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Archive for month: October, 2012

Banning Emails for Business Development

Has the introduction of technology advanced or slowed business development?

Today's workplace looks almost unrecognizable compared to only a decade ago. From the introduction of social media for business to the overwhelming email inboxes, technology has transformed how we live and business development. But is it all for the good?

Although technology allows us to do the unimaginable, such as doing business from anywhere in the world, it also consumes much of our time and even more importantly, affects how we interact with one another. Have we reached a point that enough is enough?

Recently on Forbes there was an article titled, "I Banned All Internal E-Mails at My Company for a Week," by Shane Hughes. In this article Hughes discusses how he banned his employees from using internal emails for an entire week. When he first introduced the idea, it was received with less than enthusiastic predictions. Some employees even forecasted that business would completely stand still for the week.

His reasoning for halting internal emails had to do with several factors, including the amount of wasted time on unnecessary emails, inappropriate issues being addressed through emails, and a harsher tone with the written word. He presented his case with the strong conviction of emails not being a form of communication. He felt strongly that they allow employees to pass along information to others with the ability to then forget about the problem or issue–enabling it to become someone else's problem.

After pleading his case and reasons for making this week long ban happen, the employees gave in and gave it a shot.

 

Here's what they found:

  • Increase in productive energy
  • Flow of creativity
  • Enhanced communication skills
  • Decrease in stress

Through the experiment, they discovered that email can be productive in the right situations. Using internal email that is not confusing or controversial, and is simple to understand allows a message to be relayed easily and quickly. The group discovered that emails are great to delegate tasks, send attachments, and summarize information. Hughes recommends viewing email as a type of courier service rather than a form of management.

Technology, whether it is internal emails or social media, when used in the right situation can be a valuable asset, However, discovering when to use and to cease use is key for productivity. Finding that delicate balance is critical for you and for your team.

What would happen if you banned internal emails for a week? Want to give it a try?

I encourage you to try stopping internal emails for a week and watch what happens to your team, productivity and communication. Share your results below.


Shayne Hughes is the Chief Executive of Learning as Leadership.

How to Cultivate Passion in Business From Your Team

As a leader are you creating passion in business from your team or dread?

Creating a workplace that enables creativity and passion to flow is up to you–the leader. You may be thinking you are doing all the right things, but actually it is easy to slip into bad habits that can cause more harm than good. In order to increase productivity, happiness, and excitement from your team, the environment you create is key.

Are you ready? Check out the list below to get your business moving in the right direction.

15 Do's and Don't to Keep Your Work Environment Innovative, Healthy, and Creative

 

1. Do speak authentically and openly.

2. Don't speak when someone else is talking.

3. Do listen and be open to ideas from others.

4. Do hold yourself and others accountable.

5. Do admit mistakes.

6. Don't think small or allow others to think small.

7. Don't take others for granted.

8. Do show your appreciation.

9. Do provide honest and genuine feedback.

10. Don't give less than 100%.

11. Do show you care and are interested.

12. Don't gossip or allow others to gossip.

13. Don't stomp on anyone's idea.

14. Do allow others to use their strengths.

15. Don't be afraid to give up control.

Building a business that you and others are proud of starts with you. Create an atmosphere that enables your team to be passionate about where they work, which ultimately leads to your success.

Do you need to make changes? What kind of atmosphere are you creating? Share your thoughts and comments below–we'd love to hear.

 

 

Leadership Strategies: Do You Keep an Open Door Policy?

Do you have leadership strategies in place regarding an open door policy with your employees?

Defend Your Time!

An “open-door” policy is excellent for encouraging communication and fostering relationships, but it can slam the door on your personal time management. Whether you work in an office, or a cubicle, you should be able to find some valuable tips to keep the door from slamming on your productivity clock.

1. "No" is your best friend. Summarizing from the start—learn to say “No!”  Your time is important. Defend it! Take control of your time by scheduling interruptions to the greatest extent possible. Plan meetings or prolonged conversations to take place during one particular time, and try to deal with all the issues at once.  If your job requires frequent consultations with colleagues, schedule a specific time on your calendar. Let it be known that you’re always available from, for example, 11:00 to 12:00 in the morning or 3:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon.

2. Don't open your door the entire way. If you have a “regular” office (with a door), you can still maintain an open-door policy by keeping your door partially open. Let others know this generally signals that you are occupied with something important and this discourages some of the “social” visitors.

3. Be thirsty. A technique that works well to shorten the time of the interruption is the appearance of excessive thirst. Always have a coffee or tea cup (or a needs-to-be-refilled water glass) on your desk. When you’ve decided that the interruption has gone on too long, or is no longer productive, pick up the cup, and begin to move toward the door. Your visitor will go with you. Just like magic!

4. Watch your responses. If someone asks, “Have you got a minute?” answer by saying, “Yes, but barely. Is two minutes enough or would you like to schedule a time to discuss this later?” An alternative is: “I’m tied up at the moment. Can you come back at (suggest a specific time) and we can talk about it then?”

5. Pay attention to the position of your desk. If you can, arrange your desk and chair so that you are not facing the casual passerby. If they have to shift around to see you, they might think twice about interrupting you. Also, if possible, try to avoid having a comfortable chair, that is too inviting, right next to your desk. That’s a temptation that’s hard for the casual visitor to resist.

Open communication and contact is important to building great relationships, and your time is also important. Work to make sure that you’re not trading one for the other!

Growth of Business: Making Customers & Employees Love You

To experience growth of business stand out in a crowd!

When is the last time you experienced high quality customer service? Chances are you had to think about this question for a few seconds until you came up with an answer. Where has customer service gone and why did it leave?

In a world where everyone is interested in instant gratification, it seems as if the simple steps of building relationships with customers by going above and beyond has vanished.

The good news is, if you are a business owner you can easily stand out in a crowd by bringing back the art of customer service! The even better news, by implementing key skills with not only customers but employees, will create long lasting effects.

In an article posted on Inc.com by Geoffrey James titled, "7 Ways to Make Customers Love You," he talks about 7 simple tips that you can implement now that will have customers loyal to you and your business. To take it a step further, these tips can and should be used when leading a team of employees to success as well.

Whether you are interested in building a customer list of raving fans or building a team that is passionate about their work, these tips will take your business to the next level. They are simple and easy to implement, but so often forgotten.

What You Need to do Now to Create Loyal Customers and Employees!

 

1. Make building a relationship your top priority. Regardless of whether it is a customer or employee, make your conversations focused on them and not on you! Take the time to get to know who you are talking to and what makes them tick. Have conversations that are meaningful and memorable.

2. Be curious. Don't try to solve every problem for your employees or customers. Instead be curious about what is happening and what solution they are seeking. Ask questions and they will determine what it is they need through their answers.

3. Always deliver what you promise. Don't ever say something that you can't deliver. Customers and employees are watching and will know if it doesn't happen. A good rule of thumb is to under promise and over deliver. This creates a loyal fan base of happy team members and customers.

4. Be a believer in your business. In order for those around you to believe you are the best business, you need to believe it first. Deep in your heart believe that you have the best product or service to offer. Once you do, it will become contagious.

5.Stop talking (and selling). No one wants to hear your sales pitch, including your team. Be real and create real opportunities to connect with those you are talking to. The more you stop talking and start listening the more opportunities you have to gain information and insight into those around you.

Taking the time to truly build relationships with customers and employees will have huge pay offs in the long run. Doing things differently than the competition allows you to stand out in a crowd and build loyal raving fans.

Are you ready to take action? Tell us what you think by commenting below.


Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on Inc.com, the world's most-visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World's Top Sales Experts@Sales_Source

Simple and Easy Strategy for Growth

Are you seeking to create a strategy for growth of your business?

Are you a new business owner or looking to take your current business to the next level?

Running a successful business takes dedication, passion, and lots of hard work. However, sometimes it takes the simple things that really move a business in the right direction. Even one of the most successful businessman in the world today, Sir Richard Branson, describes his "Five Top Tips to Starting a Successful Business". His tips are simple and easy, but so often forgotten in our high tech world. Whether you are beginning your business venture or you are feeling stuck in your current one, his tips will take you back to the roots–a place you may not have visited for quite some time. Enjoy!

Simple Tips to Developing Your Strategy for Growth

 

1. Stop talking and listen. For anyone who has followed my posts for awhile, you know that I often talk about listening and how important it is for leaders. To make it as simple as possible, Mr. Branson simply states, "Listen more than you talk". This is a great way to keep your talking in check and pay attention to what is happening around you. Pay attention, no matter where you are–you never know what you may hear!

2. Simplicity is key. Running a business does not mean you need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it is the simple solutions that bring about the largest amount of change. If there is someone that is doing it right, learn from them. This doesn't mean you need to throw away your innovation, just keep it simple.

3. Pride is a good thing. Being proud of yourself, your accomplishments, and your business is not a bad thing or make you self centered. Showing pride in what you do allows others to do the same. The most successful people are proud of their hard work and achievements. This includes your team–help them to feel pride in their work and your company.

4. Don't forget about fun. You are building a business to create the lifestyle you envision. Have fun! If you are struggling and not having fun along the way, you may be doing it wrong. Create a business that you are excited to wake up to everyday. Be sure your business environment is fun for your employees and team members as well. Remember laughter is the best medicine.

5. Failures go with the territory. All business owners have unsuccessful ventures–this is part of the process. However, it is the lessons you learn from these failures that create successes. The truth is that you will face setbacks, but don't let them dictate your future. Discover what happened or what went wrong, and get back on the horse. You have the power to learn, analyze, and start again.

Going back to basics is often the easiest way to create your strategy for growth. When you stumble or you need a little inspiration, pull out this list and notice what is missing from your plan.

Do you need to re-evaluate and re-design your current plan? Share your comments below so others may learn from you.

 

Coaching for You

Here's a little tidbit of coaching for you to get your week started!

Pick Your Timing!

 

Try to avoid bringing up complex ideas that require change when people are tired. Meetings, calls, discussions that involve accepting change in attitude, approach, or process meet with the most resistance at the end of the day. These are first AM topics! Quite often mental fatigue overwhelms even the best reasoning and desire to adopt your ideas. Effecting change is sometimes as simple as “picking the right time.” 

Are you a consultant?  Or, do you hire consultants?  If so, here’s a ‘DilbertSnip’ we thought you might enjoy!

“A few reasons why consultants are better than real employees:

1. Consultants eventually leave, which makes them excellent scapegoats for major management blunders.

2. Consultants are often more attractive than your regular employees.This is not always true, but if you get a batch of homely ones you can always replace them in a month.

3. Consultants work preposterously long hours, thus making the regular staff feel like worthless toads for working only 60 hours a week.”

Scott Adams–The Dilbert Principle

 

Have a great week!

 

Joy-fully,

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Leader Development: A LeaderSHIP Journey

Leader Development Is Never Ending

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover!” Mark Twain

Regardless of whether you've been in a leadership role for 1 year or 20 years, the development process is never ending. Enhancing your skills as a leader keeps you on top of your game and your team performing at their best.

If you don't already know this about me, one of my favorite activities in life is sailing. One of my other favorite activities is developing leaders. For me, it made sense to combine the two to create a leadership development program like no other.

Introducing:

If you think about it, leadership and sailing, similar to business and sport, have a lot in common. To be a great sailor you need to be a great leader and team builder!

There are several analogies you can find between the sport of sailing and professional or personal leader development. From dealing with the unexpected and navigating through changes in the marketplace, to wind shifts on the water, when the environment suddenly changes, sailors and leaders need to react quickly. Whether you are suddenly hit by a fast moving squall or solving problems in the workplace, each requires strong communication that works.

Facilitating a team or group is similar to maneuvering a sailboat: there can be no quick moves in the leader’s intended direction unless all hands are collaborating and engaging together.

Are you seeking a unique and one of a kind leadership development program?

Why not go sailing?

Join us February 2-9th, 2013 on a LeaderSHIP Journey through the British Virgin Islands.

 

The journey takes place over 7 days and will combine sailing and leadership skills to teach you a new approach to leading a strong team towards success.

Learn more about our upcoming journey here: LeaderSHIP Journey.

And if you are looking for a journey to develop your corporate team, there are also LeaderSHIP Journey's available for your next team building event. Call 952.471.2567 or Email Joy for more details.

Looking forward to seeing you on the water for a journey of a lifetime!