The Easiest Way to Find Improvement Ideas

One of the best sources for improvement ideas is the mistake! THE MISTAKE is an opportunity to improve the system in which we live or work! I truly believe that this type of approach opens many improvement opportunities. Approaching a mistake by saying: “Today I had this problem. we create a continuous improvement and in…

One of the best sources for improvement ideas is the mistake! THE MISTAKE is an opportunity to improve the system in which we live or work! I truly believe that this type of approach opens many improvement opportunities. Approaching a mistake by saying: “Today I had this problem. we create a continuous improvement and in the same time we avoid the future wastes of that MISTAKE.

This kind of approach requires hard work, involvement, respect for the others and the desire to improve the work system (which will never be perfect!). The actions that have to be made to answer the question: “What should we do not repeat it?” should be recommended to follow the next structure:

  1. Analyzing the causes of the problems. Following this, it should be identified the main cause (root cause) which led to that problem. The methods to solve the problem could be 5 WHY (personally, I prefer this one) or the Ishikawa chart (fish bone);
  2. Identifying the actions to remove the root cause from a).
  3. Implementing the measures to remove the root cause.
  4. Checking the efficiency measures which were identified and implemented.

This kind of approach lids to a self-perfect system, in which the improvement signals are the problems. In the same time, this way to deal with the problems increases the flexibility of the work system (what today is good, tomorrow can be changed into better.) And the innovation degree of the organization.

Approaching the mistakes (the problems) in this way, they will become inexhaustible sources of improvement ideas and opportunities.

Other inexhaustible sources of improvement are the people around you! Watch how they do simple things (how they tie their shoelaces, how they park their cars, how they take something off a shelf, etc.) and you will find many opportunities to improve that action. Surely you will find a way to implement these improvements in your activity.

And, finally, offer to your colleges the opportunity to propose improvements. Tell them what your problems are and listen to their opinion. The more different their activity is from yours, the more surprising the solutions are. This is because they have a different point of view (like you have seen the people around you).

Now, having these ways of improvement, your activity will grow faster. Your improvement ideas will flow and the path of continuous improvement is open.

BE CAREFUL! Do a financial analysis of each improvement you want to make. Even if, apparently, the improvement is amazing, do NOT spend 100 $ to achieve 5 cents!

Executive Leadership Is Ownership

How executives make decisions in a downturn is highly revealing, both about themselves and their companies. It can also be a major reason in determining which employees stay after the downturn. Are you a leader who: Displays personal ownership in achieving the company's mission and objectives? Shows loyalty toward the company and other leaders? Feels…

How executives make decisions in a downturn is highly revealing, both about themselves and their companies. It can also be a major reason in determining which employees stay after the downturn. Are you a leader who:

  • Displays personal ownership in achieving the company's mission and objectives?
  • Shows loyalty toward the company and other leaders?
  • Feels considered by the company as an individual making a valued contribution or as just a disposable means to an end?
  • Exhibits passion for your work?

The following illustration from one of our clients provides an inspiring example of excellence in the mid of a crisis. The senior executive team had worked hard to become a team characterized by high transparency, mutual respect, and consensus. Internal surveys, not surprisingly, indicated high employee trust, respect and loyalty towards the team. Still, like most companies, they were hit hard by the recession and had to take strong measures to reduce costs. True to the team's character prior to the recession, they typically demonstrated these hits in their unique approach:

  • All leaders held weekly all-employee department meetings called “truth meetings.” Leaders were expected to demonstrate respect for their teammates by giving them frank, brutally honest information – even if it was uncomfortable to hear. These meetings were purposely small enough to encourage questions. Questions were answered directly and without spin. People hearing the information, although fearful, expressed appreciation that leaders were considering them as adults and not as children needing protection. Such candor minimized rumors. The transparency robbed known, toxic employees of a platform to create disruption and distrust.
  • Department leaders were informed of necessary cost-reduction targets as well as the rational behind the target numbers. Wanting to lay off employees as a last resort, the company asked each department to develop a comprehensive list to reduce costs while saving jobs, without eliminating specific, vital long-term initiatives. All employees were invited to participate.
  • Hundreds of ideas came from this effort, including an employee recommendation for an across-the-board 20-percent pay cut, with graduated steps to return to the prior pay scale. One executive said, “Ideas were presented that we would have never considered.” It took a lot of extra effort to do it this way, but it was well worth it.

Following the implementation of these measures, I met with the middle managers of this company. Expecting to find grim, demoralized leaders, their attitudes stunned me.

While indicating that they wished the situation was different, they acknowledged that they understood it. Unanimously, every person in the room expressed appreciation for their company and its leaders, indicating their commitment to the company had increased, despite the turmoil, because of how the leaders deal with the crisis. One person said, “The values ​​upon our walls are the real deal. This is our company and we believe in it – more than ever.”

Every leader extremely creates an environment that reflects his / her real self.

How to Overcome the Barriers to Change in Your Business

In today's dynamic and complex business world, change is unavoidable. This brings with it the various issues that emanate from change management. Of course every organization desires successful change. What is the use of initiating and implementing change if not for good results? However, you usually find that there are barriers to change. These barriers…

In today's dynamic and complex business world, change is unavoidable. This brings with it the various issues that emanate from change management. Of course every organization desires successful change. What is the use of initiating and implementing change if not for good results? However, you usually find that there are barriers to change. These barriers sometimes negatively affect change because causing inefficiencies and ineffectiveness in the process. Sometimes total failure occurs. I believe you know that the greatest barrier to change is the people. Now, how do you overcome barriers to change in your entity? You need to consider the following.

  • It is extremely important that you m ake people understand the reasons for change and the resultant benefits . Your people need to know the potential direct and indirect gains from the intended change. You should also let them know the opportunity cost of avoiding change. These are negative consequences of not changing. Intended results should be tangible and measurable. This is the starting point to overcome the barrier of resistance to change.
  • When you initially obtain a change buy-in from your workers, you minimizeize resistance. You can make use of opinion leaders, role models, influential people, allies etc at different levels of the organization. You can get this buy-in through creating adequate awareness and impartial knowledge. Psychological and emotional buy-in removals human barriers to change.
  • Take care of people's concerns, fears, preferences etc. You could even try developing and using alternative plans to implement your desired change. You can still achieve your goals and objectives through using approaches that are people friendly. Is not this reality?
  • You can also overcome barriers to change by involving people at all the different stages of change. Do not you think you can be more successful when you carry people along? Is not it vital to minimizeize resistance barrier? Can not you by involving people transform negative minded people into avid supporters of your change agenda?
  • Keep the communication line open always . Communication is power. Let people know what is happening at the various stages. Let them know the progress made so far, the critical success factors, the tipping point of change and any other relevant issues. This keeps people motivated and since able to weather the effects of change till the end.
  • Ensure that implementation of change is gradual and not too fast. If you want trouble with people in this world, just try changing them overnight. Have not you experienced this? For some people, even changing physical location against their will at short notice, such as flying from one city to another, may be viewed negatively. What about changing work tools, methods, approaches, reporting lines, bosses etc?
  • Make change thrilling and exciting , even backed by rewards and incentives for achieving certain milestones and you will certainly eliminate psychological barriers. People like fun, do not they? Never become too serious with your change agenda and forget that people are living beings.
  • The provision of required resources, tools, clear processes and procedures etc also help eliminate barriers to change. If you want to hear all sorts of complaints about uncaring bosses trying to implement change in the entity, introduce and implement change without the required resources. Even if you provide the resources hours or days later, no one will be willing to proceed with you.
  • We can not forget to talk about good leadership . Every organizational change program requires a capable change leader to skillfully manage change. Aspects of providing guidance, receiving and giving feedback, brainstorming and modification of change process etc all need good leadership.

The above approaches should help you overcome most human barriers to change, and as we stated earlier, the human aspect is the most vital in change management. Other aspects of change such as infrastructure, process, information technology etc in many cases do not present problems to the magnitude presented by people. There may also be some unique barriers to change that are applicable to specific situations. But if you are successful with the people aspect, then you have an extremely high chance of success with the overall change agenda.

In case you need more business management skills, visit The Wise Entrepreneur .

Respectfully,

Clayton Mwaka

How to Know When It’s Time to Leave

Sometimes change makes such a difference in the environment at work an employee is not comfortable remaining in the position. When this happens the employee must step up personally or help a teammate recognize the situation for what it is. Unless performance is suffering dramatically, the employee can make the decision to leave or remain…

Sometimes change makes such a difference in the environment at work an employee is not comfortable remaining in the position. When this happens the employee must step up personally or help a teammate recognize the situation for what it is. Unless performance is suffering dramatically, the employee can make the decision to leave or remain in a place where he / she is unhappy.

There are three general areas where change can affect an employee. In these instances it would be better for the employee to make the decision to leave rather than being terminated. Because the reality of the work world is if you are not contributing to the team, you will absolutely be let go. Let's look at each of these situations in more detail.

1. Health – Changes in procedures or job requirements can make physical demands that were previously non-existent. If a change creates health issues you must consider the long-term consequences. I am not referring to on-the-job injuries, where workers' compensation would be available. I am exploring changes to the normal physical requirements of an existing position. A transfer may be possible and should be attempted. If the option to make a temporary move does not exist, you must contemplate finding work more suitable to your physical conditioning.

2. Skills – In this highly competitive work environment more productivity is asked of many employees. Often jobs are combined after a lay off. You may find yourself in a situation where you new job duties require skills you do not possess. In all likelihood you will be allowed the opportunity to learn. After all management kept you and let your teammate go. But what if you do not want to learn these new skills or struggle with acquiring them? Or consider whenever you want to accumulate the additional responsibility and longer work hours the combined position will place on you. You may consider the option of looking for new work more suited to your existing skill set.

3. Attitude – This is harder to personally recognize. If you are unhappy and life at home is a constant, but work has changed dramatically, you might examine the connection. Often we hear about problems with our attitude from teams or management. One comment may not be significant, but two is a red flag. Once you have received feedback, you must look at potential causes. Introspection is not easy and making excuses is, but avoid that trap. I am saying if if two separate individuals confide you have an attitude problem … it exists. You can deal with it or wait until management does. When a change at work has resulted in your unhappiness, contemplating removing yourself from the situation.

One of the differences between being mature and immature is taking responsibility for your behavior. In the work world this means being aware of how change affects you and the impact this has on your team. Everyone can not adjust to every change. Sometimes you need to be the adult and move on. What do you think? Drop me an email.

Managing Your Stress in the Moment: A Skill Acquired by Heightening Your Emotional Intelligence

In all aspects of one's life, especially in the business world, heightened Emotional Intelligence (EI) strengthens and augments the following skills: • Coping successfully and proactively with life's demands and pressures. Stress Management • Building rewarding relationships with others, Social Skills. • Seeking first to understand, then to be understood. For example; Empathy, Respect and…

In all aspects of one's life, especially in the business world, heightened Emotional Intelligence (EI) strengthens and augments the following skills:

• Coping successfully and proactively with life's demands and pressures. Stress Management

• Building rewarding relationships with others, Social Skills.

• Seeking first to understand, then to be understood. For example; Empathy, Respect and Listening Skills

• The self-confidence to act with great authority and to handle tough decisions

• Leading by example

• Inspiring by example

• Getting the most out of others

• Establishing direction with a sense of clarity and understanding

• Motivating with encouragement and support

• Energizes with ease

• Not 'dropping the ball'

• Holding the big picture clearly enough to 'connect the dots'

• Seeing 'the glass as half full' …

• Effective time management

So, it can be seen that having a high EI is pretty important.

One of the skills necessary is the ability to manage stress in the moment. Try the following if you find yourself in a position when it is all too much:

Stress Management Technique:

• Take a break and leave the room. Find a quiet space, even the loo will do. Compose yourself by taking at least 3 deep breaths. As you exhale, imagine a little bit of the tension leaving your body. (I find visualizing a dark cloud dissipating helpful.)

• Gather your thoughts.

• Keep your focus on exactly what has been going on causing the stress. Is it the task itself? How about something more basic such as hunger or the space around you? Does it involve another person or people … What is missing?

• Once you know specifically what has thrown you out of balance, think about what you can do now to influence the situation.

• Consider all the steps required to find a solution. Make a list, if only a mental list. What can you do today, right now?

• Order your list in terms of priority. What has to be done first, then what?

• Consider the practicalities of your action plan. Is it realistic? Have you the time? Do you need advice or support? If so, which?

• Fine-tune the steps you consider necessary to resolve the situation. Keep things realistic to avoid feeling pressure.

• Having thought things through you may find the problem has changed in perspective. Adjust the plan accordingly.

• It is most import to ensure that any action you propose to take is in keeping with your personality and can be executed in a style that suits you.

• Remind yourself that life is constantly changing and the only thing you can control is your reaction to events – not the events!

Be aware that;

Improving Your Emotional Intelligence is a Constant Work in Progress

“One of the most rewarding results one derives from a heightened emotional intelligence is a core level calm – this permeates every facet of one's life. It prevails “knee jerk reactions” and allows time for one to cognitively review a situation and determine the best course of action from the beginning. “ 'Yvonne Larue'

Could You Be Facing A Glass Ceiling?

Whether your business is a fledgling start up or a fully established organization, long term success depends on moving through different stages over time. This involves recognizing when you are ready for the next stage, realizing you need to take action to make it happen, and then putting new approaches in place. The problem is…

Whether your business is a fledgling start up or a fully established organization, long term success depends on moving through different stages over time. This involves recognizing when you are ready for the next stage, realizing you need to take action to make it happen, and then putting new approaches in place.

The problem is that when you're busy working on day-to-day priorities, it is easy to miss the opportunities that could be waiting for your business just a little further down the line. This focus on the here and now creates a glass ceiling – an invisible barrier stopping you moving ahead.

Does this apply to you? A good pointer is to consider whether you are too busy to think and act in the interest of your business.

Specific symptoms include:

• Working too many hours?
• No time to think?
• Too busy looking after existing customers to find new ones?
• Making up for poorly-performing staff?
• Too busy to hire the staff you need?
• Too busy supporting yesterday's product?

There are many more. And businesses at different stages of growth will face different situations.

Typical Glass Ceiling Scenarios

For a startup, getting the first customer sale could be a glass ceiling. You have created the product or service; maybe formed a small team; sorted out promises, got a website up and running. Now, you must change your mindset from setting up to selling.

Tip: Concentrate on getting that ONE first sale at all cost. Leave no stone unturned. Once you have your FIRST sale, the second sale will soon follow

With a one-person business, the decision to hire staff often presents a glass ceiling. The workload is becoming too much for one person – but you have done everything yourself so far, and you are not sure the business can support two. How do you plan what things will look like with another person on board, adjusting to working with a colleague, and use the extra resource to make sales grow?

Tip: Hire, outsource or subcontract the mundane things where you add the least value, such as book keeping, packing and dispatch. Focus on core business activities.

In owner-managed businesses, delegation issues frequently create a glass ceiling. You found the business, you know the customers, you are closely involved in operations. But for a business to grow to its full potential, the owner needs to know when to step back and delegate so he or she can concentrate on longer-term strategy.

Tip: Identify other small owner managed business that complete what you do, and learn to work together on bigger or more complex jobs.

For a single product business, the largest glass ceiling is the creation of product number two. You are spending all your time handling sales and support for your current product, which gives you no time to think about what comes next. Yet to be successful in the long term, you need to get a second product under development well before sales start to drop on the first.

Tip: Hire, and delegate the activities that keep the flow of your first product success. Invest your time in product number two.

Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

Breaking through glass ceilings requires recognition, reflection and action. What is working? What is not? Why? What do you want to be different? What can you do differently?

Think about your business as an outsider would, involve your team, identify the challenges you face, look for new approaches that will help you move forward. Once you have ideas on the table, prioritize these and make a plan.

Tip: Create a step by step plan with meaningful milestones. This will be more effective than just having one long term goal.

All of this is, of course, easier said than done.

For this reason, many businesses bring in an outside business mentor or coach to help. An experienced advisor will listen to what you have to say, recognize where you are, suggest and explore ideas with you. They will also bring practical tools to the table, and help you implement new ways of working that will take you business through the glass ceiling and beyond.

Change Management – Small Business Executive Team Turnover

Change happens we all know that, but when it happens in a small company, a growing company with your executive team that's when the challenges really set in. There are many books on change management and the problems which occur with organizational capital on corporate boards. Still, with a proper leadership structure in place, they…

Change happens we all know that, but when it happens in a small company, a growing company with your executive team that's when the challenges really set in. There are many books on change management and the problems which occur with organizational capital on corporate boards. Still, with a proper leadership structure in place, they are able to deal with these things with just a little bit of intervention, and the right consultant to help them with the transition.

All too often small companies sometimes only 50 to 100 employees going through such a challenge can wreak havoc on quarterly profits and earnings. This means layoffs, lost sales, and curtailing future expansion plans. It also gives a leg up for the competition, as during the transitional chaos the company becomes vulnerable to any changes in the marketplace. Changes such as competitor sales, new technologies, new market entrants, or additional regulatory rules being made. When a company fails it's usually a comedy of errors, several things go wrong, it is not just one thing.

In that regard sometimes the worst possible scenario is to be flat flat-footed in any change management crisis where the executive team has turnover, or the loss of one of their key players. You see, philosophically speaking it's just like a chain. If every piece of the chain is strong the chain holds. If one of the links are weak the chain can not support the weight, and that's when the big letdown occurs. Often the changes in management are known or suspected in advance, and that allows time for a strategic transitional change.

The big problems occur when it is unexpected. When one team member leaves the company unannounced to take up work in another industry, pursue personal interests, or decides to leave after a personality dispute abruptly. Then there are the issues where one of the small business executives dies, and there is really no one ready to fill their shoes including either their right-hand man or assistant. So what's the answer? The answer is not only to anticipate that there will be changes, but to consider what to do in the unfortunate potential eventuality that any one member of the team or even a couple decide to leave.

Mapping out a plan in advance of what to do, who to move up the ladder is essential. Also making sure the up-and-coming individuals who are next in line are trained and ready to fill those shoes. All this can be done in advance preventing any type of change management crisis. The problem is most companies do not do this even though they should. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Recruiting After a Key Player Loss – A Change Management Topic

Not long ago, I was reading an interesting set of research papers from UCLA's business department. They had to do with organizational capital, and they briefly got into some change management topics. The reason I find all this fascinating is that before retirement I was the founder of a franchising company, and we were always…

Not long ago, I was reading an interesting set of research papers from UCLA's business department. They had to do with organizational capital, and they briefly got into some change management topics. The reason I find all this fascinating is that before retirement I was the founder of a franchising company, and we were always growing so fast it was very difficult to hire the right people for the team. Further, we kept producing master franchises in various regions of the country, and generally we would allow one of the people on our team to move over to help the new master franchise.

In this way we could ensure the success of the master franchise operation, but we also lost a key player in our own organization at headquarters. Sometimes we were moving people up the ladder so fast that no one had any real experience, except me. It got to the point where I was telling everyone what to do, and they were asking me what to do each step along the way because they did not trust themselves.

It took a while for them to grow into those shoes, and that time we really did not have as we were growing so fast. If you've never had this problem, you may not see the hardship here, but if you've ever worked in a fast-moving startup, or a franchising organization growing like a rocket ship then you know what I'm talking about.

One of the toughest things for me was recruiting key players from outside the company. You see our company was so unique, we could not take anyone from our own industry because we were the disrupters of the industry, we did everything differently. Since we were different and an organically grown company we could not take someone out of a corporation style management motif to come in and fill the spot because they were used to having a huge support organization, and we did not have that.

We were a group of freewheeling entrepreneurs, and a team that was working 17 hours a day with no days off. That just will not fly with someone who has worked in corporate America all their life, besides that their demands for compensation were generally far too steep for us to justify based on what we believe their abilities and work ethic would be.

Occasionally, we had to have a mini-management training system just for our executive staff, and we had to recruit people with little or no experience, but the desire to win and succeed. Generally speaking, those were people in their mid-20s with some business experience, some worldly knowledge, and a little bit of education to understand what business was really about. If you'd like to talk to me about this further on a much deeper level you may shoot me an e-mail.

Creativity: Not Just for Artists Rather an Exploration for All

Do you consider yourself to be a creative leader? Can you generate creativity on demand? As we press through challenging times, strive for ways to impact the bottom line, attempt to differentiate our products and services, and achieve that competitive edge, now more than ever, creative leadership is required. According to dictionary.com, “Creativity is defined…

Do you consider yourself to be a creative leader? Can you generate creativity on demand? As we press through challenging times, strive for ways to impact the bottom line, attempt to differentiate our products and services, and achieve that competitive edge, now more than ever, creative leadership is required.

According to dictionary.com, “Creativity is defined as” the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningfulful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc .; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: [for example,] the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts. ”

Many of us take the case that we either are or are not creative; we act as if it is a quality that we are either born with or not. In fact if you take the thumb test you will be able to gauge your creative strength. Typically the brain has two modes – one (left) that is more logical, linear, and language oriented. The other (right) is intuitive, visual and creative. Obviously, we work with both sides but we naturally bend one side over the other. Here's how this works:

When you fold your hands as pictured, people who place their right thumb on top of their left thumb tend to be left-brain dominant; theby demonstrating strong verbal and analytical skills. Those placing their left thumb on top of their right right tend to be a right-brain dominant; thus, excelling in visual, spatial and intuitive tasks. While not necessarily the strongest scientific evidence, this exercise does point to how easily convinced we are in our creative abilities or lack of them.

As Daniel Pink points out in his book, A Whole New Mind, the informational age has relied heavily on and rewarded professionals with strong analytical skills such as physicians, attorneys and accountants. However, he suggests that the way of the future, depends on those who are willing to hone in on their creative abilities as well as their logic.

Is it a lost cause, can a CPA or a lawyer possibly be creative? Indeed. Everyone can be innovative and creative; analogous to the promise that leaders are made, not born. What's required to enhance one's creative leadership competency?

The essential reasons for creative leadership are:

1. A willingness and courage to be taught;
2. The ability to question current realities and to think differently and newly;
3. A collaborative environment allowing for exploration, new ideas, play, full self expression and imagination.

Consider putting away the demands of maddening deadlines, the pressure to respond immediately to every email and text on your cell and in your inbox, the endless barrage of meetings, and the over-booked and overwhelming schedule. If you are going to train yourself and others in being more creative you must disrupt the high rate of operating speed to which you have become accustomed. Stop, think, partner, play, and create.

What do you have the courage to create?

3 Common Employee Reactions to Change

The old expression “Better the devil you know, than the devil you do not,” certainly applies to employee reactions to change. This is true whether the change will benefit or trouble the team. People tend not to look at the results of a pending change, but rather the impact of the process of change will…

The old expression “Better the devil you know, than the devil you do not,” certainly applies to employee reactions to change. This is true whether the change will benefit or trouble the team. People tend not to look at the results of a pending change, but rather the impact of the process of change will have on them.

In 1969 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote On Death and Dying , which outlines the stages or emotions people pass through when they are dying .. Over the years these stages have been applied to any loss. I propose that change in the workplace results in loss and employees will exhibit several of these stages. The process is not linear and every teammate does not check each box. However, recognizing these stages can help all teams deal with reactions to change and move the team toward its' goal.

1. Anger and / or depression : Some teammates will become quite angry at what will be required to accomplish the change. Resentment will arise over the extra work, the loss of control and the potential exit. The opposite side of this reaction is loss of morale or depression over perception of a decrease in prestige or increased responsibility. It is important to keep in mind these are emotional, not logical responses. Arguing with the teammate about the feelings is counter-productive. They are reacting to their perceptions not necessarily the reality of the situation. ACTION: The correct response is listening. Let your teammate know you are interested in their feelings and care about them. Reflect back on what they are telling you without judgment. Be their sounding board. In many cases simply expressing these feelings will allow them to move ahead.

2. Bargaining : Another common reaction is trying to put off the inevitable alterations to the routine. The employee will ask for allowances and postponements. The approach attempts to push the change process off in to the future, allowing the known routine to continue. ACTION: The best approach is to ask sufficient questions to determine if the delay requested can be justified from a business standpoint. No plan is completely infallible and often those implementing it will find a better approach to the same goal. If the request to modify the plan is justified, take it up with management complete with the details and advantages of the suggestion. If you determine the bargaining is simply a stall, let your teammate know the team will be staying with the appointed timetable.

3. Acceptance : Extremely all of the members of the team will either reach acceptance of the change or leave the company. The issue to examine with this stage is whether your camps “buy-in” to the change or are simply “rolling with the punch.” Obviously accepting the change is desirable, because this acceptance motivates the team to reach goals quickly and efficiently. ACTION: Some teammates will simply take their anger or depression underground. If the morale of a teammate is low, talking with them privately can help bring out the cause. Ask open-ended questions. “What are your thoughts on the change?” Egypt “How do you think the new procedures are working?” Stay away from closed-ended questions that can be answered with a single word response. “Do you like the change?” or “Are the new procedures working?” By getting the teammate to talk, you can often get them to express their feelings. Sometimes there are misconceptions you can clear up. Other times the changes have replied in less enjoyment or interest in work. If the employee is no longer happy with work, it might be time for a personal change.

Teams work best when teams are communicating freely with each other and enjoy working together. Changes in the workplace will have different effects on the team. You can help move your team toward its' goals by understanding employee reactions to change and taking the appropriate action.

Virtual Office: Some Important Rules to Remember for a Successful Change

Thinking about where your workplace is located, is your answer is “in my computer and in my smartphone” then it is maybe the time for your business to go virtual. There's a few reasons why a company would consider 'going virtual': Less waste of time commuting each morning to a workplace. Less waste of money…

Thinking about where your workplace is located, is your answer is “in my computer and in my smartphone” then it is maybe the time for your business to go virtual.

There's a few reasons why a company would consider 'going virtual':

  • Less waste of time commuting each morning to a workplace.
  • Less waste of money in hiring a building or an office and spending money for transport.
  • Less stress in traveling during the busiest time of the day.

Of course, there are some rules to follow to avoid some huge disadvantages, whatever is the size of the company you are working for.

Being clear in who does what and when.

Self-employed, with a partner or employee in a big company there are always some usual tasks to do. Delegate these tasks to people and keep records of that. It is going to make things easier for your fellow workers to know who, when and what they have to do.

'Schedule' should become your favorite word!

Because you do not have to go back home by the end of the day you will not realize that your working time is over. Schedule your time with clear working hours and do not do overtime! Your family and social life should also be important.

Do not forget that human contact is good.

Skype, messengers, phone … all this technology allows you to keep a strong relationship with others, but let's face it: there is nothing better than meeting people for building a team spirit or creating a business partnership.

Try to find a central meeting rooms to rent, near a tube and train station. A quick research in Google might give you some idealally located meeting rooms to rent at a reasonable cost, like The Space Center, in London King's Cross.

Keep Your computer out of your Bedroom .

You probably will not let your kids stay up all night long in front of their computer. They may be tired the next day and doing bad at school. The same thing must apply for yourself. In fact, your mind and body needs to get some rest to stay focused the day after and keep your productivity.

Stay motivated by creating goals

Set up goals that are attainable but that keep you motivated to get up every morning happy to work. When working without any co-worker, you will be the only one who can motivate himself!

Good luck in your “going virtual” experience!

Magic: Are Things As They Appear in Your Organization?

Being a leader is sometimes like being a magician. Whether you are leading yourself, your family, a sports team, a community effort, a small business, or a corporate enterprise, magic is required. When asked to describe magic, a client's grand-children explained magic this way: Jack, age 8, said, “Magic is when there is a rabbit…

Being a leader is sometimes like being a magician. Whether you are leading yourself, your family, a sports team, a community effort, a small business, or a corporate enterprise, magic is required. When asked to describe magic, a client's grand-children explained magic this way: Jack, age 8, said, “Magic is when there is a rabbit in a hat and it hops away.” And Joey, age 6, claimed that “Magic is making things disappear”.

Many of the executives with what we work are accelerating change in their companies; some because they are being forced to and others because they want to.

Globally we continue to be in a state of uncertainty financially, economically and innovatively. Nationally, while the US is working to climb out of this malaise, we are still very much at risk and being bombarded with mixed signals at all levels. Generally speaking, capital markets remain volatile, our presidential election process is shameful, the cost of living is escalating, pending health legislation is troublesome, unemployment remains high, the health and well-being of our people are poor and values ​​are in jeopardy.

As current events and situations change for us personally, organizationally and globally, inadvertently prevails. When change is perceived as a threat we often react in a flurry of thoughtlessness and automaticity; in other words, “survival mode” takes over. As one executive commented recently, “my only question is what happened to team?”

Following a stellar and lengthy period as a high performing organization, this team fade back into old ways, familiar practices and predictable mindsets. Dynamics of separatism, isolation, frustration, and a lack of appreciation and affinity for one another were once again operational.

As change within this organization occurred, threats were perceived by team members and before long, this team reverted back to a condition or a mindset of fear and mediocrity. In survival mode, the responsibility and accountability of leaders are often driven from what we “know”. Our past experiences, habits, practices and routines can quickly become a reduction to success. To clarify, our past is not necessarily fruitless but may indeed be inadequate for what's at stake.

Think about it, the pull for comfort, predictability and certainty is astoundingly strong at times. It's like gravity – always present and pervasive, yet we do not notice it. At some level we will always fall back to what we know, and with what we are familiar and comfortable. As the current mindset reverts to one of survival, business results will also directly correlate; thus, inviting further mediocrity and lackluster performance.

Fortunately, this team is in a very short period of time, distinguished by its behavioral shift and is now hard at work in designing next steps. Once identified and examined, leaders have a say in the organization's future. Kudos to this team's fierce commitment to excellence.

It is imperative that leaders be relentless in the examination of current mindsets and in the pursuit of new thinking. Have you ever not taken an action consistent with your thinking?

“Magic is the disappearance of old mindsets and practices that do not serve you, your team and your customers wherever anything makes possible,” declares Eunice Carpitella.

What magic are you making happen?

How Your Office Uniform May Help Your Employees Deal With Change

No one likes change, and in a perfect universe, we would not have to deal with it. Or, at least, change would not be so hard. This is the real world, though, and change happens every day. Many times, it can not be avoided, especially in business when change is sometimes necessary for survival. However,…

No one likes change, and in a perfect universe, we would not have to deal with it. Or, at least, change would not be so hard. This is the real world, though, and change happens every day. Many times, it can not be avoided, especially in business when change is sometimes necessary for survival. However, changes in your company can often trigger anxiety in your employees.

Every employee is going to react differently to change. Some may resist it intensely, while others may simply become anxious about it. This is because individuals crave routine and consistency in their lives, and a change in your company is often seen as an uncertain and sometimes threatening feature.

While your employees' office wear may seem insignificant, it can actually make a difference when your workers are facing changes within the company. How? We have outlined a few of the reasons in the following.

Company Clothing and Change

  • Reinforce Trust- If you were to read an article about the benefits of corporate clothing for companies, one of the main benefits that would catch your eye is its use in establishing trust and loyalty in the company. Even when your employees are anxious about a change that is occurring, company clothing can still provide this benefit. Employees will still see your company as a trustworthy and established business, and will remain loyal to you because the clothing you provide to them tells them you are loyal to them.
  • Reinforce Teamwork- Your main reason for providing your employees with apparel uniforms was most likely to establish teamwork. Your thoughts were that if they were all wearing the same uniform, they would be more likely to see each other as equals and work together. These thoughts still hold true, and are essential during any change in your company. Instead of falling apart, corporate clothing can actually help your employees stick together as a team and continue pushing forward.
  • Stability- It can be extremely difficult to see a company changing. The hierarchy may be shifting, the rules may be changes, and new faces may be present. For many employees, it can feel like the end of the world. Nothing is consistent anymore; there is no routine. And while you are trying to get your business back on the road to success, your employees are anxiously searching the classifieds, just in case it all goes wrong. Why such chaos? Because your employees need stability. They need to know the company they work for will be there the next morning; they need something concrete to hold onto. That is where office wear comes in handy. Because your employees wear it every day, this clothing from uniform suppliers gives them a small bit of stability they would not have otherwise. It lets them see that, while some things are changing, not everything is.

While it may be difficult for you to understand the true benefits of corporate clothing, there are many. If your company is going through changes, make sure you give your employees the stability and consistency they need by providing them with corporate wear.

Employee Background Checks Policy – 5 Basic Needs to Avoid Conflicts and Discrimination!

Have you reviewed your employee background checks policy recently? If not, then it's the right time to ensure best practice and adopt the fair background check norms. Every organization is committed to protecting the security, safety, and health of employees. safeguarding the assets and resources of the company, and assuring individuals in responsible positions are…

Have you reviewed your employee background checks policy recently? If not, then it's the right time to ensure best practice and adopt the fair background check norms.

Every organization is committed to protecting the security, safety, and health of employees. safeguarding the assets and resources of the company, and assuring individuals in responsible positions are worthy of the trust they are given. Thus, employers also have the responsibility to adopt a proper employee checks policy to maintain compliance with FCRA standards.

What Not to Forget about the Employee Background Checks Policy?

So what does an employee check consist of, and how do you do one? While background search were traditionally done by the police, today there are many local and national private background screening companies that offer screening services. Like most things, you get what you pay for.

A simple online check will provide quick, basic information, while a comprehensive employee check can cost hundreds of dollars and take considerably more time. Either way, the purpose is to give some insight into person's character based on past actions and records. Depending on the extent of check required, it can provide information about a person's financial, criminal and even personal history, including bankruptcies, motor vehicle tickets and employment records.

Employee background searches are very sensitive as they can make or break a career of a prospective employee or a current employee. Discrimination is the largest reason which affects employee checks. And this is why policy document is highly recommended that includes, at a minimum the following components.

5 Basic Needs of Employee Background Search Policy to Avoid Conflicts & Discrimination!

Background Checks Policy Level 1 – High Risk Positions:

There are “Positions of Trust” which require optimum level of scrutiny and background searches and this include the people who have access to the financial accounts of the company, citizen or personal information, proprietary information, asset information or any other critical information related to company .

Background Checks Policy Level 2 – All the Other Employees:

Level two addresses all the other employees working in a position of trust, or who routinely have access to any kind of personally identifiable information or other sensitive information, complete a comprehensive screening that includes criminal records check, education verification, credit history verification, employment history and when needed drug testing and driving records can also considered.

Background Checks Policy Level 3 – Criteria for Disqualification:

Level three defines the criteria of disqualification during background screening process of the current employee and the prospective job applicant to avoid conflicts.

Background Checks Policy Level 4 – Rechecking After Every 3 Years

After every three years, an “update” of employee check will be done on existing employees and contractors in positions of trust.

Background Checks Policy Level 5 – Criteria of Passing Background Checks

An employment checks policy that establishes specific passing criteria as a condition of employment.

Price Versus Quality and Return on Investment (ROI)

How to Lower Standards Those 'smart' people, who are so incredibly short sighted that they can not see anything beyond the price, contribute heavily to the lower of standards in every way they can. In fact, they contribute to lowering the grade of both services and products because they do not wish to, or are…

How to Lower Standards

Those 'smart' people, who are so incredibly short sighted that they can not see anything beyond the price, contribute heavily to the lower of standards in every way they can. In fact, they contribute to lowering the grade of both services and products because they do not wish to, or are unable to tell the difference when it comes to content, structure, methodology and most important of all value creation and return on investment.

I am not speaking here of fair market competition where it is about offering better services at lower prices with comparable quality and grade due to innovation or breakthrough technology or ideas. What I am talking about is comparing 'apple to watermelon' and bargaining on price as if there really is an 'apple to apple' comparison.

How do the 'apple to melon' people do it? Well it is easy; they have a number of things in common:

1. Their egos are somehow connected to their ability to bargain and haggle over prices.

2. They believe they have scored a victory when they get a lower price.

3. They do not understand the connection between lower prices and lower quality and grade.

4. They mistakenly assume that they have actually won something when in fact all they have done is contributed to the lower of commitment to quality and interest in maintaining high standards. *

5. Ignorance of consequences or worse, individuation to the impact on quality, standards and outcome.

Here is a recent example from my own experience. I select this example not because it unique, but because it is so typical of the general mentality of those who believe that pressuring suppliers to lower prices is 'smart' and actually helps them.

A certain client decides that the expert in Training Trainers is someone who has a rare limited exposure to the field of education, psychology, curriculum and instructional design and professional training. The experience that they refer to as 'expertise' amounts to a Train the Trainer workshop at a hotel chain and experience as an internal trainer at the same hotel chain. Other qualifications the competitive supplier has a university degree and some exposure as an independent trainer at other companies.

Now they are comparing the qualifications above to those of an expert trainer with qualifications that look like this:

1. A personal investment of USD 25, 000 per year with world-restructured trainers and coaches in order to keep on the cutting edge of developments in the field of learning, training and development.

2. 40 years of practical experience in the field of education, learning, development and management.

3. Academic qualifications at the doctoral level in both the performing arts and change management.

4. Professional qualifications in Hypnotherapy (100 hours), Training Trainers (500 hours), Strategic Intervention (150 hours) and many others too numerous to list here. These are supported by 5 to 20 years of practical application and refinement.

5. Designing, developing and authoring numerous training programs and workshops.

6. The most important achievement however, is the positive impact of that trainer on thousands of lives through the workshops delivered over the years and the testimonials both oral and written attesting to the benefits received.

So when the discussion is about price instead of Return on Training Investment (ROTI) here are the losses:

1. The cost of training includes the time of the participants as well as the opportunity loss incurred when people are away from their jobs

2. The limited learning and exposure they will receive from a less qualified and experienced trainer.

3. The poor transfer of skills to the job due to insufficient skill training during the workshop.

4. The design of the workshop in terms of the specific knowledge and skill sets included and sequencing of the content in such a way that the program leads to sufficient competency for the trainee to apply the skills with confidence after the training.

5. The take away materials such as references, aide memoirs in the form of templates, reference materials and online resources that can be used after the workshop.

6. The actual training methodology that is applied during the workshop itself – that serves as important modeling opportunity for best practices in training

7. Finally the capacity of the trainer him / herself to serve as a role model because of their expertise and the humanity

All of the above is lost when we focus mainly on price. Here are some interesting analogies:

Organically produced food is less costly to your health in the long run. Although the initial cost is higher because it is not mass produced, it has more nutrients and is free of harmful chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides.

Flying 'First Class is less costly in the long run because you are fit to function when you arrive at your destination and you save time with fast check in and departure from airports

A 5-Star restaurant is more expensive than a fast-food outlet but the quality, taste and nutritional value of the food is superior and its contribution to obesity is far less.

Going to a qualified doctor is less costly in the long run because you are more certain that you will not damage your health by taking poor advice or in appropriate medication from unqualified but well meaning 'friends' and acquaintances.

There will always be someone who can make the product or service a little worse and a little cheaper. So where do you draw the line?

It is neither reasonable nor logical to take two things that may belong to the same category of products or services – for example cars or training services and expect to say because one is lower priced, the other, regardless of grade or standard, should be the same. No two services or products are exactly the same – they will differ in content, materials, grade and method of delivery!

We all know that real diamonds and rhinestones are not comparable and no one in their right mind would argue that because the rhinestones look like diamonds, the diamonds should there before be sold to them at the same price as the rhinestones. So why does that logic escape some apparently 'smart' business people ???

In light of the 'diamond analogy', one could conclude that it reasonable to consider and compare price to the exclusion of all other elements.

So why would services provided by people with different levels of expertise and capabilities be any different from products?

(If all they care about is price why should anyone worry about offering high standards? enough quality to keep the business running.)

I would really like to hear what experiences others have had regarding 'price discussions' and bargaining games. Visit our website and share your experiences.