#1 Strategic plan failure

Designing a company’s strategic plan can be fun and exciting. However, after the one- or two-day workshop, it’s time for the real work of implementation. The #1 strategic plan failure starts at the top with the company’s president if he or she isn’t accountable and exercising leadership. During planning sessions it’s important to incorporate how, what, when, and where the team will get started when they return to the office. It’s the president’s job to ensure actions taken are focused on achieving the desired goals and any problems or plan failures are immediately addressed.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Mediocrity Stifles Results

All business owners and executives wish to succeed in their business. Yet when they hire inexperienced and unseasoned professionals, thinking they are saving money, their bottom line suffers. Why? The employees have not had time to develop the business knowledge and acumen needed to perform at the level required, instead relying on “it’s good enough.” Mediocrity stifles results—you get what you pay for.

When hiring for any position, be clear about the attributes required for the person to succeed, and the required results for the company to prosper. Use a structured interview to ensure the person has the actual hands-on experience by drilling down into his or her responses. Often candidates talk hypothetically, not having had the actual responsibility you are looking for. Use a qualified assessment to ensure they have the thinking style, occupational interests, and capabilities to do the job the way it needs to be done to achieve great results. Don’t be afraid to conduct reference checks to ensure the person can and will actually do the work, not just talk about it. (For further information on how to do it, get your copy of Hire Amazing Employees, Second Edition (BizSavvyHire.com).

Although hiring people light on experience and heavy on job fit can be a good idea, realize it will take an extra investment of time and money before they can produce at the level required. Adjust your expectations appropriately.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly has been hiring amazing employees for over 34 years. She delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, achieving dynamic results. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com to discuss your hiring challenges. Get her newest book, Hire Amazing Employees, Second Edition: Improve Your Profits (and Your Work Life)! http://BizSavvyHire.com.  It includes templates for interviews and reference checking.

Moving Top Performers

Did you know promoting or transferring top performers into the wrong job can be the greatest hidden expense for many companies? Other high-cost risks include relocating employees geographically or offering them the opportunity to become a business partner. What seems like a great opportunity can become one of your greatest challenges.  And yet most companies don’t take the time to incorporate objective information into their decision-making process and are surprised when the outcomes are not win-win. They fail to understand how moving top performers can negatively impact results.  

What happened? Usually the boss was focused on rewarding a top performer or employees threatened to leave if they weren’t given what they wanted.  During pre-move conversations, employees may conceptually understand their new role, but the reality can very different. Many employees rely upon their initial excitement and fail to ask enough good business questions before accepting the new assignment, and therefore don’t know what is required to succeed. After they are on the job, some may not wish to work that hard to develop the new skills required of the position (despite what they tell you), or they may lack the qualifications or “job fit” to achieve the required results.  Believe it or not, some employees find themselves being offered new jobs because they said the right thing to the right person at the right time!

What’s missing? A clear directive and navigational guide on how to do it that works for them. Instead, employees are determined to do things their own way. Then, when things don’t work out, these once stellar performers feel forced to leave rather than return to their old jobs. Their egos prevent them from taking a reduction in status, perks, and compensation, or there are no other options available since the previous position was filled or is no longer needed. So they end up leaving with all the training, proprietary information, and on-the-job knowledge you provided them – many times taking other employees with them!  Some pursue costly litigation. Meanwhile, your clients and remaining employees are concerned about how this impacts them.

As part of the decision-making process, use a qualified assessment to objectively clarify a person’s strengths and weaknesses. Contrary to some opinions, you can’t build a successful career focused on weaknesses. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you can fix and change the person to fit into the new job responsibilities —nobody works that hard. Put together a 180-day plan to keep newly promoted employees focused on critical areas for client interactions, critical goals, people and project management, and self-development while providing training to enhance these skills. Hire them a coach from outside the company— it’s a requirement to develop these superstars faster and more effectively. All of these steps can also prevent these top performers from leaving when inevitable challenges occur and no one knows how to manage them.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, achieving dynamic results. Along the way, she helped create three millionaires. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com to discuss your coaching challenges.

Fear Doesn’t Stick Around Uninvited

We all have fear in our lives, some people more than others. I’m not talking about the gift of fear that warns us to do something, now, to prevent catastrophic incidents. I’m talking about the fear that prevents us from making calls to prospective clients, asking our bosses for raises or new assignments, or letting coworkers or employees know that their work product was mediocre.

Our self-talk limits us from making requests, asking for raises, or simply admitting we don’t know the answers. These internal monologues create excuses for not achieving intended results on time and within budget. They also prevent us from having difficult conversations with our bosses, coworkers, clients, or friends. We talk ourselves out of doing what we know we need to do, instead relying upon the strength of our justifications to rationalize why we couldn’t, wouldn’t, or shouldn’t.

How can you tell what is causing your fears? Listen to the words you use.  “I’ll try … ” “It shouldn’t be that way.” “I didn’t like his tone of voice.” These statements or choice of words reinforce our fears instead of allowing us to acknowledge them and work through them. Many of us have used these phrases so often we’re not consciously aware of saying them!

Take responsibility for hearing what you are saying, and choose the words that can help move you forward. Hire a coach to help you recognize fears and develop good people- and project management skills. Your career and paycheck will thank you.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, achieving dynamic results. Along the way, she helped create three millionaires. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com to discuss your coaching challenges.

Be Grateful for Conflict

There are many articles written about conflict: the good, the bad and the ugly. The truth is when we fail to listen to others’ ideas and respect individual opinions, conflicts naturally occur.

Why? We have an illusion that our perceptions are the right way to think, behave or interact with one another. We are taught to speak up against someone who does not agree with us, or quietly dis them to others, negating the value of their contributions. The yeller that everyone complains about is actually no different than the silent screamer who fails to notify someone in authority of a problem.  Both cause loss of customers, low morale, poor quality of products or services and profitability. It is disrespectful toward others inside and outside the organization.

The time is now to put aside your preconceived judgments of others’ ideas and develop persuasive listening skills. Be open to hearing thoughts you would normally dismiss, learn to build upon these viewpoints and use them to create new systems, products and/or services. Often, there is a hidden gem of genius in many ideas. To determine the value, you need to develop the potential worth. Exercise facilitation skills that bring out each person’s opinions.  Listen to differing facts about the workability of internal and external factors – these can add to or hinder financial results.  In the end, whether your nugget shines, is used to create a better solution or set aside, be grateful for the “conflict” or differing mindsets that helped build a viable outcome.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly is a business advisor for business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises creating million dollar results. Contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for a free consultation on how to achieve amazing results.

When has “conflict” helped resolve a problem or open up a new product or service for your company? What did you do to facilitate it? Please share your ideas!

Stop Trying Harder!

I adopted five-year-old Gracee a couple of months ago from the Dumb Friends League. She had broken her back leg when she was a kitten and her gimp is very noticeable when she walks. However, you wouldn’t know it by watching her zip around chasing her toys. One of her favorite activities is to race down the stairs to fetch a bouncy ball.  It’s a combination of a run and bunny hop!

How many of you are willing to go for it? Regardless of your challenges?

Or, have you fallen into the tiring and endless trap of “trying harder?” One of the biggest challenges for executives and business owners is learning that “trying harder only creates more of the same challenges.” It leaves you, and them, tired and cranky at the beginning and end of each day!

How can you be unstoppable? It’s inspiring when handled in a biz-savvy manner.

Banish the illusion of the “perfect time.” What are your excuses for not pursuing your goals? Write down these time mongers! You won’t find anything new or inspiring! Instead, write down what you really really really want to accomplish.  Rewrite it into a goal. Develop “I can do it and I do it” attitude and proceed forward. Talk with your coach to help you through the inevitable “walls of life.” 

Stay connected. Pick up the phone. Stop relying solely on emails or social media venues to stay in touch. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you talk with others and allow them to contribute their ideas. Sometimes the simplest suggestion can spark the right change required to move ideas forward.

Focus on priorities. It’s very easy to get caught up in the swirl or chaos of too much to do. Pick two key items to get completed during the day based upon priorities, or boss or client mandates. Regardless of whether you like to do them! These accomplishments will create naturally-centered confidence.

Have fun.  Take a couple of minutes at the end of each day to write down today’s achievements and setup tomorrow’s “must do’s.” Now, enjoy quality time without worrying about work. It will be there tomorrow!  Be good to yourself and learn appreciation. Gratitude helps you work smarter and achieve your goals faster!

Learn to Brag! Bragging to others in a biz-savvy manner gives voice to your accomplishments. Why is sharing important? You find out you’re not alone in your challenges. It encourages you, and others, to build on your strengths, achieve your goals and work smarter to enjoy your job and life. (TimeToBrag.com)

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Are You a Moody Leader?

  • Do you thrive on drama?
  • Do people calculate your approachability before talking to you?
  • Do you gossip about your employees or clients?
  • Do others consider you untrustworthy?
  • Do you make decisions based upon your feelings at the moment?

Leaders set examples for the rest of the organization to follow. If you lack consistency in how you communicate, disrespect others in word or deed, or don’t trust others to do their best, employees respond accordingly. If you react (or over-react) before getting the facts, they may be afraid to speak up for fear of retribution. You create more of an issue.

If others are concerned about your effectiveness as a good leader, they will withhold valuable information. In these situations, often your employees’ focus is not on the organization’s goals. They are focused instead on how to work around your moodiness and still keep their jobs.

As a leader, immediate help is required to reaffirm your leadership position and move the enterprise forward. What can you do to resolve this?

Hire a business advisor. Being coachable is critical to anyone’s success, particularly top management. It can be lonely at the top; too often leaders don’t have someone else to talk with and their job can feel like a burden. Talk weekly with a business advisor. Focus on less dramatic ways to handle issues and have the benefit of consistent clarity to guide your organization forward.

Communicate effectively.  #1 concern for any leader! Be prepared to listen more than talk. Learn to ask the right questions. Be open to news you may not like, or new ideas you had not considered. Stop the internal chatterbox ; it inhibits your ability to actually hear what others are saying. When you need to deliver unpopular news or decisions, first think through what you need to say. Write it out. Read it out loud in the mirror. Keep it short, not long-winded.

Stop “should-ing.” Too often we believe people should have known or shouldn’t have said something. We forget the mistakes we’ve made ourselves over the years! A good rule of thumb: When someone does something great, let them know. When they make a mistake, take time to discuss it as soon as possible, one-on-one. When performance concerns are addressed in a consistent and respectful manner, it provides clarity about your expectations. Your employees will usually make the corrections required. If you scream at them, even once, it can damage your long term effectiveness.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Effectively Manage Your Leaders’ Focus

Many companies today are moving away from the traditional skill-based job descriptions, toward performance-based job descriptions for their leaders. What’s the difference? Skill-based simply means they have the skills and knowledge to do the tasks. They may or may not use these skills to work in the direction of the Vision and Mission of the company. Performance-based is focused on the design and execution of goals and focused action plans to achieve the Company’s intended results.

When companies can clearly define performance expectations up front, both leaders within the company and the newly-hired know what is required. They can focus their efforts with a clear direction, communicate these metrics to their employees and manage accordingly. This takes the guess work out of hiring the right person and conducting effective performance appraisals.

To ensure these new descriptions are successful, you must:

Focus on the results.  Start with action verbs to ensure their role is clear. For example:Lead an initiative to upgrade financial reporting from monthly to weekly. Convert 100 customers to new product/service. Sell 30 customers product/service each month. (Fill in actual name of product or service.) Be sure to include a timeline and budget. The key is to now manage with these numbers to determine what’s working and what needs improvement on a weekly basis. This will ensure no surprises at month end (e.g., people, price point, budgets and/or systems).

Allow for innovation. New ideas are critical for growth. People create workable and sustainable systems and follow them – or not. At the end of the day, these processes must meet the demands of your customers. The leaders within your organization must be able to work with and through others to achieve the intended results, sometimes on a global basis. Use a qualified assessment to ensure clarity of the person’s interest, thinking style and core behaviors. These are critical for hiring for job fit and ongoing laser-like coaching.

Tell the truth.  In order to grow the enterprise for on-going success, it requires truth-telling today. To transform anything, you must succinctly tell the actual issues/circumstances that prevented the results previously or created the new challenges. Share appropriately. For example: when developing an IT system: company experienced 50% growth during the past twelve months, lost 25% of current customers since the system could not handle volume of orders and lack of training prevented managers from up-selling and cross-selling repeat orders.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Your Career as a Leader is at Risk!

“About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months.” New Job? Get a Head Start Now, February 17, 2012, Fortune, written by Anne Fisher

 

More than ever, great leadership skills are required of executives, in both the private sector as business owners and in the C-suite of large public corporations. Failure to acquire these skills is a critical error. You can’t force others to become loyal and trusting followers. If you have no one to lead you’ll get fired!  It takes concerted effort on your part, each and every day, to balance the requirements of your company’s needs while supporting your employees abilities to thrive. You’re only as great as your employees’ results!

Stay Ahead. Today, companies are promoting record numbers of people who lack the required management skills or essential interest in being the boss. Not surprisingly, many executives are fired because they are unable to effectively lead their teams and deliver the results. Regardless of the leader’s level of expertise, create a 30-60-90-180 day plan with specific results, projects and training required. Consider including one community involvement activity or on-site customer visit. Keep it simple in design to ensure time to practice and learn.

Clear Focus. Employees readily accept advancement into leadership roles due to better title, corner office and compensation. If it’s solely for the power trip, the “me” focus is a serious problem that leads to failure! A strong leader takes care of her/his people by first being committed to the organization in thought and action. They are more committed to everyone getting a paycheck, than just getting their own!

Be Resourceful. Too often you hear a common complaint, “I don’t have what I need to get the job done.” “I don’t have the budget to do what I want to do.” These are excuses that get in the way of being successful. Learn to ask the right questions of others, and implement ideas appropriately. Some of our most treasured successes began with the innovation born from not having enough (obvious) resources!

Cultivate Trust. If no one trusts you, they may still follow your lead; albeit very reluctantly. They may unconsciously sabotage your efforts and nitpick your manner. Building trust takes time. Work with your business advisor to develop true confidence in yourself and your decision making skills. Then, develop a plan to resolve the previously created issues with your employees. (Visit: SeibCo.com)

Strength/Weakness. Every strength has a potential weakness. Likewise, every weakness has a positive strength. Take a qualified assessment to learn how to navigate these paradoxes with your business advisor. Also, participate in a qualified 360-degree assessment to fine-you’re your effectiveness (See: SmartHiringMadeEasy.com)

Invest in Self.  Many times we falsely believe we’ve reached the pinnacle of our success and have nothing new to learn! Strong leaders engage in ongoing education and remain open to improvement. Strong leaders hire business advisors to help with strategic building of their companies and handling nuances inherent in tactical implementation. These same leaders participate in technical training to better appreciate the challenges their employees may have. New awareness brings about new opportunities. You’re never too old to learn something new; you’ll never be too smart with nothing new to learn!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2012

3 Must-Change Habits for Executives

We all have acquired bad habits. The problem is they impede our ability to develop as a confident executive, a leader others wish to follow. Failure to gain others’ respect for you as a leader, regularly use win-win approaches and consistently produce desired results are ticking time bombs to your career!

Poor listening skills. Checking email during meetings, insisting on being right or multitasking when someone is talking will derail many careers. Multitasking is a myth. Active listening is a requirement for successful executives.  When you are able to accurately hear what people are saying – and not saying – you’ll also be able prevent bad outcomes. Executive leadership requires solid information-based decisions rather than poorly informed ones.

Menacing comments. Threatening others covertly (e.g., their job is in jeopardy) when the job is not getting done as you envisioned it, is a bad habit of many leaders. It rarely builds loyalty or intended results. If someone is not achieving the desired outcome, first look at how you communicate. Did you state the needed results? Did you listen to their concerns? Did you work through those push-backs or excuses (think, outside their comfort-zone or ethical considerations) effectively? Create a detailed Action Plan; then, coach them to take one step forward at a time. Involve other team members as appropriate.

Control at any cost. Being a know-it-all. Nit-picking others’ efforts. Fearing someone’s mistake will ruin you. Claiming others are untrustworthy. These behaviors signify an unconfident executive. A leader who doesn’t trust him or herself. You may be someone who achieved a leadership role before it was time. It is not too late to learn how to work with and through others for exceptional results. Hire a business advisor and develop the skills to inspect progress without micro-managing. To ask the right questions in the right manner and elicit the best in others. Good executives enable their employees to achieve even better results than they have achieved!

 

Jeannette Seibly is an international business advisor and executive consultant for privately-held companies with revenues of $1MM up to $30MM. She has created million-dollar results for 25 companies, and 3 millionaires!

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2012