you need the right mindset.
1. Expectation. Tell them precisely what you expect of them, individually and collectively. Make sure they're absolutely clear...
•Getting Management Information: How Phrasing Questions Can Make or Break You
Introduction. The quality of the information managers receive is determined by the questions they ask. Some managers believe that they merely have to ask in order to find out what they need to know. If only it was as easy as that...! The good news is that the problem's easily fixed. The bad news is that if it's happening, it's probably your fault.
What You Deserve. Understand this. The quality of information you receive will be directly related to the quality of the questions you ask....
•Are You A Performance Stopper Manager? Check Yourself On These 5 Examples
Are You A Performance Stopper Manager? Check Yourself On These 5 Examples Introduction It's so easy to stop your employees doing what you say you want them to do. Yet many managers unwittingly do so. You lead by example. Check these examples to see whether you might be a "performance stopper".
1. The Slack Timekeeper. You schedule your weekly staff meeting for 8.45am. All but 2 of your team are on time. But you wait until they arrive at 9.10 am to start the meeting.10 am. The same occurs...
•5 Proven Methods for Making Your Incentive Schemes Work in Practice.
Sound structures and good administrative backup are at the heart of any successful incentives scheme. It's a mistake to believe that incentives that are attractive in themselves are all you need. Get the basic philosophy and structure in place first.
Integrity and Incentives. Incentive schemes are very valuable as part of your overall reward system. But if they lack integrity and transparency they may be more hindrance than help. Follow these guidelines for success.
•Small-Medium Business 10 Golden Rules For Managing People For Best Business Results
Summary. Small-medium businesses have unique characteristics that require special responses. They are not underdeveloped big businesses. This is particularly so in people management. If employees don't respect each other's work and contribution, you'll have "people problems".
1. Compatibility Is Vital. You don't want clones of you. But you do want people you can get on with both personally and professionally. You can't escape from them or they from you.
2. People You Trust Absolutely. Even...
•The Secret The Gurus Don't Tell You About Managing People In Small-Medium Business.
The Big Secret You won't find this statement in many texts or lecture notes. The basic human element in the workplace is the team not the individual. This reality has major implications in how you manage your people. You can't achieve much in business without the support of others. Teams are what count.
The Great Heresy. The individual employee, no matter how clever or skilful, can't achieve much within a business by acting alone. We've been taught for decades that the individual is the basic...
•Matching Performance Standards and Customer Feedback: 7 Ways To Put the "Perform" in "Performance"
A Close Link. When customers provide feedback they're also telling you how well your staff are meeting performance standards. Sometimes we forget that the standards and feedback are closely linked. And we miss a major opportunity to discover whether our staff performance standards are adequate.
1. Feedback and Performance: Not Form Filling. No one likes filling out forms. Your customers are no exception. So don't ask them. If you must use a form for customer feedback find an inducement so...
•How To Stop Filling Out Staff Appraisal Forms But Complete Appraisals Each Day
Summary. "Performance Appraisal" often strikes fear into the heart of the most intrepid manager. It's associated with "in depth" interviews, filling out complicated forms and planning career development. No wonder it scares people. But if you do it every day, it's a breeze.
It's About On Job Performance, Not Form Filling. Performance appraisal is about measuring performance. It's not about filling out complicated forms which purport to measure performance. There's a huge difference. And...
•5 Simple Keys To Improve Employee Performance Without Using Training.
Summary. Are you tearing your hair out because your training's not working and you can't understand your employees? Why not try an engineering approach for better results? Each of the following statements flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Yet each of them is absolutely true.
If they can do it with a gun at their head , they don't need training.
Harsh? Inhumane? Brutal? Maybe all of these things. But if that's your opinion, think about this: do you test your people before subjecting...
•Do You Unwittingly Punish Your Best People? To Find Out, Use This 7 Step Approach.
Do You Unwittingly Punish Your Best People? To Find Out, Use This 7 Step Approach. Summary. Many managers encourage good performance then punish the good performers. They don't do this intentionally. But the effect is no different.
What's Performance Punishing? Performance punishing occurs when the employee who performs very well is rewarded with more demanding work.
Because they do such a good job, managers load them with more and more work. Because they set high standards for themselves...
•How On Job Performance Is Directly Related To Your Job Vacancy Advertisement.
How meticulous are you when you advertise for staff? Do you carefully craft the ad to attract the best available candidate? Or do you generalize in the hope that you'll attract many broadly suitable applicants of whom one will "fit the bill"? Whichever you do, remember that if your ad is poor so too will be your selection. And that will eventually create major performance problems.
What Your Ad Tells The Applicant. Your ad should tell applicants what you want them to know. But your carefully...
•Small Business: 10 Golden Rules To Ensure That You Meet Staff Expectations
High visibility and high dependency are major issues facing managers in small-medium business. They interact daily with staff. Their moods, their reactions, their highs and lows are on show for all to see. Staff depend on them for their livelihood. If the business fails, staff lose their jobs. These two issues create expectations that need to be successfully managed.
Small business owners and managers face two special issues. Your staff see and talk to you daily, even frequently each day....
•5 Simple Rules To Follow To Make Your Selection Interviews More Successful
Most managers simply don't do enough selection interviewing to become highly skilled at it. And they're usually under time pressures to conduct interviews quickly. You can offset your lack of practice by adopting these simple rules.
1.Interview As Few People As Possible.
You should only interview applicants who have a really good chance of getting the job. That's usually only 2-3 people. Before you interview them you should be reasonably certain that these people * Really know what they say...
•Performance Standards: The Scoreboard That Records Progress Towards Goals
All the gurus emphasise the importance of setting clear, measurable goals. And that's good. But few mention performance standards that tell you how well you're progressing towards meeting these goals. Without performance standards neither you nor your employees will be able to accurately measure progress. That's one of the reasons that they're so important.
Know How Well You're Doing. Imagine a sports game without a scoreboard. No one: players, coaches, officials, spectators would know how...
•Small Business: Don't Be Caught In The Experience Trap When Selecting Staff.
Summary. We place great emphasis on experience when selecting staff. Yet, in other areas of our lives, we know that there's more to successful accomplishment than experience.
Our Experience. In sport, a player may be an outstanding performer with one team but a mediocre performer with another. Some children perform poorly at one school but do very well at another.
Importance Of Environment. The child is no more or less intelligent. The sportsperson is no more or less skilled. But the...
•Staff Performance Management: what You Get From Your Staff Is Mainly Determined By What You Expect.
The power of expectation is often underestimated. In Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw said, "The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves. It's how she's treated." Lerner and Loewe based "My Fair Lady" around Shaw's concept. Maybe we managers should take more notice of those gentlemen of the theatre.
Expectation Defined. In 1929, most banks in the USA were solvent. Their customers believed differently. The customers expected to lose their deposits. They rushed to...
•7 Tips For Ensuring That Your Staff Meet Your Expectations
Do you become frustrated because it seems that your staff don't listen to you? Do they repeat simple errors? Do they seem to be short on "common sense"? Have you thought that you may be at least part of the problem? These approaches may help.
1. Tell Them Exactly What You Expect. I'm always surprised when I find managers who don't bother to tell staff precisely what they want from them. Sit down with your staff, tell them exactly what you expect, them get them to confirm their understanding:...
•Make Positive Consequences Vital To Effective People Management In 5 Specific Areas.
Many of your best management ideas can crash out of control if you fail to consider the consequences from your employees' perspective. Think carefully about consequences when making changes that affect employees.
1. Consequences For Whom? Like beauty, consequences are in the eye of the beholder. A project engineer sees the conclusion of a big civil project as a major achievement and the opportunity for a large cash bonus. For a tradesman it carries the prospect of unemployment. When making...
•If You Want Your Staff To Believe What You Say About Performance, Set Clear Performance Standards.
You can say all you like about the importance of on job performance. Words are cheap. Your employees won't take much notice if they aren't clear about what you mean in their terms. Performance standards will do this for you in at least ten ways.
1. Performance Matters. When you have clear performance standards you are telling your staff "performance matters". Without those standards, you invite your staff to decide what matters for themselves. Some staff will welcome that invitation and...
•Help Your Staff Become Enthusiastic About Building Your Business: These 5 Methods Will Help.
Summary “It isn't theirs!” That’s the reason your employees don’t commit to your business in the same way you do. You don’t stick up for other people’s children the way you do for your own. You don’t feel the same sense of outrage when someone else’s car is stolen as you do when yours is. It's not yours. It's as simple as that.
Your Investment When you own or run the business you have.... • the biggest emotional and ego involvement • the biggest – or a very big – financial commitment •...
•Take Care When Recruiting Staff For Small-Medium Business: They Need Unique Qualities.
Working in small-medium business is different to working in large business. You need to find people who "fit" the unique small-medium business environment. The best qualifications and experience won't be enough if staff don't "fit". This is far more important than it is in large business.
Employees Must Be Generalists. In a small business, all employees, tradespersons, administrators, operators have to do other than what they specialize in. If an accounts clerk has to placate a dissatisfied...
•An Approach To People Management Especially For The Small Business Manager
Summary. A small business is not a little big business. You can take many big business principles and apply them effectively in your small business. But there are differences merely because the business is small. People management is such as issue.
You Are the Business. The small business manager or owner is the business to employees. They interpret the behaviour and performance of the CEO as that of the business itself. For example, if the small business CEO is erratic, so is the business....
•Employees Give You What You Ask For: How To Phrase Questions To Gain Information
Managers are told they have to ask lots of questions. That's OK. But it's how you phrase your questions that determines the quality of the answers you receive.
Avoid Yes/No Questions. Unless you're confirming information you already have, never ask a question that can be answered by a "yes" or "no". Apart from confirmation, "yes" and "no" provide you with no information. They also enable your employee to avoid providing what may be very valuable information. There's another advantage to...