Sep 172012
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Smart Rules to Follow

Here are some tips that will help empower and enable your team to succeed while you’re away, and they may just make your vacation more enjoyable.

1. Set some ground rules.

Set expectations before you leave. If you just can’t not check email, make your plans clear to those around you. Perhaps you want to check email just once at the end of the day, and respond to only notes that have been marked “urgent”–or you may not want to respond at all. Either way, make a plan before you leave so that everyone knows what to expect.

2. Delegate.

Make sure your team feels empowered to carry on and step up without you. Delegate responsibilities for approvals and decisions to team members whom you trust. And make sure your team knows who is responsible for what. This will not only ensure nothing goes unnoticed, but it will empower people to take more initiative–when you’re gone and even after you return.

3. Give yourself a schedule.

If you said you’d check your email once a day, stick to it. If you decided to do one conference call, don’t add more to the calendar just because you feel you should and you’re free. Stay true to the expectations you set.

4. Make an effort not to respond.

The more you respond to non urgent emails and phone calls, the less clarity there is around responsibility. You are on vacation; you should do your best to stay there. Remember that you’re helping your team as well as yourself.

5. Trust.

There is a reason you work with the people you do; you probably hired most of them. They’re smart; you trust them. Remember this, and don’t worry about what happens when you take a vacation.

6. Allow for mistakes.

Everyone drops the ball at some point, but even that is a learning experience. Allow for mistakes to happen when you’re away. It won’t be the end of the world.

7. Enjoy your vacation.

Really take your vacation. You deserve it. I always feel a bit sorry for the people who constantly check in even if they’re on vacation, because they’re obviously not having an excellent time.

The leaders whom I respect the most are the ones I never hear from while they’re away. Set a good example and go away–preferably where cell service is spotty. And have fun.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 September 17, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Time Tagged with: , ,  2 Responses »
Mar 142012
 

leadership, clear expectations, trust, communication, Vision, Mission, Culture

 

Part 1.

In part 1 we discussed how studies have shown that trust and confidence in top leadership, is the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization.

Effective communication by leadership in three critical areas is the key to winning organizational trust and confidence, and involves:

3 Critical areas of communication:

  • 1.  Helping employees understand the company’s overall Vision.
  • 2.  Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving this Vision.
  • 3.  Sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division    or    department is doing – relative to the company’s Vision.

To build your dream team you must be trustworthy and you have to be able to communicate your vision of where you are going.  At my company we do this with our Vision, Mission, and Culture document. It is a document that we created to communicate our company’s expectations. We communicate the VMC and these expectations during our interview process and throughout the relationship that our company has with its team members.

Do you have a VMC? If not, what do you use to communicate your expectations to new team members?

Do you want to create a VMC? See below for some quick points to get you started.

  • Create of Vision that speaks to the next 15 -20 years.
  • The Vision is the “what” and the Mission Statement is the “How” your going to achieve your vision.
  • Break your culture up into 4 key areas of expectations. 1. Your expectations as the leader. 2. Your customers expectations. 3. Your employees expectations. 4. The expectations of your business as a whole.

 

Part 2 

Inspire a shared Vision- share your vision in words that can be understood by your followers. Now that you have created your VMC develop a system where you can share and communicate it.

  • Create a place in your organization where sharing your VMC makes sense. I recommend sharing it during your hiring process or as early on in your hiring process as you can. This is the best time for a new team member to get introduced to your company and see what it is all about.  There is no better way to introduce your company than to explain your Vision. To explain where you are leading your business, and whether your new prospective employee wants to be a part of what you are building.
  • Create a system for tracking employees performance. Using the same points of culture that you defined in your VMC.
  • Track employee performance ruthlessly. Giving individual and constructive feedback along the way. Do this in a manner that is setting your team members up for success when it comes time for their performance review.
Do you want to learn more about creating a system for tracking employee performance? If so, take a look at this book review. Becoming the Manager your Employees need. Book Review-“It’s Okay To Be The Boss.”

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 March 14, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: ,  4 Responses »
Mar 072012
 

leadership, clear expectations, trust, communication, Vision, Mission, Culture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below you will see a great list of things you can start doing today in order to improve your leadership skills and start being the leader that your team needs. I recommend printing this list out and posting it in your office or somewhere where you can refer to it on a regular basis. If you are like me, it may take a while for these items and characteristics to become natural and a part of who you are. Make Stevey proud and follow the 10 leadership tips listed below.

1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.

  • In order to know yourself, you have to understand your “be”, “do”, and “have” attributes. This is possible by continually strengthening your attributes by reading and self-study.

2. Be technically proficient.

  • As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees’ jobs.

3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

  • Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, do not blame others.

4. Make sound and timely decisions.

  • Use good problem solving, decision-making, and planning tools.

5. Set the example.

  • Be a good role model for your employees. They will believe what they see not what they hear.

6. Know your people and look out for their well-being.

  • Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers.

7. Keep your people informed.

  • Know how to communicate with your people, seniors, and other key people within your organization.

8. Develop a sense of accountability, ownership and responsibility in your people.

  • These traits will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.

9. Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.

  • Communication is the key to this responsibility.

10. Train your people as a team.

  • By developing team spirit, you will be able to employ your organizations to its fullest capabilities.

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 March 7, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Mar 052012
 
case study, aspiring entrepreneur, build a better business, team, trust, team building, learning from small business mistakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below you will see a case study of a Servicecoach.biz reader. This is not a testimonial, just another inspiring story from one entrepreneur to another. Thanks again Alison for the great story.

Service Coach: How did you get into the painting business?

I was a single mom and started dating a painter, before long I was painting with him while I was going to University. He died in 1999, I hadn’t finished my degree and I thought I would try running a company for a year until I found out what I really wanted to do. While running the business I ended up going back to school to finish my degree and I also took a certificate to teach English. I took 6 months off and went to Italy to teach and then returned to Canada and continued with my company. Here I am in my 13th year…

Service Coach: What challenges did you face along the way?

Oh My goodness LOTS… At that time there was not much support for women in the trades so I was met with a lot of opposition but I also met some incredibly supportive people who cheered me on. It was tough being a single mom and trying to find my way. I didn’t know anything about running a business and while I knew how to put paint on a wall I knew very little about paint. Staff was tough (and still can be a challenge) I was not always the best boss but I think I might be starting to get a decent handle on it!!

Service Coach: What did you and your company do to overcome those challenges?

I asked a lot of questions, I went through a lot of trial and error. I was fortunate that the economy was good so that my mistakes were lost in the craziness. I hired a terrific office manager, I learned how to delegate, I learned that my way is not the only way and I have constantly refined what I am doing and always searching for a better way. I try to treat my staff in such a way that they know they matter, that while this is a job I understand that life sometimes takes precedence.

Service Coach: What was the result that you achieved after you overcame these challenges?

My company has a really good reputation, I have had a good income for quite a while (some years obviously better than others) I got to choose how I spent my life. I got to bring integrity to a business that is often lacking and I get to take care of my customers and staff in a way that I am proud of. I got to go to every one of my son’s basketball games, travel and buy property.

Service Coach: Any tips for aspiring Entrepreneurs looking to build a business and take their one man/woman shop and turn it into a business?

Ask A LOT of questions and when you think you have the answers, tweak and tweak some more. Bring your own sense of morality to what you do and stick with that. If you do what all the others are doing you will get what they get… be better, be bolder, be brave.

Alison Donaghey

www.sonshinegirlspainting.com
British Columbia, Canada
 
 

 If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 March 5, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Case Study Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Feb 292012
 

leadership, clear expectations, trust, communication, Vision, Mission, Culture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studies have shown that trust and confidence in top leadership is the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization.

Effective communication by leadership in three critical areas is the key to winning organizational trust and confidence, and involves:

3 Critical areas of communication:

  • 1.  Helping employees understand the company’s overall Vision.
  • 2.  Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving this Vision.
  • 3.  Sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division    or    department is doing – relative to the company’s Vision.

To build your dream team you must be trustworthy and you have to be able to communicate your vision of where you are going.  At my company we do this with our Vision, Mission, and Culture document. It is a document that we created to communicate our company’s expectations. We communicate the VMC and these expectations during our interview process and throughout the relationship that our company has with its team members.

Do you have a VMC? If not, what do you use to communicate your expectations to new team members?

Do you want to create a VMC? See below for some quick points to get you started.

  • Create of Vision that speaks to the next 15 -20 years.
  • The Vision is the “what” and the Mission Statement is the “How” your going to achieve your vision.
  • Break your culture up into 4 key areas of expectations. 1. Your expectations as the leader. 2. Your customers expectations. 3. Your employees expectations. 4. The expectations of your business as a whole.

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 February 29, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: , ,  4 Responses »
Feb 272012
 

Business planning, Business coaching, Branding, small business strategies, clear expections

 

Below you will see a list of words or phrases that “WE” use at my SERVICE business to help communicate. Read it, print it out, post them in your office, and use them. They work.

 

 Powerful Phrases:

 

Powerful Words:

  • The six most important words: ” I admit I made a mistake.”
  • The five most important words: ” You did a good job.”
  • The four most important words: ” What is your opinion?”
  • The three most important words: “If you please.”
  • The two most important words: “Thank you,”
  • The one most important word: “We”
  • The least important word: “I”

 

How many of these are you already using? Do you have anymore that use in your business or in your daily life? If so, please share below in the comments section. Help everyone learn to communicate better in their lives.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 February 27, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership, Team Tagged with: , , ,  5 Responses »
Feb 012012
 

Business planning, Business coaching, Branding, small business strategies, clear expections

One of the common reasons Business Owners have so many “employee headaches” is a result of not setting clear expectations.

Setting clear expectations is one of the most important skills any leader needs to learn. Whether your leading a large cleaning company or you are the leader of your church group. Setting clear expectations is critical to maintaining relationships with team members. This is sometimes easier said than done.  If you consider yourself a natural leader you are most likely full of great ideas. Sound familiar? The key is building a team around you that can help you to implement those ideas.

6 steps on setting clear expectations

1. Document all your ideas. Get them out of your head and on paper.

2. Organize those ideas into a plan, job description, or proposal.

3. Communicate your expectations clearly step by step using the plan as your guide.

4. Trust that your employee can perform the tasks required.

5. Verify that those tasks were completed accurately and in a timely manner.

6. Hold them accountable for the results every step of the way.

 

Do you have a crazy story about a past employee? Feel free to vent your frustrations here by commenting below. I know it sounds weird, but I would love to hear them.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 February 1, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership, Team Tagged with: , , ,  2 Responses »
Jan 262012
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 simple tips for building trust in your team.

1. Trust and Verification.

If there is only one rule that you learn in management, it should be trust and verification.  Our role as managers is to first trust our team and employees with the responsibilities that we delegate to them. The second part is to verify that they are doing what we asked them to do. A lot of managers today get this wrong. They feel that when they tell someone to do something their they’re job is done. Unfortunately this type of delegation is just setting your team up for failure. Anytime you have a “trust” issue in your organization look at your verification first. Most likely the hole in your system is here.

2. Choose your words carefully.

Example: “I know you can” instead of “You better or else”. As a manager, when you are having important conversations with your team, make sure you think through the conversation and choose your words carefully. I have a follow-up post coming soon on more examples of phrases to use to communicate your concerns about employee performance in a positive manner.

3.Start with small responsibility and build on it.

Be interested in the behavior you SEE and be less interested  in what your team members say. This is very powerful. Everyday you are going to have team members tell you what you want to hear. Early on the relationship, make sure it is clear to them that you hear what they are saying.  However, you are more concerned with what type of behavior you see on a regular basis.

4. Obsessively document their behavior.

This ties very close to #3.   When talking about a employee’s behavior state the facts, there is nothing more powerful. When the issue happened, what the issue was in detail, what customer or employee it effected, ect… This works well for both positive and negative behavioral issues.

5. More one on one’s.

Build rapport. Praise them for positive behavior and hold them accountable for negative behavior. Do this face to face as much as possible. If you run a service business and your technicians are on the job the majority of the day, it can be difficult to get some face time with them. Make a point to schedule your office time around the time of day that they are going to be at the office. For me, it is either first thing in the morning or later on in the afternoon. These little “power conversations” go a long way in building rapport with my team.

Want more information on this subject? I highly recommend this book.

If you have any tips for building rapport with team members message me or comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 January 26, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership, Team Tagged with: , ,  2 Responses »
Jan 112012
 

business coaching, service coach, managing cash flow, seasonal businesses, test and measure, A customers, trust your team, ineffective advertising

We all want our businesses to be finished. We want to be finished with marketing or advertising expenses. We want to be finished hiring  and firing employees. We want to be finished creating, organizing, managing, and verifying.

Often we are temped to just go for it and throw as many resources into marketing and advertising in order to Continue reading »

 January 11, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , ,  9 Responses »
Mar 182011
 

leadership, clear expectations, trust, communication, Vision, Mission, Culture, role model, leader, coach, delegation, systems,

Have you ever asked yourself after you had a uncomfortable conversation…Was that person being Rude or Blunt?

When thinking of the difference between Blunt vs. Rude I first think of the intention that is implied. If the person you are talking to has the intention to be hurtful then they will speaking from a Rude position. Verse’s the person who has the intention to just quickly get their point across is most likely approaching the conversation from a Blunt position.

I then think about the judgement that is implied when using the word Rude. When you use this word  to describe someone’s behavior you are passing  judgement on someone. It’s kind of like grade school when the overweight kids were called “fat” or the slow readers were called “dumb”. Calling someone rude is just the adult version of name calling. Side note: you may also find these individuals are the ones that have a lot of “reasons” for their actions. “Reasons” are just the adult word for excuse.

This is why I encourage you to use the word Blunt when describing your behavior, or the behavior of someone you are interacting with. Eliminate the emotion from your dialect and lets all leave the name calling for the 8 year olds.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 March 18, 2011  Posted by at 3:41 PM Leadership, Team Tagged with: ,  3 Responses »