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Encouraging Growth with Motivation and Accountability

Laws may hold us to a standard, but what is more important is the consequences they hold. Even more important is shaping motivation to work with the rules set in place instead of against them. Hamish Knox writes this article for Tanveernaseer.com as a way to show how all of these ideas can work in tandem.

The dominant perception in the business world is that the word “consequences” automatically means “you’re fired.” That’s like launching a thermonuclear weapon in response to getting into a fender-bender on the highway!

Consequence simply means “the result or effect of an action or condition.” There’s no moral judgment here. It’s just what happens as a result of something else happening – and consequences can be either positive or negative.

Here’s a thought: suppose you were to establish intentional consequences that came a step or two before, and even prevented, deeply unpleasant unintentional ones (like missing quota or getting in a fight with an employee over why they didn’t get a bonus).

Effective consequences, whether personal or professional, always relate to one of three things: time, money or recognition.

As calendars become more and more tightly scheduled, we find that time consequences are, as a general rule, more powerful motivators than money consequences. One of the most important points to bear in mind here, however, is that the consequence that motivates you is not necessarily the consequence that moves your direct reports.

Your challenge as a leader is to understand which type of consequence will motivate each individual on your team.

For example, you have three salespeople on your team. The first has a child going off to college in 16 months, the second is an endurance bicycle racer and the third is highly competitive with colleagues. The first is likely to be motivated by money consequences, the second is likely to be motivated by time consequences (e.g. more time off to train) and the third is likely to be motivated by recognition consequences (e.g. winning an internal contest).

In all cases the best way to uncover each salesperson’s motivation is to ask them with a caveat that asking the third salesperson “would you like to win a contest?” is likely to get a “yeah, duh” response, which doesn’t help you.

An open secret about human beings is we tend to be motivated to perform if we feel we have some choice in both how we will complete a task and the consequences for failing.

Using the example above, each salesperson was motivated by profoundly different factors. Addressing this reality is known as “situational management.” Instead of implementing consequences to a supposedly homogeneous whole, you tailor consequences for each department or member of your team.

That sounds like more work, but it’s not. That “extra” work happens up front instead of after the fact as part of regular employee interactions. It’s usually far less work than firing someone and securing a suitable replacement!

Traditional management implements accountability and consequences to the entire group instead of tailoring consequences to each member of the team. This makes about as much sense as putting pole-vaulters, shot-putters, and sprinters on the same weight lifting plan.

Situational management spends a lot of time setting up a sandbox for a team to play in. It then sits back and lets the team play, only getting involved when a team member strays outside the sandbox. It’s much, much easier than traditional management!

In our experience the most successful consequences are those set up by employees themselves.

Initially employees will resist helping you set up consequences, because they expect there’s going to be some dire outcome. The trick is to help employees understand that you are only having the conversation so that you never have to use the consequences agreed to. Once that much is clear, you will generally find that they will open up and your conversation will be more productive.

It’s best to have this conversation offsite, and to give each person involved at least a few days’ notice that one of your agenda topics will be consequences of failing to complete their goals each week. This prevents outside distractions and helps your team come prepared with thoughtful responses. “Springing it” on your team members may leave people feeling trapped and create unhelpful on-the-spot reactions when you ask for consequences.

Think of a consequence program as a ladder that you can move up, down, or off of completely, depending on performance.

Typically termination only arises upon the sixth (noticed) offense! That seems like a lot of second chances, doesn’t it? That’s intentional. It’s also intentional that each and every benchmark is created during a collaborative discussion with the employee.

Keep in mind, too, that accountability tracking is a weekly process, so a salesperson, for instance, could theoretically move from first offense to sixth offense and termination in less than two months. That’s pretty quick. Considering the cost to hire, onboard, and terminate an underperforming employee, which is estimated at somewhere between 4.5 and 6.2 times their salary, a co-created consequence program allows you to quickly terminate someone who just isn’t working out, saving time, money, and morale.

There are many variations on these discussions. For instance: can someone go from level four consequences to zero if he meets his goal targets for a specific number of weeks? You must collaboratively work with your team to set up these guidelines – and then you must stand behind them.

There must be no “mutual mystification” between you and your employees. Just as accountability can’t exist without consequences, accountability can’t exist with ambiguity!

Whenever an accountability program is implemented for a group of employees, some people will attempt to wear you down by asking you to deal with a host of “special” situations. For instance:

  • What happens if I don’t hit my targets because I’m on vacation?
  • What happens if I hit my revenue/project goals, but don’t reach the targets we set?
  • What happens if operations doesn’t deliver on time?
  • What happens if I hit my targets, but the rest of the team doesn’t?

Those are the most common “What if” scenarios, and you are well advised to prepare for them ahead of time. For your accountability program to be successful, you really must have fanatical discipline when it comes to inspiring people to stay focused and hit their targets daily, weekly, and monthly.

Remember that we are talking about collaboration here. The fact that you ask your employees to come up with their own proposals for their consequences does not mean that you will just rubber stamp each proposal. As their leader, you are well within your rights to push back, gently, on suggestions if you feel they are going too easy or aren’t taking the exercise seriously.

Accountability programs only succeed with transparency and clearly defined metrics that connect to both performance and consequences.

Hamish Knox is author of “Accountability the Sandler Way” and plays an important role in Sandler Training’s worldwide organization. He is a recognized business development expert specializing in executive sales consulting and sales productivity training. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


Investing in your employees now for the road ahead

Making sure a business survives through the day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year can be a challenge, but how do you make the move from surviving to thriving? Mick Yates writes this article to explain how investing in your employees now can create a positive effect for your business for years to come.

It is not easy keeping up with the current business market. With millennials taking over the lead, employers and business owners constantly need to search for new ways to keep their employees motivated and therefore retain them. Opportunity for millennial’s success are everywhere and if they do not feel content on their current position, they will easily move on to the next opportunity they see. Young people are highly confident in their career goals, and they have no time to spare in a place which gives them no room for growth. There is no better way to keep your staff engaged and motivated than to help them thrive and improve their skills. Here are some of the reasons why you should start investing in your employees’ growth as soon as possible:

1. It Boosts Productivity And Morale

Employees want to be recognized for their own qualities and talents. When an employee is confident about their work and knowledge they own, it directly affects their productivity (or lack of). Investing in their career and knowledge will show them that you, genuinely care about them. It helps to build a healthy and motivated working environment. Giving them space to rise and shine is going to make them more confident in their skills. But not only that they will feel confident, they actually will have a pretty good reason for it.

2. It Keeps Staff Turnover At A Lower Rate

With options lurking everywhere, the easiest thing for one Millennial with no, to little experience, is to walk away and find a position where their needs will be properly met. Younger employees are hungry for knowledge and they tend to lose interest quickly if you do not provide them with a constant chance of improving. It is your job as a leader to be interested in your staff and in their needs. Investing in their skills will not only make them feel more confident, but it will also prepare them for more serious positions in your company. That way, you do not have to start from scratch every time you need a new manager or a leader – you can offer the position to one of your existing staff members that already know the job. Believe me, they will most certainly appreciate it.

3. Fewer Mistakes

If you skimp on your employees’ training, you are most certainly going to face their failure or lack of skill. Undertrained or unskilled staff members are always the ones making most of the mistakes. Thankfully, with proper training/programme, your staff members will feel more in control over their own work and they will actually know how to do it (properly).

4. The World Needs Leaders 

Investing in training and leadership development is one of the leading ways of keeping Millennials engaged and loyal. Who would want to leave the job where opportunities for growth are endless? But even if they do, it is not that big of a deal. The world is in the need for strong, and young leaders, who can offer valuable leadership skills to the world’s job market. One of the first countries that seem to realize this, are Australia and Canada. Providing leadership development in Australia became almost mandatory in some business industries, and for some, training is at least once in a few months.

5. Reputation Matters, A Lot

A good leader who left your company for another opportunity should never be underestimated. Millennials will usually wander off to another workplace after 18-25 months of the same job (and position). Remember, wherever they go, they will take your company’s reputation with them. For every good employee you lose, you may gain triple – but only if you put your effort into engaging with your team. If they remember your workplace as a safe place for growth, they will most likely even come back after they have satisfied their need for change.

Coaching programs and leadership development training are slowly becoming almost mandatory in this chaotic business market that is spinning 24 hours per day. Keeping up with the current trends is not even a choice anymore – it has become crucial for the success of any comp

This article is written by Mick Yates, an executive leadership coach who is the founder and CXO level consultant for LeaderValues. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


life cycle of a business

The Life Cycle of a Business

Today I’m going to talk about the life cycle of a business and how to get the most out of each cycle while also extended the lifespan of your business.

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity

We’ll talk a little about what each of these cycle’s means and how they can each help expand your business’ lifespan.

Infancy

This is generally consider the technician’s phase, which is the owner. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is that of a parent and new baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.

The key is to know your business must grow in order to flourish. You cannot stage in this stage forever.

Adolescence

In this stage you need to start bringing your support staff together to delegate to and allow growth to happen. The first line of defense is your technical person as they need to bring a certain level of technical experience. This cycle really belongs to the manager though. The plan stage needs to start and a relationship should be built with the entrepreneur to plan for the future.

Growing Pains

There’s a point in every business when business explodes and becomes chaotic. This is referred to as growing pains. It’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. You are often faced with a number of choices:

  • Avoid growth and stay small
  • Go broke
  • Push forward into the next cycle

Maturity

The last cycle is maturity, though this doesn’t mean the end of your business. Your passion for growth must continue in order for your business to succeed. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward.

You see how all three of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation for each one of them for your business to be and continue to be successful. All three of your key roles must also work together to work through the life cycle of a business.

If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, please contact us and work with one of our coaches!


target marketing resources

Stop Wasting Your Resources!

How can you best manage your resources?

Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:

  • What do people really want to buy from me?
  • What related products are they already buying?

Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores.

The basic concept is this:

You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to.

Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses.

As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base.

So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success.

LV = (P x F) x N – MC

Here’s what it all means:

  • LV is the life time value of a customer
  • P is the average profit margin from each sale
  • F is the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N is the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)

Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.

So, here’s your step-by-step process:

  1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.

Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.


10 Tips That Boost Productivity

Running a small business calls for a person who can wear many hats throughout the day. Not only are you managing day-to-day operations, but you’re in charge of long-term strategies and being the gatekeeper of your brand. The constant hustle can make it seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Organizing and prioritizing are a necessity, and entrepreneurs across the board say these 10 things will help keep you productive.

1. Define a Clear Objective for Your Day

Of course as a small business owner you will be tackling several tasks each day, but going in with the mindset of “Today I will…” can provide focus and places emphasis on the certain thing you feel is most important. Each night follow up your statement with “Today, I accomplished…” and fill in the blank. This technique will keep you on the path of realizing your ultimate goals as a business owner, and make certain that those tasks will be completed.

2. Create a Schedule for Each Day

One of the common pitfalls is taking on the quickest, easiest tasks first. By the time you’ve finished three or four “quick” things, they’ve added up and taken a lot of time away from the bigger, more daunting tasks. Doing this causes the more challenging objectives to become rushed and potentially lose quality. Maintaining a consistent schedule eliminates this by forcing you to really pay attention to how much time you spend on each project, down to the hour. An added bonus is that allotting time to each task helps with prioritizing.

3. Write it Down

Physical checklists give you a real representation of your workload, and the reward of crossing off each item motivates you to start on the next. Sometimes just having an organized visual helps focus, rather trying to mentally keep track of your day.

4. Prioritize for the Unexpected

Every day something will come up, it can be a huge, pressing issue or something small. Both will affect your day-to-day in different ways. Be sure to know which tasks on your list can be pushed back to tomorrow and which can’t and adjust accordingly.

5. Don’t Let Email Rule Your Day

You have your phone number in your signature for a reason. If there is a pressing issue that needs immediate attention, there will be a way to reach you. Leaving your email open is a potential for constant distraction on your screen. Checking your email at regular intervals throughout the day eliminates this, and ensures an email doesn’t interrupt something much more important.

6. Give Your Mind a Break from Business

If you focus on your business 24/7 it won’t be long before you’re completely burnt out. Have something else you’re doing to give your mind time to relax and recharge. For some this could be a hobby or projects around the house, figure out what that one thing is for you.

7. Get Rid of the Clutter

It may be a sign of a creative mind, but it also detracts from productivity and increases stress. Figure out what needs to be physical and what you can keep digitally, a scanner aids in the process tremendously. What you do need in physical form should be kept neatly and organized.

8. Don’t Live in Your Conference Room

You should always have open communication with your clients, buyers, partners, etc. Think about when you should have a formal meeting, and when a phone call in another room will suffice. Staying out of the conference room keeps you available to complete other tasks.

9. Stay Positive and Try to Have Fun

You own your business, and even in the most stressful of times, it is important to think of the benefits. You dress how you want to, you don’t have to work for a shady boss, and you don’t have to worry about job security. Getting angry or upset distracts from focus and can lead to shoddy work. Be serious about your objectives but try to complete them in a way that is fun; being eternally somber can lead to burning out and can hugely take away from productivity.

10. Learn to Grow from Failure

There will always be some sort of trial and error is business. Figuring out what doesn’t work is the first step towards finding out what does. Don’t harp on something that didn’t go exactly as planned, some things don’t work and that is OK. Learn to apply that lesson to future strategies. Forward thinking each day is key for staying productive.


5 Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Time & Money

As a small business owner, your occupation is important to you. But should the health of your business take precedence over your health and personal happiness?

Nearly 4 in 10 small business owners are working more hours per week than they were five years ago, thanks in part to a culture of connectivity. Smart phones enable us to communicate from nearly anywhere, and modern business protocol dictates that we respond promptly to inquiries and messages. Employees are in contact over the weekends, and customers are only a click away via social media.

So, when exactly does one draw the line between personal and professional lives? The answer to finding a successful balance, experts say, is picking your priorities and sticking with them. Establishing boundaries and building a schedule that allows for both work and personal life is crucial to avoiding burnout and maintaining relationships with friends and family.

As one entrepreneur puts it, “Figure out what is most important, and say no to everything else.”

Here are five tips for making the most out of your time – and money.

1. Keep a daily calendar – around the clock

Your business hours may be 9-5, but often the real work gets done after hours. Utilize a personal planner to schedule all of your tasks, even in the evenings. By being mindful of your calendar, you can more easily shift your responsibilities into another time slot if something pressing pops up.

2. Welcome to the machine

We may not have robot butlers to perform our daily tasks … just yet. But you can automate many tasks such as accounting, invoicing and paying bills just by using technology. A host of great apps and software programs are available to increase efficiency and help you make money. Check out www.waveapps.com to explore the world of automation apps and business performance software.

3. Get creative with eating, sleep and exercise

For your body to perform at its peak, there are some things you can’t skip. But with employees to manage, clients to handle and bills to pay, it’s tough to find the time. That’s when it’s necessary to get especially clever. Do what it takes to look after your health, whether that’s scheduling a 15 to 20 minute power nap after lunch, exercising on your lunch break, or negotiating a service exchange with a local healthy eatery.

4. It’s your business. Not your entire life.

There comes a time when being too connected can be a bad thing. To help avoid burnout, to set aside “offline” time to recharge your batteries and generate new ideas. Finding time for fulfilling, peaceful activities such as a walk in the woods or a spa session has been shown to have a considerable effect on your emotional and mental balance.

5. – No regrets, No reservations.

It’s easy to focus on how little time you have … instead of making the most of the time you’ve got. Ensure that your time with family and friends is well spent by preparing potluck dinners, participating in organized sports or planning fun outings.


Meet Greg A. Lee & Associates

Greg A. Lee & Associates focuses on coaching business leaders by improving their performance and boosting effectiveness.


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The AdviCoach approach was designed to rescue the dream of business ownership and help business owners attain maximum success. We work with AdviCoach because it’s the leading small business coaching company in the U.S. and even the world.

Greg A. Lee & Associates focuses on coaching business leaders by improving their performance and boosting effectiveness.


Rapid Impact Strategies To Propel Your Business

While all business owners face unique situations, most challenges they face are common and cut across all industries. Our Rapid Impact Strategies specifically address the Top 5 Business Dangers with cost effective strategies designed to drive immediate results and improve the bottom line.

Greg A. Lee & Associates focuses on coaching business leaders by improving their performance and boosting effectiveness.


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