Posts Tagged ‘Productivity’

13 Reasons Why Your Marketing Isn’t Soaring With The Eagles – Part 2

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Continued from last time – 5 more reasons – Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working…

You’re not persistent enough

Very rarely does any single marketing effort – one ad, one mailing, one promotion – produce a dramatic result. If you’ve got your two feet on the ground, you’ll look for long-term, solid, predictable returns.

Plan your marketing to produce realistic results, and rejoice when something works better than you expected.

Test your propositions (As a matter of fact, test everything).

And keep at it. Marketing is not a function that should be performed by the weak-at-heart, the impatient, or the imprudent.

You forget about the people who have bought from you before

It’s much cheaper, and often a lot easier, to sell to someone who has bought from you in the past – at least so long as it was a pleasant experience for the buyer – than it is to try to attract new customers.

So, why, oh why, do most businesses concentrate almost all their energies on trying to drum up new business?

Have you got something against the people who have bought from you, or used your services, before? Were they rude to you?

Then, why are you neglecting them?

Here’s the order in which you should be directing your marketing:
• Getting existing customers to buy more, and/or more often.
• Going back to people who have bought from you in the past and reactivating them.
• Enticing new customers.

You don’t get back to your customers often enough

See above, then consider this:

People need to be constantly reminded what you can do for them … how you can help them – at least every 90 days.
• Do you believe that it annoys your customers when you do this?
• Are you embarrassed about doing it?
• Don’t think it’s worth the effort? Think again.
You have to create a regular program for communicating with prospects and existing customers (don’t give them a chance to turn into “past” customers), and you have to keep it up until;

… they buy from you, or
… you have no option but to give them up as a lost cause.

You don’t move your customers up the loyalty ladder

Once someone has bought from you, and you have followed them up to make sure that everything involved with the sale went smoothly, then it’s time to move that person up the loyalty ladder.

If he or she has other problems to solve, and the money to solve them, you’re the man! (or woman, of course).

Every time you successfully conclude a deal with a customer, that customer grows a little closer to you, and becomes increasingly easy to sell things to. So, you keep moving him or her up the loyalty ladder:
• From a prospect to a customer,
• From a customer to a regular customer,
• From a regular customer to an advocate of your business…
• and from an advocate to a raving fan!

You don’t get to the point
The best marketing is simple, precise … and straight to the point. No beating around the bush. … no cutesy-cutesy pandering. You find out what the prospect’s problem is and, in the simplest, most direct terms, you tell the prospect how you’re going to solve that problem.

Marketing isn’t about art … it isn’t about winning literary or design awards.

Ultimately, it’s about selling – successfully, efficiently, and economically. Get to the point. Tell them why it’s in their best interests to pick up the phone right now and buy whatever you’re offering … before it’s too late. And the only way to do this is to tell them what’s in it for them.

And an extension of this issue is this:

Answer the “why” question.

If your product is higher priced than your competitors’, tell them why. If your product is better, tell them why. The more factual, credible and believable the reasons you give, the more likely they are to give you the business.

Consider this: I am the customer and I want to know … FAST!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler

 

 

Stress and Sleep – Part 2

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Stress is an unavoidable and, to a large degree, a potentially positive force in our lives. Like all forces, the art lies in learning to manage the force to our advantage rather than to allow ourselves to be its passive victim. Or as Obewon Kanobe would say, “May the Force be with you.”

In the business context, stress is what you undergo when your body is switched into “fight or flight” mode. The causes of stress can be internal (imaginary) or external (“real”).

As with visualization, it matters little to your mind which category the trigger falls into – if it’s vividly imagined, its “real” to your mind!

Controlling Stress:

You have the choice of managing stress “on the way in”, or “on the way out”.

On the Way In: The only successful method of being preemptive in controlling stress, is to have a positive outlook – a positive philosophy or understanding of how the world works, and what your place is in the scheme of things.

It is never important what happens to you, but how you interpret and understand it. Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude, and develop a meaningful philosophy.

For example, if you were to view Life as “a challenging learning process, which carries a guarantee that you will never be challenged beyond your means” you might find that you welcome change, and look about within your own resources for the means that you know must be there to meet it.

Sounds like a winner to me.

Always see yourself as winning!

On the Way Out: Your body’s normal reaction to Stress is an extreme one. In physiological terms, it consists, among other things, of the injection of a number of natural chemical stimulants into your bloodstream. These substances are mildly toxic; their by-products are even more so. Your body is designed to flush them during the severe physical activity that they are intended to induce.

Since our current society induces stress, but does not sanction violent physical responses, you need find an opportunity to allow your body to go through the process of purging the stress by-products.

You can do this in two ways:
1. Actively: Through gross impact exercises, which mimic the “fight or flight” reaction and flush the system of stress toxins: Racquet Ball, Squash, Weightlifting, Aerobics, Swimming, Power Walking all assist the body in processing – and neutralizing the toxic by-products of stress.

2. Passively: There are a range of techniques you can learn that will effectively “process” stress out of your system, including:

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation techniques in which you learn to guide yourself into a deeply relaxed state. These can be learned using physical and mental disciplines (i.e. yoga) or by employing biofeedback mechanisms which enable you to gain greater control over what were previously assumed to be autonomic processes (heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, etc).
  • Restorative Therapies: These include Hydrotherapy (warm, moving water induces relaxation in muscles, with a subsequent relaxation of the mind); Sauna (induces increased blood flow and autonomic relaxation); Massage (induces relaxation, can release body-retained stresses).
  • Autogenic Training such as self-induced deep relaxation or true Meditation (at 7-14 brain cycles per second) for around 20 minutes a day. Deep prayer also comes into this category. Each of these types of technique enables you to put your body into a unique state which enables it to “backwash” its system, and process stress toxicity as well as carrying out a number of other processes in which the brain integrates recent stressful events into its system of understanding, values and knowledge (in much the same way we do when dreaming).

Well, there you have it. Some positive approaches to handle stress and sleep.

To your better health and a brighter future!

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Stress and Sleep – Part 1

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

So how are you sleeping nowadays? Need a little work perhaps?

Everyone needs their sleep, but for any business executive, sleep and renewal are important for two key reasons:
• To repair the physical wear and tear of a day of business.
• To “subconsciously process” the stressful events of the day, thus helping to reset our emotional “clocks” for the next day.

Sleep and Emotion:

Research has proven that REM (rapid eye movement or “dreaming”) sleep is crucial for the processing of stress. REM-deprived laboratory subjects are demonstrably less able to handle the normal stresses and strains of daily life.

They are much more likely to make mountains out of molehills. They are much more likely to over-react and to make poor decisions.

Along with a reasonable quality of sleep (i.e. at a dreaming level) we also need a reasonable quantity of sleep for optimal recovery.

Just how much is “enough” sleep is highly individualistic, but something in the range of five to eight hours is considered “normal” – that’s five to eight hours of sleep, not tossing and turning, and “horizontal worrying”.

Strategies for Better Sleep:

  1. Ensure that your room is DARK. Light is a switch that turns the brain on. You are just another energizer bunny battery pack!
  2. Cool rooms induce sleep more certainly than warm rooms, but a higher body temperature during sleep deepens sleep and increases the body’s production of melanin. (The more melanin you have, the better functioning is your Pineal gland, the more awake you are in the daytime and the deeper you sleep at night).
  3. If you exercise regularly, doing so after 4pm is likely to leave you physically “discharged” and so to induce sleep.
  4. Reduce or abstain from caffeinated products (tea, colas, aspirin, chocolate) for at least 4 hours before sleeping.
  5. Don’t drink liquids after 7pm. A walk to the toilet disturbs sleep patterns unnecessarily.
  6. Reduce or abstain from nicotine (powerful stimulant) after 7pm.
  7. Do not drink alcohol to induce sleep. While it can induce sleep, studies suggest it interferes with the duration of REM sleep. You may sleep 8 hours on a couple of scotches, but will wake feeling less refreshed than from non alcohol induced sleep.
  8. Generally it is not a good strategy to take medication designed to induce sleep. Like alcohol, these interfere with REM, and introduce tolerance and dependence issues you can do without. But there is an exception: Where the “habit” of sleeping for an extended period of time without interruption has been so badly eroded that a “re-boot” is required, it may be useful to use a short course (say 7 nights) of a light-dose sleeping assist to reestablish the habit. Then move off the medication (by progressively reducing the dose to nothing over the next week) to allow your system to find its own new rest pattern.
  9. Establish a regular pattern of preparation for sleep, starting 15 minutes before you intend to lie down. Even if disrupted by travel, attempt to maintain the same actions and sequence whenever possible. Do this for a night or two and you’ll actually feel yourself beginning to become drowsy as you go through your motions.
  10. If you have chronic sleeping problems reserve your bed for ONLY sleep, so that you associate it with only this activity. Avoid writing letters, eating, or watching TV in bed.
  11. Turn your bedside clock around. This is especially helpful for clock watchers who worry so much about sleep they’ve missed, that they miss some more checking to see how much they have left! Cure: For 3 weeks, set a “mental alarm” to wake at the same time each day, and a physical alarm (smart phone or clock) somewhere out of sight, but within hearing. Don’t be surprised if, after a few nights, you begin to wake naturally, a minute or two before your alarm. You now have a new habit and a knack for waking when you want just by setting your brain to do that.
  12. If, after some period of time, you have not fallen asleep, get out of bed, go to another room, do not eat or drink, and do not watch TV, do “fun” things, and don’t do “work”. Read quietly, or meditate, and only go back to bed when sleepy.
  13. If you need to nap during the day, limit these to power naps of less than 20 minutes. This avoids the groggy hangover of a siesta, provides refreshment and avoids the risk of interfering with your regular sleep period.

So there you have it.

I think I’ll just take a little nap. See you next time.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Do You Love Your Work?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

That is a question that many people ask themselves. It led me to think about my own work path and the opportunities I’m given to Coach Clients to realize their “true path” within their business.

Paolo Coelho in his book “Love Your Path,” points out that it is often less a case of “changing everything” than it is a case of “seeing what was always there.” The aspects of their current role that draw most positively upon their spirit and their intelligence, the aspects that truly inspire them, and at which they (can) excel.

Some ideas:

1. Your Path doesn’t last forever. Gerber said, “Run your business as though you are getting ready to sell it”. It’s sound advice; makes you keep everything tidy; grows the people around you; polishes the brand; and puts you in an excellent position to take an exit – or a growth – opportunity whenever one presents. Or not.

2. Your Path begins anew every day with the choices you make: What to focus upon; which of two or more tasks to tackle; whether to do or to delegate; whether to look far or near – plan or make-work. Your true Path lies along the line of those tasks that make you and those around you grow.

3. Be well-equipped. Take every opportunity along your Path to collect small tools: a vision to inspire and guide you all; knowledge that will sustain you; processes to challenge and grow everyone; values to keep you all on the Path; systems to leverage and honor the time of all; and goals to inspire excellence.

4. Honor your Path. It’s never what you do, it’s how you do it that changes you. Put the best of yourself into what you do and it will put the best of itself into you. Respect your work of choice and it will respect your soul, and change you.

5. Take care of your Path before other paths. Be aware of, but not distracted by the paths of the market, the economy and your competitors. Know that sometimes the ground is soft and favors widening your path, and other times it is hard and warrants a narrowing.

6. Your Path goes backward as well as forward. At times you have to go back to retrieve a lesson or knowledge, or to make good on something that was overlooked. If your Path is clear, it is easy to travel in both directions.

7. Paths cross. You will encounter others traveling paths that appear easier than yours and be tempted to follow them. Listen, reflect, look back, then make a decision without regret. Investment banking is not as smooth as it once looked.

8. Be constant. Some tasks like tax returns, bank reconciliations and performance reviews may not be as exciting as selling, inventing or window-dressing – but they are necessary to a smooth path. Constancy keeps your Path in good order.

9. The territory you traverse just is. Your market has seasons, weather and terrain, all of which are beyond your control, so don’t complain, learn their patterns, prepare, and make the most of them.

10. Your Path becomes a mirror of you. When you look into your work, whatever displeases you is of your making, so either accept it or change it; and whatever pleases you is of your making, so accept it, and use it to understand yourself a little more.

11. Love your Path. If you’re not on the path for fun, personal growth, to help others and to make a profit, then what the hell are you doing there?

If you’re waking up most mornings and not wanting to go to work, it’s probably an excellent investment of a few minutes to email me rich@rich-kohler.com for a chat about Rediscovering Your Passion.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Multi-tasking – It’s Not the Answer

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

There is strong evidence emerging that multitasking is not all it’s cracked up to be. Surprised? Well in fact Dr. Edward Hallowell, a Massachusetts-based psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, describes it as a “mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously.” Hallowell titled his book, rather aptly, “Crazy Busy”.

He claims “Attention Deficit Trait” is rampant in the business world as a result of our attempting to use our brain in a way that evolution has not developed it to act. In simple terms, we have evolved to be single-focused in our tasking, and any attempt to multi-focus appears to strike a “response selection bottleneck”.

So What’s the Cost?

The cost of that bottleneck can be frightening: In a 2007 New York Times article Jonathan B. Spira, an analyst at the business research firm Basex, estimated that extreme multitasking (or “information overload”) costs the US economy $650 billion a year in lost productivity.

The sometimes-fatal consequences of attempting to multitask mobile phones with driving have been clearly recognized – and legislated against – but that has not stopped us breeding a generation who exhibit technical and intellectual ability coupled with extreme impatience, dissatisfaction with slowness, and discomfort with silence: “I get bored if it’s not all going at once, because everything has gaps – waiting for a website to come up, commercials on TV, etc.”

Even those who believe we will “evolve out of this” and eventually master our input-overloaded environment, have found that multitasking contributes to the release of stress hormones and adrenaline which, if not controlled, can cause long-term health problems and contribute to a loss of short-term memory. The reason that memory suffers, appears to lie in the fact that, when multitasking, learning is less flexible and more specialized and so information retrieval is more difficult.

Less, Not More Efficient

For those readers over the age of 16, the last word probably goes to Russell Poldrack, a psychology professor at the University of California who said, “We’re really built to focus. And when we sort of force ourselves to multitask, we’re driving ourselves to perhaps be less efficient in the long run, even though it sometimes feels like we’re being more efficient.”

For those who are hiring 16 year olds, however, the future may be a bit brighter: They may be adapting through “acquired inattention” – the habit of ignoring much of what is going on around them to – guess what – focus on the task at hand!

That’s not multi-tasking. That’s single-tasking in a multi-distracting universe.

Call to Action

So, is it time to look at your own work habits and those you influence around you, and see if there is anything that you can do to minimize the temptation or demand to multi-task? Could you trial a “Single Tasking Day” one day a week and measure the effect on everyone?

On output?

On stress levels?

For a real solution to multi-tasking, that will let you get twice as much done, on time, in time, and with half the stress, why not ask me to assist you with a real solution to your Time Management challenge?

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

“No Cost” Productivity Strategies

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

How often have you looked up and realized that you missed lunch? Maybe even missed dinner? Today’s “work…work…work” mentality has taken a toll on employees performance, job satisfaction and health.

Today’s 24/7/365 world of technology and instant gratification has transformed every aspect of modern life – most dramatically how we work. While technology and automation has made many tasks easier, it has also bred a whole host of issues in the workplace.

We need to dispel the myth that more hours spent at work leads to more productivity. I am going to make a case for taking physical and mental breaks throughout the day, and how these breaks will transform teams from upper management to support staff.

The average American worker spends 9.2 hours per day at work – and approximately 30% are skipping lunch or eating at their desk. The vast majority of workers can access their email and desktops on their smartphones. This has now become “normal”. Furthermore, it has become expected in many companies that key team members make themselves available anytime, anywhere. This change in work structure and expectations are linked to increased stress and employee dissatisfaction. This then snowballs into increased absenteeism, increased health insurance costs, loss of productivity, and staff turnover. Not exactly the direction leading to higher productivity and performance.

There are some simple changes that can be made to reverse what ails the modern workplace. The easiest solution is to take breaks throughout the day. Here is a breakdown on how breaks can increase productivity, performance and decrease healthcare costs:

• 15 seconds – decrease mental fatigue and preserve eyesight by looking away from the computer for 15 seconds every ten minutes.
• 30 seconds to 5 minutes – can increase mental acuity by 13%, increase focus and productivity.
• 2 minutes – stand up and stretch for 2 minutes every hour to increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and overall fatigue.
• 5 minutes – away from typing on a keyboard or clicking a mouse can combat hand, wrist and forearm pain.
• 6 minutes – the optimal amount of time spent every 80 minutes, taking a break from all types of work to increase productivity and mental acuity.
• 20 minutes – while not always an option, a 20 minute walk can help to mentally recharge and decrease physically fatigue.

The average manager spends 2 days per week in meetings, many longer than they need to be. In addition to taking breaks, the structure of meetings can also be changed to increase productivity, participation and efficiency. Conducting standing meetings – physically standing – will increase focus on the agenda, garner full attention of the attendees, and perhaps allow for less time in the boardroom, more time implementing what was discussed.

When weather permits, having outdoor meetings with one or two staff members can increase not only focus, but can have benefits that are realized throughout the day. Fresh air and change of surroundings will increase mental acuity and mood. Employee satisfaction and retention can also be positively impacted by taking business outdoors.

The BIG takeaway: take little breaks throughout the day and changing how you conduct meetings to get a dramatic effect on your, as well as your team’s, mental acuity, efficiency, and thus productivity. Lead by example, take a break from the computer and phone, get up and take a walk around the office. While you are stretching, encourage your staff to do the same.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Top Strategies for Developing Your Team – Part 3

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Great businesses, great staff and great teams don’t just “happen” any more than an 100-storey sky-scraper just “happens” – there is vision, planning and skill in achieving either.

Last week we covered Points 7-10, so this week we will outline the remaining strategies for developing your staff:

11. Create An Investment Plan With All Staff

If you’re going to set yourself apart from the crowd and establish a truly brilliant business, you are going to need one essential ingredient, and that is a truly brilliant team!

Truly brilliant teams don’t happen by accident, and they don’t come cheap! Not that they have to cost a lot of money, but they will require a significant investment of time and planning – mixed with a passion for excellence – if they are to form in the first place, and grow thereafter!

You’ll need to give some thought as to what you will need to invest in each of your team members to bring them to a level of competence and commitment that will make them your strongest and most valuable asset. The obvious candidates are “training” and “positive work experience”, but the less obvious candidates can be even more important: “inclusion”, “security”, “recognition”, “belonging”, “personal and professional growth” and more.

Then you’ll need to develop a process for delivering both the invitation to growth and personal investment, and then the actual experiences, agreements, understandings, and culture that will make that growth a highly likely outcome.

You could always start this process with a briefing on your desire for and interest in their personal and professional growth. This would be followed by an outline of the knowledge and skill training that you will provide, support or require them to complete, but it won’t stop there. In fact, the picture won’t be finished until you have created a culture where people learn and grow and support each other as a matter of course.

So, how would you do that?

12. Find Out What Makes Them Tick

We’d hope that you had a fair idea of what makes your new (and old) team members tick before you selected them. This point re-iterates the fact that it’s nearly useless trying to motivate people with your “external goals” – i.e., goals or rewards that you provide as opposed to their own internal, private or personal goals.

Much smarter to align the rewards you place on the behavior you want, to a team member’s achieving their own, personal goals. For example, rather than talking about their hitting a sales or other performance target to qualify for a bonus, you might ask them what they feel they need to be doing to hit the performance goal that is going to put the deposit on their new car/house/boat/toy.

Ask yourself, which one of these approaches is likely to gain the most buy-in from John:
• “Come on John, how can I help you hit your sales goal for the month, and qualify for your bonus?”; or
• “Come on John, how can I help you get that deposit for your new sport car?”

The second point in this step is to be aware that “people’s motives change over time.” You need a process for staying in touch with those changes as they occur in each member of your team. That process could be as simple as a weekly lunch or game of pool, with plenty of opportunity for relaxed chatter about life and goals outside of work; or it could be a formal and dedicated day during which each team member gets to share their personal and professional goals with their team.

Whatever your process, just ask yourself whether by knowing what really matters to each member of your staff, you would be in a better position to help them to achieve their goals, and to grow them personally and professionally.

13. Rate Your Performance as Their Mentor, Coach & Guide

It has been said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions” so does it make sense, if you are really aspiring to have and to lead an excellent team of people, that you seek and welcome feedback on a regular basis?

Give some thought as to how you would measure your own success in your chosen role. A rather scary suggestion: Your score will be equal to the average of the performance of each of your team members!

You could also seek feedback through a “mutual performance review” during which you provide each team member with an assessment of their performance, after which they provide you with their assessment of yours. That is even more scary.

And so we come to the $64,000 question: What would your business look like, function like, perform like, the year after you implemented your own version of these 13 steps? And how big would the suitcase need to be to carry all those extra profits to the bank?

If you know what to do, but are short on how to do it; or, if you know what and how, but also know that you will have a challenge committing to apply your knowledge, it’s probably time to talk to me about how I can get you to where you want to be, more quickly, more surely and more safely than you can get there on your own.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Top Strategies for Developing Your Team – Part 2

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Last week we covered Points 1 – 6, so this week we will outline a few more strategies for developing your staff:

7. Assess Their Commitment To Your Business’ Goals

This is an “imprecise measure,” but what you are looking for at this stage in the assessment process is an indication as to whether this person is a “committed” or a “renegade”.

The committed are “joiners”; they like other people; they like working with others, collaborating and teaming to build projects larger than they can handle alone. They look for causes to join, visions to buy into, and goals to meet.

Renegades are “users”; they intend to use the business, its resources and the position almost solely for their own ends. Sure, they will “do the work” – they may even be highly productive – but they tend to view their work as the product of their efforts alone (or at least see themselves alone as deserving of credit for any results to which they contribute). The often have a poor opinion of the others in their crew, and seldom step out to lift, grow or assist others – unless there is a clear pay-off involved.

A simple test for this factor is to ask questions that explore about how they feel or felt about their last or previous positions. renegades tend to give the game away with comments that display arrogance, ego, negativity and lack of respect for others. Committed generally convey a positive account of their experience.

8. Clearly Convey Your Core Concepts

If you want someone to give more than their physical presence and base labor to your business, you are going to have to sell them your Vision for the business (the “picture of perfection” towards which you are striving; your Mission (the path you are following to achieve that Vision); your Values (the boundaries of behavior along that path); your Goals (the milestones on the path; dated measures of performance); and your Code of Conduct (the way we treat each other, our Customers, and the assets of the business).

When it comes to your Core Concepts, don’t make the mistake that many larger corporations make in spending huge resources on having a expert in semantics design great sounding concepts; having an artist render them under glass and hang them in the boardroom and reception area; and then never looking at or talking about them again – except to quote them in their Annual Report.

Your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Code of Conduct should be wound into the daily fabric of your business and the lives of those who make it work.

When you go out into the labor market seeking new team members, you need to carry these Core Concepts with you both as a beacon (to attract those who resonate to them) and as a touchstone (against which to test each candidate’s personal core concepts for alignment with your own).

It’s going to be a lot easier and less costly to incorporate someone into the team whose core concepts already resonate with your own.

9. Craft A Powerful Investment Process

When you bring any new team member on board, you are faced with an inevitable investment of time and resources so as to enable them to come up to speed and meet your performance requirements as quickly as possible. So why not convey this process – explicitly – as the beginnings of your on-going “Investment in Them”?

Their first month or so on the job will set a tone that is likely to persist, so invest the time and thought required to design an excellent process – a system – that provides each new team member with:
• A clear understanding of our “Investing in You” philosophy.
• A detailed Job Description and/or Contract that is framed around results and outcomes, rather than activities and tasks, detailing all performance requirements, assessment processes, and any rewards associated with those.
• A clear statement of your termination process.
• An Organization Chart that clearly depicts the formal lines of communication, support and command and their position, responsibilities and authority within that structure.
• An introduction to and (actual, verbal) discussion about your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Code of Conduct – and a written copy to which to refer thereafter.
• A Team Member Guide introducing each member with a self-written thumbnail sketch, to speed the development of relationships and integration into the team.
• Statutory materials – OH&S guidelines, employment matters, etc.
• Position-related information (i.e., for a salesperson, this would include background on key account clients)
• A duplicated sign-off receipt that verifies that all of this material has been received by, and explained to, your new recruit.
Consider your responsibility for, and the benefits of, creating and managing a social process that quickly folds new recruits into the team and promotes the relationship building essential to high productivity and staff longevity.

10. Design A Performance Assessment & Recognition Process

When staff are asked, “Is your boss happy with your performance?”, too often the reply is, “He must be; he hasn’t fired me yet!”

Is this level of feedback likely to promote top performance among team members? Or could it be done better?

There are two key points to any assessment and recognition process: The period of assessment should be agreed and honored (how many bosses do you know who keep putting off periodic performance reviews?); and the assessment criteria must be transparent, mutually-agreed between the parties (at the outset! – no point trying to change the rules mid-game) and as objective as possible.

The best way to achieve transparency is to agree on one or more objective measures of performance; for a sales person, that may be sales revenue or gross profit per period; for administration staff it may be a maximum turn around time for quotations, or the timely filing of tax or other regulatory returns. Whatever the measure, it should be directly related to the results required of the position, and progress towards it should be regularly discernible by all parties (that is, the assessed person should not find out the result during the assessment, but should have been progressively aware of their performance throughout the period of assessment).

One important factor in creating an effective review process is the frame of mind in which it is administered! If, in the understanding of the parties, the assessment is to determine “whether they have failed or not”, the process will be cast in a negative light – and will probably be avoided by all parties as well!

If, on the other hand, the assessment process is seen as part of the team member’s personal and professional development (a sort of periodic look from which their next course of support and development will be planned) it will more likely be viewed in a much more positive light – and be carried out!

So how are you doing so far? Hopefully, you see the merit of the approach. More next time.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Top Strategies for Developing Your Team – Part 1

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Great businesses and great teams don’t just “happen” any more than a 110-story sky-scraper just “happens” – there is vision, planning and skill in achieving either.

Here’s a little help on the planning side:
1. Build Better Specs
Always start with the end in mind! List the outcomes, the results that you want from anyone filling a position in your team.

Be specific; use numbers and dates where applicable. Specify the periods over which performance will be measured. Wherever possible, work out the value of this level of performance to the business so that you can apply some perspective to the salary package you may have to craft to acquire a person capable of delivering those results.

Use the 3:1 Rule as a test of your final cost/benefit assessment: The new team member should generate around three times their grossed up cost to the business, in gross profits. Their grossed up cost will be something like their pre-tax salary, plus 30% (to cover overhead, holidays, sick leave, etc).

2. Align Personality, Skill and Character with the Role
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that certain personality types are better suited to certain tasks than others. For example, if we simply divide people into “big-picture” and “detail oriented”, which of those two types might be better suited to sales, strategy and marketing? And which would you like doing your bookkeeping or accounting?

There are a number of tried and tested profiling tools that may help you to identify characteristics that will align with the results that you are looking for from your new team member. With a DiSC Analysis, you can save yourself a huge amount of time, money and angst that picking the wrong person can cost you.

3. Write Your Advertisement to Your Ideal Candidate
If you write an average ad, you’ll get an average unemployed (or about-to-be-unemployed) person replying to it. Is that what you want?

Given that, if you attract the wrong people to your position and make a poor selection, you could be weeks or months of salary and hair-pulling down the track before you terminate them and start again. So is it worth spending time (maybe hours) and resources (maybe hundreds of dollars for a skilled copywriter) to end up with an ad powerful enough to pull the perfect candidate for your position, away from their current employment and straight to your door? It would appear so.

Tips for an excellent advertisement for a position:
• Start by writing a rambling letter to the ideal candidate about what you want and what you are offering them. Start with money if you must, but then go all the way through “security”, “belonging”, “recognition and rewards”, and into “autonomy, responsibility, and opportunity for personal growth and expression” territory. The right person is going to join the dream that you so persuasively sell them, rather than selling their soul for the money you offer.
• Boil your rambling personal letter down to an elegant letter and put it on a page of your website, and link to it from your ad.
• Boil your elegant letter down into an ad that describes the ideal person in such a way as they would recognize themselves; and describes the job in terms of what they will gain from owning it.
• Rack your brains, take advice – do whatever it takes – to come up with a headline that will call out to your ideal candidate (and which will probably frighten, or put off any less-than-ideal candidates) by being a challenge to growth and adventure.
• Do your research and find out where your ideal candidate is likely to read this.
• Think about leaving the ad running even after you find your ideal candidate. After all, what’s harder to find: An ideal team member, or work for them to perform?

4. Sell Your Vision For Your Business
Do you want people who work (just) for money? Or do you want people who want to contribute to something fabulous, that’s bigger than themselves, into which they can put a piece of themselves and of which they can feel proud?

If you’re after the second lot, then you had better be very good at selling a crystal-clear vision of your dream for your business to them – otherwise you’re likely to attract drones!

What is your Vision? How will you share this in a way that will cause the right candidate to go, “Wow!”, and walk out of their current job to join you?

Yes, you can save yourself the brain drain and skip this step, but what type of candidate are you then likely to end up with?

5. Tailor A Quick Assessment Process
Sometimes it’s just smart to sit down with a professional recruiter at this point (and not before this point!) and have them take charge of the pre-selection process for you.

It can be a time-consuming task sifting through a number of candidates, and it is likely that a good professional will be able to grade a field of candidates against a clear selection criteria quicker and more efficiently than you can. Besides, it puts someone between you and the candidates until you are ready for that one-on-one meeting.

If you are one of those “hands-on” people who wants to run the selection process from end to end, it may still be a smart move to consult a recruitment specialist to develop a set of questions specific to your needs, that will sort the candidates into “As” (appear to have everything we want, right now); “Bs” (could qualify with a bit of development work on our part); and “Cs” – not for this position.

To these “standard” questions, you’ll then add others to determine any objective or professional qualifications, background, experience, etc, that you require or desire in a candidate, by which time you will then have the basis for a quick, preliminary grading system that should avoid you wasting time on the “Cs”.

6. Discover Their Goals And Aspirations First
Give someone enough rope and they are likely to hang themselves – so turn the traditional job interview process around by letting the candidate do the talking.

Use purposeful, open questions (ie, questions that can’t be answered with a single word); ask follow on questions based on their answers to explore some depth to better understand your candidate; occasionally use extending questions (“Tell me a bit more”) or friendly silence to encourage them to go on.

Ask questions to find out what they know about you and your business. If they are worth their salt they will have researched you before their interview (whether on the web, by walk in, or by talking to people who already work for you, know your business, etc).

Set out to discover what makes them tick, and why they would want to work for and with you. Discover what talents, experience, knowledge and ideas they bring to the table, and explore those a little. It is entirely possible that you could start out interviewing a candidate for one job, but end up targeting them for another particularly suited to their talents or background.

Then invite them to ask questions of you. Form your opinions based on the quality of those questions, and the background knowledge from which they are asked.

Listen for the assumptions in their speech to gain a feel for how well their values and expectations align with your own, even at this very early point in your relationship.

Bottom line: You’ll learn much more by listening to them talk and having them ask questions about the job, than you ever will by telling them about the position.

Will cover more in the next blog – so stay tuned.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Rules to Live By

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

An expert on the subject would say that if you want to keep your list of resolutions, you need a set of personal rules to live by.

Here are some thoughts for both business and personal life. Make up your own, and remember you can add more at any time. Just make sure they are the strongest ones that will move you to action and keep you on course.

  1. Challenge yourself regularly. Say YES to new experience when given the chance, or better still, make the chance. Breathe deep, have patience and ask for help – but stretch.
  2. Have a “theme” for the year instead of a list of New Years Resolutions i.e. health, study, finances – it will help guide your decisions.
  3. Keep it real – Show your real self, be authentic to who you really are – we are all unique.
  4. Practice the Law of Attraction – that which is a vibratory match to you is always moving into your experience.
  5. Exert yourself – When you are pushing hard, push even harder. It’s amazing what the body can take, so sprint to the finish, do another lap, or pedal harder – it’s right there inside.
  6. Don’t always keep score – Practice random acts of kindness to others and more importantly to yourself!
  7. Learn to overlook imperfections, better yet embrace them!
  8. Read, read, read – Educate and relax at the same time. Aim for 12 business / development books per year plus various novels.
  9. Nothing is for best – Apart from your best suit or evening gown, why wear the same clothes all the time. Bring out your Sunday best every day.
  10. Smell the roses – self-explanatory, taking the time to take in the view when you can, smell the roses.
  11. Feed your body what will genuinely make it feel good. Same goes for your mind and spirit.
  12. Laugh a lot – It feels great and it’s good for your soul! Love even more.
  13. Cultivate your friendships – two are much better than one.
  14. Start now – No point in waiting once you’ve made the decision.

So, what are your Personal Rules? Here’s to a better life.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.