4 Strategies for Successful Sales

May 18, 2022 by  

Probably one of the most important things to remember is this: sales are NOT about you, they are about the prospect. What does that mean? That means that you must follow a few simple rules in order to be successful and close more deals. People really hate to be sold but they truly love to buy. If you can provide them with some compelling reasons why your product or service will benefit them, why would they not buy!

Here are the elements to remember:
1. Do your homework: Research your prospect to discover what their needs might be, where they could be experiencing pain, how your product or service is going to make their life easier, more productive or improve their bottom line. Also, find out how to get to the decision-maker to save everyone time and avoid frustration.

2. Use Active Listening: The more you listen and ask questions, the better you will be able to determine exactly what they require. One cannot learn anything when you are talking and you cannot listen and talk at the same time….so listen more and talk less…this will more likely result in a sale.

3. Keep your Pitch Simple: Everyone is busy so arrive with a clear, concise presentation that gets right to the point. No one is interested in all the features, bells and whistles, just the bare bones of why and how this will solve their problem. If they want more details, they will ask for them.

4. Use Appropriate Language: Be sure to describe your product or service using terminology that your prospect understands. Most people are not verbal learners so if a picture will provide a simpler explanation, use it! Technical language that goes over the head of the potential customer does not impress them; rather it frustrates and confuses them…that will not lead to a sale!

If you are going to be productive as a salesperson, you need to create a simple, direct “roadmap” on which you guide your prospective customer toward the desired destination (your sale). Along the way, you point out the key benefits appropriate for their particular needs and answer any questions they may have to keep them engaged and satisfied.

Practice the suggested tips above and you will make more sales and have more success!

9 Approaches You Can Take Instead of Giving Up

April 20, 2022 by  

One of the most important rules regarding success is that you can’t give up easily. There are always obstacles to overcome, and if you give up too soon, you will never get anywhere.
Think about the least and most successful people you know. The successful people you know are probably very perseverant. They give up on practically nothing. Unsuccessful people give up quite easily.

When the going gets tough, there are things you can do instead of giving up:
1. Take a break. Sometimes the best thing to do when things don’t seem to be going your way is to take a break. A break might mean taking an hour, a day, or a week away from your goals to catch your breath and regain a more effective perspective.

2. Get advice. When something isn’t working, the advice of an expert can be extremely helpful. It is possible that your approach just requires a little tweaking. Or it might be that your approach is more than a little wrong.  Advice from the right person can make a big difference.

3. Learn. If nothing is working, it might be time to sit down and educate yourself on what you are trying to accomplish.  A little more
knowledge might be the cure for your current struggles.  Enhance your expertise and then apply what you learn.

4. Develop a new plan. Perhaps it is time for a new approach.  When one plan isn’t working, another plan might be the solution.  It is important not to give up too soon on your current methods, but it doesn’t help you at all if you try to stick it out for too long once it becomes obvious that it isn’t working.

5. Try harder. Everyone thinks they are working extremely hard, but few people actually are.  The solution to your challenge might be to double your efforts and grind.  This isn’t necessarily enjoyable, but the most successful people are highly effective at employing this tactic.

6. Rekindle your motivation. Are you simply losing your motivation? There are ways around that! 

 Create a vision board.
 Visualize yourself being successful.
 Make a list of all the benefits you will receive when you reach your goal.
 Speak with someone and ask for a pep talk.
 Listen to music or watch a movie that inspires you.

7. Determine why you want to give up. Are you tired? Are you short of a particular resource such as time, money, or another set of hands? Is it taking too long? Are you confused?
 Determine the cause of why you want to give up and look for a solution that resolves the issue.

8. Get support. It might be time to call your friends and family for a little emotional support. Everyone needs some encouragement once in a while. Be willing to lean on others when necessary. The people that care about you the most would be happy to help.

9. Set a new target. There are times that a goal isn’t suitable or possible. In those cases, set a new target that is appealing and motivating. No one makes perfect choices all of the time.  The real crime is to stick with a poor choice when it isn’t necessary.

Giving up is common among average people, but who wants to be average? Not you! Rather than give up when you become frustrated or stressed, use one of the above strategies and stay in the game.
You can’t win if you don’t play!
Most people would be significantly more successful if they wouldn’t give up so quickly. Learning how to deal effectively with the urge to quit is an important skill to develop. There are plenty of better options than giving up.

Active Listening, the Most Important Communication Skill

March 17, 2022 by  

Hearing is an ability unless one is hearing impaired, but Listening is an art and needs to be learned. It requires focus and concentration as well as understanding all the interferences that impact our ability to listen well. In addition, in order to get good at it, one must practice it.
We are not mind readers so cannot tell if someone is really listening to us, even if they look as if they are because we are not mind readers and so have no idea what they heard. That is why one needs to get concrete feedback from the “listener” to discover what they did hear.

Do not ask them if they understood you because they will always answer yes because they do not want you to think that they were not paying attention or that they are not very smart.

Here is the question to ask: “What do you think I expect of you?” If they can answer that question, they can show you that they in fact did hear what you told them, otherwise, you will not get what you want or need and that causes resentment, disappointment, and stress, which during this pandemic is the last thing we need.

Because we are not mind readers we do not know if they are not feeling well, are too hot, too cold or uncomfortable in another way. We do not know if they have a problem of their own that they are worrying about or trying to solve and all of those issues will super cede anything you might want them to hear. In addition, never “assume” as that makes an ass out of you and me and you cannot be sure that they did hear you unless you get some good feedback. So again, if you are assuming you will not likely get what you are expecting or needing.

If you have an important conversation to have with a person or persons, try to have it in a location without distractions like people walking in and out, side talking, construction or traffic noises, business machines like faxes or telephones ringing or even copiers working. All of those distractions make it very difficult for a person to concentrate on what you are trying to tell them so you will not likely get what you want.

Again, just because someone is looking at you while you are speaking you cannot be sure they are listening and heard what you wanted them to hear, unless you get some good feedback that tells you that they were listening and did hear what you needed them to hear.

Sadly, we are not taught how to listen, and again, hearing and listening are not the same. As I already mentioned, listening requires concentration and focus and if that is not exercised it is very difficult to receive a message fully. Most people think they are good listeners but honestly, few actually are because they do not know how it works.  It is too bad that listening is not taught to children and adults so that they can do it effectively and reduce resentment, disappointment and stress.

In order to be a good team leader, or a leader of any sort, or a professional of any sort, one must be a good listener in order to learn about your team members, your patients, even your customers. If we listen well, we can learn what matters to them, what concerns them and what they may be seeking and can help them get what they want and help them to improve their health or increase their abilities and knowledge. Especially when something goes wrong, it is so important to listen so that we can fix the problem and make the person happy again. Without active listening we will miss opportunities and not get what we need or want……that is why you need to ask for feedback from the supposed listener.
Again, active listening is really the most important communication skill as it can prevent so many problems before they happen.

How to Make Your Virtual Meetings More Interactive and Effective

February 23, 2022 by  

Virtual meetings have grown in popularity due to the increasing number of companies that allow a work-from-home setup. Plus, they are a great way of connecting with your colleagues while staying in the comfort of your home.
The only caveat is that virtual meetings tend to be rigid and non-interactive. That’s because you can’t manage to have a whisper with the person beside you.
That said, we have listed eight tips to make your virtual meetings interactive and engaging:

Use the Right Technology
Virtual meetings are no longer just screen-sharing sessions or teleconferences. These days, you can now use virtual conferencing apps that allow interactivity.
Some apps allow you to create a poll, field questions from attendees, or voice their opinions through the microphone. As such, you can leverage these features to encourage audience participation. Hence, making your virtual meetings interactive.

Have a Plan B
When technology fails, things can quickly get out of hand.
It is vital for companies who rely on virtual meetings to have a backup plan not to lose any momentum in their work process. This way, if one of the participants cannot attend the conference for some reason, there will be another person ready to take their place and conduct business as planned.
Having a backup plan lets you get back up quickly and get the meeting running again if any hiccups happen during a virtual meeting.

Stick to a Meeting Agenda
Virtual meetings allow for a more engaging discussion that is more time-efficient. If a meeting is not optimized with a meeting agenda, it will be hard for participants to know what’s going on.
Virtual meetings must have a plan so that the team organizing the meeting can work through it effectively and efficiently. You should create a well-thought-out program to inform your audience what to expect in a meeting. This includes telling them what you want your participants to do, such as turning their phones on silent.
This is also a way of ensuring that only those who are needed in the meeting will attend.

Start with an Ice Breaker
An icebreaker is a small activity played before the start of a meeting. The goal of an ice breaker is to make everyone feel comfortable and realize that you welcome casual conversations.
A good icebreaker can help participants feel more connected with each other and break down barriers. It can create an atmosphere where people can be themselves, share their ideas, and collaborate for the sake of the project they’re working on.
Therefore, starting with an icebreaker can help loosen people up to smoother meetings.

Include an Interactive Dialogue
Having two-way communication is an excellent way to make any virtual meetings engaging.
Luckily, video conferencing tools these days have features that enable interactive dialogue. This includes poll creation, sidebar chat, Q&A panel, and a face-to-face conversation via computer audio.
As part of the plan, planning flexibility and leniency in the meeting agenda is a great way to get the dialogue going. However, it’s always best to encourage discussions by prompting responses from your audience.

Use Visual Elements
Another way to engage your attendees is to use visual elements. After all, no one would want to stare at a talking face for hours.
Instead of saying that your company’s profit increased by 15% this quarter, you might want to show it in a graph. Doing so makes it easy for your participants to grasp what you are talking about.
However, make sure that your visual elements add to your presentation instead of taking away from and distracting from it.

Add Gamification Elements
Gamification uses game design techniques to engage players in solving problems. It is a way to successfully motivate people, usually through rewards when used outside a gaming context. You can apply this concept to your virtual meetings.
A gamified virtual meeting is a virtual meeting with added elements to make it more interesting for participants. The goal is to motivate them to join and participate in discussions by making them more enjoyable.
The simplest way to incorporate that is by offering a reward. For example, every time you ask a question, you should prompt everyone to answer it, and whoever answers correctly first gets a prize.

Ask Participants for Feedback
Adding different ways to receive feedback on a virtual meeting can help you find ways to improve it. With more employees working from home these meetings are essential to keep everyone able to exchange ideas and keep in touch during this pandemic.
You can set up an anonymous form so that everyone will feel comfortable being as honest as possible when sending back their feedback to you. After you read through their input, you’ll be able to know which ones are working right for you and which ones need improvement.

Since virtual meetings are a significant part of how your organization operates, making them engaging and interactive would make sense. That way, you can keep their attention for as long as your meetings last. In addition, you can do that by applying the tips listed above.

10 Ways to Improve Your Employee’s Experience

February 3, 2022 by  

An employee’s experience is your worker’s perception about their time through the multiple touchpoints of your company. With this impression, it can begin as early as the recruitment stages and last until their last day as your company’s employee.
In most cases, your employees’ overall experience is affected by multiple common factors such as the provided work environment, the company culture and values, equipment, and the nature of the work itself. Depending on the employee, everyone’s experiences can be either negative or positive based on how they generally absorb these factors over time.

Often abbreviated as “EX,” employee experience can be closely compared to your customer satisfaction ratings. Through this data, the figures can show you how your employees feel throughout each touchpoint of their time with your business.

The Importance of a Positive Employee Experience
Employee-employer should always be handled mutually and respectfully. Providing a strong and positive employee experience is one of many factors that employers should prioritize by continuously improving their processes and culture.
For employees looking to enter a new company, they can check employee ratings and reviews as a guide to see if an organization maintains a good working environment for its employees.
Through a strong and healthy employee experience, many of the most successful businesses are able to retain their top talent, which can act as an edge against other competitors. Apart from that, there are also numerous other benefits that you can gain by taking the necessary steps to improve your EX.

10 Ways to Improve Your Employee’s Experience
Employee experience can influence other aspects of the company, such as its productivity and quality of output. Because of this, it is crucial to maintain effective strategies to improve these factors continuously. Here are some methods that you can use to enhance the overall experience of your workers.

1. Improve internal communication in the company
Communication within your company should always foster a sense of community within the work environment to encourage everyone to cooperate and achieve set goals in mind. At the same time, practicing active communication skills in the workplace allows your operations to run more smoothly and avoid problems such as miscommunication and negative impressions.

2. Create a memorable onboarding experience
The onboarding process plays a vital role in seamlessly transitioning new employees into their position within the company. In many instances, this experience is essential to the success of the employee as they gain major information about the company and their position. One way of ensuring a smooth onboarding experience is by creating orientations that allow them to transition smoothly into their first few tasks.

3. Provide manager training
The relationships between your employees and other team members can be one of the most vital factors that affect their employee experience, especially their relationship with their managers. Consider providing regular manager training to allow team leaders to empathize and understand how to interact with other employees properly.

4. Make career development options available
Workers are more likely to stay with your company if they know that you can provide career development opportunities for them as they grow with your company. With this in mind, you can establish training programs that will train these workers so that they can be ready to take up more responsibilities before they get promoted. These programs may also be implemented annually to maintain an effective workforce rotation.

5. Use an employee journey map
A journey map acts as a key guide that can help you visualize your employee’s processes as they go through your company to accomplish set goals that were previously established. Using this map can help you pinpoint critical moments during these different stages and identify weak points in your operations that you can further improve. Additionally, an employee journey map can help you understand the employee’s point of view better as you go through their experiences with them.

6. Implement stay interviews
Stay interviews are often conducted by management to grasp a better understanding of why employees stay with your company or the reasons why they might consider leaving for other opportunities. For this interview to be considered successful, conductors should keep in mind to speak in a casual and conversational manner during the interview.

7. Perform a survey
Conducting a survey or gaining employee feedback is one of the best ways for companies to learn how their employees feel about working in the organization and understand their perspectives better. Using the data gathered from these documents can guide you when optimizing your business operations and multiple other factors that affect employee experience. Surveys can be done quarterly or annually, depending on your preferences.

8. Invest in employee wellness
When you offer good programs for employee wellness, your teams are more likely to become active within the company as it can be used as a form of encouragement. Apart from physical programs, these benefits can also come in paid leaves, an in-house clinic,
healthy food provisions, etc.

9. Act on your feedback
When you get multiple negative feedback on your employee surveys, this can be a quick indicator that something is going wrong. To maintain a positive employee experience, make sure that you look through each concern and find ways to improve in aspects that you are lacking. However, keep in mind that these should be for the betterment of all employees, not just a singular one.

10. Share customer feedback with your employees
Everyone wants to be praised for the hard work that they do. If an employee receives positive feedback from a customer they served, take the initiative and congratulate them for the work that they have done. This not only boosts employee morale but can also work as a motivator for other employees to perform well with their tasks.

Progress Through Positivity
Creating a good employee experience for your teams can significantly benefit your company in many ways. Apart from experiencing lower turnover rates, business owners can also improve their overall reputation in the industry, which allows you to compete better against major competitors in the market. Moreover, happy employees are shown to work more efficiently and seek better career development plans in their futures.

How to Create a Culture of Innovation

January 21, 2022 by  

The term innovation has become a hot topic in the workforce. While organizations may execute innovation differently, they can all agree on one thing: innovation is the key to building distinct value for your workforce and customers.
Let’s discuss the what and the why behind innovation and then dive into the how—the four tangible ways you can begin creating a culture of innovation today.

What Is a Culture of Innovation?
A culture of innovation is a workplace environment that values and encourages creative thinking. It unlocks ideas that may be unconventional yet can drive positive, long-term change for the organization.
Business leaders of an innovative culture understand the economic and social value of creativity and do their part to prioritize innovation at all levels of their company.

Why Is Innovation Important?
Innovation focuses on looking beyond the obvious to think of unique ways to bolster an organization’s unique value proposition.

Consider the following statistics on innovation:
• Innovation helps organizations foster a competitive advantage and govern their economic success.
• Executives believe 40 percent of their innovation strategies have positively impacted their bottom line.
• 84 percent of executives believe innovation is vital for their growth strategy.

How Do You Create a Culture of Innovation?
Below, we’ve outlined four main characteristics a culture of innovation encompasses and tangible tips on how to achieve them. We encourage you to use these tips to help you create a culture of innovation at your organization.

1. Step Outside of the R&D Framework
Often, when there is a dedicated research and development (R&D) team at an organization, it can cause other workforce members to believe their roles do not require or are not capable of creative thinking. As a result, innovation is limited to only one group at the organization.
This is a traditional approach, which enterprise software company SAP criticizes. According to SAP, innovation should not be exclusive to one person, team, or department. In an innovative culture, every team member can contribute ideas.

How to Achieve This
Stepping outside the traditional R&D framework and instilling company-wide innovation requires:
• Finding ways for creative team members to regularly collaborate with the R&D team and break down departmental silos.
• Initiating regular dialogue about what creativity means to individuals and how the organization can cohesively drive innovation.
• Leveraging technology such as collaborative analytics to make R&D more of a company-wide effort. Collaborative analytics can bring people together and speed up decision-making processes by 46 percent.

2. Nurture Collaboration
Millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, enjoy interacting with individuals who excite and interest them. In innovative business culture, business leaders recognize this and leverage this energy to improve innovation.

How to Achieve This………
Everyone, no matter their title or role, has creative potential. An innovative culture recognizes that ideas must be shared to truly value and capitalize on the advantages creativity can produce.
Business leaders can improve and nurture collaboration by omitting strict departmental rules that may be siloing teams. Encourage workforce members to take part in meetings and projects outside of their usual roles.
This allows people to step outside their comfort zones and learn from new colleagues. The more well-rounded your workforce can be, the better they can contribute innovative ideas that support organizational objectives.

3. Embrace Failure
As Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Rather than instilling fear, failure elicits drive and innovation in people who are part of an innovative culture. They understand risk and failure are part of the process and, ultimately, help refine their path to success.

How to Achieve This………
Leaders can help their organization embrace failure by:
• Investing in learning. Business leaders can consider hosting events such as boot camps that encourage teams to complete a project together. Incorporate training, debriefing, and feedback sessions to help individuals confront roadblocks head-on and view failure as a learning opportunity rather than something that undermines their skills.
• Focusing on finding solutions. It’s easy to mull over errors. Instead, encourage your teams to proactively discover solutions to those problems. This can be a great learning opportunity that can help them masterfully navigate change. Leaders who view change as an opportunity for innovation can develop a more creative and optimistic outlook to change the process.

4. Encourage and Reward Creative Ideas
It can be daunting for team members to speak up, take risks, and be vulnerable. This is why leadership must provide an open invitation to encourage workforce members to do so.
With leadership’s support, workforce members can feel more confident and comfortable sharing ideas and spearheading innovation in their roles.

How to Achieve This
Business leaders should reiterate the importance of innovation across all departments by:
• Illustrating the positive outcomes of one’s innovative idea. Highlight a success story during a company meeting that shows how creative ideas turned into profitable services and products. Show your appreciation and reward innovative behaviors; everyone else will feel compelled to follow suit.
• Encouraging management to identify and support creatives on their team. Confidence and creativity do not go hand in hand. Sometimes, your most soft-spoken workforce members are your most creative. Therefore, work with your managers to identify them and think about ways you can enhance their roles by asking:
• Is a team member’s current role creatively fulfilling to them?
What areas of their job can be improved to benefit both the team member and organization?

Wherever your organization stands, we encourage you to review these guiding tips on creating an innovative culture. Give your business and workforce members the competitive advantage they deserve.

Productivity at Work: 6 Tips That Increase Your Efficiency

December 21, 2021 by  

Time is incredibly important, and unfortunately, it is impossible to magically add more minutes to the day.
If you find yourself getting distracted throughout the workday, you are likely to waste those precious minutes.
On the other hand, when you become more productive, not only will you shine at work, but you will also have more time for the things you enjoy doing!
So, what can you do to be more productive?

Keep these 6 tips in mind to get more done at work:
1. Plan your workday. Before you get started working, or even the night before, set your priorities so that you will know what the most important tasks are. Make a to-do list with the most important tasks at the top.

2. Follow your plan. Tackle the tasks on your to-do list in order. Complete the most important tasks early in the day! When you know that you have done the most important ones, the rest of the day is easier.
 When other items come up that demand your immediate attention, as they inevitably will, handle them quickly and get right back to your to-do list.
 When other tasks come up unexpectedly, determine their priority. If they have a lower priority than your current task, try to delay doing them until you finish the higher priority task.

3. Reduce distractions. If you have a private office, close the door. If you work in an open room, consider investing in some noise-canceling headphones. Playing some light music can help you to tune out the distractions.
 In order to limit interruptions from your coworkers, let others know how long you will be unavailable.
 Keep only what you need for your current task on your desk. Too much clutter is distracting. Designate a place to keep all your supplies and return them to their proper place when you are done using them. This will also keep you from wasting time to look for needed items.

4. Avoid multitasking. You may think that you can juggle multiple jobs at the same time, but the truth is that those tasks that you are juggling won’t be completed with the quality that you strive for. This may result in errors that you then have to spend time rectifying.
 Research shows that it invariably works out better when you focus on one task at a time. Finish one task and then go on to the next.

5. Learn to delegate. Choose tasks from your to do list that others can complete or help you with and delegate these tasks to them. This will free up some of your time for high priority tasks that you must complete yourself.
 Trying to do too much results in an overall drop in the quality of your work, which ultimately negatively affects productivity.

6. Take breaks. When you work for an extended period of time without taking a break, your productivity levels and efficiency drop. Try to take a break for about 5 minutes each hour.
 In your break, give your mind a rest from your work. Put it out of your mind for just a few minutes.
 Stand up and walk around. Take some deep breaths. Do a few stretches and jumping jacks to get your blood moving again.
 Go for a walk. Even if it is just 5-10 minutes out of the office, you will return feeling refreshed and ready for the next task.

Keep these tips in mind to become more efficient with your time at work. You will get more done at work, which will make your boss happy and give you more spare time to enjoy doing the things that you love.

Impact Workplace Trust: Five Effective Communication Skills

November 19, 2021 by  

Without trust…people will do their jobs, but they will not offer their ideas, or their enthusiasm, or their souls.” R. C. Solomon and F. Flores, Building Trust in Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life.
In my 30 years of observing leadership behaviors, I have seen many who are effective and ineffective in leading others. No matter the years of experience, the degrees or what they do for a living, this one key factor to be true. Those who are destined for the failure of obtaining workplace trust, lack in delivering effective communication.
Modern Survey’s latest employee engagement results indicate that trust in organizational leadership remains to stagnate. Since trust is critical to achieving high performing organizations, perhaps it makes sense to take how we communicate more seriously. This also applies to those who claim to be an expert in communication. I have watched in amazement those who claim to be an expert in communication fail miserably in earning trust. They focus on pointing out others’ faults and set others up to fail but yet wonder why trust is not forthcoming. For the sake of achieving solid business results, no leader in the organization should be exempt in re-evaluating their communication ability.

Here are 5 tips for fine-tuning organizational communication:

1. Stop the speeches and walk the talk:
Hearing the words “Trust Me!” has a tendency to send red flags for many in the workplace. Why? Because trust is demonstrated and earned by action, not demanded by words. Those who make great speeches about how trust is important to them miss the point entirely and give people a reason to mistrust them. We hire smart people. Smart people observe actions. They compare actions with “talk.” From there they will determine if you are trustworthy or not. Stick with walking the talk and minimize the blind speeches about trust.

2. Consistency:
People compare stories and actions from one leader to the next. If there is an inkling of inconsistency without an acknowledgment or self-correction, then people doubt your integrity. It really is that simple.

3. What goes around comes around:
The authors of the book, “The Speed of Trust” contend that one of the chief reasons employees mistrust senior leadership is because senior leadership does not trust employees. It is better to limit criticisms, even if in a confidential meeting room. Jumping to conclusions and slaughtering people in a room with others is a dangerous practice. I have seen leaders shocked when they found out discussions in a closed boardroom got circulated among staff, despite stressing the importance of confidentiality. There are two best personal policies in meetings:
 Assume that nothing is confidential and anything you say will be repeated, texted, forwarded, shared, posted or tweeted.
 If there is an issue going on, have a private conversation with the appropriate person, as opposed to a meeting room with others. The conversation should be based on fact and objectivity, preferably with something to back it up.

4. Fact Find:
As a long time, HR professional I have learned there are so many sides to a story. It is always worth it to take a little time and get facts and uncover backup wherever possible. Yet, how many times do we witness people taking one side of a story and run with it as if it were fact. Everyone has his or her own version of reality. Take care and uncover evidence or clarify situations before taking action.
When people see that you take care of getting facts before running off like Chicken Little, trust and respect can be earned. Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Meyer checked login records to see if telecommuters were being productive. Without getting the facts how long do you think unproductive telecommuters would have lasted? While she made an unpopular decision, people will ultimately remember that she sought facts first before leaping to action based on emotions.

5. Resolve Misunderstandings:
Misunderstandings occur regularly in the workplace. I think the action of resolving misunderstandings is crucial and is often overlooked. I have heard many times, “They will get over it.” When it comes to trust development, people don’t just “get over it” if the misunderstanding(s) is perceived as significant and unresolved.

There are a number of reasons why employees do not trust senior leaders. However, a culture of trust and integrity starts at the top. If “the top” builds their team with “yes” people and those who don’t adopt effective communication skills, then achieving respect and trust from employees and ultimately seeing business result traction, will remain evasive. As a leader, if you invest in communication skill building, walk the walk, surround yourself with fact-based truth-tellers, and demonstrate communication consistency, workplace trust can be earned.

Five Unique Ways to Keep Your Staff Happy

November 4, 2021 by  

Have you ever thought about your employees’ happiness? Indeed, this is a thought that hardly crosses many bosses. Yet, when dealt with, it can shift a business’ production to the next level. Happiness at the workplace doesn’t only come by ensuring timely monthly paychecks. It is about how the workers feel as they execute their duties.

Once you have a happy team, you are sure that each day they come to work, the workers are determined to make a difference, and the opposite is true. Here are some ideas that can kick-start you in this journey of creating a happy working ambient.

Keep Your Employees Updated
If you listen to most employees keenly, you will note one constant complaint. They have no clue what happens within the company and only get involved in the most significant events. As a result, the workers are not even sure how they are supposed to flow with these events. Although some company info is limited to certain ranks, you can use your wisdom to know to what extent you can keep your employees informed to feel involved in the major activities. It may not be a significant gesture, but it works wonders in making the workers feel important and valued.

Your Employees Are Adults, Treat Them That Way
It is vital to make your employees realize that you trust their guts. So, the worst you can do is monitor every move or step they make. Avoid constant correction, criticism and watch out for your language when correcting someone. For instance, try not to refer to workers as being useless or good for nothing as such terms will lower the morale of your employees. More so, you interviewed each worker and found it fit to hire them, so it may not be necessary always to supervise the employees. Do well to give them the space they deserve.

Offer Benefits That Count
It is one thing to offer employee benefits and giving employee benefits that count. You arrive at giving benefits that count by surveying the office to get a clue of what your workers would wish to have as a benefit. Is it paternity leave, club membership, or a daycare facility at work? You will be surprised to discover some ideas that may have never crossed your mind.
The problem with making this call is that you could provide an expensive benefit that the employees rarely use, so they are not happy about it. So, listen to their ideas, create changes where possible, and this way, you will have a happy team.

Do Not Generalize Employees
Your children at home have different interests and personalities, and so do employees. So, it is not fair to treat them as equals or in general. Instead, try to create a more personal touch by exercising one-on-one conversations, which should not necessarily be based on the wrong things that have happened. Make random visits in your workers’ offices and spare a few minutes to catch up on their progress, how they are faring on, and the challenges they are facing. This way, the workers will feel important, and they’ll always be happy to have you as their boss.

Recognize and Reward Employees When Necessary
While ego will not allow some bosses to praise their workers, others tend to think that acknowledging employees because of a job well done is a means of making them feel full of themselves. But this is not the case. Instead, workers feel energized, happy and determined to keep up with the good work.

Apart from praising, you can also develop a recognition program for employees who stand out in their operations. You may invest in meaningful gifts within the company’s budget, and that small gesture will take your business a long way.

The productivity of employees increases when they are happy. Hence, you can easily tell how your business is doing by analyzing the happiness of your workers. And on humanitarian grounds, managing to keep your workers happy is one of the most rewarding feelings you can experience. CEOs who manage to attain this culture leave a tradition that the business benefits from for many years. Once you facilitate growth, transparency, and opportunities for your employees, you will have happy workers at all times.

4 Principles of Change: What can go wrong and how to do it better!

October 7, 2021 by  

Here are four building blocks of change. This particular model says that if a change is to happen in an organization, it will be a combination of the leaders being role models, the people having a clear understanding of and alignment to the change as well as the capabilities to act upon it. In addition, the organization will have the systems and processes put into place in order to make this happen.

While these models vary in terms of specifics, the practitioners and experts agree on the following:
 The need for great communication is to ensure the sense of urgency as well as the vision ahead and why this will be of benefit for everyone
 The need for leaders to be more involved in change efforts and act as role models for the rest of the organization
 The need for systems and processes to ensure that the change is transformed into a habit

There are four principles that require attention. If these are not managed correctly, they can give rise to deeper issues that impede success in even the best-performing organizations:
1. Communication that becomes more of an advertising campaign with unidirectional messaging targeted to the “what” and “how” rather than the “why” behind the change. Employees need compelling reasons why the change is going to be of benefit to them as well as for the company. This is extremely important because change causes a huge flow of rumours and those rumours and concerns need to be directly addressed so that more focus on be put on how to make the change happen as smoothly as possible.
2. Leaders who are seen as “false sponsors” because their attention is divided and their interest waivers. Leaders need to be committed to the change and model that behaviour in order for others to get on board with the process.
3. Progress that rarely is measured formally, and when it is, looks only at lagging indicators. Appropriate time must be allowed to let people get used to the changes and feel up to speed with any technological or other new ways of doing things.
4. A continuous launch of change initiatives and priorities that weigh down the organization and make focus impossible. Yes, change is the new normal and those who are not willing to embrace it will get left behind, however, it needs to be done in steps, in an appropriate time frame and with great support and encouragement.

Below are ways to combat such situations and improve the odds of success.

Principle One: employ engaging communication
What usually happens: Communication becomes more of an advertising campaign with unidirectional messaging targeted to the “what” and “how” rather than the “why” behind the change. Employees need to know why!
Why it happens: One-way communication means the recipients of the information are left alone to interpret it for themselves. When this happens, the same information can be seen in different ways by different people, depending on their previous experiences, current mindset, etc. Additionally, attention spans vary greatly from person to person so a large percentage of the communication may be lost. Communication focuses solely on the “what is next” and the “what to do”, which means that recipients are not guided through the “why” of the change. Thus, a sense of urgency is not created, and people are less open to and motivated by the “what to do next.” This can greatly slow down the progress toward the desired change.
How to do it better: The way to ensure engagement and alignment is to work through an interactive communication tool. Participants can use discovery-based methodologies in a structured way to reach conclusions themselves as to why the change needs to happen, and what they need to do to make it happen. These tools have to be company appropriate and moment-specific and must be leader-led to ensure the right conversations are taking place. Such tools, like engage maps, are structured around the three themes of “Why the change”, “What is the new framework or model and what does it mean for us”, and “How will we get from where we are to the new desired state.”

Principle Two: true leadership
What usually happens: Leaders who are seen as “false sponsors” because their attention is divided and their interest waivers.
Why it happens: In many changes and transformations, leaders focus on “business as usual” and delegate the change process to departments like HR or IT, or to external consultants. This produces a disconnect. In addition, leaders are often not aligned with the changes themselves and, therefore, when their teams face issues or questions, their responses and actions are contradictory to the change. If the leadership is not fully on board with the change and its transition, it will be very difficult for it to happen.
How to do it better: It is key that leaders be seen as role models. In order to do that, they must be the first ones to align with the change and, therefore, be the first ones trained on tools such as engage maps. They also need to take ownership of the change for their people.

Principle Three: the need for measurement and monitoring
What usually happens: Progress that rarely is measured formally, and when it is, looks only at lagging indicators is not beneficial to a good outcome.
Why it happens: Many transformation and change efforts focus on the very end indicators such as the percentage of new digital clients in the bank, which become lagging indicators which are only measured after it happens. Sometimes these types of measurement make it difficult to show the impact of the transformation process.
How to do it better: It is important to be able to track both result-oriented indicators as well as activity indicators, as they can reveal a leading effect. These leading indicators can also identify the barriers to transformation and give us “heat maps” as to where the positive action is happening and what else we may need to implement.

Principle Four: the essence of focus
What usually happens: A continuous launch of change initiatives and priorities that weigh down the organization and make focus impossible

Why it happens: Change fatigue is a common issue in organizations: “This year’s change initiative is ….” tends to be a joke for employees. The complexity of the tools and models of an organization can make it difficult for employees to know what is expected of them.

How to do it better: Limit transformational actions to the ones that are crucial and require the employees’ full attention. Link these actions to the rest of the changes in the organization, such as the compensation system changes, reporting shifts and organizational moves.

It is worth investing the time and resources in a change management people process that looks at these four principles and implements ways to ensure the right impact. Also, remember that change is the event and the transition is the process and without an effective transition process the change will not occur.
As an old African proverb states, “Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Make sure you have an appropriate process in place and be sure that the leadership is committed and modelling the behaviours necessary to convince the employees that this will be a good change for the organization.

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