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NUTS ‘N BOLTS LEADERSHIP

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

I came across this book called “How To” Strategies and Practical Tips For Leaders at ALL Levels” by Eric Harvey and Paul Sims. It appealed to me as a refresher to those of us who have been in management for a long time as well as a training tool for people just beginning in that arena.

I’ve copied some pieces of their message below:

“If you’ve been in management for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly come   to realize that it’s a multi-faceted profession – a somewhat complex calling that includes the classic and academically described duties of “planning, directing, controlling, etc.” … and much more. 

Like a coin, leadership has two sides. There’s the proactive side – the actions you initiate to positively affect people and their performance. And there’s the reactive side – the actions you take in response to unanticipated issues and situations. The key to these equally important sides is ACTION. And the way we see it, in order to act properly and effectively in these fast-paced times, your management “toolbox” needs to be filled with solid nuts and bolts techniques.

Here are some “How To” tips that should help:

  • Address Performance Problems Early. One of the surest ways to demotivate employees is allowing people to do sub-par work. When that happens, others have to pick up the slack. You owe it to the rest of the team to address an employee’s deficiencies as soon as you become aware of them. Waiting only increases the intensity of everyone else’s bad feelings.
  • Think “Development.” Make developing the members of your team (and yourself) one of your top priorities. Besides providing formal training, pursue opportunities for building skills, awareness, and confidence that require minimal time and resources (e.g., watching videos, distributing industry publications, mentoring).
  • Always Give the “Why.” A combined lesson from Human Nature 101 and Common Sense 101: There’s a much better chance that people will be motivated and give their enthusiastic support if they understand the reason behind a goal, assignment, or decision. So, always follow the what with the why
  • Teach Business Literacy. One powerful way to get people motivated is to teach them the business of the business. The more people understand how a successful organization is run, the better they’ll be able to contribute to your overall mission and the bottom line … and feel like they truly are a part of your success.
  • Let your employees lead. Help others on your team develop by letting them take the lead on certain activities and projects. Most of us like “being in charge” – at least some of the time. It’s a great way to build skills, commitment, and responsibility.
  • Involve them in Decision Making. Have an important decision to make? Let employees decide! Or at least ask for their ideas and suggestions. They are, after all, the ones who will feel the impact the most. Besides, you’ll probably end up with a better decision – one that your people will be inclined to support because they helped make it.
  • Keep them informed.Hold regular “state of the business” meetings to keep everyone informed on what’s happening within the organization (future plans, new products or services, planned purchases, etc.). Make sure people do NOT feel “kept in the dark.
  • Spread the wealth.Rotate the drudgework so that everyone shares part of the load. Likewise, spread around the high-profile assignments so that every person has an occasional opportunity to strut his or her stuff.
  • Respect their time. If you expect employees to believe that their work is important, you have to believe it, too. More importantly, you have to behave like you believe it! Don’t expect people to drop whatever they’re doing every time you need something. Instead, ask if they have a few minutes to chat. Better yet, ask for a time when they’ll be available to meet with you.”

All of these are very solid tips that can help all of us become and/or remain better leaders for our businesses.

Andrea McAfee

Bayless Engineering

www.baylessengineering.com

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Never get comfortable

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Over last weekend, I briefly thought to myself “it sure would be nice if things settled down at SNQ – even briefly and we had a normal day”.

So what precipitated this thought?  Well, it seems to me that since day one of the formation of Status Not Quo, every day has been dynamic, challenging, and mildly stressful due to constant change.  Granted, most of our challenges have been positive (i.e. either fall under “opportunity” or “character building” lol). 

 However, as I reflect today (I’m writing this on a Monday), I admonish myself to “Never get comfortable”.  I constantly challenge other business owners and our clients to continuously reinvent themselves, or stagnate and get left behind.  While this is always our focus, it is hectic.

 The entire year of 2011 at SNQ has been crazy busy due to a move – consolidating and moving to a corporate office.  We went from completely virtual and decentralized, to a mix of the two with stronger centralization. 

 However, not one week after I sat down at the new office, we were faced with the potential of an incredible opportunity to move into two new areas of software development by absorbing/merging with another firm.  This will expand us into a multi-office company, and very possibly into needing an international presence in South America.  Talk about Distributed to Centralized and back to Distributed (insert rising stress meter here)!

 My point is to be thankful for change, and embrace that uncertainty.  Granted, many times it stems from a negative challenge – but we must still view those challenges as opportunities to change, leverage, reinvent, and grow.  The day things start getting boring around here is when I will really start to stress.  Take a well deserved break this weekend, but when you return on Monday, challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.

 Scott Capistrano

Status Not Quo

http://www.statusnotquo.com

What’s Your Approach … Train or Hire the Skills Your Company Needs?

July 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently there have been numerous media pronouncements that, despite record unemployment levels, employers are finding skills shortages and mismatches as they look to add to their overall staffing levels.  A growing number of employers are taking the approach that, in order to keep staff levels at the optimal level and with the appropriate skill sets, they need to up-skill existing employees and then recruit at the easier to fill lesser skilled positions.

So what’s your company philosophy and why?  Are you enduring long recruitment cycles as you look for that “perfect” fit or are you taking the approach of increasing the skill levels of your existing employees through formal training, on-the-job training or a mixture of both?

Joe Klocko

Director, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies

College of the Canyons

 

Do You Work in a High-Integrity Organization?

May 29, 2011 1 comment

Recently I ran across this excerpt from “LEADING TO ETHICS” 10 Leadership Strategies For Building A High-Integrity Organization by Eric Harvey, Andy Smith, and Paul Sims.

Do You Work in a High-Integrity Organization?

High-integrity, ethical leaders:

Build Values and Ethics Awareness.
They regularly communicate and discuss the organization’s shared values, operating principles, and ethical standards – making sure they are understood, supported, and accepted at all levels.

Hold People Accountable.
They hold themselves and others accountable for ethical behavior. And they have zero-tolerance for values violations because they know that “one bad apple can spoil the bunch.”

Lead By Example.
They recognize that they earn the right to expect others to perform with integrity when they, themselves, “walk the talk.”

Use Values To Drive Decisions.
They apply the organization’s values and guiding principles when making decisions – whether big and strategic, or small and seemingly insignificant. They realize that ethics are displayed in everything we do, and everything we do counts.

Ensure In-Sync Policies and Practices.
They make sure that rules and standards support the organization’s values and ethics at every level. And, should an ethical dilemma occur, they welcome the opportunity to resolve the issue quickly and without fear of reprisal.

Pay Attention To Perceptions.
They pay close attention to the feelings, opinions, and reactions of their colleagues, their employees, the customers they serve, and everyone in their circle of influence. They realize that perceptions ARE reality when it comes to ethics and integrity.

Hire and Promote Ethical People.
They use the organization’s mission, vision, and values as criteria for hiring and promotion decisions. And, they ONLY select those individuals who believe in these principles and who behave with integrity.

This served as a reminder to me that there is more to “doing business” than just “doing business”. It also prompts one to look within their own organization (s) to learn whether not only they, themselves, but also management, and even employees measure up to these high standards of integrity.

Andrea McAfee

Controller

Bayless Engineering & Manufacturing

www.baylessengineering.com

All that I want

This is the text of my sister’s upcoming contest as a Toastmaster.  The message, as you will read, is ‘powerful’, and I wanted to share it with you.

The Rev. Billy Graham was recently asked: “Sir, what about this life has surprised you the most”?  His reply?  “Its brevity” A short time ago, I was a 17 year-old high school senior.  Now I am a 60 year-old social security senior.  I love being 60.  You see when I was in my late teens and early 30’s all I did was get married and divorced, married and divorced, and married yet again.  In my thirties, and early 40’s all I did was work.  I worked 50 and 60-hour weeks so I could buy stuff. Big stuff, little stuff, new stuff old stuff.  Your stuff.  My credit cards had skid marks and their own zip codes.  Then on Jan 4 1998, my life as I knew it ceased to exist.  My husband of 20 years, the absolute love of my life, the man I was supposed to grow old with, died of a sudden heart attack.  One minute he was on the racquetball court, and the next he was in the arms of Jesus.

Well meaning friends would often tell me. “Debby you are lucky, at least he didn’t suffer”.  No, he didn’t suffer; he left that for me to do.  And suffer I did.  Shortly after Larry died, I was in the hospital having major surgery.  Three weeks later my only surviving grandparent died. Me?  Back to the hospital, this time with carpel tunnel surgery.  The wind came along and blew the shingles off of my roof, my downstairs flooded, and the transmission fell out of my pick-up.  All this happened by August of that year.  Oh, I suffered!  I felt like the psalmist David when he cried out:” Hear me oh Lord.   Hear me Oh Lord and deliver me.”   I spent days on my knees because I had nowhere else to go.

When at last I began to emerge from that deep abyss, I realized something; I had spent the past 47 years living in fear.  You know that fear.  That “False Evidence Appearing Real”.  You see, I had always had all that I wanted and all that I needed.  Fear kept me from putting it together.  When I was busy getting married, all I wanted was to have a good marriage…All I needed was to be a better partner.  During my buying frenzy, I already had all I wanted; all I needed was to respect my possessions.  When my husband died, all I wanted was for the pain to end. All I needed was to accept that my life had changed forever.  Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.  For when I am disturbed, it is because I cannot accept some person, place, or situation and I will find no peace until I accept that person, place, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be, because nothing — absolutely nothing — happens in God’s world by mistake.  What fear is keeping you from where you want to be?  The fear: “I’m too old… I’m not smart enough… I’ve never done that before?”  All lies to keep you from doing, being, having.  Pitiful or Powerful. We can be pitiful and live in fear, or we can be powerful and live our dreams.

Yes, the Rev. Graham was right, life is short.  Yesterday I was 20, this morning 45, and now I’m 60.  Yes, my hips are wider, but so is my smile.  Things that used to be up here are now down here but that’s just gravity, so who cares?  I don’t because I am living my dreams.  Since 2000, I have been parasailing in Thailand and salmon fishing in Alaska.  I have ridden the roller coaster atop the Stratus Sphere in Las Vegas, Nevada, and have rejoiced in the birth of my great-granddaughter.

Pitiful or powerful?  Release your fears.  Live your dreams.

Denise Henderson

Don’t miss the boat on customer service

March 6, 2011 2 comments

Much too often we miss the boat on the customer service/relations side of business.

I recently received a letter from a supplier sharing a particularly inspiring list of “ten important business words” to say to your customers originating in a book by Mac Anderson called “Customer Love”. I have followed each of the ten with my related thoughts.

  1. “I apologize for our mistake. We will make it right.”
    • We all miss the boat sometimes. Acknowledging the problem and promising to correct it will most likely keep your relationship from failing.
  2. “Thank you for your business. Please come back again.”
    • So many times these words are not spoken and always should be.
  3. “I am not sure but I will find out.”
    • It may be difficult to admit one’s lack of knowledge, and though humbling, honesty is always appreciated.
  4. “What else can I do for you?”
    • Never forget to ask for another opportunity to be of service.
  5. “What is most convenient for you?”
    • Keep in mind that your customer is the boss.
  6. “How may I serve you?”
    • Show your customer that his/her needs are your highest priority.
  7. “How did we do?”
    • Ask for a ”report card” so that you can learn where and how to improve.
  8. “Glad you’re here.”
    • Another way of making certain your customer feels welcome.
  9. “Thank you.”
    • Frequently remind the customer that they are appreciated.
  10. “Yes.”
    • Always your best response to any customer’s request.

I strongly feel that none of these listed phrases can be over-used in today’s highly competitive business environment. Whether you are a service or product driven organization, always remembering that the client/customer has a choice lends you the greatest advantage.

Andrea McAfee

Controller

Bayless Engineering & Manufacturing

www.baylessengineering.com

Execution is everything

July 15, 2010 1 comment

Well, perhaps not everything, but the execution of a plan cannot be understated.  Planning and preparation are clearly very important, but too often people stop there.  My high school basketball coach said something very basic that has stuck with me through my entire career (not in basketball unfortunately lol) – “Complete the play …”.  His point was it didn’t matter how well the play was designed, how much passing you did, or how good you looked to the crowd – if you didn’t put the ball in the hoop at the end, it meant nothing.

Lisa Anderson, President of LMA Consulting Group, Inc. had a few things to say about this in a recent article found here: http://bit.ly/clAE0I

The article is named “Leadership to Accelerate Bottom Line Results” – in point #3, she discussed “Value execution”.  Here’s the part I loved: “Valuing execution has to be incorporated into the performance management system as well. Do not reward solely effort. Reward those who are willing to challenge the status quo.” … “Reward those who are willing to go the extra step to ensure success when they don’t know anyone is looking. “

This is something I try to continually stress within our company, Status Not Quo – be Objective Driven – at the end of the day, did you get the job “Done”?  Strive to be a Virtuoso at executing – in all things, and don’t settle for less.

Scott Capistrano, MBA, CPA

President
Status Not Quo

Not Your Ordinary Consulting Firm

Ph 888.767.0767
Fx 661.367.5311
www.statusnotquo.com | blog.statusnotquo.com