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How much do you want it? May 27, 2015

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What will you really do to get what you want? We all have wishes and dreams; the successful business or job, the perfect body, the ideal mate, lots of money, but in the long run what will you do to get it?

Most of us are resistance to change. Even the negativity that surrounds us is better than the unknown. That is why while we may complain we are complacent. Change means risk, change means stepping out of your comfort zone. Here’s the biggie, change takes time it doesn’t happen overnight and sadly we live in the quick fix society

I have the privilege of working with WEV www.wevonline.org Women’s Economic Ventures and yes men can participate. I work with the businesses in Thrive in 5. It’s fascinating for me to watch who has the hunger and who is resistant. I am ecstatic when I see the clients achieve their goals, many have worked very smartly, hard too but they are being smart. Yes they get scared and yes they have doubts, but they are willing to put their feet in the water, even if it’s only the big toe. As they see results they move in more rapidly and are soon taking more risks.

Here’s where it gets interesting; those that succeed are learning as much as they can and know that it takes time. Then there is the group that latches on to any method out there that will sell them something; thinking the new whatever is going to organize them quickly and give them the quick fix and suddenly make money appear. They already knew what needed to be done but were reluctant to do this and maybe this “new shiny” will make them do it. Maybe not, and that’s the sad part.

What is the fear that keeps us from doing so many things in and out of business? Is immediate gratification better than the long haul of diet and exercise? We make excuses even though we know we are being illogical.

How many times have your employees come up with a new idea and you were afraid to implement it? Who are you hurting?

The question of the day is how much do you want the end result you dreamed about and what are you willing to do to get there?

Send me an e-mail harriet@trainingsolutions-hlc.com or type in a comment. I love to hear success stories and maybe you have an idea I can share.

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If you always do…………………. May 25, 2015

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You know the expression if you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.

Are you complacent about your company? It’s moving along fine. Don’t rock the boat!

But is it really fine? Are your employees just doing the basics or are they seeking ways to grow themselves and thereby your business? Do they know why they do what they do in that order? When was the last time you asked them or looked for better ways to serve your customers?

Your staff deals with the customers continuously and need to be empowered to solve issues and help the business. I know how much I dislike hearing “that’s the policy”. It makes me not want to use that service and I definitely won’t refer them. I certainly feel disrespected when my needs as a customer are dismissed.

The first area I would investigate is the hiring. Do you have job descriptions that not only look to today but to the future? When you interview are you really looking at the person for the long term? Filling warm bodies costs you a lot of money; 3X an annual salary. You may be hiring a $20,000/year employee but it will cost you $60,000 in time and productivity.

Now once they are hired they need to understand the expectations of their job and how it impacts the company. I once worked with a client who paid their receptionists the same as or less than their lowest admin people. Yet these people had to know 2 languages, (It was an Asian company), and they impacted the perception of clients. Once the CEO realized their impact to the company attitude and salary changed.

The year is almost ½ over; where did it go? Now is the time to look at what you are doing and determining if you are getting the results you truly want.

Are you listening? April 7, 2015

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I should also ask are you aware? Last blog I talked about Peter Shankman’s book Zombie Loyalists and he talked about listening to your employees and your clients. www.shankman.com

By the way listening to your employees helps keep them engaged if you empower them and enable them to share in the growth of the business. That’s part of the seminar I do with www.hrbusinesssolutionz.com creating high performing organizations through engaged employees. Here’s the free seminar https://creativekdg.wistia.com/medias/1e10dehja9 email me for the handouts.

Ok end of commercial

I was perusing Facebook and more specifically Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/02/tanya-heath-interchangeable-heels-womens-footwear_n_6987302.html?utm_hp_ref=style&ir=Style&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063 and saw this article. Tanya Heath is brilliant. Aside from having 2 shoes with the upper design you love. You have a shoe that fits the way you want that you can change to meet your needs. Can’t wait to see her innovation for purses.

This begs the question what is happening in your industry and more importantly what do your customers want? We think we know, we offer; but is that what they want. Henry Ford never asked people what they wanted because he said they would just want faster horses but did they only want black cars?

I used to do a lot of work with National ASTD now www.ATD.org and when we were reviewing the chapter award program we used the following guide lines to assess customer satisfaction.

  1. Did you ask?
  2. Did they tell?
  3. Did you listen?
  4. Did you implement?
  5. Did they like it?

This applies to employees and customers. You may not be aware of trends or conditions in your industry but your staff might and they can help you change your world.

Learn to listen and be aware.

Why do I buy from you? April 2, 2015

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There is so much I want to talk about today. I am reading Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman (www.shankman.com ) thanks to my good friend Judy Estrin who ordered it and had it delivered here. Because I work with many entrepreneurs privately and through www.WEVonline.org ; we are constantly discussing how to grow the business and increase customers, clients, patients , or whatever.   This book has some great insight.

Peter’s book discusses rabid fans which made me think about who has me as a rabid fan? What keeps me loyal? I thought about where I go boxing; yes boxing; and I only hit a bag not people. www.newburypark.titleboxingclub.com I have been going there for over a year and yes I have seen results. All of this started over 1 ½ years ago when I won 12 lessons at another club. I was so disappointed in their lack of encouragement, their schedule and their lack of enthusiasm. When the 12 sessions were done so was I. I found out recently they closed. ; Not surprised. A few months later Lisa the general manager encouraged me to try Title boxing. She is a friend, so I tried. It was so very different. People greeted me by name when I walked in, they encouraged me and it was so obvious they love what they do. They give individual help, they laugh, they make it fun as I am sweating and putting my body into weird positions in the core work. No I still don’t like burpees. Can they do better yes are they trying. Yes!

Right now they are on the right track they have us smiling and supporting each other. It is a vibrant fun environment. They even created a new series called silver sluggers  (hate the name) . It’s for all ages that want to start slowly and are intimidated by jumping in. One of the classes does dance moves in between and for core. What a fun workout!

Can you describe why your clients buy from you? www.scrubsontherununiforms.com in Ventura CA knows her clients don’t have time to shop so they take the scrubs to the health facilities. They make it easy to buy.

What do you do? Do you send thank you notes and reminders? I used to have a dentist I liked and when I remembered I went. I admit I didn’t remember as often as I should. I never heard from them until he sold the practice. Oh well

Alba at Thousand Oaks Infiniti services my car and she is amazing. She talks to me about what I need and what is important. She isn’t selling me she is taking care of me and I keep going back to service my car. They continuously check on how they are doing and what they can offer.

Do make it easier for your customers to buy? Do you make them feel special? Do you listen to them and anticipate their needs? Most importantly have you created an environment and culture that enables everyone in your company to make customers and employees feel valued?

If you need assistance ask me about the seminar Creating High Performance Organizations with Engaged Employees

I love you I hate you March 11, 2015

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I was reminded last night, as I was doing a guest speaking for WEV, on marketing, how important partner agreements are.

You are so excited you have the perfect partner who really understands you and shares your goals and values. Even better they are your spouse, sibling, best friend, parent or child. Everything starts off great and may even last for a long time until…. Maybe it’s money, responsibilities, new products, hiring or some other factor that will cause friction.

You are able to get through it this time but there are now some cracks in the solid foundation you had. If you had a partner agreement this never would have happened.

What is a partner agreement and do you need a lawyer? Sorry to my legal colleagues but you don’t need a lawyer to start this. What you do need is time to sit down and talk with an unbiased consultant who can ask the right questions and know the detail to which this has to go. Step one is an open discussion about the goals for the business, is it long term and a legacy or do you eventually hope to sell it? How much and how fast do you want it to grow

Next comes the money How much do you each invest, is it actual dollars or in kind and what is the in kind worth? Will you take a salary or other form of compensation? Who is in charge of paying bills? When do you need 2 signatures on checks? How much is in petty cash? Who does the books?

Now let’s talk about who is responsible for what tasks. With one client we got so detailed we included who waters the plants. What are the strengths of each partner and who is in charge of what part of the business and when do both need to agree and when is it ok for one partner to make the decision?

But wait there is more. What happens if one partner wants to leave or worse yet dies? Is there key person insurance? Can spouses or  children inherit the business? Is the leaving partner bought out and for how much?

Does your head hurt from all this thinking?? This is a process that can take a few hours over the course of a few weeks. It can also be changed as the business evolves. Fees for this service, can range anywhere from $1000 on up to $30,000 or more, depending on the number of partners, and the complexity. Like your insurance policies, this keeps you safe. One of my clients went through a divorce but because of the partner agreement the ex spouse is being bought out over time and the business is fine. Another client lost a key employee to serious illness but because of key person insurance the business kept going and they had the time to replace the individual.

Then there is a colleague who has a start up that has been in business less than a year; one of the partners wants out and they don’t know how they will buy him out or what their next steps are.

Bottom line is you pay now for the partner agreement or really pay later when something happens. There is an old line that there is a place in heaven for the partners that stay together for the life of the business; it is still vacant. Yes there are exceptions and somebody wins the lottery. What are the odds?

If you would like more information or are ready to do a partner agreement, contact me.

harriet@trainingsolutions-hlc.com

Am I speaking a new language? March 2, 2015

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Does this sound familiar? You told an employee, associate, significant other what you wanted and how you wanted it done and they did it some other way. When you asked about it they either get defensive or say that’s what you said. Next you have an argument or worse yet someone’s job could be at risk.

Let’s rethink this. When you hire someone expectations of performance need to be set and along with that is a formula for how to develop people to achieve the desired results.

Tell, Show, Do, Feedback, Repeat

First you tell what you want in very specific terms including the level of competency.

Step 2 is to show them what is being asked.

Do, means they now do what the task is,

Feedback is a major component as it lets the individual know what they are doing right and what needs to be changed.

Repeat refers to the whole process, until they are meeting the performance expectations that were set.

Think back to when you first learned to drive a car, you had to learn each step and practice it until you had it right. Now, you don’t even think about driving, you just get in the car and go.

Whether hiring or promoting, it takes more than one time to enable someone to achieve the desired results, yet, how often do we just send a memo or give instructions and walk away? We need to be as responsible for the outcome as the individual who is doing the job. We need to make sure they not only heard us, and understand what we want, but have the skills to comply with our level of competency.

Next time you see that a task is not coming out as expected, think about the language you used to deliver it.

Is everyone replaceable? February 17, 2015

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This question came up when I gave an assignment to the management class at UCLA. The case was about an elderly bus boy that went above and beyond helping customers despite a limp. He seemed to get immense pleasure but was fired because he was seen as a distraction by the upper levels and the other people who bussed tables didn’t do what he did.

I am not sure if the reaction and comments from the students was related to their generation, mostly y with a few generation x, of if this is a universal concept.

Rather than look at what work the individual was doing and perhaps raise the level of the others they all wanted to fire him and simply continue as before.

Statistics show that it can cost up to 3 times an annual salary to hire an individual on any level. Putting money issues aside, I was surprised that the students didn’t ask about a customer satisfaction survey even though the author of the article was most appreciative of the extra service. Nobody questioned customer expectation and if receiving extra service correlated to increased revenue. With the exception of this individual all other service was mediocre in terms of doing the basic minimum and nothing more.

Questions to ponder on a Tuesday

Do we simply replace those who march to a different drummer or should we ask why and see how that can impact our business?

Do we accept mediocrity as the norm or do we try to excel?

Could this be a generational concept that each person do what they are told and nothing more? I really hope this is not even close to being accurate.

How do we motivate employees to see opportunities to improve their performance and thereby that of the business?

Letting Go Is SoHard to Do February 9, 2015

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No, this isn’t the name of a song from the 60’s. This is an issue I am seeing more and more with entrepreneurs in start-ups. This is their baby and they think they need to do it all. Sadly, unless you never need to sleep or have a life outside the business you cannot grow if you do not delegate and share the work.

Aside from having others support so you can focus on your strengths and purpose in the business, having assistance helps you see other perspectives. You have been too close to the action and others may see something you missed, which enables you to grow.

What are some of the simple steps you can take to eliminate the feeling of overwhelm and get the business on track for growth?

  1. Assess your strengths what do like to do and what are you good at doing? Be careful here. Sometimes we do mundane tasks as a means of avoiding the big stuff.
  2. Create an organizational chart of what the business could look like in 5 years. Write job descriptions for each position. What skills should the individual have and what competencies.
  3. Identify the areas you feel comfortable delegating
  4. Here’s the tricky part; when you delegate set clear expectations and monitor the results as you go along. Be specific.
  5. Create a culture of what the working environment should look like. Will it be a laid back relaxed place or high pressure, or something in between?
  6. When you hire for the job descriptions, hire for growth. You want each person to grow with the company. Just in time hiring is expensive and a waste of training time.
  7. Identify key advisors who can be a sounding board and help you identify resources, discover your strengths and name those areas that need to be delegated first.

If you are feeling any of the symptoms listed:

  • Begin to get overwhelmed with small details of office management, which takes your attention away from the big picture.
  • Find yourself with no one to challenge your thinking, because you’re the only one with all the answers.
  • Are not challenging yourself on a regular basis.

It’s time to let go so you can work on your business; focus on the reason you started in the beginning. Let go of what you’re comfortable doing. You always need to be thinking big and challenging yourself.

If you are in the LA/Ventura area check with me about the free seminars offered to discuss the issues in more detail. harriet@trainingsolutions-hlc.com

Do You Own A Business Or Run A Business? February 11, 2014

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I bet a lot of you know professionals; doctors, lawyers, insurance brokers, CPAs, and yes, consultants, and more, who own a business but have no idea about marketing, hiring staff or managing them and more. 

 

Often times they will hire an office manager, which is a good start but if they haven’t set expectations of the culture and how they want to be perceived by clients there could be a problem. The owner may want a professional demeanor in dress and presentation while the manager may prefer less formal or just the opposite. I recently heard a story about a surgeon who has an assistant that sets up schedules and the calendar.  She called one patient at 8:00 pm saying she couldn’t remember if she had set up a date and began chattering away about her personal life.  Would that make you wonder about the surgeon’s competency? Are they even aware and if they aren’t what else might they ignore?  I remember meeting an event planner whose assistant was quoting wrong prices to prospective clients.  Ouch!  That caused problems that she had to deal with.

 

How often have you heard people say I don’t need to market I just hang up my sign and have plenty of referrals   Really??? What happens when the referrals dry up?  I have a client that has a million dollar business or should I say had.  They hadn’t changed their marketing in a few years, and lost customers and business.   We revised their marketing and they are back to the million dollar mark.

 

Another client had a fantastic business but couldn’t go any further because they didn’t know how to hire or develop their staff. They couldn’t do any more work with the limited staff they had.  Now they have 3 new people working on different revenue streams, feeling empowered and helping grow the business.

 

Owning a business means nothing if you don’t know how to run it or grow it.  Let me make a shameless pitch. I will offer you 1 ½ to 2 hours of my time to analyze what you are doing and offer you steps to help you improve how your business functions  I can do this via skype, phone, or in person and your investment is time and $100  Imagine what you could learn?  Imagine where your business could go.  Imagine running a successful business not just owning it.  E-mail me Harriet@trainingsolutions-hlc.com  this could be the start of a flourishing business.

 

 

How Well Can You Read People? February 3, 2014

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This question was posed recently in the context that there are a lot of “reality” shows in which reading the intent of an individual is crucial.  We all know about the bachelor and the housewives as well as Survivor and my favorite Shark Tank.

 

When was the last time you called somebody out on their actions?  How did they react?  Did they seem sincere? Or were they just trying to appease you so you’d drop it?

 

Those of us who have raised children can usually spot the “tell” that gives them away as well as the difficulty they have keeping facts straight.  Somebody very smart in the con game told me if you ask the person to repeat the events backwards and they can’t it often means there is either missing data or outright lies.

 

What about in the workplace can you read co-workers or other staff?  Do you know when they are trying to con you?  I once had a boss who could not look me in the eye when she was praising me or my staff.  It didn’t take long to realize she was blowing smoke and didn’t mean it. As time went on this was even more apparent as she disseminated the department. 

 

As an executive coach as well as a consultant I have found some of the key phrases people use when they are distorting the truth.  “To be honest” is one of my favorites; I had a client who used that numerous times in conversation and there had been several issues when the story was quite right.  Once we eliminated that phrase the behavior improved as well.  Another one is “to tell the truth” or my favorite was a client who often said “I don’t lie” but they did.

 

Maya Angelou said people will tell you up front who and what they are yet most of us choose to ignore their words or actions.  Can you read people?  It’s a skill worth learning